Forest Feast Fashion: Floral Dress + Floral Rolls

I’ve got another Forest Feast Fashion pairing for you! Wouldn’t you love to nosh on some Floral Summer Rolls while wearing this lovely floral dress by Sonnet James? I would (ha!)

These rolls are one of my favorite things to eat. (So much in fact that my family has been known to make them for me on my birthday!) They are in my entertaining cookbook, The Forest Feast Gatherings. I can usually find the rice paper wraps at my local grocery store in the “international” aisle. As for edible flowers, I like to grow nasturtium seeds (they are really easy), but you can also find edible flowers at the farmers market and even at the grocery store. (I asked my local grocery store produce department to order them and they arrived next day!) If you can’t find any, you can always decorate the rolls inside with basil leaves, mint leaves, rings of red onion, carrot strips, red bell pepper slices or chopped purple cabbage.

TO MAKE THE ROLLS:

More instructions are on the image below but simply soak the rice paper rounds in water for a minute, lay out on a cutting board, then fill with thinly sliced salad ingredients in the middle of the round. Musts for me are lettuce (crunch!), avocado, red onion and fresh mint. But you can add anything that’s cut up small enough. Fold the ends in and roll up like a burrito!

I recently spent a weekend on a retreat with Whitney, the founder of the dress company Sonnet James. In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I'd share her inspiring story. She started her company on her own as a newly single mother with 2 very young boys.  After they'd go to bed at night, she read business books and taught herself to make patterns and sew. Later, she went door-to-door at factories in San Francisco until she found a place that could ethically produce the dresses for her. Her goal was to make play dresses for moms, and that's just what she does! She started with some Kickstarter money and then a blog post by Design Mom ignited initial orders, but after a recent appearance on Shark Tank, she now works with the investor Sara Blakely of Spanx (another super-inspiring biz-mom!) and her business is thriving. Can't wait to see what's next, Whitney...and I love my new dress, thank you for sending it to me.

Read more about Whitney here.

*Amazon Affiliate links are used in this post and if you purchase via these links, The Forest Feast will earn a small profit.

Ricotta Dip with Asparagus Gremolata

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Inspired by an article in the latest issue of Bon Appetit by Andy Baraghani that featured beautiful, simple dips I created this one. It’s full of spring flavors, great for a gathering and really easy to make.

Ricotta Dip with Asparagus Gremolata

6 oz good-quality creamy ricotta cheese

2 green onions

3 asparagus stalks

butter, olive oil, salt & pepper

crudites, crackers or baguette (for serving)

Spread the ricotta on a small plate and drizzle with olive oil, flaky salt and pepper.

To make the gremolata topping, finely chop and sauté the 2 green onions and 3 asparagus stalks with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper on medium heat for 3 minutes or until bright green. Allow to cool (mostly) and then spoon the gremolata over the center of the ricotta. Add a bit more flaky salt over all.

Serve with crudités (like these cucumber slices or carrots), pita chips and/or slices of baguette for a springy appetizer. 

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Roasted Chickpeas

Jeanine and Jack write the beloved (mostly) vegetarian blog, Love & Lemons and their 2nd book just came out! Jeanine used to work as a graphic designer before blogging full-time, and it sure shows. The fonts and graphics in the book are so beautiful!

Their new book, Love & Lemons Every Day : More than 100 Bright, Plant-forward Recipes for Every Meal is exactly how I like to eat. There are so, so many good ideas (Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad with Lentils! Zucchini Verde Vegan Enchiladas! Sweet Potato Wedges with Farro & Tahini!) , but I chose one of the simplest ones, Roasted Chickpeas, to make this week from the “Homemade Extras” chapter in the back of the book. This recipe has just 3 ingredients, and is easily adaptable. You can include them on the side of a cheese plate in place of nuts, or add them on top of any dish for a little extra protein. I made extra and am keeping them in the fridge to throw on salads all week.

Recipe below…congrats Jack & Jeanine!!

ROASTED CHICKPEAS

shared with permission from Love & Lemons Every Day by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews

1.5 c cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinches of smoked paprika or chili powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chickpeas on the baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkles of salt and pepper. Roast 20 minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the oven and toss with the smoked paprika, if using.

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Erin’s notes: I used canned chickpeas to save time and I just used paprika. They also suggest you can toss afterwards with cayenne or curry which I will try next time!

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Disclosure: I was gifted a copy of this book by the authors and their publisher. Thank you! Also–The Forest Feast uses affiliate links and may make a small profit if items are purchased via links on this site.

