Life gave me a vegetarian while at this internship with the Fourth World Movement in Appalachia in the form of Ryan, the young Marylandian (Marylander?) who's spending the summer with me and the team. He's super awesome and we get along really well, though he makes me feel old when he tells me that he isn't 21. (I scolded him not to drink my beers in the fridge, but I'm not really worried.) His favorite thing to eat is stir-fried vegetables, mainly chopped cauliflower, broccoli, onions, potatoes, and peppers. He adds lemon pepper, garlic powder, Mrs. Dash spices, soy sauce and hot sauce to make Chinese-food-esque stir-fries that are just awesome. Then he throws some cheese on top and dives in. I already love his cooking style. Next time I suggested he throw in some pineapple or mango chunks to add some tropical sweetness.
Tonight for dinner I took the leftovers of his stir-fry, blended them with the leftover (boxed) rice pilaf that I'd made and scrambled it with six eggs. When I told Ryan my idea for dinner (as he and I are going to switch off cooking) he raised his eyes to the heavens and said, "YES!" We both agree that cooking is boring without another person in the kitchen, so it's safe to say that we're going to get along just fine.
My other brilliant idea was the dessert, which I was thrilled to introduce to Ryan: banana "ice cream." He said, "But we don't have any ice cream." "That's what the air quotes are for," I replied. I sliced two frozen bananas into a blender, added the rest of the milk that was in the fridge (probably about a 1/2 cup - I don't have measuring cups in this kitchen, hooray!) and added a heaping tablespoon of carob powder. Ryan had never had that either and said that he couldn't tell the difference between it and chocolate. The result was guilt-free chocolate ice cream. It was so wonderful to have seconds and not feel bad about it!
I'm really looking forward to cooking yummy veggies with this kid. On my mental menu are roasted cauliflower, baked sweet potatoes, vegetable frittata, and apple cake. I'm hoping to get my diet back in check and I think this will help!
Hopefully the southwestern-style fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and mountains of cornbread won't set me back too much...