Pigtales 03: Feeding the Babe (Plus Vegan Coconut Waffles and Overnight Chia Pudding)

Overnight Vegan Vanilla Chia Pudding (for mama + babe!) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #eggfree #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood

Feeding the Babe: Our Starting Solids Story (plus our favorite products + recipes for baby + mama) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #babyledweaning #blw #babyfoodPigtales 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!

Feeding the Babe: Our Starting Solids Story (plus our favorite baby feeding products + recipes for baby + mama) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood(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.

Feeding the Babe: Our Starting Solids Story (plus our favorite baby feeding products + recipes for baby + mama) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood#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.

Feeding the Babe: Our Starting Solids Story (plus our favorite baby feeding products + recipes for baby + mama) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood#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!).

Overnight Vegan Vanilla Chia Pudding (for mama + babe!) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #eggfree #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood#snacktimewithlana: Overnight Vegan Vanilla Chia Pudding (recipe below)

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.

Naturally Sweetened Super Seed Vegan Coconut Waffles (for mama + babe!) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #eggfree #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood#breakfastwithlana: naturally sweetened, vegan coconut waffles (recipe below) with berries
(pictured on 
Q Squared NYC Linen 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.

Feeding the Babe: Our Starting Solids Story (plus our favorite baby feeding products + recipes for baby + mama) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood#lunchingwithlana: broiled tofu, quinoa, fresh fruit + avocado
(pictured on 
Q Squared NYC Medina and Royal Lapiz plates)

Our Five Fave Products for Feeding the Babe
  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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. 😉
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Feeding the Babe: Our Starting Solids Story (plus our favorite baby feeding products + recipes for baby + mama) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood#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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 😀

xo,
Em

ps – Also in the Pigtales series: Five Things I Learned as a New Mom and A Day In the Life

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!

 

Naturally Sweetened Super Seed Vegan Coconut Waffles (for mama + babe!) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #eggfree #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood

vegan coconut waffles (for mama + babe)
 
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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:
Makes: 4-5 midsized waffles
Ingredients
  • ½ cup AP flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Cut into wedges for baby or top with maple syrup, sliced almonds, berries or other goodies of your choosing. Enjoy!
Notes
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!
Overnight Vegan Vanilla Chia Pudding (for mama + babe!) from @thepigandquill (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #eggfree #babyledweaning #blw #babyfood
easy vanilla chia pudding (for mama + babe)
 
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A naturally sweetened breakfast or snack that's as tasty and nutritious for big people as it is for babe.
By:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined with no lumps.
  2. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 6 hours) until set to "pudding" consistency.
  3. 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!
 

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OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

grilled artichoke and cherry tomato pasta with parm, parsley + garlic toast crumbs

Grilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunch

Grilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunch
There are so many ways to start this post today, I almost don’t know where to start.

  1. It’s (un)officially summer!
  2. It’s officially mah berfday month!
  3. I’m eating dairy again!
  4. BRUNCH PASTA!

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, I am finally eating dairy againAnd 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!!!!!!!!

itwaslikesogood.

Grilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunch
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 everstuffed 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.

Grilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunch
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!
xo,
Em

Grilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunchGrilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunchGrilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunchGrilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunchGrilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunchThis 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
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Everything there is to love about classic stuffed artichokes -- garlicky breadcrumbs, cheese and fresh herbs -- tossed in a fresh summer tomato sauce.
By:
Makes: about 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook linguine until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, ½ tsp sea salt and ¼ cup olive oil in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
Notes
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. 🙂
Grilled Artichoke and Cherry Tomato Pasta with Parm, Parsley + Garlic Toast Crumbs from @thepigandquill | via thepigandquill.com | #summer #vegetarian #brunch

————————————————–

OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

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Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life

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.

Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life -- a tour of our typical day | via thepigandquill.com #motherhood #sahm #babyschedule
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.

Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life -- a tour of our typical day | via thepigandquill.com #motherhood #sahm #babyschedule
[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.

Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life -- a tour of our typical day | via thepigandquill.com #motherhood #sahm #babyschedule
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.

Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life -- a tour of our typical day | via thepigandquill.com #motherhood #sahm #babyschedule
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.

Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life -- a tour of our typical day | via thepigandquill.com #motherhood #sahm #babyschedule
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.

Pigtales 02: A Day In The Life -- a tour of our typical day | via thepigandquill.com #motherhood #sahm #babyschedule
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!”

