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  • Writer's picturesarahlovinger

What We Cooked This Week, #3

It's a holiday week and Natalie is home from college, so the kitchen was a busy place.

Natalie asked to make dinner for us on a day I was working, and the answer was easy: 'sure!' She eats a mostly vegan diet with some eggs and fish or seafood, so the menu needed to work around her preferences. To brighten up the dark winter night, she made shrimp tacos with many different toppings. She defrosted, shelled and cleaned the shrimp, sautéed onions and chopped red and yellow peppers in a pan, chopped red cabbage, prepared both a sour cream sauce and a spicy mayo sauce, toasted corn and flour tortillas, made guacamole, and just before we were ready to eat, sautéed the shrimp, seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin. Hot and tasty, the bowls filled with toppings warmed our kitchen island.

We marked Christmas day with vegetarian dishes. I made a Spanish tortilla, using this recipe, omitting the garlic: I also stretched my cooking skills a little and made Spanikopita. I had always felt intimidated by Filo dough, but here's a secret: once properly defrosted, it's incredibly easy to use in recipes. I made the filling: sautéed onions and lightly cooked spinach mixed in a bowl with beaten eggs, feta and Parmesan cheeses, and salt and pepper. I then prepared the filo layers. I brushed oil inside a 9x13 baking pan, layered 1 sheet of filo dough on it, brushed oil on top of that layer, then repeated the layering process 3 times. I then put the filling on the stack of dough layers, put 4 more dough layers on that, and it was ready for baking. I served the Spanikopita and the Spanish tortilla with blanched string beans, just right for dinner that night.

Cookies also appeared in our kitchen this week. Natalie loves to bake, and I had always wanted to try peanut butter cookies, so we decided to make classic peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses using this recipe: She made the batter, dropped the small balls of dough in sugar, placed them on the baking sheet, and removed the cookies after 6 minutes so we could add the unwrapped kisses, then cook them for a few more minutes. It's important to avoid baking the cookies too long during both of the baking steps. We shared the cookies with friends, dropping brightly-colored bags on doorsteps, sweetening a holiday week like no other.

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