garlic scape pizza

I came across these twirling green beauties at my farmer’s market the other day and couldn’t resist taking home a bundle. If you have never cooked with them before [which I hadn’t either] garlic scapes are the stems and unopened flowers of garlic bulbs. They have a sweet, mild garlic flavor, so they are perfect for subtly flavored dishes that would otherwise be overpowered by actual cloves of garlic.

Without any practice cooking with them, and wanting to experience their flavor, I decided to start with the blank canvas of a simple white pizza — nothing more than some cheese, olive oil, and fresh thyme. I have to tell you: it ended up being the right choice. Unlike so many white pizzas that are overwhelmed by the pungency of traditional garlic, this pizza has just the right amount of sweetness and garlic aroma. There are very few ingredients, but each each flavor fulfills a distinct purpose, contributing to the whole. It’s flavorful but not forceful, simple but not plain.

I think I see more garlic scape pizzas in my future.

garlic scape pizza

Garlic scapes add a sweet, mild garlic flavor to this pizza without overpowering its other subtle flavors. It is delicious eaten both hot from the oven, or at room temperature, when the cheese has had a chance to settle into the crust. Fresh, flavorful summer pizza at its finest.


1 pound fresh pizza dough, recipe below

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic scapes, ends trimmed

9 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish


First, prepare the pizza dough


Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the whole garlic scapes and cook, flipping them occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the pizza dough had rested and doubled in size, punch it down and transfer to a lightly floured board. Roll [or stretch] the dough into a large rectangle or circle.

Place a large baking sheet [large enough to fit the dough] in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F [you can use a pizza stone here if you have one]. Once oven is preheated, remove the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil [be careful, as the oil might splatter when it hits the hot pan]. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin and unroll onto the hot oiled pan. Arrange the slices of mozzarella evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a small border of dough around the edges. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and thyme and arrange the garlic scapes over top. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed edges of dough.

Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly, and crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves for garnish. Transfer to a large wooden board and cut into pieces to serve.

Serves 4.


for the pizza dough 


3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water

1 envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, mix the water with the yeast and sugar. Let stand until mixture starts to foam, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. 

Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough it, turning the dough to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. 

yield: 1 pound of dough

asparagus, pesto + radish pizza

My first memory of pizza is of a pepperoni pie from a local tavern in the town I grew up in. The smell and taste of that pie is forever etched in my mind — the chewy, herb-flecked crust, stringy cheese, and the little pepperonis, browned and spicy, cupped into little bowls of goodness. I think it was one of the first meals where I ever cleaned my plate — a task so daunting for me as a kid. 

Since that first pie, I have always loved pizza. Even through my vegetarian days, pizza was always a welcome comfort, a satisfying and delicious meal. It wasn’t until I moved to New York, though, that I realized its full potential. Innovation and creativity shattered my perception of what “defined” a pie. The components that constituted a good pizza — the crust and the sauce — still rang true, but there was also a complexity that I had never known pizza to have. Drizzles of honey, truffle pates, housemade cured meats, crushed nuts, clouds of homemade ricotta, hot chiles — each and every ingredient elevated the pizza to something more than what I had always known it to be. 

This Saturday, I stopped at the farmers market without much of a plan, but with pizza on my mind. I headed home with a bag full of asparagus, radishes, and loads of herbs. An unlikely assortment, but one that ended up working more beautifully than I could have ever anticipated. Here’s to breaking convention and, in turn, making something great. Here’s to my take on “pizza”.

asparagus, pesto + radish pizza

Bright and herbacious, this pizza has quickly become one of my favorite Springtime meals. Pair it with a crisp, cold Pinot Grigio, and a lightly dressed salad for a delicious lunch or dinner. And, please, do yourself a favor and make your pizza dough. It is SO simple and it makes all the difference.


pizza dough, recipe below

1 pound asparagus stalks

1/4 cup creme fraiche, plus more for garnish [optional]

