We are writing this to you from 38,000 feet, returning from our cousin’s wedding in Bilbao, which lies on the beautiful coast of northern Spain. It was a festive weekend with lots of music, dancing, family, and delicious Spanish cuisine. Just before we left for this trip, we made a dessert and planned to write about it on our way back to Los Angeles, since we knew there would be plenty of time on the ten-hour flight home. Imagine our surprise when the in-flight meal included the exact same dessert: Peach Melba!
Any dish that has the word artichoke in the title is sure to capture our attention. It is one of our favorite vegetables, from globe artichokes hearty enough to feature in a meal to bite-sized marinated hearts on a classic Italian deli sandwich. So when we discovered this great recipe we were immediately intrigued, especially since these baked shells are not filled with the usual ricotta, but rather with brighter and more interesting ingredients. With caramelized onions and artichoke hearts sautéed in browned butter, a splash of white wine, and savory parmesan and pecorino cheeses, this delectable filling is complemented by a silky lemon béchamel enhanced with a touch of fresh ricotta, making an elegant baked dish that is unique and delicious.
This past December, we were visiting family in Portland and happened to find this newspaper clipping laying on the kitchen counter. Ryan’s mom is always cutting out new recipes, and she was excited to try this one with us. What’s really great about this pasta is that it’s made up of ingredients that may be in your kitchen right now, just waiting to be made into a delicious meal. This dinner has quickly become one of our favorites, especially since the entire dish uses just one pot and can be made in under 30 minutes.
There is something truly special about eating outdoors. Nothing beats the smokey, buttery flavor of fresh barbecued corn, sharing a bottle of wine with a close friend at a park, or simply enjoying a peaceful lunch on a bench under a shady tree. Being outside can transform any meal into a magical occasion. One of Ryan’s favorite childhood memories was going to summer concerts at the Oregon Zoo with his family and enjoying the wonderful picnics that his mom would thoughtfully pack in a woven basket filled with assorted snacks, drinks, and sweet treats. The best part was sitting on a big, comfy blanket with everyone enjoying hot and delicious sandwiches while watching great live music. This mouthwatering recipe inspired by those fond memories, in which savory melted Gruyère cheese blends with sliced scallions, aromatic dill, white wine vinegar, and cubed tofu on a toasty buttered roll, makes a hearty vegetarian sandwich that is light and perfect for a summer day.
Hosting brunch is one of those things that sounds good in theory, but actually can be kind of stressful. If you decide to make something classic like pancakes, you will quickly realize—as you hover over the stove flipping your twentieth pancake while the rest of your guests have already started eating—that perhaps a less labor-intensive meal would have been easier. The secret to a stress-free brunch is simply this: a main dish that is prepped the day before, so all you have to do in the morning is pop it in the oven and get ready for your guests to arrive. The other secret is to make a crowd-pleasing recipe like this baked french toast, in which crusty sourdough bread is layered with smooth cream cheese and fresh blueberries before being immersed in a delicious maple-flavored egg mixture, then baked in the oven to a golden brown perfection and topped with sweet, homemade blueberry syrup with hints of vanilla.