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Hubby and I are currently living in St. Paul, MN in a great little neighborhood with tons of independent businesses. We have restaurants, natural foods coops (yes, plural!!), libraries, neighborhood movie theaters, everything is easy walking or biking distance--we love it! We enjoy biking a lot, too, and the Twin Cities have a fantastic network of bike trails, tons of things to do and see?we?ve found the perfect location! We currently live in an apartment, so our gardening attempts are limited to 3 large pots of herbs (one is all basil, the others are a mix of rosemary, tarragon, thai basil, mint, curry plant, sage, thyme, and oregano). We're saving for a house, so eventually we'll have a yard to plant more veggies in, but for now the herb pots do pretty well!
I enjoy cooking in my spare time (well, and my not-so-spare time, too...my hubby, who also loves to cook, accuses me of planning way-too-elaborate weeknight meals, but he never complains once he starts eating...no matter how late it is!) We are pretty adamant about eating healthy and sustainable foods. I try to make a point to source the majority of my ingredients as locally as possible, and I'm very lucky to have the wonderful St. Paul farmer's market available year round (though in the winter my choices are limited to fresh eggs, organic/free-range meat of all sorts, cheese, honey, baked goods...limited, right?...poor me!...in the summer the market is bursting with all that plus all manner of vegetables, and I've never met a vegetable there I didn't like). I also eat a good deal of wild game meat (elk, deer, antelope) because my family (who still live in MT) ship a box of hunting season bounty to us every winter. What doesn't come from the farmers market or the wild game express comes from my local natural foods co-op (St. Paul's Mississippi Market), which has a plethora of local products to choose from as well!
I try to eat as healthfully as possible, so if I make your recipe, I may alter it to fit my preferred diet (i.e. I'll cut down on fat, add veggies, change cuts of meat, cut down on cheese and certain condiments like mayo, etc.). I will still rate the recipe unless I pretty much don't follow it at all, in which case I'll just leave a comment with what I did--I always like to see what others have done with recipes, but I don't think it's fair to grade the recipe if I didn't actually follow it! I won?t generally make a recipe if it calls for ingredients I don?t like (and can?t sub out for something I do like), so most of my ratings are pretty high for that reason. I?ve never really understood people who try a recipe and then give it a very low rating only because they don?t like the ingredients called for. Anyhow.
My rating system for recipes is pretty simple. I won?t give a star rating to a recipe if I don?t follow it fairly closely. If I do give your recipe a star rating, this is what it means:
5 stars = fantastic flavor or unique (and tasty) & the recipe worked as written?would definitely make it again
4 stars = good flavor &/or the recipe needed only some minor changes to work?would likely make again
3 stars = the recipe needed a fair bit of alteration to be edible?might try it again, but would make some major changes
2 stars = good idea in theory, bad recipe in practice?would only try it again (with massive changes) if I?m feeling ambitious/creative
1 star = inedible?would not be trying it again
I love veggies, esp. dark leafy greens, carrots, all manner of peppers, corn, yams, and squash (both winter and summer). I also like most fruits, but my favorites are apples, berries/cherries, peaches, mangoes, and rhubarb. I also love quinoa, tofu, wheat & rye berries, rice, wheat pasta, and cheese. I don?t do much dairy except cheese, though. I love almond milk for cooking, but I prefer soy milk for drinking.
I love dishes that are complex (but not cluttered) in terms of flavor and simple in terms of ingredients. Things like tom yum soup, pad thai, grilled cheese & red pepper sandwiches, cranberry pistachio lime cookies, curry roasted nuts, yam and squash quesadillas, Korma, etc. You get the picture. My favorite restaurant is my kitchen!