Q&A with Huckle & Goose

Q&A with Huckle & Goose

Sep 28, 2015 by Christine & Anca

Who’s Huckle and who’s Goose?

This is the real meaning behind our name, but when people started asking us that, we obliged in assigning ourselves the names. Christine is Huckle (right in the very top photo), Anca is Goose (left).

What does Huckle & Goose mean to you?

Anca: It means enjoying food without too much fuss. It means eating dinner together. And it means having my home (mostly kitchen) open to friends and family each week.

Christine: It means being the best version of myself and creating memories more often. When I know what I’m eating and I don’t have to make mad dashes to the store for missing ingredients every other day, life just falls into place a little better. I’m way less overwhelmed and way more patient. That extremely essential part of life—eating three times a day—is on autopilot, yet it’s going to be awesome. Anyone can drop by for dinner unexpected too!

Take us through your meal planning and shopping process for the week.

Anca: Thursday night I look through the fridge to see what veggies were left behind that week. I write them down, then look in my cabinets to see what pantry staples are low. So if there’s a zucchini and I see I have couscous, I’ll start thinking of ways to make a meal. Fridays are reserved for family movie night and I let the boys choose dinner. Usually it’s popcorn chicken or ribs, and cake. Then I know I’ll be making brunch on the weekend and mostly vegetarian meals for the rest of the week.

Friday morning after dropping off my boys to school I go to the farmers’ market and stock up for the week. After that I’ll go to Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods for any remaining items—usually dried beans, flour, canned tomatoes, wine, etc. Because I live in the city, I usually get this stuff delivered to my apartment since there’s no way I’m lugging six bags home.

At home I do my Friday fridge-clean and pantry re-organization and wash the greens for the week. I love an organized pantry and fridge so this sort of thing makes me very happy. Once everything is put away I sometimes start Friday night dinner prep early because we usually have friends coming over later.

Christine: CSA-pickup day is Thursday night—greens are washed and stored right away, then I take fridge inventory. This works wonders for ensuring no one puts beets in the fridge corner and forgets about them. (Before H&G, I would do either the market or a CSA, but since I need more veggies for recipe testing, I do both now.)

Saturday morning I swing by the market with my little ones in tow for “help”, buy a few additional things that look good (+ eggs, meat, cheese), and add more recipes to the plan with those ingredients right there on my phone, checking things off on the shopping list. I always add 6 dinners and 6 breakfasts, a dessert and cocktail—lunch is leftovers and I leave a little room for eating out or making a clean-out-the-fridge meal (usually a frittata).

For the grocery items left on the shopping list—when I used to live in DC, I’d get them delivered with Instacart, but now I try to go to Whole Foods right after the market. If the pantry doesn’t need an immediate restock, I postpone until Sunday or Monday. By the following Friday night everything should be crossed off and the fridge should be nearly bare except for the staples.

What is your go-to pantry meal when you’re in a time crunch?

Anca: Depends on the season, but red lentil soup is a staple pretty much year-round. It’s accidentally vegan and so delicious; my boys request it almost weekly during the winter.

Christine: The egg taco. It first happened on a Thursday night. The fridge is usually about bare that time of the week and all we had was this fancy, barrel-fermented tomatillo salsa from Number One Sons (it. is. divine.), eggs, pepper jack cheese, and tortillas. Now I keep all these things on hand at all times. Recipe coming soon!

When you fall into a cooking rut, what pulls you out?

Anca: Going out to eat at a restaurant (‘cause we all need a break) and being inspired by the menu. I also have a ton of cookbooks and it’s never hard to find new recipes to try.

Christine: Yes! Restaurants and cookbooks for me too. Going to the market weekly keeps me from falling into ruts as often as I used to—when you buy the most beautiful [insert fruit or veggie] you’ve ever seen you make it your mission to find its highest-recipe-calling.

What’s your least favorite part about cooking?

Anca: Washing greens and doing dishes.

Christine: Especially during warm-weather months, I used to resent cooking because it was time I wasn’t spending outside or doing something else. But armed with really fast (still thoughtful) recipes, I learned to find joy in the routine and the steady rhythmic hum it creates for the week. More often than not, I’d still rather be reading a book, but the end result is worth it.

What’s been your favorite H&G weekend gathering and why?

Anca: I’m a huge Mexican food fan so our Cinco de Mayo plan was perfect for me. I can cook, but have zero DIY decor skills, but at Huckle & Goose we try to find super simple ideas that anyone (including me) can do. We link to extra ideas to really make hosting fun. The whole menu was from Tacolicious + our pitcher margarita and the playlist was hilarious.

Christine: This is a tough one—every week I think they get more fun. For St. Patty’s this year it was such a simple menu—call your friends over for rueben sandwiches with awesome sauce, vegan Baileys (better than the original, you guys), and a Guinness cake. There was this playlist… and a Riverdance-off…

What’s your home base farmers’ market?

Anca: Union Square Greenmarket. Even with a list, I always come back with more things than I can carry home. It’s especially fun when the subway is packed and I have greens coming out of my tote smacking people in the face.

Christine: It used to be in Mount Pleasant, DC (Oh, how I miss this little market) and the Dupont Circle one during the winter months, but now that we moved out to the country, it’s in Leesburg, Virginia.

How do you like your eggs?

Anca: Scrambled, but runny—never ever rubbery. With butter and chives.

Christine: Sunny side up, fried in olive oil. The yolk ever-so-slightly runny. And many shakes of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. Buttered toast on the side (+ sliced tomatoes in summer).

I’m not a ______ person, but I learned to love it because of this recipe…

Anca: Rhubarb—but our rustic cornmeal cake with rhubarb made me into a rhubarb lover overnight.

Christine: Beets— beet and barley bowl with dill dressing and smoke-infused beetroot spread are da bomb.

What makes you really want to be in your kitchen?

Anca: I love being in the kitchen mostly because I love to eat. But I also love the process. I almost always have music playing and my favorite part of cooking is having my boys come from their bedroom and ask me what I’m making. Sometimes they do their homework while I’m chopping so it’s very easy to get them to snack on a few raw veggies. But mostly it’s been a way to process the day for me. I cook to celebrate, I cook to comfort, and I always use cooking as a way to connect with family and friends.

Christine: Music and a good cocktail, please. Clean countertops and floors are a must for me, otherwise I can’t deal. Everywhere else in the house can be a disaster, but the kitchen must be sparkling. And when I hear my 3-year-old say in his little voice, “Oh, Mama, thank you so much for making this for me.” That kind of makes me want to be in the kitchen too.

Describe your eat-style in 5 words or less.

Anca: Eat anything, but in moderation.

Christine: Colorful and simple.

What’s your favorite thing to eat at Anca’s house?/Christine’s house?

Anca: Man, picking one is not easy. I love Christine’s salads but her kale and crispy chickpea one is by far my favorite. Also, a split pea soup that was so good I think I had 4 servings in one sitting. She is also the family mixologist when we’re all together. Mostly ‘cause I’m always saying, “Mama needs a drank.”

Christine: Anca tends to turn things I previously thought were incredibly gross into things I can’t stop craving. Like her meatloaf (awful cafeteria food, right? wrong apparently). And then I go to sleep realizing that tomorrow there will be broiled meatloaf sandwiches with jalapeños and cheese for lunch. Ok, now I must have this. BRB—booking my bus ticket to New York.

All photos by photographer extraordinaire Mircea Brânda.