Tag Archives: Basil

Recipes: Chickpea Flat Bread & Basil Pistou

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

The Less:

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?

The More:

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.

~ Buddha

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

Basil Pistou:

– 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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,

92 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Snacks, Travel, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Provencal Tomato Basil Scrambled Eggs with Garlic

Home is always where the heart is.

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.

~ Lou Holtz

Here we are! Hot off the heels of our trip, we made it safely home here in Vancouver Monday afternoon. There really is no place like home!

Since then, you can imagine the marathon of unpacking, catch up phone calls & texts, as well as mentally preparing for all that is on the imminent horizon. Yes, it is time to dig back in to real life, and I am excited to be back!

Given the massive range of experiences that are still being digested, I figure it is high time for a recipe, and what better way to start than with a yummy & authentic way to get a taste of two of the most delicious, and most used ingredients in Provence (or anywhere for that matter)…. garlic and tomato!

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

~ Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.

~ Babe Ruth

First, a few quick words on eggs, as this is the first time they have been prominently posted here on IPOM. Eggs seem to be (IMHO) really one of those foods that either sit well with you or they don’t.

In my early years as a strict vegan, I will never forget the day my body craved eggs. I was pregnant, and well, (just a little) hungry. Though it had been years and I’d never been a giant fan of eggs, I knew my body needed to be listened to, for I do believe (still to this day), that the body ultimately knows better than the mind ever can – if only we just tune in & really listen, and for anyone out there who has ever had pregnancy cravings you know what I am talking about (winky face).

And as each of our bodies is different, so is each of our minds.

Never mind my own personal views on eggs, these guys are inexpensive, easy sources of energy & protein.

They are also the food of choice (hard-boiled) used at the inner city Breakfast Program offered through one of Not So Fast’s partner’s in feeding people – for their high protein content and grounding nutritional quality.

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.

~ Mother Teresa

The Less:

Less boredom when it comes to cooking eggs means tastier ways to enjoy them. Less sugary, sweet breakfast foods means more garlicky, savory goodness. Less cream, milk, and cheese added means cooking up eggs is light and simple, not to mention tasty, inexpensive, and oh so good!

The More:

More inexpensive hearty protein means you can get by with just a little. More fresh tasty recipes means more simple, yet delicious meals. More uses for all those ripe tomatoes means they’ll never go to waste, so you can enjoy them at just about any meal.

Provencal Tomato Basil Scrambled Eggs with Garlic:

Adapted from ‘Provence’

  • (5) fresh eggs
  • (1) tbsp good olive oil
  • (2) medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • (1) clove fresh organic garlic, minced
  • (1) bay leaf
  • (1/4) tsp salt plus more to taste
  • (2) tbsp cold butter
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 6-10 fresh basil leaves

Start by peeling & seeding the tomato: put up a small pot of water to boil while you prepare the garlic and other ingredients. Once the water is at a boil, add the whole tomato and turn it in the water to cover all the skin. Leave in the water for 30 seconds or so and then turn the heat off. Remove the tomato from the hot water and allow to cool. From there, the skin should simple peel off the outside of the tomato! Next, open up the tomato and quarter it. Carefully remove the seeds with a spoon and discard. Chop the remaining tomato flesh and set aside.

When you are ready to cook, heat a deep skillet and add the olive oil over medium to low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring until just fragrant (but not turning brown). Add the tomato flesh, the bay leaf, and the salt and bring to bubbling on medium heat (turn it up slightly). Once the tomatoes are hot and start to bubble, return the heat to a lower simmer temperature and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for 15 minutes. This will smell so good!

While the tomatoes are cooking, combine the butter, a pinch of salt, ground pepper to taste, and the eggs in a mixing bowl. Use a fork to cut the eggs and only mix them until the whites and yolks are mixed (but don’t go crazy on them).

Turn up the heat of the tomato pan again to medium high to cook the eggs. Remove the whole bay leaf from the pan and add the egg mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches a beautiful, creamy texture.

When ready, remove from heat and continue to stir the eggs in the pan as the absorb the leftover heat. Tear the basil pieces over the mixture with your hands and stir in just before serving.

Serve from the pan onto plates with anything you desire – we enjoyed this with baguette but a lovely salad would be delicious!

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I am quite certain my vegan readers are already thinking about how to make this perhaps with tofu instead of eggs (which would be delicious!!), and as always, I encourage any number of creative ways to make this yours!

Of course, since we arrived home I am also on the hunt for the best baguette in town, as once you get used to that delicious bread (which my body has no issues with but that is another post), it is hard to go without!

But alas, I will be fine πŸ™‚ Better than fine, really.

I know I said in my last post I’d be sharing a list of our top foods that we enjoyed on our trip, and I’ll be compiling some thoughts on food in addition to that, as the take-aways for me are still percolating.

Returning home is wonderful, and while I was treated to some beautiful goodness away, I am also grateful to live here where that goodness is still abundant as the growing season is still well underway here at home.

I’ll be headed to our local Farmer’s Market this weekend – I’ll let you know how that goes in comparison to France! As for now, I am still sifting though photos and editing when I can (mostly in the middle of the night when the jet lag has got me). Here are a few gems of the beloved Champs Elysees as seen from the top of the Arc…

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

~ Dr. Seuss

I am looking forward to catching up with all of you and getting started with this brand new season that is upon us, and of course sharing loads of good stuff from our time away.

As always I am ever so grateful to all of you for reading and sharing this journey with me (and in this case my family too!)

Many wishes, kisses, and blessings to all of you for a fabulous start to September!

