Husbands That Cook
On Husbands That Cook, Adam and Ryan share quick and easy vegetarian meals, drinks and snacks, their favorite dishes from around the world, and everything from decadent desserts to healthy vegan options. They try to make their recipes as accessible as possible so everyone can confidently follow along and have fun with it.
I am so excited to have Adam Merrin and Ryan Alvarez of Husbands That Cook joining me here on the show today.
(*All photos below are Adam and Ryan’s.)
On Cooking as a Team:
Adam: I’ve learned so much from Ryan because, obviously, he has a lot more experience than I do, but he was the one that got me so excited about it and made it seem so fun. And so, it’s great to be able to do it together.
Ryan: And then for me, even though Adam may be not as experienced in the kitchen, doesn’t know all the techniques or whatever, but his taste is really, really good, so he always knows what to add to a dish or what to take away to make it even better.
He’s amazing with coming up with ideas for dishes, like, “What if we did a cake with this and that and this?” So he’ll come up with these great ideas. So, we make a good team that way. Maybe I might have a bit more of the experience in the kitchen, just kind of practical skills, he has this amazing internal sense of food. I think that we make a good team.
Adam: I feel like it’s helpful for the blog too, because, at least for me, the one with less experience, I make sure that the details and the recipes are written clearly so for beginning cooks that have never done this before, they can follow along with us. I like to approach it like people are going to be doing this for the first time. I think of my friends who don’t cook and who don’t have much experience in the kitchen. I feel like we’re talking to them, kind of walking them along through it so anybody could do it.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. Because I’ve been cooking for longer, sometimes something that’s second nature to me or I think, “Well, everyone knows how to do this,” Adam might say, “Actually, I think we should explain this a little more clearly. Let’s try to make this a little more accessible.” I feel like we definitely make a good team in that sense, too.
On Being Vegetarian:
Ryan: I think, for both of us, we’ve been vegetarian for so long. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 16 years, and Adam, over 20, so I feel like at this point we’re so comfortable with cooking vegetarian. I maybe cooked a little bit of meat when I was a teenager, but I honestly barely remember how to do it.
Honestly, if somebody handed me a steak, I don’t know if I could cook it correctly, just because it’s been so long. At this point, it’s just kind of second nature. Just all the great vegetarian recipes out there, there’s so much to choose from.
Ryan: I feel like, with a lot of foods that have meat in them, a lot of times it isn’t necessarily about the meat itself, it’s more about the sauce or the flavors and the spices that go with it. So for some dishes, say like a pasta sauce, it can be very easy to take out the meat because you’re using herbs and spices and all those flavors that you get other ways besides the meat.
Whereas, of course, obviously it’s hard to make a vegetarian version of steak tartare, things like that. For a lot of things, I feel like you can get so much flavor other ways besides just from meat that it actually forces you to be creative and look at dishes in a new way.
I think part of it too is, if people think of vegetarian food as a replacement for meat, I think that’s where you can get those expectations. But if you think about a spaghetti marinara sauce, that’s vegetarian food. You wouldn’t necessarily think about it, you wouldn’t think, “Well, spaghetti marinara is vegetarian,” but it is.
It’s naturally vegetarian. So that’s one of those things where if I serve a pasta dinner to somebody, they’re not going to be thinking, “Wait, there’s no meat in this.” Theoretically, hopefully, they’ll just be thinking how delicious it is and they won’t even notice the fact that there’s no meat present.
On Cuban Food:
Ryan: Traditional Cuban cuisine has lots of flavor, they use lots of garlic. It is pretty meat-heavy in general, so a lot of the Cuban foods that I grew up with I no longer eat. But there are so many that we still do. Just black beans and rice with peppers and onions and spices. We have a dish on our website for yuca. It’s a root vegetable.