Dah! Pillow. Dah! Pillow. Dah! Pillow. Dah! Bun bun. Giggle. Repeat.

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!
xo,
Em

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!

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OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

sesame balsamic tofu bowls with chile mango + sunflower-cilantro pesto

Sesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree

Sesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree
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.

 Sesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree
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.

Sesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree
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. 😉
xo!
Em

p.s. In case ya missed last week’s post, this Creamy White Miso Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto hugs ya in all the right places. 😉

Sesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfreeSesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfreeSesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfreeSesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree

sesame balsamic tofu bowls with chile mango + sunflower-cilantro pesto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Sesame Balsamic Tofu
  • 1 lb firm tofu, sliced into 26-32 slabs (see note)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 T sriracha
  • For the Chile Mango
  • 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • generous pinch aleppo pepper flakes
  • pinch sea salt
  • For the Sunflower Cilantro Pesto
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • ½ cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds (shelled)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 orange
  • salt to taste
  • For Serving
  • cooked rice or other grain of choice
  • sauteed leafy greens (I used a mix of kale, cabbage and shredded Brussel sprouts)
  • sunflower and/or sesame seeds, for topping
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. While tofu is broiling, combine all mango ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. 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).
  5. 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!
Notes
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.
Sesame Balsamic Tofu Bowls with Chile Mango + Sunflower-Cilantro Pesto recipe from @thepigandquill | thepigandquill.com | #vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree

————————————————–

OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

creamy white miso + cauliflower soup with candied furikake prosciutto + garlic chive oil

Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring
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.

Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring
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.

Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring
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.

Happy humps!
xo,
Em

ps – in case you missed it last week: I made you chorizo hash n’ eggs, hung out with some of my fave blog ladies in the city, and STEAKSSSSSSS.

Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring

creamy white miso + cauliflower soup with candied furikake prosciutto + garlic chive oil
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Makes: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Soup
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ lb yukon gold potatoes, diced (skins on)
  • 1 large head cauliflower, stem and tough leaves removed and roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup + 2 T (6 T) miso
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or veggie stock
  • olive oil, sea salt and white pepper
  • fresh chives, for serving
  • For the Prosciutto
  • 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • furikake seasoning
  • For the Garlic Chive Oil
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 T chives, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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!
Creamy White Miso + Cauliflower Soup with Candied Furikake Prosciutto + Garlic Chive Oil recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #glutenfree #spring

————————————————–

OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

simple chorizo hash and eggs with smoked paprika mayo

Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch

Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch
Ok, so first: I realize that posting a Cinco de Mayo on actual Cinco de Mayo is probably not helpful at all, but what if I told you this is a Cinco de Mayo recipe that also happens to be fiiiiiiiiine Mother’s Day brunch fare? Does that make things better? How about if we acknowledge that it only takes 30 mins to make? More importantly, do we really need an excuse to get foodstuffs as lovely as this into our faces? I think not.

When Mother’s Day came around last year, I was still finding my new momma footing, cradling a teensy Lana who wasn’t even three weeks old and just barely beginning to shed the weight of that suffocating, wet blanket that is the baby blues. Our parents drove out for the day and brought with them a veritable feast of homemade favorites that any emotionally stable momma would clap her hands at in glee — fried rice amply studded with chinese sausage and roast pork, barbecued ribs, foil trays expertly loaded with chicken enchiladas — and yet I barely managed to mime my way through the day’s events. Present, but not fully participating. Functioning in a kind of safe mode, all chunky pixels and basic drivers and low-resolution parenting. Numb.

Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch
This year, however, I fully intend to embrace the holiday weekend (it IS the whole weekend, right?). Saturday night steaks, a little pampering on Sunday. Forced cuddles with our now ONE YEAR OLD holy hellllllll whenever I can get them. (She gives kisses now and it fills me with such an abundance of joy I’m almost surprised it’s not radiating from my body in pink and yellow beams of light.)

Oh, and another run of this hashy hash hash.
Hash.
Hash hash.
It’s not even a word any more.

Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch
Appropriately, this hash is a bit of an homage to the main moms in my life: my own momma, who instilled in me at a very early age an appreciation for all Mexican-themed breakfast foods (I’ll take a skillet of huevos rancheros over a platter o’ pancakes any day) and Chris’ momma, whose huevos con chorizo is the thing camping breakfast dreams are made of. It’s no wonder they became fast friends upon first meeting. Food is love, guys. Food. Is. Love.

