La Dilettante and her husband
For this month’s spotlight, we are thrilled to feature La Dilettante as our “Miss July.” Although she’s been (mostly) vegetarian for the last 16 years, she still occasionally hankers for fried chicken livers and often “cheats” with fish.
A member since 2009, La Dilettante has reviewed over 130 recipes! Salads, soups, crockpot recipes — she’s given many of them a healthy meatless makeover without complaint from her meat-loving household. To find out more about La Dilettante’s life in the kitchen, we chatted with her about her biggest cooking flop and her guilty pleasure food confession.
What are your favorite places to eat in your hometown of Jackson, MS? We are very lucky to live just a quick stroll from two favorites. Just around the corner is a tiny, tiny taqueria called Guadalupe and locally-owned Pizza Shack does the best margherita pizza on the planet.
La Dilettante’s daughter in the kitchen – Then and Now
You love cooking with your daughter. How did you encouraged her “cooking gene”? I just got out of her way and let her rip into the kitchen, once she was old enough to (sort of) follow a recipe. I think her first “all-by-herself” creation was the Swiss Braided Bread in the Kansas City Junior League’s Beyond Parsley. She was nine at the time.
Any tips for vegetarians living in a meat-loving world? When invited to a new friend’s house, I would certainly never announce my food choices; I just take my chances. At set-menu affairs like weddings or business banquets, my husband and I have perfected the “swift subtle switcheroo.” I quickly scrape my filet mignon onto his plate, he puts his asparagus and potatoes on mine, and we’re both happy!
What’s your favorite meatless substitution? Even my husband, a confirmed “meatatarian” who loves a rack of barbecued ribs or a good juicy steak, is a huge fan of Morningstar Farm’s faux ground beef soy crumbles. I put them into things like chili, lasagna and taco salad. He swears he can’t tell the difference, except that there’s no grease.
What is your favorite Food.com recipe? Two recipes come immediately to mind! Pulau Nepalese Basmatic Rice, which I’ve made so many times I can’t even count. It’s always a hit, and everyone nabs a second helping. And Russian Cream: No question, it’s my favorite dessert, because I don’t really like sweets and this isn’t all that sugary.
Do you have a favorite chef on Food.com? As for chefs, evelyn/Athens, Kittencalskitchen, Andi of Longmeadow Farm and EastWindGoddess are reliable go-to sources. I hope to meet them all in person one day! Girls, if you’re reading this, I vote we meet in Paris!
Confession time: What’s your guilty pleasure dish? Like my fellow Mississippian Elvis, I looooove me a fried peanut-butter and banana sandwich. I know, I know, I loftily said “nothing fried” earlier, but you said “guilty.” I make a big loaded one, pour an ice-cold glass of fat-free milk (as if it matters, with all the fat in this ”samwich”) and enjoy it all by myself. Afterwards, I swear I’ll eat nothing but iceberg lettuce leaves for the next two days! At least, that’s the lie I tell myself.
What’s your most epic cooking flop? Did you cry? Save it? Or you just get takeout? Ouch! Painful subject. I tried Microwave Roux. Ohhhh, man, what a mess! But it was the fault of the bowl I used, not of the recipe. I’ve made it many times since with perfect results.
La Dilettante’s Five-Star Food.com Favorites
La Dilettante may be a vegetarian but she “cheats” with fish. From meatless makeovers to cutting out fat and calories, her tips won’t leave the flavor behind. Perfect for summer entertaining or anytime you want to lighten up your meal.