Thursday, May 14, 2015

Grilled Gluten-Free Pizza with Peas, Lemon + Mint {a collaboration}

Your guide to thin and crisp grilled gluten-free pizza crust (whole grain + gum-free) and a springy topping of fresh peas, meyer lemon, goat cheese and mint.

It's like I blinked and suddenly it's summer. At the co-op, I'm shocked to see buckets of peaches, nectarines, zucchini, cherries, and even corn. Corn! In May! Where did spring go?

My niece is through with her first year of college. My sister's planning a birthday camping trip to Big Sur. And San Francisco is finally cooling down, a sure sign that summer's on its way along with Karl the Fog.

Photo by Emma K Morris

My friend and neighbor Kimberley has a long-standing summer tradition of grilling pizza on her patio, a ritual she gave up when she went gluten-free several years ago. When we met last spring, we hatched a plan to resurrect the tradition. Despite the fact that we live 5 blocks away from each other we finally made it happen a year later. I brought over some dough and toppings, Kimberley whipped up something delicious (coming soon to her blog!) and grilled some asparagus. Our friend Emma joined us from Napa with copious bottles of wine, radishes, snap peas, meyer lemons and kale from her garden, and her camera. We made a salad with Kimberley and Emma's garden offerings, cracked a bottle of wine, and had a feast.

In true SF style, there was an icy gale blowing on the patio. It kicked up the coals, blowing sparks on our toes, and we huddled around the grill trying to shield our lenses from the onslaught, snapping a few shots when we had the chance. With our SF pallors we were too afraid to sit in the sun, but wesettled into the soft carpeting and made a picnic on Kimberley's studio coffee table. It was a pretty classic San Francisco summer day. 

Shooting in Kimberley's space was a dream come true for me. That gal is my food photography idol and her studio is a panoply of handmade ceramics, barnwood, and glorious light. Heaven. Emma captured tons of beautiful moments with her impeccable eye, all of which you can see on her fabulous blog.

Photo by Emma K Morris

As for the pizza, the grill does wonders for my favorite gluten-free dough. We were too chicken to throw the raw dough on there, fearing it would break apart and fall through the cracks, so we took a tip from Fine Cooking and parbaked it first. This makes the crust firm enough to slide on and off the grill as needed, and it helps the center of the dough cook through. The grill adds an addictive smokiness to the crust, and the hot coals act like a pizza oven, making it super crisp and bronzed.

Photo by Emma K Morris

As for the toppings, mozzarella and goat cheese hold the peas in place. Thinly sliced meyer lemon adds tang, and mint is a classic with peas for a reason. The mild flavors let the peas star, and the crust holds up beautifully even when laden with gooey toppings (better than most wheat-based crusts, I must say).

If you give the grilled pizza a go, let me know! Or snap a shot for instagram and tag the_bojon_gourmet – it will make my day. 

Oh, and if you don't have a grill, never fear: I've given oven instructions in the recipe header. Here's a version I made at home with ricotta in place of the goat cheese – pretty tasty, too.

Wishing everyone out there a fabulous finish to spring.

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Peas on Earth:
Chestnut Flour Ravioli with Chèvre + Artichoke in Parmesan Pea Broth {gluten-free}
Saffron, Ricotta + Pea Pancakes {gluten-free}
Potage St. Germain {minted pea + lettuce soup}

Grilled Gluten-Free Pizza with Peas, Lemon + Mint

Thanks to Kimberley for the being the grill master and teaching me the ways of grilled pizza. Feel free to play fast and loose with the toppings here. Ricotta can stand in for the chevre, asparagus or favas for the peas, or try this method with summery toppings such as corn and cherry tomatoes. If you're grill-less, make this pizza in a 500ºF oven on a hot baking stone, parbaking the crust for 3 minutes, adding the toppings, and baking for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Makes 2 (12") pizzas, serving 4-8

1 recipe Thin + Crisp Gluten-Free Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cups shelled peas (from 1. 5 pounds / 680 g shelling peas)
2 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces (340 g) fresh mozzarella, drained well and sliced
1 1/2 - 2 cups crumbled fresh goat cheese or whole milk ricotta (about 12 ounces / 340 g)
half a large meyer lemon, seeded and sliced paper thin
two handfuls of small mint leaves
flaky salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Make the dough, let it rise, shape, and let rise again as instructed. While the dough does the first rise, prepare your ingredients and get your grill situation going; you want some steady, warm coals for this. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the peas and cook briefly, shuffling the pan a few times, until they're bright green and crisp-tender, a minute or two. Remove to a bowl and let cool.

