Avocado, Carrots, Lunch, Quick, Vegetarian

California veggie melt sandwich

California veggie melt sandwich on alickofsalt.com

Veggie melt sandwich with crushed avocado, handcrushed pesto, melted cheese, grated carrots, tomato, baby kale, and sprouts, aka the most Californian sandwich that ever existed. This is inspired by a sandwich I used to get at Cafe Literati in Los Angeles before they stopped making it. It was served with homemade potato chips on the side. I eat it with Kettle unsalted chips or purple heirloom chips.

This would be perfect in a panini press. I don’t have one, so the instructions are for making it in a toaster oven. Since the vegetables don’t need to be warmed, I split up which ingredients I heat up. But I do have the other ingredients ready so I can compile the sandwich quickly and enjoy it warm. If you have a panini press, compile the whole sandwich before pressing.

For those on low-sodium diets, my recipe for low-sodium bread yields about 3 normal-sized loaves. I’ve been working on a recipe that yields exactly one loaf but just using 1/3 of the ingredients from the recipe I posted doesn’t work as well as I expected, and neither does doubling pizza dough recipe so I’m still perfecting it. Pictured here is a trial of a light whole wheat bread with added sesame seeds. This picky eater thinks it came out a bit dense.

If you can’t be bothered to make your own bread (or if it’s too hot!) get bread with the lowest sodium content you can find that isn’t pre-sliced and slice it into thin slices. The serving size on the packages is listed for about 1/8 of a loaf so thinner slices make a big difference.

Lately I have been reheating bread I buy in store and it is the best! Heat the loaf directly on the oven rack for 5-8 minutes at 400°F, transfer onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes for it to cool before slicing, and then enjoy crusty, fresh-tasting bread!

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Dessert, Fruit, Key lime, Lime, Snack

Key lime pie popsicles

Key lime pie popsicles

Now that summer is in full bloom, we almost always have a batch of popsicles in our freezer. It’s usually the strawberry raspberries ones, which are still my favorite. But when we’re feeling fancy, we make these key lime pie ones. They’re delicious and pretty easy to prepare. Just four ingredients for a rich yet refreshing dessert! The hardest part is waiting for them to set.

We used regular limes here, not key limes, so I guess they’re technically just “lime pie popsicles,” but I don’t think lime pie is a thing? In any case, I had to make these after I ordered a slice of key lime pie at a restaurant, which reminded me a lot of these popsicles except that the pie was too rich and not as tasty so my craving wasn’t satisfied until I remade these. I think that the crunchy graham cracker crumbs add a lot for me. Speaking of which, you have to cover these with graham crackers just before serving, as I learned the hard way. I was a slow poke with this photoshoot and the popsicles melted too much so I popped them back in the freezer but then they came out with soggy crumbs.

The recipe from which this recipe is adapted calls for 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, but our limes are very sour so I only use 2/3 cup. If you’re using limes that are on the sweeter side, use the higher measurement. I got 2/3 cup of lime juice from 6 regular limes that I hand-squeezed, which weighed 0.75 lb (350 g). I always find it hard to tell how juicy limes will be, so I choose softer limes and I get a bunch just in case.

I usually crush the graham crackers with my fingers on the plate on which I serve them. (They’re messy so they need to be served with a plate anyway.) I use half of a graham cracker sheet (2.5″ x 2.25″) per popsicle. I like the bigger chunks so I crush them coarsely and then press each side of the popsicle into the crumbs. I press the smaller crumbs in with my fingers to get the popsicle completely covered and it helps if it melts a tiny bit in the process so I don’t worry about working too quickly if I’m only preparing two popsicles at a time.

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Dinner, Figs, Lunch, Pizza, Prosciutto

Prosciutto (fig) pizza with arugula and pine nuts

This is my new favorite pizza, inspired by one I had in Finland a few months ago. I love the way the fresh figs play off the prosciutto in spite of the fact that I’m generally not a fan of sweet and savory things. But fresh figs are hard to find, so more often than not, we end up making this pizza without them.

It’s made with the same no-knead dough recipe I’ve posted before, but this time you don’t need to make a big batch of it. This recipe will give you exactly the amount you’ll need for a pizza that fits in a 12-inch round cast iron pan. The dough takes very little effort to prepare, but it does take a long time to rise and then chill to a manageable temperature. But! It lasts two weeks in the fridge, so once you get past the two long waiting periods, you have two weeks to prepare homemade pizza in a pinch!

I added cup measurements for the flour, but the weight measurements are much more accurate so use those if you have a scale. If you do end up using the cup measurements, withhold some of the water and add it using the wet hand method described in the recipe until there are no more dry patches.

