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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Cheesy Savory Oatmeal with Crispy Potatoes & Pesto

date07.05.17

A nourishing bowl of cheesy savory oatmeal folded with shredded gouda and roasted garlic, then topped with crispy oven potatoes, soft-boiled eggs, and bright summer pesto. The perfect make-ahead meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Cheesy Savory Oatmeal with Crispy Potatoes & Pesto

I once saw a tweet that read, “99% of parenthood is spent covering things in cheese to get my kid to eat it.” This is my life. The other 1% is convincing her that what I’m serving her is, in fact, cheese and therefore she’ll love it if she just gives it a shot.

She’s a toddler, so reasoning is generally out the window, but if there’s cheese involved, the chances are much higher. When it comes to this cheesy savory oatmeal topped with gouda pesto, Zoella is all in.

This is the second dish in my summer menu video series in partnership with Roth Cheese: breakfast. Last month, I shared an easy condiment – sunflower seed gouda pesto – that’ll transform anything from pasta to eggs to salmon. And now I’ve dolloped it over this cheesy savory oatmeal breakfast bowl with crispy potatoes, a soft-boiled egg, toasted sunflower seeds, and more shaved gouda. Cheese on cheese on cheese. Sign me up. Zoella too.

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Chocolate Banana Tahini Popsicles

date06.27.17

It’s popsicle week!! Creamy banana tahini popsicles made with frozen bananas whipped up with hazelnut milk, tahini, maple syrup, and a splash of vanilla extract. Healthy popsicles masquerading as dessert with a cloak of dark chocolate and toasted sesame seeds. 

Banana Tahini Popsicles with Chocolate Drizzle

You know those recipes for banana ice cream where you freeze bananas, then purée them until they turn into soft serve, giving you deliciously creamy ice cream that’s actually just bananas? I’ve got one way back in the archives, except I added caramel because: sugar. So probably not as healthy – go figure.

These chocolate banana tahini popsicles start with that base recipe for just banana ice cream. Then I’ve blended in nut milk, tahini, maple syrup, and vanilla to add a little intrigue and make it pourable into popsicle molds. The chocolate drizzle and toasted sesame seeds allow these healthy popsicles to masquerade as dessert, even though you really are basically just eating bananas and tahini.

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Sunflower Seed Gouda Pesto

date06.19.17

Quick and simple sunflower seed gouda pesto with toasty seeds and mild and mellow sweetness from shredded gouda for a summer condiment you’ll want to eat by the spoonful or on top of eggs, veggie bowls, pasta, sandwiches, and more.

Sunflower Seed Gouda Pesto

I’ve got approximately 7lbs of cheese in my fridge right now and I’m 100% confident we’ll finish it off in the next two weeks. Scratch that: Zoella still only wants to eat cheese for every meal so I give it one week.

I’ve partnered up with Roth Cheese for a summer menu video series. Throughout the summer, we’ll build a full menu with breakfast, lunch, appetizer, and dinner recipes filled with Wisconsin cheese. First up is a simple and quick condiment that can transform any dish with just a spoonful. We’ve been dolloping this sunflower seed gouda pesto on just about everything from eggs to veggie bowls to pasta to grilled cheese sandwiches. There’s something magical about the toasted sunflower seed and Van Gogh gouda combo that I can’t stop snacking on. And blended up with basil, it’s my new favorite summer topping.

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Roasted Fennel & Garlic Socca Flatbread with Olives and Mint Parsley Oil

date06.11.17

This naturally gluten-free chickpea socca flatbread is topped with melty mozzarella, roasted garlic and fennel, and buttery olives, then drizzled with a fresh mint parsley oil.

Roasted Fennel & Garlic Socca Flatbread with Olives and Mint Parsley OilThis post is sponsored by California Olive Committee. Although I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own.

We’re in the thick of a toddler hunger strike right now. It’s not that she’s picky and doesn’t like foods. She won’t even try most foods – “nah,” she says as she drops it on the floor. Tips for not raising a picky eater are welcome. Her current list of approved foods includes: cheese (the clear favorite), blueberries, dried figs, pine nuts, smoked salmon, and olives.

Maybe I’m ripping my hair out to get her to eat most days, but I’m also counting my blessings that she didn’t inherit my dad’s aversion to olives. This is huge. It was a major point of contention whenever I’d choose olives as my only pizza topping growing up. If this socca flatbread with olives and mint parsley had been on the menu, I’d get to eat it all.

Real talk: how can anyone not want to be on team olives when they make such great fingertip jewelry?

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