Socca Pizza with Summer Squash and Feta

Delicious gluten-free pizza made with an easy chickpea flour crust - cookieandkate.com

An earthquake interrupted my slumber early this morning. In my dreams, I was jogging along a winding, foggy forest path with friends, while in reality, a 4.2-magnitude quake was rumbling up to my parents’ house. All of a sudden, I was awake and riding the mechanical bull formerly known as my bed. Cookie barked, and it was over as quickly as it began. Oklahoma already gets hit by tornadoes so this new earthquake phenomenon seems a bit excessive, but I respect mother nature’s occasional reminders that she’s still the boss around here.

The Homemade Flour Cookbook - cookieandkate.com

I made this socca pizza the night before before I headed south for an extended weekend. So, what is socca, anyway? Socca is a simple, savory, crispy pancake made with just chickpea flour, water, olive oil and salt. Apparently it’s a popular street food in Nice, France, where they sprinkle it heavily with freshly ground black pepper and serve it with cold glasses of rosé. Let’s go!

The longer socca bakes under the broiler, the crispier the bottom sides and edges become. Crisp socca makes a fine gluten-free pizza crust, with a flavor slightly reminiscent of falafel, and it’s even easier to make than pizza dough. Socca, socca! (Sing it like polka, polka!)

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Kombucha Moscow Mules

Kombucha Moscow Mules! Gingerberry and ginger versions. cookieandkate.com

Drumroll, please. I got Cookie’s DNA test results back yesterday! This funny mutt of mine is half schipperke (called it!) and half mixed medley. The mixed side includes dachshund and Australian koolie, which explains the rest. Cookie is a smart, ornery schipperke with a koolie’s spots and herding habits, topped off with floppy dachshund ears.

gingerberry kombucha and dog

My imagination is running wild. How did this creature come to be? I see her mother as an elegant, purebred black schipperke living in a posh Tulsa suburb. Her dad? The handsome, spotted, charming gentleman next door. The Don Draper of dachshunds, if you will.

Six years ago, on a warm spring evening, they snuck off to share a plate of spaghetti and watch the sun set. One thing led to another and now I’m sharing the couch with their clown daughter. It was all meant to be.

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Asian Brussels Sprout Slaw with Carrots and Almonds

This mayo-free slaw is perfect for potlucks! - cookieandkate.com

Sometimes the simplest of recipes are the most difficult to develop. Take this slaw, for example. It totally got the best of me. It was supposed to be a variation on my honey mustard brussels sprout slaw, with flavors inspired by the “cabbage crunch” slaw at Whole Foods. I sampled that slaw from the Whole Foods buffet a couple of weeks ago after my stomach started growling at me. (You know what they say about grocery shopping while hungry.) Their slaw consists of shredded green cabbage, green onions and sesame seeds tossed in a simple apple cider dressing.

My plan was to trade shredded green cabbage for the shredded sprouts in my slaw recipe, adjust the dressing and be done. Sounds easy, right? Three grocery store trips and one photo shoot in the rain later, I can tell you that it was definitely not.

Asian Brussels slaw ingredients

I blame the cabbage. Perhaps I bought the most waterlogged cabbage of all time. Not sure. All I know is that my shredded cabbage weeped water into that bowl so fast that my slaw was a defeated, limp, brownish-green pile of cruciferous sludge by the time I got back from my second grocery store run. I’m exaggerating, but I couldn’t send you all to potlucks with watery slaw. Oh no. My famous peanut-sesame slaw is so beloved by readers that I am called “slaw lady” in at least one American household. I can’t let my slaw fans down.

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Honey Almond Cake with Raspberries, Orange and Pistachios

A delightfully simple and delicious gluten-free, naturally sweetened cake flavored with orange and raspberries! cookieandkate.com

My friends and I are going glamping this weekend. That is to say, glam camping. The guys initially wanted to rough it in the woods, but us ladies slowly turned it into a comfortable cabin-at-the-lake-with-a-full-kitchen-and-a-clean-toilet situation.

We almost cancelled yesterday due to a rainy weather forecast, but concluded a silly seven-person conference call (iPhones can do that?!) by deciding to go for it. I could care less if we sit inside while it rains tomorrow. I’m giddy at the prospect of leaving all work-related materials behind and goofing around with friends all weekend long.

Vibrant Food cookbook

On my list to pack: sunscreen, swimsuit, Scrabble, magazines, at least three bottles of Champagne (bubbly is the new beer, you heard it here first) and this glorious, gluten-free almond meal and honey cake. The cake is made with almond meal, a few eggs and olive oil. It’s sweetened with honey and topped with an optional, light sprinkle of powdered sugar. Add to that a few additional layers of fragrant flavors: heavenly orange zest, a hint of floral cardamom, ripe raspberries and raw pistachios. Three of my friends are gluten-free eaters and this is a cake that we can all share.

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Fresh Arugula and Black Bean Tacos with Pickled Radish and Feta

Simple, fresh and filling vegetarian tacos! - cookieandkate.com

This week has been a doozy. Big decisions have been clamoring for my verdict and, as usual, I’ve been struggling to make up my mind. I like possibilities, you see. I like the feeling of unlimited potential. Narrowing down my options makes me nervous. So nervous that I find myself clicking through page after page of J. Crew’s final sale and reaching for extra-large glasses of wine in attempts to escape it all. I see what you’re trying to do there, unconscious self.

lime dressing and arugula

Another strange form of escapism? Making a mess of leftovers in the kitchen. I like to absentmindedly throw a bunch of different leftovers in a bowl and hope that I’ll happen across a magical combination. These tacos are one of the rare combinations worth sharing.

At the time of discovery, I had just gotten back from the grocery store but most of my ingredients were destined for future recipes. I grabbed some arugula, warmed some black beans, and threw in some feta and quick-pickled radishes. I tossed all of that in jalapeño-lime dressing and took a bite. Eureka! I was onto something.

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Spicy Quick Pickled Radishes

Super easy-to-make pickled radishes that pack a punch! cookieandkate.com

My refrigerator shelves are one knock away from an avalanche. I have plastic wrap-covered bowls of leftover sorghum stacked precariously on top of pickle jars. I’ve snatched a falling jar of precious pine nuts from mid-air at least twice. (Side note: I once snatched up a free-falling baby by the ankle. That was a relief.)

I have a hard time finding cooking inspiration when my fridge is jam-packed with leftovers to be consumed by yours truly. And to tell you the whole truth, every time I find myself cooking a family-sized meal, I hear a little whisper of a worry in the back of my head. “I hope I don’t cook alone forever,” it murmurs.

radishes

Growing up, I always enjoyed the creative aspect of combining different ingredients in the hopes of a delicious outcome. I didn’t formally take it upon myself to learn how to cook until after college, though. At the time, I was working as a waitress and reading books about the food industry and nutrition. I wanted to eat well and couldn’t afford to eat out all of the time, so I decided it was time to learn how to cook for myself.

That was the perfect stage to start cooking—if I’d had others to feed at that time, I would have resented the obligation and felt insecure about my limited skill set. Cooking had always seemed like a form of domestic defeat but I found cooking for myself to be empowering. Independence! Self sufficiency! Hell yes!

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