Meredith Is SOCCA Obsessed

Anyone who knows me - MEREDITH BAIRD - well, or has lived with me, knows that my lazy culinary specialty is the "Little Pizza". The Little Pizza consists of either a sprouted grain Ezekiel Tortilla or an Ezekiel Brown Rice Tortilla (depending on my mood), topped with my baked tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, lemon, evo, red chili flakes and goat cheese (if I am feeling indulgent). I have eaten this dish in varying versions since middle school. It was the first crowd pleasing vegetarian dish that "came up with", and I've never met someone who doesn't like it. I usually reserve it for casual weekday nights, but every now and then it gets served at a dinner party- shame! (Roast a red pepper and add Kalamata olives for dinner party style!) This dish is so easy, and so good. No matter what time of year, we eat the Little Pizza about one night a week- but recently it got a face lift ! 

So, what happened? 

I've been on a cookbook ordering rampage. Inspired or something like it. Mugaritz, The Fat Duck, Noma, Eleven Madison Park, and a few other coffee table beauties have made there way onto the shelves, but the books that have really been turning me on are Dennis Cotter's. His books For the Love of Food, Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and me..., and Cafe Paradiso are all excellent vegetarian cookbooks that will never go out of style. Reading his recipes remind me of the time when I would pour over the Moosewood Cookbooks, Vegetarian Epicure, Linda's Kitchen etc. All of these cookbooks are the ones that taught me how to cook before I took the leap into the land of raw food. Cozy, classic, vegetarian food. Yum. In my perusing I ran across a recipe for Socca. I've had Socca before, but never as a "pizza"- obviously, I had to try it. 

Socca is a chickpea flour pancake that originated in the south of France. It is a relative to the pancake or crepe (depending on how you look at it.) It is naturally gluten free, grain free and vegan- and it is one of the most easy recipes on the planet. This recipe seemed like a totally - NO DUH - moment.  

So I've decided to ditch the frozen Ezekiel for a while and get with the SOCCA program!

Meredith's Little Socca Pizza Recipe
Serves 2

Socca

1 Cup Chickpea Flour, sifted 
1 1/4 Cup Water 
1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
Salt 
Pepper 

Whisk all ingredients together. Allow this mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes or longer. (Some say that you can make it in the morning and let it sit in the fridge all day. I haven't been organized enough to do this). The point of allowing the mixture to sit is so that the flour absorbs the water. Remember, the flour is actually a bean, so if you think about it - letting it soak makes a lot of sense. 

Preheat Oven to 450 with a cast iron skillet in the oven. (ie. heat the skillet)  

Pull the skillet out with oven mits, and coat with a generous amount of olive oil. 

Pour Half of the batter in the skillet and allow to bake for approximately 10 minutes. 

Flip socca out of pan. 

Preheat the skillet again, before making the second pancake. (I made the mistake of not doing this, and it doesn't come out as well) 

Makes 2 10 inch Socca 

If you prefer a slightly crisper crust, throw the finished pancakes back in the oven for a few minutes before topping.

Baked Tomato Sauce

1 Pint fo Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp Olive OIl 
Pinch of Salt 
Pinch of Red Chili Flakes 

Toss tomatoes with olive oil, salt and chili flakes. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. (You can do this while you are heating the skillet) 

1 Red Bell Pepper, roasted 
1 Head of Broccoli (or Broccoli Rabe) Steamed 
Fresh Goat Cheese (Optional) 
Pine Nuts (Optional)

Assembly

Top the Socca pancake with the roasted tomato sauce, steamed broccoli, goat cheese and pine nuts. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon. If desired, toss back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. 

SO GOOD and SO EASY. 

I served this with the most amazing Chinon Rose. 

I will be experimenting with other toppings. I'm feeling a tostada version + margaritas coming on! Stay tuned.... 

XOXO Meredith Baird

2012 Kitchen Must-Haves {recipe books & more}

Between, etsy, pinterest, blogs and facebook, it's hard not to find amazing stuff you'd never have found before. Anyways, with Valentine's Day coming up and everybody's get-healthy resolutions, what better time to share some fun healthy kitchen must-haves!

etsy tea towel :: wooden spoons :: porcelain measuring cups :: veggie-wedgie cookbook :: blissful chef cookbook :: glass measuring cups :: rosemary :: bread is the devil {look for kookie karma mentions in there} :: judita's going raw :: mrs. lilien's super fresh cocktail book :: a refreshing highball recipe  

StoryBird :: Where Your Child Can Create A Book

A friend of mine introduced me to this brilliant site. Basically, artists submit their artwork to be used for story telling. Hmmmm, did I explain that right? This web site, called StoryBird, serves as a platform for your child to create his or own books by using their image to tell the story they see in the pictures. 

