Heart Pizza + Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tonight we are making heart-shaped individual pizzas at home with the boys. I just bought some already-baked pizza crusts and use scissors to cute them into hearts. Then I put out bowls with toppings so the boys can make their own, and sip pink bubbly while they bake!

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Here’s are a few more Valentine favorites from previous years….

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Sweet Potato + Lentil Tacos

I made this for dinner last night and it only took about 20 minutes. I thought it was such a tasty, healthy, easy weeknight idea that I needed to recreate it here. Happy cooking!

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SWEET POTATO + LENTIL TACOS

makes enough filling for about 6 corn tortilla tacos

1/2 red onion (diced)

1 small sweet potato (diced with peel on)

1 (15 oz) can cooked lentils (drained and rinsed in a colander)

a handful of arugula (or any greens! cilantro, lettuce, spinach, chopped kale...)

1 avocado

hot sauce

corn tortillas (or flour if you prefer)

Sauté the diced onion and sweet potato with some olive oil, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes over med/low heat, until the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork. For the last minute, add the lentils, just to warm them. Spoon the mixture into warm tortillas (I use tongs and heat mine over an open stovetop flame). Top each taco with a pinch of arugula, a slice of avocado, a bit of hot sauce and a pinch of flaky salt

 

I sautéed the sweet potatoes and onion  in my favorite skillet  for 10 min, then added lentils to warm them.

I sautéed the sweet potatoes and onion in my favorite skillet for 10 min, then added lentils to warm them.

Top the tacos with arugula, avocado and hot sauce

Top the tacos with arugula, avocado and hot sauce

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Yellow Squash Ribbon Quiche

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With 2 picky toddlers, lately we’ve been having what feels like weeknight dinner fails. Much of the food ends up on the floor and by the end someone is in tears (usually me, just kidding). I just assumed that since we eat so many vegetables our kids would love them too, but man was I wrong! We go through phases, and re-introducing things helps, but it’s not like they’ll sit down and eat a salad (yet!). I am fairly confident they will turn into vegetable-loving adults, but in the meantime I just want them to ingest something green (or yellow, or red). I don’t love the idea of sneaking the veggies into food, as I’d rather they know what they are having, but sometimes I just want to make sure some veg is making its way down. (That’s usually when I break down and make a peanut butter-banana-spinach smoothie for dessert.)

Our boys will never turn down scrambled eggs, and they don’t seem to mind or notice when I finely grate some yellow squash or even zucchini in there. This week I’m going to try this quiche on them (minus the herbs probably). Anyone have favorite toddler-approved veg dishes?! 

YELLOW SQUASH RIBBON QUICHE

6 eggs

handful grated cheese (any kind)

1/3 c milk (I use almond, but can be any kind. Cream or half-n-half will make it more rich and custardy)

a pinch of salt

one small yellow squash (crooked neck or zucchini shaped ones work)

store-bought pie crust

Mix the eggs, cheese, milk and salt in a bowl and pour the mixture into a pie dish lined with pie crust. (I don't pre-bake the crust because I don't mind it occasionally doughy at the bottom, but you could if you don't mind the extra step and time.) Use a potato peeler to make ribbons from one small yellow squash and lay them all around in the egg mixture, pressing them down a bit under the egg. Sprinkle fresh thyme on top, plus more salt and pepper if you wish. Bake at 375F for 35-40 minutes or until set.

 

 

Roasted Vegetable & Chickpea Tacos

I'm very excited about this week's release of Andrea Bemis' new cookbook, Dishing Up The Dirt. I follow her on Instagram and every time she posts a new recipe I think, "What a great idea!" and "I want to eat that, NOW!".  She also has a stunning blog.

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!

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Photos and recipe above by Andrea Bemis, excerpted from her book, Dishing Up The Dirt, published March 2017.

Halloween Dinner: Coconut-Curry Butternut Soup

I love the onset of fall when I can start to eat and decorate with a sunset-autumn palette of pomegranates and pumpkins and dried leaves. We did our annual trip to Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay and Ezra chose some good ones that we put on the swing by our front door.  Ezra is only 2 and still doesn't quite understand costumes and candy, but when Halloween comes, I know he'll love it. Crazy to think that at this time next year we will be dressing up 2 little boys!

We've been doing a lot of entertaining lately with my book launch plus the Jewish high holidays. After the book launch party for 100, we had a seated Rosh Hashana dinner for 20 at home (biggest we have ever done here!) then another fall potluck on the deck.  Since we have more room outdoors than in, we have to take advantage of these last warm days of early fall to be on the deck! Through all of this, I have realized that a big pot of soup goes a long way and is perfect for a fall gathering. I made a huge batch of this Coconut-Curry Butternut Soup recently and found it easy to make ahead and easy to serve for a group. If you are planning a Halloween dinner, this is perfect! I served it on a buffet in my big Dutch oven alongside toppings like cilantro, yogurt and crunchy fried Flatout Flatbread strips, and people told me they loved it.

This soup is vegan (without the yogurt topping) and serves 4-6. If you don't love curry, use half as much or omit completely. The coconut milk addition adds creaminess; the coconut flavor is very subtle. Double the recipe for a larger group.

Coconut-Curry Butternut Soup

1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed (or buy pre-cut packaged chunks of butternut, about 30 oz worth- I did this and it saved so much time!)

1 large yellow onion, cubed

32 oz box of vegetable broth (1 box)

13 oz coconut milk (1 can)

1 t garlic powder

1 t curry powder

salt & pepper to taste

FOR THE SOUP: Lay out the cubed butternut and onion on a large baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400ºF for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender and a bit browned. Put this roasted mixture into a big pot (I used my dutch oven). Add all other ingredients and use a hand blender to purée the whole pot. If it seems too thick, add a little more broth or water. Simmer the pot on low, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes and serve hot. 

FOR THE GARNISH: Using Flatout Flatbread's Artisan Thin Pizza Crust, cut matchstick-sized strips from 2 sheets of flatbread. Put the strips in a skillet with a generous amount of olive oil and cook them on med/high, tossing often with a wooden spoon, until brown and crispy (about 5 minutes). Sprinkle with salt.

Top each bowl of soup with a dollop of plain (non-dairy) yogurt, a pinch of fresh cilantro and several crunchy fried Flatout Flatbread strips. Serve hot!

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We set up everything on our bar outside for a buffet. The soup did well and stayed hot in this big Dutch oven, but you could also serve it in a slow cooker to keep it warm for a longer period of time.

We set up everything on our bar outside for a buffet. The soup did well and stayed hot in this big Dutch oven, but you could also serve it in a slow cooker to keep it warm for a longer period of time.

I tried to choose dishes in autumn colors.

I tried to choose dishes in autumn colors.

Self-serve soup bar with a ladle.

Self-serve soup bar with a ladle.

I decorated the buffet/bar with mini pumpkins, dried leaves and fall-colored flowers in small vases.

I decorated the buffet/bar with mini pumpkins, dried leaves and fall-colored flowers in small vases.

at Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay with Ezra.

at Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay with Ezra.

Happy Halloween!

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This post was done in partnership with Flatout Flatbread. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make The Forest Feast possible!