a pickled corn succotash salad + pure green magazine's hashtag project #pgminseason !


the week is almost over (yay for wednesdays!) and i have a super duper salad here for you today.  normally a succotash is prepared by cooking most of the ingredients on the stovetop, and in most cases favas or other beans are involved.  today, i have prepared a pickled corn succotash that's super appropriate for a hot august day (although, temps around here have been oddly cool) and is comprised of most of what is available to me at my market - long beans, heirloom tomatoes, fragrant herbs, chili peppers, sweet juicy nectarines and veggie blossoms.  high-fives for in season fare!  



as many of you know lauraclaire, and i have teamed up with the Pure Green Magazine blog to talk about our in season food ethics, share some recipes where we incorporate summer's produce, and be community leaders for their Instagram Hashtag Project: #PGMinseason.  so, today i'm over there talking about where i shop for produce in and around brooklyn, how i store produce to keep them at their most fresh, and why i think we and our communities are better off when we are able to buy in season, local produce!   and i'm also sharing the recipe for this tangy, herbaceous, slightly sweet, and crunchy, pickled corn succotash salad here

have a good one, friends! xo


breakfast quinoa flakes w/ stewed blackberries + basil flowers


growing up on long island and then in upstate new york, i've really come to miss being surrounded by trees, grass, and bugs here in brooklyn.  when i was young we moved upstate, and were fortunate enough to have a back yard that backed up to a nature preserve.  on occasion, my brother, and i would venture into the woods, walking an overgrown path that led to a lake/swamp of sorts.  there, we would poke around, play, and just be in a general state of curiousity; searching under leaves to see what may be underneath, digging in the earth with our hands, climbing over downed trees, jumping over shrubs, and running through tangled branches.   nature, man.  we would come home with an appropriate amount of dirt under our fingernails, scratches and scrapes on occasion, and disheveled clothing.

city living these days is obviously on a whole different level; while we have everything we could imagine at our fingertips, i miss the natural world a bit. (er...a lot!).  i find that an instinctive, almost innate sense of curiosity in nature is sometimes obscured by big buildings, concrete, trucks, and crowds of humans.  and while i am totally in touch with the fact that we are super lucky to live here, i am, at times conflicted; as there is an obvious yank in the direction of nature's living and breathing, cellular things.  i was reminded of this the other day while reading a passage from dan barber's, the third plate on the topic of soil, and microorganisms, he quoted an ecologist, who so eloquently said: "Nature is not more complex than we think, but more complex than we can think."  

in other news, i am so happy to announce that beginning friday, august 15th through september 15th, Pure Green Magazine is holding an Instagram hashtag challenge #INSEASON.  laura wright (the first mess), claire raggozzino (vidya cleanse), and i, will be the community leaders!  so, snap a pic and show us how you're preparing your seasonal produce on Instagram using the hashtags #INSEASON and #PUREGREENMAG; and you could win a chance to publish a full-length article on the Pure Green Blog, and a subscription to their lovely publication! to learn more read on here

good luck, friends! xo



breakfast quinoa flakes w/ stewed blackberries + flowering basil (gluten free + vegan)

the quinoa flake cereal can be prepared with milk of choice, or water.  and if you're not into the cinnamon, it can totally be substituted with another spice, or left out all together.  if you don't have blackberries or basil, another combination of fruits and herbs will totally work here as well.

| serves 2 |

ingredients

  • 2/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3.5 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 5-6 thai basil flowers (if you don't have the flowers, use small basil leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice from half of a lime 

to garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted, and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds, divided
  • leftover basil flowers (again, if you don't have the flowers, chop a couple leaves up and garnish with those)


instructions

  • for the stewed berries.  in a small saucepan, heat the water, maple syrup, and basil flowers (or leaves) on low; stir until combined, increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.  let mixture simmer for a minute or until it has thickened a bit; reduce heat to low, then add blackberries and lime juice.  cook for 3-5 minutes until blackberries soften and break apart easily.  remove from heat and set aside
  • in a medium saucepan, combine almond milk and cinnamon: bring to a boil, once boiling add the quinoa flakes and turn heat to a simmer, stir and cook for 90 seconds.  remove from heat and let the cereal thicken for about 3 minutes
  • divide cereal between 2 bowls, and top with stewed fruit + herb mixture, chia seeds, chopped hazelnuts and a couple of basil flowers (or chopped leaves)

enjoy!