When the crusts are shaped and ready, slip them, parchment and all, onto baking stones or inverted baking pans and parbake for about 20 minutes; they should be firm and set, but not too golden. Slide them off the parchment and onto pizza peels (or cool inverted sheet pans or large cutting boards that are heat resistant.)

Use a wide metal spatula to slide the first crust onto the grill and cook on the first side until deeply bronzed and crisp. This should take about a minute, but peek under the crust occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn and move it around as needed to brown it evenly. When the first side is cooked, use the spatula to guide it back onto the pizza peel. Flip the pizza over, so the grilled side is facing up, and top with half of the mozzarella, goat cheese, cooked peas, and lemon. (Press the peas into the cheese so they won't roll off in the next step!) Slip the pizza back onto the grill and cover. Cook, peeking under the crust occasionally and moving the pizza around the grill as needed so it cooks evenly, until the toppings are hot and melted, 2-3 minutes. Maneuver the pizza back onto the peel, slide it onto a cutting board, top with half the mint and some flaky salt and pepper, and cut it into wedges. Serve immediately.

Repeat the process with the second pizza. Leftovers keep well refrigerated airtight and reheated in a skillet over a low flame.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman: 42 Healthier Mother's Day Brunch Recipes

I imagine that when most people go home to visit the parents, they're served things like pot roast and mashers for dinner. For me it's the opposite; going to visit my mom in LA is like going on a healthy eating retreat. She brings us green smoothies for breakfast, we'll venture to vegan or raw restaurants for lunch, and dinner consists of big salads, raw soups, greens cooked with legumes, and naturally sweetened fruit-based desserts. 

I wish the fare were always so healthy wherever I traveled, and in my own home, too. I'll be staying in NorCal this mother's day, but wanted to share some beautiful, vibrant comestibles from my favorite spaces around the web in honor of the lady who taught me that "your health comes first."

Spring is also a grand time to up your flower arranging skills (and make them better than this guy's). My dear friend Ana of Fluxi On Tour is holding a flower arranging and Instagram photography workshop in San Francisco on May 30th. It will be held in a beautiful space in the Dogpatch (my favorite neighborhood) - that and brunch at Piccino would make a bright and beautiful gift for yourself of a mother in your life, just sayin'. Get the details and register here. 

Speaking of flowers, here are a bunch to arrange in your face, courtesy of the edible flower virtual potluck put together by Renee. And if you're still in need of a great gift, I'm giving away a copy of The 52 New Foods Challenge by my friend Jennifer Tyler Lee, which is a bible for inspiring kiddos to explore the world of fruits and vegetables on their own. Pop over to this post and leave a comment to enter.

And now, for all the health-minded mamas out there like mine, here are a host of spring recipes that'll make you feel good from the inside out.




And if you're looking for an alternative toast, this takes just minutes to whip up:

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Hibiscus, Rhubarb + Yogurt Ice Pops {plus a cookbook giveaway + edible flower potluck}

These popsicles get layers of color and flavor from hibiscus honeyed rhubarb puree and vanilla maple yogurt. Tart and refreshing, and adapted from The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee.

When I started this blog nearly six years ago, I never in a million years would have guessed the many doors it would open, new friends it would make, or personal satisfaction it would give. I'm astounded, on a daily basis, what unexpected things come my way because of this little slice of the interwebs.

For instance, a month or so ago I was invited to attend a friend's book launch at Williams Sonoma. Jennifer Tyler Lee, author of The 52 New Foods Challenge, made it a game to get her kiddos excited about trying new foods, and her sweet cookbook is a gem full of recipes designed to be cooked with kids, each featuring a weekly new ingredient. The book revolves around the seasons and the recipes are simple enough that Jennifer welcomes adding your own creative flair. The evening was aimed at mom bloggers but Jennifer assured me that being a mom only to a feline was a-ok. (Though for the record, Catamus is a much pickier eater than most human children.)