As the title promises, this dish is pretty much as simple as it gets: browned sausage, potatoes, fried eggs — but when topped with creamy avocado and creamier smoked paprika mayo, it transcends basic and becomes Angels Singing Delicious. Silky, salty, crispy and cool with a richness (thanks, egg yolk) that’s perfectly punctuated by pickled, vinegary hot things.

Happy Mother’s Day, indeed.
I mean Cinco. Happy Cinco.
xoxo!
Em

ps – speaking of mom stuffs, I started a new little Instagram series that documents summa the fun things Lana and I have been lunching on as of late — #lunchingwithlana — yay!

pps – more P&Q Mexi-themed yummies here!

Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch

chorizo hash and eggs with smoked paprika mayo
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Makes: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • For the Hash
  • avocado or other high-heat cooking oil
  • 1 lb fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed (see note)
  • ½ lb waxy potatoes, diced
  • sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • avocado, cilantro, hot sauce and pickled jalapeno, for serving
  • For the Mayo
  • ¼ cup good mayo
  • 1 T pickled jalapeno juice (or lime juice)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Add a drizzle of oil to a large skillet set over a med-high flame. Add sausage and cook, breaking into pieces with a wooden spoon, until brown and crumbly, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Pour off all but about 2 T oil. Add potatoes to drippings, season with a little salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy, 8-10 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together all mayo ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Plate chorizo and potatoes to small skillets or serving dishes and allow to cool slightly while you fry eggs in same skillet (adding another drizzle of oil, if needed) to desired doneness.
  5. Set eggs atop hash and top generously with sliced avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, jalapenos and mayo. Enjoy!
Notes
Unlike most hash (hashes?), this recipe is heavy on the breakfast meat and light on the potatoes, so the chorizo you choose is pretty key. Go for a fresh, linked or loose Mexican-style chorizo from your butcher's case rather than the cured Spanish-style chorizo you'd use in tapas or the super finely processed chorizo you'd find pre-packed in the refrigerator case.
Simple Chorizo Hash and Eggs with Smoked Paprika Mayo recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #cincodemayo #brunch

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OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

the ultimate spring pizza // shaved asparagus, roasted potato, smoked mozz + lemon

The Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarian

First off, thank you so much for all your kind words on my last post. As you guys know, I like to treat this as a “no secrets” kinda space, even in my typical posts (you’re welcome/sorry), but it still felt a little different publishing a new brand of ramblings that didn’t culminate in a recipe. Your comments here and on the P&Q social spots were such a welcomed reminder of why I come back to this place over and over again. To shoot the breeze about the many things I like to put in my face, of course — and then why such phrases should probably come with a PG-13 disclaimer. But at the very root of things, it’s to share, indulge and connect with you. You guys get me. Or maybe you tolerate me. You know I’ll gladly take either.

The Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarian
So, let’s talk about pizza. We are on a SERIOUS pizza making kick over here (complete with baby pizzas for baby babies!) and this, guys and gals, is the hot diggy that kicked it all off. With a base of smoked mozz and potatoes and a scattering of lemony asparagus and, uh, lemonier lemons, it’s both springy and comfy and bright and zippy and it’s got that whole hot-pizza-adorned-with-cold-toppings thing going on that I really, really enjoy. And, bonus, it’s ready in under half an hour, which I also really enjoy. In fact, there’s very little I don’t enjoy about this pizza (anypizza), TBH. Except, perhaps, trying to get things in and out of a 500-degree oven when there’s a tiny being clinging to your pantleg. But what’s life without a little risk?

Speaking of risk, those of you out there who have been following along for the past eleven months will note that this pizza — like many of its tasty brethren — does not fit into my dairy-free sentencing. It was a sensory experiment, let’s call it, much like the baking soda volcano from your grade school days, and, sadly, with similar eruptions from the small one. So here we are again, on the wagon and positively foaming at the mouth for the cheese this pizza promises anyone but me.

But I digress.

The Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarian
The key to making pizza at home that doesn’t, well, suck (I KNOW there are a few of you out there who looked at this and thought YES! But homemade pizza is never that good…) is using a baking surface that tolerates heat well and then getting said surface as.hot.as.freaking.possible BEFORE the dough goes down. A baking stone or steel will work wonders — or at the very least, a sheet pan that’ll get ripping hot. Pop it into your cold oven and bring the whole thing up to temp as high as possible. For most home ovens, that’s somewhere in the 500F-550F range, but if your oven gets hotter, embrace that fi-yah.

