Ricotta Peach and Honey Socca Pizza (Socca-Palooza: Chapter 2)

Ricotta peach pizza on blue plateWith perfect late summer peaches, this socca creation is fool proof! The combination of ripe peaches, creamy ricotta and a drizzle of honey is majestic. Fresh mint and a few flakes of fleur de sel take it to the next level of deliciousness.Ricotta Peach socca toppingsIf you have an extra 10 minutes, please make your own ricotta for this. It’s worth it, and really very simple. I love this recipe from epicurious.com. This socca would be perfect to serve for brunch, a light lunch or a not too sweet dessert.

Click here to print recipe for Ricotta, Peach and Honey Socca Pizzas.

Ricotta peach pizza have a slice

 

Zucchini, Corn and Feta Socca Pizza

zucchini piza on parchmentSocca is essentially a large chickpea flour flatbread. Similar in texture to a crepe, it has crisp edges and the sweet and nutty flavor of chickpeas, with a trace of smokiness from a trip under the broiler. They originated in Nice where they are cooked in wood ovens on copper disks. I thought they would be an excellent base for pizza.

I am not very skilled at drawing or painting, so I like to think of these socca crusts as my canvas and the toppings as my paint. It’s easy to create masterpieces when late summer markets are overflowing with gorgeous produce.zucchini socca toppings

zucchini ribbonsMix up the socca batter; chickpea flour (I used Bob’s Redmill Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour), water, olive oil and salt. Let the batter sit on the counter for at least 2 hours, or you can even refrigerate it overnight.socca ingredientsPour about 3/4 cup batter into a lightly oiled hot nonstick pan, and cook until golden brown on both sides.cooking soccaChannel your inner Picasso and top with whatever fills you with joy. For this version I shaved the zucchini and dressed the ribbons with fresh thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. I sautéed some fresh corn kernels. Feta and olives for salt and some shredded mozzarella to create oozy cheesy goodness. Pop it under the broiler to melt the cheese and crisp up the edges.

Click here to print recipe for Zucchini, Corn and Feta Socca Pizzas.

zucchini piza on yellow plateStay tuned over the next few days for a virtual “socca-palooza” and watch me create Ricotta, Peach and Honey Socca Pizzas, Za’atar Roasted Carrot and Avocado Socca Pizzas and Margherita Socca Pizzas.

Sweet and Salty Magic Bars

on wire rackThese classic bar cookies have been around since the 1850’s! They also go by the moniker of Magic Bars, Hello Dolly Bars, Five Layer and even Seven Layer Bars. Essentially, they all begin with a melted butter and cookie crust, typically crushed graham wafers. This sweet base gets topped with more sweetness, usually chocolate or butterscotch chips, sweetened coconut and some type of nuts. A thick layer of sweetened condensed milk acts as the glue to hold everything together.

Whatever they’re called, they have never really appealed to me because they just seemed too tooth-achingly sweet. But last week I saw this charming video and knew I had to try this twist on these bars. In her new book, “Modern Potluck”, Kristen Donnelly solves the sickly sweet problem by swapping out a cookie base with a potato chip base. What??? Pure genius.

I had high hopes for these “potato chip crusted magic bars”. The combination of sweet and salty is my kryptonite. I went shopping for potato chips, because I rarely keep them in my house. Shockingly, don’t have much will power when it comes to salt. By the way, did you know that they sell unsalted potato chips? Chicken and waffle flavoured potato chips is one thing, but I draw the line at unsalted! I mean, salt is the whole point of potato chips, right?

I whipped up a batch of Kristen’s potato chip crusted magic bars. I was so excited I could barely wait for them to cool.potato chip crusted barsThe first bite was interesting. The crust was not as crispy as I thought it would be. Nor did it taste as salty as I was hoping for. The second bite left an almost rancid aftertaste in my mouth. I had eaten a few potato chips out of the bag as I was making the crust, and they tasted great. I suspect that cooking the potato chips a second time caused some kind of chemical reaction that changed the taste. I was so disappointed. I knew that Kristen’s idea of adding a salty crust was a great idea and I wanted to make these bars work.

And then I remembered these pretzel crusted treats I made last year. Why not trade potato chips for pretzels? Why not indeed? I topped mine with bittersweet chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut chips, salted cashews, almonds and macadamia nuts, and chopped vanilla caramels.cutting caramels

 

Watch the magic happen!

 

These bars have it all. A perfect sweet-salty balance and great textural contrast. Crunch from pretzels, nuts and toasted coconut, gooey sweetness from  sweetened condensed milk,  bittersweet from the chocolate, and chewiness from the caramel. A perfect treat. baked up close

one barOh, and I figured out why they’re called magic bars. Set them out with some cold milk and watch them magically disappear. They are even more delicious straight from the freezer!

Click here to print recipe for Sweet and Salty Magic Bars.

with milk

Chilled Melon Soup

One bowl 1The first time I ever saw two different kinds of soup in the same bowl, I thought it was just so magical. Corn soup on the left and Black Black Bean soup on the right. And they just stayed on their own sides of the bowl, never crossing that center line and mixing! Like at a Chassidic wedding. How did they do it? The secret is to have two liquids of roughly the same consistency, and to pour them at the same time, from opposite sides into a shallow bowl.

Pouring melon soup 6I got all fancy for you and poured my soups into glass pitchers. But you can just use two 1/2 cup measuring cups and it will work perfectly.

My friend Margo served these melon soups to us a few weeks ago at a big gathering at our cottage. They were so refreshing and light, I had to get the recipe to share with you. I couldn’t believe it when she said that it was simply honeydew pureed with mint and canteloupe pureed with orange juice! I added a touch of lime to my honeydew soup.Melons and Citrus

ready to pureehoneydew soupcanteloupe soup

Click here to print recipe for Melon Soup.

Two bowls 1

Wild Blueberry and Corn Galette

A slice with tea 2Galette is French for “Lazy Ass Pie.” No, not really. It actually refers to a free-form tart. Pies are a lot of work. There’s all that stress about making the crust and rolling it out without cracking. Plus, I suck at crimping. But a galette is supposed to be rustic. Rolling the dough into a perfect circle is  not required, in fact, it is frowned upon. (Well, I frown upon perfect circles)

Wild blueberries have arrived and sadly, they’re only here for a few short weeks, so I take advantage of the short season and work very hard at eating my weight in wild blueberries during the month of August. This recipe would certainly work with regular blueberries, but you may need to add a bit more sugar, since wild ones are so much sweeter. You could also use frozen berries. The PC frozen wild blueberries are excellent, as are Trader Joe’s brand.

OK, let’s make a lazy ass pie galette. Start with the filling. Mix blueberries, tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch), sugar and lemon juice. Filling ingredientsNext we tackle the topping. This corn crisp topping was the genius idea of Bon Appetit Magazine. I saw it in their July 2016 issue, and I knew I had to try it. Such a fun idea to combine blueberry and corn in a dessert. Start with a traditional crisp topping of flour, sugar and butter. Add a touch of cornmeal for added crunch. corn topping_2Then cut in fresh corn kernels. Topping done. cutting corn off the cobThe dough comes together very quickly in the food processor. No need to chill it. Just roll it out right away between 2 sheets of parchment paper, to avoid any fuss. rolling dough between sheets of parchmentTime to assemble.

I made a dairy free version of the galette last weekend for some friends. I used chilled coconut oil in both the dough and the topping and it was fantastic. The coconut oil was only detected (and rejected) by one friend, but I suspect he’s a super tasterBlueberry Corn Galette 2

Click here to print recipe for Wild Blueberry and Corn Galette.

slice of galette