I’ve been debating getting into this for a few weeks now, and the last thing I want to do is detract from such a pretty post with an undeniably ugly topic, but you guys.
WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING.
I won’t give any radical spoilers because I totally get that in a Hulu World not everyone has seen it, but why she’s not just going full Kaitlyn rogue and humping Luke in a barn somewhere is beyond me. And do we really need to get into it over Robby’s hair? I know it’s completely unfair to just personally attack these people, that they’re real people with real feelings, but I’m a real person with real opinions and I’ma tell you that boy needs some mussin’ up. As in, someone stole a tub of Garnier pomade from my gym locker in 1998 (I HAD UNRULY BANGS) and I am now 419% certain it was Swimmer Bod.
But really. Get those bowed legs wrapped around ya and call it a season, girl. If for no other reason than Christina and I can have late-night snapchat (username: @thepigandquill) conversations about something else, like the weather. Or how it would make my life if she moved back to California. Or — here’s an idea — our babies.
I don’t even want to talk about Jordan.
So instead: toast.
This whipped ricotta situation, you guys. It’s so ridiculously simple, I’m embarrassed that I’m even formatting the damn thing as a recipe, but, you know, search engines. So.
Until we get to the actual “recipe” (um, put beautiful, seasonal things on toast; insert into mouth; make sex noises), let’s just talk about what’s really going on here, and that is: a celebration of the season.
Ricotta toast is one of those things I seem to always forget about, and when I remember I get wildly excited and eat nothing else for three weeks straight, only to forget about it again once I’ve run a few tubs dry. The great thing is, once it’s come front of mind again, the seasons have usually changed, and with it, the bounty I set atop each sumptuously slathered slab.
For this summer version, I chose the teensiest cherry tomatoes, grown ever so lovingly by Chris and our bug, a verdant basil oil that’s just a little brighter and cleaner than your basic pesto (yet just as versatile); and sea salt. The kind that crunches as you shatter each crystalline flake, if you’ve got it.
And on the sweet end of the spectrum: stone fruit, of course. I’ve chosen these little plum-cherry hybrids that beckoned to me from the market, which are decidedly more plummy in flavor but do possess a smooth tartness that grooves really well with the woodsy, almost piney sweetness of blueberries, floral local honey and plenty of cracked pepper. But if such a specific variety is unavailable in your area, no worries. Any good stone fruit will do, and at this time of year, peaches and nectarines are pure candy on the tongue.
Calling this a recipe is nearly fraud - just take the tastiest farmer's market finds you can get your hands on, mound 'em up over a thick slab of crisped toast towering with whipped ricotta and finish everything with a drizzle of something sweet, salty or herbacious. It's tough to get wrong. 🙂
By: Emily Stoffel
Makes: about 6 servings
For the Toast
6-8 slices rustic whole grain bread (or as much as you desire!)
15 oz whole milk ricotta
For the Savory Toppings
couple handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
basil oil (recipe follows)
flaked sea salt
For the Sweet Toppings
sliced stone fruit, such as plums or nectarines
honey (raw/local, if possible!)
freshly cracked black pepper
Drizzle sliced bread liberally with olive oil and broil until golden brown.
Meanwhile, turn ricotta out into a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer until slightly more voluminous and very creamy, about 2 mins.
Spread toast with whipped ricotta and adorn with toppings of choice. Enjoy!
First off, a moment of gratitude for your unwavering acceptance of my unconventional post yesterday. In a world that keeps insisting it’s reached its quota of hope, you make me happy to be human. Ok, on with the show.
I’m just going to start this off by saying how disappointed I am that the eggplant emoji has taken the dirtiest of turns. Seriously, all I wanted to do the whole time I was teasing this post on social media was string together about a billion heart and hearty-eye emojis with the eggplant emoji, backwards and forwards and backwards again. But I can’t do that, now can I? Not without the whole world thinking I’m in love with getting diddled every which way. So thanks, wang lovers, for mucking that up for me. What a bag of dix.
Let’s talk about this bánh mì.
It’s simple. It’s summery. Salty and sweet. Crunchy and creamy. Warm and cool. A veritable juxtaposition of all the typical food adjectives that are, uh, juxtaposable. And the eggplant. The Eggplant. I know there are some of you out there who have completely written off eggplant as a bland, or maybe even itchy (more on that here), nightshade of questionable character. And I won’t promise I can persuade you differently with but one not-even-that-original recipe. But try these two words on for size:
Oh shit. Feels nice, right?
Sticky-sweet, saucy and smokin’ hot?
Maybe it’s time for that eggplant emoji after all. 😉
You can find the recipe for these most-summery sammies (and even more eggplant musings!) in my contribution to Hither & Thither’s In Season column today.
Happy Tuesday, kiddos.
ps – Oh snap, I’m finally snapping! Behind the scenes stuffs, naptime confessions, sneak peeks of rad GIFs like thatta one down thurrrr ↓, yay! Check me out: @thepigandquill.
Oh, um, you’re still here. Hi. I know this is where the recipe usually goes, but today’s it’s over on Hither + Thither. See ya there!
This post is going to seem out of left field, but it’s one of those things, like plucking a mole hair, that just needs to happen. And it’s about as glamorous. Meaning, no photos of food today. No babes. Just this. Words. And I’ll keep them few.
I applaud transparency in blogging. In fact, it’s what keeps me coming back to my favorite spaces over and over again. If you’re feeling vulnerable, I want to know about it. Shit is getting heavy? Let me virtually shoulder that burden. Shedding salty tears over your fifth batch of gluten-free doorstops? I’ve been there. And I am no stranger to being real on the internet. I fully embrace the overshare, and I truly consider the self that I put forth online to be the same self you would encounter if I was standing in line behind you at Target. That girl eyeing your Cheez-Its with a look of both horror and envy? That’s me. But when it comes to topical content, I blog in a big, glossy bubble.
So today, I’m just going to take a minute to put forth some hard truths that have been pinging around in my head lately.
Truths like: The state of our nation is appalling, and I’m doing very little to change it.
Truths like: Just because I speak in hashtags and end a disproportionate number of words with z’s doesn’t mean I don’t recognize the language of hate. Or intolerance. Or even blind ignorance.
Truths like: White privilege doesn’t even begin to describe the only life I’ve ever known.
I blogged last week about vacations and celebrations while great injustices were bearing down on others with all the grace of a freight train derailed, and I did it with intention. In part, to protect you guys, my readers, who perhaps come to this space for a nosh and a laugh in the face of dark times. But for me, too. To preserve that lustrous bubble. To keep things light. And I question whether that was the right choice. I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise.
