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Grace Dickinson

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

It’s been a bit of surprise to see corn so largely displayed and promoted in the grocery store as of recently. It’s definitely a bit early for the local season, but I caught the summer bug and have succumbed to buying it on more than one occasion.

There’s something about these early 90-degree days in June that has been keeping summer on my mind, along with a menu of eats that match.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This dish was also inspired by a recent purchase of basil that I’ve planted in my backyard Philly garden. It looks as though I’ll never reap a large enough harvest for pesto, but my potted plants are, for now, yielding enough herbs for dishes like this. Score.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This is a light and refreshing meal, perfect for a midday lunch on a warm day. It’s nourishing and certainly not the kind of dish that’ll weigh you down as those hot temps takeover.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Don’t skimp out on the quality of olive oil that you use and be sure to reach for fresh (vs. dried) basil here, as both add a lot to the delicate complexity of flavors here.

However, if you want to get playful, feel free to switch up the nuts, and work with pine nuts or pistachios or something else that might sound fun to you.

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Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

The blog is undergoing a sweet potato takeover.

Here goes the third recipe in a row, although, this time it’s not breakfast-oriented but rather an awesome lunch or dinner option…That just so happens to be vegan and gluten-free.

High five to my favorite kind of tuber.
Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

With warmer and warmer days quickly creeping in, there’s only a limited amount of time left where I can justify using sweet potatoes on as many occasions as possible.

Here, I tried to create a winter-meets-spring recipe, mixing hearty sweet potatoes with the summer-like vibes of pizza, arugula and tomatoes.

That’s as good of an excuse as any that I can give you to bake up some sweet potatoes in the middle of June.
Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust
This was my first time experimenting with making a sweet potato crust, and while I was a bit nervous with how it would turn out, I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

My main challenge was determining whether to mix the baked sweet potato with oats or chickpea flour to compose the dough. I make socca — a pizza-like flatbread created simply from chickpea flour and water — all of the time, so it seemed natural to go that route.

However, ultimately, I wanted the dough to be a bit chewier, like actual pizza, versus the more tender consistency of socca, so I decided to pulse some oats and create an oat flour of sorts instead.

Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

The result? An incredibly delicious crust that was surprisingly easy to make.

The crust here is certainly chewier than socca, but I would say a bit softer than a traditional dough. That being said, you can both eat this pizza with a fork, like you might socca, or pick it up with your hands, like you would with pizza.

It’s not too hard to cut through, but it’s also durable enough to do a fold-over and devour as you would a large, triangular slice of ‘za.
Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

I also went with a white sauce for the pizza, which I felt might pair better with the subtle sweetness of the crust and the bitter arugula with which I wanted to compliment it.

While the almond milk bechamel is another step in itself, it relies on just four ingredients, which are whisked to create the sauce in just a handful of minutes.

Vegan Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust

Lastly, let’s talk about the vegan chorizo. I love Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, and a little bit of it goes a long way. However, if that’s not accessible to you, you could easily pan-fry some thinly sliced vegan sausage, instead, or tempeh bacon, or other substitute of your choice. Anything with a hint of spice and smokiness would pair quite well with the crust.

And, of course, the crust could be finished with an entirely different topping combination of your own — feel free to get creative!

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Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

As mentioned in my last post, I’m really getting into using sweet potatoes as a fun way to spice up breakfast.

I hadn’t imagined I’d be posting two sweet potato recipes in a row that are designed for breakfast. But I’m not mad about it. Quite the opposite actually.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

This one comes as a spinoff of one of my good friend’s recipes.

I’m fortunate to have another great food blogger gal pal just a 15-minute bike ride away from my own kitchen headquarters. Emily (from Nourishing Matters) and I do a lot of week night cooking collabs, and I’m always obsessing over her latest creations that she puts up on Instagram.

That being said, it felt like a real treat to try out her Sweet Potato Pancake dish. This was a top candidate on my to-make list for some time.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

I’m happy to report that this recipe is super fun.

Just as I’ve found sweet potatoes to be a great resource for brightening up breakfast, I’ve now found that they act as a great mechanism for jazzing up traditional pancakes, too.

Unfortunately, while I like to pretend I’m still a kid, plain pancakes just don’t cut it for me like they used to. Throw some blueberries in there, and I’m a happy gal. Or oats and bananas. Or anything else that’ll perk that plate of flour up a bit.

