Farmer’s Market Panzanella

Farmer's Market Panzanella

Are you overwhelmed with tomatoes yet? Overflowing with bell peppers?

I really prefer to eat the bounty of summer produce I have been bringing in from my tiny garden and the farmer’s market raw. In their most honest and nutritious and juiciest form. But really…how many tomato sandwiches can one girl eat? (In case you were wondering…the answer is about four per week. Not that I’m counting.)

If we are going to keep up with the greedy volume of fresh fruits and veggies of the summer, we are going to have to get serious. And make a huge bread salad.

What? You don’t think bread should intrude further into salads than the occasional crouton!? Are you mad!?

This panzanella is seriously delicious. The crisped bread absorbs just enough of the tomato juices and sharp dressing to become luxurious, and the hearty base makes the whole meal toothsome and filling. You should make it right away!

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The Zucchini Anchovy Pizza

The Zucchini Anchovy

When I was a kid I was a complete bookworm. Also a pizza-holic.

(Imagine my delight when Pizza Hut started rewarding young readers with personal pan pizzas! I had no trouble with that task, none at all.)

But I digress.

I have a vivid memory of the first time I came across the concept of an anchovy: I was (naturally) reading a book in which some of the characters were ordering a pizza. Everyone was stating their preferences, and one person said they would eat anything except anchovies.

I asked my mom what that was, and when she told me anchovies were little fish that some people liked to eat on pizza, I blanched. Gross! Fish on pizza! Who would do that to themselves!? Don’t you people know that the only truly great pizza topping you could ever want is cheese with extra cheese?

P.S., I have no trouble admitting that I am still a bookwork and a pizza-holic. I still love me some cheese pizza. But…I guess I have expanded my palatte a little. You should, too!

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Bell Pepper Shakshuka with Feta and Za’atar

Bell Pepper Shakshuka

One of the pitfalls of being a food blogger is that there aren’t really many family favorite meals in our house. I don’t mean to say we don’t have favorite meals—just that I don’t make repeats very often. Our “favorite” meals tend to roll around once every three years rather than once every three weeks.

There is much less room for food ruts when the chef is constantly looking for new dishes to blog about.

But this shakshuka is seriously going to grace our table several times every summer from now until Kingdom come, because wow is it delicious and it is so easy to make! I love laid back meals, don’t you?

Shakshuka is a North African dish typically comprised of eggs poached in a rich tomato sauce. This version is a little different because it adds brightly colored bell peppers for a little more heartiness and texture. It will make your house smell amazing. It will make your mouth water. It will basically be the best use of summer bell peppers you will ever find, and you will mourn when your farmer’s market shuts down in the fall!

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Wax Beans with Pepitas and Scallions

Wax Beans with Pepitas and Scallions

I have been wondering what the albino beans I kept spotting at the farmer’s market were all about.

Wondering sort of idly. Green beans aren’t my most sought after veggie, so I wasn’t all that desperate to try their pale friends.

That is, until I remembered one of the lofty goals I’d set for my farmer’s market trips this summer: try new things!

So last week I grabbed a pint of wax beans, which are basically pale yellow green beans, and set to work. While you can substitute wax beans in any recipe that calls for green beans, and they are often served alongside green beans in three-bean salads, I really wanted to make something that would highlight these blond beans themselves.

They do taste similar to green beans, but I found them to be slightly more heat resistant (that is, they didn’t lose all of their crunch after 1 minute in the pan), which is definitely a good thing in my book!

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Chocolate Beet Cake

Chocolate Beet Cake

It’s Secret Recipe Club time again, and this month I was so pleased to be baking with Rebekah of Family, Food, and Fun.

Do you ever come across someone’s blog and immediately feel disappointed that they live so far away? As I was reading about Rebekah and perusing her recipes (oh my! so many delicious desserts), I just enjoyed how passionate she is in serving her family and the Lord and in being a great baker! Dare I say—she seems a little like me, a few years into the future!

In fact, many of the recipes on her blog are things I have made and loved or have dreamed of making.

I had such. a. hard. time. picking a recipe for this month because the cakes and cheesecakes were all mouthwatering. In the end, I chose beet cake, because it sounds so unusual. I don’t know what it is about oddball desserts that just makes my pulse quicken (black bean brownies? chocolate prune cake? chocolate-date-nut-balls?)…maybe I just love the idea of cramming a vegetable or fruit unexpectedly into something that would otherwise be completely unhealthy.

Also…did you know that in the U.S., unless a sugar package is labeled “cane sugar” that it will actually contain beet sugar? Processed from sugar beets? When you think about it, I guess putting beets into a cake isn’t that unusual after all! In fact…it could be delicious!

Secret Recipe Club

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Rustic Chocolate Pavlova

Rustic Chocolate Pavlova

It’s summer. It’s hot. I sometimes have to wear a bathing suit.

But I still want chocolate desserts. (So sue me. I don’t like fruit, remember?)

So let’s just settle back and imagine the perfect summery chocolate dessert. One that is light and airy and melts in your mouth. One that doesn’t feel like it’s going to make that whole bathing suit situation impossible.

And here it is: pavlova!

Pavlova is basically a meringue cake, which you can top any way you’d like. I went for whipped cream (hiiiiiighly recommended) and chocolate shavings, but you could totally throw on a handful of your favorite summery berries and make this dessert even more festive. It’s fudgy in the center but not too rich; it’s crisp at the edges…and that melt in your mouth thing?—totally happening. This is a delicious chocolate dessert that feels like it was invented for summer.

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Mexican Sweet Corn Soup

Mexican Sweet Corn Soup

Leftovers are my kryptonite.

I never really know what to do with them! Sure, I sat down to plenty of “leftover nights” when I was growing up, but we ate a fairly meat-and-potatoes style diet, so even if the leftovers were mismatched, they still made sense together in their original forms.

Leftover nights around our house are a little strange. One person is eating two different kinds of pizza while the other person is eating a salad burrito. The side dishes are really my personal nightmare…I so often eat one-dish meals that when there is a leftover side dish, I hardly know what to do with it. What I need to learn is how to look at the shelves stacked with cooked veggies and baggies of extra ingredients and imagine what they could become…something else entirely.

My husband, on the other hand, knows just what to do with leftovers (when he’s not ignoring them, that is): turn them into soup. Which—after I yanked a bag of leftover boiled corn on the cob out of the fridge and declared, “We are never going to eat this! I am just going to throw it away!”—is exactly how this corn soup was born.

And it’s so good! It is exactly the kind of thing I would have planned specifically to make, gone to the farmer’s market to shop for…and then found myself wondering what to do with those two extra ears of corn I had to buy “just in case.”

Well. Baby steps.

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