summer squash + banana-oat loaf w/ almond streusel (+ a giveaway!!!)


this spring i made a vow to my fire escape that not only would i plant a garden on it, but that i would also tend to its needs and give it the kind of tlc i had deprived it of in years past.  first, i got to researching what kinds of veggie plants do well with only a few hours of direct sunlight; what i found was that most herbs, beets, kale, bok choy and many others leafy greens do really well with the kind of light i knew my fire escape would get.  so, this past may was the jump-off.  i sowed my seeds indoors to ensure that they wouldn't get zapped by a frost, placed them on a windowsill that got direct sunlight in the mornings, watched their little sprouts grow, and when the end of may rolled around, transplanted them into outside containers.  so far, we've had the pleasure of opening up our window to cut fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, and chives.  we've just pulled the first of our beets and cut the first round of squash blossoms; and in a few days/weeks we'll (hopefully) have 2 varieties of squash, as well as jalepeno and cayenne peppers :)))  

while i'm still waiting for the first squash to grow big enough to harvest, i've been buying them up at the market and using them for all sorts of things: eggie scrambles w/ black beans and tomatoes, spicy squash tacos, ratatouille, and this squash and banana-oat loaf.  a few weeks back i received a copy of smitten with squash, by amanda paa of hearbeet kitchen, and was so relieved to find so much helpful information about how to tend to squash plants (both summer + winter!).  not only was i educated, but also super inspired to use squash in so many different ways: spicy refrigerator pickles, chimichurri chicken & vegetable kabobs,  garam masala–dusted pattypans and chickpeas with tahini sauce.   it's been a while since i baked something, and was getting an itch to do so.  when flipping threw amanda's book, my eye was immediately caught by her banana oat streusel summer squash muffins. but as i was preparing to take a trip, i wanted something that would travel better and decided to adapt her recipe into a loaf.  the loaf turned out to be so incredibly delicious, with its flecks of squash, pockets of chopped nuts, a hint of spice, and a sweet + light streusel to top it all off.   totally snack and travel-worthy!

and now for the giveaway! amanda's publishers were awesome enough to give me a second copy for a lucky reader!  so, to enter, please leave a comment saying what your favorite kind of squash is, and how you like to prepare it.   the contest ends monday, july 28th at 6pm and will only be open to US and Canadian residents.  good luck everyone! xo



a summer squash + banana-oat loaf w/ almond streusel (gluten +dairy free)

adapted from Smitten with Squash 

if you don't have to be gluten free you can substitute the flours below for you flour/s of choice save for the 1/2 cup of rolled oats.  

| makes 1 loaf |

  • 3/4 brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (GF) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons almond oil (or another light oil)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated squash, grated using the course holes on a box grater
  • 1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (about 2-3 bananas depending on size) 
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (i used a combo of almonds + pecans)

streusel

  • 3 tablespoons (GF) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice flour (or flour of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt


instructions

  • preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  cut a piece of parchment to line the pan with an overhang on each side
  • prepare streusel first.  in a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients and set aside
  • in a large bow, whisk flours, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  set aside. in another large bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar until incorporated.  whisk in oil and vanilla; then stir in squash and banana.  gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined and no lumps remain
  • evenly distribute batter throughout the loaf pan and sprinkle streusel on top
  • bake in the center of your oven for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  using the parchment overhangs, remove loaf from pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack.  let the loaf cool completely before slicing (the loaf can be stored at room temp. covered with a piece of parchment for 3-4 days) 

enjoy!


a midsummer cherry & amaranth panzanella salad + a giveaway!


we're getting ready to hit the road again.  we're packing the car up along with the pup (!!!) and heading south to frank's fam, and my fam-in-law's, to celebrate my mother-in-laws bday (lots of laws there)!  my head is a little spin-y from back-to-back trips, but i am NOT complaining, these are the times i cherish - days spent with our family, chats, hugs, and an all around good time!  

