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 have met so many wonderful people and bloggers from around the world since launching our site just six months ago. The community is filled with talented home cooks, writers, and photographers that inspire us every day with their creative recipes and entertaining posts. We have learned so much just browsing through all the colorful photos and innovative ideas on Instagram. When we stumbled upon Christine Wong’s photo of this vegetarian Indian entrée on her page, it immediately caught our attention because it was so beautiful, and also because it features one of our favorite vegetables as a “substantial main course.” One of our go-to dishes at Indian restaurants is aloo gobi—tender cauliflower and potatoes simmered in a rich and deliciously spiced sauce—and we are thrilled because now we can duplicate these complex flavors at home!
There are a variety of recipes for deviled eggs to choose from, but the one we are sharing today is a classic from the definitive American cookbook, The Joy of Cooking. This dish has seen countless variations over the years since its humble beginnings in ancient Rome, and now just about every country has its own take on this festive appetizer. You can find the most plain recipes with two or three ingredients as well as modern versions using eclectic flavors like wasabi and pickles. Our deviled eggs use just a few basic ingredients: the golden yolks are combined with fresh parsley and chives, gently blended with tangy dijon mustard, minced shallots, and a spoonful of smooth mayonnaise, then mixed together into an elegantly creamy filling seasoned with a splash of white wine vine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and a pinch of cayenne giving these wicked hors d’oeuvres a devilishly irresistible bite.
Muhammara is a delicious Middle Eastern dip similar to hummus and baba ganoush that will make a perfect addition to your next appetizer platter. Originally from Aleppo, Syria, this somewhat unknown dish is popular in Levantine and Turkish cuisine. We first discovered this tangy spread at Carousel, a local Lebanese restaurant, and immediately fell in love with its smooth, creamy texture and sharp, smoky flavor. We were excited to find an authentic recipe and thrilled when we discovered how easy it was to make this at home. This ancient tradition mixes roasted red peppers with fresh cloves of chopped garlic, toasted walnuts, and a splash of lemon, which is blended with crispy bread crumbs, and seasoned with cumin and red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. This lively mix of flavors is balanced with pomegranate molasses, a thick, tart sauce made from concentrated pomegranate juice which is common in Middle Eastern cooking, that adds a slight sweetness, a zesty pep, and a stunning rusty-red color.
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!