Halva Nice Cream

The recipe index of this site reveals my unabashed love of tahini and pistachios. The perfect blend of creamy and crunchy, this combination can be dialed up or down to be savory or sweet. Sweet takes the form of toast slathered with tahini, a swirl of honey and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Savory is a perfectly roasted sweet potato topped with a spoonful of this spectacular sesame paste, a crumble of briny feta and some nutty crunch. 

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

There is perhaps no more iconic combination of tahini and pistachios than halva, a classic Middle Eastern dessert made of ground sesame seed paste, vanilla, sugar and mix-in's of your choice. I recently heard halva described on The Splendid Table as having the consistency of the center of a Butterfinger, and I can't think of a more perfect comparison.

It's sweet and flaky, and a beautiful palate for an amazing array of other flavors. If you need some inspiration, take a peek at Seed + Mill, where this humble sesame paste is transformed with cardamom, rose oil, cinnamon, sea salt and chocolate. As evidenced by the example below and the ode above, I've always been partial to halva of the pistachio variety. 

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

Because I love this flavor combination so much, I found myself often turning to a bowl of Greek yogurt, the aforementioned dream combination of seeds and nuts, and a drizzle of honey as a late night snack when I'm nestled in bed re-watching Gilmore Girls. However, after a few evenings of this, it dawned on me how fabulous this would be as an ice cream flavor.

Though tempting, developing an ice cream habit didn't seem like a wise idea. But, then I remembered "nice cream" is a thing that exists. What is nice cream, you ask? It's an ice cream alternative perfect for people who can't eat dairy, or who want all the taste, texture and deliciousness of ice cream with far less of the stuff that weighs you down, or who want to feel like they have a froyo bar in their own kitchen. I love ice cream, but I also want my FlyWheel classes to count for something.

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

In this case, homemade nice cream can be yours within an hour and just five ingredients. The base is bananas, and the inspiration is 100% pistachio halva. Simply blend bananas, tahini, honey and sea salt into a food processor, pour into a glass or plastic container, top with pistachios and freeze. Much like halva, nice cream is a blank slate for countless flavors. Leave a comment with the combinations you dream up!

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

Halva Nice Cream

serves two

what you'll need:

2 bananas
1/4 cup tahini
1 tbsp honey
pinch of flaky sea salt
1/4 cup unsalted and roasted pistachios (skip sea salt if you can't find unsalted pistachios)

what you'll do:

  1. In a food processor, blend bananas, tahini, honey and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping sides with spatula as needed. Pour into glass bowl or tupperware. Top with half of pistachios. 
  2. Place in freezer and let rest for at least 40 minutes, or until frozen. When ready to serve, let rest a few minutes to thaw slightly. Top with remaining pistachios and serve immediately.
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

September 2017 Deliveries

While kids across the country were packing their book bags for the start of a new school year in September, I was gearing up an adventure of my own - a new job that has me immersed in all things food and nutrition. I'm a full month in and I feel grateful everyday for this career opportunity, and for the past five years at my previous job that prepared me for what lies ahead. It's been a whirlwind of a learning curve, but it feels so right to be right where I am now.

This month welcomed in a reset for another reason too - I kicked off a "30 Day Yoga Challenge!" I roll out my yoga mat as the sun rises each morning and am loving the ability to savor a moment of calm. I'm breathing easier, stretching deeper and feeling stronger by the day. Needless to say, the weekly deliveries of fresh, beautiful veggies pairs perfectly with this renewed focus on mind/body health.

September was filled with a lot of newness and fresh starts, and that held true for my kitchen too. I played around this month with flavors of Burma, India, Italy and Greece. I got my hands on vegetables I've never heard of before (red kuri squash, anyone?) and discovered that beets make for a surprisingly satisfying smoothie ingredient. But, in spite of all the "new," I'm walking down memory lane with my eerily perfect Spotify Time Capsule playlist as I write this and I just hugged my best friend from high school goodbye after her visit to DC. September, you had the perfect bookends. 