today i'm teaming up with whole foods to bring you a whole foods giveaway (more on that later!) and cherries!  cherries are totally in their prime right now (and on a serious sale at my local whole foods this week!) and at their sweetest - fruit really isn't the same when it's super fresh and in season.   but, since returning from last week's vacation, i've been in somewhat of a food coma and needed to power through the next couple of days with something light and fresh.  naturally, salad. but in this case a bread-y one.  most panzanella salads i love to eat are often drizzled with good olive oil, really good balsamic,  with a couple of grinds and pinches of salt + pepper - easy breezy, y'all.  since i wanted to add cherries to the mix, i didn't think the addition of balsamic was necessary, and therefore went with a simple cider vinegar vinaigrette to balance it all out.  i also added some greens because while at the market i spotted a big pile of their fancy green leaves shot with purple veins and couldn't leave without them.

now! on to the giveaway!  i've been such a fan of whole foods for years, so when the opportunity to give away a $50 whole foods gift card came a' knockin' i couldn't refuse the chance to reward one of my lovely readers!

so, to enter a chance at winning, please leave a comment below telling me about your favorite summer dinner and drink (or cocktail!), (personally, mine is a summer ratatouille [all the veggies!] with a super chilled glass of rosé, i could equally go for a crisp, cool beer too though).  the contest ends next tuesday, july 22nd at 6pm, and will only be open to US or Canadian residents (sorry overseas dudes). good luck y'all! xo



a midsummer cherry & amaranth panzanella salad

| serves 4 |

if you can't find amaranth, any green will do here. but if you want a similar taste, i would go with arugula or another bitter green.  

ingredients

  • 8 ounces fresh cherries (bing, rainier, or another sweet cherry)
  • 2 bunches amaranth leaves (approx. 2 lightly packed cups)
  • 4-5 slices of gluten-free bread (or bread of choice)
  • 3 medium ripe heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, or to taste
  • fine ground sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste 


instructions

  • remove pits and halve cherries; set aside for later.  wash and pat dry amaranth and basil leaves, slice both thin, or roughly chop; set aside.  
  • slice tomatoes away from core and cut into chunks; carefully, place tomato chunks, and a few pinches of salt, into a strainer over a bowl and let tomato juice drain; reserve the juice for later
  • preheat your broiler (if you have access to one, this step can also be done on a grill) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  place pieces of bread flat on baking sheet, rub garlic cloves over the bread and crust, brush with olive oil and season with salt.  toast bread under broiler until crisp and brown - about 1-2 minutes on each side; let bread cool (if grilling bread, follow the same steps).  in a large serving bowl, tear bread into pieces and stir in the reserved tomato juice to soften
  • add cherries, amaranth, basil, tomatoes and onion to the bread and give it a good toss.  in a small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and olive oil.  drizzle onto salad, taste and adjust if necessary; serve immediately :)

enjoy!


cookbook LA


while in LA last week i had the opportunity to stop by cookbook, a space i had been meaning to check out for quite some time.  if there were ever a place i could see myself plop down each day to be inspired, rejuvenated and just plain old mesmerized, this was it.  it's kind of a farmers' market/farm stand/cafe mashup, highlighting local produce and prepared foods. 

farm tables displayed fresh, local veggies; stone fruits, the perkiest of raspberries, cornichons to munch on, freshly picked flower stems and a freezer with an assortment of berry/herb ice pops. beside a refrigerator case stood a beautiful wooden bookcase filled with specialty oils, chocolate bars, salts and spices.

