Gluten-Free Greek Yogurt Cornbread Muffins.

To paraphrase Chris Rock: Cornbread is a beautiful, magical thing.

[Leaf Parade. Gluten-Free Greek Yogurt Cornbread Muffins.]

But, I admit, I sometimes forget about it. That was certainly not the case, however, post-run a couple weeks back — when I absolutely, positively, very-very much wanted (needed??) some cornbread.

[Leaf Parade. Gluten-Free Greek Yogurt Cornbread Muffins.]

It’s like they say: When the Cornbread Muse speaks to you, you listen. And thus were born a batch of these very tasty cornbread muffins, a bit of a riff of this basic gluten-free cornbread recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. The muffins are thick and fluffy — substantial — and unlike any other flour-free corn muffin I’ve ever met. The Greek yogurt is the big game changer here, lending a helpful (read: fluffy and tart) hand to an already effervescent and leavening-rich batter.

[Leaf Parade. Gluten-Free Greek Yogurt Cornbread Muffins.]

Since that first batch, cornbread has continued to be on my mind — with new ways to make this great base recipe even greater. While I continue to find my footing in my new life in the south, I am grateful to have such an important southern sundry under my belt.

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Happy little Sunday things.

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.] [Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

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Raw Buckwheat Porridge with Roasted Strawberries + Rhubarb.

[Leaf Parade. Raw Buckwheat Porridge with Roasted Strawberries + Rhubarb.]

Today I present to you breakfast — the most important thing after family.

[Leaf Parade. Raw Buckwheat Porridge with Roasted Strawberries + Rhubarb.]

During the week, my family was never much of a sit-around-the-breakfast-table kind of family, but we sometimes were on the weekends. These days, Troy and I make a point of waking up together every single morning so that we can have a quick breakfast together at the table. For me, it’s much nicer than the extra hour of sleep I would get without this ritual.

[Leaf Parade. Raw Buckwheat Porridge with Roasted Strawberries + Rhubarb.]

Lately, we’ve been eating overnight oats like they are going out of style, but after finding raw buckwheat groats last month during our New Orleans Whole Foods pilgrimage, I knew that it was finally time to try a variation on raw buckwheat porridge — a breakfast idea I’ve been particularly taken with since seeing this beautiful rendition on Green Kitchen Stories almost a year and a half ago.

[Leaf Parade. Raw Buckwheat Porridge with Roasted Strawberries + Rhubarb.]

We topped our porridge with spoonfulls of roasted strawberries and rhubarb, a la this recipe from Cookies + Kate. I love the grassy undertones of the raw buckwheat paired with the heady sweetness brought out by roasting the fruit. An extra drizzle of honey and a toss of almonds later, and — breakfast has never looked so good.

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Herby Millet Salad with Chickpeas, Carrots, and Eggplant.

One of the greatest parts of my day is when Troy comes home for lunch. Midday, we each take a quick break from our respective workday undertakings to share piles of leftovers or quickly-assembled egg salad sandwiches. I pour a couple of kombuchas, set the table for two, and wait for his truck to pull into the driveway.

[Leaf Parade. Herby Millet Salad with Chickpeas and Roasted Carrots + Eggplant.]

It’s a special thing — a cultural relic, really — this coming together for lunch thing. And we are grateful for it each day.

[Leaf Parade. Herby Millet Salad with Chickpeas and Roasted Carrots + Eggplant.]

Lately, a lot of the cooking that we’ve been doing during the week has been geared towards these special midday lunches. What will heat up well tomorrow? What can we throw into a bowl and give a quick toss to? We’ve found millet to be a great vehicle for such convenience — we cook the grains and roast some veggies the night before, and then it’s Tupperware to lunch plate in two minutes flat the next day.

[Leaf Parade. Herby Millet Salad with Chickpeas and Roasted Carrots + Eggplant.]

I have a deep and unwavering passion for roasted carrots. A pile of these salty, caramelized gems really brighten up this lunch and take it from oh-salad-again-how-boring to yes-please-salad-more-thanks. A righteous distinction.

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Happy little Sunday things.

Happy Sunday reading!

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

  • These Bacon and Sweet Corn Ice Cream Sandwiches. ()
  • A comprehensive review of cats. ()
  • This Sour Cream Gelato. ()
  • Local Milk’s wanderer’s guide to New Orleans. ()
  • These Paleo Baked Avocado Fries. ()
  • If a big white wedding is what we had in mind, I’d be wearing this dress. ()
  • These Mini Baklava Cups. ()
  • I don’t care how cheesy it is, this little jingle about my hometown makes me happy. ()
  • Breakfast oatmeal, three ways. ()

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

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Red Wine + Chocolate Donuts.

When I was living in Boston, one of my favorite things about having a Trader Joe’s a half mile down the street was my access to Charles Shaw label wine, the illustrious product you may know better as “Two Buck Chuck.” This wine (which, interestingly enough, will actually run you three bucks), was a mainstay of my Boston life — I’m Team Cabernet, by the way.

[Leaf Parade. Red Wine + Chocolate Donuts.]

I drank it every now and again, I cooked with it frequently, and when my mom and sister came to visit, the three of us could often be found in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, hoisting a couple cases of the stuff into my mother’s trunk, en route to a new home on the Connecticut shoreline (see: my mother’s basement). It’s hard not to love something that is so affordable and so very good.

[Leaf Parade. Red Wine + Chocolate Donuts.]

Before I left Boston, I prepared for the devastating loss of my nearby Trader Joe’s by stocking up on fancy Himalayan salts, jars of coconut oil and, of course, several cases of Charles Shaw wine. In fact, one afternoon, I even went as far as to rent a Zip Car for the specific purpose of carting my wine back to my apartment. I bought 37 bottles that day. Kidding/no actually not kidding at all.

