In case you're hosting a brunch for Mother's Day next weekend, and stressing over what to serve, I've got you covered! If you have my Forest Feast Gatherings book, you can serve the entire Brunch menu on page 95 (done, and done!). The star of that menu is an easy, make-ahead frittata loaf...recipe below.
I love listening to podcasts while driving and Jessica Murnane's is one of my favorites. In fact, one of my favorite interviews I've ever done was by her on her One Part Podcast– she asks great questions! So I was super excited to meet her in person last year when I was in Charleston. We met for a drink while she was in the middle of working on her first cookbook. I remember her telling me she was looking for a photographer and considering Nicole Franzen, who I thought would be a dream to work with (who I love to follow on Instagram and who she ended up choosing!).
Her book, One Part Plant: A Simple Guide to Eating Real, One Meal at a Time, was just released and I was so excited to get a copy in the mail recently to see just how beautifully it turned out. The book is full of recipes that are vegan and gluten-free, although that's not really in the tag line. Instead it's about choosing to eat at least one plant-based meal a day, which can be very healing and make you feel great. After being diagnosed with endometriosis, she began eating a plant-based diet which basically healed her, and that prompted the OPP movement. He recipes are delicious, clever and colorful...and of course beautifully shot. Plus she is always wearing super cute outfits in the book (and in real life) and has a fabulous design sense.
I've been getting so many beautiful watermelon radishes in our farm box lately! I made this salad recently and it was easy, tasty, and colorful. Full of crunch! The recipes serves 4 as a side.
Now that we have 2 kids, I find that we are having people over even more, especially in the evening. We have cocktail hour outside with our guests while Ezra plays in his jammies, then we put both kids to bed and enjoy dinner with friends. The key, however, is having the food made in advance. This week we had a small weeknight dinner party for 4 people and I did an easy, make-ahead menu. To make a very simple menu seem more special, I did twist on the usual salad presentation, and doctored up some box brownies.
The fun part I thought was this "salad", in which I put toppings inside of Romaine leaves. You can really fill them with anything you might put in your usual salad, just chopped up smaller, and they look pretty out on a platter.
WEEKNIGHT DINNER PARTY MENU
Guests brought wine, which we had outside before dinner, along with a bowl of nuts (simple!).
- Broccoli Lasagna
- Sauté finely chopped broccoli and thin slices of red onion with garlic and olive oil. Layer the broccoli mixture with no-boil lasagna noodles, ricotta, and marinara. Shredded mozzarella on top. Bake at 375ºF for about 45 minutes. I prepped the lasagna ahead and popped it in the oven about an hour before we ate.
- Romaine Salad Cups
- Lay Romaine leaves out on a platter and fill with your favorite salad toppings. I used grated carrot, sliced bell pepper, diced red onion, feta crumbles and sunflower seeds. I made a simple dressing by mixing store-bought pesto in a jar with a splash of red wine vinegar, and a little more olive oil.
- A nice baguette! (With butter, of course.)
- Cashew Butter Brownies
- For dessert, I made a box mixture of brownies according to package instructions. I poured the batter in a pie dish (a little prettier), then I placed dollops of cashew butter (you could use almond or peanut) and used a wooden skewer to swirl it around. I made this ahead and left it in the fridge until we sat down to dinner. Then I popped it in the oven to bake while we ate so it would be warm out of the oven for dessert.
Happy cooking and have a great weekend!
Long story short, a few years ago, Andrea and her husband bought 6 acres of beautiful land in Oregon and turned it into Tumbleweed Farm. They grow all their own food and sell it as well, and all the recipes in her book are inspired by meals she has created on the farm. She also does all the gorgeous food photography. The book is very much vegetable inspired, and there are several creative vegetarian recipes (although it's not a vegetarian book).
She was kind enough to share her recipe for Roasted Vegetable & Chickpea Tacos with us here. So delicious, and a great weeknight dinner idea.
Andrea's recipe and notes from her new cookbook, Dishing Up The Dirt:
Roasted Vegetable & Chickpea Tacos with Herbed Tahini Sauce
SERVES 4 TO 6
Taco night is no joke at our house, and these simple tacos don’t disappoint. Loaded with fresh vegetables, hearty chickpeas, and a zesty tahini sauce, they’re what the summer harvest is all about. Gather your friends, crack open some beers, and dig in!
1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
1 medium-sized zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
1½ cups cherry tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed, drained, and patted dry if from a can)
3 tablespoons olive oil
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
corn or flour tortillas, warmed
Herbed Tahini Sauce (page 5)
minced herbs for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the vegetables, garlic, and chickpeas with the olive oil, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on two rimmed baking sheets and roast until everything is lightly browned and the tomatoes blister, 18 to 25 minutes. Rotate pans and toss them halfway through cooking.
Spoon the vegetable and chickpea mixture onto warm tortillas, drizzle on the sauce, and garnish with extra minced herbs.
Herbed Tahini Sauce
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
This versatile sauce tastes great served with pretty much anything. Sometimes I like to keep it on the thicker side by adding less water so it can be served as a dip for crackers or raw veggies. However, when taco night comes rolling around (page 108), I like to achieve a smooth and pourable sauce by adding more liquid.
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced (white and light green parts only)
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped
¼ cup loosely packed dill, finely chopped
¼ cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients with ⅓ cup water in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste-test and adjust seasonings as needed.
For more of her story, watch her cookbook trailer, here. Congrats, Andrea on a gorgeous book!
Photos and recipe above by Andrea Bemis, excerpted from her book, Dishing Up The Dirt, published March 2017.