Have I told you how happy I am now that Louisa has gone vegetarian? How it has brought back some excitement to my recipes? It’s not that I am choosing extremely long and complicated dishes as I did before the girls entered the picture, and when I was cooking for two adults with ridiculous amounts of time on our hands. Do you remember those days, Joe? And how it seemed like we didn’t have enough time then? Haha. Perspective, especially in the rear view mirror, is a fascinating thing. No, I don’t cook as I did in those early married days. I’m still looking for quick, low prep dishes that get food on the table and me out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. But what Louisa’s decision has done is give me license to explore the interesting possibilities of vegetarian recipes, something I didn’t often dare when she was all about the meat.
When this announcement was made over the July 4th weekend, I decided that I would still eat meat if I felt like it. I would cook the meat that’s stashed away in the freezer, and I would order meat on restaurant menus, in particular. Over this past weekend, Joe and I ran a few errands together that ran into lunch time. We were close to a restaurant that we couldn’t get into when they first opened called Yard House. It was a two-hour wait kind of place in the beginning, but on Sunday afternoon, around 2:00 p.m., a year after they opened, we easily scored a table. And regretted that we had waited that long. They had a great craft beer menu that included a variety of hard ciders. I don’t usually choose hard cider, but it just seemed like the right beverage for a Sunday afternoon. I chose the black cherry hard cider, and would have had another, except it was Sunday afternoon, not Saturday night, and it just didn’t seem necessary with a full evening ahead of us. For my meal I chose the Korean beef soft tacos that were accompanied by a tomato sauced rice and cup of beans. It was one of the best, fresh, flavorful lunches I’ve had in a long time.
But, at home, we were back on the veggie train last night and I prepared Cuban Black Bean Stew with Rice. It was a Martha Stewart dish and I had high hopes for lots of flavor from a dish that was labeled as Cuban, but it was actually pretty bland. That didn’t mean it wasn’t satisfying. It was and I walked away from the table feeling sated and good. But for the chile-heads of the family, the hot sauce bottles found their way to the table and spiced up the dish. Hey, that’s why our kitchen ceiling is lined with all of those bottles, right? If I made everything spicy, there would be no reason to pull them off the shelf.