Or that e-leck-tri-ci-tay.
You know.

The Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarian
For this pizza — and likely all future pizzas ever to be made in my home — I used the slate-like French porcelain baking stone from Revol that is pictured in these photos. Yeah, that thing that the pizza is on is freaking porcelain. Crazy, no? It withstands super high baking temps, is dishwasher safe, turns out a perfectly crisp-chewy crust at home, and is kinda portion-perfect for what I would consider to be a generously personal-sized pizza. I’m also quite taken with pretty much every Revol product I’ve gotten my hands on of late. Those little white plates with a decidedly arboresque thing going on? They’re just the ideal size for serving up a slice or plating a Lana-sized lunch. (See their companion serving bowls in this post, here. Stunning, right?) Plus that whole woodland charm thing just feeds my fantasy of being a real life Snow White. And since I’ve trained Lana to come thumping along at the sound of my singing voice, I’m pretty much living the dream.

Revol was founded in France in 1768 and, to this day, remains one of the few porcelain makers in the world to make their own clay. (Um, hi, how cool is that? I’m not sure I even knew clay was something that you made. Pretty sure I thought it was, like, mined from the earth or something…) Each piece is crafted using a combination of cutting-edge production technology and generations old hand finishing techniques, resulting in heirloom quality collections that boast surprising durability and artisanal cachet. I’m fairly certain I’d give almost anything to check out the factory in person, but in the meantime, shopping their new US e-commerce site Revol1768.com will just have to do.*

* Real talk: yes, this is a sponsored post, but I’m honestly That Smitten. Skim this manifesto (skip all the way to the little numbered part at the bottom if you’re short on time) and you will be, too. Such cool stuff, guys.

Ok, I’m off to wrap up the details for someone’s very first birthday this week (SERIOUSLY HOW DID THAT HAPPENNN), which I’ll most definitely talk more about soon. Until then, hope everyone is having a most delightful humpday. Pizza party on, folks!
xo,
Em

The Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarianThe Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarianThis post is sponsored by Revol, who provided the gorgeous French porcelain pieces you see here. (Yes, even that “slate” pizza stone is porcelain!) 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!

the ultimate spring pizza // shaved asparagus, roasted potato, smoked mozz + lemon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Makes: One 12-inch pizza
Ingredients
  • ½ lb pizza dough
  • 2 baby potatoes, sliced paper thin (I used this mandoline slicer)
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¼ - ½ cup prepared pizza or marinara sauce
  • 4 oz smoked fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks asparagus
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil, salt, pepper
  • micro greens, for serving
  • crushed aleppo pepper, for serving
Instructions
  1. Turn dough out onto lightly floured cutting board or rolling surface and bring to room temperature. Place pizza stone or baking sheet in cold oven and preheat to 550F.
  2. Meanwhile, prep your fixins: 1) Combine sliced potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary in a small bowl. 2) Using a veggie peeler, thinly shave asparagus into ribbons and toss with juice from half the lemon. 3) Slice remaining half lemon paper thin. 4) Roll or stretch dough into a 12" round.
  3. When oven is preheated, carefully remove baking stone or sheet and quickly arrange dough on surface. Top with pizza or marinara sauce to taste; brush edges with olive oil, if desired. Arrange sliced mozzarella and potatoes in an even layer over top. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is puffed and deeply browned on edges.
  4. Remove from oven and top with shaved asparagus, sliced lemons, micro greens and aleppo pepper. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Notes
After much trial and error, I've found that the key to getting a thin, crisp crust at home is preheating your baking surface with your oven and getting it nearly as hot as it will go. We love this porcelain pizza stone from Revol 1768, which is perfectly sized for baking and serving a pizza that serves one generously (or two with a salad on the side).

This is also one of the very rare instances that I bust out my mandoline slicer, which allows you to get the potatoes thin enough to cook through in the time it takes for the pizza to bake -- and the paper-thin lemon slices are as refreshing as they are pretty. Trust me on this.
The Ultimate Spring Pizza Recipe // Shaved Asparagus, Roasted Potato, Smoked Mozz + Lemon (via thepigandquill.com) #lunch #brunch #vegetarian

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OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

Pigtales 01: Five Things I Learned as a New Mom

Oh hey, new series alert! 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.

