Chickpea Beet Ravioli with Herbed Ricotta & Fried Beet Chips

date09.14.17

Vibrant red beet ravioli with pillows of herbed ricotta and goat cheese wrapped in a gluten-free high-protein chickpea beet pasta then topped with sage brown butter and fried beet chips. Pasta so tender, no one will ever believe that it’s gluten-free!

Chickpea Beet Ravioli with Herbed Ricotta

The first plating of this chickpea beet ravioli was the product of a ladies weekend in Nevada City with Alanna, Erin, & Emma. Going into the weekend, I needed to test a chickpea beet pasta for a guest post on KitchenAid’s blog and Alanna was craving ravioli. The rest just sort of happened. I feel like there’s a joke that starts, “four food bloggers walked into a kitchen…” where this dish is the punchline. Only no one is laughing because we’re all too busy stuffing our faces with deliciously buttery pillows of ravioli.

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Coconut Ginger Ice Cream with Plantain Chips

date09.06.17

Ultra-creamy vegan coconut ginger ice cream loaded with vanilla bean and a fresh ginger kick. Served topped with crunchy plantain chips and toasted coconut for a refreshing tropical treat. Summer’s not over yet!

Coconut Ginger Ice Cream with Plantain Chips

At 1.5 years old, Zoella still believes that fruit is dessert, yogurt is ice cream, banana muffins are cupcakes, and cookies aren’t a thing. She just doesn’t actually realize that dessert exists yet. It’s not totally on purpose, but apart from her first birthday smash cake where she ate an entire layer of cake, she hasn’t really had a reason to eat sweets. I guess partly we’re waiting until she understands: “if you eat your broccoli, then you’ll get dessert” bribes, but mostly I’m terrified she’ll inherit my insatiable sweet tooth.

You know the one – it convinced me it was totally cool to eat three servings of this coconut ginger ice cream with plantain chips in one day. After all, I was serving it up to three different taste-tester guests throughout the day and I couldn’t very well let them eat ice cream alone, could I?

You get me.

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Cucumber Lentil Salad with Feta

date08.29.17

Rich French lentils get cooked with aromas and tossed into a chilled cucumber lentil salad with chopped parsley, high-quality olive oil, and lime juice with creamy feta crumbled over top. The perfect potluck salad, side dish for a barbecue, or make-ahead weekday lunch. 

Cucumber Lentil Salad with Feta

Whenever I’ve got an all-day shoot and need quick fuel, I always grab the same pre-packaged lentil salad. It’s prepared locally and sold at nearly all the markets I frequent. This cucumber lentil salad with feta shared here is my interpretation of that salad, except with my own vegetable medley and way more feta (necessary).

Let me tell you about the two crucial components of this salad – lentils & feta – that also tie into some NEWS! (No, it’s not another baby or a cookbook).

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Charred Watermelon Cheese Wedges with Mint

date08.21.17

These charred watermelon wedges topped with melted cheese, roasted almonds, and fresh mint make the perfect summer entertaining appetizer!

Summer Appetizer: Charred Watermelon Cheese Wedges with Mint

With the neighborhood schools back in session today, I’m reminded that the season is fleeting. Fortunately produce is still on summer break and I’ll be over here with watermelon dripping down my arms for at least another two weeks.

This bright summery charred watermelon cheese wedge appetizer is the fourth dish in my summer menu video series partnership with Roth Cheese. First I made a sunflower seed gouda pesto condiment. Then we ate a breakfast of cheesy savory oatmeal bowls. For lunch there were avocado green goddess sandwiches sandwiches with havarti. And now we’re partying with a watermelon appetizer perfect for your backyard Labor Day barbecues. Scroll to the bottom for the video & recipe!

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Moroccan Summer Vegetable Tagine

date08.10.17

Summer carrots and zucchini stewed up with a spice blend for an ultra-savory dish with sweet pops of dried figs and filled with umami meaty olives. This Moroccan summer vegetable tagine is comforting and full of flavor without feeling heavy or overly rich – served over a bed of quinoa, it’s a perfect vegetarian summer dish!

Moroccan Summer Vegetable Tagine

Do spices multiply at the same rate as you scale up recipes? This question boggles my mind. For the first meal at our food styling and photography workshop last June, we quadrupled my well-tested recipe for this Moroccan summer vegetable tagine to serve 16. When we mixed up all the spices, the cardamom suddenly overpowered the blend. I fussed with it a bit, but not too dramatically. Somehow, by the time it all stewed together, the flavors balanced out.

