For the most part I am an ovo-lacto vegetarian which means I’ll eat eggs and dairy products. I made a decision to follow a vegetarian diet in 1972. When I began making regular consulting trips back and forth to Africa and had to stay in hotels and eat in restaurants I soon learned it was difficult to maintain a completely vegetarian diet. Therefore, to avoid constant food-related illnesses carried on improperly or non-treated fresh fruits and vegetables I began eating a limited amount of chicken and fish. I never eat red meat.
In my own home I pretty much maintain a vegetarian diet. My husband is a committed carnivore so we find meal time is a negotiated process in our home. Although the recipes posted on my blog are all vegetarian they can easily be adapted for those of you who eat meat. These are some of my personal favorites, comfort food that reminds me of good times shared with family and friends and dishes that I learned how to make from the countries where I have visited.
My husband is actually more of a gourmet cook than I am. I tend to be a “meat” and mashed potatoes person but enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. I am an avid kitchen gadget junkie and absolutely LOVE pampered chef products. Send me an email and I’ll tell you what some of my favorite products are.
When building our new house (just barely a year old) in South West Florida Bill and I determined to put in a gourmet kitchen at a thrift store budget. I spent hours surfing the internet but got great finds. And we also went to clearance sales and found some great deals. For instance, I a got a Wolf/sub-zero 4 burner gas cook top with a 2 burner griddle. I got it from my plumber. This is what happened.
On a previous job the plumber did before our house some water got spilled on the box with the cook top inside when they hooked up the kitchen faucet. The owner insisted they replace it because the box got wet and she worried the cook top might not work properly after getting wet. The cook top was a hefty chunk of change so the plumber contacted Wolf to seek their advice. Wolf assured the lady that a little bit of water wouldn’t affect the cook top. But she insisted they replace it with a new one. Imagine—it’s a cook top!! Water gets spilled on them all the time.
But her craziness worked great for me. I got a fantastic deal–about 75% off regular price! And…I spill water on it all the time and it works just fine!! Go figure! We also got a convection microwave that has a control panel on it that rivals a plane’s control panel. My kitchen designer would suggest things to put in the kitchen and then I’d find it for cheap. I don’t think that was exactly her intent that I not buy things from her but it worked better for me.
Another interesting find from the internet was a mystic prep sink that I found on Ebay–check it out. (http://www.trendir.com/archives/000081.html) You spray insulation underneath the sink which makes it it a built-in cooler. Just fill it with ice and use it to keep drinks or appetizers cold when you’re entertaining. Very neat. Despite it’s duality as a prep sink and cooler I don’t think I’d put another one in if I were redoing the kitchen–but it’s a great conversation piece and my husband just loves it. And any husband who’s a gourmet cook—well you gotta keep them happy!
So, with all of this stuff you think I’d turn into a gourmet cook too right? Well, maybe when I retire. Right now I’m happy to have a great place where I can cook (when I’m in the US) even if it’s just vege-meat and mashed potatoes. So, with that preamble enjoy the recipes and bon appétit!
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