This week we got to be Uncles That Cook! We took a brief trip to Portland, Oregon to visit Ryan’s family, and while we love living in Southern California, with year-round warm weather and abundant sunshine, we also have a special place in our hearts for the Pacific Northwest. Ryan grew up there, and this beautiful city is truly a magical place. The people are friendly, the air is crisp and clean, and the landscape is lush and verdant green from the seasonal rains. Our two amazing nieces, Stella (10) and Lucia (8) live there and we like to see them as often as we can. This visit, they requested to make a dinner with us, so they browsed through our Index and their eyes lit up when they saw pasta puttanesca, one of the first entrees we posted here, and still an all-time favorite. So together we made a list of fresh ingredients, had a productive expedition to the local grocery store, and spent a lovely evening cooking this zesty and garlicky spaghetti. There is nothing more meaningful than preparing and sharing a meal with family, especially with kids, and we feel so fortunate to spend time with these two smart, sweet, and funny girls! And even though we have been delightedly living off this delicious pasta these past few rainy days, you can never have too much garlic. It adds depth to a variety of recipes, and is a pleasure to cook with as its inviting aroma fills the kitchen with a powerful and comforting fragrance. The recipe we are sharing today calls for plenty of this remarkable herb. Filled with eight cloves of chopped garlic, tangy artichoke hearts, an entire bag of fresh spinach, and three kinds of cheeses, this garlic bread is a perfect side to any dinner, and the showstopper at your next party.
On Saturday we hiked Fish Canyon Falls, over five miles of breathtaking trails lined with shady oaks, blue agaves, and multi-colored wildflowers carpeting the hillsides glowing with fragrant white sage, located in the Angeles National Forest just thirty minutes from our home. The winding path follows a clear stream, and because of the recent winter rains, it was rushing through the bottom of the canyon, creating a peaceful soundtrack of flowing water nearly the entire time. At the end of the trail, we were greeted by a majestic 3-tiered, 80-foot waterfall that was cascading in full force. It was a beautiful day and we were so happy to discover yet another hidden area of natural beauty so close to the city. After spending the morning hiking through the woods, stumbling upon abandoned cabins, and adventuring in the hills, we came home to find a package waiting for us on our doorstep that we had been anticipating for several months. Our friend Emilie (theclevercarrot.com) just wrote her first cookbook and we were so excited for its arrival, especially after seeing so many other bloggers making beautiful creations from it and posting photos and rave reviews online. Epicurious named The Clever Cookbook as one of “spring’s best cookbooks” and after browsing through this gem and making one dish so far, we clearly understand why. It is filled with inspiring recipes that we can’t wait to try: cauliflower bolognese, chai pancakes with cinnamon butter, banana cloud cake, and the list goes on! Today we are so excited to share this easy zucchini and brown rice gratin from her book that has graced our kitchen twice this week and has already become one of our new favorite dinners.
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!
When we are not cooking, we love to hike when the weather is not too hot. There are many beautiful places to choose from around the Los Angeles area, and you don’t have to travel too far to escape the city. We can drive fifteen minutes outside of town, and find ourselves on private, serene trails lined with ancient oak trees, with sounds of running streams and fresh scents of sweet California sage filling the air. Some of our favorite spots are in Ventura, about an hour north of here, where the temperatures are cooler and long, winding trails overlook the Pacific ocean. Lately, since it has been way too hot for any of these activities, we have been busy at home working on new recipes for the blog. We have narrowed our list, picked the best of the best, and couldn’t be more excited to share this year’s Thanksgiving ideas with you. Allow us to start with number one: wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and emmentaler.
We are so lucky to be living in a time when you can take an old-fashioned recipe, update it with healthier ingredients, and make it just as good or better than the original. While tater tots are a popular classic, they are usually fried and not the most nutritious snack in the world. So when we were looking online for tasty alternatives and stumbled upon this crowd-pleaser, it wasn’t long before we were buying the simple ingredients and trying it for ourselves. Made with fresh tender broccoli and seasoned with a hint of lemon and chives, these crispy tots have pockets of melted cheddar cheese in every bite. They are incredibly addictive, but since they are good for you and high in vitamins, you can have as many as you like!