socca pizza

salty, melty and smoky

based on simple socca bread, i have craved this pizza since the first time we made it. the simple, french flat bread that is served as street food, is the perfect medium for pizza. i found inspiration on the edible perspective.

this crust is super sturdy, even loaded with toppings. i poured on a generous amount of pizza sauce, loaded it up with feta, olives, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers and onions, and thick slices of mozzarella. this greek-ish pizza was killer. i planned on saving half of my portion for lunch the next day, but i couldn’t bear to. i had to have it now.

the crust itself was super easy to prepare and bake., much easier, i should say, than any other gluten-free or grain free crust i have ever come across. -not to mention, it is vegan, and has a minimal ingredients list. i’ve seen so many people make this into a breakfast pizza, which i can’t wait to do. -pesto, eggs, bacon, arugula. that sounds like an amazing brunch waiting to happen.

smoky, crispy, thick, sturdy, and packed with flavor, this crust has a ridiculous amount of nutritional benefits, as well. not only is it gluten-free and grain free, it’s also vegan. this whole recipe makes 2 really large servings, though it should be spread about as 3 reasonable servings..

messy good!

here is a nutritional break down per half of the crust: 300 cals, 15g protein, 35 carbs.

the best way to go about this whole ordeal is to bake the crust, spread the sauce, bake for an additional 5 minutes, then add the rest of the toppings, cheese the top of it, then broil for 1 minute, simply to bubble the cheese. if the toppings are at room temp when you assemble the pizza, it will heat thoroughly without a long baking time. don’t skip your favorite herbs. stir whatever goodies you desire into this batter.

once you make this, you will be compelled to make it a regular. take the recipe, make it yours, and make it often.

socca pizza

1 1/4 cup chickpea flour

1 cup warm water

a glug of olive oil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp apple sauce

1/2 tbsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

other goodies you’ll need:

your favorite pizza sauce, pesto, or romesco

your favorite veggies and meats

your favorite fancy cheeses (the expensive ones work best!)

method:

combine all ingredients until completely smooth in a large bowl. let it sit for half an hour or so.

preheat oven to 375f. stick a 9″ cast iron skillet, coated with oil, in the oven for 5 minutes or so to heat up. -please use the right sized skillet for this recipe, otherwise the crust will not be the proper thickness and will not hold up properly.

pour batter into skillet, bake for 35 minutes. cracks will form in the top of the crust, and the edges will brown slightly.

carefully remove pan from the oven when it is cooked. spread your favorite sauce onto the crust, leaving some room around the edges. bake for another 5 minutes to allow sauce to heat up and to evaporate a little water. once again, remove from the oven. crank on the broiler. throw your remaining toppings on, top with cheese, and put under the broiler for 1 minute, until the cheese bubbles. watch out, the crust burns quickly, so if you let it go longer than 1 minute,… well don’t say i didn’t warn you.

remove from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

spicy peanut chicken with kelp noodles

most gluten-free noodles are made from rice or corn. these noodles, which i found at my favorite grocery, are made from a sea vegetable, kelp.the nutritive benefits of kelp are fairly unclear, but here is what we know: it is vegan, it is practically calorie and carbohydrate free, it is gluten-free. being from the ocean, it is naturally super-loaded with calcium. these noodles are an ideal addition to meals, especially those where rice is a filler. they settle lightly, unlike rice, which tends to soak up a bunch of water and sit in the stomach.

i was skeptical about the use of these. though i eat rice every few months or so as a treat with asian meals, i do love their ability to soak up all the yummy sauces that would otherwise remain on the plate. rice is just good. but again, rice is a treat.

the noodles soaked up the sauces that i carefully formulated for my meal, and their texture was a great compliment to the whole meal. if you prefer a rice style noodle, cook them a little longer, with the lid of the pot on, in a little broth or extra sauce. if you want them crunchy, get them just hot through and serve your stir-fry on top.

i like mine a little softer, like rice noodles.

they can be served cold and raw, so adding fresh veggies and topping with peanuts, soy sauce and sriracha would be a great salad idea here.if you can find these in your grocery, stock up. they are a little expensive, but oh so yummy and worth it.

if you do not have fresh ginger or garlic, you may use powdered or granulated if you must.

this recipe serves 3

spicy peanut chicken with kelp noodles

for the chicken and marinade:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips

1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

1 tsp fresh garlic, minced or finely grated

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp sriracha

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

for the stir fry:

2 carrots, shredded

1 bell pepper, cut into long strips

for the finishing sauce:

2 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 tsp fresh ginger

1/2 tsp garlic

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sriracha

1/4 cup orange juice

for the rest:

1/2 cup peanuts

1/4 cup chives, chopped

1 pkg kelp noodles, rinsed and drained

method

combine all ingredients for the marinade and let chicken swim in it for at least an hour.

mix up the finishing sauce while chicken marinates to allow flavors to mingle. taste and add stuff as you see fit.

place rinsed noodles in a large pot with a lid and a couple drops of water. heat on low. allow to warm as the rest cooks.

allowing the veggies and chicken to rest with the sauce for a few minutes is key!

heat up skillet and some peanut oil or sesame oil over medium/hot. add chicken, reserving the marinade. fry chicken until just cooked, then add remaining marinade. cook for another minute or so, then pour into a large bowl.

quickly add more oil to skillet, and fry up carrots and peppers until just soft. turn heat off, stir chicken back into skillet with veggies, and pour 3/4 of the finishing sauce into skillet to warm up a little. -just for a fast minute. pour everything back into large bowl, and add the remaining finishing sauce. stir it and half the chives in.

put noodles into serving bowls, serve with stir-fry, adding remaining chives and peanuts over. serve with more sriracha, if you like it hot.

lemon basil squash and kale ribbons with chicken

i have been waiting for the free summer squashes to start rolling in. for those of you in a zone 5 growing area, you know what i mean. once the first of july hits, so begins 2 full months of people pushing squash on you. no problem by me, i don’t have any in my garden, so send it my way. i could eat it 4 times a week and not get sick of it.

normally we keep our squash super light by simply salting and then grilling small slices. but we wanted something a little more decadent this time around, and also i’m missing pasta a little right now, so decided on a cream sauce made with garlic from the yard and basil and kale from the garden. the thin squash and kale ribbons were a breeze to prepare, looked beautiful, and soaked up the sauce surprisingly well.

this was a refreshing summer meal, and will for sure be a repeat in our house this season.

this entire recipe serves 4.

lemon chicken breasts

4 chicken breasts

juice of 2 lemons, reserve rind for zesting

3 tbsp salt

method for chicken: marinate chicken in lemon and salt for 4 hours. grill until skin browns or chars. remove from heat and zest lemon over breasts, then let rest for 10 minutes.

bright and tender ribbons

squash and kale ribbons

1 long summer squash

several leaves of kale

1/4 cup heavy cream

method:

for the squash, simply use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons out of a long squash. avoid the spongy flesh and seeds in the middle.

for the kale, use a pizza cutter to remove the thick rib from the center of all the leaves. use the same slicer to cut noodle shaped ribbons. set into a large pot.

wait until the chicken is almost done before cooking.

pour cream over ribbons. turn heat on low and cook slowly with lid on until veggies are completely tender. stir often so the sauce or ribbons don’t burn. sprinkle salt in, stir, and allow steam out with heat off.

stir in the salty good stuff

creamy lemon basil sauce:

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

3 tbsp olive oil

3 smashed cloves smashed garlic

1/4 cup fresh basil

salt

lemon for zesting

few tbsp pesto to serve

method: combine cream and garlic in sauce pan over medium heat. once it comes to a brief simmer, turn heat to low and whisk in oil, cheese, and salt. stir briskly until cheese is melted. stir half the sauce into finished ribbons and serve over chicken. finish with more sauce, shredded basil, lemon zest, and a little pesto.

enjoy with a ton of white wine.

or red.

or gin.

whatever.

chard, in rainbows

chard is all the rage this year.

even my grandma is hip to it.

“have you ever had COLORED chard?” she asked me… yes, grandma, i’ve had colored chard. she just wanted to make sure i was up on the latest food trends. she’s awesome.

so the tricky thing about chard is the texture.

do you like crunching on watery veggies?

if so, then you will love the stalks.

if not, then you will love the leafs.

no matter which you choose, i do recommend you choose. trim the greens off of the stalks and cook them separately because they will cook at different rates.

i like the stalks. brian likes the greens. i cook both separately and we eat our chard, respectively.

rainbow or green chard

1 lb chard, rinsed and dried

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon

S & P

method: cut leafs away from chard stalks. chop them, keeping greens separate from stalks.

get oil warm over medium heat in large boiler. add garlic and a pinch of salt. cook for just a few minutes to soften the garlic. throw in stalks and cook until tender, stirring frequently. after 8 minutes or so, remove from heat and toss in a bowl with juice of 1/2 a lemon, a little zest, salt, and pepper.

repeat with leafs of chard.

we like to serve with chicken thighs.

use the leftovers in omelette, on sandwiches, or on salads.

smoky sweet potatoes on the grill with bbq chicken

smoky sweet potato

let me start off by saying this: chives are so pretty!