I won’t make any grand statements or gestures about what this means for the blog’s content moving forward. I realize that even politicizing, however vaguely, a post that the lot of you are expecting to be about food or motherhood will turn at least a few readers away. I hope that’s not the case, but I won’t lie and say I don’t understand. I do. And it makes me feel shitty. But it’s not For Real Shitty, of course, because — and here’s another truth: I’ve never known For Real Shitty.
I won’t end this with an action or an empowering message. To do so while sitting here, incredulously letting the days headlines wash over me in tide of secondhand oppression, would be beyond hypocritical. Even typing those words makes me flush with shame.
I will just say, if you’re here.
If you’re still reading.
Whether you relate to these sentiments or admonish me for sharing them.
I’m taking a minute. Mostly because I don’t know what else to do.
Hi guys! Hope all you ‘Mericans out there had a crackin’ holiday weekend. We took Miss Bug up to the lake for the first time and it was one of the most joyful weekends I can recount. Just a small group of good friends (we even flew the Ohio bestie out!), big dinners at home, plenty of time taking in Tahoe’s sweet sugar-pine air — running, hiking, biking, beaching — and even a few tan lines to show for it. Somehow, I’m always caught off guard by the Hot As Shit sand and the Cold As Shit water in Tahoe, but when you layer the two together, it makes for a pretty comfy little scene. We nerded out and popped up one of these guys and it was such a luxury — if only because it helped define a good chunk of real estate given the particularly sardine-y situation that is pretty much Any Beach USA on the Fourth of July.
This was a bit of a defining trip for us because it was the first time Chris and I were in South Lake Tahoe together since our pre-wedding weekend (some would call it a joint bachelor/bachelorette party, but how douchey does that sound?) six years ago. Again, it was July 4th weekend. Again, it was a small group of good friends. And, again, I found myself dancing uncomfortably on the hot sand/in the cold lake — but nearly every other detail of the two trips differ completely. Then it was all taxis and dancing and day drinking and trespassing on private beaches to watch the fireworks light up the Stateline sky. This trip was bike trailers and kidz bop’ing and baby wearing and exploding kittens. Oh, and bear sightings. Bear sightings! But it was every ounce as enjoyable.
Turns out, being a grown-up doesn’t totally suck. And you get a lot more sleep.
Anyway, given that last weekend marked the six-year anniversary of our last unmarried hurrah, this coming weekend marks the sixth anniversary of our actual I Do’s — so I thought it only appropriate to post something worth sinking a spoon into in celebration. Enter: crème brûlée.
I initially developed this recipe back when I was avoiding milk and thought it was bonkers tasty — and then tested it again recently to make sure that wasn’t just my dairy-deprived taste buds talking, and I maintain that it’s pretty damn delightful. Even with the combo of soymilk and silken tofu, it doesn’t taste like soy. It does, however, taste warm and cinnamony and unapologetically chocolatey, and there’s even an elegant airyness from the slight puffing that occurs when the custard bakes that makes it almost more akin to a soufflé than a crème. In fact, I almost called this a soufflé brûlée, but then I wanted to punch myself in the face, so I figured you would too.
Happy Friday, ya animals. And Happy Anniversary to my babydaddylovebug. Love you!
¼ cup demerara or white sugar for topping (see note)
berries or other fresh fruit for serving
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray ramekins with coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray.
Combine tofu through salt in a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth and frothy, about a minute or so. Mixture will be quite liquidy.
Pour custard into prepared ramekins. Arrange ramekins in a deep-sided roasting pan and pour in enough hot tap water to come about halfway up the sides of the dishes. (Tip: place the roasting pan ON the baking rack before adding the water to minimize the risk of water sloshing into your crème during transfer.)
Bake for 40 mins or until crème begins to pull away from ramekin edges and a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then chill completely in the refrigerator, at least an hour or up to overnight. (If chilling for more than an hour, cover tightly with plastic wrap.)
Immediately before serving, sprinkle ¼ cup sugar (total) over ramekins, tilting and tapping each dish slightly to encourage even distribution. Using a kitchen torch or very hot oven broiler, brûlée the sugar until it's completely melted and visibly browned in places. Top with berries or other fresh fruit. Enjoy!
I know it seems contradictory to use coconut sugar in the custard and conventional sugar on top, but I couldn't for the life of me get the coconut sugar to produce a truly crackable topping worthy of the brûlée name. (If you can manage, have at it!) I used a combo of demerara and white sugar here, mostly because I find the white sugar brûlées quickly and helps the demerara along while the demerara provides the color and crunch I most enjoy, but use what you've got! And while I know a torch is one of those single-use items that seems silly to have, it's my method of choice (and a small but worthy splurge if you intent to brulee things at least once or twice a year).
A reader once suggested that the journey to motherhood is akin to walking a labyrinth: a challenging 9-month route to the center, over the course of which that sweet babe grows in your belly, and an equally (if not more) challenging 9 month navigation back to the edge, or maybe more aptly the surface, where you can once again gulp the sweet air of independence and re-assimilate into the society you slowly retreated from, now a full 18 months later.
But the thing is, at 18 months (or rather, 9 months out), I still wasn’t quite there. The air still seemed a little thin. Most mornings were clouded yet by a film of anxiety over what the day might bring. That distinct meness I craved with such fervor was still only just out of reach, tickling my fingertips — ghostly wisps of my former self waiting to be reabsorbed back into my modified being. And I let it linger there, in the ether, taking immense comfort in its proximity and romanticising the day when we’d be one again.
Lana turned 14 months yesterday, and I can tell you: I think I’m finally there. Whole and happy and me. And not just me as in the new me, the mom me that I’ve talked about being before, but me as in the old me, too. The cynical, snarky, energetic, hungry me that Chris could probably sometimes do without. She’s come round again. And you know what did it? A birthday.
Earlier this month, Chris put a whopping 33 candles on my cake. It took him a full five minutes and 11 matches to set that thing afire, but he did it without singeing a single eyebrow and then triumphantly set it before me while Lana clapped along in a fiery trance. (It was a literal hot mess.) That morning, Chris had surprised me with several decadent hours at the spa, followed by a little family walk to get sandwiches downtown. For dinner, we ordered-in more sushi than we could possibly eat (which I impossibly ate), and as I sat there, bathed in the violent flicker of my diminishing youth, I realized: I feel pretty friggin’ great.
Somewhere in the past month or so, that underlying utterance of How’s this gonna go… kinda just turned into Here we go! and, lo and behold, the house hasn’t burned down. (Melted, maybe, because we’re sans A/C and it’s been all kinds of hotttttt around here, but no literal fires. I mean, aside from the birthday torch. And if that wasn’t gonna do it…) We drove down to Santa Barbara for a wedding last weekend, and despite Lana’s still undeveloped affinity for long-distance car travel, it was fine. More than fine. Almost pleasant. We kept her up past bedtime so she could eat mini kobe beef sliders and feed the giraffes (it was at the Santa Barbara Zoo — how freaking cool is that?) and she was no worse for the wear. To the contrary, she took it upon herself to start taking steps all by herself this weekend, as if to say, I, too can throw caution to the wind.
