Papparadelle with Goat Cheese Sauce and Roasted Corn and Tomatoes

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One of my favorite things to do is to walk into a farmers’ market and create a recipe on the spot. On Saturday, I knew that I wanted to eat pasta for dinner but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to put in it. I stopped by the Kirkwood Farmers’ market, surveyed what looked good, and came up with a plan.

I know it’s summer when I start craving roasted tomatoes and corn. Growing up, I lived down the street from a farmer who sold vegetables by the side of the road. I’d ride my bike down the street to buy fresh vegetables from him. Sometimes, he’d let me go into the field and pick my own.

One day he asked me what I planned to do with the vegetables that I bought. “Put them on a sandwich,” I said. “The best thing you can do with those is sprinkle on a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and put them in the oven,” he said. “That’s all they need.”

His words have stayed with me. Whenever I think about what to do with summer vegetables I go for a minimalist approach. If you have quality produce, the flavors speak for themselves. You don’t need to bury them in sauce or other ingredients.

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This pasta is one of the easiest things to make and the most delicious. All you have to do is toss some fresh corn and cocktail tomatoes with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, and roast them in the oven for a little until they start to turn golden brown.

In the meantime, make the pasta. The papparadelle cooks quickly so you can do that at the last minute, after you’ve sliced some basil. Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water to use for the sauce. Stir in goat cheese, add the basil and roasted vegetables, and sprinkle on some more salt and pepper.

I shared this pasta with my mom but I could have eaten the whole pot by myself. If you have a big appetite or you’re not good at sharing, I would recommend doubling this recipe. There’s something about the fragrant basil, sweet tomatoes, roasted corn, and tart goat cheese sauce that makes this pasta addictive.

Here’s a song that reminds me of these noodles. I’ve been listening to a lot of Joan Baez lately.

Papparadelle with Goat Cheese Sauce and Roasted Corn and Tomatoes (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1 cup cocktail tomatoes, halved
2 ears of bicolor corn, shucked and kernels removed
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 cup basil leaves, roughly sliced or torn
1 package papparadelle noodles
3 oz goat cheese
1/4-1/2 cup pasta cooking water
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

On one sheet, place the cocktail tomatoes cut side up and drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper. On the other sheet, spread out the corn kernels and drizzle on some olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper, tossing until the kernels are evenly coated. Make sure the corn kernels are evenly distributed on the sheet.

Place the baking sheets in the oven and roast the tomatoes and corn for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down and the corn starts to turn golden brown.

In the meantime, make the pasta. Cook papparadelle according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Return the noodles to the pot and add the goat cheese and the cooking water, stirring in the water slowly to make a sauce. Add more water if the sauce is too chunky, but be careful not to add too much. Stir in the basil leaves, reserving some for garnish.

Once the tomatoes and corn are done roasting, stir them into the pasta, saving a few roasted tomatoes for topping. Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Serve with more cut basil and roasted tomatoes. Enjoy!

 

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Sugaree Baking Company

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A couple months ago, I ditched work and went to explore Dogtown. Sugaree Baking Company was at the top of my list. I hadn’t been to the bakery since before I moved away from St. Louis five years ago. I remembered their pies and cookies and I wanted to see if they were still as good.

I walked to the bakery on a Tuesday afternoon and when I got there, I realized that they were closed. I checked my phone and saw that they’re only open to the public on Friday and Saturday afternoon. I stared at the wedding cake displays through the window for a few minutes, willing the store to open just for me. When that didn’t happen, I walked away resignedly, vowing to come back in the near future.

For some reason it took me two months to come back to Sugaree. I guess life in its various forms has kept me busy. Today I grabbed lunch at a local sandwich joint and then I went to Sugaree for dessert.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 2.17.53 PMWalking into Sugaree is like entering pastry heaven. The air is sweet with the smell of baking cookies, cakes, and pies. There’s honestly nothing like it; I *feel* better breathing the air.

There’s a table lined with a floral tablecloth to one side of the shop, intricate wedding cake displays in the windows, and old fashioned wallpaper behind the counter. There’s also a giant counter with glass panels and cake trays filled with every kind of pastry that you can imagine. “How am I going to decide?” I asked the saleswoman. “Get everything,” she suggested.

I will get everything at Sugaree eventually. Today I started with a peach blueberry cobbler because it looked amazing and during the summer, I start craving fruit desserts.

I took it outside with a plastic spoon (Sugaree doesn’t have indoor seating) and sat on a bench in the shade. I tried to get a first bite that included a peach, blueberry, pastry, and the sugary crust along the outside. In other words, the perfect bite.

