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I live in Los Angeles, and there are really great farmer's markets here, and corner stores featuring foods of many nations. I try to take advantage of these resources by using fresh seasonal produce and trying foods from different cultures. I don't exactly have the problem of not being able to find exotic ingredients; more often, I see things in the local stores (lotus root! passionfruit! chayote!) that turn out to be delicious when I finally learn how to prepare them. Interested in expanding my repertoire of techniques and cuisines, I finally took up my sister - Recipezaar member Roosie - on her recommendation to visit this site. I hear our parents use it too sometimes, but they don't seem to have figured out how to write reviews. My culinary pet peeve is when people stir rice while it's cooking, thereby making it gummy.
As described above, I like to try new things. I particularly like grains, beans/tofu, fish, and vegetables. Some favorites include rice, red snapper, shrimp, asparagus, green beans, carrots, sauteed onions, spinach, passionfruit, pineapple, melons, limes, and dark chocolate. I love cilantro, black pepper, and chili peppers.
I can be picky, though. Though the only thing I categorically refuse to eat is pepperoni, I'm very particular about the texture of foods. I'll eat avocados, mangoes, and tomatoes if pureed or mashed, but I don't like raw slices of any of them. I like eggs as quiches or omelets but not fried, hard-boiled, or poached ( Eggs Benedict and deviled eggs baffle me - ugh!).
I've always loved Chinese food, the principles of which include using seasonal foods and a fascination with texture. I like to cook French and Thai food as well, and last year I made a project of learning to cook Japanese food. I've also grown up on Mexican and Tex-Mex foods and start to feel a little odd if I go too long without staples like tacos or frijoles.