We’re doing ok, guys.
Oh, and then there’s the whole It’s Officially Summer thing, which it better damn well be, because — as I mentioned above — it’s hot as shit around here. For those of us still nursing a (now rather large) baby, that equals all the boob sweat, plus all the crook-of-the-arm sweat where you support their (also) sweaty little head. It’s neither pretty nor fun and all but requires immediate application of something cool and icy to the face upon completion. Like a popsicle, mehbes.
This year marks Billy’s Fourth Annual #PopsicleWeek bruhaha, and partygoers are bringing some serious game. I’m already feeling kinda sad about the fact that I didn’t go the way of a rainbow pop like Joyce or Jessica, both of whom are clearly cooler than me. Instead, in true millennial-on-the-old-side-of-millennials fashion, I took a trending hashtag and turned it into a popsicle. Does that make me despy? Maybe a little. Do you hate the word despy? Probs.
But bottom line: these pops are tops.
If you’re not familiar with the #pinkdrink moment that’s happening, it’s this thing where you order a Strawberry Acai Refresher from SBeezy’s with coconut milk instead of water, and it tastes like a liquefied Skittle. These pops, I promise you, do not taste like liquefied Skittles — or even like liquefied and frozen Skittles, because I know that’s what you were thinking. They do taste, however, like faintly sweetened (with maple syrup!) strawberries and coconut and they’re infused with just enough green tea to keep things light and lightly caffeinated and they’re generously drizzled with white chocolate and topped with more strawberries and more coconut because duh.
I mean, life is pretty good with one of these in your mouth.
But like I said, we’re doing aiight here, popsicles or not. 😉
To make pops: Combine coconut milk, green tea, maple syrup and halved strawberries in a blender and process until smooth. Scatter diced strawberries evenly among ice pop moulds (I use this one). Pour coconut milk mixture over top and freeze 30 mins; insert sticks. Continue to freeze until set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
To top with white chocolate drizzle: Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove popsicles from moulds and arrange on sheet. Return to freezer while you prepare chocolate.
Combine white chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler and heat until completely melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Using a fork, drizzle melted chocolate over popsicles and immediately scatter with crushed freeze-dried berries and coconut. Return to freezer to set drizzle, about 10 mins. Enjoy!
Pigtales is a glimpse at the going-ons that take place (mostly) outside of the P&Q kitchen. Baby stuffs, things I love, general musings and other tales from my life as a momma, wife and semi-professional goofball.
Disclaimer: You know I’m awful at keeping things short.
When we were first transitioning Lana to solids, I remember feeling wholly and completely overwhelmed. Moreso than I anticipated, to be sure. Moreso, maybe even, than I felt when we were first finding our way with nursing, which was not without its own struggles. But with nursing, I kept coming back to the idea that I was designed for this. That my body grew Lana’s body and, as its maker, would find a way, would make a way, to give that bod everything it needed, when it needed it. And that Lana would respond in kind with telling cues — coos, soft sighs, tiny grunts, whines and fitful cries — as if to say you’re doing it right, mom or you’re doing it wrong, mom. Or sometimes, and of this I’m sure, you’ve completely lost your shit, mom, and now I’m losing mine. But we made our way.
With solids, however, there wasn’t a cryptic manual encoded via biology. There was spoon-feeding, baby-led weaning, and passionate camps of respectable people (pediatricians, dietitians, lactation consultants) petitioning for and against every variable you could imagine. Four months versus six months. Foods to encourage, foods to avoid. When and how to introduce “meals.” Wait a minute – meals? WTF even counts as a meal? And how does this work with nursing? Do we offer solids WITH milk? Solids BETWEEN milk? What if she’s not eating? As someone who quite literally cooks for a living, I was shocked by how paralyzed I became in the face of preparing my babe for the world of food.
So here’s our story. Not what I read or researched (if you’re a new or soon-to-be parent reading this, chances are you’ve already read much of the same), but a short discussion of what worked for us — plus a few of the baby feeding products that we’ve come to love. And two new, simple, allergy-friendly recipes for a growing babe that are equally suited for big people, too: Vegan Coconut Waffles (or Pancakes) and the simplest Vanilla Chia Pudding. (If that’s all you came for, feel free to click here to jump straight to the food.) Enjoy!
(clockwise from top left) jamming on celery // apples // sardines! // baby waffles (recipe follows)
sweet ‘taters // avo gangster
Our Starting Solids Story
At what age did you start solids?Officially, we started solids at six months. We were given the go-ahead from our pediatrician at four months, but we just kinda felt like waiting. I don’t have a better reason than that. Lana was nursing like a champ, and though she seemed interested in the food we were eating, she didn’t necessarily seem interested in eating it, if that makes sense. I was confident she was getting everything she needed from the copious amounts of milk she was drinking, and that was that. Unofficially, however, Lana’s first experience with solids came in the form of chilled celery sticks around five months or so. One day I was snacking on a few while she was playing beside me, chin covered in a thick layer of drool from her impending first teeth, and when she reached for one, I handed it over. Until she actually cut those first teeth a month later, a chunky stick of celery straight from the fridge was her teether of choice and soothed away the fussies during many a witching hour.
#lunchingwithlana: crispy baked chicken nuggets with beet + tomato salad + BBQ sauce for mom + steamed carrots, peas, beets + asparagus for babe
(pictured on Q Squared NYC Heritage Collection plates)
Why did you choose baby-led weaning? To be honest, baby-led weaning sort of chose us. And that’s not to say we did it exclusively. Celery sticks aside, Lana’s first attempt at solid food was good old fashioned organic baby cereal (oatmeal), offered by spoon. I expected her to open wide and swallow it right down, but she showed very little interest. Over the next week we tried baby oatmeal again, then steamed puréed apples, then steamed puréed apples mixed with baby oatmeal, all of which she regarded with uncertainty. Finally, taking a cue from her interest in the celery “teether,” we offered her a single stick of butternut squash to munch, soft-steamed and about the size of a steak fry, and away she went. Half-gumming, half-sucking, she probably managed to get down a quarter of it, while the rest she pulled into pieces and pushed onto the floor or rubbed into her hair, but it was clear she enjoyed the experience. A couple of days later, we offered her a soft-steamed green bean to equal success. Then soft-steamed zucchini crescents, and soft-steamed apple slices and so on. (Note: we started with large, handheld pieces of everything, and as it became clear that she was actually consuming more than she was throwing and her dexterity improved, we began offering smaller, pea-sized items that presented less of a choking hazard and did wonders for her pincer grasp.) All the while, we also continued to offer baby cereal (which she never really grew to love) and simple homemade fruit and veggie purées via spoon.
