On a bookshelf next to our kitchen, you will find a large green binder containing 204 pages of recipes (we recently counted!) which we have been collecting over the past ten years. It is filled with scribbled notes, comments, and detailed descriptions of where they came from. It is meticulously alphabetized and divided into six categories: Main Courses, Sides, Cakes, Cookies, Other Desserts, and Breakfasts. On the thirtieth page of the Sides section, nestled comfortably between a no-mayo potato salad from Rachael Ray and a Puerto Rican pique sauce, lies this glorious sweet baked dish. And at the bottom of the recipe is a handwritten note from December 2010 declaring it the “best kugel we have ever had.” This traditional noodle casserole adapted from Gourmet Magazine stole the show at our Hanukkah party five years ago and we have continued to make it every year since.
There is nothing better than enjoying a hot cup of soup on a cold day. Sometimes you just want to stay home in pajamas, cuddle up under soft blankets and watch old episodes of The Twilight Zone. These grey Monday skies are calling for something warm and comforting as the weather here in Los Angeles is finally changing from summer to a cool, crisp fall. This healthy greek spinach and orzo soup is warm, soothing, and makes a delicious dinner that is tangy and bursting with lemon flavor. It is pleasantly and lightly filling, and ideal after this festive holiday with so many rich dishes, indulgent sweets, and bountiful leftovers. After four days of Thanksgiving stuffing, casseroles, and homemade pies, this hearty bowl of soup will gently calm your soul and satisfy your senses.
We just checked the official Thanksgiving Rule Book, and in Article 1, Line 3, it clearly states, “Sweet potatoes must be included on the table in order to qualify as a true Thanksgiving feast.” This detailed book covers all the basics: Must have at least one type of stuffing. Each slice of pumpkin pie shall be topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Omitting the green bean casserole is forbidden and will incur penalties. There is also a great section on how to say the appropriate thing when giving thanks, as well as informative chapters on how to deal with drunken relatives. Everything is covered here: from how to quickly and smoothly change the conversation topic from politics to funny youtube videos, to tips on being polite if the turkey happens to be dry. This delicious recipe has been a tradition in Ryan’s family for over 40 years, and Thanksgiving truly wouldn’t be the same without it. And according to the official Rule Book, this dish qualifies as the perfect sweet potato casserole: filled with tender sweet potatoes tossed with fresh ripe cranberries, covered with a cinnamon and brown sugar oat crumble, and baked until the cranberries soften and burst, releasing their ruby-colored juice, which bubbles under the crisp, crunchy warmly-spiced topping.
If we were to travel back in time to Thanksgiving, November 25, 1971 and tell Abra Shapiro that in 2015, her stuffing recipe would be “blogged” about on the “internet” by two gay, legally married husbands using “digital” photographs that would instantly reach the entire world with a click of a button, she would think we were from another planet. Well, not only is this happening today, but her dish has been made consistently every Thanksgiving holiday since that rainy night forty-four years ago in Portland, Oregon where Ryan’s 21-year-old Aunt Kathy sat at the table and wisely jotted down the delicious recipe in between shared laughter, sweet potatoes, and red wine. This baked mushroom stuffing has been a family tradition and a warm and fuzzy memory since that day, and it is a pleasure to share as our third selection on the Husbands That Cook Thanksgiving menu!
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and there are some important pie-decisions to be made. For us pumpkin pie traditionalists, overly-complicated recipes using fancy ingredients are fine, but sometimes you just want the familiar and classic version. This ultra-creamy and smooth pie is just that: spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, dark brown sugar, ginger, and allspice, this dessert has a dreamy, custard-like texture and genuine pumpkin flavor. If you have never made a pie before, this should be your first, as it could not be easier to make. All the filling ingredients are simply mixed in one bowl, you pour it in the pan, and bake it. This year we tried something a little different and are excited to share our discovery that keeps the spirit of the original, while adding a little extra… flare!