Tag Archives | mint

White Bean and Prosciutto Pizza

The first time I ever cooked a pasta dish and used mint, it was completely by accident. I had my nephew in the kitchen with me, so he was my little sous chef chopping and dicing while I was at the stove. He was so enthusiastic, just grabbing green things out of the vegetable drawer and cutting them up. By the time our hard work was ready to eat, the recipe called for a last minute scattering of basil leaves over the pasta, so Hank wildly tossed in his prepared herbs like a pro. Once we discovered the blunder, it was too late, but you know what? I was surprised at how bright and tasty the mint was. Slightly different than basil, which is pretty standard in all Italian fare, I soon learned that mint can be used interchangeably in place of basil without your meal tasting like toothpaste or candy. Really! And mint grows like crazy almost anywhere it’s planted, so chances are you’re never very far from a neighbor’s mint plant so you’ll always have some on hand.

Also, feel free to use canned white beans in this recipe, or you can cook them yourself with a clove of garlic and a bayleaf if you have the time. Cooking beans takes a couple hours, but they’re largely easy hours, with little attention required other than to make sure there’s enough water in the pot. And there are so many gorgeous heirloom beans to choose from these days, with new “old” varieties of beans being revived and grown by small farmers, each one with their own unique taste. Mashed by hand into a spreadable paste, the beans go beautifully with the earthy, smoky prosciutto and fresh herbs.

Try my mistake tonight and pick a little bit of mint for this wonderful flatbread pizza!

-Amy at Flatout

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Green Shrimp Flatbread

Have you ever walked outside and found that someone had left you a bag of zucchini at your door? It can, and does happen! Zucchini has a way of being so prolific in the summer that some growers can’t possibly use it all, and they’re forced to think creatively in order to get rid of it. Even if they do manage all of it, well, they’re bound to miss a hidden vegetable somewhere in the vines until it grows as big as a log. Therefore some lucky people find anonymous gifts like 4 pounds of zucchini at their door, left by a mysterious gardener.

The all time best use for one of those giant zukes that I’ve ever seen was while I was driving through an outdoor shopping center in my old home town. It was a very stately area, filled with huge fountains and statues: bronze cherubs spouting water, that kind of thing. At one end of the center was a life-sized statue of Winston Churchill and his wife, an homage to married life. They were seated on a bench, facing each other, engaged in eternal conversation- but someone had placed a two foot long zucchini on the Prime Minister’s lap! It was just sitting there baking in the sun, totally out of place. Hilarious!

And now that I think about it, I should grow some zucchini this year, so I can give back all the, ahem, generosity I’ve been subject to. Winston would approve.

Even if you’re not the lucky recipient of mystery zucchini, the vegetable is easy to come by and super tasty grilled. Don’t skimp on the lemon in this flatbread recipe, though. The lemon goes well with everything!

-Amy at Flatout

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Chicken Tacos with Strawberry Mint Salsa

Summer is here and I couldn’t be happier! Our grill is perpetually warm in the backyard from all the cooking, and the garden is filling out and looking lovely. Even though I love cooking outdoors, it can’t be all steaks and burgers, night in and night out, because that can get old fast. If you’re looking for a little something that’s easy, light, and a refreshing take on an old favorite, tacos, then look no further than this flatbread recipe. I make the most delicious taco shells from a Flatout Artisan Thin Crust flatbread, baked crisp or warmed up soft, depending on what everyone is in the mood for.

Someday, I hope to move to California, because produce is bountiful and interesting there. People have lemon trees in their yard, and persimmons, for crying out loud! Fruit just drops off the trees. I would absolutely take advantage of their growing season, which is twice as long as ours. In my city, as you may know, we have a very short growing season, about five minutes. (At least it feels that way.) Years ago I remember wearing gloves in June; that should tell you what you need to know about our weather. Gloves. In June.

The strawberry mint salsa that tops these shredded chicken tacos is just the sort of thing you’d find in California. It’s the perfect, slightly sweet, slightly spicy compliment to just-grilled chicken, or even some leftover shredded chicken you have from the night before. Seriously, these tacos make chicken go from blah to ah in about ten minutes.

And what to make with all the leftover strawberries? Strawberry margaritas, of course! The ideal cocktail pairing. You can thank me later. Vivà California! Vivà summer! Gloves, be gone!

-Amy at Flatout

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Chicken Quinoa Meatball Wrap

When I was a child, my mom and dad threw parties. Real adult parties with balloons, decorations, cocktails, buffet style food, and my mom’s “specialty,” sandwich loaf. What is sandwich loaf, you ask? Well, allow me to explain: picture a loaf of bread sliced three times horizontally, then layered with egg salad, ham salad (there’s not enough room in this post to explain ham salad!) and tuna salad, reassembled, and sliced into pieces. Yes, that was sandwich loaf. Basically, each cross sectioned slice would have all three salads represented, separated by bread. Watching her make it several times a year burned it into my memory forever.