#breakfastwithlana: baby banana bread (recipe), watermelon, frozen apricots, and a HappyTot pouch
What foods did you initially offer? As I mentioned above, we started with baby cereal, more for the iron fortification than anything else, followed by apples, butternut squash, green beans, peas, avocado, sweet potatoes and spinach. On the protein front, we offered mashed black beans and tiny bites of soft tofu and a couple tiny nibbles of Thanksgiving turkey (around seven months). At eight months, we discovered Lana’s love of sardines.
What about common allergens? I’ve written time and again that Lana showed dairy sensitivities when nursing, so we avoided dairy completely — including yogurt and non-cow’s milk dairy — in both of our diets until only recently. We also introduced Lana to whole eggs in the form of scrambled eggs a little on the early side and learned of her allergy only after three or four unremarkable experiences. (Luckily, it was only hives followed by vomiting, which is traumatic, indeed, but not nearly as serious as some allergies present themselves.) We gave her wheat toast at about eight months with no adverse reactions and waited until she was about a year to introduce tree nuts and berries. To date, she still hasn’t had shellfish or peanuts, though it wasn’t at all intentional (in fact, I’m only realizing that as I write this now!).
How about quantities — what constitutes a meal? So glad you asked!! Those first days and weeks — the first couple of months even — we treated solids as more of an exploratory experience than a nutritional requirement. We started with one offering a day, usually at “lunch” or “dinner,” that would consist of maybe a single stick of squash and a green bean; then evolved that to one offering a day of a few tiny cubes of fruit and veg plus a few spoonfuls of puréed peas or spinach; then evolved that to two and then three offerings a day of mostly handheld foods. By nine months, Lana was enjoying three small meals a day, plus four to five nursing sessions in between.
Today, however, Lana’s meals are just what you see here (or rather, what you see over on our #lunchingwithlana feed on Instagram): essentially, scaled-down versions of what Chris and I eat, stripped of excess sugar and salt, though we’ve introduced her to plenty of spices and flavors. And while preparing three meals a day, plus healthy snacks, for a babe that can only kinda-sorta eat what I eat still presents a challenge, it’s been so much fun sharing mealtime together and witnessing her enthusiasm for trying new things and the pure joy on her face when she recognizes foods that have become her favorites: the aforementioned sardines, watermelon, blueberries, roasted broccoli, zucchini, lentils — or the real treat: anything bigger than her palm that she can practice pulling apart or nibbling with her seven-going-on-eight teeth. Ah yes, and we’re still nursing round about four times a day.
#breakfastwithlana: naturally sweetened, vegan coconut waffles (recipe below) with berries
(pictured on Q Squared NYCLinen Ruffle and Cambridge Rose plates)
What about eating out with a babe? Two tips here: 1) Know your Baby Radius, and then add a few inches. That usually means choosing a four-top even if it’s just the two of us and hiding some of the tabletop distractions on an unused chair until mealtime is over (who knew a ketchup bottle could be so tempting?), and 2) Bring Your Own Veggies!! Regardless of how wide a variety of foods your little one eats, there’s often a good chance the veggies you’ll find when you eat out aren’t the most babe-friendly. Grilled chicken and a few bites of gut-boosting sourdough bread are easy to come by, but when it comes to restaurant vegetables, salads can be kinda crunchy, the sautéed stuff can be a little high on salt, and french fries — while one of Lana’s fave treats — don’t really check the veggie box. So bring a little mason jar of fruits and veggies from home as the foundation of the meal and round it out with a few tastes from your plate. And when in doubt, add a side of avocado. 🙂
Biggest tips for starting solids? The best general advice I received when agonizing over the starting solids thing was actually the same advice I received when we started breast-feeding — and it came from the same person, my best-friend-turned-lactation-consultant, Whitney — and that was: let her lead the way. That’s not to say Whitney guided us toward baby-led weaning; more simply, it just meant watching Lana’s reaction to experiencing solid food and following her cues. The most functional advice I can offer regarding solids is to have fun with textures and shapes. We’re so fortunate that Lana turns up her nose at very little, but when she begins to burn out on a particular food, offering it to her in another form or shape (purée vs. whole, matchstick vs. cubes) almost always re-engages her interest.
Q Squared NYC serveware. All of the pieces in the Q Squared line are made of super-durable, dishwasher-safe melamine, and the patterns can’t be beat. In fact, all the plated food you see in this post is on Q Squared NYC serveware (don’t those waffles looks positively tea-worthy on that romantic blue number?). I love the salad plates for myself (did I mention that the #lunchingwithlana series is a total exercise in portion control?) and the side/bread plates are the perfect size for Lana. As an extra bonus, Lana FREAKING LOVES playing with her dishes after she finishes her meal, and these little plates make for excellent steering wheels, flying saucers, fascinators, and, of course, teethers. They’re darn near indestructible.
The Munchkin 360 Sippy Cup. I know we didn’t talk much about introducing beverages in this post, and that’s because the only drink we offer Lana, so far, is water. She loves taking sips out of our glasses, but when we want to allow her a little more independence, this cup gives her the chance to sip a drink on her own without a spout. It’s also dentist recommended. Yay!
Oogaa Silicone Baby Weaning Spoons. Lana’s only just getting the hang of bringing a spoon to her mouth on her own, but these spoons have been some of our favorites. They’re soft, wide and flat, so I’m not worried about her jamming them too far into her mouth and hurting herself; they wash up well; and despite having a mouthful of teeth, Lana hasn’t been able to bite through these — yet. They also make a pleasant thud (versus a rackety clatter) when they make contact with the floor. 😉
Vegetable Steamer. While we did use our Baby Beaba any time we knew we’d be puréeing the end result, this simple, practical and affordable steamer (under $7!) is the fastest way I’ve found to get veggies in front of a hungry behbeh. There’s nothing fancy to wash, either.
The Bumbo Multi Seat. One of the few baby-specific gadgets I’d buy over and over again. We’ve used this as a floor seat and a pre-high chair. We even strap it to the back of the stroller and take it to the park for picnics or to restaurants where high chairs aren’t provided. It’s got a self-storing tray, an adjustable-height base, and you can remove the padded liner when your kid’s legs outchub it. All around awesome.
