Open Mind, Insert Vegetable

Baby Bella and Shitake Mushroom Bourguignon on Grilled Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Polenta

So okay, it’s been about a week since I posted a picture of my new cast iron tortilla maker and wrote about menu tweaks here at the Longleaf Bar and Grill.

“How’s it going?” you ask.

“Oh, it’s okay,” I lie.

Look at the photo.

Yeah. That good. . . and very nice with a  pequeño glass of Noval Black port.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Polenta Chip

We grilled the polenta in thick slices on a Lodge cast iron griddle. After dinner, I discovered small, crisp disks left behind in the pan. They came up easily. I decided to taste one. Huge yum wow. I did leave one for Buck to try.

Leaf lettuce with roasted cauliflower, walnuts, chick peas and dried cranberries

Seriously, I went into this week all out with the idea of creating a new, mostly vegan, vegetarian, or at the very least flexitarian kitchen. Buck and I thought it would be good for our health. Little did we know it would be a culinary adventure, full of exciting blasts of taste and super satisfying.

The night I tried Lynn’s Meatloaf, I cop to having a backup plan in case it turned out to be disgusting and inedible. After all, when you smush together a block of firm tofu, cooked lentils, oatmeal, celery, onion, catsup, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, and a sprinkle of sage, rosemary and thyme, who the heck can visualize the end result after 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven packed into a loaf pan? All I can say is, it’s better (a lot better) than meatloaf, and makes great sandwiches the next day.

One of our new favorites is black beans, brown rice, and a smorgasbord of toppings: sautéed peppers and onions, corn, and salsa.

We suspect there are tangible health benefits: lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar, squeaky clean arteries. But a big bonus we didn’t contemplate is that Buck is no longer experiencing the bloating and pain of IBS he has suffered for the past five decades. Will it last? We don’t know. We thought high protein low carb was just the ticket. Not anymore.

We ate a green lentil soup made with chicken broth (from the freezer), and a Nicoise salad with fabulous Tonnino Ventresca (tuna belly in olive oil — comes in a jar), so clearly we’re in the flexitarian camp, but the center of gravity has shifted away from meat-based entrees.

Bottom line so far: why did it take us so long?

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