Five Things I Learned as a New Mom (via thepigandquill.com)
By choice, Chris and I brought Lana home to an empty house. Our parents, who were ear-to-the-door during Lana’s delivery, stayed around the hospital long enough to snuggle our little one and ensure we were well nourished and comfortable, and then they all piled back into the car for what I imagine was a very endorphin-fueled drive to Sacramento. And so it was that Chris and I spent our first night — and every night after for at least several weeks — on our own with our sweet, gentle bug. We were strong enough a team to bring her into the world, we figured; we’d be strong enough a team to show her its first wonders. And we were.

That said, we accepted help where it was offered, and one of the most valuable forms of support I received was the ‘round the clock wisdom of my best friend since childhood, Whitney, who just happens to be a certified lactation consultant. (Right? Color me LUCKY.) Whitney, bless her kind and generous heart, was on the receiving end of many a panicked midnight text and phone call — and, yes, video. Does her latch look right? Are my boobs supposed to be this big? If I pump is it going to lead to oversupply!? And, of course, Holy shit is it supposed to hurt?

So when Whit (not yet a momma) asked me to send her some of my learnings as a new mom so she could even better relate to her clients, I answered with a resounding yes — or more accurately: It’s the least I can do, really! Should I write it with my boobs? They’re the one’s that owe ya! — and then sat on a poorly organized email draft for two months. (I mean, The Bachelor. That’s about the only excuse I got.) And that brings us to today, which, kinda perfectly, just happens to be Whit’s birthday. Happy birthday, dear friend. Thanks for everything you’ve done to help me nourish my babe to the best of my ability. We’re both better for it. Love you so much.

Ok, here we go!

Five Things I Learned as a New Mom (via thepigandquill.com)

Five Things I Learned As a New Mom

1. It’s ok to accept help.

I have friends who have described their first few months of parenthood as “fun,” “sweet,” and even “easy.” To those moms, I’d love a sip of whatever spiked punch you’re pounding, because this shit is hard — and I say that knowing we got very, very lucky with Lana. Don’t shy away from friends or family when they offer to make you a meal or take some of the housework off your hands. And — real talk — if all you want them to do is hold the dang baby so you can escape to the kitchen and wash a sinkful of dishes because it means feeling normal again, let them know. They’ll assume they’re being most helpful by affording you more time with your little one, but when you’ve been attached at the boob for 20 hours, throwing in a load of laundry or making the bed in solitude can offer its own sense of restorative peace. On that note…

2. The Baby Blues are very real.

I haven’t talked much about this here (or at all, really), but the first three weeks that I was home with Lana, I felt stuck in a sort of limbo. I wanted so very badly to be filled with an overwhelming sense of euphoria when I looked at her sweet face, but despite the fact that I already loved her deeply, a very real part of me kept whispering maybe we can put her back in. I remember cradling Lana in my arms and sobbing to Chris, “I should be the happiest I’ve ever been but I don’t feel like me. I just want to feel like me again.” The inherent sense of shame associated with feeling so unsure of yourself — as a mother, as a human being — when you’re expected to literally glow with delight broke my heart. Even to this day, my earliest memories of Lana are tainted with wisps of that shame, and my heart aches with envy and regret when I hear other new moms talk about their first days home with such warmth and glee. If we’re looking for a lesson here, I don’t really have one, other than to say: if you find yourself in this boat, you are absolutely not alone. Also, eat your placenta. I totally should have eaten my placenta.

3. Newborns nurse. A LOT.

Ok, Whit, this isn’t news to you, but somehow nothing I read or was told prepared me for just how much time that sweet babe would spend at the boob, and it knocked me on my ass. As in, milk factory doesn’t even begin to describe it. Just when I thought I had a moment to shower or sit down with a sandwich, Lana would start smacking those little rosebud lips. (Funny how, now that she’s actually decreased her nursing, I’m nostalgic for those early feedings.) Chris and I haven’t decided whether we’ll add to our family or not, but if there’s a next time, I fully intend to anticipate this period — and embrace the hell out of it. That is: surround myself with every snack imaginable and all the daytime television I can handle. And when that wee bug dozes off in between suckles? You better believe I’ll buck the urge to “get things done” and allow myself to do the same.