#breakfastwithlana: frozen blueberries (I partially thaw and then halve them), apricots, plain whole milk yogurt and one of Lexi’s breakfast cookies (sans add-ins)
Our Five Fave Baby Foods
Oatmeal! While Lana never liked baby oatmeal, she’s always enjoyed the real stuff. I’ll admit it’s a bit of a mess while we try to let her feed herself with a spoon (or, more often than not, without), but she’s such an energetic little beast, it’s worth it to start her day off with a belly fulla good fuel. Our fave version is cooked up with bananas or blueberries, a pinch of salt, a dash of cinnamon, coconut oil and a little almond milk.
Sardines. Yep, I said it up there, but I’ll elaborate a bit here. They’re as convenient as can be, and they’re full of calcium, brain-friendly fats and tasty frickin’ flavor! We stock up on the oil-packed Wild Planet brand at Costco. We do reserve this one for home where we can do a thorough wipe-down, though, since no one likes a fishy-handed babe.
HappyFamily snacks and pouches. We’ve tried a few brands of these convenience foods, but I love that most HappyTot and HappyBaby products contain no refined sugar, including the Puffs. (Paired with this snack cup, they’re my last line of defense when Lana is fussing in the stroller.)
Waffles and pancakes. Make a big batch once for breakfast and then reserve leftovers for snacks over the next few days. (Just pop ’em in the toaster!) Scroll down for our favorite dairy-free, egg-free waffle/pancake batter recipe that boasts fiberful coconut flour, super seeds, and a touch of coconut sugar for sweetness.
Overnight vegan chia pudding. Another recipe-of-all-trades, I stash a big bowl in the fridge before bed and it’s ready to go for breakfast playdates at the park or snacktime on the go. Recipe below!
That’s it, guys! Have the best day — and even if you’re not in Camp Baby, check out the recipes below. You’ll have those waffles on repeat in no time. 😀
This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC, a mother-daughter brand (appropriate, right?) that I’ve been smitten with for some time. Be sure to shop their First Weekend of Summer Sale June 17-19! As always, I only support partners whose products and practices complement those employed in The Pig & Quill kitchen. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep this piggy cooking!
Dairy-free, egg-free and naturally sweetened, these waffles are the perfect handheld snack or breakfast for babes -- and perfectly delicious for grown folks, too!
By: Emily Stoffel
Makes: 4-5 midsized waffles
½ cup AP flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 T coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1¼ cups almond, soy or other non-dairy milk
1 T avocado or other light oil
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 T super seed blend (such as Nutiva or Trader Joe's)
nonstick cooking spray or oil for waffle iron
maple syrup, sliced almonds and berries, for serving (optional)
Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add almond milk, oil and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir through super seed blend.
Brush or spray iron with nonstick spray or oil and add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter. Cook until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter. (Keep prepared waffles warm in a low oven if desired.)
Cut into wedges for baby or top with maple syrup, sliced almonds, berries or other goodies of your choosing. Enjoy!
We're definitely waffle advocates in this house, but this recipe works just as well for pancakes, too! (In fact, we first used it with pancakes and only recently upgraded it to waffle status.) If you're short on time, or if you feel more comfortable giving baby something softer and fluffier, pancakes are for you! Just prepare the batter as written and cook it up on a med-hot griddle in a little avocado oil, flipping when pancakes are brown at the edges and bubbles form on the surface. Yum!
A naturally sweetened breakfast or snack that's as tasty and nutritious for big people as it is for babe.
By: Emily Stoffel
Makes: 4 servings
1.5 cups almond milk
6 T chia seeds
2 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
fresh fruit + maple syrup for topping, optional
Whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined with no lumps.
Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours) until set to "pudding" consistency.
Serve chilled topped with fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup. I also love topping my (read: the adult's) portion with crunchy granola or chopped nuts. Store any extra covered in the fridge for up to two days. Enjoy!
There are so many ways to start this post today, I almost don’t know where to start.
It’s (un)officially summer!
It’s officially mah berfday month!
I’m eating dairy again!
I suppose if you needed to weave all of those items into a common tale, we could talk about how all I wanted for my birthday was to put milkstuff in my facehole again and this totally brunch-worthy pasta that sings of summer is making all those dreams come true. In fact, that’s basically it. I should probably end the post here.
But you know meeeeeeeeee.
So first off: did you all have the loveliest holiday weekend, or what? Tell me about it. (Really, I wanna know!) We did a whole lot of nothing, which was — which always is — glorious. Lotsa walks to the park, takeout from our new fave Mediterranean spot (I think I ate there three times in the past two weeks?), the perfect Hello Summer barbecue hosted by lovely friends that began with Lana skipping her morning nap for the first time ever and ended with rosé, cake and everyone eating their weight in fish tacos. Perfection.
And as for the rest, well, it really can be rolled into one big, fat, mooooooooing celebration because, indeed, my birthday month is upon us, and, indeed, Iamfinally eating dairy again. And successfully. As in, no one (read: Lana) is exploding, erupting, etc. I’m taking it easy, of course. A little yogurt here. The tiniest scoop of ice cream there. I may have had a tiny breakdown this weekend that involved putting way too much brie on tiny slivers of baguette and making inappropriate Paula Deen eyes. Because CHEESE, you guys, CHEESE!!!!!!!!
Which brings me to — you guessed it — this pasta. It’s savory. It’s seasonal. It’s more or less served at room temperature, making it the perfect dish to bring to a summer brunch soirée or a late-morning picnic playdate at the park, which is a thing that happens in my life now. And it offers up all the elements you’d find in one of my favorite things ever, stuffed artichokes, with but a fraction of the labor. And with tomatoes. Lemme explain.
The traditional breadcrumbs-and-garlic combo you might find tediously packed ‘twixt all.those.leaves is translated into this crazy crunchy panko topping that’s basically garlic bread for Polly Pocket (and which I’ve been sprinkling on everything from salad to avocado toast). The parsley is still there, bright and almost citrusy and unapologetically verdant. And there’s a good amount of cheese, too. Excellent parmesan, if you have it, or pecorino romano if you can tolerate a bit more tang. (I can.)
And then there are the arties, themselves. Shortcut of all shortcuts, in place of hand-trimmed artichoke hearts, I use frozen. I swear when they’re grilled they’re firm yet tender and smoky and fresh tasting as can be. (But you can totally turn your nose up at me and use fresh. I’ll never know.) Tossed with linguine, bathed in a fresh sauce of sweet little summer tomatoes, olive oil and plenty of salt and blanketed with all that crispy panko and savory cheese, they’re kinda magic.
Plus, there’s that whole sciency artichokey thing going on that truly is somewhat magical. No really, have you ever noticed that artichokes have a tendency to make whatever you eat after them taste especially sweet? It’s why they can be somewhat tricky for wine pairings — and why they are so very excellent with milk.
