Last Wednesday we were Husbands That Hike. Traci York, the talented woman behind Vanilla and Bean, invited us to participate in a campaign where bloggers all over the country would post nature photos on Earth Day to help spread awareness about the sale of public lands to private companies. For our contribution, we made plans to take pictures at Point Mugu State Park in Malibu, one our favorite spots in Southern California. Just over an hour’s drive, we wound through canyons and zipped through tunnels, finally arriving at the vista where your breath is taken away by the spectacular greeting of the Pacific Ocean. Adam’s brother Josh rode with us, and the windows were rolled down as we cruised along Pacific Coast Highway, finally arriving at the Ray Miller Trail. The three of us trekked over eleven miles through the beautiful Santa Monica mountains surrounded by wildflowers that blanketed the hillsides and lined the path with every color of the rainbow. It was a perfect day for a hike with pleasant temperatures, cool breezes, and ocean views nearly the entire time. On the way to the park, we picked up sandwiches from a local Italian deli for our lunch on the trail, but next time… we’re packing these babies. This outstanding recipe is from Lily Diamond’s new cookbook Kale & Caramel, so turn on the oven, and let us all say its glorious title together: burrata artichoke tartines with roasted lemon mint pesto!
Looking for a refreshing cocktail to make for your next brunch party? We’ve got you covered. This delightful beverage was introduced to us by our mixologist friend Al who made it for a backyard breakfast party we threw at our house last month. Ryan and a few friends spent the past year organizing an elaborate reunion celebration for his college acapella group, The SoCal VoCals. With over 100 guests, gourmet food trucks, custom craft cocktails, and live musical performances, the party was a huge success. And on this beautiful Sunday morning we celebrated their hard work over a relaxing brunch. We prepared a double batch of our Winter Shakshuka for the main course, other friends brought tasty dishes to the potluck, and this sociable drink was the perfect light accompaniment to all the delicious home-cooked food that was spread out on the table. Made with crisp cold navy strength gin, vibrant green chartreuse, fresh lemon juice, sparkling soda water, and garnished with a slice of orange, this effervescent cocktail is sunshine in a glass.
We have been looking forward to this week for a long time. Our ten-year old niece, Stella is flying down from Portland to stay with us! While one of the days will be spent at the happiest place on earth with thunderous mountains, Caribbean pirates and fantasy lands, we were also excited by her request to garden and cook with us, specifically matzo ball soup which she has never tried before. Now is the perfect time of year to be outdoors and to start planting seeds like tomatoes and basil, so we can’t wait to spend time gardening together in this pleasant sunshiny weather. When coming up with fun activities to do while she is here, we couldn’t help but also pick out a few delicious meals that we could prepare during her first solo California vacation. Pancakes quickly made the top of our list for breakfasts, and as we were looking up our favorite recipe in the Joy of Cooking, we noticed a lemon poppyseed version on the same page. Our impulsive curiosity led us to test these out for dinner the other night, and we were richly rewarded with a stack of hot golden pancakes—soft, fluffy, lush with lemon flavor, speckled with poppy seeds, and topped with a generous swirl of sweet honey butter. Breakfast for dinner never tasted so good.
This past weekend we welcomed December with a truly epic winter holiday drink. Kevin Masse posted a recipe on the feedfeed for a double chocolate bourbon milkshake with peppermint bark, and it turned out to be just as amazing as it sounds. We shared a photo of this festive drink on our Instagram page, so be sure to follow us there so you stay up to date with all our posts! In between sipping these wintry milkshakes, we also managed to fit in some recipe testing to mixed results. We tried making a jambalaya which took over three hours, and a kale risotto, but both turned out to be a lot of work with very little payoff. Thankfully, our third contestant was a clear winner: a delicious pasta, with more flavor than the jambalaya and kale risotto combined, that comes together quickly in under 30 minutes. During this holiday season, amidst all the sweet cakes, cookies, and kugels, this simple and light meal is a breath of fresh air.
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.