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Anya’s zucchini spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto + peaches

AnyaThe Vibrant Table by Anya Kassoff // @thefirstmesszucchini spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto + peaches // via @thefirstmessjust cut // @thefirstmess
I’ve been a pretty serious fan of the Golubka blog for a while. When Anya asked me to contribute a guest post last year while she was finishing up some work on her book, I was beyond flattered because mutual admiration is awesome, but also surprising at times. Her raw food creations always hit me with an immediate appeal to taste, and then slowly as I read, they would surprise me with their intricacy and elements of whimsy. Her style of cuisine spoke to me with its naturally healthy virtues and, along with her daughter, she managed to make it look so ethereally beautiful as well. To say that I looked up to Anya’s work when I started my blog would be an understatement.

So when she sent me her book around mid-spring, and I saw that it was a fully realized, but also expanded-upon, version of the creative work that she shares on her site, I was immediately inspired. When a book or an entity of any kind makes your mind tick with possibility–for your health, your family table and your whole life–it’s a good one. Also, there’s a lot to be said about a cookbook that can convey a sense of time and place in the world–a trait I find most appealing in any food related publication actually. Anya talks about waiting in lines for pantry staples like butter during her upbringing in Russia and how farm-to-table wasn’t so much a movement as it was the only means to survive. This perspective and resilience reverberates throughout the pages.

Almost all of the recipes are vegan and a nice selection of them are raw–all gluten free and seasonal in theme as well. When the really balmy hot days start to take over here, this is the kind of inspiration I crave most. Abundant, colourful, and satisfying for these days that we spend predominantly outdoors

I was debating between making this zucchini spaghetti dish or her berry and chocolate crisp for today. Mark really wanted the dessert, but I wanted a light summer dinner on our porch at dusk (and apparently Shanna and Tim did too!). (I’m confident that the crisp will be happening next week, what with the impending glut of berries coming on). Anyway, this will be the first of many from Anya’s table to ours. Some other bits that look so, so good: kale + mustard muffins, cacao buckwheat granolafava bean quinoa cakes, fig bars, and spinach quinoa crepes.

Rather generously, her publisher sent me an extra copy to do a little giveaway with too! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me one of two very summery things (or both if you’re really into sharing, which is always totally, totally cool with me):

1. Something seasonal you plan to cross off your list this summer (mine: have a beach picnic, paint my porch, come up with a high-vibe campfire recipe that doesn’t involve beans or oats).
2. Your favourite summer fruit or vegetable and your go-to way to eat it (mine: tomatoes on toasted sourdough with salt, preferably on the steps of my porch as my mid-morning meal, aka second breakfast)

This one’s going to be open to residents of the US and Canada only and I’ll close submissions next Monday (July 14th) at 10am EST. Good luck, lovelies! (This giveaway is now closed–thanks!) Hope you’re enjoying that sunshine, and maybe a few magical summer storms too :)

basil // @thefirstmesspesto preppintoasted seeds // @thefirstmesszucchini spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto + peaches // via @thefirstmess
zucchini spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto + peaches
from The Vibrant Table: Recipes from My Always Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan & Sometimes Raw Kitchen
serves: 4
notes: I toasted the pumpkin seeds with a bit of salt before grinding them into the pesto, but if you prefer to keep this raw, just skip that step. Also, I use a julienne peeler for the zucchini, but if you have a spiralizer, you can probably get away with 3 zucchinis since it better utilizes the seedier inner part of the vegetable.

pesto ingredients:
1 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted in a dry pan over medium heat (or not, as discussed above)
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
splash of water
1 tbsp lemon juice
small clove of garlic, peeled + crushed
salt + pepper

zucchini spaghetti etc. ingredients:
4-5 medium zucchini
2 peaches
handful of chopped basil/basil flowers

Place the toasted pumpkin seeds in the bowl of a food processor with the “S” bade in place. Pulse the seeds until they are the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. From here, add the basil, olive oil, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Turn the food processor onto high until you have a smooth paste. Set the pesto aside.

With a julienne peeler, make long lengthwise strands of zucchini, avoiding peeling the centers if they’re a bit seedy. Place zucchini “spaghetti” in a large bowl and toss with a heavy pinch of salt. Let the zucchini sit for about 5 minutes so that the salt can soften the noodles ever so slightly. Pit and slice your peaches while you wait.

Toss the zucchini spaghetti with most of the pesto until strands are evenly coated. Arrange the peaches on top and tear pieces of basil to finish it off. Garnish with some extra bits of pesto if you like. Serve immediately.

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Melissa10/07/2014 - 5:46 am

What a beautifully simple but healthy looking dish. I will have to bookmark this one for summer when it comes along.

Ali @ Farmers Market Vegan10/07/2014 - 6:08 am

Right now I’m loving corn and cherries! Corn grilled and sliced off the cobb into chipotle-spiced salads; cherries on top of my morning granola.

Grace10/07/2014 - 6:20 am

My favorite is rhubarb! As Summer approaches, I can’t wait to get my hands on it to make rhubarb pie, rhubarb tea, rhubarb compote! My absolute favorite is your rhubarb fool and coconut cream. It is, without a doubt, one of my all time favorite desserts!

Shannon10/07/2014 - 6:22 am

Just stunning! My favorite is cucumbers – I’ll eat them plain like an apple, or in a cucumber salad :)

KL10/07/2014 - 6:29 am

lately it’s been cucumber and radish for me

Bonnie10/07/2014 - 6:33 am

I love all things summer: berries, cherries, lettuces, corn, peaches. Figs! But year round, I long for juicy, ripe Jersey tomatoes! Served simply, sliced, drizzled with good olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt. Mmmmmmm.

C. Soto10/07/2014 - 7:12 am

Favorite summer food: Blueberries, straight up. Actually, they are my favorite food – period!

Leah10/07/2014 - 7:13 am

This meal looks delicious! Raw and fresh is definitely appealing in the warmth of the summer. This summer I plan to have my breakfast at the top of one of my favourite local hikes (Signal Hill, St. John’s, NL), perched on the mountain overlooking the Atlantic ocean in those early morning dawn hours when it’s often just you and the birds awake. As for summer fruit, I am in love with fresh figs. And biting into a juicy fig just as it is is my favourite way to enjoy it!

Tova10/07/2014 - 7:31 am

Love this! Although very new to me, I too am a fan of the Golubka blog!
This summer I also hope to make a picnic on the beach, and prepare an entire meal using the heat and flame of an outdoor fire. My favourite summer fruit is the tomato –> and I love a quick panzanella style salad. I am also obsessed with Ontario peaches –> grilled and drizzles with honey over some yogurt and granola –> the best day to welcome another sunny summer day.


