Wednesday, September 26

Day 270: Food is Often Vehicle That Takes Me on the Journey to Happiness

Some nights I just cannot get in the groove of making dinner. Nothing sounds good, I don't want to go to the store, I'm basically sick of the kitchen and I simply refuse to budge. Those are the nights that I ask my husband what he is cooking for dinner. It usually works and it isn't always nachos, hot dogs or his famous "macaroni box." This past Monday night was one of those nights but unfortunately he was feeling the same. When I asked him what he was making for dinner he said, "Cereal and milk?" So it was cereal and milk for dinner. Okay, to be fair, it wasn't just cereal and milk, there were a few blueberries and sliced figs on top and we each had toast as well. It was easy and yummy and it completely took a load off of our Monday shoulders.

So come Tuesday I was actually feeling refreshed and inspired when it came to thinking about what we would have for dinner. I decided to surprise my husband with one of his favorites, macaroni and cheese. I'd come across a new recipe where you actually cook the noodles in the milk and no flour is added. The starches from the noodles help thicken it up. It was pretty tasty but the second dish I made, an amazing roasted tomato salad, to accompany the macaroni and cheese was incredible and that is what I'd like to talk to you about.

Food is often the vehicle that takes me on the journey to happiness. I love food and I love to eat. But I usually prefer the healthier side of gourmet. This means olive oil instead of butter, though I love butter and often use it, and whole grains as opposed to regular wheat flour or rice. Last year I came across a cookbook that caught my eye due to its focus on healthy and natural vegetarian cooking. The woman who wrote it, Heidi Swanson, is devoted to using natural foods and making delicious, gourmet vegetarian food. I have not yet purchased her cookbook even though it is on my wish list. So I was really excited when I came across her food blog, or recipe journal, where she posts and discusses many of her recipes, including this one for her Heirloom Tomato Salad.

The components in the salad were delicate yet rich and subtle yet bursting with flavor. Add her secret ingredient of maple syrup and I was really excited, as I love maple syrup. Sort of like Buddy from the movie Elf, which if you haven't seen, I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible. Or at least in December just before Christmas. But anyway, getting back to the salad, I did deviate from the recipe a bit, due in part to my failure to get everything I needed and due in part to a certain someone in my house not liking capers (hint: it was not me or Pina), but it turned out terrific anyway. I used pan toasted sunflower seeds and pine nuts instead of the recommended almonds, I used arugula instead of lettuce leaves and I used lemon juice instead of lemon oil. It was heavenly and the roasted tomatoes really stole the show. This recipe is definitely a keeper and now I am even more interested in her cookbook that before.

Roasting half of the tomatoes really give this salad an extra zing, which definitely puts it on my list of recipes to make again and again. 

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