Yeah, we’re finally getting to that glass of milk in the photos.
I mean, obviously pasta and milk are totally a match made in heaven, but take a bite of artichoke, then a sip of ice-cold milk, and you’ll see what I mean. Your mouth is flooded with google-confirmed sweetness. It’s crazy crazy, but it’s also crazy delicious, and it tickles me to no end. (My mom can totally vouch for this. I dedicated a surprising portion of my childhood to artichoke eating, milk drinking and subsequent exclamations of joy.)
If you know what I’m talking about, you know how good this combo is gonna be. And if you don’t know, well, this brunchy, summery pasta is as good an excuse as any. 😉
Happy summer, guys – enjoy!
This post is sponsored by got milk? As always, I only support partners whose products and practices complement those employed in The Pig & Quill kitchen. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep this piggy cooking!
grilled artichoke and cherry tomato pasta with parm, parsley + garlic toast crumbs
Everything there is to love about classic stuffed artichokes -- garlicky breadcrumbs, cheese and fresh herbs -- tossed in a fresh summer tomato sauce.
By: Emily Stoffel
Makes: about 4 servings
8 oz linguine (see note)
1 lb cherry or baby heirloom tomatoes, halved or quartered
½ cup + 2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
12 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, drained and lightly patted dry
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 cup panko bread crumbs
couple of large handfuls flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
lots of shaved parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
sea salt + freshly cracked black pepper
Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook linguine until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain well.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, ½ tsp sea salt and ¼ cup olive oil in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine another ¼ cup oil and crushed garlic in a large saute pan and bring to heat over medium flame until garlic begins to sizzle. Add panko and stir to coat well with oil, then continue to saute until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 5 mins. Remove from heat and stir through most of the parsley. Set aside to cool slightly.
Bring an indoor grill pan to heat over medium-high flame. In a small bowl, toss patted dry artichoke hearts with 2 T olive oil, generous pinch of salt and lots of pepper. Arrange artichokes in a single layer on hot grill pan and cook until well marked and slightly charred in places, about 5 mins. Flip and grill another 3-5 mins until marked again.
Add hot pasta and grilled artichoke hearts to tomatoes, coating well with olive oil and tomato juices. Divide among bowls and top generously with garlic panko, shaved parmesan and reserved parsley. Enjoy!
Regarding the pasta, itself: the simple flavors here really shine with a fresh linguine, but a good, dried pasta totally works if that's what you've got. (Trader Joe's Garlic Basil linguine is what I used here.)
Regarding the cooking process: if you've got plenty of room on your stovetop, most of this recipe comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta -- but be mindful of multitasking while toasting the panko as it can burn quickly once it begins to develop color. Even if you cook the panko and the artichokes one after another, you'll still have a fine meal in about 30 minutes. And though there are a few more pans required for this recipe than I'd like to admit (two bowls, two pans and one pasta pot, to be exact), I promise you it's worth the extra 5 mins of cleanup. 🙂
Pigtales is a glimpse at the going-ons that take place (mostly) outside of the P&Q kitchen. Baby stuffs, things I love, general musings and other tales from my life as a momma, wife and semi-professional goofball.
I don’t know what it is exactly about Day In the Life posts that draw me in so, but there’s something about getting to take a little field trip through some of my favorite bloggers’ or celebs’ everyday worlds that leaves me downright giddy. Maybe it’s because there’s almost always a quasi-taboo anecdote that makes the person instantly more relatable (heavens to betsy, Cameron Diaz poops when she gets up, too!? soulmatessss!) or maybe it’s just the satisfaction of snooping, in general, but whatever’s at play, I find it absolutely captivating. In the off chance that you feel the same way, here’s a little peek into what makes up a typical day in the P&Q house. Hope you enjoy!
7:30-8:00am – Chris and I awake to the sound of Lana bumping around and babbling in her crib. I take a peek at the Nest cam to find that she’s still sleepily rubbing her face into the mattress or sucking on the sleeves of her zippy, so we’ll cuddle in bed for a few minutes while she wakes up a bit. Whenever possible, Chris gets her up in the morning in case he has a late day and doesn’t get to spend as much time with her in the evening, so they’ll chat and play a bit while he changes her diaper, and then he brings her into our bed where she nurses and plays until breakfast. She just learned how to turn on my phone, so naturally, selfies ensue.
[doesn’t this creeper mom face just scream PIN MEEEEE]
9:00am – Chris is usually on his way out the door by now, so Lana and I clumsily scramble into the kitchen. We’ve got one full drawer on either end of the kitchen that’s been deemed Lana-appropriate (one full of measuring cups and baking accessories, the other cloth napkins and dish towels) so she’s got lots to keep her occupied while I get breakfast underway — but even so, there are plenty of mornings where I find myself attempting to fruit ninja a kiwi with one hand while propping a baby on my hip. (Cherish it, I know. Too soon she’ll be running away at my very approach.) These days, breakfast is usually pancakes, avocado toast or oatmeal — our go-to is made with bananas, cinnamon, a power seed blend, coconut oil and a dash of salt — with fresh fruit or leftover dinner veggies on the side.
9:45am – Clean up breakfast. I try to do most of the dishes while Lana wraps up eating, but every meal around here concludes with wiping down the floor, wiping down the high chair and wiping down the baby. In that order. Then we crank Pandora (Lana is currently digging Bob Marley, Bollywood and the Kidz Bop station, which packs its own brand of entertainment in the form of overly sexualized pop lyrics edited for the ears’ of babes) and bang out a load of laundry or a diaper stuffing session before nap. If I really have my crap together, we take a quick walk to the park or stroll over to Trader Joe’s to pick up last-minute fixin’s for lunch or dinner. Ah yes, and somewhere in here, Lana poops.
10:30am – NAPTIME YASSSSSSSS. Well, almost naptime. We’ve been preceding morning nap with a quick walk around outside since Lana was 3 months old. (The smile on her face the second she greets that fresh air is only too sweet.) We switch Pandora to something mellow and stroll around in the backyard counting the plants in the herb garden, identifying each little green pre-tomato on our Sweet 100 plant, pointing at squirrels and pole dancing around the bistro umbrella. (There’s no other way to describe it.) Of late, Lana’s also developed a fascination with the backside of our lemon tree that has me convinced she’s seeing the ghost a previous tenant’s long-passed pooch or something equally entrancing. WHY KIDS GOTTA BE SO FREAKY SOMETIMES? Once we’ve made our rounds, it’s back inside for a fresh dipe and, if she’s feeling it, a quick nurse before we zip her back into her starfish suit and send her off to nap with a song.
