Harper Duquaine, the heroine of First & Goal, is a pescetarian. That’s not some religious faction or cult, but a dietary practice that involves abstaining from eating meat, with the exhibition of some seafood, dairy and eggs. Basically it’s like being a partial vegetarian.
I know, it sounds completely obnoxious, and it kind of is. I’ve been a practicing pescetarian since August 2011, and I gave this trait to my main character, because… well… because. For a young woman regularly hanging out with a bunch of red-blooded, beer-swigging, meat-eating men, making my main character a non-meat eater seemed like a natural way to add another layer of tension amongst the characters. Trust me, it does. I’ve done the research.
Not all of the men find Harper’s pescetarianism objectionable. The considerate, patient and basically adorable Brook MacLaughlin finds ways of accommodating her lifestyle choice without making it weird or difficult. It’s not hard to understand why she develops feelings for him, huh?
One way Brook caters to Harper is by making her a Vegetarian Philly Cheesesteak. That sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually quite delicious. It also makes for a cute scene, because cooking together is a pretty intimate – and sometimes humorous – experience for a new couple.
Portobello Philly Cheesesteak SandwichIngredients
2 Cups Portobello, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ large onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
Pepper to taste
4 slices of provolone
4 hoagie buns
Mince two cloves of garlic and slice half a large onion and 1 green pepper with longer pieces. Spray pan with non-stick olive oil spray and heat pan over medium heat.
Add onion, pepper and garlic. After a few minutes add sliced mushrooms and as much black pepper as desired.
Cover and cook over medium heat for five minutes. Reduce to low heat and stir mixture. Cook for another five to ten minutes to create a mushroom broth.
Serve on hoagie with provolone cheese. Allow cheese to melt partially before serving.
If you’re making this for someone who insists on putting red meat in everything, go ahead and throw some in with this, though you don’t need it. Portobello mushrooms have a naturally beefy flavor that intensifies as it cooks. You can also make this with large mushrooms that are sliced more like beef would be. I usually go for the baby portobellos, because they’re cheap and easy, which I love. You could also substitute whatever cheese you liked, but provolone is creamy and not over-powering in its taste, which makes it a great companion to this flavorful sandwich.
Another great thing about this? Even with the bread and cheese, it comes in just under 300 calories (296 according to MyFitnessPal). It’s also a great source of protein. Here’s the other dietary info if you’re keeping track at home: 42 grams of carbs; 8 grams of fat; 16 grams of protein; 4 grams of sugar; 4 grams of fiber.
This is a great fall/winter dish and goes especially well with football and beer. I made it in time for Sunday football last fall, and I’m basically in love with this dish now. Maybe that’s why I worked it into the book…
What are you favorite dishes to eat for tailgating or football watch parties?
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About the Book
Embroiled in a world of lineups, stats, and trades, Harper’s quest to make nice topples when her competitive streak emerges. And her promise to herself that she’ll be a strong, independent woman and leave the drama and heartache behind is seriously tested when she catches the attention of her two biggest competitors: J.J., a local celebrity determined to win a fantasy championship, and Brook, the mild-mannered coach who seems too good to be true. Both threaten her resolve to remain single… and, more importantly, her chances at winning the prize pool.
With a slew of conflicting advice in her real and fantasy worlds, Harper must figure out how to play the game and come out a winner.
Coming Soon to paperback!
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