Susan10/07/2014 - 7:55 am

I love cherries in the summer! I really just love to eat them as is – such a great treat.

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar10/07/2014 - 7:57 am

This is gorgeous! I love the way it looks with the grass all around it…like we’re on a picnic with you :) Great recipe!

jessica z10/07/2014 - 7:57 am

I plan to cross zip lining and attending the beach fest off my list this summer!

Hannah M.10/07/2014 - 8:02 am

It’s hard to pick favorites when it comes to summer fruits and vegetables, but wild blackberries are up there in my top 10, for sure. Preferably eaten in a warm cobbler with unsweetened whipped cream :)

Bridget10/07/2014 - 8:07 am

Favorit summery food: peaches

Favorite way to eat peaches you ask? In a cobbler with some ice cream wrapped up on the couch with my fiancé OR simply sliced open fresh in the morning with a bowl of oats and a cup of coffee.

Leanne10/07/2014 - 8:11 am

Summer! Seriously, I just want to find the time to sit in the backyard sunshine and read a good book. It hasn’t happened yet…but I’ll make sure it does!

Tamara10/07/2014 - 8:17 am

Tomato – still warm from the garden, eaten like an apple :)

Bianca @ Sweet Dreaming10/07/2014 - 8:20 am

i love allll the fresh fruit! especially blueberries and peaches!

Brandee10/07/2014 - 8:26 am

We are planning a trip to our local sandbar this weekend. It will be my sons first boat trip and first time in a lake!

Brandee10/07/2014 - 8:31 am

My favourite summer food is strawberries. To be honest I love them warm right off the bush while picking them! I also love them in cupcakes and sprinkled on my morning cereal.

Colleen10/07/2014 - 8:34 am

Can’t wait to try this recipe!
This summer, I’m gutting and re-doing my guest bath. I know, sounds like a blast, right? Oh yeah, and I’m scraping, sanding, and painting my wrap-around porch!

Heather Taylor10/07/2014 - 8:37 am

I am finally going to visit the Outer Banks and see a lighthouse!

Kat10/07/2014 - 8:45 am

My favorites are sugar peas, love eating them straight out of the pod on the field.
Will have a little get-together for our 1st wedding anniversary with all of our guests from last year, best food and music :)

Margarita10/07/2014 - 8:55 am

I love how beautiful this dish looks. So vibrant and refreshing.
1. Go camping and hike some nice trails.
2. Fruit tarts! Or any baked dessert with stone fruit toppings.

leslie10/07/2014 - 8:57 am

For sure my favorite summer meal is caprese salad with fresh picked tomatoes from the garden. I wait all year, skipping over the store bought tomatoes, waiting waiting for my own to finally ripen then I eat caprese salad over and over until they are all gone. Reminds me of summer and Italy all in one.

Kari @ Cooking with Toddlers10/07/2014 - 9:05 am

Such a gorgeous dish full of colors! This is the perfect summer meal!

shanna mallon10/07/2014 - 9:14 am

The way you said this is just right, about Anya’s book being a fully realized version of her blog, about how mutual admiration is surprising (especially with someone like this), about light foods being so welcome this time of year. Also, Laura, I will probably be saying this to you til kingdom come — YOUR PHOTOS. So good.

Laura Bray10/07/2014 - 9:19 am

I am looking forward to trying stand up paddle boarding for the first time ever! Beyond excited for that adventure.

I’m constantly gravitating toward homemade iced tea. It’s simple, but I love to use genmaicha and a bit of stevia. Earthy, slightly sweet, and ice cold for the heat!

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan10/07/2014 - 9:26 am

That book, swoon! Ok here are mine!

1. Stand up paddleboarding, looks hard as shit, but I want to try it!

2. Watermelon..alll the watermelon!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen10/07/2014 - 9:30 am

What a gorgeous post and recipe. I too am in love with Anya’s work and with The Vibrant Table, a cookbook full of inspiration. Haven’t made this zucchini spaghetti yet but am so so eager to try!

Holly10/07/2014 - 9:30 am


Nothing in this whole wide world beats a ripe, fresh picked southern peach – close second to immediate devouring is old fashioned peach shortcake with basil garnish. Summer in a dish!

Kyle10/07/2014 - 9:32 am

Looks lovely! There is nothing better than a fresh tomato from the vine, chopped up with salt and pepper- preferably eaten on my parent’s back deck, watching the sun rise up to mid morning.

Val10/07/2014 - 9:32 am

Looks wonderful – I’m definitely interested in this cookbook! To answer your questions: 1) My goal is to grill ALL of the fruits/veggies this year. There are certain veggies/fruits that I tend to ear raw or cook on the stove (shelling peas, raspberries), but I’d like to develop some grilling techniques for them instead. 2) My favorite summer food? A tie between a good tomato/corn salad (corn, tomatoes, avo, herbs) and eating golden raspberries straight out of hand.

michelle10/07/2014 - 9:33 am

I would LOVE a copy of The Vibrant Table!

1) I can’t wait to have a picnic in the park, get cinnamon buns at the bakery at my cottage, and hopefully catch a movie at the drive-in

2) Right now I’m really feeling peaches. Particularly grilled peaches drilled with maple syrup over vanilla yogurt.

Danielle10/07/2014 - 9:37 am

My favorite summer fruit are peaches! I love the super sweet, oozing with juicy goodness with each bite. My mouth is watering! I love the looks of that cookbook and I’d love to get my hands on it.

Shelley10/07/2014 - 9:39 am

My #1 thing to check off of my summer bucketlist (which is revamped every year) is to learn how to can! I would like to can homemade marinara sauce, jams, etc. for the cold months to come.

anastacia mosher10/07/2014 - 9:43 am

My favorite summer fruit it’s strawberries! I love them any way I can get them…salads, smoothies, in desserts, or by themselves.

Jenny10/07/2014 - 9:45 am

Sigh…summmmmmmmmerrrrrrr. On my summer to-do list: picnic and lazy afternoon in central park and a day at Coney Island. Also: making our way to Red Hook to enjoy the libations at Fort Defiance. And I’m feeling you on open tomato sandwiches…with a somewhat heavy-handed sprinkle of flaky sea salt. x

Ashley10/07/2014 - 9:50 am

These photos are absolutely, completely, amaaaaazing. I cannot wait for Colorado peaches to be fully in season. They are my absolute favorite and usually just get eaten over the sink. :) Bucket list: gotta get out for some camping this summer!

Buffy10/07/2014 - 9:53 am

What I’m looking forward to most this summer is all happening in August- our family beach trip and a large group camping trip by the river with friends for my 40th birthday!

