As most of you know, I am hyper vigilant about everything I eat, and going out to eat is second only to a party that is the most challenging to my resolve. You can make an educated guess about what ingredients are in certain dishes, ask the server to ask the chef to prepare something without oil, and order sauces and dressings on the side, but unless the recipe and prep is laid out in black and white, a restaurant food’s calorie/fat/carb/fiber count is usually a crap shoot. That’s why when I find something I know is in my food comfort zone, I stick with it, time after time after time.
On Friday, New Guy and I had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, North Country Brewing Co. in Slippery Rock. I’ve been going there for a couple of years and I always get the hummus and a salad. Hummus and salad, hummus and salad, hummus and salad until two weeks ago I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried the bean burger without the bun. The verdict? Eh…it was OK. Next time I’ll order it without the chili sauce on top. It was a little too spicy for this Norwegian palate.
Normally I have gone back to my comfort zone, but there was one other thing I’ve been hankerin’ to try: the Portabello ‘Shrooben. “Grilled portabellos topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese & our homemade Russian dressing. Served on grilled rye.”
I love Reuben sandwiches. Light rye, dark rye, pumpernickel…I don’t care. I love that sandwich. I remember the first one I ever ate. I was 6 or 7 years old. Dad had taken us to a Blue Angels show in Minneapolis and when we got home, he made Reuben sandwiches. The only thing I ever saw my dad make were cheese omelets (which are divine…I still can’t make them as good as he does), so it was fun to watch him make sandwiches for all of us that night. It was also the first time I’d ever eaten sauerkraut, one of the best tasting foods in the world, IMHO.
I haven’t eaten a Reuben in years, convinced it wouldn’t be the same without a cured meat, which I no longer eat. But every time I go to North Country, I look at (and drool over) that dang sandwich. So Friday I tried the Portabello ‘Shrooben, and it seriously was the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. It was as satisfying as the risotto George’s girlfriend ate on “Seinfeld,” if you know what I mean.
The only thing “heavy” about the sandwich was the bread. However, they grilled it on a dry grill. No butter, just as I’d requested. I also ordered the dressing on the side. Granted, it didn’t have the saltiness that comes with a cured meat, but it was as close to a fabulous Reuben that my vegetarian heart could hope for.
I loved it so much that today I decided to make one at home.
I grilled the portabellos in a little Pam and veggie broth.
Made the 1000 Island dressing (a Joy Bauer recipe): 3T low-fat mayo, 3T ketchup, ½ t Worcestershire sauce, 1T pickle relish and ½ t horseradish.
I put light Jarlsburg cheese, sauerkraut, and the mushrooms on the bread and grilled it with just Pam on the pan.
Except for the fact that I used light bread rather than rye (which next time, I’m “splurging” on rye), it was a very good sandwich. I will probably put the 1000 Island directly on the sandwich, too, while grilling and serve it with a side of mustard. (Mmmmm…mustard. I love condiments.)
|That’s not my thumb in the way. That’s me giving it a thumbs up, but wow, it makes my sandwich look really tiny!|
I ate my sandwich with a side of roasted broccoli. My quickie recipe: Cut up a few crowns into bit-sized pieces or strips, Pam a casserole, arrange the broccoli, sprinkle garlic powder and pepper on top, spray a little with Pam and throw in a 375-degree oven and roast for 30-40 minutes. Today I topped it with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Food can be tough to navigate, god knows. But often, food takes us back to certain points in time, reminds us where we came from, makes us all warm and fuzzy. Is there anything you ate prior to losing weight that you’ve modified to make more “healthy” now? Anything you’d like to eat again, but aren’t sure how to make that would fit your new eating plan? Are there things you aren’t willing to modify and eat sparingly just because it’s worth it when you do? Hit me up with your comments or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.