Spinach, Feta & Tomato Whole Wheat Pizza

Spinach, Feta and Tomato Whole Wheat Pizza at Eat Your Greens
It’s a weird time of year to be talking about pizza, I’ll admit. If it’s hot and humid where you are and you can’t even look at the oven without breaking into a sweat, you can either bake your pizza outdoors on the grill or tuck this one away for autumn — it will still be delicious. But here in LA, the June gloom has hung on through July, so cranking up the heat on my oven doesn’t feel like such a big deal.

(I won’t be saying this in September or October. That’s when I get real sweaty and cranky.)

Spinach, Feta & Tomato Whole Wheat Pizza at Eat Your Greens

Before it becomes a habit, making homemade pizza feels like a big deal — the yeast, the kneading, the special stone — but once you get the hang of it, mixing up a batch of dough a couple hours (or a day) before dinner time is not terribly difficult. Yet pulling a blistered, browned pizza made with your very own hands out of the oven never fails to thrill.

Pizzas don’t have to be dripping with cheese or covered with salty meats; they happen to be an excellent vehicle for all kinds of vegetables and don’t need a ton of cheese to be tasty. This particular pie was born on a weeknight when I needed to use up some fading baby spinach and had just stumbled onto a container of forgotten feta in brine at the back of my fridge. I didn’t have any tomato sauce, so I just used a swipe of olive oil over the dough to moisten it and arranged some halved cherry tomatoes on top of the spinach, which I wilted with a little garlic.

Spinach, Feta & Tomato Whole Wheat Pizza at Eat Your Greens

It’s simple, very green and was totally worth warming up my kitchen on a not-too-hot day. And since my Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe makes two balls, you’ll have a second one left over for dinner the next day. Should you be in the mood for something a little more cheesy and salty, I’m a fan of crispy prosciutto and arugula.

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Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough at Eat Your Greens
This is my favorite quick pizza dough recipe. (When I’m looking for maximum flavor, I make Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza dough, substituting with half whole wheat flour — or not.) Beyond pizza, I also use the dough to make calzones, like these stellar Spiced Lentil, Sweet Potato & Kale Whole Wheat Pockets. It’s fast and forgiving and pretty much foolproof.
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Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Lime Dressing

Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Lime Dressing from Eat Your Greens

The thing that nobody tells you is that birthdays after the age of 30 are nothing like birthdays before the age of 30.

I’ve tried to write a sentence after that without sounding completely sad and pathetic, but failed. It’s going to sound sad and pathetic to anyone under the age of 30, the way birthdays turn into a total non-event. Weddings and baby showers? Sure! Those are events to celebrate. My birth? I guess that’s a thing that happened…34 years ago.

God. Is it too sad to handle? Can I go on?

Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Lime Dressing from Eat Your Greens

I’ve kept a low profile the last couple birthdays and this year was no different. Being over 30, I spend a depressing proportion of my life indoors — I mean, let’s just get it all out there, people — so I decided I wanted to have a birthday picnic at the Silver Lake Meadow, basically a giant grassy lawn next to the reservoir in my neighborhood, a place for apartment-dwellers like me to enjoy the sun and surreptitiously sip wine poured into opaque cups.

Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Lime Dressing from Eat Your Greens

And picnics demand picnic food, so I made a gingery cabbage salad. It’s a sort of no-mayo, Asian-y coleslaw and I think it would be just the right thing to bring to a potluck or BBQ this Fourth of July. It’s super-gingery, a little spicy (or a lot spicy, depending on how much chili paste you add), totally refreshing and it can be made up to a day before the party.

Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Lime Dressing from Eat Your Greens

I also made soy sauce eggs, a blueberry-lemon cake and a raspberry-lemon cake. (The blueberry and raspberry cake were the same batter, just with different berries on top. I’m not crazy enough to make two cakes for my own birthday. What am I doing, turning 24?) My smart and lovely friends brought quinoa salad, a cheese platter, bean and avocado dip, the best pastries and a giant container of mango cubes (my favorite!).