peach, hazelnut + shiso crisp w/ ginger ice cream (gluten + dairy free)


most recipe posts of mine start out with an idea, either something i've seen in a cookbook or mag, and other times it starts with a single ingredient and evolves from there.  this time, i had an idea with flavors in mind...something herby, sweet, and spicy.  thinking about how it would all come together i thought, pie! mini pie! turnovers! hand pies!  all the crusty vessels you could imagine, naturally.  so, i went to the kitchen to try my hand at a gluten free pie crust recipe that used cold, cubed olive oil for a more savory crust than one that employs butter or coconut oil. the first recipe came out quite good; a little crackly and craggy, and overall colorless, but the flavor was there.  from there, i made a couple of changes; omitting and adding some flours and then working my way up to doubling the recipe to make sure it was solid.  well, 4 undertakings later, i was left a bit deflated (and generally pissed off) by the non-cooperating dough, that i gave the up the pastry world (for now) for a more luminous path: the crisp.  

a reserved dessert if there ever was one, however, the crisp is an all-star to me, and this one is kinda tight. baked up white and yellow peaches that form a beautiful salmon-pink juice, shiso that lends an herbaceous nudge, a mixture of textured oats and toasted hazelnuts, served up with a refreshing ginger-spiked (vegan) ice cream.  these flavors are all a testament to summer, its bountiful fruits, its herbs and vegetables, its gracious presence, and the easy-breeziness of it all.   summer sweetness on a plate. 

in other news, i beyond pumped to be interviewed over at Pure Green Magazine's blog, talking about food and my connection to it,  where i would like to take this blog in the future, and my favorite, (!) what i eat when i'm traveling.  Pure Green Mag is a beautiful publication totally dedicated to green living and an all around healthful lifestyle, i've been a fan for years and so should you!. also, if you find yourself traveling sometime soon, or even if you're not, be sure to check out Condé Nast Traveler's Global Guide to Clean Eats, where me, and a few other lovely peeps round out our favorites spots to hit up for some healthful eats; from brooklyn to stockholm, and london to denver, it's a good one, y'all!



peach + shiso crisp w/ ginger ice cream (gluten + dairy free)

ingredients

crisp 

  • 2 pounds, (ripe, but firm) peaches, peeled and sliced (or chunked)
  • 6-8 large shiso leaves, finely chopped; plus more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (or natural cane sugar), divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 cup (gluten-free) oat flour
  • 1/4 cup (gluten free) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup unrefined, virgin coconut oil, melted; plus more for pan
  •  pinch of fine grain sea salt

ginger ice cream

  • 1 can full-fat, coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon arrowroot powder 


instructions

ginger ice cream

  • in a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat; combine the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and ginger with a whisk.  once combined, ladle about 2 tablespoons worth into a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot.  once arrowroot powder has dissolved, whisk it back into the saucepan with the other ingredients. keep stirring until the mixture is warm and steaming.  remove from heat and chill the mixture over an ice bath; once cool, transfer to an ice cream maker and churn it according to manufacturers instructions
  •  then place ice cream in a lidded container until ready to serve.  *allow to ice cream to sit for 5 minutes before serving for easy scooping

peach, hazelnut + shiso crisp

  • preheat oven to 400° and grease a 9" pie pan with coconut oil
  • place peeled and sliced peached in a medium bowl, add the chopped shiso, lemon juice, arrowroot powder and 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and stir to combine
  • in another medium bowl, combine the oat flour, rolled oats, almond flour, remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, hazelnuts, and salt.  add the melted coconut oil, until combined and mixture is crumbly
  • place fruit mixture into the pie pan; using your fingers, evenly distribute topping over fruit. place in the center of your oven and bake for 20 minutes.  turn heat up to 450° and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the topping.  remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack; allow crisp to cool for a few minutes before serving
  • while crisp is cooling, remove ice cream from freezer to allow it to soften a bit.  using a large serving spoon, serve the crisp and top with ginger ice cream.  garnish with leftover chopped shiso

enjoy!


baked squash blossoms stuffed w/ beet hummus


so remember last week when i was all, gardening on my fire escape is awesome; it's so rewarding and amazing. well this past week we woke up to find that 2 of the largest of our squash somewhat viciously pulled from their stems and, regretfully, chewed up and spit out!  i kept that half-eaten on the counter in the kitchen for a couple days because i didn't have it in me to throw such a little beauty away...(insert a very sad emoji face).  then, a few days later, i found little green aphids on a blossom.  luckily i found them early enough to where they didn't cause any damage.  i was the last person to think that a second floor fire escape would attract squirrels (!) and then bugs!  so i guess in the end, nature is awesome but you can't expect it to be easy when you take it into your own hands.  lesson learned.

before frank and i left a few weeks ago to visit his family, i harvested a good amount of squash blossoms from my garden that i didn't want to go to waste, along with a couple of beets.  i was planning on making hummus to take on the trip with me and thought that i might as well stuff the blossoms since i had them.  i used my baked squash blossom recipe from last year because i wanted to keep it a bit more clean than the fried route.  i share this recipe today, because not only is hummus seriously amazing inside a flower, BUT, baked hummus is a thing and i love it!  it takes on a bit of smokiness in the oven and it lent such an awesome, and unexpected flavor. look out for everything with baked hummus come fall 2014!