I wasn't expecting much from kid-friendly food, but when Jennifer and the team at Williams Sonoma served up course after course of recipes from her book, I was hooked. Forget about the kids, I wanted to eat her food for every meal.

Between delectable bites of brussels sprouts chips, fried brown rice, quinoa cakes, caprese salad, roasted asparagus, and avocado chocolate mousse that tasted much better than it should have (i.e. I thought about it for days afterward) I got to chat with fellow bloggers (including this rad lady), swill wine, and geek out on photography. It was a night to remember. 

When we scored a veritable bucket of rhubarb from Jay's mom's yard last weekend, I turned to Jennifer's rhubarb ice pops as a vehicle to use up the pretty red stalks. Hibiscus is a favorite addition to rhubarb as it ups the tart/floral notes and adds an extra pop of color. I layered the magenta puree with some excellent sheep milk yogurt courtesy of Garden Variety and flecked with vanilla bean. The sweetness in the recipe comes from honey and maple syrup making these free from refined sugar and extra-flavorful.

I love the look of layered popsicles, so I adapted these to accommodate. The rhubarb part stays soft and sorbet-like from the honey, and the yogurt turns icily refreshing. Heavenly on a warm day.

I highly recommend this book as a Mother's Day gift for any mamas with young'uns. And hey, we're giving away a copy to a lucky winner. Just leave a note below about your favorite new-to-you food, drink or flavor combination. (I'll start: black garlic. I had some on scallion pancakes at Rich Table this time last year and it blew my mind.) 

This post is also a part of an edible flower potluck put together by the lovely Renee. Check out the other floral offerings below:
Bread + Barrow | An Edible Flower Luncheon  
Dunk & Crumble | Strawberry Lilac Pavlovas
A Little Saffron | Raspberry Rose Fizz
Top With Cinnamon | Lime, Mango and Elderflower Cakes

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin', or Twitter, subscribe to receive new posts via email, make a donation, or become a sponsor. This post contains affiliate links.

Hibiscus, Rhubarb + Ice Pops, Previously:

Hibiscus, Rhubarb + Yogurt Ice Pops

Adapted from The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee

These icy popsicles are a snap to make. Feel free to skip the layers and puree everything together in the blender as per the original recipe. And if you have a bit of yogurt and rhubarb puree left over after making these popsicles (as I did because I expanded the recipe to more than fill my molds), throw them in a blender with some frozen fruit, a bit of banana and some almond milk and get your smoothie on. Yum. Do be sure to trim away the rhubarb leaves as they are toxic. 

Makes 10 popsicles

1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons loosely packed hibiscus blossoms
3 cups (340 g) chopped rhubarb in 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup (180 g) honey
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups plain, whole milk yogurt (I used sheeps's milk)

Steep the hibiscus and boiling water together in a heat-proof vessel for 10 minutes. Strain, pressing on the solids to extract the good stuff. Add the hibiscus infusion to a medium saucepan along with the prepared rhubarb and honey. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender and broken down, 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add the lemon juice, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, and puree smooth. Transfer to a pitcher.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup and vanilla bean seeds to combine, then whisk in the yogurt. 

Layer the two mixtures in 10 popsicle molds, beginning and ending with the rhubarb and freeze according to your popsicle maker instructions. The popsicles will keep, frozen, for up to 1 month. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tempeh BLTs with Kimchi, Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise {vegan option}

Toasted bread piled high with tempeh bacon, kimchi, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and chipotle mayonnaise makes a speedy meal for busy people.

Today's post is super special as it is part of a virtual baby shower potluck for Erin who, in addition to having created two beautiful bouncing cookbooks, a spectacular recipe website and (with Melissa) a web design company, is about to become a bonafide mama in a few weeks.

Erin is one of the kindest, most generous souls I've ever met. After stalking her site for several years, I cold-emailed her last spring when I was contemplating a cookbook offer and she wrote back 2 full pages of honest, genuine advice and feedback, then offered to come to San Francisco for the sole purpose of talking to me about it in person. Who does that?? In the midst of trying to meet her deadline for her second book, she welcomed me into her home in Sacramento, and after teaching me everything I could ever hope to learn about blogging, authoring and photography, Erin sent me away with a shopping bag full of homemade food, including the cherry scones and zucchini soba salad that are in her brand-spanking-new book. As if that weren't enough, a few days later I received a package in the mail. I opened the giant box and Erin had filled it to the brim with bags and bags of spices and tea, and a sweet card. I for one wouldn't mind having Erin as a mom!

