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.

Follow us to the recipes:

Flatbread with Chicken Shawarma, Eggplant, and Caramelized Onions

Chicken Shawarma

Eggplant Dip with Caramelized Onions and Tahini

The Shared Plenty (More) by Cynthia Raub

I was not familiar with Yotam Ottolenghi until a fateful trip to Costco. I normally don't tempt myself with Costco's dizzying array of seasonal items, clothes, and books, but I had half an hour to kill, and I needed to cool my nonchalant visits to the sample stations. Immediately upon flipping through the Plenty More cookbook, I was struck by the beautiful and mixed ingredient dishes that reminded me so much of the foods I love to eat. Ottolenghi elegantly includes grains, legumes, vegetables, and plentiful herbs in most of his dishes, which also lends to a complex variety of temperatures and textures. I immediately tossed the book into my cart and went home to indulge in the tasty photography and accessible recipes. After mentioning my new cookbook purchase to Amy, she divulged that she recently bought Plenty by Chef Ottolenghi. We agreed to try a recipe from each of our books and swap them. It was one of the most delicious decisions we have made!

Follow us to the recipes:

Rice Salad with Nuts and Sour Cherries

Lentils with Broiled Eggplant