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

coarse salt

basil almond pesto, recipe below

roughly chopped fresh mint, for garnish

1 radish, sliced very thinly, for garnish


First, prepare the pizza dough and pesto [recipes below]. On a lightly floured surface, roll [or stretch] 2 balls of the prepared pizza dough until paper thin, forming 2 rectangles [for reference, my rectangles were about 6-7-inches by 11-12 inches]. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wash the asparagus stalks and remove the tough ends [I find if you bend each stalk, one at a time, it will snap where it is meant to]. Chop the stalks into 1-2 inch long pieces. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and coarse salt and arrange in one layer on a baking sheet. Roast until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Place a large baking sheet in the oven and increase temperature to 500 degrees F. [Since this recipe calls for very thin crust, I find that if you preheat your baking sheet, the crust still gets very crisp without a pizza stone, but you can definitely use a pizza stone if you have one].

While oven preheats, in a small bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil. Set aside. 

Once oven is preheated, carefully remove preheated baking sheet and drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the sheet. Swirl to spread evenly. 

Roll each rectangle of dough onto a rolling pin and unroll onto the preheated, oiled baking sheet [don’t try to transfer the dough without a rolling pin; it will rip]. Working quickly, spread each pizza with the creme fraiche and Parmesan mixture [spreading all the way to the edges]. Drizzle both pizzas with a few tablespoons [each] of the pesto and sprinkle the roasted asparagus pieces evenly over top. Sprinkle both pizzas with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. 

Place in the preheated oven and bake until edges of dough are golden brown and pizza is bubbling, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle pizzas with chopped fresh mint. Arrange radish slices over top and sprinkle with coarse salt and drizzle with more pesto. 

Slice pizzas into triangles and serve with dollops of creme fraiche [optional] over top. 

Makes 2 small pizzas; 2 – 4 servings

for the pizza dough 


3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water

1 envelope active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, mix the water with the yeast and sugar. Let stand until mixture starts to foam, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and stir until a raggy dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. 

Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough it, turning the dough to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. 

After 1 1/2 hours, punch down dough and divide into four equal balls. [You’ll need two of these balls for this recipe, and can reserve the other two for another use. Remaining dough can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw dough to room temperature before rolling out].


for the basil almond pesto:

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup packed fresh basil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

Heat a small, dry saute pan over medium heat. Add almonds and toast, shaking pan frequently, until almonds are golden brown and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. 

In a food processor or blender, add toasted almonds, Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse or blend until combined. [If using a blender, you may need to add some of the oil to get everything going]. Add basil and with the motor running, drizzle the oil into the machine, and process until everything is finely ground and combined. 

This recipe makes more pesto than you will need for the pizza. Store remaining pesto in the refrigerator with plastic wrap directly touching the top [to discourage browning].

spring potato salad

spring potato salad

Unlike some potato salads, which I find to just be a pile of mush, this version is full of flavor and texture. The acidity from the vinaigrette and lemon zest adds a nice brightness to the heartiness of the potatoes, while the caramelized leeks pay homage to long awaited Spring produce. Make it in advance for a weekend cookout (it’s actually even better the next day) or pack it for weekday lunches. It’s totally versatile! Just remember to toss it with a bit of the reserved vinaigrette before serving. 


1 1/4 pounds baby potatoes, washed and cut into equally-sized pieces [I cut larger ones into thirds, and halved smaller ones]

1 leek, washed and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 slice of thick-cut bacon

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

First, add the prepared potatoes to a medium-sized sauce pan. Fill pan with water until potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and set aside.

Add bacon slice to a large saute pan and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Leave bacon fat in the pan. 

While the saute pan is still hot, add sliced leek to the bacon fat, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Pour leek and garlic mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside. 

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the saute pan and increase heat to high. Add the boiled potatoes to the pan, making sure they are in an even single layer. Cook on high for 10 minutes, only shaking the pan several times throughout the cooking process, until the potatoes’ edges are browned and crisp. [Use restraint here — as much as you might want to stir the potatoes, you’ll prevent them from browning if you move them too much while they are cooking]. Remove pan from heat and transfer potatoes to the large mixing bowl with the leeks and garlic. Add lemon zest to hot potatoes and toss mixture. Set aside to cool slightly.

