Over the hump

October 17, 2007 on 7:47 pm | By | In Food Musings | 1 Comment

16 days down, 15 to go. So how are we doing?

If this were a bet, my darling would have lost big-time. However, from the start I viewed this as an experiment: CAN we go a month without eating meat? The answer is clear — NO!

I’ve already mentioned a few of our transgressions — the previously planned French dinner, my darling’s steak feast, my experience at the Thai restaurant — but there have been more. In fact, we haven’t even gone FIVE DAYS without eating meat! But I’m determined to see this through, especially since we have enjoyed some fabulous vegetarian meals (more on that in a moment).

My darling visited friends in Vancouver this past weekend, and I gave him my blessing to eat meat. From pork dumplings to bulgogi to a burger, he took it to the extreme. To torture myself I peppered him with questions about everything he ate; I figured if I couldn’t have it myself I could at least get some satisfaction from hearing about it.

But he wasn’t the only one to indulge. On Friday I picked up a bunch of salmon filets for a catering gig and when I found out they grossly under-charged me (almost $50!) the manager of the fish department rewarded my honesty with some house-smoked salmon (we both noshed on that). Last night, not wanting to head out in the rain to pick up some vegetarian broth for our soup, I just grabbed for the Asian beef broth in our pantry. While technically not meat, it certainly wasn’t vegetarian.

While I haven’t experienced any changes in my energy level, I’ve been craving fat, sweets and booze. During my darling’s meat-fueled orgy in Vancouver, my dinner consisted of cheese nachos, three small Halloween cupcakes and a bottle of Gewurztraminer. Pretty pathetic, huh? (Although to my credit I also ate a huge bowl of steamed broccoli).

If I thought cooking during my colonoscopy prep was tortuous, that was nothing compared to what I’m going through now. Monday’s menu had TWO dishes with bacon, along with chicken noodle soup (which sounded divine given the dreary, rainy day we had). Today’s menu included a chorizo and chicken paella, along with sausage manicotti. It took an incredible amount of resolve not to sample some.

Now for the highlights.

Vegetarian sushiBy far our favorite meal was the vegetarian sushi with fried tofu, blanched carrots, green onions, cucumber and home-made kimchi. We enjoyed it so much we had it again the next night, this time adding sautéed chanterelles to the sushi rice. The Asian soup was another winner. I simmered an Asian vegetable broth with galangal and red pepper flakes, then added a bit of yellow miso, chopped baby bok choy, sautéed shiitakes, cilantro and vegetarian pot stickers. The next night I added the Asian beef broth to the leftovers, along with some sautéed crimini mushrooms and fresh bean sprouts. Tonight I finished off the leftovers, adding some pappardelle.

Last week, inspired by the veal and wild mushroom sauce I prepared for a client, I made a vegetarian version with chanterelles and served that atop my whole wheat pizza crust. On Sunday we had a simple pasta salad with cheese tortellini, blanched spinach, baby cherry tomatoes, olives and a lemon vinaigrette. We served that with some baked sweet potato fries.

Our resolve will be tested once again on Friday as we’re meeting friends at Pies & Pints. However, their Indian vegetarian pie sounds divine, so hopefully I can count that as another meatless day!

(Just 15 more days. Just 15 more days. Just 15 more days).

1 Comment

  1. Oh you are so funny! I really can’t imagine how hard it is when you’re a chef…the temptation of it all! I look forward to hearing about the remaining 15 days…

    Comment by Caffienated Cowgirl — October 19, 2007 #

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