Also, I’ve been obsessed with tomato, cuke, and feta dressed with EVOO, balsamic and salt & pepper. I eat it almost every day!

Colleen10/07/2014 - 10:07 am

This looks incredible! :)
This summer, we really want to stain/refinish the deck and eat lots of summer cherries – I usually just eat them as-is. One of my all time favorite things about summer! :)

Aleksandra10/07/2014 - 10:21 am

I love seeing the grass in your pictures. It makes me feel like I’m sitting with you on your porch and enjoying that beautiful dish. My favourite summer fruit of all time after cherries and peaches are figs. I spent so many blissful summers at my grandmothers picking them directly from her tree and marvelling in their honey-like sweetness.A ripe fig is incomparable!As far as summer is concerned, staying outdoors as much as possible and sipping on anything refreshing is essential!

Christy10/07/2014 - 10:26 am

Recently discovered your blog when my SIL made the roasted carrots on a bed of spiced yogurt (except she had to grill them because her oven doesn’t work in the house they just bought. Still she had the grace and generosity to make some astounding meals over last weekend–food = love.)

This summer, I really want to learn to do some food fermenting. I’ve had some amazing slaws and pickles over the past couple of growing seasons and everyone in my family loves this.


Katie10/07/2014 - 10:34 am

Favourite seasonal vegetable: zucchini. I have many plans for the kilograms I will eat, cook, and (fresh)freeze for winter. My favourite seasonal way to eat it is to make raw zucchini sticks and drizzle with tahini and Sriracha. Bliss.

Smadar10/07/2014 - 10:40 am

I plan on going to the beach at least once, and I like to enjoy lots of berries this time of year. Straight up berries in a bowl, nothing fancy.

sarah10/07/2014 - 10:50 am

Oh my gosh, that dish is so beautiful! During the summer, all I want to eat is watermelon. It is just so good.

Megan10/07/2014 - 10:50 am

This weekend I can’t wait to go kayaking and canoeing with friends. We’ll slither through passages to a few different lakes and then it’s picnic time!

Xanthia10/07/2014 - 10:53 am

Figs my favorite part of summer. Although they’re delicious raw, if I’m feeling fancy I cut them halfway down in quarters so they fan out like flowers. Then I add on a little fresh goat cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey or maple syrup (with a dash of salt and pepper). Grilling these confections under the broiler until the goat cheese starts to melt and the sugars caramelize makes an incredible starter.

Holly10/07/2014 - 10:58 am

My favorite summer vegetable is zucchini, and although I love it fried, my go-to much healthier way of preparing it is to dip in flour, then almond milk, then seasoned bread crumbs, bake, and serve with a vegan aioli.

And this summer I plan to take a series of relaxing weekend trips with the hubby, almost all involving a cabin/B&B and a Major League baseball game!

CL10/07/2014 - 11:06 am

The best way to consume summer fruit is a watermelon soaked in basil gin and bitters, eaten with a spoon straight out of the shell. You’re welcome.

Maria Anne10/07/2014 - 11:14 am

My favorite summer fruit and vegetable – I really can’t pick just one, but I love zucchini and I love berries! I love any and all grilled vegetables – and I’ve been seeing a lot of people grilling fruit lately, which I really want to try. Mmmm!!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth10/07/2014 - 11:17 am

I’m a big fan of Anya’s blog – as well as yours! One of my favorite summer memories is sitting in the garden patch as a kid, knees in the dirt, picking sun hot tomatoes off the vine with salt shaker in hand – bite, sprinkle, bite, sprinkle.

Alanna @ One Tough Cookie10/07/2014 - 11:26 am

What a gorgeous looking recipe! I especially love your photo of the Thai Basil flowers — when mine first sprouted this year, I couldn’t believe how lovely they looked!

One of my favourite summer dishes is strawberries tossed in a couple tablespoons of sugar and balsamic vinegar, then cooked until they become thick and jammy. Eaten on ice cream, of course!

marie10/07/2014 - 11:27 am

1. canoeing with friends!
2. watermelon!!!

Stephanie10/07/2014 - 11:28 am

For my summer bucket list, I plan to cross off kayaking in the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington when the resident orca pods are in town

molly yeh10/07/2014 - 11:34 am

i have been ALLLLL about the cucumber noodles lately, but it’s zucchini noodles that i have to try! and i love the look of this pumpkin pesto.

Christina10/07/2014 - 11:42 am

I love fresh peaches with plain yogurt, granola, and mixed spice for breakfast on a summer morning.

Stephanie K10/07/2014 - 11:43 am

I’m hoping to take a road trip to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty this summer. Maybe I’ll pack some watermelon for my trip. It’s by far my favorite summer fruit. This zucchini spaghetti looks amazing. I can’t wait to make it!

Autumn10/07/2014 - 11:50 am

Whoaaa! I’ll be making this salad for sure!!! I’ve been loving the cherries this summer!! They are so juicy and full of flavor!!!

Annie10/07/2014 - 11:55 am

I’m looking forward to putting together seasonal dishes and cocktails for a housewarming party later this summer and I always love grilled peaches as a go-to summer fruit!

Mer10/07/2014 - 12:04 pm

This summer, I plan to spot as many fireflies as possible…I didn’t see my first one until I was in my 20s, so I’m making up for lost time!!! They are nothing short of magic.

My favourite summer fruit is watermelon – cold, scooped,sliced, diced, cubed…in salads with olives and/or mint, on its own, or pureed in tasty beverages…it really doesn’t matter as long as I can shove heaping helpings of it into my face!

Maj-le10/07/2014 - 12:06 pm

My favorite summer fruit hands down – peaches. There is nothing better than biting into a ripe peach on a lazy summer afternoon outside. But, they are also very taste in peach crisps, peach cobbler and grilled over charcoal and drizzled with some maple syrup.

Amanda10/07/2014 - 12:09 pm

So yum! This summer I plan to restain the deck and go camping. My favorite summer food are Jersey tomatoes in any kind of salad!

catherine10/07/2014 - 12:12 pm

i plan on making some roasted tomatillo salsa from my CSA. LOVE that they are grown organically in Ontario and yet feel kind exotic

Spring10/07/2014 - 12:19 pm

I plan to do some major summer hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

Liesel10/07/2014 - 12:22 pm

As usual, beautiful presentation and photography!

Favorite summer produce: Has to be a tie between fresh-picked blueberries (on top of homemade granola) and basil from the garden (pesto, pesto, pesto).

Laura: Your counter tops turned out beautifully. You inspired us to use Helmsman spar urethane on our butcher block island from IKEA and we are so pleased with the results. Just curious – How many coats did you apply?

