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nutritional yeast

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

I’ve been cooking quite a bit lately. And blogging…not so much.

Sometimes a girl just needs to let loose in the kitchen, you feel me?

More-so, professional photo work is keeping me busy, and on that note I can’t complain.

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

But alas, my creative kitchen-meets-camera-meets-recipe-curation desires have led me back to the blog. Readers, I hope you’ve stuck with me because this one’s a good one. And by that, I mean its made up of a whole lot of tasty and seasonal ingredients to make one heck of a good-for-you pizza.

For the base, we’re working with socca, a long time favorite on the blog. Why? Because it takes fewer than 15 minutes to create, no kneeding, rolling, whipping or anything else complicated required. Plus, it’s packed full of protein from all the chickpeas that go into the flour behind it. Win.

The pesto is derived from kale. It’s prime season for baby greens, which lend themselves so well to raw usages, like in this flavorful, nutrient-dense spread. I mean, look at the color on that pesto. Also a win.

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

Feel free to play around with this. Add extra chickpeas on top, straight from the can or crisped up in the oven. You could sprinkle a few nuts around or experiment with cheeses, have some fun with a hot sauce of your choice or switch out the herbs for ones available in your own garden or farmer’s market. Get creative. And get hungry. Your appetite never fails in helping you to lead the way. Cheers!

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

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Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

When you’re having a tomato party on your kitchen counters, turn up the heat and bring the celebration to your oven.

Slow. Roasted. Tomatoes.

Three words that equal magnificence. And a guaranteed party for your plated pasta, toast, or pesto.

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

Giving tomatoes a good roast enriches their sweetness and draws out an intensity of flavor that makes them almost feel rich. I love them with a drizzle of olive oil on a piece of crusty bread. I also love them with pesto, again for that sweetness I mentioned, which they’ll bring to the dish.

Roasted Tomatoes

August is a beautiful time, given that you can reap bounties of both tomatoes and basil. Feel free to throw some sauteed zucchini on top of this dish too, or any other harvest you might find from your garden or in your farmer’s market basket. Really though, this dish doesn’t need much else, except maybe a cool glass of white wine and a table al fresco. Enjoy!

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

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Curry Harvest Soup

Curry Harvest Soup

In Philly, sweater weather has official set in. I’m zipping around a little faster on my bike and keeping my jackets zipped up a little higher. All in the name of keeping warm while I watch the leaves turn, fall, and land from their treetop post.

When I set this soup upon the table yesterday evening, I have to say, I was feeling pretty good about autumn. Warm, crusty bread and an Oktoberfest beer paired by its side, it’s safe to say I think you’d feel the same.

Curry Harvest Soup

If you find yourself ever getting the fear-of-winter blues, like me, make soup. Soup is pretty much the solution to everything.

After a crisp, October run, with the sun setting just a wee bit too early, a spoonful of this will assure you, autumn will be more than okay. And for a few warm moments, it’ll make you forget all together about winter.

I call it soup meditation.

It clears the mind. It clears the nose…especially if you put enough curry powder and spice.

Curry Harvest Soup

This particular soup has plenty of spice, although not in a notably fiery way. It remains light given all its vegetables and brothy composure, yet with some of the season’s best – sweet potatoes and kale – has a heartiness that makes it more than satisfying. I find this balance makes it perfect for mid-fall, when you need a little warmth but not a heavy sauna in your bowl.

Curry Harvest Soup

Make sure you don’t skimp out on the toppings. The parsley and nutritional yeast really do wonders to enhance this simple recipe and play off its seasonal freshness.

Curry Harvest Soup

Additionally, feel free to use all sweet potatoes, if feeling so inspired. You can rarely go wrong with an extra sweet potato in the pot.

As for the yellow squash, slightly matured ones, characteristic of this time of year, are fine and maybe even preferred. The heartier flesh pairs well with the other ingredients going on here.

Serve with some earthy bread and a nice fall beer, and you’ve got yourself the perfect evening.

More soup to come soon, guaranteed.

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Cauliflower, Kale, and Lentil Ragout

Cauliflower, Kale, and Lentil Ragout

I’m convinced I live in the best neighborhood in Philadelphia.

My apartment is just blocks away from the Mecca for persimmons by the bucket, 2-for-$1 avocados, and unlimited other cheap produce deals. AKA, the Italian Market. It also happens to be a prime destination for people-watching, which my camera and I enjoy quite often.

Cauliflower

Within this special place is Fante’s, a kitchen storefront with every type of gadget, pot, pan, canning material, etc. that you could ever need. You want an “asparagus steamer”? They’ve got it — along with special asparagus tongs, several kinds of asparagus peelers, and a platter to serve it all on. I  try not to frequent Fante’s because I also try not to let my bank account go underwater.  There’s a Whole Foods up the street that I save for that job.