while my head was spinning from all the beauty, i was equally a little bummed that i couldn't purchase a bunch of loot to bring home and cook up.  i did, however, get to purchase some of the sweetest, most raspberry-colored raspberries and a few juicy apricots.  and i was super happy to bring those little guys back to our place and shoot them, and all their glory, in a kitchen with direct sunlight (GASP!).   if you ever do find yourself in the LA area, this place is a must-go! happy monday, all! xo


chickpea flour flatbread w/ new potatoes + fresh basil (v + gf)


as i'm sure many of you know, anya, from the beautiful blog, Golubka, released her first cookbook, The Vibrant Table a few weeks ago.  i was lucky enough to receive a copy and have been anxiously plotting out what i will make first.  first of all, this cookbook is more than a cookbook; it's a guide on healthy, wholesome, CONSCIOUS eating - with a preface that frames all the ingredients in the book and explains why anya utilizes them (some of which i have never heard of before, but am totally jazzed to use - maca + mesquite!). not only do her recipes reflect her culture and heritage, but they are also a celebration of family and meals for all kinds of occasions.  moreover, the photos (all of which her daughter take - both for her blog and the cookbook!) weave a beautifully, vibrant food story.

i've been working on a flatbread recipe for some time using chickpea/garbanzo bean flour.  there's been a lot trial and error - substituting half the garbanzo bean flour for other GF flours, adding various amounts of oil and water and adding different herbs and spices.  finally, i reached a consistency and texture that i'm super pleased with - crispy and thin without much of a crumble!  i've been waiting for just the right mix of ingredients to top this flatbread, so when i received my copy of The Vibrant Table (and immediately read through it!) and saw anya's fingerling potato and rosemary flatbread, i knew i had found the perfect way to top off my flatbread.  new potatoes are popping up at all the markets around me, as well as leafy herbs and freshly plucked onions, so i chose to make a few changes to the original recipe based on what was available to me.  all in all, the garlic-smeared flatbread with slightly sweet potatoes, shiitakes, onions and some toasted pine nuts, came out to be one of the loveliest combos i've ever had.  thank you to anya for the inspiration! 



chickpea flour flatbread w/ new potatoes + fresh basil (v + gf)

| makes 2 flatbreads |

flatbread topping adapted from The Vibrant Table

i didn't have all the ingredients from anya's flatbread recipe, she uses rolled oats, quinoa flakes, nuts, zucchini and chia seeds that i would imagine to be super tasty.  but if you're not gluten free, substituting your favorite/go-to flatbread recipe is totally ok too! 

ingredients

dough

  • 2 cups garbanzo bean/chickpea flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 6-8 tablespoons water

topping

  • roughly 12 ounces assorted new potatoes, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 4-6 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • olive oil for brushing
  • sea salt + fresh ground pepper


instructions

  • place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl; cover the slices with cold water and 1 tablespoon sea salt.  let sit for about 1 hour
  • preheat oven to 350°.  slice off the top of the garlic head to expose the insides.  peel most of the surrounding layers of paper and place inside a piece of foil.  sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, wrap foil and place in a small baking dish or ramekin.  roast for 25-30 minutes - until cloves can be easily pierced with a sharp knife.  squeeze garlic cloves into a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork; set aside

for the crust

  • in a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.  add the olive oil and mix with your hands until oil is evenly dispersed and the flour resembles small crumbles.  by the tablespoon, work water in little by little with your hands - you may need more or less water depending on your brand of flour.  in the end, you want your dough to be pliable, but not too sticky.  once dough comes together kneed and form into a smooth ball, brush with a bit of oil and cover with a dish towel - let rest in the bowl for 8-10 minutes
  • divide dough evenly into 2 pieces (place second piece back in the bowl and cover).  take a large piece of parchment paper and dust it with flour.  form dough into an disk and flour the top of the dough (you can either use a second piece of parchment or a floured rolling pin), and roll dough into a 9-10 inch circle - if edges crack just pinch back together
  • repeat with second piece of dough when ready

