March 28, 2006

As everyone knows, I use as little salt as possible in my cooking. Also, as people who have eaten my side dishes know, I give you plenty of vegetables and in interesting combinations. Some of those side dishes were my vegetarian main dishes.

Having said that, I also need to say that the menu this year has changed completely. We are serving Latin American dishes (Colombian, Venezuelan, and (New) Mexican) with a Valencian Paella. There’s no seafood in that Paella. Remember, Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine usually does not have hot peppers in it. It’s more like Spanish Cuisine which tends to use Paprika more than habineros. (Paprika comes from the Hungarian word for pepper: paprika. Paprika can be hot but it can also be mild. It can be smoked as well as hot or sweet (mild).) The (New) Mexican/California pozole, with fresh tortillas, flour and corn, is a little on the spicy side but I’ve toned it down from where I like it (HOT!!) and I’ll let you heat it up with hot sauce.

I’ve also left out most of the beans and some of the rice people normally associate with Latin food. Of course, Paella has rice but only one thin layer of it. Mostly it’s veggies, broad beans and green beans, with the meat Chicken and Rabbit. I’m leaving out the snails. Gasp!

We have one fish dish, with a caviar blini side, on Friday. It’s everyone’s favorite. We also have three chicken dishes, one pork dish and one beef dish. Next year I’ll have a lamb dish, I promise. Yes, I did away with the maple salmon. Sorry. I want to make that Paella and you’ll love it.

Some people don’t eat beef. I’ve created a braised pork that I feel, and Kim agrees, is wunnerful. For those that don’t eat pork, I have several chicken and one, gasp, lamb dish, that I’ll be holding in reserve.

For those that are concerned about health, weight, not eating meat at all or are allergic to wheat, milk, nuts etc. I have an alternative menu that is mostly veggies with, if desired, the meat dish that we’ll be serving that day. So, if I am serving a dish with milk in it and you are allergic to it, give the alternative menu a try. And please don’t forget, EVERYONE can order half or quarter portions if they desire on all the menus.

Don’t forget, salad dressing that is oil based can have as many calories as a dessert! So, forgo dressing and eat those desserts! Unless, of course if it is one of my famous lite dressings, e.g., my blackberry vinaigrette has 50% less oil than a normal vinaigrette. I use blackberry and vinegar with a juice base and some oil for flavor. I always use extra virgin olive oil. (Being Italian, you’ll probably use more butter on your bread in one night than I’ll use in my cooking all day. Including breakfast. Most butter that is eaten at the Arms is eaten on bread.) So, eat salad sure but don’t forget that dessert!

Dessert? We always have the ever popular fruit cup and other wunnerful desserts that don’t involve massive amounts of chocolate, sugar, cream, butter or other high caloric yummies. Don’t be shy, tell us what your food restrictions are and we’ll get you food you can enjoy. You can always get our fruit cup. For the rest of you, indeed, we’ll have at least two chocolate desserts and our famous cheese cake. I changed the sauce I put on it. I think you’ll love this dessert. I did a poached pairs this winter that everyone raves about and you’ll also see this this year.

Remember, I grew up as vegetarian, and a health fanatic, as did my brothers. So, I understand the frustration when going out to a restaurant and not being able to get anything but overcooked, oversteamed veggies that just don’t taste all that good. I believe in interested combinations of vegetables and letting those flavors show through.

Right, one trip to Mexico, well, to be fair I lived in Colombian and Mexico as well as Sweden and France, and I fell off the vegetarian wagon. So, for you meat eaters, I’m ready. We have ribeye steak!!