While she snoozes, I make a mad dash to get myself ready for the day while tab’ing how I’ll spend the remaining 28 to 63 minutes. In an ideal world, that’d mean a matcha latte, Grey’s (am I the only one still watching?) and a leisurely scroll through Instagram, but by the time I make the bed (I can’t not do it), clean up the rest of breakfast and prep for lunch, I have just enough time to get out an email or two or edit a couple of photos for my next post. If I’m really managing my time well, this is my one opportunity to recipe test for the blog.
12pm – Lana’s up! I get her dressed for the day and we put together a lunch to share at home or a hefty snack if I know we won’t be eating out until later. If we have errands to run, now’s the time, and I try to schedule in a quick snack stop at the park so the afternoon’s not all Costco samples and Target clearance endcaps, much to my dismay. If we don’t have plans out, we take a longer walk after lunch or spend some time on the swing Chris installed outside for Lana’s birthday (she is can’t-walk-by-it-unless-you-intend-to-let-her-ride-it obsesseddddd). If it’s Monday, we hit up the pool for Mommy and Me swim class, which totally sounds like one of those meh things you’re just supposed to do with your kid, but it’s actually super fun and stupid adorable.
3pm – Naptime round two. The kiddo is usually pretty wiped from being out and about or on her feet for the past couple of hours, so we wind down by reading a book (translation: I read Ninja Ninja Never Stop while she hucks toys around or empties the laundry basket) before a quick nurse and zippy time. This nap can be tricky if it’s not timed right, so sometimes it’s preceded by a little whining or hyped up crib-climbing, but most of the time she just rolls around chatting for a few minutes before falling asleep. Then it’s dishes from lunch and dinner prep for me, and laundry — always laundry. If the light is cooperating (and the nap runs long), I try to quickly shoot the recipe I tested that morning. I text Chris with an update of our day thus far, inevitably ending it with when do you think you’ll be home? I remind myself that this is a good time to pee.
4pm – Snack time! Feeding a growing babe is no joke, and since we try to limit the processed baby stuff, it takes a lot of time and consideration to choose “snack” foods that are quick to prepare and relatively fuss-free: nothing too crumby, sticky, gummy, or spillable. We share a banana or a smoothie or I leave Lana a little trail of dried pears and baby banana bread croutons along the coffee table for her to munch on while we dance around the living room or play in her house, but if I know dinner is going to be late or noticed that she didn’t eat much at lunch, we actually have a seated snack of berries or stone fruit, a few whole steamed green beans and maybe a leftover pancake or two — silver dollar, of course.
4:45pm – I pop Lana into the jogging stroller for a short run. Like, two-miles short, you guys. I’ve only had the stroller since Mother’s Day, and while it feels downright indulgent to get to spend some time sweating again (aside from nursing a sticky babe in an 80-degree house), pushing that shit around is kicking. my. butt. If I know Chris will be late, we make a stop at the park or the grocery store on the way home. Once home, we pull dinner together from the jigsawed assortment of elements I prepped throughout the day. Lana poops again.
6pm – Chris gets home just as dinner hits the table, and Lana is literally pumping her little fists in excitement. On so many levels, the sound of his key in the lock brings me so much joy. There’s Lana’s delight at seeing him walk through the door; that hybrid sense of lightness and wholeness that returns when you’re reunited with your person, someone with whom to share the evening’s burdens, no matter how big or small. And similarly, someone to share in the elation of the day’s activities. She blew bubbles today! Climbed through all three tunnels at the playground without help! Took a poop the size of a roma tomato! It’s pretty special.
We make it a point to sup together whenever possible, but even if Chris and I plan to have a post-baby bedtime date-night in, we all sit down together while Lana eats. It tickles the heck out of me that she’s already adventurous when it comes to food, though I know that could very well change as she matures into a full-blown toddler. Most nights we have some variation of a bowl-type thing: pan-seared chicken thighs or my favorite broiled tofu, wilted greens, roasted veggies and a whole grain; a reliable slow-cooker meal heavy on the veg over quinoa pasta; or maybe turkey burgers with dairy-free pesto and lots of avocado up top. Homemade pizza has been making a frequent appearance, too, since it’s super customizable. And as for those date-nights in, DoorDash has taken all of our money. It’s just too easy.
7:10pm – (Yep, 7:10, and we’re kinda obsessive about it. If it ain’t broke, ya know?) We kick off the ol’ bedtime routine. Bathtime with momma, jammies and stories with dad. I nurse her one more time for the night and she pauses, with increasing frequency, to point at all her favorite objects with an inquisitive “dah!”
I force a few cuddles from her fidgety little bod and am rewarded with big, sloppy, O-shaped kisses that are impossibly wet. Somewhere deep beneath the surface of my skin I feel a subtle electric buzz as my cells reorganize themselves to make room for the swelling of my heart. This is maybe my favorite moment of the day.
8:00pm – Wrapped one last time in her zippy and clutching bun bun, we turn on the Dohm and wave goodnight to the bedside lamp before singing our super secret version of Twinkle Twinkle. I lay Lana in her bed with one more kiss, and she flops around in a sweet, sleepy stupor until she falls asleep.
I sneak out to the living room where Chris greets me with a “how is she?” and a snuggle — perhaps my second favorite moment of the day — and big people time commences. We clean up the remnants of dinner, wipe down the stove, move back and forth between the sink, the fridge, the recycle bin with the comfy, practiced synchronicity of married folk. It’s nice.
Chris pours us each a glass of wine and we retire to the couch for Netflix, emails, half a dozen Nest cam checks, more photo edits, foot rubs. I say I should do a quick yoga sequence, but instead I fall asleep writing, and then attempting to edit, a blog post (this blog post) and Chris encourages me to wake up and shower so I can go to bed. I protest crankily and fall asleep again, ever crankier when I awake and realize I’m still not actually in bed. I whine. Check on Lana. Shower. Check on Lana again.
11pm-Midnightish – We climb into bed and I scroll through Instagram or daydream on Redfin while Chris answers a last work email or two. I mentally inventory what I’d like to accomplish during the next day’s naptimes and how we’ll spend our afternoon. Curse that I’ve stayed up so late. Finally, I peek at Lana on Nest one more time and sneak into the nook of Chris’ arm, still-wet hair and all, until we hear Lana’s bumps and babbles the next morning and greet the day again. 🙂
So there ya have it — our day in a not-so-small nutshell. Like maybe a Brazil Nut shell. I think those things are pretty big.
Have a great weekend, friends!
p.s. Happiest birthday to my original bestie, my momma! Thanks for setting such a stunning example of mommahood at its best. Love you – mah!
p.p.s. I’ve gotten quite a few questions about how we transitioned Lana to solids and what we’ve been eating together, so I’ll be dedicating a future Pigtales post to just those things soon (which is why I kept the meal descriptions somewhat light here). Keep an eye out!
