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.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This is going to be a short post. We wanted to share something super quick and easy that you could whip up today in no time at all. This rich and creamy shake is dreamy and delicious and takes less than five minutes to prepare. It is cool, minty, and tastes like a decadent dessert, but in fact it is made without any ice cream, and the vibrant green comes from all-natural ingredients—not a drop of food coloring to be found! Made with frozen bananas, honey, vanilla, and almond milk, all the ingredients are mixed in a blender with fresh mint leaves and a splash of mint extract for an extra lift. The beautiful green color comes from matcha and spirulina which also give this smooth drink a slight pick-me-up as well as a boost of nutrients! This refreshing treat was inspired by today’s holiday, but this minty matcha made in heaven shake will be enjoyed throughout the year. Whipped cream is optional, but highly encouraged. Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
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Matcha Made in Heaven Shake
2 bananas, sliced and frozen (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups almond milk
8 large mint leaves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (see note)
1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder (see note)
1/8 teaspoon mint extract
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
whipped cream (optional)
Combine the frozen bananas, milk, mint leaves, vanilla, matcha, spirulina, mint extract and 1 tablespoon of honey in a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and add more honey as needed. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of matcha powder, if desired. Enjoy!
— To freeze the bananas, slice them and place the slices in a resealable plastic bag in a single layer, then lay the bag flat in the freezer until frozen.
— Matcha and spirulina powders can be found in natural food stores, and both are available online.
— To make this vegan, replace the honey with agave syrup or other vegan sweetener.
One of the first recipes we posted on Husbands that Cook was Thai carrot burgers: tender, juicy patties filled with fresh grated carrots and aromatic spices mixed in a tangy peanut-lime sauce spiked with sautéed garlic, ginger, and handfuls of chopped cilantro. We have been making these zesty and spicy burgers for years, and it always been one of our favorite recipes to prepare, not only because they are delicious, but because they fill the house with the fragrance of fresh herbs and spices as you cook. That wonderful Thai-inspired creation was adapted from Lukas Volger’s Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, and we were thrilled to learn that he just released a new cookbook last week called Bowl. It is beautifully designed and filled with creative one-dish vegetarian recipes for ramen, pho, bibimbap, and dumplings, as well as gorgeous photography and helpful techniques like how to make ramen noodles and potstickers at home. It was difficult to choose which one to make first, but this kimchi fried rice bowl with quick cucumber pickles immediately caught our attention, since we recently made a batch of kimchi and posted a recipe here just a few weeks ago!
It is a magical time of year in Southern California. The skies are clear and a brilliant blue from the recent rains, the temperatures are comfortable, and in the evenings the sweet scent of jasmine fills the air. Vibrant wildflowers paint the neighborhoods with their beautiful Spring blooms, multi-colored bougainvillea vines illuminate the hills with deep pinks and purples, and the deciduous plum trees that were bare throughout the winter are now covered in white flowers and buzzing with honey bees. We have been taking advantage of this pleasant weather, spending more time outside, and enjoying working in the garden. This weekend, we had a backyard brunch party with ten of our friends; a potluck feast of crisp salads, spring berries, handcrafted cocktails from our mixologist friend Al who introduced us to the light and bubbly Mid-Morning Fizz, and the centerpiece was a double batch of our shakshuka with crusty baguettes for dipping into the hearty sauce. There’s something special about sharing a meal outdoors with friends and family, and this is the time of year to do it before it starts to get too hot. Love is in the air, spring has arrived, and so has asparagus, whose tender shoots are one of the first spring vegetables to appear after the snows of winter. This delicious and comforting soup highlights this seasonal vegetable with simple ingredients that allow the fresh, sweet flavor of just-picked asparagus to truly shine.
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.