asparagus risotto with lemongrass and thai basil

asparagus risotto with lemongrass and thai basil

Regardless of this uninvited heatwave here in Los Angeles—yes, it is literally 90 degrees today—we want to believe or at least pretend that it is still winter. Trust us, we are not complaining one bit, but 90 in February is a little extreme, and it would be nice to experience all four seasons equally. We have a dream! Speaking of balance, we dedicated the first half of this month to making cookies, caramels, and sweet Valentine’s Day desserts, so today we are honoring the yang to our yin and sharing a delicious risotto recipe, adapted from one of our favorite cookbooks, The Veganomicon. And since it is still technically February, asparagus season has officially begun and it is the perfect time to start making some meals with it! This creamy risotto highlights this healthy winter vegetable in the most flavorful way possible: sautéed asparagus tips are cooked separately until golden and crispy while the remainder is sliced and cooked gently with Thai basil, fresh mint leaves, loads of shallots and seasoned with chopped garlic and a spicy serrano pepper for heat. The risotto is simmered with a fragrant homemade broth filled with fresh lemongrass, ginger, crushed garlic, and soy sauce. Even though Mother Nature has hastily decided to pour a glass of Sangria, start eating ice cream bars, and sport a bikini, we are going to sit here patiently and enjoy one of our favorite dishes as though it was winter.

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no-bake strawberry cheesecake parfaits

no-bake strawberry cheesecake parfaits

Recently we were browsing Instagram and stumbled upon a photo that would change the way we looked at desserts forever. It was one of those moments where the whole world seemed to stop, everything fell silent, and all that existed in that very second was this magnificent dessert staring back at us like love at first sight. It was a No Bake Cookies-N-Cream Cheesecake, perfectly swirled into a mini-glass cup speckled with oreo crumbs and crowned with an oreo cookie. This was our first time ever hearing of a no-bake cheesecake and we immediately headed over to Angela’s Mind Over Batter website to learn more about the source of this intriguing creation. What we found there, in addition to her delightful recipe, was a gorgeous site filled with stunning photography, writing so funny that we couldn’t get through a post without laughing out loud, and yes, even more imaginative flavors of no-bake cheesecakes: Lemons-N-Cream, Pumpkin Pie, Blueberry Lavender Cream, and Strawberry Vanilla. This holiday weekend, we wanted to share an easy dessert that would be romantic, beautiful, and something that you could quickly whip up in less than thirty minutes, so we created these no-bake strawberry cheesecake parfaits inspired by her site: a crunchy graham cracker crust is topped with the most silky and rich vanilla cheesecake, then layered with fresh strawberries and drizzled with a tangy strawberry puree. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and should truly be recognized 365 days a year, and we promise we are not just saying this just as an excuse to eat this picture-perfect dessert every day!

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peanut butter cookies with caramelized bananas

peanut butter cookies with caramelized bananas

Peanut butter and banana is one of the best combinations. We both grew up enjoying it on sandwiches, and it’s still one of our go-to lunches when we go hiking. It is delicious on pancakes and waffles, and makes a healthy and indulgent smoothie. Recently, we even made an incredibly rich banana chocolate chip cake with peanut butter frosting for a friend’s birthday. We just can’t get enough! So when we were brainstorming simple dessert ideas for Valentine’s Day, we decided to take this classic combination and turn them into cookies! We took our favorite four-ingredient, one-bowl peanut butter cookie recipe, indented the middles like thumbprints, placed a thick slice of banana in each one, and sprinkled the top with turbinado sugar so they caramelize in the oven and come out glistening like sweet amber-colored jewels. These chewy, moist cookies are full of rich, creamy peanut butter flavor and the sweet glazed bananas are the perfect addition. You can whip up this easy-to-follow recipe in less than 30 minutes, leaving you a long romantic evening to spend with your Valentine.

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blood orange caramels with cardamom and sea salt

blood orange caramels with cardamom and sea salt

Little did we know that starting this blog just eight months ago would completely change our lives in so many ways. Last year around this time, if someone were to predict that in 2016 we would be spending our days taking pictures of peanut butter banana smoothies and key lime pies, we would have thought they were completely crazy. But here we are, loving every second of this new adventure exploring the infinite nature of food from all around the world, discovering new recipes, cooking with exotic spices that we have never used before, and broadening our knowledge in the kitchen. We love the spontaneity of every day, like waking up to find out it’s National Chocolate Cake Day and changing our plans from making a vegetarian soup to a decadent cake topped with a rich caramel whiskey sauce, or being invited to participate in making fancy avocado toast or a chia pudding party! The constant variety keeps the process fun and exciting, and each day brings something different, like this momentous dessert we are thrilled to be sharing today! We had been dreaming about trying the mouthwatering apple cider caramels from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for our next post, but at four thirty in the morning, fate was kind enough to wake up Adam with the idea to replace the apple cider with blood oranges. He was considerate, and waited for the sun to rise before waking up Ryan with his early morning suggestion. With a well-rested mind, and building on Adam’s unexpected citrus concept, Ryan added some tasty suggestions and these extraordinary treats were born. Before we knew it, we were in the kitchen making something entirely different than originally planned. These rich and chewy seasonal caramels are soft, sweet and buttery, bursting with fresh blood orange flavor, and so addictively delicious that you might wake up at 4:30am thinking about them too.

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vegetarian matzo ball soup

vegetarian matzo ball soup

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.

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