By now you can probably tell that I grew up on the tail end of the weird food buffet era known as the Seventies. Definitely not the prim and proper Fifties, sort of like the Sixties, but with more bell bottoms. We’d dust off the bar in the basement, unpack the chafing dishes, light the Sterno and marvel at its eerie blue glow. Another one of her favorite things to make for parties was Swedish meatballs. The meatballs were served heated up in a sauce that was, and I am not joking here, equal parts Concord grape jelly and yellow mustard. To my kid brain, this seemed more of a food dare than something to serve at a party to guests, but maybe adults were into that kind of thing. I stayed away from the meatballs, and any meatball, for that matter, for quite some time.

But I learned to love them eventually, once my tastebuds developed a bit. Meatballs of any kind and from any culture make pretty wonderful comfort food, (I’m looking at you, spaghetti and meatballs!) but they don’t always have to be made of mystery meat. They can be light and fresh, too, without a speck of grape jelly or mustard anywhere!

Take this new flatbread recipe, for example. This nice little flatbread wrap packs a protein punch from lean ground chicken and quinoa, an ancient whole grain. Spice up the meatball mix any way you like, then roll those babies up, cook them, and tuck them into a refreshing salad filled flatbread for a sandwich, not a sandwich loaf, that’s anything but same old, same old.

-Amy at Flatout

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Spiced Chickpea Wrap

Garbanzo, chickpea, either way you were raised to say it, these little fiber packed legumes are worth their weight in gold, when it comes to flavor. I prefer to say ‘chickpea’ because after all, they really do look like little baby chick heads up close. Cute and delicious.

For a couple years now, I’ve been cooking my own chickpeas using bags of dried peas I find easily at a nearby Middle Eastern market. Doing it this way saves a lot of money, in the long run, but it is also healthier, because the beans I make myself are sodium free. I simply soak 1-2 cups of dried peas overnight in a big pot of water, drain them, then add about a teaspoon of baking soda to the fresh water when I cook them in order to soften them up even more. The baking soda really works wonders!

I think it’s better in general to limit the amount of canned food one eats, and often canned beans have a lot more sodium in them than you want, as well. But if you’re in a hurry or just don’t have the patience to cook your own, don’t skip over this recipe, just use canned. Your body will be happy that you’re enjoying a plant-based meal this week!

This is one of those quick to assemble recipes that costs very little to make, too, while still keeping lunch interesting. I saw a chickpea salad bowl at a swank café in my neighborhood for $10, so think of the money you could save by making your own food every week, instead of eating out: $50/week, $200/month, $2400/year…let that figure sink into the ol’garbanzo. Making your own lunch is worth it; I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as an exquisite grab it and go work lunch except, of course, the ones you make yourself. All you need is a little time and baking soda.

-Amy at Flatout

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Citrus Thai Shrimp Wrap

Winter citrus fruits just sparkle, don’t they? A couple years ago, in January, I visited some good friends in Phoenix. It seriously was the best decision of my life! My plane got cancelled due to weather a couple times, but I finally made it and landed in what felt like heaven. My goodness, the sun- how it shined that January. Such a stark contrast to what was one of the worst documented winters in my hometown. We hiked, we walked, we grilled flatbread pizzas outside, we drank wine, all in perfect weather.

In the early mornings, because I was up earlier than everyone due to the time change, I’d walk through the sleepy little neighborhood, and soon enough realized that most of the houses’ backyards were filled with citrus trees that would hang way down over the fences in the alleys, just begging to be picked. I started carrying bags with me on those walks, filling them with huge grapefruits, blood oranges, lemons, and tangelos. I’d bring them back, juice ‘em, and that was how we started the day. It was heavenly.

When I left, I stuffed as many grapefruit as I could into my duffel bag to take back home. It made the space around me in the plane smell fabulous. I’m sure the flight attendants were used to people doing that every winter. I just couldn’t help myself. Those grapefruits tasted better than any I’ve ever had, since. But maybe it was because of the sunny memories with friends and the fact that they were free, picked in an alley!

Either way, this flatbread recipe shines with in-season citrus segments and lots of low-calorie shrimp. A perfect reminder that food eaten seasonally tastes the best. Enjoy!

-Amy at Flatout

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Cashew Shrimp Wrap

A perfect summer flatbread wrap, if ever there was one! This wrap is packed with tons of crisp cool veggies and spicy curry shrimp, the ideal lunch or dinner when the weather is blazing and you want something light but interesting to eat.

Lightly dressed ribbon-cut veggies make good options in place of rice noodles in this spring roll inspired meal. In fact, if you have a vegetable noodler, by all means make it work for you here. (I’m waiting to find one at a rummage sale! Someone is bound to get rid of one sooner or later.)

Nuoc cham is the key to this wrap, and a basic one can be found here if you feel like making your own, otherwise store bought is just fine too. Or perhaps you have some left over from last night’s bun, in which case I would applaud your thriftiness!

The last time I made this wrap to bring into work, my co-workers eyeballed it, and, one by one, came up and asked me where the new lunch place was. It makes a delicious first impression, so they were a little jealous that I made it myself, and they couldn’t buy another one that day for their own lunch. I promised that I would share my recipe, though, and after some tweaking and adjusting, here it is. Take that, officemates; the secret is out!

Now that you have the recipe, you can be as stingy or as generous with it as you like. Just make it often, and enjoy!

-Amy at Flatout

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