It’s also called cassava in English. But it’s just loaded with garlic and vinegar and olive oil. It’s just a lot of really bold flavors. We did a plantain recipe recently. I had the fried plantains, tostones, that are delicious. It’s kind of a mix of things, but it’s all very tropical flavors, a lot of garlic, a lot of bright flavors. Vinegars and peppers and things like that, and mangos. It’s delicious food. I love it.
Adam: So, the yuca con mojo recipe that we have on our website uses 30 cloves of garlic, just a little olive oil and salt and vinegar, and it is poured over the yuca, which is very similar to potatoes. But if you were going to try one thing first, I would say to experiment with that one. It’s so delicious.
The Pressure Cooker:
Which food shows or cooking shows do you watch?
Ryan: There’s one called Cutthroat Kitchen that we really like. It’s a super fun game show where they have to compete, cook using crazy challenges, handicaps that they have to get assigned. It’s very fun and very exciting.
What are some food blogs or food websites we have to know about?
Adam: I love Cravings in Amsterdam. It’s Paola, and she takes incredible pictures and styles her dishes so beautifully. It’s cravingsinamsterdam.com.
Who do you follow on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat that make you happy?
Adam: On Snapchat, we really have been having so much fun following so many people. There’s a friend who’s a blogger we met named Asha, who has a wonderful blog called, Food Fashion Party. She cooks Indian food most of the time, and gorgeous, delicious appetizing dishes.
It’s really been fun to now see more than just the photographs that she posts on Instagram, where you can see her cooking in her kitchen and explaining how she makes things and cooking with her family. Every morning, she posts a smoothie. She has a very calming, relaxing voice that’s pleasant to listen to.
What is the most unusual or treasured item in your kitchen?
Ryan: Well, actually, like I mentioned before, remember how I said about how we’re waiting to post the flan recipe until we had a specific kind of double boiler?
I have a double boiler in my kitchen from my grandmother, that she used to make flan, and I still use it to make flan. So it is a well-loved and well-used piece of equipment.
Name one ingredient you used to dislike but now you love.
Ryan: Oh my gosh, there’s actually a lot for me. When I was a kid, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, everything, and now I love them all.
Adam: I used to not like beets, and now they’re one of my favorites. I had some today.
What are a few cookbooks that make your life better?
Ryan: One of them, honestly, that has been so great is The Clever Cookbook by Emilie Raffa. It just came out. I know a lot of cookbooks will say that they’re full of timesaving tips and ways to get ahead in the kitchen, but truly, honestly hers really, really is.
It has changed the way that we cook certain things. Like, brown rice takes forever to cook, right? It takes like 45 minutes, but she has this great suggestion to pre-make it and just keep it in your fridge in small containers. That way, whenever you want brown rice, you just open up the freezer and dump it out, and it’s ready. So, stuff like that is so helpful, and her book is great.
Ryan: The Joy of Cooking is like a cooking Bible. It’s been in my mom’s kitchen her whole life, it’s been in my kitchen my whole life.
Adam: The recipes are so good.
Ryan: So good, and just so many. If you need to know how to boil an egg, open up The Joy of Cooking. It’ll tell you how to do it. They’re great.
What song or album just makes you want to cook?
Adam: Whenever we cook Cuban food, we put on the Buena Vista Social Club. And actually, whenever we do cuisine from other countries, we try to…
Ryan: Match the music to the cuisine. So if we’re cooking an Italian dinner, we’ll put on some Venetian boat singing or whatever. Or if we’re cooking Indian, we’ll put on some cool Indian music, some Bollywood stuff. We have fun with it.
On Keeping Posted with Adam and Ryan:
Adam: Our blog, it’s HusbandsThatCook.com. We update it about twice a week with recipes, like you said, desserts, dinners, appetizers, drinks.
Ryan: And then on our website, HusbandsThatCook.com, you’ll see links to all of our stuff. We’re super active on Instagram, we’re Husbands That Cook. You can find our Snapchat, we’re Husbands Cook. But all the links to all that is on our website.