4. The internet can offer a wealth of knowledge…

…and a burden of information. The world-wide web is a dangerous place, and it’s all too easy to wander into some dark corners when the sun’s long gone and you’re desperately trying to keep those lids high while a little ‘un bellies up to the bar. (After all, didn’t you read somewhere that falling asleep while nursing is the surest way to drop/smother/otherwise put an end to your precious babe?) I spent countless hours googling anything and everything I could about baby sleep schedules, poop frequency, nipple care — you name it. And while most of the time it was comforting to find a forum or two where a dozen other moms shared my concerns, they ultimately had little effect on the decisions we’ve made about Lana’s care and upbringing. Yes, it’s true that, despite my early desire to be the go-anywhere, do-anything mom with the super adaptable babe, we followed Lana’s lead toward a not-so-adaptable schedule — and I truly believe it has helped her to become the fantastic little sleeper that she is today. But once we made that decision, I probably didn’t need to read 17 blog posts to back it up. In fact, I realize now that, unless it was a true medical concern, the majority of our parenting decisions came down to knowing our baby and trusting our gut, or soliciting advice from friends and family who understood our lifestyle and needs and could offer contextual advice. All those hours I logged researching (and re-researching) tips and best practices just created additional opportunities to compare my life and parenting style to somebody else’s, and the last thing you need when you’re functioning in zombie mode is to second guess yourself. over. and over. again. So, you — yeah you on the brink of tears, mindlessly gliding or rocking or shhhhhhing the night away by the light of your phone: take a break. Trust your gut. Instagram is calling!

5. Your memory fails you.

Consider it nature’s way of ensuring we don’t all sterilize ourselves following the births of our children. (Kidding.) Within just a few weeks of Lana’s arrival, the details surrounding my labor and Lana’s delivery had blurred into little more than a haze. When I try to recall the most intense moments of those 40+ hours — the ones I was sure I’d never forget — it’s like trying to run in water or piecing together a dream upon waking. Slogging. Frustrating. Indistinct. Looking back at pictures of her as a newborn, it’s like seeing someone else’s child. How were her fingers ever so curled, her now-chubby thighs so slender? My recollection of her in those moments is now almost solely dependent on my phone’s camera roll and notepad. And as every month passes and I find myself increasingly immersed in Lana’s impending toddlerhood (?!?!), my time as a true baby momma becomes ever more hazy. Snap thousands of pictures. Record those first coos. Write a blog post for your bestie while the topic is still fresh (oops). Because I knew time would pass quickly, but I had no idea how much of my long-term memory it’d take with it.

Five Things I Learned as a New Mom (via thepigandquill.com)

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OH! before you go…

Like whatcha see here — or have a question, feedback, or recipe hack to share? Join The Pig & Quill convo by commenting below (I love, luv, lurve comments) and hang out with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. And don’t forget to subscribe to P&Q emails or add me to your RSS reader with Feedly or Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post. x’s & o’s!

 

roasted fig + potato salad with asparagus, goat cheese + honey-orange balsamic vinaigrette

Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinner

Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinner
Hi, my name is Emily, and I love purging shit outta my house. So when I got an email from Phoebe a few weeks ago suggesting a pantry purge in the name of spring cleaning, I jumped right on it. Purging shit not only out of my house — but into my belly!? I can think of few things more satisfying.

At first glance, this salad doesn’t necessarily scream PANTRY, I know. It’s fresh, light, green. It’s not bursting with nuts or legumes or any of the usual pantry-lurkers (Oriental Flavor ramen brick, I’m looking at you, ya little anti-PC creeper) — but then, that’s what makes this dish so good. Unexpected in composition — and unexpectedly delicious. Bingo bango.

Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinner
For a couple of months now, I’ve had a little carton of dried figs sitting right at eye level in my main pantry cupboard, just begging to be enjoyed. I bought them on a whim after sampling a few at the farmer’s market a while back — with grand notions of making my own Newtons to be sure — and proudly placed them on the shelf in a cadillac position where they’d be impossible to miss. Except I’ve now reached over and around said figgies several times a day for the better part of eight weeks and the Newtons. Aren’t. Happening.

So. #SpringPantryPurge to the rescue.