Yes, just a few blocks in the other direction from my apartment lay two grocery stores. Whole Foods is one of them, and here I’m caught far too often fulfilling all my bulk food needs and trying to keep myself away from the hot bar. Sometimes I’ll nerd out with the Whole Foods employees about black rice and kombucha.

Cauliflower, Kale, and Lentil Ragout

In my ‘hood, Bella Vista, (in Italian, meaning “beautiful sight”), there are two wonderful yoga studios within walking distance, several coffee shops — one of which I’m convinced is in the running for the best iced coffee in the city — and an awesome spot to play late night pool.

On top of it all, it’s within biking distance of nearly every other main neighborhood I frequent in the city.

For me, it’s the place to be in the city, and for some reason I feel the need to write about this as the rain keeps me tucked inside my small apartment on its streets.

If I just had all of my friends here, a garden, a mountain, and a lake out my back door, I’d be set for life. Ha. While Bella Vista is awesome, I think “beautiful sight” by my standards might be a bit of an overstretch.

Kale and lentils

What is undoubtedly a beautiful site, however, is this mighty head of cauliflower I snagged yesterday at the market. And also this piece of fabric I picked up in fabric row, just another couple blocks away. A $2 piece of fabric and a $1.50 cauliflower + a priceless meal = beauty.

I whipped up a huge batch of this so I could freeze some of it for later meals. Feel free to cut the recipe in half if that’s not a project you want to do, or you don’t plan to feed a crowd.

The ragout itself is light, yet hearty, which I love. All of the spices make it feel rich, while its staples — cauliflower, kale, and lentils — keep it light. Top it with Parm or nutritional yeast, and it becomes a meal you could eat all week. What you place underneath is up to you, so you choose the grain/pasta that strikes your mood.

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Quinoa Pizza Crust with Butternut Squash and Tahini Sauce

Quinoa Pizza Crust with Butternut Squash and Tahini Sauce

At the arrival of spring last week, sitting in a wooden basket in the corner of my kitchen, one lone butternut squash remained. A butternut from last year’s fall harvest and my days selling and slinging veggies at a weekly Saturday farmer’s market. Oh how time flies. And yet how sturdy and strong winter squash can stand through it all.

When I get all sorts of confused about life, which seems to happen a lot as a transient 20-something college grad, I remind myself to think like a butternut. Stay strong on the outside, but sweet and a little nutty on the inside, with the ability to open up and get all soft when the right times arrives. (That analogy is my nuttiness coming out…but I do quite adore and look up to the butternut.)

Red Quinoa

As time is flying, another growing season is upon us, and I am beyond psyched. Living in a city, I don’t yet have a garden of my own, but I do have some plans to get involved with some urban farms this summer, and of course, return home to help my parent’s kick butt in their own backyard plots. Heck yeah for spring. And please move a little faster! (It snowed here last night. I’m not the fighting kind of gal, but I sincerely wanted to punch the sky in the face.)

Until then, I feel fortunate to be savoring the last of the cold weathered season. With one golden squash remaining in my basket, I wanted to make sure it received some memorable treatment. As soon as I saw this pizza recipe from Dishing Up the Dirt, it was a no-brainer as to where that squash would be heading. The uniqueness of this dish had me hooked!

Quinoa Pizza Crust with Butternut Squash and Tahini Sauce

After making this pizza, I can 100% say that if you don’t already have a butternut laying around in your own home, it’s worth making the trip out to buy one. This was awesome! I honestly wish I could say I made up this recipe on my own because I just love how creative it is…I mean, quinoa-based crust made with a little love from the food processor?! How cool is that. (Props to you Andrea.)

Tahini Sauce

This obviously isn’t your traditional cheesy, red-sauced ‘za. But if you were craving that, you probably wouldn’t be eyeing this recipe anyway. The good news? It’s will make for an every-bit-as-satisfying pizza night, especially once you get that tahini sauce drizzling on top. This is the kind of healthy app I’d love to see at a restaurant. It feels light but rich all at the same time. If that makes any sense. Make this yourself, and you’ll get what I mean.

Quinoa Pizza Crust with Butternut Squash and Tahini Sauce

The pizza does take several steps to make, but all are incredibly easy to execute. A simple 3-ingredient quinoa crust presents a base for a naturally creamy sauce stemming from butternut squash – i.e., no dairy needed. It gives a very gentle sweetness that contrasts with the mildly tangy tahini dressing that goes on top. I’m always in favor of a saucy pizza. With this pizza, you get to have two. Their richness (though as I mentioned before, not in a heavy way) is cut by cilantro, and are then finished with a crunch via fresh chickpeas on top. A pizza that has everything going for it – health included. Heck yeah.

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