Sunday, July 16, 2017

Going Semi-Vegetarian

For years I’ve scarcely had an appetite for meat in the summer, but this year my regard for meat has hit an all-time low. Now I’ve become a semi-vegetarian*, but it hasn’t been easy because I’m accustomed to planning and executing meat-centered menus. It’s now necessary to develop a new repertoire for evening meals and to think about food in an entirely different way.

I struggled with this transition until my pal Linda, counseling me over the distress inflicted by our staggering government, said, “You need a project to distract you.” She’s right, I thought, but none of my usual distractions appeal to me now. Later as I was mulling about what to prepare for supper, it dawned on me that becoming a decent vegetarian cook would be a suitable project. Instead of dreading re-learning how to cook, I could sink myself into it as a project and learn to be a freestyle vegetarian cook. (Everything about recipes is cumbersome, from assembling the ingredients to dishing it up, all the while checking back on the recipe. I want to know what to do, and just do it.)

So far it is going pretty well. I still look at different recipes for inspiration but gradually a sense of what works in the vegetarian kitchen is developing.

In this hot weather one of our favorite meals has become a beet salad. It started with a salad Carol served last summer in Maine. Carol used baby kale, crisp bacon, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and glazed walnuts.

I never had a taste for beets until I ate them in a salad with honey-mustard dressing at an Albuquerque restaurant.  Boy, it was delicious!

So I took Carol’s salad as a starting point, and added beets. No baby kale was available, so I used torn romaine lettuce. The pecans are lightly glazed with sugar. To me, this salad must have a honey-mustard dressing, though I might try it with raspberry vinaigrette.

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing    

3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil

In a one-cup liquid measure, combine honey and mustard until smooth.

Add vinegar and whisk until blended.

Slowly add oil while beating with a whisk. Start with a few drops and gradually increase the stream, whisking all the while. This emulsifies the dressing.

Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup.

Yep, I’m starting to enjoy this project. Thanks, Linda.

*I'm not giving up bacon.

Copyright 2017 by Shirley Domer

1 comment:

LawrenceLinda said...

We can stop calling bacon it a condiment! L.