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  1. Rochelle, I was primarily a vegetarian before enrolling in culinary school as well - no meat for at least 10 years! Like you, I started off only tasting the meat dishes that we prepared, but over time, I found myself "giving in" and enjoying the incredible flavors of various meats. Once I opened up my mind and palate again to all these options, I was amazed at how much my taste buds and preferences had changed from the time before I was a vegetarian. I had never tried duck, lamb, veal, venison, rabbit; I rarely ate pork products; ate chicken all the time. Now I find that I am attracted (make that addicted, in the case of any cured pork products) to meats with big, bold flavors - the chicken I once loved now seems boring by comparison. Now that I've recently finished school, I find that I have reverted back to my more vegetarian diet, especially when I am cooking at home, although I do indulge my cravings for prosciutto and serrano and order meat dishes in restaurants once in a while if their preparation sounds really interesting. Speaking of that first hamburger - I had mine on St. Paddy's day this year - in a small rough-and-tumble Irish bar in Manhattan. My friends and I only intended to pop in for a quick pint, and then found ourselves laughing and drinking, sharing stories all night with a group of rambunctious firemen. After indulging in a few too many (and not having eaten anything in hours), I found myself ravenous. One of the guys had ordered a big, juicy burger and dangled it in front of me, offering a bit of forbidden fruit. After less than a momen't hesitation, I pounced, not once, but at least three times. I wonder if the carnivorous look in my eyes and the salivating fangs that suddenly appeared scared anyone. It tasted sooooo good. And once I had unleashed the beast, I couldn't stop. I had another hamburger (my own, that I didn't have to share!) late that night before I hopped the train home!
  2. CB1234


    Snowangel, Walking through the market last night, I saw a huge display of several types of acorn squash and was inspired to experiment. I cut off the top of a small, golden acorn squash, scooped out the seeds, baked in oven at 350 for maybe 15-20 mins to soften slightly (I didn't lightly salt the insides before baking but would do it next time I make this dish, for more flavor). Meanwhile, I cooked some diced squash in chicken stock til just tender, sauteed some bacon, then some finely chopped sweet onion in the bacon fat. Then I combined the squash, onions, crumbled bacon, some breadcrumbs, a little maple syrup, some plumped currants, a few minced fresh cranberries that were briefly blanched, some toasted finely chopped pecans and seasoned with salt. Then packed it all into the squash, topped with more breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown on top and filling was heated through (about 10 minutes - I turned the broiler on for a minute or two at the end to get the top really golden). For an experiment, I thought it turned out fairly well!