As a follow up to A Vegetarian’s Diet, I thought I’d share some of my latest bites this week.
Today got off to a later start than usual. It could be that I’m still adjusting to the time difference after a weekend-long trip to Deer Valley, but it could also just be me making excuses. My inexplicable grogginess called for a coffee before class, which I picked up on the go at Gimme Coffee in Gates Hall. I accompany their brew of the day with Oatly Oat Milk before heading to class, where my friend and I start reminiscing about how much we miss our regular trips to Carriage House, so it had to be our first stop afterwards. No matter the day, my order is always the same: omelet of the day (egg white) with no cheese and a salad substituted for toast. There was a point in time when my trips were so regular that I didn’t even make it through saying my order without the waiter starting to say it for me. I miss those days. While the stuffing inside the omelet changes every few days, my order never does since it almost always is predominantly made of a wide variety of local vegetables, such as Papa Cacho fingerling potatoes. I always leave smiling and satiated and today was no different.
For dinner, I head to Taverna Banfi with friends. It is extremely popular among my friends both because of its convenience and reliability, so when it closed down in the beginning of the year for a kitchen renovation everyone was up in arms. Not to worry though — Taverna Banfi is back and in full swing. Tonight I order a vegetarian favorite: zucchini noodles with quinoa croquettes, tomatoes, broccolini, dried olive miso and broccoli pesto. The croquettes are light and crunchy and the pesto is comforting and creamy, just how I remembered it to be.
Looking for something to cleanse my palette, I return home to cut up a crisp pink lady apple and sprinkle it with cinnamon. Sending myself off to bed shortly after. I think the time difference is really getting to me.
Back on schedule, I start the day with my favorite Lavva yogurt — this time blueberry flavored — and some maple cinnamon Paleonola. This is followed with freshly ground coffee that I brought back with me from Deer Valley from a local roaster called Pink Elephant Coffee Roasters. I also bought a branded mug of theirs to enjoy my new beans in. I let it brew for a few minutes in my French press, pour it into my new mug and top it off with Three Trees unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a dash of cinnamon.
I whip up lunch over 40 or so minutes in my quaint kitchen. I halve an eggplant, scoring the flat side in a criss-cross pattern, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle on fresh rosemary, pushing a few of the leaves into the scores. I lightly salt the eggplant and place it flat side down on a sheet of parchment paper and let it bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. After, I flip the eggplant onto the other side and let it cook until I can gently pierce it with a fork to tell if it’s tender and done — about another 10 minutes or so. While the eggplant is cooking, I crush two cloves of garlic with the back of my knife and place them in a sauté pan with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. I take a bunch of dinosaur kale that I purchased earlier in the week at Wegmans and cut the leaves off the stems. I tear the leaves into relatively bite sized pieces and add it to the garlic, which is now lightly browned. I let the kale cook down, stirring it every so often. Once the kale and eggplant are done I plate them with a swoosh of Ithaca Cold Crafted red pepper hummus. The eggplant is soft and melts in my mouth while the hummus gives it a kick of flavor given the eggplant’s light seasoning.
For dinner I call Taste of Thai Express and place an order for pickup. When I’m feeling extra lazy and want a warm and satisfying meal, Taste of Thai Express is my go-to. I order the mixed vegetable stir fry with steamed tofu and extra vegetables. The mixed vegetables make up the base of the dish and you get to choose from a variety of proteins and add-ons to complete the meal. I pick up my stir fry after 30 minutes and return home to reheat it as its lost some of its heat on the drive home. It’s garlicky, satiating and exactly what I wanted on this Saturday night.
While veggie filled, my diet is anything but boring. Yet I didn’t always have such a positive attitude towards vegetables before I became a vegetarian. I never found their preparation all that exciting and the notion of them being the star of the dish didn’t make sense to me. Now, when I look at a vegetable, whatever it may be, I see endless opportunities and vehicles for old and new flavors alike.