I borrowed the idea to roast the figs alongside tiny potatoes, earthy thyme and lots of garlic from this recipe in The New York Times, which interestingly employs the use of another pantry staple — tea! — to plump the figs before they make their bed in a hot oven. (A little hot tub before the dry sauna, if you will.) As unusual as it sounds, the tea — and, here, I’ve used something light and floral — is the perfect match for the fig’s natural jamminess and a sumptuous complement to the grassy asparagus and tangy goat cheese that take an otherwise autumnal dish in a decidedly spring-forward direction. With a crowd-pleasing honey-orange balsamic vinaigrette over the top (easily the dressing we make most in our house and a favorite of Chris’ parents), this dish is at once light and satisfying, easy and elegant. Also: POTATOES. 🙂

Thanks so much coordinating today’s pantry party, Phoebe!
Happy Humpday, guys.
xo
Em

ps – Wanna raid all the pantries? (Heh.) Scroll down for a full list of bloggers participating in today’s pantry party — and be sure to check out #SpringPantryPurge on Instagram for an overview of all the hoarding-turned-happy goodness!

Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinner

It’s a #SpringPantryPurge!

Feast + West | Honey Chipotle Roasted Chickpeas
Clean Food Dirty City | Lentil Rice Bowl with Shaved Cauliflower Salad
Crepes of Wrath | Garlic Noodles
Appeasing a Food Geek | Wine Wednesday + a Kale and Tomato Galette
Feed Me Phoebe | Maple Pecan Gluten-Free Banana Bread
Domesticate ME! | Chicken and Wheat Berry Salad with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Arugula
Arthur Street Kitchen | Kale Kimchi
Pamela Salzman | Drunken Beans
The Mom 100 | Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger
Snixy Kitchen | Kale Salad with Toasted Nuts, Seeds, & Buckwheat
Loves Food, Loves to Eat | Warm Lentil Salad with Butter-Crumbed Eggs
The Speckled Palate | Curried Veggie Rice Bowls
The Naptime Chef | Basil Polenta with Pine Nuts and Feta
the pig & quill | Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus + Goat Cheese (← that’s me!)

 

Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinnerRoasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinnerRoasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinnerRoasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinnerRoasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinner

roasted fig + potato salad with asparagus, goat cheese + honey-orange balsamic vinaigrette
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Makes: 4 side or 2 entree servings
Ingredients
  • For the Salad
  • ½ lb dried figs, such as Mission, stems trimmed
  • 2 cups hot brewed fruity, floral white tea (I used this Pomegranate White Tea with Hibiscus)
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes (or other small, waxy potato), halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, cloves whole and peeled
  • 5-6 sprigs thyme
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 large handfuls arugula
  • 6-8 oz asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • For the Dressing
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 3 T orange juice
  • 3 T good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 T sweet-hot mustard (I'm loving this one at the moment)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, pour hot tea over dried figs. Bring to room temperature, then cover, refrigerate and allow to soak 2-6 hours or overnight (depending on the softness of your dried fruit), until slightly plumped and soft but with a bit of chew.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F. Drain figs (discard tea) and toss with potatoes, garlic cloves, thyme and plenty of salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and roast until potatoes are golden, tossing once, about 30 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a shallow pan of water to a boil. Salt water and add asparagus, cooking only until bright green, about 60-90 seconds. Remove asparagus to ice water to stop cooking. Drain.
  4. Whisk or shake together all dressing ingredients.
  5. Lightly dress arugula with vinaigrette, tossing to combine. Divide arugula among serving plates (or pile into large serving dish) and top with roasted potatoes, figs and garlic cloves. Add asparagus (either trimmed into bite-sized pieces or whole spears) and goat cheese over the top. Serve with additional dressing and more salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy!
Notes
While the idea of tea-soaked figs seems really unusual, the flavor is lovely and subtle, and the floral aroma complements the rest of the springy components. Choose any light tea that's fruity or floral. (Note that prep time does not account for soaking, which adds an extra 2-6 hours.)

As for presentation, I love the look of this salad served up with the whole spears of asparagus, but you could just as easily slice the stalks on angle and toss them right in.
Roasted Fig + Potato Salad with Asparagus, Goat cheese + Honey-Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #vegetarian #spring #lunch #dinner

honeyed pistachio and balsamic-roasted strawberry (coconut) mousse

Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree

Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree
You guys. First and foremost: can we get a hell yeah for Friday? I’ve got exactly nothing to complain about this week — the weather has been springtime perfection, Lana is going through some sort of growth spurt that has her nursing like a newborn and napping like a champ, and I learned that the thrift store down the street does 50% off Tuesdays! — but it doesn’t mean I don’t love me a weekend. And this weekend, two of my besties will be here to eat, shop and bug-snuggle to their hearts’ content. It’ll be just like our middle school sleepovers, minus repeatedly phoning in requests for Ginuwine to the local radio station. Oh yeah, and plus babies. So more or less the same.