Eileen10/07/2014 - 12:47 pm

This zucchini spaghetti sounds amazing! Peaches? What?? :) I have already accomplished my main summer goal — to go to the dog beach in Santa Cruz and spend a few hours watching all the dogs frolic in the waves! And my favorite summer food is, hands down, the tomato, sliced and with a pinch of salt. No need for anything more. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

Julie S10/07/2014 - 12:48 pm

This looks so lovely! My big summer project is starting my garden now that we OWN a house. I’ve always had a makeshift garden at my previous rentals but am so excited to go totally all in! I’ll be taking breaks with thick slices of heirloom tomatoes from the Farmer Market with a sprinkling of sea salt and some torn basil :)

Martina10/07/2014 - 1:04 pm

Nothing will beat fresh local peaches for me! Plain and simple and soooo delicious.

Jade Sheldon-Burnsed10/07/2014 - 1:19 pm

My husband and I are hoping to have a day at the beach: crepes in the morning, chowder in the afternoon and plenty of walking up and down the beach in between!

Sarah Wallen10/07/2014 - 1:23 pm

Fresh berries (any kind) with a little cream are my favorite summer food.

Eve10/07/2014 - 1:27 pm

On my summer to do list, was to plant a raised vegetable bed and to tend and harvest it with my two young girls. It is doing really well, and the giant cucumbers are coming up next for harvest. I’ve met a lot of great neighbours, who are enthusiastic about seeing food grown in suburbia.

Jesse10/07/2014 - 1:30 pm

Beautiful recipe; I just so happened to buy a julienne peeler the other day! Living in the southern U.S., summer nights are balmy and breezy…for the next full moon I wanna strap on my roller skates with their rainbow laces and glow-in-the-dark stickers and soak up the night. The peaches we have down here are amazing (Georgia peaches!) and I loved blending them up and pouring them into Popsicle molds, topped off with some coconut cream. A sweet treat for a hot afternoon, sitting on the stoop in the sunshine.

Beth10/07/2014 - 1:40 pm

Oh, what a simple and delicious looking dish! Can’t wait to make it myself. I’m looking forward to mint juleps on the porch with the abundance of mint taking over my flower beds. My fav summer fruits are all the berries and peaches, straight up and cobbler or crisp style:)

Saniel10/07/2014 - 1:41 pm

Peaches and zucchini, great combination

Sandra Lea10/07/2014 - 1:41 pm

My book club plans to have their next two meetings on the beach with some good food and wine.

Gwen10/07/2014 - 1:55 pm

Caprese salad made with tomatoes still warm from the garden…this year I planted Brandywine, Russian Black and Berkeley Pink Tie-dye. Sliced with locally made Vancouver Island buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil. Salt and cold-pressed olive oil.

Swimming in the ocean in the evening means it’s really summer…

Victoria10/07/2014 - 2:11 pm

Summer food is a toss up between a simple cucumber+tomato salad with lots of s&p plus a hit of vinegar or eating a whole melon (doesn’t matter which) for breakfast! I DEVOURED the first cantaloupe I got my hands on this season. So good!
This recipe looks delicious!

Kate Reeve10/07/2014 - 2:38 pm

My favourite summer food: watermelon popsicles!

Justyna10/07/2014 - 3:47 pm

seasonal activity which must be crossed off the to-do list: a weekend camping getaway with friends complete with evening bonfires and midnight swims!

Aleena10/07/2014 - 3:56 pm

My favorite summer vegetable is summer squash. I love it grilled on a charcoal grill with a olive oil-balsamic coating on it and eating it on my deck with the scenery of the trees in my backyard. It is such a treat.

Jo10/07/2014 - 4:31 pm

I’m loving summer squashes at the moment, and I have to admit my favourite way to eat them is spirilaized with pesto, just like your amazing dish here! So, in the interest of being original, I’ll share something seasonal I’m planning to do this summer. I’m going to gather together all of my friends with little ones, and head to the PYO blueberry farm and pick a years worth of berries for our freezers. Also make flower-crowns in the field next door and adorn all of our babies with petal-head dresses : ) And I don’t live in the US or Canada, so this was just for fun! Though I’d happily donate the beautiful book to some friends in Canada if I were to win! Hehe. Beautiful pics as always Laura. Happy summer, I’m totally with you an all of your plans and summery snacks! xx

Sarah10/07/2014 - 4:43 pm

1. I want to host an outdoor brunch by the pond at my house. Everyone would wear pajamas and sit on quilts while eating elegant pastries and such. :)

Kristie10/07/2014 - 4:49 pm

I can’t wait to climb to the top of an 11,000 foot peak in the Rockies and see nothing but mountain upon mountains from the top. As far from a city as possible.
I am living cherries in everything from salads to raw porridge right now. New fave, cherry mole sauce!

Claire Schultz10/07/2014 - 5:15 pm

My summer list includes: perfecting pasta from scratch without a machine – just simple hand cut shapes and purchasing a tiny chest freezer that will fit down my tiny basement stairs built in 1903 – to fill for the long winter months.

My favorite summer goods: sun ripe tomato, fresh torn basil, avocado, olive oil salad.

So simple so satisfying.

Happy summer to you.

Emma10/07/2014 - 5:28 pm

My favorite summer food are nectarines. I love to eat them with plain Greek yogurt, raw steel cut oats, and hemp hearts.

shilpa10/07/2014 - 5:38 pm

Oh Summer how I love thee! Two things that scream summer are Strawberries and Cukes!! I absolutely love both yours and Anya’s blogs. Definitely get so much summer inspiration from them! Thank you!

Heather10/07/2014 - 5:43 pm

S’mores on our newly-completed patio!

Lauren10/07/2014 - 6:39 pm

My favorite summer food is corn, cooked on the grill. I also like to make pickles!

Kristin10/07/2014 - 7:16 pm

How do I even choose??? Corn, zucchini, tomatoes, and peaches top the list. A fave corn prep: saute diced zucchini and red pepper in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper; add one ear’s worth of corn fresh from the cob; saute for 1-2 mins, just enough to warm. Butter on top to get all melty, a bit more sea salt and pepper, and spoon into my face. :)

Christine10/07/2014 - 7:17 pm

Looks yummy! One summery thing I’d love to cross off my list this summer would be to go camping or go on a nice picnic. My favourite summer fruit would probably be nectarines and I eat them with any kind of cheese and maybe honey.

Nikki10/07/2014 - 7:17 pm

I love using raw zucchini in every possible way !! Thanks for sharing this wonderful dish and lovely vibrant pictures !!

sarah10/07/2014 - 8:08 pm

I can’t live without watermelon!