Erin, I owe you much more than a sandwich. But since the theme of this here virtual potluck is extra-quick meals, it'll have to do. When I first read those words, I had a small panic attack. If I shared the recipe for my usual quick meal it would read: Open sushi container. Eat sushi. Or maybe: Heat tamale. Eat tamale. Poetic if not bloggable. 

In actuality, I'm quite slow at everything I do, particularly when it comes to cooking. And eating. The sloth is my spirit animal. 

My best shot was a taco that required roasting carrots, soaking and cooking chickpeas, pounding herbs and garlic in a mortar and pestle, and serving it on a hand-carved ice sculpture. (Ok, just kidding about the ice sculpture... but maybe handmade tortillas.) But Sarah, who is the master of the quick meal (and soon to be the doctor of it as she's finishing her Phd this month!!!), helped me brainstorm, and these sandwiches emerged the clear and quick winners. 

With the help of some early tomatoes, I fry up some tempeh bacon and layer it on toasted bread slathered with chipotle mayonnaise. I add kimchi (we've been loving this turmeric habanero kimchi), arugula sprouts, little gems and avocado. The kimchi and chipotle give them quite a kick, and the tempeh makes them hearty and satisfying. We've been nomming them all week.

When Jay took his first bite he said, "Why would anyone eat anything else, ever?" causing me to wonder why I bothered making things like hand-rolled pasta from freshly milled chickpeas, or crème brulée, but hey. My face was full of sandwich so I couldn't really respond.

If quick meals aren't your thing, fell free to make your own tempeh bacon, mayonnaise, or heck, you can even make your own bread if you want your food extra-slow (I'd go with this, this or this).

Many thanks to Melissa and Ashley for hosting this virtual potluck! Check out the other yummies from the rest of the blogosphere below and at #SHOWERFORERIN:

The Fauxmartha | A Pasta Dish for Busy Hands
Cookie and Kate | Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Food Loves Writing | Erin's Veggie Burgers
Flourishing Foodie | Glazed Tofu with Miso Ramen
This Homemade Life | Greek Chickpea Salad
My Name is Yeh | Creamed Spinach
Brooklyn Supper | One Pot Pasta Primavera

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin', or Twitter, subscribe to receive new posts via email, make a donation, or become a sponsor.

Sexy Sandwiches:
Green Goddess Sandwiches
Toasted Pan Bagnat with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Arugula
Raspberry Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches {vegan, raw, and gluten-free}

Tempah BLTs with kimchi, Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise

Feel free to make these sandwiches to your taste – the exact measurements will vary depending on the size of your bread. I prefer a pan bread with a bit of character from either sourdough or whole grains / seeds. We've been using oatmeal molasses bread from Marla and Josey Baker's Wonderbread (as pictured here).

Makes 2 sandwiches

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
2-3 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise (such as Spectrum Olive Oil) or vegan mayonnaise
1-3 teaspoons chipotle puree

2 teaspoons sunflower oil (or other mild cooking oil)
6-8 strips tempeh bacon, halved crosswise
4 slices sturdy pan bread, toasted
1 medium-sized, ripe avocado, halved, pitted, removed from peel, sliced
1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
several thin slices of red onion
1/4 cup kimchi
two handfuls sprouts (such as arugula sprouts)
4 small lettuce leaves (such as little gems)

Make the mayonnaise:
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and chipotle puree. Cover and chill until needed.

Make the sandwiches:
Heat the oil in a wide skillet set over medium heat until it shimmers, then add the tempeh strips and fry on the first side until golden, 1-2 minutes. Flip and fry on the second side until golden, 1-2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Spread the chipotle mayonnaise in a thin coat on each of the four slices of toasted bread. Top two of the slices with the ingredients:
tempeh bacon
sliced avocado
sliced tomato
sliced red onion

Top with the remaining slices of bread and devour. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Muscovado Mint Juleps

Classic mint juleps get an update with molasses-y muscovado sugar and lime. Adapted from Brown Sugar Kitchen.

