During February, I start to get the itch. While it’s still snowing in many parts of the country, the Central Valley in California transitions into spring. And I really shouldn’t even say transition. It’s more you wake up one morning and there are blooms on the trees and flowers everywhere. And so, I start impatiently waiting for spring produce.
Truth is though, we still have some time. And so, I reflect back into the winter produce and start to look for more creative ways to use what is still lingering around. Recently I made a squash puree and listed out a handful of recipes I thought about making. In the end, I really feel there’s nothing quite like a solid breakfast, especially if ricotta pancakes are involved.
Kabocha, pumpkin’s cool cousin.
During the cooler months, I go squash happy. Anytime I’m at the store I think to myself, ‘Yes, I need a couple squash.’ Then, I get home and realize I already had a few. And so, I start to get really creative with how I use them.
Kabocha is one of my favorites. It’s flavor is sweet while the puree is similar in consistency to pumpkin. All of of this makes it the perfect squash to use in recipes one might traditionally use pumpkin. Of course, if you don’t want to spend the time cooking the kabocha or can’t find one, use pumpkin puree instead.
Ricotta pancakes: like eating clouds
When I first started making a non-squash version of these pancakes, I couldn’t get over how light and pillowy the texture is. The ricotta really adds the perfect amount of moisture while the stiff egg whites lighten the batter.
I will say, if you’re unsure of spending that much effort to make the batter, it’s really worth it. These aren’t my every weekend pancakes but it’s definitely a nice treat once in awhile.
Finally, flour. You could easily use traditional all purpose or even whole wheat pastry. However, I urge you to check out einkorn. I’ve been in love with einkorn for years. The flavor brings the most warm and nutty flavor to the mix. I also find it’s one of the easier flours to try in place of all purpose (especially if you find Jovial’s all-purpose einkorn flour.)
Fluffy einkorn pancakes loaded with ricotta and kabocha squash puree- a perfect slow weekend breakfast or brunch.
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup kabocha squash puree
3/4 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus extra for cooking
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup einkorn flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Combine the ricotta and squash puree in a large bowl and stir to combine. Measure in the whole milk, maple syrup, butter, and vanilla extract and stir to combine again. Finally, crack and separate the eggs, adding the yolks into the ricotta mixture.
Add in the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. Finally, take the egg whites and using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Take about ¼ of the egg whites and stir that into the batter to lighten then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.
Heat a skillet or griddle over low to medium-low heat and grease with butter or oil if need be. When skillet is hot (if you flick water onto the skillet, it should sizzle), take a scant ¼ cup of batter and pour onto skillet. Let cook for 2-3 minutes (until the pancakes begins to bubble slightly). Flip and let cook for another 1-2 minutes until pancake is cooked through.
Serve with your choice of toppings such as butter, candied nuts, and/or maple syrup.
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.