We enjoyed "tapas" frequently while visiting Spain. One of our favorite options was Patatas Bravas (or Papas Bravas in some dialects). It's incredibly basic - just crispy chunks of potato with a slightly spicy sauce and sometimes garlic aioli - but when done right is pure magic. Our favorite was at the roof-top café at the Reial Cercle Artístic de Barcelona (Royal Artistic Circle of Barcelona). We enjoyed them with a glass of sparkling cava - a great mid-afternoon snack. Since returning from Europe we've hosted a number of socially-distant tapas meals - a perfect option because everyone can have their own plate to help keep your distance. Patatas Bravas was always on the menu. After a bit of research, here's a recipe that Richard has pulled together taking the best ideas from various sources. Rather than deep fried, the potatoes are oven "fried".
One of our favorite meals while in Austin Texas was a take on lasagna that used "Farfalle" pasta ("Butterflies" or otherwise known as "Bowties") instead of lasagna noodles. It had Nancy's favorite vegetable - eggplant - and roasted portobello mushrooms for a nice umami flavor. Patrick was particularly fond of this one - he ate it cold right out of the Tupperware container during his long drive back to Richmond.
To accommodate our relatives' plant-based diet we used vegan "cheeses" including "ricotta" made from soaked raw cashews that was remarkably creamy and delicious. If you like, you can make it just as easily with dairy-based cheeses and oven-ready lasagna noodles.
For New Year's Eve we had a feast of home-cooked Asian dishes with Caroline & T, Caroline's brother Patrick (the one who visited us in Italy), and her good friend Angela who were visiting Austin from Richmond. We made Curry Triangles (using "Beyond" Beef), Pan Fried Vegetable Pot Stickers (from Trader Joe's), Scallion Pancakes, Vegetable Lo Mein, Fried Rice, and the hands-down favorite - Richard's Thai style Massaman Curry.
It's remarkably easy to make and uses a dutch oven rather than a wok. You can make it well ahead of time - it tastes even better reheated after sitting around in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Our time visiting family in Austin TX includes a lot of shared vegan meals and good times. Every couple of weeks, Richard has baked up a batch of oatmeal cookies that Caroline and T have come to squirrel away in the freezer - hidden from the children - for their mid-afternoon breaks from their work-from-home jobs. Here's how he makes these fully vegan delights.
Recipes from the Road
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