September 2017 Deliveries
roasted squash, sage and coconut soup || Planting my Roots

roasted squash and coconut soup with fried sage

curry kale chips || Planting my Roots

curry and chili-spiced
kalette chips

September 2017 Deliveries
burmese chicken with fried shallots || Planting My Roots

burmese chicken salad with fried shallots, food52

cinnamon roasted red kuri squash || planting my roots

cinnamon and sage roasted
red kuri squash


baked sweet potato with poached eggs, spices & cilantro

edamame, grapefruit and pistachio salad || planting my roots

edamame, grapefruit and pistachio salad, bon appetit

September 2017 Deliveries
Roasted Radishes with Kalamata Dressing || Planting my Roots

roasted radishes with kalamata dressing, small victories

veggie stir fry || Planting my Roots

orange pepper teriyaki stir fry

beet smoothie || Planting my Roots

hot pink beet, berry & banana smoothie, the first mess

paleo balance bowl || Planting my Roots

paleo balance bowl, little bits of

September 2017 Deliveries
Eggplant Parmesan || Planting my Roots

eggplant parmesan with homemade roasted tomato sauce

Roasted apple salad with pepitas || Planting my Roots

greens with sauteed apples, fried shallots and pepitas

Green with figs, grapefruit and roasted beets || Planting my Roots

greens with figs, grapefruit, goat cheese and pistachios

Honey Roasted Carrots || Planting my Roots

sage and honey roasted purple carrots

August CSA Deliveries

From sunshine golden beets to deep purple eggplants, August wins for the most colorful array of CSA goodness. And even more than that, something I loved about this month was how cooking with the season started to feel so much more natural. I noticed this shift happen when I looked into my box of eggplants and red peppers and instantly saw a vision of baba ghanog, muhammara and chicken shawarma. Developing a comfort with vegetables that didn't typically make an appearance in my shopping cart (hey, dandelion greens!) is something I've found endlessly gratifying. Take a peek below to see what else was keeping me inspired and busy in the kitchen this month!

august csa deliveries || planting my roots
sweet summer corn pasta and basil || planting my roots

rigatoni with sweet summer corn sauce and basil

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

roasted golden beet with peaches, poppyseed dressing and croutons

chicken shawarma salad with golden beet hummus || planting my roots

fattoush salad with chicken shawarma and golden beet hummus

tomato sauce || planting my roots

beef marinara sauce

august csa deliveries || planting my roots
zucchini frittata || planting my roots

zucchini, ricotta and lemon tart (modified via dishing up the dirt)

shakshuka || planting my roots

shakshuka made with caramelized onion

sausage with pepper and onions || planting my roots

sausage with green pepper, onions and coarse mustard


summer vegetable strata (via alexandra cooks)

august csa deliveries || planting my roots
Chermoula Roasted Eggplant || planting my roots

ottolenghi's chermoula roasted eggplant (via nerds with knives)

baba ghanoug and muhammara || planting my roots

baba ghanoug (via the taste of egypt) and muhammara (via ottolenghi)

tabbouleh || planting my roots

fresh tabbouleh salad with cherry tomatoes and herbs

cantaloupe filled with cottage cheese, blueberries and granola || planting my roots

cantaloupe filled with cottage cheese, blueberries and granola

I dug into one week's batch of CSA goodies too fast and forgot to take a picture! It included white potatoes, corn, tomatoes and dandelion greens. 

kinda sorta patatas bravas

kinda sorta patatas bravas
(via small victories)

corn and tomato salad || planting my roots

summer corn, tomato and black bean salad with grilled chicken and lemony salsa verde

dandelion green potato salad with capers || planting my roots

dandelion green potato salad with capers (via eating richly)

dandelion green potato salad with capers + a poached egg || planting my roots

dandelion green potato salad with capers and a poached egg

summer peach panzanella

Twenty-six years old today - another trip around the sun complete! And that's pretty fitting as today also marks the solar eclipse. Also fitting for today is finally posting - on its one year anniversary - my recipe for summer peach panzanella. I made this up on a bit of a whim for my birthday party last year, and have been meaning to write it down pretty much every day since then. So, at long last, my favorite summertime salad! 

summer peach panzanella | planting my roots
summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

So much has changed since my last birthday. I've seen a best friend get married, said see ya later to a handful of dear friends as they started new chapters in their life, and made new friends along the way. Matt and I discovered a deep love for Carmel (and reaffirmed our love of burritos in San Francisco), explored Minneapolis by bike and discovered new corners (and restaurants!) of DC. There's been an election that has caused more than its fair share of turmoil, and as such, I've never participated in more marches, sent more letters, or made more calls to Congress.