Second: can we peep that tiny honey bear? I schlepped a purseful home from a friend’s wedding last year and have been holding out for the perfect excuse to squeeze him into a shoot. Handsome little guy, isn’t he?

Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree
Third (and last, because, to be honest, Chris is watching Pitch Perfect 2 and I can’t pry myself away): we’re making Lana a big sister!!!

HA. April fools. Maybe one day, but definitely not today. Although exactly one year ago, Chris and I were sitting in a tiny outpatient room waiting to learn if our (then unnamed) Lana-bug was going to make an early entrance at the hand of doctors who were strongly suggesting we induce labor at 36 weeks. (We didn’t.)

What a difference a year makes.
Ok, where were we? Ah, yes. Let’s talk MOUSSE.

Would you believe me if I told you that my first pet’s name was Mousse? It was. A lop-eared little rabbit the color of Nesquik, he was almost as soft as he was squirmy. Hmmm, sounds like someone else I know. Needless to say (but, uh, I’m saying it…), I’ve got a thing for the whipped, cloud-like dessert. And — happy day! — it’s cuh-razy simp-oh to make!

Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree
Sweet-tart strawberries become syrupy and only ever-so-slightly savory when they’re caramelized in the oven with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a drizzle of maple, and any baklava-lover knows the joy of pistachios and honey. Folded into simply whipped coconut cream, the iterations can be presented individually or layered together for vizzy interest. Either way, don’t skimp on topping each serving with the recommended accoutrement (more honey and pistachios or fresh berries and a drizzle of good balsamic) to add a little texture and punch.

Happy weekend, friends!
xo,
Em

Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree

Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfreeHoneyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree

honeyed pistachio and balsamic-roasted strawberry (coconut) mousse
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Makes: 5-6 servings, depending on your cups or ramekins
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1.5 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ - 1 T maple syrup (Grade B ok), to taste
  • ½ cup salted, roasted pistachios, shelled
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 cans full coconut cream (or the equivalent solid portion from full-fat coconut milk, see note)
  • additional fresh strawberries, balsamic vinegar, chopped pistachios and honey, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss strawberries with vinegar, 1 T olive oil and maple syrup, to taste, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20 mins. Allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, whip coconut cream until fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In a small food processor, combine pistachios, honey and 2 T olive oil and pulse until very well combined and mixture is almost that of chunky peanut butter. Rinse food processor.
  4. Add cooled, roasted berries and any accumulated syrupy juices to processor and process until almost smooth, adding 2-3 T of the whipped coconut cream, if necessary, to help mixture come together. Turn out berry mixture into a medium bowl and gently fold in 1 cup whipped coconut cream.
  5. In another bowl, add pistachio mixture and 2-3 T of the whipped coconut cream and mix until nut "butter" has loosened up. Gently fold into 1 cup whipped coconut cream.
  6. Spoon mousses into individual ramekins or small glasses (keeping the flavors separate or layering them together -- up to you!) and chill 2-4 hours. Serve pistachio mousse topped with a generous drizzle of honey and more crushed, salted pistachios and strawberry mousse with fresh, diced berries and a small drizzle of balsamic. Enjoy!
Notes
Just how much maple syrup you use when roasting the strawberries depends on the sweetness of the berries. Give one a taste before adding the syrup. Naturally sweet berries may need hardly a drizzle.

Regarding coconut cream: most of the time, I'm able to find this product at Trader Joe's, though they can be very hit or miss with their coconut milk offerings. If you can't find coconut cream, you can use full-fat coconut milk -- you'll just need more of it. Refrigerate several cans of coconut milk overnight, then drain off the liquid portion within (reserve for another use!) and only whip the remaining (solidified) cream portions. You'll need about 2.5 cups of the whipped coconut cream in the end.

Cook time does not include 2-4 hours of recommended chill time before serving.
Honeyed Pistachio and Balsamic-Roasted Strawberry Coconut Mousse recipe (via thepigandquill.com) #dairyfree #dessert #refinedsugarfree————————————————–

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