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Summer

Summer Gazpacho

Summer Gazpacho

 

When it’s hot, I love fresh meals like Gazpacho.

An even added bonus with this cool soup is that.

What is needed? A bunch of ripe tomatoes and whatever else your farmer’s market or garden offers up.

Summer Gazpacho

After a nice walk through the woods, a good girlfriend of mine and I refueled with a large bowl of this, utilizing some heirlooms from her garden.

It came together in no time, thanks to the help of a food processor (you could certainly use a blender) and the natural beauty of this type of soup.

Gazpacho is all about the freshness of its ingredients. It’s simple. And absolutely divine on a steamy summer day.

Summer Gazpacho

Keep the soup as chunky as you desire, or pulse it for a little extra time if you want something creamier than what’s pictured above.

Either way, I recommend serving it with a nice slice of crusty bread to sop up some of its flavorful juices and add an element of crunch.

Summer Gazpacho

And definitely don’t skip out on the avocado topping. This provides the richness that this light soup needs to complete it. In fact, you could even drizzle a little olive oil on top once served up for an added element of richness.

Summer Gazpacho

What are you making to tide you over during these early August days? Would love to hear your favorite recipes of the season!

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Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

This has been the summer of grilling for me.

Crispy broccoli. Caramelized onions. Charred corn. Homemade bean burgers. You name it, and likely I’ve been grilling it with friends and favorites in my life.

And as of last week, we can add pizza to that list, a collab between Emily from Nourishing Matters and I. Dare I say, Emily’s pizza dough recipe may have produced the best whole wheat crust I’ve ever tasted. Add grill marks to it, and it easily surpasses any standard, junkie-white-flour alternative. I could’ve eaten it on its own, sans all the other pizza ingredients, minus perhaps a little smear of her herbed pesto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Inspired by the latest bounties displayed at the farmer’s market, Emily and I brainstormed different topping options and settled upon this super summery-themed pizza. Fresh corn, grated zucchini and garden herb pesto…does the season get any better than that?

We added a goat feta on top to lend a punch of saltiness and flavor that wouldn’t take too much away from the sweetness of the fresh ingredients at hand. Perfecto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

While this might come across as a lot of work to make when giving a quick glance to the recipe below, rest assured this pizza can be fairly effortless.

Emily recommends making the dough the night before, which she ensures takes no time at all. How could that be? A food processor does all of the labor for you. Score.

You could make the pesto ahead of time, too, which again calls in a food processor to do all the work. (Food processors, always for the win.)

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Once those steps are squared way, the pizza becomes as simple as a roughly five-minute stint on the grill. Although, be sure to pay attention at this step! Divert your eyes for too long, and your dough can quickly get charred far past that perfect crispness we’re seeking here with grilling the crust.

Don’t worry though. Grilled pizza isn’t too hard. You just need some quick hands and pair of tongs and an attention span longer than a Pokemon-goer, and the dough will come out fabulous every time.

As noted in the recipe, be sure to have all of the toppings nearby so that you can quickly throw them on top after flipping the crust. This will enable the zucchini to get a nice wilt from the heat of the grill.

Serve with a side of tomatoes and basil drizzled with a little olive oil, balsamic and pinch of salt, and voila.¬†Summer meals don’t get much better than that.

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Rainbow Nori Rolls

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I was recently asked to review two of Urban Outfitter’s cookbooks, both centered around clean and wholesome eating. First up,?Power Snacks, chock full of 50 pages of healthy snacks abundant in energy-boosting nutrients.

Broken down into several categories, the cookbook offers up classic “On the Go” snacks like Squash & Pumpkin Seed Muffins, “High Energy” bites like rainbow chard roll-ups, “Sweet Indulgences” including Chocolate Avocado Pudding, and more. Yummmmm-y!

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Full of color, I was instantly drawn to the Rainbow Nori Roll recipe, featured in the “Take to Work” section of the book. Laying out all of its ingredient on the table, it was hard not to be excited about all of the beauty going into this particular power snack. I mean, just look at that vibrant photo above. Pure awesomeness.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I love snacks that are able to pack in a bunch of vegetables. So often, when we need a mid-afternoon refueling, we reach for something sweet, and often that means something that’s not too entirely healthy. With options like this – that feel entirely like a treat, but a savory one at that – it’s easy to keep snack-time the healthy pick-me-up that it’s meant to be. In other words, this recipe is far from the nap-inducing snack that too often steals away our second half of the day.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Another pro, these nori rolls really pack in the flavor, especially for an all-vegan sushi option. The sauteed asparagus and ginger give them an extra boost, and the beets really add something here, too.

That being said, if you have avocado on-hand, definitely add it. You can rarely go wrong with avocado in vegetarian sushi.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Likewise, there’s tons of room to play around with other ingredients in this recipe. You could add baked tofu for a little extra protein, or cucumbers, or other veggies of your choice. You could play with the grain, for instance, like I did, and try swapping the risotto rice for brown rice. I used a short grain brown rice, cooked it with a little extra water (1 cup rice to 2 1/2 cups water) and for a little extra time until it achieved the sushi-ready stickiness that it needed.

You could add wasabi to the roll or to the dipping sauce. You could add herbs. Or mango. Or whatever your heart may desire.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Keep in mind, this isn’t a whip-up-in-5-minutes kind of snack. While the veggie prep is simple, there are a lot of ingredients to chop here, and the assemblage is a process, particularly if you’re new to sushi-making. That being said, sushi is easier to roll than you might think, so don’t let intimidation get in your way.

To save time, buy beets (unseasoned) that are already cooked. You can usually find them in cans in the veggie/bean section of the grocery store. You could also make the rice the night before, or prep some of the ingredients ahead of time.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

While these are best eaten the day-of, they’ll definitely last if you make them a day-in-advance. In fact, I’ll be enjoying some leftovers for lunch today.

Prep them on a Sunday and when the Monday stomach rumbles roll around, you’ll have a beautifully fresh snack waiting for you full of that extra zest you need to get the week going.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

 

You can check out the cookbook for other fun snack ideas. And stay tuned for a preview of Urban Outfitter’s other book,?The Clean Eating Kitchen,¬†in the days to follow! Continue Reading…

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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Warm Caprese Grain Salad

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

After recently moving to a new neighborhood, my two housemates and I threw a little housewarming BBQ and celebration. Yay!

Tasked with the challenge of making something for a crowd that would be vegetarian, nutritious AND able to rival burgers circulating aromatics from the grill, I settled upon this rendition of caprese.

I taste-tested in advance and gave it two thumbs up. But it was still much to my surprise that the healthy caprese rice ran out before the burgers. Who would’ve guessed?

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

As with a traditional caprese salad, the flavors here are simple but fresh. Good extra virgin olive oil, zesty basil and sweet caramelization from the oven that’s bestowed upon a variety of veggies all make this dish shine. It’s delicate, yet addicting. And makes you feel good even after going in for seconds.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I opted to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add mozzarella or goat cheese. You could also play with the grain combination. Here, I chose to add in some barley with the rice, which lent?a nice and subtle crunchy element.

I also love the texture and flavor contrast created when using both roasted and raw tomatoes. If able, go with two different varieties for each, like sungolds and classic grape tomatoes, for a nice color scheme and added complexity of flavor.

Warm Caprese Grain Salad

I’m looking forward to more veggie and herb-centric meals in the months to come. Also a shout-out to Mastro Co. for the awesome ceramic bowl that held this veggie-filled goodness!
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