The turn of the seasons means time for new foods.
Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.
~ Albert Camus
Holla bloggers! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Grateful as always to be here, I spent the weekend enjoying cooking at home and getting back into the groove in my kitchen. Yes, the dancing shoes were on and everything 🙂
Since utilizing fresh, accessible & affordable ingredients is fundamental to this blog, I am super excited to keep sharing more easy healthy recipes, and what fun it is to bounce off the energy and inspiration collected on my recent holiday.
This (new to me) gluten-free chickpea flat bread is as versatile as it is tasty, and when it comes to preparation, is almost criminally easy.
Paired with a topper like this Basil Pistou, it makes a perfect light lunch or side to a more substantial meal.
A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.
~ Sir Thomas Moore
Before we start, a few thoughts on food…
I’ve been teasing for quite a few posts about the foods we enjoyed while we were away. Of course I’d planned to write about this for weeks, and the truth when it comes right down to it is just this: the food we enjoyed there was dead simple.
We enjoyed amazing produce, and super fresh bread & cheese. My husband barbecued & I made (and ate) salads galore.
There were a few key ingredients that were thoroughly enjoyed to the last drop, like a balsamic vinegar that tasted as sweet as could be, gorgeous raw walnut oil for our salad dressings, delicious mustard that was added to everything, and wonderful staples like fresh bocconcini, tomatoes, sublime melons, and that amazingly fresh bread.
The crazy thing was that in France, and most notably in the countryside, the fresh healthy stuff came wonderfully affordable compared to home.
Upon our return to the Canadian west coast, fresh on the memories of the market in Provence, a visit to our local farmers market revealed that prices are in some cases 5 times what they were in France (and I was informed that the market we visited was the ‘expensive’ one for tourists by a good French friend).
There, baguettes were at the most 1 dollar (85 euro cents). A giant ball of gorgeous fresh bocconcini cost all of $1.15, and a triangle of brie just a paltry $1.96 (precisely). Sweet ripe melons were sold at every market at a mind boggling 3/$5, and two entire days worth of fresh picked fruit and vegetables cost me all of $9 at a roadside stand.
Enjoying regional foods is beautiful no matter where you are, and treating to aged balsamic vinegar (at $15 a bottle), local walnut oil ($5 a bottle), and fresh pressed local olive oil ($6) was a dream, made that much more amazing by the accessibility and prices.
Here at home, the same balsamic once imported would cost $50. Needless to say, I’m back to adding sugar to my dressings, and they taste delicious too 🙂
My return has prompted many new (and renewed) thoughts & ideas about our food here at home and the dream of making delicious, healthy foods available to all.
It was inspiring to say the least, and also eye opening to see such stark differences between the different worlds. So I am back to cooking, and back to work on this project that is so dear to my heart.
I’m so excited to bring you all along, starting with these recipes!
No one has ever become poor by giving.
~ Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank
Less store bought breads and dips means more taste & freshness without the added cost & waste. Fewer ingredients means easy work of making delicious. Less cost to make healthy goodness means your money can go farther, and who wouldn’t take a bite of that idea?
More fresh garlic means more taste and added amazing health benefits. More grain free recipes at hand means more options for those who may be sensitive. More easy ways to impress your guests means more smiles at the table, after all, nothing brings a smile like the smile of another.
Chickpea Flat Bread:
- (1) tbsp good olive oil for oiling the pan
- (3) tbsp good olive oil for the recipe
- (2.5) cups chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
- (3.5) cups water
- (1) tsp salt
- (1-2) tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a square or round 8-9 inch cake pan with (1) tbsp of olive oil.
Next, measure the flour into a large bowl. Gradually add the water into the flour, whisking constantly to keep lumps from forming. Add the salt, chopped rosemary, and (3) tbsp olive oil and whisk until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden, about 40 minutes. When done, remove the bread from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Remove from the pan and cut into slices, or, bring the entire pan to the table or serving area and serve straight from there!
This recipe made a generous amount that lasted in our house all week. If you like, this recipe can easily be halved, in which case you could use a regular loaf pan to bake it in.
We ate this with the pistou in this post but also enjoyed it days later fried in salt & olive oil as delicious croutons for our weeknight salads.
Keep any leftovers in the fridge and use within 5-6 days.
Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.
I’d love to hear how this goes for those of you who are looking for easy & affordable gluten free recipes to try. It’s so easy and has a lovely digestibility, not to mention the unexpected gentle chickpea flavor. Yum.
Chickpea flour is very affordable and is available in Asian food stores (it is used in Indian recipes) as well as most health food stores.
The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.
~ Mark Twain
– Adapted from Ina Garten in the Barefoot Contessa
- (2-4) large garlic cloves (depending on your fondness for garlic!)
- (1/4) cup tomato paste
- (24) fresh basil leaves (or about 1 packed cup of fresh basil)
- (1/2) cup grated Parmesan cheese
- (1) cup good olive oil
- (1) tbsp lemon juice
- (1/4) tsp salt
Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth and well incorporated.
Feel free to start and stop the blender to whirl the mixture with a spatula (always taking care to not do this while it is running, mindfulness with the blender can be a big challenge for me!).
Transfer to a sealed container or jar and keep in the fridge. By adding the lemon juice, this recipe should not discolor, but if you choose to you can cover the top of the pistou with a film of olive oil to keep it from drying out at the top while being stored. The original recipe called for all but the salt and lemon, but I couldn’t resist adding my favorite flavor boosters, and I do think it is more delicious for it.
Use this as a spread for bread, or for pasta, in a sandwich, or as a quick perk up for a bowl of hot soup.
This one might be tough for my vegan readers as the cheese really does carry it, but with all the genius for substitutions out there among all of you, nothing would surprise me at all 🙂
A quick bit of reading on the difference between pistou & pesto yielded some history on the origins of both (both have been around for centuries), and from what I read the basic difference between the two seems to be the absence of nuts in a pistou.
Great news for those sensitive to nuts, or anyone looking to add easy variety to their repertoire.
In my next post, I’ll share the pasta salad I made with this pistou. Garlicky and delicious, it was a perfect combo with these amazingly ripe local tomatoes 🙂
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
I hope all of you are basking in the glory of September, whether it is Spring or Fall where you are.
Stay tuned for more recipes and some Not So Fast news coming up! We are hard at work this fall and hope to have some fun to share with you all very soon!
- Have you ever tried working with chickpea flour?
- Got a favorite pesto or pistou?
I’ve seen a few great posts out there in the blog world using chickpea flour, feel free to share your faves in the comments – I’d love to know if you’ve got a goodie!
Wishing you all a super fabulous week!
Yours in Less,