Since the tomatoes are freshly cut and do not simmer for very long, the tomato sauce does not taste quite the same as the tomato sauce you get on pizzas you order at restaurants. We sometimes replace one of the tomatoes with crushed tomato sauce and that gives it a more similar taste. It is nice with just the fresh tomatoes, too, you might just find that it’s a more acquired taste. We still add red chili pepper flakes to the tomato sauce so that the spiciness is evenly distributed. We also started adding red wine to the sauce and it adds a very nice sweetness so we almost always add it now.

As always, I’ve preemptively answered more questions you may have in the tips section. If you decide to make this or a version of this, I hope you enjoy it, and feel free to let me know so I know that this blog isn’t just my own personal recipe book. Who knows, maybe hearing from you will motivate me to post more regularly.

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Berries, Blackberries, Breakfast, Brunch, Fruit, Nuts, Pancakes, Peaches, Pecans, Quick, Raspberries, Vegetarian

Dutch baby with summer fruit, pecans, and Nutella

Dutch baby with summer fruit, pecans, and Nutella

Summer has come and gone and now that our apartment no longer turns into a sauna everyday, I have free rein over the oven again, which means that I can restart my tradition of weekly dutch babies. It has been a little over two years since I posted my first recipe on here and two years later, my dutch baby obsession is still going strong. This one is large enough to share, unlike the first one, which has not served two people since we got our larger cast iron pan.

When we’re feeling fancy, our favorite toppings are summer fruit and Nutella. I sometimes add chopped pecans to the dough, but I’m not always in the mood for them. I have also made a few changes to my technique. I don’t cook the fruit in the oven anymore. Instead, I prepare it while the oven is preheating, put it in little porcelain bowls, and place the bowls on the warm potion of the stovetop until the dutch baby is ready to come out of the oven. This warms the fruit up a little bit. If the fruit is not very ripe, I also sprinkle some powdered sugar on it to sweeten it up a bit. The Nutella goes in a little porcelain bowl as well because my stovetop gets warm enough that it would melt the plastic jar if I tried to heat it up directly. I learned this the hard way, by mutilating our immersion blender.

The dutch baby lessons I’ve learned since my first post is that it’s a pretty failproof recipe as long as I use whole milk, and that it absolutely has to be eaten right away. If you don’t eat it right away, my obsession with this pancake will baffle you, as it baffles me the few times it ends up cooling on me before I can dig in. So if the person you’re sharing it with ends up needing to do their bathroom activities as soon as the dutch baby is ready to come out of the oven — does this happen in other families or just ours? — then turn off the oven and keep the dutch baby in there until they’re back because slightly burnt dutch baby is better than cold dutch baby, trust me.

Also, if you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered with the fruit or pecans, it is still delicious served the traditional way, with just the powdered sugar, some drizzles of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and maybe some maple syrup.

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Crumble/crisp, Dessert, Fruit, Peaches

Peach and Pecan Crumble à la Mode

Peach and Pecan Crumble à la Mode

Celebrate the end of summer with a tasty peach and pecan crumble! This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen and it has served as a summer dessert staple for us since it was first posted. We’ve made it on several occasions, and we’ve been making quite a few changes along the way, but it is not a fussy crisp and always turns out well. The only thing to watch out for is the ripeness and natural sweetness of the peaches, which determine the amount of sugar you’ll want to add to the filling. We always eat it with vanilla ice cream, so we make it tart to compensate for the sweetness of the ice cream and add very little sugar when the peaches are already very flavorful. See the tips section for modification suggestions.

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Avocado, Beans, Dinner, Legumes, Lunch, Mushrooms, Quick, Vegan, Vegetarian

Black bean, mushroom, and avocado tacos

Tacos were actually our first successful home-cooked low-sodium meal two years ago. We licked our fingers clean and rubbed our bellies and patted ourselves on the back and have been making some version of them every one to two weeks since. This version is vegetarian and has our favorite source of vegetarian protein, black beans. It can easily be made vegan if you use vegan cheese or skip the cheese altogether.

We always use corn tortillas; they have much less sodium than flour tortillas. I prefer hard shell tacos and I fry mine in a pan with a little bit of oil. I have yet to perfect my method — I never seem to get the temperature and time ratio right — but they’re still always better and less likely to fall apart than store-bought hard shell tacos, even when I accidentally dry them out. The only constant I’ve noticed is that the fresher they are, the less likely I am to screw them up. My husband toasts his tortillas in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes. Check the tips section for more explicit instructions on how I heat them up.

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Berries, Raspberries, Snack, Strawberries

Strawberry raspberry homemade popsicles

Strawberry raspberry homemade popsicles on alickofsalt.com

An obsession with store-bought strawberry popsicles turned into an obsession with homemade strawberry popsicles a couple of years ago. We’ve made lots of other types since then but strawberry popsicles, or a variation of them, continue to be our favorite. I loved finding small pieces of fruit in store-bought ones, a fairly rare occurrence, so I’ve always made my fruit popsicles chunky.

If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you can make popsicles in shot glasses or small paper cups. See tips below for directions.

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