I succeeded. When I put the cobbler into my mouth, I went still for a second. It was surreal. The pastry was buttery, light, and lemony, the peaches were sweet and juicy, and the blueberries added some tartness. The sugar crumble melted in my mouth and the caramelized crust melted in my mouth. Fine, I’ll admit it: I cried.

Once I pulled myself together, I finished the rest of the pastry. Then I walked back inside. “I’m back,” I said to the saleswoman, who looked confused and slightly worried about why I’d returned not five minutes after leaving the store. I ordered two almond croissants to go. Lesson learned: Never reject the advice of a pastry salesperson. This is something I should already know, given my past experience.

ANYWAY. If you’re in St. Louis or planning on stopping by soon, I would highly recommend paying a visit to Sugaree. The cobbler is the best I’ve had in St. Louis and definitely one of the best pastries I’ve tried in the U.S. It will take you through the full range of human emotions in the best possible way. I’m not exaggerating.

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Honey Greek Yogurt Breakfast Bowl

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If I could propose to this breakfast, I would. O.m.g. It’s that good.

I was browsing Larder and Cupboard on Sunday and the salesman let me try a free sample of Made Fare Co. lemon blueberry granola. I tipped back the plastic cup and ate some and temporarily blacked out. I’ve never tried better granola. I’m not exaggerating.

Made Fare Co.’s granola is superior for two reasons: taste and texture. Sometimes, granola *tastes* like a flavor and not the ingredient. For example, it has chocolate and cherry notes but you can tell it’s fake.

That’s not the case here. The lemon blueberry granola tastes like lemons and blueberries. It’s fresh, real, and delicious. It makes me feel good, too…I guess there are worse drugs.

Also, the texture is light. The granola is baked to golden perfection and it’s not too hard or clumpy. It breaks apart easily and seems to melt in your mouth, which is a weird thing for granola to do but it’s true. I don’t know how it manages this but I never want it to change.

Anyway. I’ll stop before I sound like an extended sales pitch for Made Fare Co. But if you’re in the St. Louis area, or even if you’re not, you should DEFINITELY buy some. It comes in small bags but a little goes a long way.

To make this bowl, scoop some nonfat Greek yogurt into a bowl and drizzle on some honey. Mix the honey and yogurt and then top with blueberries, toasted almonds, lemon blueberry granola, and another drizzle of honey.

This breakfast was so good that it made me not want to make a smoothie bowl and eat the same thing three days in a row. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

Here’s a song that I heard in the car on the way to work this morning. There’s a new R&B radio station in St. Louis, 103.7, and I’m mildly obsessed. It plays throwbacks like this one and newer songs, like TLC’s Way Back (which is honestly the hit of the summer and if you don’t believe this, you’re wrong).

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Mango Cardamom Smoothie Bowl

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This smoothie bowl came together spur of the moment. I had a bunch of raspberries and frozen mango that I needed to use up, so I was going to make a mango smoothie bowl with raspberries on top. Then, at the last minute, I decided to add a sprinkle of cardamom. I’m so happy that I did.

The cardamom changed the bowl from a more boring fruit smoothie to a mango lassi in smoothie form. It’s thick, rich, delicious, and it has a little spice. I also added granola and chia seeds for crunch and kiwi slices and mulberries for flavor. Blueberries would also work well on top.

In other news, I recently signed up for Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets and I’m obsessed. I like getting a new poem delivered to my inbox everyday. This is one of my favorites from last week:

“Summer Silence”

by E. E. Cummings

Eruptive lightnings flutter to and fro
Above the heights of immemorial hills;
Thirst-stricken air, dumb-throated, in its woe
Limply down-sagging, its limp body spills
Upon the earth. A panting silence fills
The empty vault of Night with shimmering bars
Of sullen silver, where the lake distils
Its misered bounty.—Hark! No whisper mars
The utter silence of the untranslated stars.

Here’s how you sign up.

In semi-related news, I was reading an article in the New York Times the other day about Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize lecture. In the lecture, Dylan said that songs aren’t like literature because they’re meant to be sung, not read. I’d agree with that assessment.

But, like Dylan mentioned in his lecture, songs and literature overlap because they both tell stories. The best songs and books make me laugh, cry, gasp, and think. They evoke real emotions through themes that we’re all at least somewhat familiar with, such as love, loss, struggle, and triumph.

I thought about Dylan’s lecture when this song came on in the car on my drive to work this morning. I didn’t discover Loretta Lynn until about a year ago. Better late than never, I guess. I love her irreverence, her lyrics, and her no-bullshit attitude.

This song, “Fist City,” encapsulates all those things. Lynn wrote it about her cheating husband. It’s basically a warning to the women cheating with her husband to step off, because otherwise, Lynn will mess them up. It features the lyric, “You better move your feet if you don’t wanna eat a meal that’s called Fist City.” The song was one of a few that got Lynn banned from the radio during the 1960s.

Lynn was a storyteller and a renegade. She wasn’t afraid to take a stand and speak up for what she believed in, even though she knew that it would probably get her in trouble.

I think that artists nowadays are original and take risks. But I miss the rawness and honesty of performers in Lynn’s era. It’s vulnerability paired with a fighting spirit, an unwillingness to back down. I’d like to see more of that in today’s music.

Mango Cardamom Smoothie Bowl (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen mango
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp cardamom
raspberries, chia seeds, granola, mulberries, and kiwi slices for topping

Directions

Blend the mango, almond milk, Greek yogurt, and cardamom in a blender on high until smooth. Pour into a bowl and top with raspberries, chia seeds, granola, mulberries, and kiwi slices. Enjoy!

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Socca with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Tomatoes, and Crème Fraîche

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My sister just moved to Boston and bequeathed me a couple cookbooks that she didn’t want to lug there from St. Louis. One is Ottolenghi’s Plenty.

I actually already own a copy of the cookbook but it’s buried in a box that I brought back from D.C. So I decided to make this copy my own. When I leafed through and saw a recipe for socca, I knew that I had to make it.

I saw pictures of socca semi-recently online and the concept intrigued me. They’re savory pancakes topped with roasted vegetables. I’m a big fan of sweet pancakes and I like most fried things, so I thought that I would enjoy this recipe.

I wasn’t wrong. Socca are like blini, or Russian pancakes. They’re thin, light, and crispy, so you can eat a bunch of them and not feel sick afterward. My favorite part about them is how crispy they get around the edges but how soft they are inside. They texture is even better than regular pancakes, which sometimes feel too heavy.

Ottolenghi called for topping the socca with roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions with thyme, and serving the pancakes with crème fraîche. I forgot to buy thyme so I omitted that, but otherwise I followed the recipe.

The caramelized onions make the pancakes. Adding a little white vinegar in right before they’re done cooking makes the onions even sweeter and brings out the caramel flavor. It also contrasts well with the tomatoes, which get layered on top of the pancakes and onions.

I would also *highly* recommend the crème fraîche as a garnish. If you don’t have it on hand, Greek yogurt or sour cream would also work well. It cuts through the sweetness and adds some tart flavor, and it pairs well with the crispy chickpea pancakes.

ANYWAY. Make these pancakes as soon as possible. I’m not going to lie: They take some time and effort. It’s a little torturous flipping pancakes and waiting for them to be done. But, if you’re like me, you’ll find a solution to that problem, like eating one, or two, or five pancakes directly from the skillet.

Socca with Caramelized Onions, Roasted Tomatoes, and Crème Fraîche (adapted from Ottolenghi’s Plenty)

Ingredients

for the grape tomatoes:
2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
olive oil
salt and pepper for sprinkling

for the onions:
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced into rounds
2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper for sprinkling
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

for the socca:
1 3/4 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites, whipped
more olive oil for frying
crème fraîche for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomatoes, cut-sides up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are starting to break down but haven’t completely done so yet.

Meanwhile, make the onions. Heat the 2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the yellow onions, stir, and then reduce heat to low. Cook the onions for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re golden brown but not too dark. Add the vinegar in right before they’re done cooking and stir to distribute. Remove from heat and set aside. Once you take the onions out of the oven, increase the heat to 325 degrees F.

Make the socca batter by combining the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together until the batter looks uniform. Whip the egg whites into soft peaks in a metal bowl and then use a spatula to gently fold in the egg whites to the socca batter.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Set aside. Brush a nonstick skillet with olive oil and heat on high for a couple minutes. Then, reduce the heat to medium and pour in about 1/4-1/2 cup of batter. Wait until the pancake gets bubbles on top before flipping. This will take about two minutes. Cook on the other side for a minute, then remove the pancake and set it on the prepared baking sheet. Do not layer the pancakes; place them side by side.

Continue to cook the pancakes until both baking sheets are full. Then, place the baking sheets in the oven for about 5 minutes to heat up the pancakes. Remove them from the oven and top with the onions and tomatoes. Place the baking sheets back in the oven for about 4 minutes, or until the ingredients are heated through.

Remove the sheets from the oven and serve the socca warm with a dollop of crème fraîche. Enjoy!

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Mango Nectarine Smoothie Jar with Chia Pudding

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This is one of the best breakfasts I’ve made in a while. I say that all the time because I make something that upends the last amazing breakfast that I ate. The struggle, as they say, is real.

Originally this was supposed to be a tapioca pudding jar but I forgot to buy tapioca pearls at the grocery store. So I improvised and made overnight chia pudding. I also made a mango nectarine smoothie in the morning to fill up the rest of the jar. I like the combination of textures. The pudding is thicker and more substantial and the smoothie is light and sweet.

One word to the wise about making chia pudding: Use coconut milk if you can. I usually use almond milk because that’s what I have on hand, but yesterday night I followed a new recipe and used coconut milk and it was SO much better.

When I make overnight chia oats with almond milk, the mixture can be runny in the morning and I need to stir it to distribute the seeds. When I used coconut milk, that didn’t happen. I even used the reduced fat coconut milk and the resulting mixture was still thick and pudding-esque. So yeah. Ditch the almond milk.

I topped the jar with some ginger cashew granola and shredded coconut but feel free to get creative. I think kiwi slices and berries would also work well.

In other news, TLC just dropped another track and I’ve been jamming out to it at my desk. It samples Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny,” and Earth Wind & Fire’s “September,” as an homage to simpler times. It also features uplifting lines such as “don’t be tripping all over your fears/because the good comes out of the bad.” It’s hard for me to believe this in light of Trump signaling the destruction of our planet, but it’s reassuring nonetheless.

Also, I already got mushy about this on Instagram but I’ll share the story here, too. I was running in Forest Park yesterday and I went past a flower that I took a picture of the other day. It was already gone. It made me realize that we should appreciate the things we have while we have them. Just a thought.Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 8.04.29 AM

Mango Nectarine Smoothie Jar with Chia Pudding (from me, to you)

Ingredients

for the overnight chia pudding:

1 cup reduced fat coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup maple syrup

for the mango nectarine smoothie:

1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup frozen pineapple
1/4 cup frozen mango cubes
1 nectarine Siggi’s yogurt
1 banana
granola, fresh mango cubes, and shredded coconut for layering

Directions

Make the chia pudding the night before. Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl and cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, make the smoothie. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high until smooth.

To make the jar, sprinkle some granola at the bottom of a mason jar. Pour in the smoothie until it comes up halfway. Sprinkle in some fresh mango cubes. Spoon the chia pudding on top and then top that with more granola, fresh mango cubes, and shredded coconut. Enjoy!

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Tartines with Fried Quail Eggs, Smoked Salmon, and Avocado

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Whenever I go to the farmers’ market, I like to buy one ingredient that I’ve never cooked with before. It challenges me to learn about different food and it pushes me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes, my best creations come from taking a risk.

Cue: these quail eggs. I was browsing the farmers’ market last Saturday and I saw the eggs sitting beside cartons of strawberries and rhubarb. “Look, quail eggs,” some man next to me said to his wife, laughing under his breath. It did seem random but also fortuitous.

A friend of mine in Alabama told me about quail eggs a while ago but I’d never seen them in the market. She told me that they were even more flavorful than regular eggs, which is true. They’re tiny but they pack a powerful punch.

The only downside to quail eggs is that they’re kind of hard to crack. You wouldn’t expect it because they’re tiny and seem so delicate, like they’d crumble at the touch. But they’re actually pretty insulated so when you bang them against the side of the bowl, you also have to pry the shell open with your fingers.

Also, because they’re so small, it takes a lot of quail eggs to make a regular sized meal. My first quail egg foray was making scrambled eggs and it took about five quail eggs to make enough for dinner.

That’s why I’d recommend making something where quail eggs are more of a garnish than a main event. Some recipes I saw called for baking quail eggs in avocados or putting them into a hole cut out of toast. Those sound delicious but I decided to fry a couple eggs and put them on tartines.

This is one of the most delicious dinners that I’ve made in a while. I love the way the creamy goat cheese tastes with the smoked salmon. The avocado adds flavor and the quail egg adds richness and texture. Sprinkle with some flaky sea salt and pepper and you’ll feel a little like you’re eating a tartine at a boulevard café in France. Or maybe that’s just me.

Here’s a completely unrelated song that I listened to in the car this morning. I hadn’t heard it in a while but then it came on while I was driving to work.

Tartines with Fried Quail Eggs, Smoked Salmon, and Avocado (from me, to you)

Ingredients

2 pieces of good, crusty bread, toasted
3 oz of goat cheese, slightly softened
smoked salmon
1 avocado, pitted and sliced thinly
2 quail eggs, fried
oil for frying
salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions

Toast the bread and set it aside. In the meantime, fry the eggs. Heat the oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the quail eggs and fry until the whites are set and the middles are still runny. The quail eggs cook quickly so make sure to keep an eye on things.

Spread the goat cheese on the toasts and place smoke salmon slices on top. Add the avocado slices and then put the fried quail eggs on top. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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