24 September 2016

Maggie's Stir Fry Sauce

The first day of fall has come and gone, but it sure doesn't feel like it's fall in Indiana. We've had temperatures in the mid to upper 80s all this past week. So while I've been staring longingly at all of the soups and stews I cook in the fall, it's just not happening for a while. Instead, we have been cooking like it's summer, using all sorts of fresh veggies and flavors.

Since I've been so ready for fall, I couldn't keep making the same summer dishes. Instead, building on Shana's love of Asian flavors, we had an excellent stir fry tonight! With a ton of veggies and light and flavorful sauce, we enjoyed it immensely tonight. This is something we'll be sure to eat again, plus the recipe is a great base for all sorts of experimentation.

21 August 2016

Thomas Family "Special Syrup"

Every once in a while, you want a special treat for breakfast, like cinnamon rolls or candy coated clouds. But sometimes, with a busy week behind you, a full day ahead, and the semester looming, you just want something to make a more typical weekend breakfast a bit special. You want "special" without the effort "special" often requires. I have just the thing for you.

When I was growing up, we would have waffles or pancakes for weekend breakfasts with regularity. Nearly all of the time, those treats would be covered with maple syrup. But every so often, my dad would say that he was going to make "special syrup" for us to pour over our waffles. This pronouncement was met with glee! I assumed that special syrup was an occasional treat because it was labor intensive - I couldn't have been more wrong! This syrup recipe is all of the "special" with next to no effort. Instead, with three simple ingredients and about six minutes of your time, you'll be able to drench waffles in a delicious syrup with at least a three generation family history* (granted, I made mine vegan).

Served this morning with hash browns and Amy's brand vegan breakfast sausages (because Shana is obsessed with them).

This was just what I needed the weekend before my semester starts in earnest.

09 July 2016

Summer Tortilla Pinwheels

A few months ago, some friends moved from our town and threw a big going away party. They are always very conscious of the myriad eating habits of all of their friends, so they made sure that some vegan-friendly food was available. One of those dishes were tortilla pinwheels that some vegan potluck friends brought and I've been dreaming about since. They were so simple, but so delicious!

I finally decided I needed to stop dreaming, so I contacted the friend who made them for the recipe. Her response sounded pretty much like what I say when Shana asks how I made something new and delicious: "Well, I added some of this, some of that, a little bit of that, and some of something else." To Shana, that response is infuriating, but to me, it leaves the door open to experimentation. My friend said she used my sun-dried tomato spread recipe, a "hummus" made with cannellini beans and cashews, and arugula, but wasn't sure exactly what proportions she used or what other ingredients were in the hummus. That was enough of a start for me, so I set to work to figure out my own version.

My own version in hand, Shana and I made our way to a Fourth of July party. I cut into the rolls, hoping they'd stay together (they did) and made sure to express to our hosts and other friends that the recipe was new and that I'd love feedback and wouldn't be offended if people didn't like them. As the wraps disappeared, the only feedback I heard was "mmmmmmmmmmm" and "these are delicious, Maggie!" We took just a few of them home with us, but Shana ate them the next day and has been asking for them since. Recipe success!

23 June 2016

Roasted Veggie Sandwich with Balsamic Reduction

We had a leftover eggplant from making Eggplant Asian Stir Fry and Shana was insistent that we figure out a way to use it. As we made our meal plan for this week, we were looking through cookbooks of all sorts when the following exchange took place:

Shana: Oooo - this looks good! I want this!
Me: Okay, what is it? Read me the recipe?
Shana: Well, it's a roasted veggie sandwich, but I want to add things and take some of this away and maybe we could do something like a balsamic reduction.
Me: [dumbfounded] ...
Shana: I don't know who I am right now.

Shana is not a cook. However, it's very clear that she's becoming more comfortable (but never excited about) thinking about how flavors and textures work together. After I made peace with this new world, we brainstormed together. The result was this amazing - and deliciously messy to eat - sandwich of roasted veggies, hummus, and a balsamic reduction, all on crusty bread.

Roasted veggie sandwiches are also infinitely customize-able! For example, the recipe that inspired this has only one thing in common with what we ended up with - the roasted eggplant. To make this sandwich your own, add or subtract cooked veggies (how about a couple of caramelized onions or strips of portobello mushrooms), slather on some pesto in place of (or in addition to!) the balsamic reduction, add some greens (oooo, arugula), change up your protein source by adding some strips of grilled tofu, or put it on slices of an Italian loaf or focaccia or in a wrap. Served hot or cold,* you'll be satisfied.

14 June 2016

Eggplant Asian Stir Fry

School has been out for both of us for a few weeks. Most people assume that for teachers like us, summer time means days filled with lounging around and cocktails. That's hardly the case. Shana's picked up two summer-only part time jobs, I've been doing committee work and catching up, and we've both been busy with projects at our house. For example, I've been gardening, Shana's been clearing our old patio, and we've been discussing which projects come next. Shana's also been coaching a 3rd & 4th grade softball team, which has meant about 3 evening games per week.

All this activity has meant that we haven't actually seen each other as much as we would like. To remedy that, we decided to have a date day in Indianapolis. We had a great time! We met a friend for drinks, had a great dinner, and went to a game. We also did errands. I know what you're thinking: "Errands?! On a date??!!" Yes. Errands. But the errands totally worked out in Shana's favor, as I purchased an awesome magazine full of recipes. We've tried two recipes to great success already.

This particular recipe has Shana's name written all over it. It's full of Asian flavors and contains eggplant. Shana loves eggplant. I'm only...meh... about eggplant. Luckily, this recipe also includes green beans, which are my absolute favorite vegetable. Because both Shana and I were predisposed to like this recipe, I'm happy to say that we also had friends over who enjoyed it. This is a winner of a recipe all around!