Vegetarian Ambivalence

It’s been a while since I’ve had so many mixed feelings. Our soon-to-be six-year-old daughter recently declared she’s a vegetarian. We’ve been told many times by many different people we’re screwed when she hits her teenage years.

So here’s my dilemma: I have the utmost respect for vegetarians. A vegetarian diet is one of the most healthy and ethical diets out there. Too bad, as I said in my first post, I really, really likes me some bacon!

I’m a big believer in the virtue of free-range and ethically-raised livestock and I’ve tried to extoll this to my daughter. At this point it would be fair to note that, though I’m a licensed mental health provider, I don’t generally work with kids and tend to miss nuances of developmental appropriateness. Because the more I’ve talked to my daughter about how important it is we treat our food animals well, the more it hammers home that… well… she’s eating once-living beings.

I’m trying to eat more vegetables and this has urged us in that direction. My goal is more “Meatless Mondays” and more dishes in which meat is a subordinate part of the meal.

I’m far from swearing off pork fat, but if there’s a positive to this, it may be I’ll finally get my daughter to finish her vegetables and at least try her beans. “Otherwise, you don’t get to be a vegetarian.”

So here’s an attempt at compromise. For an early Father’s Day meal, I made grilled grass-fed steak with a spinach puree inspired in equal parts by Indian saag curries and chimichurri. I find herbacious, olive oil based sauces tend to compliment grass-fed beef more than buttery ones such as bearnaise or bordelaise. Those are great sauces, but they tend to stifle the delicate flavor of its natural fat. Enjoy!

 

Spinach Puree

 

Ingredients:

12 oz. spinach leaves

1 small tomato

2 cloves garlic

1 scallion

2 tablespoons good quality extra-vigin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice (or to taste)

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

 

Directions:

Bring one gallon of water to a boil. Cut an X into the bottom of the tomato skin and trim off the stem area. Blanch the spinach and tomato for about a minute, until the spinach is wilted and the tomato skin is loosened. Drain and shock both in an ice water bath.

Peel and seed the tomato. Squeeze the spinach into a clump until dry. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until they form a paste. Thin out with more olive oil if a looser consistency is desired. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne, and lemon juice. Serve as a condiment with grilled meat.

Pictured with grilled asaparagus and homemade brioche. I snapped the picture too fast. Too busy eating to bother with multiple takes.

Pictured with grilled asaparagus and homemade brioche. I took the shot too fast. Too busy eating to be bothered by decent photography.

 

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