look at those colors! and so versatile, they can be put on all kinds of savory stuff. the flower is also edible, so don’t throw it to the chickens… brian…

ready for execution!

i am way into garden cooking right now. i’ve been using my lettuce, herbs and chives like crazy. i can’t wait until the rest of this stuff comes out of the ground. -carrots, beets, kale, spinach, and peppers are all just sprouting little leaves in the garden, and hopefully by mid-summer we will have a bounty. for now, we have lots of chives, and we are working on ways to gobble these beauties up!

so very green and purple

i have a special place in my heart for sweet potatoes. -like, really special. -as in a few years ago i ate them every day and my skin turned a little yellow. it’s harmless. it was like an irish tan.

anyhow, i still eat them almost daily. it occurred to me, though, that i had never eaten them with sour cream. -i know, right?! well since we had so many chives in the garden and cultured sour cream in the refrigerator, i decided to be crazy for once and change-up my usual oven roasted sweet potatoes for grilled sweet potatoes with sour cream and chives.

gorgeous. these were beautiful. they taste amazing, they were easy, and they taste amazing. oh did i say that twice? good. i mean it. these things are crazy good. this was a great method to use, parboiling the potatoes ahead of time, then throwing them on the grill to finish and get smoky-sweet. this would also be an awesome dish to bring to a bbq, parboiling the potatoes at home, then taking them, ready to throw on the grill, all wrapped in foil and seasoned. -and don’t forget about throwing the foiled packages of potatoes into a campfire this summer. delicious.

sweet potatoes are the perfect companion to bbq chicken. i always make my bbq sauce from scratch. don’t even think about using a bottle of bbq sauce from walmart. just don’t.

try to time this meal so you can parboil the potatoes while the grill warms up., then throw them on the grill and finish them with the chicken.

one at the lips, 2 at the hips. whatever that means.

bbq sauce

1 1/4 cup of natural ketchup

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp date paste, maple syrup, brown sugar, or sweetener of your choice

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

pinch of salt

1 or 2 tsp sriracha or hot sauce

method: dump all that stuff in a bowl and mix mix mix. come on, let’s get going here. those spices won’t dissolve on their own. taste it, add stuff as needed. let it set for a few minutes before using to let things gel together. the consistency will depend on what sweetener you choose, and also the brand of ketchup you use. i highly encourage you to add more or use less of the ingredients listed as you so wish. fool around with this recipe and make it yours!

this stuff keeps in the refrigerator for a long time… like, a year. trust me.

bbq chicken

for the chicken:

6-12 drumsticks, however many you can gobble up

1 cup cold water

3 tbsp salt

2 tbsp sriracha

1 tbsp garlic powder

method: whisk all ingredients together until the salt dissolves, soak chicken for 1 hour and up to 6 hours in brine.

while grill is heating up, make bbq sauce and boil potatoes.

to cook chicken, coat grill grates with oil and cook on indirect heat for about 20-40 minutes, depending on your grill.

brush with bbq sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling.

smoky sweet potatoes

a few clean sweet potatoes

a big pot of boiling water

olive oil

foil

s & p

sour cream

chives

method: bring potatoes to a boil in a large pot of water for 20 minutes. set them on large pieces of foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper all over the place, then drizzle some oil in there.

wrap tightly in foil.

throw onto the grill while your other food cooks, about 20 minutes. remove from foil packet and set onto oiled grill for a few minutes to crisp and smoke skin. watch them to prevent burning. top halved potato with sour cream, chives, salt, and pepper.

don’t forget to make the table look nice!

go out to the yard and grab whatever your garden provides you with, stick it into a bottle, and call it a centerpiece. why let them waste away in the yard? we bring ours in and set them by the bedside.


fluffy peony

white beans dijon and chicken kebab

white beans dijon and chicken kebab

here is a really simple meal with some strong, basic flavors. have you ever sat down to a meal that you know was simply prepared well, and reminded how good simple foods can be when they are done well? this happens to me every once in a while, so i though i should share a recipe that did just that for me.

chicken thighs are perfect for the grill. their higher fat content keeps them from drying out in the smoky heat. plus, chicken thighs are totally delicious and super cheap. tomatoes get really sweet and a little smoky on the grill. the easy 2 ingredient marinade works perfectly and quickly to add tons of flavor.

unlike many on a modified primal diet, i am not afraid to include beans every so often into my diet. i will eat them once a week or so. eaten in moderation, beans are a healthy way of filling up on good plant-based protein and fiber.