If you feel the same about pancakes, try giving sweet potatoes a go.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

While Emily uses tahini, I decided to use Barney’s almond butter here, both within the pancake and for a creamy maple drizzle to add on top.

That almond-maple drizzle now has me dreaming of other uses for the sauce. So good and so easy!

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

These pancakes were pretty easy to make too and are perfect if you have any leftover sweet potatoes on-hand from the night before.

If you don’t, you can simply use the quick steaming method described in the recipe below. It shouldn’t take longer that 15 minutes to get the potatoes to the soft texture needed for the pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

Be sure to slow-cook these pancakes on the griddle. You don’t want to turn the heat all the way up to high, or you’ll end up with blackened exteriors and a far too mushy interior. Patience!

That being said, these are a bit moister (in a good way!) than traditional pancakes, so don’t be alarmed if the inside is a bit soft even after cooking for a handful of minutes on each side. The texture makes the perfect compliment to the crunchy almonds you’ll put on top along with, perhaps, an optional handful of toasted coconut flakes too. After finishing with the maple-almond drizzle, it’s hard to deny this is a super fun treat for breakfast or brunch.

Who’s ready for Sunday morning?

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Breakfast Sweet Potato Boats

Breakfast Sweet Potato Boats

I eat a lot of oatmeal. A lot.

Recently, however, I’ve been striving to switch things up. I’ve been experimenting with other grains, but also with sweet potatoes, my new favorite for adding a little variety to the breakfast table.

Trust me, sweet potatoes needn’t be just for dinner. They’re a real treat when complimented by other sweet flavors (cue bananas & maple syrup) and accented with nuttiness (cue peanut butter & toasted almonds).

Plus, a sweet potato’s natural creaminess isn’t far off from a traditional breakfast porridge, and you can really top it off with many of the same ingredients you might use with oats or other sweet (vs. savory) breakfast bowls.

Beyond the add-ins mentioned above, I utilized cinnamon and coconut flakes, two natural pairings to sweet potatoes. But really the options are endless. You could try pineapple and coconut milk, almond butter and raisins, tahini and cinnamon apples, etc. etc.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Continue Reading…

Spinach and Komatsuna with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

I recently teamed up with my friend Nicole over at Vestige Home to create this fresh and easy spring meal. Nicole makes gorgeous hand-carved wooden creations, like that walnut bowl pictured above.

Photographing food is always ten times easier when you have beautiful dish-ware to work with!

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Inspired by a CSA bounty, we settled on a greens and shiitake saute over this brown rice mix that Nicole picked up from a local New Jersey farm. I had nooo idea that rice could be cultivated on the east coast, let alone right next door to me in New Jersey. Apparently the farm, Bloom Moon Acres, uses a dry farming technique, allowing them to produce rice on a local scale.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

The rice was quite tasty and the perfect nutty and chewy compliment to the tender spinach and mustard that came to top it. I’d recommend using a black rice or a black and brown rice mix yourself if making this recipe.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Both Nicole and I were quite pleased with how quickly and easily this recipe came together. After cooking the rice, you can just about?pull this all together in 10 minutes or so.

That’s one of the perks to working with spinach, which cooks up fast in comparison to other greens, as does the komatsuna.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

What is komatsuna? Komatsuna is a Japanese mustard green with a flavor profile that lays in between spinach and mustard. It’s definitely a bit milder than regular mustard greens.

Most Asian markets should carry it, as will Whole Foods. However, if you can’t find it, you could swap it for mustard greens, but definitely seek out a baby variety so that you don’t end up with something too bitter for the delicate flavors of this dish.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

We chose toasted almonds to top complete the meal, adding a crunch and a subtle nuttiness that wouldn’t overpower the rest of the dish.

To toast, simply heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the almonds. Stirring regularly, cook for 5 minutes or so, until the almonds begin to brown. At this point, you’ll want to remove them from the pan so that they don’t continue to cook and end up burning.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

A squeeze of lemon finishes everything off, drawing out the brightness of all of the ingredients.

Serve among two to three people for a light lunch or share among many (six) as a side. Nicole has some nice serving dishes that can help you with this step…!

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