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.
Regardless of this uninvited heatwave here in Los Angeles—yes, it is literally 90 degrees today—we want to believe or at least pretend that it is still winter. Trust us, we are not complaining one bit, but 90 in February is a little extreme, and it would be nice to experience all four seasons equally. We have a dream! Speaking of balance, we dedicated the first half of this month to making cookies, caramels, and sweet Valentine’s Day desserts, so today we are honoring the yang to our yin and sharing a delicious risotto recipe, adapted from one of our favorite cookbooks, The Veganomicon. And since it is still technically February, asparagus season has officially begun and it is the perfect time to start making some meals with it! This creamy risotto highlights this healthy winter vegetable in the most flavorful way possible: sautéed asparagus tips are cooked separately until golden and crispy while the remainder is sliced and cooked gently with Thai basil, fresh mint leaves, loads of shallots and seasoned with chopped garlic and a spicy serrano pepper for heat. The risotto is simmered with a fragrant homemade broth filled with fresh lemongrass, ginger, crushed garlic, and soy sauce. Even though Mother Nature has hastily decided to pour a glass of Sangria, start eating ice cream bars, and sport a bikini, we are going to sit here patiently and enjoy one of our favorite dishes as though it was winter.
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.
When you bring a cold salad to a potluck and it is the first thing to disappear, you know you have a winning recipe. We first made this crowd-pleaser for a tropical-themed party a few years ago, and it has been our go-to salad ever since. Loaded with fresh red and yellow bell peppers, sliced green scallions, black beans and rice, and seasoned with a zesty cuban-inspired dressing made with dijon mustard, minced garlic, and spices, this delicious and festive dish is a kaleidoscope of bright colors and summer flavors.
Homemade risotto is the ultimate Italian comfort food. This bright, flavorful dish is surprisingly simple to make, and can be enjoyed any time of year. The price of risotto at many restaurants would seem to suggest that it is difficult or time-consuming, but in fact it is quite easy and does not take long at all. This delicious risotto combines fresh golden carrots with tangy feta cheese, stirred gently with sharp flavors of minced garlic, lemon, fragrant dill, and white wine. And since it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare, it is the perfect weeknight dinner.