Before I get to the recipes, I figured I'd share a little about my cooking style and food influences:
- I taught myself cook. My mom does the cooking in my family, but because she was very particular about her kitchen, she never took me under her dinner-making wing. Instead, she gave me the advice "if you can read, you can cook" and I just went with it. I started cooking for myself in college, but it wasn't until after I graduated that I really began exploring with different spices and flavors.
- I'm not fancy. As much as I like to pretend I'm a five-star chef running a swanky Las Vegas bistro, I'm not one to fool myself. I definitely fall into Chef Ramsey's "donkey" category. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that I love what I make (and I've been told by others it's not too bad). To be clear, those who are masters in the kitchen looking for a challenge aren't going to find much here. Rather, I'd like to think the recipes I share are great for beginners.
- Onion, garlic, olive oil & fire-roasted tomatoes are my BFFs. Seriously. Our family practically lives on these four items, primarily because nearly everything I make involves at least one of them. If you want to make any of the recipes I'll post here, get stocked up now.
- I don't measure, I taste: This drives Cliff crazy! Rarely do I measure spices -- I cook by tasting my food as I go along. Obviously, that's a habit I'm going to have to break in order to meet this challenge.
- V is for Vegetarian and that's good enough for me. Right around the time I started to cook for myself, I experimented with vegetarianism. I'm not full-on vegetarian at this time, but those influences -- healthy dishes with bold flavor -- definitely stuck around. Not every recipe I share will involve meat, but all will be incredibly flavorful!
- I tweak recipes. This is another habit that drives Cliff crazy. I don't always follow recipes as they come to me. I use recipes I find online and in books as a base, then tweak to my own tastes and preferences. Because I don't stick to original ingredients, I don't expect anyone else to, either. In fact, I encourage it! Readers, if you make something listed here, don't be afraid to put your own spin on it. And don't forget to share! I'd love to see the outcome!