Gingery Cabbage Slaw with Spicy Lime Dressing from Eat Your Greens

There was rosé and beer and a big pitcher of Aperol Spritz. Some of us played bocce ball. The rest of us watched a man doing handstands try to hit on a woman doing yoga. (He failed.) The sun finally sank behind the trees. We packed up the blankets and promised to do it again soon, because there’s something so perfect about friends and a giant lawn and a summer Sunday. “Thanks, Anjali!” one of my friends called out as we left. “For being…born?”

So okay. Birthdays after the age of 30 are nothing like birthdays before the age of 30. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still be great.
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Baked Apricots with Honey

Baked Apricots with Honey from Eat Your Greens

Every summer it happens: I go crazy. Fruit crazy.

Symptoms of Summer Fruit Crazy include: buying more summer fruit than could possibly be eaten in one week on a weekly basis, covering the kitchen counter with ripening peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines, obsessively squeezing said fruit to check for optimum ripeness, and eating perfectly ripe fruit over the sink, with much juice-dripping and happy sighing, as many times as humanly possible over the course of the summer. Oh, and constantly battling fruit flies*.

Baked Apricots with Honey from Eat Your Greens

What happens when my weekly haul exceeds even the limits of my fruit-crazed consumption? I preserve it in small amounts, so I can keep it at peak flavor for a little longer. Baking apricots turns them soft and jammy while keeping their shape intact, so you end up without bright orange discs of sweet, tangy fruit. Filling the hollow cups of each apricot half with a little honey draws out the juices, so as an added bonus, you end up with a honeyed golden apricot syrup that you can drizzle over yogurt or mix into soda water or transfer to an IV bag for immediate intravenous delivery of summer fruit deliciousness.

Baked Apricots with Honey from Eat Your Greens

Stored in a jar in the refrigerator, the baked apricots and their syrup are easy to add to yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, and transform store-bought vanilla ice cream or pound cake into a legitimately impressive dinner party dessert. You can eat them on toast like a sort of jam, or muddle them with bourbon, lemon juice and a spoonful of the syrup for an easy cocktail. (Or just mix the syrup with soda water for a non-alcoholic beverage.)

Best of all? No fruit flies in the fridge.

 

* This simple trick really works for getting rid of fruit flies. To keep them from coming back, make sure to clean up any juice drips and toss overripe or moldy fruit.

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Friday Links: June 21, 2013

Goblin as Greta X

Empty Saturday afternoon with Rob + wigs + our dog who will do anything for freeze-dried liver = joy. (Follow me on Instagram: anjaliruth)

 

What I’ve been reading:

Cheating Ourselves of Sleep – The New York Times

Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

 

Frappuccino Quantified: Starbucks to Add Calorie Counts – The Atlantic

The point of public health is not to dictate personal behavior, however many times the soda industry dresses Mayor Bloomberg as a nanny. The point is to make the default food environment more healthful, and mandatory calorie labeling has an important curbing effect on businesses that don’t want to look like they’re only offering high-calorie, unhealthy offerings.

 

The Obesity Era – Aeon

Yet the scientists who study the biochemistry of fat and the epidemiologists who track weight trends are not nearly as unanimous as Bloomberg makes out. In fact, many researchers believe that personal gluttony and laziness cannot be the entire explanation for humanity’s global weight gain.

 

What Happens When You “Smoke” Alcohol? – Slate

The main difference between inhaling and ingesting alcohol isn’t the caloric content but the speed of absorption, which is what scares public health experts. Inhalation is a faster way to deliver intoxicants to the brain, so smoking alcohol produces a quicker and more intense high than drinking it.

 

What I’ve been cooking (at The Kitchn):

Savory Egg Crostata with Butter and Mint 

Essential Summer Recipe: Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

My Staple Summer Cocktail Recipe: Campari & IPA Spritzer

…and thinking about cooking:

Blueberry Yogurt Pie with Granola Crust – Leite’s Culinaria

A Salad with All of the Peas, Potatoes, Acidulated Shallots + Creamy Dill Dressing – The First Mess