[Leaf Parade. Red Wine + Chocolate Donuts.]

So suffice it to say that I am well stocked on wine down here in Mississippi. So well stocked that I could perhaps spare a touch of it for these Red Wine + Chocolate Donuts, a recipe I have been dreaming up for months now. The red wine plays a subtle yet important role in these treats. Use any kind of red wine you wish — something fancy, something not-so-very-fancy, or a Port or Madeira could also be nice. Enjoy!

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Grilled Steak with Bloody Mary Heirloom Tomato Salad.

[Leaf Parade. Grilled Steak with Bloody Mary Heirloom Tomato Salad.]

Let me tell you a story.

[Leaf Parade. Grilled Steak with Bloody Mary Heirloom Tomato Salad.]

One day not so long ago I was thinking: “I like Bloody Marys — and, also, I like steak.” By virtue of my general internet competence, I found myself drooling over this recipe from Bon Appetit.

[Leaf Parade. Grilled Steak with Bloody Mary Heirloom Tomato Salad.]

To me, a Bloody Mary holds up when it’s just as good without the vodka, and I think that rule of thumb carries through for Bloody Mary-inspired tomato salads. If you disagree, feel free to serve your vodka in a rocks glass on the side. A perfect and well balanced meal either way.

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Happy little Sunday things.

Hope you all are enjoying your long holiday weekend. Happy Fourth of July — and happy Sunday reading!

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

  • This Mixed Berry Quinoa Crumble. ()
  • Anthony Bourdain’s theory on the Foodie Revolution. ()
  • This Vanilla Cornmeal Crumb Cake. ()
  • Hark! A grammar discussion re: The Declaration of Independence. ()
  • These Beet Tacos with Beet Green Salsa Verde and Spicy Pickled Onions. ()
  • Disney Princesses reimagined as…. OITNB characters. ()
  • This beautiful Mixed Berry Pie. ()
  • Moms and Dads: Saying no to electronics. ()
  • These Cuban-Style Burgers. ()

[Leaf Parade. Happy little Sunday things.]

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Green Tomato Gazpacho.

I love when food is beautiful. And, in the summer time, it is so much that.

[Leaf Parade. Green Tomato Gazpacho.]

Bouquets of fresh greens, peaches and nectarines on fire, cherry tomatoes like perfect little marbles — the sun a lucky gold coin, giving breath to my dinner right before my very eyes.

[Leaf Parade. Green Tomato Gazpacho.]

I’m not a soup person, really, but I make exceptions. And, a couple of weeks back, this soup was one of those exceptions — the green tomatoes so green, the cucumbers just asking for it.

[Leaf Parade. Green Tomato Gazpacho.]

So I’ll sip this cold, refreshing soup and relish it and all the other beautiful happenstances of summertime — sunglasses on the front porch, a half-glass of cold brew and cream in the afternoon, the swaying and shrugging of trees, and the slow, heady buzz of Billy Holiday unfolding from my summertime consciousness… Summer, beautiful summer.

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How To: Naturally-Fermented Vegetables.

Today I’m going to share a basic how-to for naturally fermented pickled vegetables. While you follow along, keep in mind that these instructions can easily accommodate most any vegetable that you happen to have in surplus. So while I’m showing you my pickled cucumbers, okra, and jalapenos, if your garden (or market) is abundant with green beans, give them a try. Once you get a hang of the (very basic) process, it’s simple to dress up your pickled veggies with any kind of aromatics that you dream of. Like a tarragon-heavy pickled cucumber? Or a Moroccan-spiced fermented cauliflower floret? Well you’re in luck. The Mason jar can be your pretty little oyster.

[Leaf Parade. How To: Naturally-Fermented Vegetables.]

There is a big difference between a naturally-fermented pickle (that you make at home or buy from a specialty seller) and the vinegar-based pickle that you’ll usually find on your grocer’s shelves. While I am an equal opportunity pickle employer and I certainly enjoy the taste of a vinegar-based pickle, there are some real advantages to the naturally-fermented variety.

In a natural (sometimes also called a “traditional”) pickle, naturally-existing lactic acid bacteria feeds on the naturally-existing sugar of the vegetable — and this process is mediated by a salt-based brine. The salt provides a friendly environment for the kinds of bacteria that you want to encourage and an inhospitable environment for those that you want to discourage, therefore creating a solution ideal for long-term preservation. The resulting taste is sharp and bright and fresh, but with a nuanced tang you won’t find in a heavy-handed vinegar bomb.

[Leaf Parade. How To: Naturally-Fermented Vegetables.]

What’s great about a natural ferment is that it provides a food that is, in essence, “alive.” Live cultured foods are full of good bacteria and probiotics, which boast a bevy of health benefits (you’ve seen the Jamie Lee Curtis commercials). More than that, though, as methods of natural fermentation were first used to preserve a harvest’s bounty in a pre-refrigeration society, fermented foods are foods prepared in traditional, old-timey ways. While methods of fermentation and preservation come across in today’s foodie landscape as trendy and hip, our practice of these methods is actually just a way for us to go back to basics, and back to our roots. So quit rolling your eyes.

[Leaf Parade. How To: Naturally-Fermented Vegetables.]

The process is this: Clean and prepare your veggies, cook up your brine (which can be prepared simply with water, salt, and pickling spice — more info below), wait for your brine to cool, and then, in a Mason jar, fully submerge your vegetables in the cooled brine. It only takes one week for the magic to happen — for your veggies to fully ferment. To stop the fermentation process at the end of the week, simply boil the brine, allow it to cool, and then pour it back over the pickles for long-term storage. Easy.

—— [Read more...]

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