Monday was National Margarita Day. We don’t know who comes up with these random food holidays or how they get started, but somehow, we seem to hear about them the day they happen. Our schedules are fairly flexible so it keeps things exciting for us when these culinary affairs unexpectedly appear. A few weeks ago, we were in the kitchen about to make vegetarian matzo ball soup for the blog, when we realized everyone online was posting about National Chocolate Cake Day. You can’t ignore a sweet holiday like that, so we followed our instincts, baked a cake instead, and made the soup the following day. And how can you pass up an opportunity to start off your week making delicious margaritas first thing on a Monday morning?! Sure, it may have been 8am, but it was 5 o’clock somewhere plus it was Washington’s birthday, so we had to raise a glass to honor the father of our country, even if we hadn’t had our breakfast yet. And as appropriate as cherry margaritas would have been to recognize his 282nd, another idea blossomed. One of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, Cacao Mexicatessen, makes the best margaritas, and we thought if there was one recipe we’d like to make, it would be theirs. Even though they are closed on Mondays, we crossed our fingers and sent them a message on Instagram asking if they would be willing to share their recipe with us. Not only did they immediately respond on their day off, but were gracious enough to email us the recipe and said we would be welcome to post it on our website. So in celebration of this momentous holiday, as well as a belated toast to our first president, we thank Cacao, and nobly introduce you to these most-delicious jalapeño-cucumber margaritas.
Cooking with seasonal vegetables is fun and rewarding. In the summertime, we love growing tomatoes and basil in our garden. All year long, we look forward to walking outside and eating sweet juicy tomatoes right off the vine, still warm from the sun. Last summer, we made a burst tomato galette with homegrown sungold tomatoes, and it was so unbelievably sweet, tangy, and delicious that we are still dreaming about it six months later. As temperatures drop in autumn (relatively speaking, this is LA after all!), we begin finding fall fruits like crisp apples and pears at the farmers market, along with cool-weather greens like kale and peppery arugula. In the springtime, southern California is at its most colorful, with plants and trees in full bloom, and we celebrate with fresh, sweet asparagus and artichokes, and ruby-red strawberries for dessert. But here we are, snuggling up in warm blankets, sitting by the fire, in the middle of winter, at the peak of cauliflower season. These cream-colored, delicately-flavored vegetables are at their best in winter, and have always been one of our favorites. In this appetizing soup, fresh seasonal cauliflower is combined with sautéed onions, sweet carrots, and blended with aromatic herbs and spices like coriander, cumin, cilantro, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes, to make a delicious, creamy, and comforting bowl of soup that will keep you warm and cozy until spring arrives.
One of our favorite places to eat in Los Angeles is Western Doma Noodles, a quaint little Korean restaurant located in a tiny strip mall in the middle of Koreatown run by Baik, the sweetest lady in the world who makes everyone feel welcome. Although she doesn’t speak much English, she greets us every time with a warm smile and remembers that we are both vegetarian. It’s a special place for us. We had a lovely meal there for Ryan’s birthday in November before seeing the touring production of Beauty And The Beast at the Pantages. We always order the bibimbap, a signature Korean dish of seasoned vegetables served atop a sizzling-hot stone bowl of white rice topped with an egg and mixed with a generous spoonful of spicy chili paste. One of the best parts of Korean cuisine is the delicious banchan, small side dishes set in the middle of the table for everyone to share. Baik is so considerate and brings us an assorted vegetarian selection that is slightly different each time we visit. There are usually at least ten dishes to sample including Korean-style potato salad, steamed and marinated vegetables, pickled cucumbers and radishes, sautéed tofu, seasoned seaweed, and of course kimchi, an essential banchan for a traditional Korean meal. We were recently discussing fermented foods with our dear friend Christine at Yommme, and she mentioned to us that she had a delicious recipe for vegetarian kimchi that was easy to make. We fell in love with her roasted tandoori cauliflower that we wrote about in November, so we were eager to give this a try. We just made our first batch last week, and from the very first taste it was clear: this is, without question, the best kimchi we have ever had!
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!
Not only are these some of the best burgers we’ve ever tasted, but they are fun to make and are guaranteed to fill your kitchen with the warm and enticing fragrances of southeast Asia. The bold flavors of garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper mix with an irresistible blend of aromatic spices in a peanut-lime carrot foundation to create a burger that is deeply satisfying for your senses and your appetite.