Rebecca10/07/2014 - 8:58 pm

YUM. I can’t wait to make this! My it’s-really-summer food is watermelon. My go-to way to eat it is in a HUGE slice on a plate. Sometimes it doesn’t make it that far though, and I crack it open and just dig the spoon in! :)

Emily10/07/2014 - 11:02 pm

I’m planning to do some hiking this summer. Hopefully near the beach!

Meghan11/07/2014 - 1:05 am

I’ve been dreaming of this book before it hit the shelves, and have been collecting the recipes from other bloggers like yourself, ever since. It’s ironic that I am so fond of The First Mess in all the exact same ways that you love Anya. Likewise, you recreated her recipe beautifully. And what a recipe it is! I do love zucchini in the summer, but my favorite would have to be a fat and sloppy Texas peach, eaten hot and sultry in the sun. And as for my summer adventures, I am hoping to finally catch one of these gnarly storms that have been ripping through town, and chase lightning! It was my childhood dream, and now, my summer reality.

Thanks Laura!

Erin11/07/2014 - 7:52 am

My favorite is heirloom tomatoes! I live for the moment they start appearing in the farmers’ markets. I like to eat them raw on crusty brown bread crostini with homemade ricotta and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Susan11/07/2014 - 8:22 am

I’d love to check out a new swimming hole south of Austin!

Allison11/07/2014 - 8:45 am

I love fresh tomatoes, cut up and sprinkled with a (generous) bit of sea salt. So good!

amanda11/07/2014 - 9:08 am

1. Something seasonal you plan to cross off your list this summer (mine: have a beach picnic, paint my porch, come up with a high-vibe campfire recipe that doesn’t involve beans or oats). — build a mega sand castle

2. Your favourite summer fruit or vegetable and your go-to way to eat it (mine: tomatoes on toasted sourdough with salt, preferably on the steps of my porch as my mid-morning meal, aka second breakfast) — figs… from branch to mouth, warm and slightly gooey from the sun (like me) :)

Eliza11/07/2014 - 9:59 am

My favorite summer fruit, by far, is watermelon. I love to eat it cubed with just a little sprinkle of salt with breakfast in the morning or as a mid-afternoon snack.

My grandfather taught me how to salt watermelon. We used to eat it on an old picnic table at his house in Kentucky, right by his small garden where he grew tomatoes, watermelon, and a few other summer crops!

Lesley11/07/2014 - 10:20 am

This weekend I will be visiting a camp in the woods on Cape Cod where I had my first nursing job several summers ago. Friends who live there year-round and a visiting friend will meet there for bonfires, pond-swimming, and cocktails on the dock (“docktails”). I have been waiting all winter for this summer treat. I love your blog and Golubka!

Miruska11/07/2014 - 10:34 am

I live in Calgary, Canada, where winters start in October and end in late May. There is never enough summer. I have a pretty big balcony I have not been able to enjoy. Its concrete pad was in a pretty bad condition and it’s really windy on the 9th floor where I live. This year, my dad helped me resurface the concrete and we put acrylic sheets on the railing to make it less windy. It’s perfect. I bought a nice outdoor rug and some planters and have been having my morning coffee out there every day. I plan to continue for the rest of the summer. Next, barbeque!

Clara11/07/2014 - 10:39 am

Hi, I was about to buy this book but I will wait until this giveaway!
1) I would like to have picnics at the park, I never do and I always fantasize of doing them. My favorite fruit is peaches! I can’t get enough of them, and blueberries and plums and all the berries, oh gosh, I love summer season!
2) quesadillas with avocado and of course Gazpacho!
Thank you for your generosity!

Madeline11/07/2014 - 10:51 am

One summery thing I hope to do is take my daughter to the fair for the first time! And my favorite summer fruit has always been mangos. I eat them plain, when they’re perfect and ripe :)

Mandy11/07/2014 - 12:00 pm

First, by the end of summer, I want to finally achieve a headstand!

Second, PEACHES!! I have two simple favorites – sliced fresh, atop a crispy polenta cake, topped with gorgonzola/feta/goat cheese and some honey, or a salad of sliced peaches, red onion, feta and mint, drizzled with olive oil, salt & pepper.

Lisa11/07/2014 - 2:07 pm

With the abundance of fruits and vegetables available in California’s central valley during the summer it is difficult to pick just one, but one all-time favorite is the Kingsburg sweet 100 tomatoes. I like to eat them in a salad or on pasta if any make it home from the farmer’s market — I’ll eat them out of the basket!

Kristin R11/07/2014 - 2:40 pm

This summer I am looking forward to planting my “verticle” gardens to hang from my fence!

My favorite summer food is (hands down) watermelon! This season has brought so many scrumptious, sweet and mouth watering melons to my table,its an endless amount of pure bliss!

Anna11/07/2014 - 3:29 pm

My favourite summer fruit is local strawberries. And my favourite way to eat them is right out of the box after I buy them, walking around the farmers market.

Erin11/07/2014 - 6:44 pm

Looks great! This summer I’m looking forward to mastering the art of great, healthy ‘travel snacks’ and there is nothing better than basil being used for fresh pesto :)

Elise Hill11/07/2014 - 7:48 pm

I have been a longtime fan of Golubka and this cookbook looks like a glorious continuation on paper. This coming weekend I am crossing off my summer list, wine tasting and camping along the Oregon coast. My favorite summer vegetable would have to be sun-ripened tomatoes consumed with burrata and sea salt because it reminds me of my honeymoon in Big Sur, CA.

Alison11/07/2014 - 9:38 pm

Berries! As many different ones as I can get my hands on!! Hopefully I will get to fit in a day on a picking farm in, before the season is over.

Anya11/07/2014 - 10:16 pm

Laura, I am so, so honored! Thank you for such a kind, thoughtful review – you saw in the book exactly what I hoped readers would see. Hope you get to try the crumble soon :)

Cait12/07/2014 - 10:50 am

My favorite is fresh corn from the farmers market- grilled with cilantro lime butter, or roasted, cut off the cob, and in a salad with cherry tomatoes, avocado, crab meat, and a honey lime vinaigrette. Yummmmm!

Summer to do list? Books- reading as many as I can out in the sunshine!

Samantha12/07/2014 - 11:39 am

This recipe looks outrageously good.

My favourite summer fruit are cherries, eaten by the handful directly from the tree. Preferably after biking to the orchard!

Leah12/07/2014 - 11:51 am

Stunning photos as always!!

I would love to have an outdoor picnic this summer complete with a fancy picnic basket.

My favorite summer fruit is peaches and I love a good peach cobbler :)

Kaitlin12/07/2014 - 9:51 pm

Grilled peaches with homemade ricotta, honey, and a pinch of salt is a summer favorite and I’m hoping to go blueberry picking in Mississippi!