great northern beans with dijon mustard, sun-dried tomatoes, and almond oil

my only stipulation is that i eat them only when properly prepared by soaking for at least 24 full hours, with 3 or 4 changes of water. this ensures digestibility, decreasing the chances for… ahem… intestinal distress. we all know that beans are famous for giving us excess amounts of gas, discomfort, even cramping and pain. this is typically because they have not been soaked, rendering the shell of the bean cooked, but the inside of the bean still raw and indigestible.

soak your beans. your intestines will thank me.

dijon mustard is the magical ingredient in most of our recipes lately, especially in this one. a little bit goes a long way, so you don’t need to add much else to the dish.

the second magical ingredient is almond oil. almond oil imparts toasty richness to the beans. the full flavored oil spreads nicely among the beans and keeps them from sticking together. if you do not have almond oil, i highly recommending dolling out the cash for a bottle. it costs the same as olive oil, and can be used in so many applications. if you really don’t feel like you want to buy it, a few substitution choices could be a fruity olive oil, butter, or bacon fat.

this recipe serves 2 fairly large portions.

cook the beans before you even start the grill, minding timing on this meal because the beans take over an hour, while the kebab take about 20 minutes once placed onto the grill.

white beans dijon with sun-dried tomatoes and almond oil

for the beans:

1/2 cup dry white beans (i like great northern)

several cups cold water

2 tbsp dijon mustard

3 tbsp almond oil

few tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

method: soak rinsed beans in clean water for at least 24 hours, changing water 2 times during that period.

place beans in a pot and cover them with 2 cups of water. do not salt the water. bring to a boil for 15 minutes.

turn heat down to medium. simmer for one hour or until beans are tender. add water if needed as it evaporates.

drain beans. stir in dijon mustard, oil, tomatoes, and a pinch of salt. keep warm over stove top.

smoky from the grill

chicken and tomato kebab

3 medium chicken thighs, cut into 1″ pieces

2 cups sweet, tiny tomatoes

3 tbsp dijon mustard

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

method: combine all ingredients and marinate. these can be marinated for up to 24 hours, but 1 hour is sufficient. place on skewers keeping them on separate skewers because they will get done at different rates.

get grill piping hot and grease grill grates. grill for 20-30 minutes, turning once. the tomatoes are super delicate once cooked, so be careful when moving them around the grill.

serve over beans and enjoy a smoky, comforting meal. a cold chardonnay would be awesome with this meal.

just sayin’.

grain free tortilla

wraps or tortillas are one of tough things you give up when you say good-bye to grains. i really enjoy having something to wrap a bunch of goodies up into. these really hit the spot.

they tasted wonderful, had a great consistency, and held up really well for a grain free tortilla. they actually didn’t really tear until the last bite of my second tortilla, which was packed tightly with drippy and greasy goodies. they soaked up the juices really well without shredding. they are not, however, sticky and doughy as a flour tortilla. that is something i really don’t miss. don’t expect these to stick to your teeth. do expect them to hold up nicely and settle lightly.

these wraps are gluten-free, grain free, vegetarian, dairy free, vegan, and lots of other stuff i am sure. i love how few ingredients this recipe requires.

it is best to let these cool and dry a little before using to make them even sturdier. i placed them on cooling racks as they came out of the skillet to let the steam out.

you could double the batch to make extra for a breakfast burrito in the morning, save for a wrap for lunch.. the possibilities go on. i think it would be really fun to leave out the cumin and salt and sub in some sweet flavors, like cinnamon and sugar, and wrap in some pb&j for a lunch box treat.

this serves 2 people 2 tortillas each.

grain free wraps

1 tbsp flax meal

3 tbsp warm water

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

1/3 cup warm water

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp cumin

method: make a flax egg by combining the flax meal with the 3 tbsp warm water. whisk briefly and let sit for 5 minutes.

meanwhile, combine garbanzo flour with spices. slowly whisk in water, being sure to get all the lumps out. stir in flax egg. let batter sit for half an hour or so. it will thicken slightly and bubble during this time.

now is a good time to prep your fillings. you don’t want to have to do this while you are frying up your wraps.

just before you use the batter, check it to see if it is thin enough. it should be thinner than pancake batter. you want it to run all over the pan, so thin is good here.

heat skillet over medium heat with some oil. once oil is hot, pour about 1/4 of the batter into the hot skillet. it will take about 4 minutes to cook on the first side. carefully slip spatula under skillet to loosen from bottom. gently flip to cook off extra moisture. it should only take a few seconds to finish.

carefully slide cooked wrap onto cooling rack, continue with the rest of the batter.

fill your wraps with all sorts of goodies.

we used up some leftover steak, salsa, cheese, avocado, cilantro, and fried onions and peppers in some chili powder.