summer squash pizza.

In case you were like me and didn’t know, zucchini pizza is definitely a thing. A very easy, very delicious dish that is oh-so-perfect for late summer evenings. A side note: how is late summer already?! Wasn’t it just Memorial Day? I suppose that old adage is true, time really does speed up as we get older. But I digress. Today’s recipe is absolutely perfect for your overwhelming supply of fresh zucchini and yellow squash. If you have a garden, I’m sure you’re overloaded with it. If you’re like me and get yours at the farmer’s market, well, they are practically giving them away! This is the perfect use for them. Hello, it’s pizza!

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I used a mix of yellow squash and zucchini, but you can use all yellow, all green, or a combo like I did — whatever is easiest for you. I used gruyere, as the nuttiness adds so much flavor to this pizza topping. If you can’t find gruyere or want a less expensive option, I would use swiss. I would stay away from fresh or packaged mozzarella, as it’ll be a little too bland for this recipe. If you have any fresh herbs in your garden like chives, oregano or basil, go ahead and add them! I particularly think fresh basil torn over the top of the cooked pizza would be divine.

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The squash and cheese mixture should be a little heavier at the edges, where the oven will brown it first. I noticed that I should have rotated the pizza halfway during the cooking process, and will do so next time for a more even all over cook. If the pizza seems a little limp, it may be because you didn’t squeeze out enough moisture from the zucchini before mixing in the cheese; make sure all excess moisture is removed.

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This is before going into the oven… sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, if using.

Cut after removing from the oven, and serve immediately. This is also delicious at room temperature or even straight from the fridge; making it ideal for leftovers or for easy entertaining!

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summer squash pizza.
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

ingredients
2 pounds of zucchini or summer squash of your choice (about four small/medium squash), shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic gloves, crushed and finely minced
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons whole wheat panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 pizza dough recipe (recipe below)

pizza dough recipe
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2/3 cup tepid water

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt until well combined. Add the water, and mix for about 30 seconds, using a wooden spoon or your hands, until well combined. Cover, and let rest for 2 hours, or until the dough has more than doubled in size.  Proceed with recipe below.

directions
Shred the zucchini and yellow squash with a food processor fitted with the grating blade or grate on the large hole box grater. Add to a colander nested inside of a mixing bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes or longer, tossing occasionally. With a clean dish towel, add the squash to it and drain well.

Add the squeezed squash to a large bowl.

Add the gruyere, crushed red pepper, salt and minced garlic to the drained squash and mix to combine.

Spread the tablespoon of olive oil on a half sheet baking pan (9×13) and with oiled fingertips, add the pizza dough. Work the dough with your fingers (it will be delicate) into a thin, even piece, nudging the dough towards the ends of the pan. If the dough tears (mine did), simply pinch together. An even shape is not necessary or easily achieved, you just want to ensure the dough to be an even thickness.

Top the dough with the squash and cheese mixture, piling the mixture a little thicker at the edges, as it will brown first. Sprinkle panko and parmesan, if using, all over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 12, and rotating the pan halfway if needed. Remove from pan, and cut into squares, serving immediately.

Serves 4-6.

*Please use organic/local vegetables and cheese as appropriate* 

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mu shu chicken lettuce wraps.

Happy Saturday friends! I don’t know if it’s the unseasonably warm weather (high 40s today!) or what, but I just cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is in twenty days. TWENTY. And I’ve bought exactly one gift so far. And not a single decoration has seen the light at my place. I’m telling you, every. year.!

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Despite my unpreparedness for the upcoming holidays, I did make a dish recently that is not only super simple and delicious, it would be perfect for holiday parties! I made these lettuce wraps as a weekend lunch, but depending on the size of your lettuce leaves, this could easily be a great option at a cocktail party for a light appetizer. Fill a serving dish with the cabbage/chicken mixture, and a plate piled high with lettuce leaves, and let guests serve themselves! It would make a great, light option amongst all the heavier holiday goodies, and these are gluten free as long as you use tamari and GF hoisin sauce. The sauce strikes a nice balance between sweet, savory, salty and tangy. Because we’re swapping the lettuce for the traditional pancake, 3 of these wraps come in at under 200 calories. Perfect justification for another glass of champagne. Hey, it’s the holidays!