There is so much beautiful artwork. So many stories to be told. Let your child's imagination run. 

START HERE! Or better yet, first read stories that other children have created

More Than Meets The Eye

For Father's Day my sons gave {they are only 2 and 3 yrs old, so of course I bought this as a gift FROM them} their dad a Transformers "Vault" - the entire life story from creation until now plus Japanese versions, old animation, never seen sketches, etc.!

I figured it could be something dad could look at and read with boys before bed at night. My sons aren't allowed to watch the movies or cartoons yet but they are still somehow fascinated by Transformer robots {they have a few of the action figures}. So I figured they could learn more about them through this very detailed, large, graphic book. And also get quality time with dad. 

OF COURSE, I too have been reading this book to the boys at night and at nap time because it's all they want to read. {good one, mom!} Prior to this, I have had zero interest in or understanding of Tranformers. I mean, ZERO. I don't even care how great Shia LeBouf and Megan Fox look. I couldn't really get into this whole car-turns-robot thing. 

Anyways, after reading and learning about the mind behind these robots, I have had a secret fascination with them. This book in particular is really cool because it shows artifacts - box office tickets, first posters ever made, VHS covers, and other memorabilia - and describes in detail the process of how these robots are drawn. Not to mention, each different robot has a really strange, kinda cool, name. 

I don't know which is worse - being forced to sit through annoying, whining, screaming Caillou & Phineas and Ferb or the aggressive Transformers cartoon? It's a toss up. Both are just as bad for their own reasons. 

But I had better get used to it. I have two little BOYS! Barbies and stuffed animals are never again in my future. {not necessarily a bad thing either, ha}

Side note: why is it that old school toys are so much cooler than the newer, modern ones? Take a look at some of the shots I took. You'll see what I mean. Hey, now I know why I really like this book: I just want to collect these old figurines.

 

 

 

 

Judita :: Raw Food Chef

I am so glad I got in touch with Judita, yet another inspiring woman in the kitchen. What inspires me most is somebody's ability to make extremely healthy food into something BEAUTIFUL and culinarily {is that a word?} unique, surprising flavors. The fact that raw chefs don't use an oven is just SO wonderful to me. Anyways, Judita does it just as I LOVE IT: Gourmet. Fresh. Organic. Amazing.

Judita and I not only have both simultaneously worked on the Gliving Network but we realized we have friends in common outside of work. {small world}

I was super excited about my opportunity to pick her brain, talk raw food and introduce everybody to her brand new COOKBOOK, Going Raw! Congrats Judita and well, here goes:

Judita is a Certified Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor from the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, CA, as well as a Certified Benefits of Raw Food Nutrition Educator.

Judita has been passionate about raw foods and nutrition for the past three years. This came as a result of health issues that made her want to take reassessment of her diet and lifestyle. As a model, actress, and musician, she has to credit raw foods for helping her reach an incredible state of health as well as helping her keep her weight down, energy up and skin clear.

She is just finished writing a raw food lifestyle recipe book called, Going Raw!
I'd like to share a recipe from Juditas book with everybody as well!
Copyright Going Raw, Quarry Books 2011

BROWNIE RECIPE

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes
Chill time: 1 to 2 hours

INGREDIENTS (BROWNIE BASE)
4 cups walnuts*
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cup Medjool dates
2/3 cup cacao powder
1 tablespoon Mexican (ceylon) cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely ground star anise
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
pinch of sea salt (optional)
2 tablespoons water

*preferably soaked 6-8 hours and dehydrated but not crucial

INGREDIENTS (FROSTING)
1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid
2/3 cup cacao powder

INSTRUCTIONS (BROWNIE BASE)

Place walnuts into a food processor and grind into the consistency of a meal. Don t over process or it will release too much oil.
Add the raisins and dates and process until the mixture is well combined.
Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, star anise, cayenne and sea salt and process again until mixture is sticky yet still crumbly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add the water and mix well using your hands. It should start to resemble a dough.
Press mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

INSTRUCTIONS (FROSTING)

Add maple syrup to the blender first followed by the coconut oil and cocoa powder. Blend well until smooth.
Spread topping over brownies and chill at least 1-2 hours.
Remove brownie by lifting up the parchment paper and slice into desired size pieces.

Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for one month.

Chef's tip: Try substituting cayenne pepper with chipotle or ancho pepper for a whole new experience. Chipotle is smoky and spicy while ancho is mild and sweet. For a traditional brownie omit cayenne, anise and cinnamon.

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Thanks Judita! And I hope you guys all have a few moments to look through her lovely web site and a special thanks to Matt Wignall, the photographer.