Even though I just started up the blog this morning, I’ve actually been meat-free for almost 4 days. My body isn’t too happy with me at the moment (hooray for withdrawals!), but I’m staying strong and eating plenty of tasty food to boot. Today I overslept past my normal breakfast time, so I had brunch instead. Usually, I make a smoothie for breakfast, but I was hungry enough this morning to want something cooked and more filling. So I took two of my favorite things, polenta and eggs, and put them together to make something that sounds a little weird (but I found delicious!). I absolutely looooove polenta, which is an Italian cornmeal porridge. You can bake it, fry it, grill it, or eat it as is! Today, I made it porridge style based on this recipe, but with my own edits. I used almond milk instead of real milk, and I didn’t use any butter. For spices, I used freshly ground black pepper, sea salt, garlic, and some paprika to give it a little kick. I substituted some local fresh goat cheese for the cheddar to give the polenta more of a tang – it harmonizes nicely with the paprika and pepper. I topped it all off with some freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is Parmesan imported from Italy. It tastes so much better than the pre-shredded stuff you get at Wal-Mart!
Obviously, that’s not enough for a full meal! So I took an egg (from free-range, vegetarian-fed hens, of course) and cooked it sunny-side up with some pepper, salt, garlic, and onion. I flipped it upside down onto the polenta so that when I cut into it the yolk would run over the cornmeal, and served the whole thing with some fresh strawberries. It sounds odd, but it was honestly one of the best egg dishes I’ve ever eaten. The tang of the goat cheese worked really well with the runny egg yolk, and the consistency of both polenta and the egg worked super well together.
Last week, I went to Panera and had their strawberry-poppyseed salad, which was absolutely delicious. I found myself craving it tonight, but I wanted to make my own version. So I combined elements of their salad with this lovely salad, and added some of my own ideas to make a ridiculously tasty dinner. I used spinach, kale, fresh basil, and romaine lettuce for my greens, and I added some smashed pistachios and fresh chopped strawberries. I cooked up some quinoa in organic vegetable broth (which makes the quinoa more filling and have a heartier flavor), and then tossed it into the salad. I HATE salad dressing, so I diced up an orange and mixed that in…the orange juice worked as the dressing without any added calories. Delicious. Anyway, I finished that off with half a teaspoon of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and voila! A filling, healthy salad. I didn’t even miss the meat in this one, honestly. It was like a party in my mouth: savory and sweet, with everything working together perfectly. The basil really makes the salad pop.
So overall, I’d say it was definitely a successful first day! Tomorrow, I tackle homemade chocolate vegan ice cream, among other things. Happy eating!