• Joined March, 2008
  • Expert Home Cook
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I have been cooking since I was about eight years old, when my mother told me to make roast beef. I don't know why anyone thinks roast beef is difficult, if an eight year old could throw it in the oven, how hard can it be? I enjoyed cooking, and had a lot of cookbooks. One of my favorites is the Wartime Edition of the American Women's Cookbook (I have a 1942 edition at home). One of my mother's friends discovered The Galloping Gourmet, and I was hooked! I was about thirteen, and I took over cooking for the family (just my mother and I). I watched a lot of PBS cooking specials, and then I was fortunate enough to have a roomate who is a Certified Professional Chef.

Now, I have son, Spane, who, I am happy to say, likes most of what I make. He really likes vegetables! His favorite vegetables are brocolli and beets.  He is now helping me in the kitchen - he makes salad, measures ingredients, reads recipies to me (the computer with BigOven on it is in the livingroom), and just is joyous helper in the kitchen.

I really like making Italian inspired dishes, and just about anything spicy. Recently, I started baking again - this may be because I live in California, and my heater doesn't work, so when it gets cold, I bake cookies.

I am fortunate to live in Glendale, which has a large Armenian population, and Armenian groceries and butchers. Yum! There is nothing like walking into an Armenian market, especially after they have been roasting barley or grinding coffee beans for Armenian coffee.

I like cooking with the freshest ingredients. My local grocer always has farm fresh produce, and my butcher will cut the meat to order. With that said, I have a foodsaver, so I buy meat in bulk, and vacuum seal/freeze it.

My Most Recent Ratings

Blue Cheese Risotto with Merlot

Blue Cheese Risotto with Merlot

It isn't the prettiest Risotto in the world, but it has really great flavor. — arbpen 3/3/2014
Enchiladas with Three Pepper Sauce

Enchiladas with Three Pepper Sauce

I'm not sure why Big Oven is showing Chicken Mousse Filling, as required. It's a heading, and it's definitely required. Please understand that all the quantities in this recipe are approximate. If you want to make the sauce spicier, add more chilies, You can serve these with rice and beans, guacamole, salsa and hot sauce if you want. You can even freeze these uncooked, then put them in the oven frozen. — arbpen 2/9/2014
Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

For those of you having problems with flavor, this could be for several reasons. The biggest culprit is sour cream, I use ONLY Real sour cream, preferably Alta Dena, or Daisy or Knudsen. Other sour creams have gelatin, binders and/or fillers. If you can find it, Creme Fraiche makes an excellent alternative. For those who are reporting dryness, make sure that the mushrooms have given up some of their water. It adds flavor, and liquid to the sauce. Please remember that all the ingredients are approximate, simply because some mushrooms may have more liquid than others, some people like more cheese than others, or Mars may be retrograde when viewed from Io, who knows, just enjoy. — arbpen 2/8/2014
Peanut Butter n Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter n Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these and added a teaspoon of almond extract to the mix. I liked these cookies because they kept their shape and didn't spread out all over the place. I baked them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. They were delicious! I am keeping this recipe in my favorites. 1/25/2014
Jeane's Sweet Potatoes

Jeane's Sweet Potatoes

For those wondering about the caramels or pineapple, if you buy the caramels in bulk, about 20 or so should do fine. For the pineapple, I usually use chunks because I like the mouth feel of biting into a juicy piece of pineapple. — arbpen 12/30/2013
Hummus

Hummus

Made this tonight with chicken Lula kabobs. Wonderful! — Cyrano 12/17/2013
Nutella Icing

Nutella Icing

Wow! I can't wait to try this on a chocolate cake. Thanks for sharing! — AngieProvost 7/28/2011
Microwave Broccoli

Microwave Broccoli

Why pay more for special microwave bags? You're going to throw the plastic bag the vegetable came in anyway, right? So, let it be useful one more time. Don't have a plastic produce bag? Use a plate and an over turned bowl to create the steam. — arbpen 6/17/2011
Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara

A little hint about shallots. I have a used frosting container that I keep my shallots in. Every few months I go and get extra large shallots, chop them finely with one of those great food choppers, put them in the frosting container and cover them with a flavorless vegetable oil, like corn or peanut oil. Then I have chopped shallots any time I want them, and the oil has been infused with their wonderful flavor. You can't go wrong with this method that takes about 5 minutes every few months. — arbpen 6/17/2011
Myriad Deviled Eggs

Myriad Deviled Eggs

You can substitute any of the garnishes. Black and red caviar would be a replacement for the sun dried tomato and olive paste. You could also use crisp crumbled bacon, bay shrimp or anything else your mind can come up with. — arbpen 5/29/2011
Jalapenos stuffed w/ crab and smoked cheddar, wrapped in bacon

Jalapenos stuffed w/ crab and smoked cheddar, wrapped in bacon

Yes, this does sound really good. I'll be making these for Memorial Day for sure. Thanks for posting. — sprite67 5/20/2011
Waffle Torte Rosary Cake - No Bake!

Waffle Torte Rosary Cake - No Bake!

I just had the last piece of cake this morning. It lasted five days without any ill effects. Just as moist and tasty as it was the first day. It is a rich cake, and a little slice goes a long way, that's why we were able to have it five days. — arbpen 5/20/2011
Watermelon Pickle

Watermelon Pickle

I only have one more jar left, and I am waiting for watermelons with seeds to become available. You can roast and salt them like pumpkin seeds. These pickles are really a hit! — arbpen 5/18/2011
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Thank you for posting this recipe. I had this at Damon's Restautant in Glendale, California and loved it! I can't wait to make it. — promfh 5/18/2011
Apricot Buckle

Apricot Buckle

The apricots make this cake not too sweet, but very moist. It was wonderful warm with a little icing spread on it. — arbpen 5/18/2011
Cold Glass of Milk

Cold Glass of Milk

A cold glass of milk is really good with ice, drunk fairly quickly so the ice does not melt and water down the milk. — stevemur 5/17/2011
Spicey Ham Rollups

Spicey Ham Rollups

They are really not that spicey because the cream cheese cuts the heat of the pepper. This is a family favorite. — arbpen 5/6/2011
Star Party Submarine

Star Party Submarine

This is a great sandwich for a crowd, and truly a crowd pleaser. When I made these sandwiches for the recent Teacher Appreciation Lunch at my son's elementary schools, the teachers loved it, and one of the parents who was helping serve was disappointed that she did not get any! — arbpen 5/4/2011
Dad's Authentic Buffalo Wings

Dad's Authentic Buffalo Wings

I usually serve with a glass of cold milk in addition to the cheese dressing. Why? Because milk locks the Capsaicin molocules and flushes them away. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsaicin#Food> For those who don't enjoy the heat, you could make a separate sauce with little of no Tabasco, but, then where's the fun in that? — arbpen 5/2/2011
Turkey Burgers, Perfect  Every Time

Turkey Burgers, Perfect Every Time

This is a favorite in our house. My seven year old was thrilled when I said I was going to make them tonight. — arbpen 4/29/2011

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