It was raining and windy this weekend in Los Angeles. The rugged San Gabriel mountains are visible in the distance, white and glowing with freshly-fallen snow. The birds are quiet, and the lizards that normally transform our yard into a mini-Jurrasic Park during the summertime are asleep for the winter. Heavy clouds may prevent the sun from shining, but there is a variety of beautiful flowers in bloom whose colors actually appear most vivid on these gloomy days. Deciduous trees scatter fallen leaves throughout the neighborhood while others like the citrus are producing an abundance of fruit that illuminate the landscape and decorate the last few chilly days of January with their vibrant colors and sunny flavors. This cold weather demands comforting things like hot cups of ginger tea, and after-dinner mugs of hot nutella spiked with frangelico. But there is absolutely nothing that says “warm and comforting” like a relaxing bowl of matzo ball soup, and today we are thrilled to be sharing a vegetarian version of this classic that boasts perfectly cooked matzo balls—light, fluffy and buttery—which are simmered in a flavorful broth with chopped carrots, celery, onions, minced garlic, and topped with aromatic sprigs of fresh dill. Brace yourself winter, matzo ball soup is coming.
What is a typical Friday night for Husbands That Cook, you ask? Welcome to our comfy home and let us show you around! As we walk through the candlelit house together, you will hear the soothing sounds of Rachmaninoff playing softly in the background. Let us first take you through the kitchen where you will notice the countertops are filled with plates, bowls, food, and drinks. Please excuse the mess as we’ve been cooking the entire day. Would you care for a lemon-thyme drop? Over here, you will find freshly squeezed lemons, bottles of vodka and triple sec, and thyme simple syrup (leftover from our thyme gimlets), for a refreshing new drink we just invented tonight. And if you take a step over here, you will see all the ingredients for our festive burrito night: sautéed green peppers, onions, and mushrooms, sharp cheddar cheese, fresh salsa, diced avocado, spicy refried beans, Mexican rice, and Greek yogurt. And as we make our way down the long narrow kitchen, we come to the final section, where you find a glorious treat: freshly baked spinach bites, hot out of the oven, chock-full of spinach with savory melted pecorino cheese, minced green onions, and spices. Please try one! You’ll notice how delicious they are on their own, but feel free to dip them in the freshly squeezed lemon juice we have here, and notice how perfectly they complement each other. With just six simple ingredients plus a few spices, let us show you how fun and easy they are to make!
Mediterranean restaurants are a vegetarian’s best friend. From tangy cabbage salads and fresh tabbouleh, to stuffed grape leaves, deeply spiced falafels, and smooth hummus and muhammara, you will find far more meatless items on middle-eastern menus than in most restaurants, making them a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans. The cuisine is light and healthy, and since it is often served family-style with a selection of small dishes, you can order a variety of plates, and sample a little of everything. The recipe we are sharing today is fun to make, and involves roasting a whole eggplant on the stove, directly on the flame, until it is charred, blistered, and blackened, resulting in an irresistibly smoky flavor and creamy texture. Combined with fresh lemon juice, raw garlic, chopped parsley, creamy tahini, and a few pinches of cumin and cayenne pepper, this tangy, smoky, garlicky dip makes a deliciously healthy snack and is the perfect dish to serve with some warm pita at your next party. Let us introduce you to the Levantine delicacy known as Moutabal.
Cooking with seasonal vegetables is fun and rewarding. In the summertime, we love growing tomatoes and basil in our garden. All year long, we look forward to walking outside and eating sweet juicy tomatoes right off the vine, still warm from the sun. Last summer, we made a burst tomato galette with homegrown sungold tomatoes, and it was so unbelievably sweet, tangy, and delicious that we are still dreaming about it six months later. As temperatures drop in autumn (relatively speaking, this is LA after all!), we begin finding fall fruits like crisp apples and pears at the farmers market, along with cool-weather greens like kale and peppery arugula. In the springtime, southern California is at its most colorful, with plants and trees in full bloom, and we celebrate with fresh, sweet asparagus and artichokes, and ruby-red strawberries for dessert. But here we are, snuggling up in warm blankets, sitting by the fire, in the middle of winter, at the peak of cauliflower season. These cream-colored, delicately-flavored vegetables are at their best in winter, and have always been one of our favorites. In this appetizing soup, fresh seasonal cauliflower is combined with sautéed onions, sweet carrots, and blended with aromatic herbs and spices like coriander, cumin, cilantro, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes, to make a delicious, creamy, and comforting bowl of soup that will keep you warm and cozy until spring arrives.
One of our favorite places to eat in Los Angeles is Western Doma Noodles, a quaint little Korean restaurant located in a tiny strip mall in the middle of Koreatown run by Baik, the sweetest lady in the world who makes everyone feel welcome. Although she doesn’t speak much English, she greets us every time with a warm smile and remembers that we are both vegetarian. It’s a special place for us. We had a lovely meal there for Ryan’s birthday in November before seeing the touring production of Beauty And The Beast at the Pantages. We always order the bibimbap, a signature Korean dish of seasoned vegetables served atop a sizzling-hot stone bowl of white rice topped with an egg and mixed with a generous spoonful of spicy chili paste. One of the best parts of Korean cuisine is the delicious banchan, small side dishes set in the middle of the table for everyone to share. Baik is so considerate and brings us an assorted vegetarian selection that is slightly different each time we visit. There are usually at least ten dishes to sample including Korean-style potato salad, steamed and marinated vegetables, pickled cucumbers and radishes, sautéed tofu, seasoned seaweed, and of course kimchi, an essential banchan for a traditional Korean meal. We were recently discussing fermented foods with our dear friend Christine at Yommme, and she mentioned to us that she had a delicious recipe for vegetarian kimchi that was easy to make. We fell in love with her roasted tandoori cauliflower that we wrote about in November, so we were eager to give this a try. We just made our first batch last week, and from the very first taste it was clear: this is, without question, the best kimchi we have ever had!