Almost 3 months later, I am sitting in sunny *northern* California, relishing (and shriveling in) the dry heat, the cool morning air (hello jetlag) and free and available toilet paper. That last one especially.
For a long time, I didn’t really love being home; it wasn’t cool or exciting or college. But the more time I spend away, the more I see this as another destination, and am able to see the true beauty of dear ol’ Danville, its own dry but verdant hills and clean air and manicured-ness. I can’t look past the soccer moms in Escalades though, and could definitely go another couple months without those.
I have three weeks of countries to recount, and lots of silly insights and attempted photography to share with all 3 of my readers (Hi Pati Atya!), but in the mean time, here’s a lil piece of home in the form of my people (and FOOD).
In Thailand, I was lucky enough to reunite with one of my high school tribe, and it was equally bitter and wonderfully sweet to realize how little had changed between us even though the whirlwind of our young adult years swirled forward. But seeing her made me miss the rest a little (a lot) more, so first order of business was meeting up with my secondary mama, aka my friend Alyssa, and making some füd. If you think I cook, I dabble. She COOKS, and has always been the resident feeder of our crew, making macarons from scratch for our Christmas parties, and whipping up fancy ramen in other people’s kitchens.
Yesterday, she picked me up and told me, quite offhand, of the afternoon’s projects: fig ricotta pizza, and a nectarine galette. Casually.
In Marathi, we have a couple ways of describing a good cook (food is pretty important to us). My favorite literally translates to “flavorful hands” – that a person’s hand imbue a dish with the flavor of their personality. It’s similar to the idea of baking with love, etc. and I can attest that Alyssa definitely has flavorful hands.
We spent the afternoon baking, giggling, and climbing on apartment balconies for aerial galette shots, and I couldn’t imagine a better first day back. (Also shoutout to techie, fellow giggler and pizza eater Courtney for her musical contributions to the afternoon and holding the pizza out just so, so I could food porn at the proper angle. Oops that sounds dirty.)
This may be the easiest gourmet pizza ever, just because the ingredients are what shine through. This pizza was salty, sweet, creamy, and light all at once, and we literally just threw it together! I almost dove into the box of greens, I was so happy to see freshness.
Check out Alyssa’s Instagram @flowerbomb.fresh for more fresh/local/sustainable/healthy/green/drool worthy recipes and look for a blog from her soon!
- Fresh Ricotta
- Pre-made pizza dough (Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, plain or grainy, but not flavored)
- 1-2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 8-10 figs, rinsed and quartered
- Dark greens of choice (mix is best, but just spinach would also be bomb)
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tsp. honey (to drizzle)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt (of the sea variety for texture, but regular also ok)
- Dried oregano/basil/italian seasoning
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Flour a clean counter surface and lay out the dough. Use hands to flatten and stretch to desired size – the recommended premade dough package works well with a “Large” pizza size.
- Spray pizza sheet with oil, lay dough out.
- Heat a small sauce pan, saute garlic slices til golden brown. Sliced > diced, as it allowed us to get the full bodied flavor to mesh with the other whole ingredients.
- Drizzle the pizza dough with 1-2 tsp. olive oil, use spoon to spread evenly throughout the dough.
- Sprinkle dried herbs evenly through the pizza.
- Place tbsp. sized rounds of ricotta at evenly spaced intervals, about 10-12 for a 12 in. diameter. The cheese will not spread much, so don’t worry about it getting too runny (the more the better!)
- Add figs, and sprinkled sea salt.
- Bake for 8 – 10 min, until crust takes on a golden color
- Remove and add leafy greens. Replace in oven for about 2 more minutes.
- Drizzle evenly with a thin stream of honey. Cut up and eat all of it, immediately. Right now.
Recipe by Alyssa Gruezo: @flowerbomb.fresh