Our yard is exploding with color. The thirty-foot native ceanothus shrub that is normally a deep forest green throughout the year is now covered with clusters of intense purple flowers. The bougainvillea vine surrounding our kitchen door which has been bare all winter long has now begun to flaunt its show-stopping red blooms. Spring is in the air, and soon we’ll be enjoying sweet juicy strawberries and farm-fresh crisp roasted asparagus. This also means that Summer is just around the corner, and if we plan to fit in our swimsuits on our Alaskan cruise in July (more on that later), we’d better start thinking ahead! With travel and beauty on our minds, we wanted to create something delicious and healthy to prepare for this summertime celebration at sea. The thing is, these wraps turned out so tasty, that we’ve eaten about four hundred in the past four days, which isn’t helping the situation. Open your hearts and minds, crispy avocado southwest sushi wraps are here to take you on an international voyage around the world.
Our relatives in Spain couldn’t stop laughing when we showed them the photo of our skinny young avocado tree. Just a year old and not even four feet tall, its trunk was as slender as a thumb. But it wasn’t the tree that was funny, it was the large pink umbrella set up next to it, protecting the poor thing from the blazing midsummer southern California heat. It hung on for dear life, but didn’t survive the brutal days of September when Los Angeles makes its annual transformation into a walk-in pizza oven. So we replaced the torched avocado with a tropical loquat tree that loves the sun and has been generously producing plump, juicy fruits these past two years. Eventually, we’ll find a shadier spot and plant another tree where it can flourish and make millions of avocados for us. Considering they sell for two or three dollars each in the store, one could save a lot of money owning a tree, especially if you’re a fanatic follower of this fantastic fruit like we. You may have questions at this point: Where is this going? And what the heck is broccamole? We promise this is leading somewhere… and of course, it happens to be somewhere incredibly delicious. To learn more, simply scroll down to the next paragraph…
Yesterday we got to meet Oliver the pig. He’s the mascot for Hedley & Bennett, a local company known worldwide for their stylish handmade aprons. His owner Ellen was co-hosting a Southern-themed Sunday brunch at her house along with the folks from Bake From Scratch Magazine, and we were two of the lucky attendees. Tucked away in the steep hills of Echo park, this colorful and artistic home has breathtaking views of the city. Lush gardens filled with native plants and purple sages surround the property which is also home to a half dozen chickens as well as our new friend, Oliver. Apparently he was misbehaving before we arrived, so he spent most of the afternoon in a “time out” behind a wooden gate atoning for his sins. But after a welcoming Southern brunch featuring Rebecca’s homemade melt-in-your-mouth Meyer lemon scones, Brian’s brown butter hummingbird coffee cake, Gaby’s beer bread, and a live demonstration from Callie’s Biscuits on how to make authentically Southern buttermilk biscuits, we took a peek behind the gate and introduced ourselves to the peppy pig before saying our goodbyes. It was hard to leave of course, but we had some important business to attend to at home. And by “business” we mean peanut butter cheesecake.
Everything is going to be fine. You’re cooking tonight’s Valentine’s dinner, but still haven’t decided what to make. First, take a deep breath, and realize you’re not the only one browsing the web for “romantic home-cooked meals” right now. We’ve gotcha covered, and have definitely been there before. There was the time we waited to buy champagne on our way to a New Year’s party, only to learn the store was sold out of everything bubbly. And the time we tried to buy eggs on Easter morning, finding the dairy case completely empty. Sometimes procrastination works, and sometimes it does not. But no worries: your Valentine will never know you were browsing our site at the last minute on this intimate holiday. In fact, from the very first sip of the evening’s cocktails, it will seem as though you’ve been planning this special night for a long time. And when you bring out this first course, pan-seared artichoke with an aioli trio, and see the smile on your date’s face, it can be our little secret that you just discovered it today.
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. Some of you will go out to your favorite restaurant, and perhaps see an entertaining play, while others will choose to stay in. It’s the perfect occasion to sip refreshing cocktails, cuddle under warm blankets, and binge-watch Westworld for the third time this year. The two of us will be doing just that: hoping for a rainy night, cooking a simple meal together, and enjoying a quiet, candlelit dinner at home. Over the weekend, our talented mixologist friend, Prairie (who won “Best Cocktail Blog” at the 2014 Saveur Blog Awards), called to ask if we wanted to collaborate with her to create a dessert that would pair with the new cocktails she made for the upcoming holiday. Desserts? Cocktails? Clearly, this wasn’t a difficult decision to make, and on Saturday, Prairie came over to our house where we sampled and photographed her lovely creations. A splendid time was had by all, and after several rounds, the inspiration and creativity flowed like electricity. Ideas of chocolate and sweet treats were coursing through our veins. Suddenly, lighting bolts pierced the sky while a crack of thunder ripped through the atmosphere. The lights in our kitchen flickered then blacked out, as we stood there staring at each other in disbelief. We peered out the window, and could not believe our eyes: chocolate mocha lava cakes were falling from the sky, like snowflakes floating down gracefully from puffy clouds of whipped cream. This was a sign: a sacred chocolatey message sent from the heavens. These decadent mini cakes just so happened to be the perfect pairing with Prairie’s potations, and we knew it was our responsibility to take this holy treat and share it with the world. Say hello to this divine dessert: your Valentine’s Day just got a little more magical.