Sarah12/07/2014 - 11:01 pm

I was introduced to your blog recently and find myself browsing it often for inspiration and recipes! It truly is a beautiful place to visit! Myself and my family are gluten, dairy and meat free. Anya’s cookbook sounds like a wonderful fit for us! Her recipes that you mentioned have piqued my interest. I would love a copy of her book! To answer question number two, my favourite summertime veg is snap peas. I love their sweetness, and the warmth of the sun soaked pods juxtaposed with the cool crunch of the peas inside. I like them best straight from the plant still standing in my garden. I especially like when my kids are by my side sharing them with me!

Tess13/07/2014 - 3:36 am

The flavours here are so intriguing! I can’t wait to visit my dad who lives far away, as is summer tradition. I just moved to Minneapolis from Winnipeg, Canada and I really look forward to exploring Minnesota on camping trips during these brief but beautiful warm months. Juicy nectarines, peaches, strawberries and cherries are my favourite summer foods. I’m going to make a tart with fresh strawberries so very soon!

Lydia Claire13/07/2014 - 3:54 am

Strawberries mixed in with vegan yogurt!

Liz S.13/07/2014 - 7:28 am

My favorite summer fruit = fresh bing cherries. I eat them with raw walnuts or on top of coconut milk ice cream.

Marie13/07/2014 - 7:40 am

Salads! Soft butter lettuce from Josh and Melissa’s farm and Tokyo turnips, purple radishes, green onions and hemp seeds sprinkled all over, dressed with a yummy maple syrup, lemon juice, garlic and balsamic dressing! Oooh! So good that we dream about it and celebrate the start of the Farmers’ Market season by taking the day off so we can take the time to catch up with everyone, and check out new vendors. Love Summer and all the salad possibilities that lie ahead!

Christy13/07/2014 - 9:20 am

My favorite summer produce is rhubarb – I love to eat it in strawberry-rhubarb pie! It makes me think of my grandparents and how they always grew rhubarb specifically for strawberry-rhubarb pie :D

Jessica Brown13/07/2014 - 9:26 am

I love making paletas, it is a wonderful contrast to the suffocating humidity of New York City in the summer. My favourite to date is jalapeño and pinapple. I can’t have a weekend in the city without a picnic in the park, people watching – two essentials… portable speakers and cheese!

Ursula13/07/2014 - 10:15 am

1) We crossed off setting up a hammock chair in the backyard to cozy up and read with my four year old.
2) We really love our arugula, cilantro and mint straight out of the garden. Otherwise, making your Vanilla-Stewed Rhubarb is always a favourite, and we never go without watermelon mint popsicles in the freezer!

Cristina13/07/2014 - 10:41 am

Your blog is awesome.

Tomatoes, hands down. Roughly cut and topped with sea salt, basil and a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil. Stir and let sit until the juices start running then eat and sop it all up with a fresh baguette.

Leanne13/07/2014 - 11:24 am

1. i am making the forest hike a regular weekend trip
2. tomatoes on toast with basil and honey – tastes like summer every time

your blog is beautiful and makes me excited to cook. couldn’t ask for more :)

Heather13/07/2014 - 12:41 pm

This past week I crossed off my must-have summer adventure: overnight camping on a mountaintop in the Smoky Mountains. After quite a wild thunderstorm in the evening, we were treated to a lovely foggy morning hike through the forest.

Tomatoes and corn on the cob win the fruit/veg of summer contest for me. I like thick slices of tomato, topped with plain yogurt, fresh basil, and s+p. And I like my corn grilled and topped with a chili-butter.

Emm13/07/2014 - 1:53 pm

I am obsessed with zucchini spaghetti! I just made some with pesto last night. I finally purchased a spiralizer and I highly recommend it. The Vibrant Table sounds like my kinda book! I would love to have a copy. This summer I want to:

Host a candlelight dinner for 20 in my backyard – we did it two years ago and it was magical. Something about a balmy night and the sound of many friends enjoying it together.

Make a dessert with sweet, sweet pluots. Maybe a cobbler – I like crisps, but I’m craving that cake-y batter with the intense juice from the fruit.

Rachel B13/07/2014 - 3:04 pm

1. Take a day trip on my bike, outside of NYC.
2. Grilled peaches and halloumi cheese. As an appetizer, while preparing a gourmet meal for friends and family.

Christa13/07/2014 - 5:26 pm

Oh my, lovely.

Definitely blueberries, eaten right off the bush. My favorite PIYO place just opened today, and I’m going Wednesday. Can’t wait!

Amanda13/07/2014 - 8:08 pm

Love the recipe! I discovered kohlrabi this summer, and love it in a simple vinegar-based coleslaw.

Meg13/07/2014 - 8:13 pm

This looks DIVINE! I’ve had CRAZY cravings for zucchini pasta and pesto lately (what can I say–summer = basil = ALL THE PESTO!!) so this is definitely happening soon. The peaches are an unexpected addition but, no doubt, delicous.

I’d have to say my favourite thing about summer is going for a nice relaxing run or walk in the evening, just as the sun is going down and the breeze is cooling off.

Happy summer!

sophie wolanski13/07/2014 - 8:15 pm

It’s too hard for me to choose one blanket summer favorite, but right now having just come back from a trip to Brazil, where they’re really not about the vegetable or good fresh bread, I’m obsessed with: a perfectly CREAMY AVOCADO spread extra thick on a slice of SPROUTED MICHE, topped with a WHITE ANCHOVY and a good squeeze of LEMON. Ooooh and fresh, crunchy, spicy RADISHES dipped in whipped BUTTER topped with SALT.Omg my stomach is rumbling I need to go……….

S Brenner13/07/2014 - 9:24 pm

1. Something seasonal you plan to cross off your list this summer: seeing the sun for as many of the next weekends as I can (i.e. escaping the San Francisco summer fog).

2. Your favourite summer fruit or vegetable and your go-to way to eat it: Current favorites, heirloom tomato sliced and garnished with crumbled feta cheese, oregano, and nice olive oil (great accompaniment to a homemade herb and fennel spanikopita w/ spelt dough) OR any berries or watermelon I can get my hands on. I’m particularly into making ‘fresca’ (w/o extra sugar)…water, ice, and a few strawberries or pieces of watermelon into the blender. Verrry refreshing!

kelli heidtmann13/07/2014 - 9:40 pm

I am going to build myself an outdoor sleeping area, covered and screen, cool and breezy

Cristina Lopez14/07/2014 - 1:43 am

my summer goal is to go on a road trip up north, and enjoy and revel in the beauty of summer minus the crazy heat waves. preferably with my dog :)

Kristin14/07/2014 - 6:05 am

Asparagus!!!! We love to put a little olive oil, lemon and a secret seasoning mix that has a little kick to it then put them on the grill. Delicious!

