About Valentina — I am a chef, a mom and a Los Angeleno. Cooking On The Weekends is where I create unique and comforting recipes for casual entertaining.Remember when you were a kid, how exciting it was to wake up on your birthday? That feeling of “can’t wait to get out of bed and see what wonderful things the day would bring?”
I get this same feeling, thinking up new, delicious flavor combinations. I absolutely can’t wait to get in the kitchen, gather my ingredients, and cook.
I grew up in a world of antiques, vegetable gardens, photography, painting, love, and really, really delicious and interesting food. Cooking On The Weekends combines all of those things — and allows me to share them.
What brought me here?
Here’s the (tiny) nutshell version . . .
- After getting my bachelors degree in Art History, I worked at the LA County Museum of Art for a couple of years. Though it was fabulous to be amidst some of the finest art in the world, at the end of the day, my job was more paperwork than anything else.
- Always having loved being in the kitchen, cooking and baking, I left the museum and spent the following couple of years at the LA Culinary Institute, and interning in restaurants.
- Just after I graduated from culinary school, a friend asked me to cater his wedding. I loved every minute of it, which led me into a few years of catering, private chef work, and teaching cooking classes.
Cut to meeting the handsome guy at the bottom of this page . . .
- A few years later I found myself with two little boys and I wanted to be with them as much as possible. I took some time off and then began recipe developing at home and writing about food. First for others, and then Cooking On The Weekends was born.
- Cooking On The Weekends is about cooking creative, comforting food, for casual entertaining — because that’s what I love.
I’m so excited to share my cooking ideas and creations, and I want to inspire you to cook. I will always be happy to receive your comments, questions and thoughts. And I will always get back to you as soon as I can.
A few things to know about Valentina and food:
- My recipe ideas come from anywhere and everywhere: my fruit bowl, food images in magazines, walking down an aisle in the market, talking with people, colors, the weather, my mood, my kids, a book, a TV show, the seasons, and the list goes on.
- I have too many favorite foods to list.
- Foods are rarely too rich for me. I don’t really get it when someone says they can only have one bite because a dessert is too rich (particularly chocolate).
- I believe most foods are okay in moderation. (Yes, that includes sugar!)
- I eat just about everything — with the exception of sea urchin, okra, and anything presented with eyeballs.
- I always try to cook with local, fresh, healthy ingredients.
- I cook every cuisine I can. I adore using flavors from other countries and learning about how people eat in other cultures. Love it!
- My 14-year-old son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 9 years ago and therefore has to eat gluten-free (forever). So while this is not a gluten-free site, you will find many gluten-free recipes here, and I will often give gluten-free options in recipes that are not.
- I have an aversion to “fake” foods — Tofurky, for example. I would rather skip an ingredient than use a “fake” substitute. (P.S. I do love tofu — just not when it’s pretending to be something else!)
- It doesn’t get much better than eating a ripe plum or peach off my parents’ trees in their backyard.
- I love how chocolate chips go from dry to wet as soon as they’re mixed into cookie dough.
- I’m in love with comfort foods and you’ll find dozens upon dozens of recipes for them on Cooking On The Weekends.
- My kitchen is my retreat, and you can learn why here.
- And I tend to use a lot of exclamation points. I can’t help myself. I am just so excited about what I’m cooking!
And what do I do when I’m not in the kitchen? I hang out with these boys!
I’m so happy that you love Cooking On The Weekends. You’re welcome to link to recipes and posts on this blog — however, please note that all the content and photography is wholly owned by me. One cannot reprint any writing, recipes or photographs found on this site without express written consent. Thank you!
Top photo credit: Gail Albert Halaban