I've totally - and officially - taken a deep dive into the world of food too. I've launched this very blog, become much more involved in efforts to support women in food thanks to Pineapple DC, and become completely enthralled with my Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA. All of these have had such a massive impact on the way I eat, cook and think about food. And as a result of that deep down passion, I'm about to start a new chapter professionally, so there's no doubt my 26th year will be filled with much more learning, food, new friends and mentors. 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

But, if there's at least any proof of the saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same," this recipe can be it. I've been making a variation of it since last year and it never disappoints. The blend of juicy peaches with creamy, rich poppy seed dressing alone is perfect, but pairing it with red onion and goat cheese is just out of this world. I promise this isn't a sponsored post, but Brianna's Rich Poppy Seed dressing is the only one I'll spend money on. For any other salad, I'll make my own balsamic but this one is worth the $$$! 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

This recipe makes excellent use of a cast iron skillet too. First, you'll want to lightly toast bite-size chunks of bread. You can use fresh or day old bread here. In this case, I was using fresh bread that I had baked the previous day. And truly, any kind of bread will do. This was just a basic white bread, but I imagine sourdough would work wonderfully. Rye would also probably be pretty tasty with this flavor combination! After toasting the bread, then you'll cook the peaches in your skillet. They get browned in a mix of honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt. 

summer peach panzanella || planting my roots

From one year to the next, I wouldn't mind at all having it as a staple at each and every birthday dinner. Now...is it time for cake yet?

summer peach panzanella | planting my roots

Summer Peach Panzanella

serves 2

what you'll need:

1 thick slice of bread, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large handfuls arugula
1 peach, cut into large chunks
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
heavy 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 tbsp honey
non-stick spray
small handful fresh basil leaves, julienned, optional
Brianna's Home Style Rich Poppy Seed dressing, to taste

what you'll do:

  1. In small bowl, toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Pour coated bread cubes onto cast iron skillet and toast until golden brown (about 6-7 minutes). Toss occasionally to brown all sides equally but be careful not to burn. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  2. While you let skillet cool for a few minutes, in a small bowl toss peach chunks with honey, remaining extra virgin olive oil (1/2 tbsp) and a pinch of kosher salt. Spray cast iron skillet with non-stick spray, then pour peaches onto skillet. Cook peaches over medium heat for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Toss as they cook to ensure they don't burn. Remove from skillet and set aside. 
  3. In large bowl, toss arugula with basil, red onion, goat cheese, toasted bread and peaches. Either mix poppy seed dressing directly into serving bowl or serve dressing separately. 

July CSA Deliveries

Bet you didn't expect to see a dessert recipe in this batch o' veggies, did you? Scroll through slowly and you'll see a double chocolate zucchini bread! To be honest, I'm not sure what the zucchini does to enhance the chocolate flavors, but I'm all ears for someone to weigh in. Not that I have any complaints because a slice of that chocolate bread warmed up just slightly with a glass of milk...I'm in heaven. 

This month brought a whole bunch of fun cooking projects, above and beyond chocolate-heavy sweets. Thanks to the massive heads of cabbage delivered this month, I had jars of sauerkraut and kimchi on hand. I became reacquainted with one of my first ever favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks, and had the opportunity to recipe test from a cookbook I've been dying to get my hands on, Salt Fat Acid Heat.

june csa deliveries || planting my roots
zucchini parmesan || planting my roots

zucchini parmesan, nyt food

peach and avocado salad || planting my roots

peachy avocado salad with leafy greens and goat cheese

zucchini fritters || planting my roots

zucchini fritters with sumac yogurt, williams sonoma

pistachio dukkah beet salad || planting my roots

pistachio dukkah roasted beets

double chocolate zucchini bread || planting my roots

double chocolate zucchini bread, sally's baking addiction

sauerkraut with pork chop and honey and thyme-roasted carrots

sauerkraut with pork chop and honey and thyme-roasted carrots

carrot ginger soup with carrot top pesto || planting my roots

carrot ginger soup with carrot top pesto

beet greens with capers and feta || planting my roots

sautéed beet greens with capers and feta

moroccan carrot and chickpea salad recipe || planting my roots

moroccan carrots & chickpeas, 
101 cookbooks

protein packed salad with kale, pickled onions and quinoa || planting my roots

protein packed salad with kale, pickled onions & golden quinoa

June CSA Delivery || planting my roots
corn, peach, avocado and goat cheese salad with fig dressing || planting my roots

corn, peach, avocado and goat cheese salad tossed with fig dressing

sweet silky corn soup, salt fat acid heat || planting my roots

sweet silky corn soup with chile-lime salt, salt fat acid heat

grilled kale || planting my roots

grilled kale salad with roasted plums and ricotta, bon appetit

roasted patty pan squash, pickled red cabbage, feta and sungold tomato vinaigrette, food & wine