When you live with your boyfriend, cooking dinner is a normal part of everyday routine. Obviously you both need to eat, and obviously you’re going to eat together if you both happen to be home from work at a common hour. Sure, there are days when you are both exhausted and run down and the best idea ever includes a takeout menu, the couch, and something dramatic via netflix. Naturally. But cooking together, creating meals from scratch, working alongside one another is one of the best things you can do as a couple. If I were a relationship therapist, that’s the piece of advice I’d give most frequently: cook together.
Color me corny, but I genuinely look forward to cooking dinner with my boyfriend every night. Coming up with new recipes, trying fancy ingredients, or even just adding a bottle of wine into the mix can make a random Tuesday night feel like a date night. And after all, one of the reasons I started this blog to begin with was to share the recipes we came up with to fit both of our tastes, vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike.
Almost four years of co-habitation later though, and we definitely have our favorites. There are meals we’ll make at least once a week, if not more. But we’ve made a lot of dinners. Almost four years of living together equals 1,460 days, and if we stay in and cook approximately 85% of the time, that’s 1,241 dinners. And who says that art girls are bad at math?
So as a tribute to those one thousand plus meals, I decided to compile a list of my favorites. And a link to the recipes. Obvi.
Reader Question: What meal(s) do you find yourself cooking frequently?
Filed under food/drink, life
Here’s a deep dark secret: I like the way meat smells when it is cooking. Especially when it is on the grill. And I’m willing to bet that I am not the only vegetarian who feels this way. There’s something about it that triggers the idea of summertime, and I immediately think of being a little kid at my grandparents’ summer home. Certain scents can take you back to the most specific of places.
However, as much as I may enjoy that smell, it’s not quite enough to make me dig into a hamburger, steak, or sausage. Luckily, the faux-meat world provides an array of products that promise to deliver a meat-esque smoky taste. I’m sure Boyfriend would argue that it’s just not the same, but if it’s nostalgia I’m after, then it certainly will do the trick. When it comes to veggie burgers, I prefer to make my own (here’s our recipe). There’s something more satisfying about a fat black bean burger than a thin sad Boca burger. However, there are some awesome products out there for faux-sausage. Sausage, in my veggie opinion, is a little sketchy to begin with, so there’s nothing wrong with taking random meatless ingredients and creating something akin to sausage that is pig-free. Add pasta, herbs, veggies, and fresh mozzarella and you end up with one awesome meal. Nostalgia included.
Spicy Penne With Sausage (Faux-Optional) & Fresh Mozzarella (serves 2)
It is definitely arguable that the combination of tomato, basil, and mozzarella is one of the best trios that exist in the kitchen. And it’s fairly obvious that we enjoy cooking with these three ingredients, as many of our dishes feature them. This is another pizza recipe, and it stands alone as an entirely vegetarian dish, although you could certainly add sausage to one half. The thing that sets this recipe apart from other pizza recipes we’ve featured is its crust.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with good, old-fashioned pizza crust, we enjoy experimenting with various forms. This time, we used lavash bread. For the uninitiated, lavash bread is a Middle-Eastern flatbread. Its texture is similar to a flour tortilla, but it’s slightly thicker and much larger. Lavash bread can be found in most grocery stores; check Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for a guaranteed find.
This pizza does not require a sauce, as it is covered in cherry tomatoes that have been quartered and drizzled with olive oil. The combination of the fresh cherry tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella creates plenty of moisture on the lavash bread crust; a full tomato sauce would most likely weigh this dish down.
Paired with a simple spinach salad and a glass of white wine, it is another perfect dinner for a summertime evening!
Lavash Bread Pizza (serves 2- you may have leftovers!)
Sometimes, mainly because I am not Julie Powell and not trying to cook a different dish every night, the boyfriend and I repeat our recipes. Hopefully that’s not too much of a shock. The other night, we revisited our caprese recipe, this time adding a balsamic glaze to the baguette before broiling. The result? Delicious, cheesy, and fresh.
photo © connorgleasonphotography
Recipe can be found here.
More delicious updates coming soon!
Go to any Italian restaurant, and you are guaranteed to find a host of “parmesan” themed dishes: chicken parmesan, veal parmesan, etc. The vegetarian version is usually eggplant parmesan, but it just so happens that I am a vegetarian who is not a big fan of eggplant. Or mushrooms, for that matter. This often raises challenges in restaurants, especially restaurants that think they can just slather a thick sauce on a grilled slab of eggplant and call it a meal. Excuse me, it’s not.
During a conversation with the boyfriend, who was craving chicken parmesan for dinner, I posed the question: What about tofu parmesan? When cooked correctly, tofu can be just as thick and hearty as meat. As we already know from previous posts, I happen to be dating an omnivore who sure knows how to cook a damn good piece of tofu. So, we set out for a complicated cooking process with a multitude of pots, pans, and dishes. Yes, there’s a lot of washing and drying to do at the end, but it’s worth it – the result was an awesome classic dinner, with absolutely no traces of eggplant for me. (Recipe follows)
photo © connorgleasonphotography
A sandwich dinner is one of the easiest meals to adapt for a vegetarian/omni couple. Since you’re already making two things, it’s super simple to customize. While sandwiches are usually typecast as the star of lunchtime, sometimes you just get the craving for one at dinner. I want to say that culinary inspiration struck me amid the coulior de fromage at the grocery store, but it wasn’t so much “inspiration” as it was a mere hankering for fresh mozzarella and balsamic. I’d say it’s the Italian roots, but I have none and neither does the bf. Regardless, a few tomatoes and basil leaves later, we were well on our way to cooking a stellar pair of caprese’wiches. Mine featured a panfried balsamic glazed tofu, while boyfriend’s sandwich’s foundation was made out of chicken. Who knew that bean curd and the once-feathered bird could get on so well? (Recipe follows)
photos © connorgleasonphotography