With Valentine’s Day approaching, we’re spotlighting real couples who cook together, from our book Two in the Kitchen. Here, they share their tricks, first-hand experience and entertaining know-how gained from time shared in the kitchen.
As the co-owners of Ideas in Food — a book, a blog, and a consulting business based in Levittown, PA — Aki and Alex offer chefs and other food professionals tailored workshops on modern culinary techniques, photography and writing.
What is your approach to entertaining?
Relaxed. We want to be able to enjoy our guests and the process of feeding them a good meal. We often play country music while cooking because it keeps us moving in the kitchen.
What’s your go-to hors d’oeuvre for company?
Jalapeno poppers. We learned our version from a woman who worked for us in Colorado. We split open whole jalapenos, stuff them with a blend of cream cheese and mozzarella, wrap them in bacon, and bake them at high heat until crisp, tender and gooey.
How do you maintain kitchen bliss?
As for help when you need it. It’s easy to fall into a rhythm and assume the other person knows what you’re thinking, but even after years together we still manage to surprise each other. Communication is the key.
Any holiday meal fiascos?
One year Alex put dill in the Thanksgiving stuffing. Let’s just say he never did that again. Another year we made a sheet of homemade marshmallows for the sweet potato casserole. It was on the top rack of the oven, stuck to the heating element and turned black. Fortunately we had a backup sheet.
What are your favorite comfort foods?
Aki: Angel hair pasta with butter and cheese, a childhood favorite.
Alex: A good cheeseburger.
Adaptability. Working in professional kitchens, you learn to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. We can easily change our menu if we can’t find an ingredient or disaster strikes in the kitchen.
Find more advice and recipes for cooking together in our book Two in the Kitchen.