One of the best gifts I have ever received was a love for cooking from my "Luli" (Grandmother). When I got married I was more of a baker than a cook, I loved to make muffins, cakes, pies, you name it! My first Thanksgiving as a "Mrs." I was put in charge of all the holiday deserts. I made my first pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie and a key lime pie.
Cooking intimidated me at first because it didn't have all the rules and boundaries like baking. There was only technique, that I didn't have, and it seemed more "feeling" then "knowing". My husband was so natural when he cooked, and loved to use spices where I preferred simple salt and pepper on anything and everything. He encouraged me to be adventurous and at first I bit his head off for it, complaining that he did not like my "simple" cooking. But things soon changed when Cook's Illustrated (also known as America's Test Kitchen) was introduced into my life.
My husband used Cook's Illustrated to register us for all our appliances, and all our cook books are Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen). Their publications are simply amazing, and after using it it's almost gut wrenching to use any other cook book because it doesn't explain and teach the way ATK does. I have made everything from enchilada's to homemade pasta noodles. The Cooking for Two is a wonderful edition that is just what it says, recipes for two. The other great thing is they test dozens of recipes per recipe, so for example they will make tons of apple pies, taste test them and cook them different ways to see what way is the best way to make apple pie, then they explain how they did it. You learn technique and also why to do something, there is even trouble shooting in the books. One of my most exciting times of my week is meal planning and cooking something new, and it's all thanks to my wonderful husband and these wonderful cookbooks we have. Next week I am trying a slow cooking curried chicken recipe, I am stoked!