The Shared Craving by Cynthia Raub

My family has been on a homemade Pizza Night kick for the past few weeks. This entails my husband making the dough, then prepping the toppings with our daughters, all while I impatiently sit on the couch on my phone waiting for dinner to just be DONE. I know they would appreciate my hovering, unrelaxed presence in the kitchen, but most of the time I let the three of them enjoy the relaxing and fun project together. Anyway, there's really only room for three people to crouch in front of the oven, to watch the pizza crust expand and brown while the cheese melts.

Amy has made Pizza Two Ways before and I wanted to try my hand at making a homemade dough. I wanted to make the dough without the watchful eye of my chef husband, and I didn't feel like getting the kids involved because I'm just not a very fun parent. I was craving Chicken Shawarma and after telling Amy I needed the chicken in my life, she admitted to craving eggplant and then all we could talk about was how we REALLY wanted to eat our ideas. (This is why we are friends!) I'm not sure how it happened, but I think I bamboozled her into developing the unctuous and delicious recipe for Eggplant Dip with Caramelized Onions and Tahini to marry the pizza/flatbread and chicken together. I don't think she's put out though, since it turned out to be a tasty and fun afternoon that satisfied both of our cravings.

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Flatbread with Chicken Shawarma, Eggplant, and Caramelized Onions

Chicken Shawarma

Eggplant Dip with Caramelized Onions and Tahini

The Shared Winter to Spring Meal by Amy Cantu

This meal came about as Cynthia and I looked out the window at a crisp, but sunny day. The leaves were still glistening from the recent (much needed) rain, the grass was tinged a bright green, and the rose buds hinted at a bit of color. It’s was still very much winter, but just a few hints of spring were starting to poke through the gray din to cheer us up. We wanted to cook and eat a meal that would give a nod to the briskly cold air but also bridge the gap to the brightness of approaching spring. I think this meal of citrusy roasted chicken legs, paired with a heavily herby, yet hearty farro salad, is just the thing.

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Roasted Chicken Legs with Smoked Paprika, Blood Orange, and Honey

Chopped Herb Salad with Farro

The Shared Chili by Amy Cantu

chicken chili and cornbread

I have never been a real football fan, or really a sports enthusiast of any kind. (What can I say? Watching sports makes my eyes roll into the back of my head, where I fall into a deep coma until halftime.) Watching a game is only fun if I’m hanging out with my friends and cheering loudly while waving brightly colored pennants and pompoms. It’s the shared experience that makes it worthwhile; but, the real reason I agree to watch any game at all is for the shared food. Tailgating is the BEST! I love all the feasting on barbecue meats, grazing on the vast spread of finger foods, and the imbibing of cold alcoholic beverages to wash it all down. By the time that’s all done and over with, I’m feeling so good that sure, I’ll happily watch the game too. If I sound like a little piggy right now, that’s because I am. (And you know you are too, because you’re reading a food blog!) Then there’s the Super Bowl - I am excited to host a Super Bowl Party for the simple reason that I adore a giant pot of chili with all the fixings. There’s nothing better than cozying up on the couch with a steaming bowl of spicy chili, heaped with shredded cheese, onions, and cilantro. How can you top that? Have Cynthia make a fresh batch of buttery cornbread and slather it with even more butter. Bliss. Maybe this year, I’ll also try to figure out which team is which.

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Chicken Chili

All-Purpose Cornbread