Deanna14/07/2014 - 2:55 pm

This summer I’m learning how to grill! I finally bought a grill after 2 years so I’m hoping to find some good recipes and not burn everything :). I love zucchini pasta and this recipe looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Kasey14/07/2014 - 4:21 pm

I have been loving seeing all these zucchini noodles! I’ve only recently started making them, and am totally hooked. Thea edition of peaches and pesto?? Just. Brilliant. xo

[…] This one requires a julienne peeler to make the zucchini “noodles,” though you could use a regular peeler and then just stack and slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. But basically you just make pesto with pumpkin seeds in a food processor, mix with the zucchini strands, and add peaches. Get the recipe. […]

Ashlae15/07/2014 - 10:24 am

I’ve been wanting to try the zucchini spaghetti ever since I got my hands on the book – but the last time I ate raw zucchini I was bed ridden for two days with what I still swear is the worst stomach bug I’ve ever had. It probably wasn’t the zucchini, but every time I look at zucchini noodles I’m taken back to that terribly miserable day. However, that pesto is another story. I’m gonna smother some brown rice noodles in it later tonight and *maybe* shred some zucchini on top. BABY STEPS, YO.

PS – Your photos always make me swoon. And I think I tell you that every time.

[…] This one requires a julienne peeler to make the zucchini “noodles,” though you could use a regular peeler and then just stack and slice the zucchini as thinly as possible. But basically you just make pesto with pumpkin seeds in a food processor, mix with the zucchini strands, and add peaches. Get the recipe. […]

[…] Zucchini Spaghetti with Pumpkin Seed Pesto + Peaches is my kind of summer […]

well, hello monday… |21/07/2014 - 8:01 am

[…] my ‘i NEED all these things. right. now.’ list: one. two. three. four. […]

[…] what was it that finally had me take the plunge? Seeing this beautiful recipe. I wanted to make pretty little delicate raw zucchini noodles too. I think it was […]

Brian @ A Thought For Food22/07/2014 - 9:50 pm

I can’t remember if I posted on this or not… the recipe seems somewhat familiar but I just can’t recall if I ever told you how beautiful it is. I’m kind of obsessed with everything in this dish. Especially the pesto. I could eat pesto every day and be a happy camper.

[…] zucchini spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto and peaches. […]

Kathryne01/08/2014 - 10:06 am

Laura, gorgeous photos, as always. Anya’s book is lovely. It’s so fun to see others’ visual interpretations of recipes. Your kitchen! I love it. Can we talk sometime about how you sealed those counters? I got a kitchen island from Ikea with a similar top and it doesn’t look so good.

Denise03/08/2014 - 12:56 am

Thank you for the inspiration. This is my favorite summer lunch. Pumpkin seeds are a perfect replacement for pine nuts-I’m allergic to tree nuts.

wiaw: peach edition |06/08/2014 - 8:03 am

[…] sound like a weird combo, right? no. you are wrong. i found this little recipe on pinterest (gosh, i drool over her food!!) and even added it to a well, hello monday…post. […]

[…] Zucchini spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto and peaches (hopefully our rental has a vegetable peeler!) […]

Kelly @ Nosh and Nourish10/08/2014 - 11:56 am

You’re my new favorite blog!!! I am making this for lunch and couldn’t be more excited! xoxo, Kelly

cherries + bourbon, two and a half ways

under a cherry tree // the first messwashed // the first messbrown booze // the first messarugula + basil flowers // the first messwashing the greens // the first messpre-grill // the first mess
Gnarly old tree limbs drooping to the ground from the weight of cherries is a potent sign of summer’s start for me. There’s an unkempt little orchard in tall grass near my parents house and you can see the shiny jewels draping from the branches in clusters, even when you’re driving by a little too fast. I walked over with my mum and the pup to take a look-see at the ripeness last week. Standing at the trunks found me under a shady canopy of fruit and leaves just rustling in the wind. Everyone should see a cherry orchard at least once in their life.

If you’re like me, summer’s got you way more interested in feeling things rather than reading about those things on a screen. The pull to the online world just isn’t as strong for all of the obvious reasons. This is mostly just to say that posts for the next couple months might be a bit heavier on images and overall vibe-heavy expression-like things, as opposed to the usual lengthy dribble on life stuff, the ways of food and such and such. Hope you can dig.

So with that, I’ll tell you that I get in phases where my go-to drink is a Maker’s Mark Manhattan served up + totally, totally with those ridiculous maraschino cherries that are basically poison. I’m a stickler for the traditional aspect and accept that not every bar is going to stock hand picked, small batch-processed fruit for my fancy lady drink. Still though, I love the combination with fresh cherries in season when I have the option. So I made a few things to go along with that theme.

There’s a vegan and almost raw vanilla bean cheesecake with bourbon cherries and maple syrup. It’s as good as it sounds, and I realized that the addition of kombucha, that awesome fermented tea beverage, in the batter really amps up the cheesecake-y-ness. Secondly, there’s a salad of grilled zucchini, radicchio, fresh arugula (from our garden..!), cherries, pecans and basil with bourbon vinaigrette. Trying to get y’all hammered from a salad–are you really surprised? Lastly there’s a little half’er of a recipe for a summer imbibe that’s a smash, ice + pour away from total leisure. See you at the beach?

Big hugs,

vegan + almost raw bourbon cherry cheesecake // the first mess

vegan + almost raw bourbon cherry cheesecake // the first messgrilled zucchini, radicchio + arugula salad with bourbon vinaigrette + cherries // the first messa porch drink // the first messbourbon smushed with cherries, lime + maple syrup // the first mess
1. vegan + almost raw cheesecake with bourbon cherries

serves: 10-12
notes: I like to toss up the cherries right before I serve this, just to preserve the juicy bite. Also if you don’t want to buy kombucha for this, feel free to sub in the same amount of almond or other plant-based milk.

2 cups pitted medjool dates
handful of dried sour cherries (or a couple extra dates)
1 1/4 cups raw almonds
1/2 tsp sea salt

3 cups raw pine nuts or cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours
1 tbsp bourbon
1/4 cup plain kombucha
zest and juice of 1 lemon (you want 1/4 cup of juice)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup/raw honey/agave nectar
2/3 cup melted coconut oil

2-3 cups pitted fresh cherries, chopped
1 tbsp bourbon
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1-2 tbsp maple syrup

In a food processor, blitz the crust ingredients until the almonds are ground up small and the mixture sticks together when you grab a clump of it. Press the crust mixture into a parchment lined load pan. Once it’s even and packed down flat, set aside in the fridge.

