I (Adam) remember the day we brought home the new 1977 Cadillac Seville. With a stylish light tan exterior and a dark brown top, it had more space for the family, the beige leather seats were soft and comfortable, it boasted automatic locks and windows, it was our first car with air conditioning, and best of all it had a fancy 8-track cassette deck. I still clearly remember the music collection that my parents kept in that car: there was a bright blue Barry Manilow Live cassette that I would obsessively sing along with until I lost my voice or until my parents couldn’t take it anymore and asked me to stop. My mom worked in real estate, and this was the new luxury car for showing clients around town, an impressive replacement for the dark blue ’65 Volkswagen bug that she had been driving since her 16th birthday. Despite its classy appearance, the Cadillac ended up having lots of problems over the years. When I was fourteen, it caught fire one night as we were driving home through Topanga Canyon. The engine started to make an awful sound, and when I looked out the window, flames were shooting out from the sides of the car. We immediately pulled over, and ran as far away as we could. There we stood, helpless, on the side of the road in the middle of the dark canyon, waiting for the car to explode.
At Thanksgiving, we gather around the table with close friends and family to acknowledge everything we have to be grateful for. And every year somebody mentions that it should become a daily tradition, but somehow it never happens, just like those impractical New Year’s resolutions that slowly fade in the first few weeks of January. The healthy diet goals and daily trips to the gym you envision for yourself in those cold, hopeful, wintry months have now become treating yourself to that extra slice of cake and sipping on bourbon chocolate milkshakes by the pool. But you know what? That’s okay! We are not meant to set up these impossibly strict constraints for ourselves, holding our souls prisoner and preventing us from enjoying the beautiful and sweet things that life has to offer. Balance is the secret, and to approach everything with moderation is key. Of course, there are certain times when this is more difficult than others—and some people handle it better than others. For those of you that have trouble with moderation, especially when it comes to fun and adorable mini-burgers, we have to warn you that reading this post will only tempt you and make you hungry because these fried zucchini sliders that we are sharing today from Jonathan Melendez’s new book The Slider Effect are incredibly delicious and dangerously addictive. Proceed with extreme caution.
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.
We have made this burst tomato galette with corn and zucchini from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen site three times this month and have loved it every time. The first one was made using freshly-picked sungold tomatoes from our garden, and when this beautiful pastry emerged sizzling and fragrant from the oven and we tasted it, we knew it had to be featured on our blog as soon as possible. So we were happy to prepare it again, this time to take pictures. Well, the dish turned out perfectly, but a few of the photos weren’t quite up to our standards… so we made it again!
We love lemons. They are used so often in our kitchen that we always try to have some on hand. Their tangy flavor can add zing to so many foods, brightening and enhancing a variety of dishes. A splash of lemon can be the perfect final touch, elevating other ingredients with its lively kick. However, when you feature lemons, like in this recipe, combining them with garlic and fresh herbs, they have their chance to truly shine. This delicious pasta, bursting with flavor, yet simple enough for a weeknight dinner, has quickly become one of our favorite meals.