  • What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
  • Have you ever experienced pregnancy cravings?

I know there are some funny ones out there….I’d love to hear yours!

Yours in Less (from back home),

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Filed under Cooking, Feeding, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Travel, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Simple Tomato Bocconcini & Greens

Just when you thought you’d had enough freshness.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

~ Leo Tolstoy

I’ve got to admit, I’m (just a little) salad crazy.

Are you salad crazy too? I know in the summertime it is quite common, when the greens are plentiful & dirt cheap and folks get hot and will do anything to avoid turning on the stove.

The truth is, I’m simply salad crazy all year long.

It doesn’t matter the season, you’ll always find salads in this house. Light fare leaves one still feeling limber after a meal, as nothing makes me lose my spark quicker than an over full (and over-taxed) stomach.

Don’t chase your dreams, catch them.

~ Unknown

Today’s salad is a celebration of a classic. The tomato salad at its core is about as basic a salad as it gets.

Whether you use beefsteak, heirloom, romas, or tomatoes on the vine, take a few tomatoes, slice them up and you’ve got one of the best salads around. Here, I started with whole cherry tomatoes. Easy peasy.

A visit toΒ  the store will quickly tell you what tomatoes to buy. Buy them ripe, as ripe as you can while still being firm to the touch. These beloved healthy gems are one of those things that most people love, though there are a few folks I have met that simply don’t care for them.

Personally, I could eat them everyday, (and sometimes do).

There are the classic red tomatoes. There are so many kinds out there it’s crazy. Buy the ones that look the best to you. That way you know you’ll enjoy them more. It’s that simple.

Words have wings…so speak good things.

~ Anonymous

These orange beauties caught my eye, can you see why? They are so gorgeous, and right then and there I knew it was a tomato salad night.

Our family loves bocconcini, or fresh mozzarella balls, and Caprese salad is always a huge hit. Here is a sweet & simple version made with pearl bocconcini, but you can use what ever size you like (in tomatoes or bocconcini really). I like this as it incorporates greens into the mix – because really, why not?

Vegan? Hint: cube up some firm tofu the same size as the tomatoes and let it soak in the juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt before adding to the mixture. Your results will look just as beautiful as this, without the added dairy. More easy peasy. More delicious.

The only thing I know, is that I know nothing.

~ Socrates

The Less:

Fewer ingredients means preparation in seconds. Fewer dressing needs means adding flavor with just a few splashes. Less need for complication means getting in the kitchen is easy, fun, and delicious, so your meal and the day to follow are yours to enjoy.

The More:

More tomato & basil means more summer flavors in your bowl. More simple dressing for salads means more motivation to make them. More easy beautiful food, means impressing friends with very little effort. And any incentive to do that is a win πŸ™‚

Simple Tomato Bocconcini & Greens:

  • (3-4) cups cherry tomatoes (mixed colors or all the same)
  • (1) cup pearl bocconcini cheese (or equal amounts cubed raw tofu marinated in the juice of half a lemon)
  • (4-6) cups clean salad greens of your choice, torn
  • (2) tbsp good olive oil
  • (2) tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • (4-8) fresh basil leaves
  • sat and pepper to taste

Simply wash your tomatoes and set them in a strainer to drain. Wash and tear the greens (arugula, lettuce, kale, sprouts) and set aside in a bowl.

Slice the basil leaves in thin ribbons. To ‘ribbon’ fresh basil, simply layer the leaves on top of one another and roll them into a roll. Slice the roll horizontally to get long thin uniform strips. These should be used immediately as they will discolor some once cut.

Drain the bocconcini and toss in a medium bowl with the tomatoes. When ready to serve, layer the greens at the bottom of a serving dish. Toss the tomatoes and cheese (or tofu) with the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Top the greens with the tomato mixture and garnish with fresh basil ribbons. Top with additional fresh pepper if desired.

Of course a salad so simple as this requires the freshest of ingredients.

Buy the freshest, perkiest lettuce you can find. Pick it from your own back yard, or have a good chat with the guy at the farm stand when you buy it. It might make you smile as you eat it. Then again, it might not. It’s all up to you.

To live at all is miracle enough.

~ Mervyn Peake

Serve this at dinner with anything you desire. It’s great with fresh bread, pasta salad, potato salad, or even a few of these high protein Quinoa Bites.

It’s also great just on its own.

Listen to your heart. Because wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.

~ Paulo Coelho

What’s your treasure?

We’re in serious countdown mode here at the IPOM world headquarters (teehee), 5 sleeps to go until we leave for Paris and the packing is almost done! We’re tying up details left right and center here.

I’ve had a good break in the past few weeks from anything too intense and am looking forward to a true holiday (I’ve just been warned about the lack of reliable wi-fi anywhere in France), and I’ll hope to be blogging as I feel inspired to share, so stay tuned for IPOM from France!

I’ll be looking forward to September too, when plans and new initiatives for Not So Fast will get in full swing once again. One thing is for sure, it is never boring πŸ™‚

It’s a real journey, and one I’m so happy to share with you readers, as well as the amazing crew that have hopped on the bus to join me. I am amazed at the passion out there and it drives me to keep going everyday. Love & gratitude to you all.

  • What’s your favorite version of Tomato Salad?
  • Got a cause you’re passionate about sharing with us?

I’d love any links or add-ons to this super classic (and ever my favorite) summer salad, and to hear what really gets your gears going.

I always love to hear from each and every one of you, wishing you all a super swell few days!

Yours in Less,

56 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Dressings, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian