Meatless Monday Meal at Murphy's

Every Monday Murphy’s offers up a meatless menu titillating enough to tempt even the most voracious of carnivores and bring joy to any vegetarian. When asked about the impetus for Murphy’s “Meatless Monday” effort, Chef Winslade explained that cutting meat from your diet, even if it’s just once a week, can dramatically decrease your risk of heart disease. “Meat is hard for your body to digest; giving your body a break each week allows time for it to catch up and heal.It also reduces your carbon footprint and saves natural resources needed to produce, package and transport meat products from the source.” He enjoys experimenting with healthy grains such as farro and bulgur, and uses chickpea flour in lieu of less healthy, processed wheat flours in addition to using seasonal produce whenever possible.

We started the evening at the wine bar located in Murphy’s wine shop where Wine Consultant, Michael Kunz served glasses of a subtle Prosecco; Cuvee Beatrice and gave us a quick tutorial on the proper way to open a bottle of champagne. As we headed to our table, Mike followed with a dazzling Villa M Moscato that was a perfect match with the cucumber gazpacho of pureed cucumber, sweet onions, and mint topped with a goat cheese foam. Chef Winslade slipped in and out of the kitchen to tell us about each dish and answer our questions.

Our entrée for the evening was an amazing assortment of fresh seasonal ingredients including squash blossoms picked just that morning from our own garden (yes, the Romeo home garden) that I had taken to the chef just after they were collected. They were stuffed with chopped zucchini, olives and local sheep’s milk cheese then fried in a tempera batter and served like a precious gift on top of hand-rolled goat cheese gnocchi with wild mushrooms, field peas in a heirloom tomato fondue and plated with arugula oil. The dish was so complex that two different wines were paired with it; one a ruby red Renato Ratti Ochetti Nebbiolo 2012 and the other a crisp St. Innocent Freedom Hill Chardonnay 2012 both were excellent accompaniments.

Rather than one dessert to finish, an array of sweet delights arrived at the table including Murphy’s dessert trios of mini bonzo cake, mini tollhouse pies, vanilla bean panna cottas; their signature carrot cake; strawberry pistachio sponge cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream; and, Meyer lemon crème brûlée with beautiful coconut tuiles and fresh strawberries. As we nibbled and shared our desserts, everyone marveled at how truly satisfying our dinner was; feeling full and satiated even with no meat on the menu. This may be the beginning of a new practice for us all.

While the menu items we sampled were complimentary, the opinions included herein are honest and unsolicited.