As potatoes cool, prepare the vinaigrette: add vinegar, mustard, and salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk until combined. While whisking, slowly add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Continue to whisk until mixture is emulsified and thick. 

Add 1/2 of the dressing to the warm potato mixture, and toss [reserve the rest of the dressing — see Note for use]. Crumble bacon and add to the bowl, as well as the chopped hard-boiled eggs. Toss until combined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm, or at room temperature. 

*Note: Store leftover potato salad in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to serve. While the potato salad sits, it may become dry, so toss with some of the leftover dressing before serving. 

risotto with smoky roasted carrots

we’re back from a weekend of love and celebration in raleigh – a weekend to witness my cousin derek and his wife, amanda, promise each other forever. our hearts are full with boundless joy for two people we love, and our memories are rich from time enjoyed with family. 

the week ahead is busy, but i find myself smiling thinking back on such abundance of laughter and love, and ahead to the excitement in store for us. next week, henry and i are headed to italy for our own much awaited honeymoon. in the three months since our wedding, our lives have returned to a state of “normal,” which is a welcome comfort, but i’m also eager to carry on our celebration as newlyweds.

in the spirit of comfort, i wanted to share my most recent take on risotto – the warming blend of coriander, curry, and smoked paprika, heartiness of roasted carrots, and creamy rice is a welcome addition to the first chilly nights of the year, curled on the couch. i hope you enjoy.

risotto with smoky roasted carrots

i learned from my mom that risotto is a labor of love – it is not to be rushed. sip a glass of wine, and lose yourself in the rhythm of stirring the pot – it is a truly healing process if you allow it to be. 

the sweetness of these carrots, combined with smokey and warm spices, are a delicious accompaniment to the creaminess of the risotto. 

for the roasted carrots:

1 bunch of carrots (I used rainbow)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon alderwood salt (optional – if you can find it, it adds a great smokey flavor, but if you can’t find it, the blend will be delicious without it)


for the risotto:

1 1/4 cup arborio rice

4 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves (one whole with skin on, one minced)

3/4 cup white wine

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (+ some for garnish)

1/2 cup greek yogurt (full fat – it makes a big difference)

1 teaspoon of coriander seasoning blend

2 tablespoons of carrot greens, finely chopped (+ some for garnish)

salt and pepper

preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. while the oven is preheating, add coriander seeds to a mortar and pestle and crush until they become a coarse powder. In a small bowl combine crushed coriander seeds, smoked paprika, salt, curry powder, and alderwood salt (if you have it). set aside.

peel carrots and trim greens. arrange carrots in a single layer on a large baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil and roll the carrots until completely coated. season generously with seasoning blend (and reserve the rest – some will be added to the risotto). add one garlic clove onto the baking sheet (this will be used later in the risotto), and transfer baking sheet to the oven. after about 25 minutes, remove garlic clove and set aside. allow carrots to roast for approximately 15 minutes longer (40 minutes total) and set aside to cool slightly.

while carrots roast, combine greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend in a small bowl (there will be seasoning blend leftover that you can reserve for another time). squeeze roasted garlic from its skin and stir to combine; set mixture aside. add vegetable stock to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium low heat. add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. add chopped onions, season with salt, and sauté for 10-12 minutes, until onions are soft and just starting to brown on the edges. add minced garlic clove and sauté for 2 minutes. add arborio rice and toast in pan for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. add white wine and stir constantly until it is completely absorbed by the rice. add 1/2 cup of warmed vegetable stock, and stir constantly. once stock is completely absorbed, continue to add stock, 1/2 cup at a time, waiting to add until the previous 1/2 cup is completely absorbed (don’t rush this process and make sure to keep to stirring throughout the entire time – all in all, the whole process should take around 45-50 minutes.

after all of the stock is completely absorbed, add parmesan cheese, greek yogurt mixture, and 2 tablespoons of chopped carrot greens. mix until completely combined. season with freshly cracked pepper to taste.

transfer risotto to a large platter and top with roasted carrots. garnish with a sprinkling of carrot greens and grated parmesan cheese.