I wonder if maybe a spice only seems overpowering in the blend, but when spread among vegetables and cooked, it calms down? Or, if it really doesn’t multiply and, in this case the tweaks I made are what saved the dish, what would happen if I made four separate batches and mixed them together?

Science, please explain.

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Chestnut Plum Upside-Down Cake (gluten-free)

date08.01.17

Summery sweet tart plums or pluots blanket a light tender chestnut flour crumb in this gluten-free chestnut plum upside-down cake. Chestnut flour’s nutty earthy notes balance the sweetness of candy-like baked stone fruit.

Chestnut Plum Upside-Down Cake - Gluten-Free

My summer meal plan consists of approximately 75% fruit – stone fruit, berries, grapes, you name it. And 30% cake, with a 5% overlap that is fruit in cake. Or on cake as in the case of this gluten-free chestnut-flour plum upside-down cake…or does that make it fruit under cake?  Whatever you call it, I just made this cake three times in one week because I “forgot” to write down the final recipe (yes, again), but now I’m questioning whether that mistake was subconsciously intentional because now I have MORE CAKE(!!). That summer eating ratio might not be as much of an exaggeration as you may think. There are two cakes sitting on my counter right now and Lucas and I plan to ration them out between breakfast, lunch dessert, snack, and dinner dessert for the next two days.

JK – I’m sending one to his office tomorrow because I can’t be trusted around this chestnut plum upside-down cake.

I’ll still devour the other one though.

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Avocado Green Goddess Sandwiches with Havarti

date07.24.17

Avocado green goddess sandwiches layered with creamy dill havarti, cucumber slices, shaved zucchini, and sprouts on a crusty gluten-free loaf slathered with whipped herbed avocado spread. 

Avocado Green Goddess Sandwiches with Havarti

With these avocado green goddess sandwiches layered with dill havarti, I’ve just rediscovered the joy of sandwiches. Even before going gluten-free, I wasn’t too keen on sandwiches. Confession: my mom packed me a sandwich every day of elementary school. And every day, I didn’t eat it, too afraid to tell her I didn’t like them. I’m now ashamed of the waste, not to mention all the time she could have saved! More than two decades later, I’m getting my payback with a finicky toddler who says she wants something and then suddenly – just like that – definitely does NOT want that something…how dare I offer it to her!

Except cheese, of course. She still always wants that.

So sandwiches – and this avocado green goddess sandwich, in particular. This is the third dish in my summer menu video series partnership with Roth Cheese: lunch. First I made a sunflower seed gouda pesto condiment. Then we ate a breakfast of cheesy savory oatmeal bowls. Now, lunch: these bright summery cheesy sandwiches. Oh yes, these sandwiches. Scroll to the bottom for the video & recipe!

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California Food Photography Workshop Recap

date07.20.17

A look back at a California food photography workshop hosted in Sebastopol, California co-hosted by Snixy Kitchen, The Bojon Gourmet, and Foodness Gracious. With access to a prop selection filled with local ceramics, attendees took styling, photography, and editing lessons, and then applied the guidance in real styling shoots. #CAFoodPhotos

California Food Photography Workshop

It feels a little surreal that the California Food Styling & Photography Workshop I hosted with Alanna from The Bojon Gourmet & Gerry from Foodness Gracious kicked off nearly a month ago. I started and stopped and restructured this recap post many different times, until I realized that, ultimately, food is the storyline.

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Honey & Lemon Thyme Ricotta Ice Cream with Vanilla Peaches

date07.10.17

Fresh whole milk ricotta blended into a rich and creamy egg-free ice cream. Sweetened only with honey and infused with lemon thyme, this ricotta ice cream is luscious and aromatic. Serve topped with warm vanilla peaches for a summer sundae to celebrate National Ice Cream Month this July!

Honey and Lemon Thyme Ricotta Ice Cream with Vanilla Peaches

The repetitive hum of rock salt spinning in an old wooden ice cream maker was my soundtrack to backyard parties in July in the mid 1990s. When I finally got my own ice cream maker nearly 20 years later, I was no stranger to homemade ice cream. Only back then, we ate it soft like frozen yogurt, straight from the metal churning bowl. Ice cream soup. I’ve since upgraded my mom to her own KitchenAid stand mixer ice cream maker attachment just like mine so we no longer have to throw barbecues just for an excuse to churn ice cream on the back porch.

In collaboration with Rodelle, I’m celebrating National Ice Cream Month with this homemade honey and lemon thyme ricotta ice cream. And by celebrating, I mean making and eating ice cream all month long.

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