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These are great for busy days/nights, because they come together in under a half an hour, and you can use leftover rotisserie chicken. If you want to make the chicken from scratch, either poach the chicken breasts or simmer in a deep skillet covered with a splash of chicken stock until cooked through.

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I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I did!

mu shu chicken lettuce wraps.
inspired by cooking light.

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ingredients

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons dry sherry
1.5 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1.5 tablespoons gluten free hoisin sauce (Wok Mei is a good GF brand)
1.5 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoons garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 cups shredded cabbage + carrots (I used a 14 oz. package of coleslaw mix)
2 small chicken breasts (about 8 ounces), cooked and shredded
1/2 cup scallions, sliced, divided
2 heads baby romaine, leaves separated
1/4 cup chopped cashews (optional)

directions

Combine the tamari, sherry, hoisin, vinegar and sesame oil in a small bowl.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and swirl one tablespoon of grape seed oil to coat the pan. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to brown/burn. Add cabbage mixture and soy sauce and cook for 1 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cooked chicken and 1/4 cup of the scallions to the pan and continue to stir and cook, until cabbage is just barely wilted.

Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with remaining scallions. Serve with baby romaine or Bibb lettuce leaves. Garnish with cashews if desired.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as an appetizer.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**

seared scallops with corn, tomato water and mint.

Who loves beautiful and elegant dishes that are absolutely ridiculously easy to make? *Raises hand*.

In my last post, I mentioned that I bought tomatoes with the intention of making a tomato water. What is tomato water you ask? It’s really just a fancy way of saying that it is the collected juices from chopped tomatoes that were sprinkled with sea salt. And that, my friends, is the hardest part of this dish. Chop the tomatoes, give them a generous pinch of sea or kosher salt, toss them in a fine mesh strainer, stir occasionally for an hour or so, voila! You will be left with a thin, opaque “water” that is delicate in flavor. The perfect thing to be spooned around plump sea scallops that have been seared so they are golden brown and glorious on both sides, yet tender and medium-rare in the middle.

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I stumbled upon this recipe in an old copy of Bon Appetit magazine and was at once both intrigued and skeptical. Intrigued by its beauty, skeptical of the ingredients. Do tomatoes, limes and mint sound like they’d go together? With seafood no less? I was intrigued enough to find out, and I’m so so glad I did! This is insanely delicious. I find lots of things delicious, but as I ate this, I actually couldn’t believe how good it was. Partly because my misguided skepticism, and partly because this is almost absurdly simple in preparation. I wanted to add a veggie into this dish (you know how much I love my veggies!), so I simply cut raw corn off the cob and added to the bowl right before adding the scallops and tomato water. I really liked the raw corn, it’s sweet and crunchy. You can cook it if you’d rather, but I’d highly recommend trying the raw. Sweet corn is in season, so let’s take advantage! The squeeze of lime adds a welcome punch of acidity and brightness, and the mint just refreshes your palate when you eat a leaf and ever so gently perfumes the dish.

I made this for one, but if you are cooking for someone (or multiple persons) you love, it’s easily doubled or tripled. Enjoy a crisp glass of white wine or rose, and prepare for the exclamations of gastronomic delight!

seared scallops with corn, tomato water and mint.
adapted from bon appetit. 

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ingredients

2 heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/2 lime
1 tablespoon fresh mint, leaves torn
4 sea scallops
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon butter
black pepper
1 ear sweet corn, raw kernels removed

directions

Place chopped tomatoes into a fine mesh strainer that is sitting atop of a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally to collect juices (should have about 1/3 cup). Meanwhile, cut raw corn off of ear, set aside.

Heat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet (not non-stick) over medium-high heat. Add oil and butter. Once hot and melted together, add scallops to pan. Cook until deeply golden brown on one side, about 90 seconds. Turn and let cook on opposite side for additional 45-60 seconds until lightly browned and opaque. Remove to paper towel and drain for 30 seconds.

In a shallow bowl, add corn kernels. Add scallops to bowl and gently pour tomato water around the scallops. Squeeze the half of lime over the bowl, garnish with mint. Serve immediately.

Serves 1. Easily multiplied. Plan for four scallops a person.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**