Now that its spring, we're finally getting a winter in San Francisco. Karl the Fog (yes, our fog has a name... and instagram account) has been hanging around most days, blowing chilly sea air inland. I'm glad he's back – I mist him! (SF humor.) In addition to getting to flaunt my favorite boots and scarves, I especially love foggy days for taking pictures. The fog makes the sky like a huge softbox, diffusing the sunlight, bringing forward colors, and creating delicate shadows. Plus Karl keeps my kitchen cool for baking.

But Karl or no, it's never too cold for a mint julep, the refreshing beverage of choice of the Kentucky Derby, which takes place the first weekend in May. A mixture of bourbon and mint, gently sweetened and poured over packed, crushed ice, mint juleps are essentially boozy snow cones. (Also: boozy snow cones.)

This variation of the classic drink comes from Brown Sugar Kitchen, an epic eatery in West Oakland famous for slinging such Southern delicacies as chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and buttery biscuits to hungry brunch-goers.

Though I must come clean: I have yet to actually go to Brown Sugar Kitchen. It's hard to get my hungry butt to the East Bay for brunch when I live a hilly stroll from Plow. But! I do have the cookbook, gifted to me by my brother and sister-in-law (who know me too well) for my birthday last year. We stopped by for dinner, and I watched Sheila dress a huge salad with something creamy and delicious-looking. She said casually, "Oh, the recipe's from this book." Then my brother handed me a brown sugar mint julep. "Oh, it's also from that book," he mentioned.

I sipped, I paged through the book, I ogled sweet potato scones with brown sugar icing, and I pondered whether I should order the book right then and there or wait until I got home.

Then my brother handed me a wrapped gift. I opened it, and it was the book.

It was the best thing that ever happened to anyone.

Aside from these juleps, which we've been loving ever since. They get a simple update from muscovado sugar and citrus juice (they use lemon but I prefer lime) to embody their California roots. First you make a simple syrup with muscovado sugar and tons of fresh mint, then you crush more mint which you shake with the syrup, some bourbon, and lime juice. Pour it over crushed ice and you'll have yourself one heckuva refreshing cocktail. This one gets the balance of flavors just right to my taste: not too sweet, plenty minty, with an extra hit of flavor from the deep, dark muscovado sugar. When I'm too hurried to crush ice in the blender, I pour the julep over cubed ice and top it off with fizzy water.

Either way, mint juleps make me happy. So do cookbooks

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Muscovado Mint Juleps

Adapted from Brown Sugar Kitchen

I recommend a smooth bourbon for these drinks. Elijah Craig is quite affordable and tastier than other bourbons in its price range. Four Roses comes recommended by Brown Sugar Kitchen. I've made the syrup with both an unrefined muscobado sugar by Alter Eco, and a light muscovado sugar. Light or dark brown sugar will work, too; the darker the sugar, the more lovely molasses flavor and deep color the finished drink will have. For an extra floral variation, try the vanilla version below. 

Muscovado Mint Syrup (enough for many drinks):
1 cup (7 ounces / 200 grams) light or dark muscovado (or brown) sugar
1 cup water
leaves from 1 large bunch mint (1 cup packed)

The Julep (makes 1):
several mint leaves, plus one or two pretty sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup bourbon (such as Elijah Craig or Four Roses)
2 tablespoons muscovado mint syrup (above)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
ice (crushed if you like)
sparkling water (optional, if using cubed ice)

Make the syrup:
In a medium pot, bring the sugar and water to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the mint. Cover and let steep 20 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve and into a heat-proof container. Let cool. Cover and chill until cold, 2 hours. (Can be made up to a few weeks ahead and stored airtight in the refrigerator.)

Make the juleps:
Place the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker or jar and crush lightly. Add the bourbon, muscovado syrup, lime juice, and a few ice cubes. Stir or shake until cold, 30 seconds, then strain into a glass packed with crushed ice. Top with more crushed ice, garnish with the mint sprig, and serve. (If using cubed ice, top the drink of with a spritz of fizzy water.)

Variation: Muscovado Vanilla Mint Juleps
Add half of a vanilla bean to the syrup along with the sugar.