Being a veggie foodie

Editor’s Note: This blog is a complementary piece to the column “The Lifestyle of an American Vegetarian” published in the September issue of The Tiger Print.

My love affair with food began when I was a little girl. Of course, it matured as I grew up. But it was always there.
My grandmother taught me to cook, but it was my father who taught me to appreciate the finer cuisine in life.
He is in the restaurant business, and because of his job, he brought his children up to be mini-food critics.
I can tell you exactly how a waitstaff should act in a certain restaurant.
I love debating the certain plating food. Cold fork or no?
I know when a sauce has spent a few too many minutes in the saucepan.
And most importantly, I know what good food tastes like.
That kind of food that silences the conversation because it is just that good.
I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of those meals. And those memories stick in my mind like nothing else.
We were attending the Big Twelve Tournament down at the Power and Light District. In true traditional dad fashion, we checked in on the newly opened Bristol before heading to the game. It was so crowded that we were ushered to the corner of the room, next to the bar. My sister and I sat on the windowsill snacking on their butter coated biscuits and drinking Diet Coke while my dad gave directions at the bar.
Sometimes it is just the adventure that makes the food taste good.
For my 17th birthday, I had planned on hosting a cooking competition at my house. My dad took my to Dean & Deluca to pick out a few cheeses for my friend’s use in their recipes. We spent no less than half an hour at the cheesemonger’s counter. We tried sample after sample until we came to a decision. A melting cheese from the countryside of England and a cheese studded with chives called Cotswold. Nearly $30 just in cheese. But it was worth it because, well, it was fun.
I look back and the simplest of meals are the ones I truly remember.
A basket of the best onion rings in the world at New Way in Wichita.
A calzone with a taste of lavender outside on the patio of NoRTh while watching the sunset.
A slice of cheese bread that my dad brought home from his work’s test kitchen, made with a 27-year-old yeast.
Yet, all of these memories are vegetarian meals.
Even though my dad is a bonafide meat-eater, he has shown me that I can still love food, despite, my decision to become a vegetarian.
I can still have those delicious onion rings and gourmet cheese’s.
It just goes to show you that you can be a foodie without necessarily eating meat.
And you can too.
Here are a few vegetarian recipes that any foodie, vegetarian or meat-eater, would love:
Espinaca Dip:
Yes, I have decided to share my legendary recipe with you guys. You’re welcome.
8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes
4-5 deiced slices of jalapeno
Handful of spinach, roughly chopped
4 ounces of Velveeta Cheese
¼ cup of milk
¼ onion, choppedThrow into a crock pot and occasionally stir until completely melted. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa.

Egg Salad:

This is nothing like the egg salad delis serve. No — this is amazing.6-7 eggs
½ cup of roughly chopped onion
½ cup of roughly chopped celery
1 pickle, cut in half
1 Tablespoon of mustard
Pinch of paprika, salt, and pepper

Boil the eggs for 10 minutes in a large pot.

After boiled, Place eggs into a bowl of ice water and peel off the shell.
Cut eggs in half and put into food processor.
Put onion, celery, pickle, mustard and seasoning into the food processor and pulse until evenly distributed.
Serve on an Italian loaf of bread with a bit of lettuce.Vegetarian Reuben:

1 loaf of rye bread
Swiss cheese
Sauerkraut (In a jar is a-okay)
3 Tablespoons of ketchup
3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon of relish
1/2 stick of butter

Mix ketchup, mayonnaise and relish with seasoning of your choice to make the Thousand Island dressing.

Spread on inside of the bread.
Pile on cheese and sauerkraut.
Cover outside of bread with butter and toast in pan until brown on the outside.These are just a few of my favorite recipes. If you have any wonderful vegetarian recipes, comment below.