Last week we hiked to Hermit Falls. This scenic 2 1/2 mile adventure through the forested canyons above Monrovia is one of our favorite places in Los Angeles. With majestic views of the San Gabriel Mountains, we walked through emerald fern-lined paths, winding our way through shady oaks, carefully crossing over several running streams before reaching the thirty foot waterfall at the end of the trail. The lush setting felt more like Kauai than Southern California. Here we were, high above the city, away from the noise, trying to work off the massive amounts of apple cider snickerdoodles and chocolate peppermint parfaits that were consumed during the holidays. And in those ancient hills—still sparkling like diamonds from the recent rains—the idea for this magical creation was conceived as we hiked along the babbling creek. We tested it for dinner as soon as we got home, and from the first blissful bite it was clear: they are hands down some of the best burgers we’ve tried.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The crispiest tofu is sweeping the land! Say goodbye to soft, flavorless, boring tofu and brace yourselves for its superior successor. Our talented and dear friend Emma K. Morris worked some serious magic to create this newsworthy recipe, and was kind enough to share her secrets with us. Like many people, Emma’s dad didn’t like tofu, but she was convinced that she could come up with a recipe that would change his mind. She rolled up her sleeves, began researching and testing, tasting and retesting, determined to find a way to transform this bland white brick of coagulated soy milk into something that everyone will love. If you set your mind to something, you can accomplish anything—even the impossible—and that is exactly what she did. And her method is pure genius.
We just opened the windows in the house. All day long, the air conditioning has been working to keep out the dry November heat. It feels like we haven’t had a solid rain in years, and our jade plants that are usually plump and deep forest green are now wrinkled and starting to fall over. But as the windows let in the cool afternoon air, a comfortable breeze gently graces the house; outside, birds are chirping, discussing their evening plans in this last hour of golden light, while a siren in the distant city sets off packs of coyotes howling in the surrounding hillsides. As their chilling sounds climax, they all stop at once; it is quiet again, and this time the quiet lasts longer, and the house grows darker.
Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. Exactly ten years ago, we exchanged vows in front of 150 of our closest friends and family. It was a special day and a beautiful ceremony unlike any other. We stood under a Jewish chuppah inside a Christian church, married by a gay pastor and a lesbian rabbi. The building was bright and welcoming with high vaulted ceilings and a rainbow flag displayed proudly in front of the church with the words “All are welcome” for everyone to see. We walked down the aisle hand in hand as our friend played “Love” by John Lennon on the grand piano. Under the canopy, the four of us stood in a semi-circle facing the audience, so now every time we think back to November 5th, we can picture everyone’s smiling faces in our memories.
People always ask, do we ever fight in the kitchen? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that we have been together for fifteen years so any disagreements we have quickly disappear. It is difficult to hold a grudge against your husband for dropping a plate of pancakes on the floor, and ridiculous to be arguing about why the shot works better with the blue napkin next to the sliced apples instead of the green napkin. As silly as it may be, conversations like this happen, but even when it’s more serious we always work it out. We also have a great time in the kitchen, especially when things turn out as successfully as they did today with this new recipe. This creamy roasted butternut squash risotto is pure autumn bliss with not a thing to argue about.