They don’t yet know this (ok, well maybe they do now), but I am making it my personal mission to get my in-laws fully aboard the tofu train. Not because I’m a super yooge advocate of soy protein or anything (here’s where I’ll remind you that we’re an all-things-in-moderation household), but because I’ve met me a tofu — many tofu/tofus/tofi? in fact — that are off-the-charts tasty, and I’m just not sure they’ve had the pleasure.
Ok, I’m certain they’ve not had the pleasure, as evidenced by my mom-in-law meticulously removing tiny cubes of gauzy tofu from her fried rice. (To be fair, it was decent store-bought fried tofu — nothing offending to a tofiend like me, but not at all the poster child for Tofu: It’s Better than It Sounds. Which it so can be. And these bowls are proof.
While it takes a minute to marinade (ok, lies. it takes, like, 240 minutes…), the actual cooking portion of this tofu is so blissfully short. Eighteen minutes, to be exact, and that’s largely hands-off time during which your sweet little army of tofu soldiers become tender and puffy and crisply-edged under the broiler. In that respect, this is tofu super similar to these crispy little nuggets, except that, in place of a generous coating of spice, it’s bathed in this sweet, savory and faintly hot dressing type thing that permeates those spongy little soy babes through and through and aids in achieving the optimal nutty-brown-exterior-meets-creamy-tender-interior-ness that is so key in the Getting the In-Laws On The Tofu Train Game.
Side note: maybe I should ditch that game for the Improving Sentence Structure Game or the Simplifying Elaborate Descriptions Game or the Staying On Topic Game.
What I’m saying is: should I lob my hair? But then I’ll just want it long againnnnnnnnnnn.
Anyway, these bowls. We’ve talked about the tofu, which is so good on its own, you guys, I promise. Put it on salad or layer it into a sandwich or eat it cold out of the fridge for breakfast. Whatever. But if you really want to paint the whole picture, add a little spicy, quick-pickled mango; some sautéed greens for color/crunch; and — my favorite part! — an unapologetic draping of bright, nutty pesto. YES, PESTO! With Tofu! And Mango! These are some phenomenally satisfying, weeknight-friendly, global flairy eats.
And they’re coming for ya, Stoffels. Get ready. 😉
sauteed leafy greens (I used a mix of kale, cabbage and shredded Brussel sprouts)
sunflower and/or sesame seeds, for topping
Arrange tofu in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (foil-lined, if you prefer simpler clean-up). Combine remaining tofu ingredients and pour over. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, flipping tofu halfway if you have the chance.
When tofu has marinated, preheat broiler. Broil tofu 8-10 mins, until browned and slightly puffy. Flip, broil another 6-8 mins, watching tofu closely to avoid burning. Allow to cool slightly.
While tofu is broiling, combine all mango ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine cilantro and sunflower seeds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil, juice and salt and process until a loose paste forms (like, uh, pesto).
Portion rice or grain and sauteed veggies across bowls. Top with tofu and mango; scatter seeds over top. Serve pesto over top or alongside for dipping and mixing in as you eat. Enjoy!
Prep time does not include a recommend marinating time of 4+ hours for the tofu.
Re: slicing the tofu: I like to slice the block in half lengthwise and then stand each half up on its side and butterfly it, for lack of a better term. Slice the resulting quarters into 6-8 slabs each.
The way I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who enjoy having a mirror directly across from their glass-enclosed shower, and those who do not. And it’s simple. You don’t need any Myers Briggs BS to tell you which camp you’d fit into. Hell, you don’t even need to actually have a mirror directly across from a glass-enclosed shower to determine on which side of the line you fall. Just thinking about it right now, you already know. See?
I’ll give you one guess which group I’m finding myself in these days.
I don’t know that it has much to do with having carried and then birthed a child in the last year, because I’m pretty sure even before the baby freight I’d be a distinct mirrorus avoidus, but it didn’t help. I mean, I suppose it didn’t hurt, either. It’s not like the parts of me that are softer and squishier have been made so by just hitting the doritos a little too hard (although doritos). I grew a babe from scratch and built her a little apartment with a little water bed and filled her body with all the bits and pieces she’d need to become the Lana-bug she is today — and I did that with my body and not a thing else. And when she grew too big for her studio and traded her water bed for our waiting arms, I nourished her and soothed her and prepared her little immune system for a world of adventures that are hers for the taking — and I did all that, too, with my body and not a thing else. So I wear that new softness, that earned roundness, with pride.
But I’m still not super hot on the bathroom configuration. It’s all I can do to get the water as hot as humanly tolerable so I can steam that shit up ASAP.
Fortunately, the recipe we’re talking about today helps my situation considerably in that it provides the comfort I seek when confronted with my own image donning suds and only suds but is not so heavy as to inflict additional damage. Super creamy (despite being dairy-free) and deeply savory thanks to a generous addition of white miso, this is probably one of my favorite soups to date, and I especially love that it makes use of a veggie that, here in California, at least, is cheap, abundant, and in season almost all year long.
And should we talk about these toppings?
While completely optional, the candied furikake prosciutto is crazy simple to make and provides an essential, textural contrast to the velvety base (it’d also make a phenomenal bar snack or salad topping if you happen to make extra…) — but a little brown-sugared bacon or crispy shallot action would play well here, too. And that chartreuse garlic chive oil! Grassy and piquant. Faintly electric on the tongue and so versatile in its application, it’s not to be missed.
Kind of like my naked reflection every time I bathe.
Preheat oven to 350F. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Very lightly brush tops of each slice with sesame oil. Evenly sprinkle over brown sugar. Bake for 12-15 mins or until prosciutto is crisp and sugar is melted and beginning to caramelize. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with a generous coating of furikake. Allow prosciutto to cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over a medium-high flame, saute onion in a little olive oil until soft and translucent and just barely beginning to brown, 5 mins. Add potatoes, season with salt and white pepper to taste, and saute another 5 mins. Add cauliflower and saute 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through. Season again to taste. Add almond milk, stock and miso and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 mins.
While soup simmers, combine garlic, chives and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Pour oil through a mesh strainer into a sealable glass container and set aside.
In a high-powered blender, puree soup to desired consistency working in batches, if necessary. (Caution: do not completely seal the lid of your blender when processing hot liquids or you could have a soupsplosion! Instead, cover opening loosely with a dish towel, allowing some steam to escape.)
Serve pureed soup topped with crumbled candied prosciutto, chive oil and fresh chives. (Store leftover chive oil sealed in glass in the refrigerator for up to a week.) Enjoy!