Making the Most of Summer

by Nina Z

How is it already the end of August!? While I've enjoyed my summer Fridays and the extended evening light, I'm ready to say goodbye to stifling hot subway stations and hello to my sweaters and booties.

As I wait for cooler days, I'm still going to enjoy one of my favorite parts of summer: farmer's market produce. 

I needed to make sure none of this went to waste - I'm only one person and can only eat so much kale - so, I whipped up food I could stick in the freezer:

- Kale pesto with basil, walnuts + goat's milk pecorino
- Zucchini pancakes with chives, green onion + lemon zest

I'm actually not a huge fan of zucchini, but they looked so cute and perfectly green... I couldn't pass them up! And frying them in coconut oil couldn't make them taste worse, right?

These little cakes are super simple to make, AND they're gluten- and dairy-free, so they're a hit with all your friends who can't eat this and that.

Here's what you'll need for 14-16 small pancakes:

  • 2-3 small/medium zucchinis, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for zucchini)
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 2 TBS green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 TBS chives, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon + 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt + pepper (+ red pepper flake) to taste
  • coconut oil (for the pan)

Place grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt over zucchini and toss to coat. Let zucchini sit for 10 minutes to let some water drain out. Wring zucchini out with paper towel, fine towel, or cheese cloth. You may need to do this in batches.

Combine zucchini, eggs, green onions, chives, lemon zest + juice, and salt + pepper in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.

Heat coconut oil in a large pan (preferably deep to avoid splattering) over medium heat. Make sure coconut oil is covering bottom of the pan.

Spoon in 2-3 TBS batter and flatten with spatula. Cook for 3 minutes until golden brown, and flip. Take out of the pan and place on a plate/pan lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil. Repeat until you're all out of batter!

I'm not gonna lie... I ate a few standing over the pan while I was cooking. But, the rest I let cool, wrapped tightly in foil, stored in a ziplock bag, labeled, and stuck in the freezer for future lazy/easy meals. To defrost, take the pancakes out of the freezer in the morning, leave in the fridge, and they should be set to heat up that evening.

I did the same with the pesto: I separated into batches, kept one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. And then I enjoyed a maybe-too-large bowl of pasta after a busy day of work, gym + errands:

Here's to spending more Saturdays at the farmers market, and reaping the benefits even weeks later!

Weekends Are Meant for Brunch

by Nina Z

I don't care what anyone says about brunch. I love it and how it makes me feel. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Whether you're rolling out of bed in last night's makeup to go wait on line for bottomless cocktails and some version of a Benedict,

OR, you've already been to the gym and had breakfast and ran errands AND just want to have breakfast-y food again, there's no wrong way to EMBRACE THE BRUNCH!

Pancakes are usually served stacked and can leave you feeling way too full after only one. Where's the fun in that!? I want to have my pancakes, and eat them too! Here's a protein-and-fiber packed pancake that won't leave you feeling more hungover.

Here's what you'll need to make 12 medium-sized pancakes (18-20 small pancakes):

  • 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork until smooth. Add in eggs and whisk until combined. Add in oats, milk, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon, and mix until thoroughly combined.

Heat griddle on low-medium heat. Spray with cooking oil or add 1 TBS Earth Balance and spread evenly on pan. You'll know it's hot enough when you sprinkle water on the griddle and it sizzles and steams!

Spoon the pancake mixture onto the griddle to make pancakes of desired size. Let cook for 2-3 minutes on one side or until the edges begin bubbling, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. The pancakes are done when they are no longer liquid in the center.

Your first batch may take longer than the following batches, since the pan may still be heating up. I was always told growing up that the second batch is better than the first.

Serve immediately with Vermont Maple Syrup.

Having brunch at a restaurant can be fun, but staying home and cooking in your pajamas/gym clothes is a real treat.