just a couple of notes:



baked squash blossoms stuffed w/ beet hummus (v +gf)

ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini paste
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 small beets, roasted and skins removed
  • water, to thin
  • one dozen squash blossoms, stamens removed
  • olive oil, for baking
  • large grain sea salt, for sprinkling


instructions

  • preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • place chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, tahini, garlic, and beets into a food processor and pulse until blended.  add water, a teaspoon at a time, to thin consistency (you don't want to add too much water because you want hummus to be on the thicker side so when it bakes it doesn't run).  transfer hummus to a small mixing bowl
  • on a clean work surface, carefully stuff each squash blossom with a few teaspoons of beet hummus and gently twist the end to close; repeat with remaining blossoms.  place them on the prepared baking sheet; using a pastry brush, evenly brush each blossom with a light coat of olive oil.  sprinkle with the salt and transfer to the oven.  bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until crisp and golden
  • let the squash blossoms cool for a minute or two, then serve immediately 

enjoy!


faces + places | an LA round-up


just over 8 years ago i made my first acquaintance with LA.  it was summer of 2006 when me and my (then boyfriend) rented a car and drove cross-country.  my main goal was to get to venice beach where my brother and his girlfriend (now wife) lived.  it was a land of sun, sand, beachy laid-back vibes, and i was totally in my element.  it had been a few years since i was there last, and i was super eager to bring my husband to some of my favorite places to eat and visit.  but i found that after just a few years my diet had changed, almost completely, and the food i was so fond of was no longer an option for me.

i'm trying to refrain from calling this a "healthy, mindful eats" list, but it kind of is i guess. so, i've rounded up some of my new favorite restaurants/cafes/coffee shops/markets in LA to eat, check out, and that are just generally fun!  hope you enjoy! 



venice

good eats 

superba snack bar - offers a bunch of various dinner toasts, snacks, and mains.  not the best in terms of food substitutions, but definitely a fun place to check out. offers brunch, lunch and dinner.

cafe gratitude - first of all, i wish i could eat here everyday of the week - it's that good! their menu items include: elixirs, gluten-free options, vegan options, nut milks, awesome coffee. open for breakfast, lunch + dinner!

moon juice - fresh-pressed juices, small bites - all around clean, earthy vibe for your everyday balance!

axe - organic, seasonal, and all that good stuff.  plus, vegan + gluten-free options - open for lunch and dinner and weekend brunch.

gjelina - didn't actually make it to eat here.  BUT, they have a ton of veggie options, really good coffee with homemade almond-macadamia milk which was quite awesome! plus it's a really cute spot.

intelligensia - a super-future coffee shop, with many cool kid customers (er, hipsters).

sights

venice canals

abbott kinney

venice boardwalk (for laughs), and the venice skate park to watch some serious shredding!

beach activities, etc.,



silver lake area

food + lab - yes. yes. yes. all day everyday!  i wish we had a spot like in nyc.  awesome for breakfast and lunch with delicious sandwiches and salads.  they also have fresh pressed juices, snacks and side salads.

cookbook - a great little grocer/farm market with fresh produce, and made-fresh-daily food.  not to be missed, even if it's just for a visit.

sqirl - so much hype about this place.  we went early on a monday morning to avoid the crowds.  i thought it totally lived up to my expectations.  great breakfast options - gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan items - awesome cold brew iced coffee.

pot - roy choi's new spot in koreatown.  we waited for our table at the bar which had a really good selection of cocktails, japanese whiskey, beers, and bodega snacks.  food was awesome, fun vibe too.  it can get crowded so try to get there on the early side.

guisados - for the BEST tacos i have ever eaten.  go!

broome street general store - a cute place to check out, with various housewares, clothing, food, knickknacks, etc.  very "cool kid" vibe though, beware. 

hollywood farmers' market - not really in the silver lake area, but if you have access to a car i would suggest visiting on a sunday morning.  one of the biggest markets i've been to, with tons of awesome street food, spice vendors and tons of awesome produce. 

farmshop and the brentwood country mart - definitely need a car to get here, but it's totally worth checking it out.  farmshop is a market and restaurant, with a bakery/coffee counter open in the morning and afternoon. the surrounding, brentwood country mart, has a small bookstore, clothing boutiques, a gift/card shop, and a chocolate shop.  



manhattan/hermosa beach area

the source - located in hermosa beach. so many awesome breakfast and lunch items, i literally wanted to order everything!  plus, they have fresh-daily gluten-free, vegan baked goods, fresh juices, and again, really good coffee.  love this place to pieces!

manhattan beach post - awesome brunch and dinner spot with some really good options as well as some awesome cocktails! 

sights

pelican cove (pictured below) for hiking trails and general sightseeing.  totally beautiful!

manhattan beach pier - for sunsets