Lentil + Sweet Potato Salad

Because I work from home, I love to have some prepped salads on hand for lunch, so I can grab a healthy bowl and keep working. I made this yesterday and it was super filling and tasty! The added bonus was the sweet cherry tomatoes which came from a friend's garden.

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LENTIL + SWEET POTATO SALAD

1 (15 oz) can lentils, drained & rinsed in a strainer

1 small sweet potato, baked for 1 hour at 375˚F (or until soft), then cooled & cubed

1/4 c  diced red onion

1 c cherry tomatoes, halved

For the dressing: 1 t rice vinegar, 1 T olive oil, 1 t Braggs amino acid (or soy sauce), 1 t sesame oil. Add a grind of black pepper before serving.

Toss all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy immediately! It also keeps well for a day or 2 in the fridge. Use this as a base and add in what you have on hand! I made a second batch and added chopped radishes which was a tasty, crunchy addition. Other add-in ideas include feta, tofu, pumpkin seeds or fresh cilantro.

Roasted Beet Salad + a New York Minute

Roasted Beet Salad with Tomatoes, Scallions and Feta (recipe at the bottom)

Roasted Beet Salad with Tomatoes, Scallions and Feta (recipe at the bottom)

Ezra and I just returned from a fun weekend in New York City, and it was so good to be back.  It was one of those great spring weekends where the weather was warm, everything was in bloom, and everyone was out. 

I moved to New York right after college with no job and very little money because I wanted to become a photographer (and eventually, I did!). I thought I'd stay for a year and ended up staying 8. I interned at a magazine, was a nanny, worked at a restaurant, went to grad school, taught at a college and met Jonathan at a party!  I lived on the Upper West Side for the first 5 years, then Park Slope after that. I spent almost all of my 20s in New York - such a magical time.  (Hard, too, but in hindsight...mostly magical.) Even though I love living in the woods now, I sure do miss New York.

With Ezra on the Upper West Side

With Ezra on the Upper West Side

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Thank goodness Jonathan's family lives there so we get to go back often. Experiencing the city now so many years later with a 3-year-old in tow is different but so fun. We stayed with relatives on the Upper West Side and it was fun to roam around my old stomping grounds. I went for my sister-in-law-to-be's bridal shower at the prettiest tea house in an old antique-filled carriage house on the Upper East Side, Kings Carriage House

Afternoon Tea at Kings Carriage House

Afternoon Tea at Kings Carriage House

Afternoon Tea at Kings Carriage House

Afternoon Tea at Kings Carriage House

While in town, we had 2 great meals. One was at a Mediterranean spot on the Upper West Side called Bustan. It was my first time there and I loved their garlicky feta dip, eggplant carpaccio, freshly baked bread, and dreamy backyard. The second was at Barboncino, an Italian brick-oven pizzeria in Brooklyn (Crown Hts/Prospect Hts).  Anytime I am meeting my best girlfriends in Brooklyn, without question, we meet at Barboncino. It's our spot. And we always order the same thing: the Bibb salad, the Burrata, a couple Margherita pizzas and a bottle of their delicious red Aglianico wine. Every time I eat at Barboncino I have a OH WOW THIS IS SO CRAZY DELICIOUS moment and I declare it the tastiest food I've had in a while.  I also love the exposed-brick and candlelit vibe. If you're in Brooklyn, go! You might have to wait for a table but it's worth it.

Bustan on the Upper West Side

Bustan on the Upper West Side

Barboncino in Brooklyn

Barboncino in Brooklyn

Even though we had great meals, after traveling I always feel like I need to eat lots of vegetables when I get home. Good thing we returned to an abundant farm bag this week! Some beautiful beets came and I made this simple, colorful salad today. I sliced and roasted the beets, then topped them with yellow cherry tomatoes, scallions and feta. 

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Sliced beets are ready to go in the oven.

Sliced beets are ready to go in the oven.

Roasted Beet Salad with Tomatoes, Scallions and Feta

serves 4

4 beets, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds (peel on)

1 c yellow cherry tomatoes, halved

3 scallions, chopped

2 oz crumbled feta

Lay the beets out on an oiled baking sheet then drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them at 425F for 25 minutes, flipping the beets once.

Allow the beets to cool then lay them out on a platter. Spread the tomatoes over the beets then sprinkle the platter with the chopped scallions and crumbled feta. Drizzle the platter with a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar, plus salt and pepper. Enjoy!