assemble flatbread

  • preheat oven to 400° with a baking sheet inside
  • drain and rinse the potato slices, pat dry.  using a pastry brush, smooth top of dough with a 1/4 of the roasted garlic puree, then evenly arrange potato slices, overlapping the edges of slices until the dough is covered.  lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt + pepper.  transfer the flatbread, with the parchment, to the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes
  • remove flatbread from oven and add half the mushrooms and onion, then add another 1/4 of the garlic puree and a small sprinkle of salt.  bake for about 13 minutes, remove, add basil and then cook for another 2 minutes.  remove flatbread and transfer to a cutting board. slice bread and top a tablespoon of toasted pine nuts.  serve and enjoy!
  • repeat with other piece of dough

beet tacos w/ beet green salsa verde + spicy pickled onions (v + gf)


now that it's july, my brain can officially register that it's summer.  and since it's summer that means vacation and perhaps some relaxation.  we're leaving the pup behind (sad face) with my parents and heading to LA; we've got a (non) list of things to hit up including a trip out to the desert for a hike through joshua tree, an early morning surf lesson, popping in to some of the million restaurants i have bookmarked, spending time with two people we love more than what's probably conceived to be normal, and meeting our four-legged niece + nephew: charlie, and her brother henry.  to say that i'm excited is an understatement.  i would love any other suggestions you all may have!

speaking of cali, they have the BEST tacos! i am wholly looking forward to consuming them all for breakfast, lunch + dinner...on repeat.  so, today it's a bit of a taco celebration in honor of the upcoming 4th of july. what's better than a super fresh, vibrant taco on a day of celebration - i say, not much!  

i was totally inspired by an awesome mexican restaurant near us in park slope that we eat at often.  usually i order various menu items here and there to make the kind of meal i like to eat.  most times, i get a citrusy avo + beet salad, a side of mini corn tortillas, some of their insanely spicy (and delicious) hot sauce, and make my own little meal of spicy beet tacos - so yum!  so, these tacos are definitely a riff on what i'm ordering when i'm mex-ing it up.  but my beet greens were so lovely, and my cilantro growing outside was so fragrant, that i wanted to make a salsa verde to go along with it all.  add some super spicy, crunchy, quick-pickled onions and you're set!  happy fourth, y'all! xo



roasted beet tacos w/ beet green salsa verde + spicy, quick-pickled onions (v + gf)

| makes about 8 tacos |

ingredients

beet filling

  • corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. beets, washed and trimmed (reserve beet greens for salsa verde)
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and cut into thin slices
  • zest + juice from 1 lime
  • cilantro for garnish
  • fine grain sea salt + fresh ground pepper
  • olive oil for roasting

beet green salsa verde

  • 3/4 cup beet greens, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 jalapeño pepper, seeded or not
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • large grain sea salt

spicy pickled onions

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut into quarters (i chose to keep the seeds in for more heat, but if you like less heat, remove the seeds)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • big pinch of large grain sea salt


instructions

to roast the beets

  • preheat oven to 400° and place beets in a large piece of foil.  drizzle oil evenly over beets, and sprinkle with salt + pepper; wrap the foil tightly and place in a baking dish, bake for roughly 1 hour - until beets can be easily pierced with a fork or sharp knife.  remove beets from oven and allow to cool.  once cool, slip skins off and discard; rinse beets and pat dry
  • slice beets into small chunks and place in a mixing bowl.  add lime juice, zest and salt + pepper, taste and adjust seasoning.  set beet mixture aside

salsa verde

  • place all the salsa verde ingredients in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides until roughly chopped.  taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.  set aside

spicy, quick-pickled onions

  • place onions, pepper, vinegar, water and salt in a medium saucepan; stir, and bring contents to a boil.  turn off heat and allow to cool.  when cool, discard the pepper pieces, and transfer onions and some of the juice to a lidded jar.  refrigerate until ready to use

assemble tacos

  • heat tortillas over a low flame on a gas stove, grill, or in an oven.  stuff the tacos with sliced avo, beets, spicy pickled onions, and salsa verde.  garnish with extra cilantro and serve warm

enjoy!