Welcome to my blog!
I’m Susan, and I live with my husband just outside San Francisco. I have a struggling vegetable garden, bulging shelves of cookbooks I haven’t begun to cook through, and piles of food ideas and recipes torn from magazines and newspapers; all of which support me as I move my diet to one that is more plant-based.
I’ve tried to go completely vegetarian a few times over the past several years, but have always wimped out after a few weeks (or days). This time, I’m using a different approach – one that has more balance. Instead of completely eliminating all meat and fish, they now make up about 10% of my diet.
There are a few reasons for this flexitarian diet compromise (or as a friend calls it – wimpy vegetarian diet):
- I don’t want to be restricted to risottos and pastas when I eat out in restaurants, which is at least once a week. Sometimes I’d really rather have some grilled salmon for the lower fat content and omega-3 benefit.
- If I go to someone’s home for dinner, or they come to mine, I don’t want to force my choices on someone else. Planning a meal for a group is hard enough without that extra burden. I’m grateful for whatever my host/hostess wants to prepare and serve for our enjoyment, and plan to savor every bite.
- After about 30 seconds reflection, my husband opted to keep meat front and center on his plate. And I’ve found that bacon makes great bait to get a non-vegetarian to eat kale and beans dishes. Just sayin’…
I started this blog to share healthy, flavorful vegetarian (or wimpy vegetarian) recipes I’ve developed. I also offer nutrition information I’ve come across (although I confess I’m not a nutritionist), and lessons I’ve learned in the kitchen when cooking for both a meat-eater and a mostly vegetarian.
A little background on me: after a long, successful career in sales and marketing, I decided to reinvent my life at 50. I quit my job, and optimistically headed to culinary school at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco with an ‘anything-is-possible’ attitude. For six long months, I ran hard to keep up with a bunch of 20- and 30-somethings in a rigorous culinary program. Following graduation, armed with a wealth of shiny new knowledge, I began to sort out my personal style of cooking. Thinking I had to meet heightened expectations of my friends, I initially tried to wow them with elaborate presentations and kicky, off-the-wall flavor combinations. Ultimately, reality prevailed, as it always does, and I floated back to earth to settle into my own style of up-scale rustic. Instead of cooking to impress, these days I cook for flavor and health, and to provide a table for friends to connect to each other, and to the food.
Over the past three years, I’ve entered some of my recipes in contests on Food 52 and Whole Foods Market Cooking, and I’ve won a few (Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chimichurri and Poblano Creme Fraiche, Rosemary Ciabatta with Stout Beer, Orange Ricotta Pillows with Lillet Kumquat Compote, Crispy Delicata Rings with Currant, Fennel and Apple Relish, and Farmhouse Harvest Soup). I’ve also taught cooking classes focused on local produce and grains, and now write for the food section of Ask Miss A, an online magazine focused on the intersection of style and charity. I will also be a regular contributor to two additional web-based magazines scheduled to launch in the spring of 2013.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it, and welcome your comments. We all learn from each other and I would love to hear from you.