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I love to research Portuguese dishes since my mother's parents were from Madeira Island; one other quarter of me is mostly Cajun and I love researching that cooking style, also, as well as Creole (Love the fried alligator at Cajun Connection near Utica, IL!). I love bean dishes, salads, Mexican food, simple country French cooking, and "island cooking" - Jamaican, Cuban, etc., and north African/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean. I also love anything with orange, tangerine or mango! And mustards, vinegars, pickled stuff. And cheese, mmmmm... especially Manchego!
I really admire Jacques Pepin, my favorite "retro chef: is The Galloping Gourmet. I'm also strangely drawn to Lidia Bastianich's cooking, it's so regional and "intimate". I could swing the Trader Vic's style, and I treasure my book "Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating". I have a public cookbook devoted to the recipes of my favorite new chef, Andreas Viestad - I especially love his fresh new ways with seafood. I like Rick Bayless, too (especially when he goes on those out-of-the-way shopping trips--loved the Taxco silver.)My favorite vegetarian cookbook is Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons. And I'm always collecting vintage cookbooks, especially the "kitschy" kind (aren't they all?). Always up for a Trader Joe's shopping trip, too!
I like to cook a simple dish in the best way I can. And I LOVE grilling! I'm into marinades, sauces, mops, rubs, condiments, etc. etc.; I like strong, individual flavors, not casseroles and such. Not a big dessert eater, either - I have much more of a "salt tooth". And I do NOT eat TURNIPS in any shape or form... ew.
I'm not sure that I have a signature dish, but I'm pretty good at impromptu soups, I can make a decent pizza; also seafood and chicken. I've also evolved into quite the beef jerky maker, and Ed seems to really like my homemade seafood cocktail sauce and fudge.