Combine all of the filling ingredients in an upright blender and blend on high, scraping down here and there, and adding more liquid if necessary. Once the mixture is creamy and smooth, scrape it into the loaf pan on top of the crust. Place the cheesecake in the freezer to firm up for at least 3 hours.

In a medium bowl, toss the cherries, bourbon, vanilla bean seeds and maple syrup. Remove the cheesecake from the pan and spoon the cherries on top, ensuring that you get all of the liquid as well. Serve slices with extra cherries if you like.

2. grilled zucchini and radicchio salad with arugula, cherries + bourbon vinaigrette
serves: 4
notes: Once they’re on, some grilled peaches would be really delicious in this mix.

bourbon vinaigrette:
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp hot mustard (or dijon)
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves chopped fine
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt + pepper
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil

4- 5 handfuls washed arugula
3 medium zucchini, cut into long slices
1 head of radicchio, cut into wedges with the core intact
olive oil
salt + pepper
za’atar spice (optional)
chopped basil/basil flowers to your liking
1 cup pitted fresh cherries, halved
handful of pecans, toasted and crushed

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in an upright blender and blend until you have a homogenous mix. Set the vinaigrette aside.

Preheat a grill to medium high. Arrange the arugula on a large platter. Lay the zucchini slices and radicchio wedges out on a baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and the za’atar (is using). Toss the vegetables a bit to coat. Grill the vegetables until char marks appear on all sides and the zucchini is a bit softer. Remove vegetables from the grill and place on the platter with the arugula.

Scatter the chopped basil/flowers, cherries and pecans on top of the salad. Pour the vinaigrette on top and serve.

2 ½. a summer sipper with bourbon, cherries + maple syrup
notes: I just crush the fruit in the glass so it can slowly hang with the booze while I sip. But if you want a tidier presentation, I would muddle the fruit in a shaker, add some ice, shake it with the bourbon and strain it onto clean ice in rocks glasses with a little cherry garnish.

2 hefty lime wedges
4 pitted fresh cherries
couple drops of bitters (I used orange bitters)
1/2 tsp maple syrup
ice (I like large cubes with this because they make for more leisurely sippin’)
3 ounces bourbon

In two rocks glasses, divide the lime wedges, cherries, bitters, and maple syrup. Crush the fruit with a muddler or a pestle. Once you have some juice releasing, add some ice to the glasses. Pour 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon into each glass and stir. Sip slowly.

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Melissa03/07/2014 - 5:52 am

This looks absolutely delicious. If I don’t have kombucha what would I use instead? It’s winter here in Australia so summer seems like a lid stance memory.

Kathryn03/07/2014 - 6:07 am

When the images are as beautiful as yours always are Laura, I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about having more of them! Happy summer friend xo

Elzette03/07/2014 - 7:16 am

Oh wow. Have bookmarked this. I need to host a BBQ day where I make exactly all of this in the post, for the day! Like a copy and past effect… ;)
Looks SO good! And lovely photos!

Laura Wright03/07/2014 - 8:05 am

Hi Melissa, you can sub the kombucha with almond or any other plant based milk.

Brian @ A Thought For Food03/07/2014 - 8:06 am

Ok… now I know the two of us would be friends. This has my two favorite things… well, actually, three if we include the cheesecake (I can look past the vegan/raw element because I’m sure it’s incredibly creamy).

mimi03/07/2014 - 9:11 am

Such beautiful photographs. Your grilled veggies with cherries is really intriguing! I just wish I liked bourbon…

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth03/07/2014 - 9:18 am

Wonderful recipes for the holiday weekend! And your gorgeous photos make them even more enticing. Summer’s off to a great start!

michelle03/07/2014 - 9:44 am

Gorgeous! All of it! I have a giant bottle of Makers Mark that is so ready for that libation this weekend. Also, nice glasses ;)

lynsey03/07/2014 - 10:01 am

I just bought that big ice cube tray and it is my new obsession… those big ice cubes are perfect for summertime drinks. Beautiful recipes!! xo.

Grace03/07/2014 - 10:45 am

I just want to soak this all in. So much beauty and feeling. It all looks wonderful!

sil @ entre jardins03/07/2014 - 10:57 am

That cherry cheesecake is sounds / looks divine, just my kind of dessert! Never used alcohol in my cheesecakes, does bourbon leave a strong taste? *silvia

Laura Wright03/07/2014 - 11:01 am

Hi Sil! Bourbon is a bit strong, but it has a natural sweetness/smoky quality too. If it’s not your kind of thing, feel free to leave it out entirely–it won’t make an absolutely huge difference :)

Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)03/07/2014 - 12:05 pm

I am in love.

Christine03/07/2014 - 12:51 pm

Everything you make always looks so beautiful! I am excited to try these, you might make a bourbon-drinker out of me yet!

Kasey03/07/2014 - 3:00 pm

I’m ALL about feeling things this summer. What a beauty! xoxo

Kate03/07/2014 - 4:37 pm

I dig. Times three. Times infinity. Happy summer, Laura!

[…] Cherries + Bourbon, Two and a Half Ways from The First Mess […]

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[…] cherries and bourbon! give me all the cherries and […]

Sini | my blue&white kitchen05/07/2014 - 11:38 am

If you have cherries and Bourbon, nothing can go wrong, rigth? Ever so inspiring, Laura! Hope your July started bright and sunny. xoxo

Liz @ Floating Kitchen05/07/2014 - 12:19 pm

Beautiful photos! I’m eating my weight in cherries this last few weeks. So good. This cocktail sounds really great!

Ami@NaiveCookCooks05/07/2014 - 4:21 pm

Girl, this cheesecake, those bourbon cherries and salad are so perfect together. Just what you need to enjoy with some friends!

[…] Encore une recette (enfin même deux) mais avec des cerises cette fois, et mon cœur balance pour ce… […]

Kelly08/07/2014 - 10:32 am

Girl, you are just so effing good. Virtual hugging you right now.

Thalia @ butter and brioche09/07/2014 - 9:58 pm

YUM. awesome flavour combination… thanks for the great recipe and interesting read. glad i stumbled across your website.

Nikki@doctorsliferecipe10/07/2014 - 7:20 pm

Hello summer !! I feel like I’m in heaven !!

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño18/07/2014 - 4:48 pm

Stunning photos! That drink looks killer, going to pour myself a tall one right now!

Kerianne28/07/2014 - 11:42 pm

I just made the cheesecake for friends of ours and she said “if this is what vegan/gluten free food tastes like, sign me up!”. It was SO delicious and I’m glad I added the Kombucha for the extra tang. Your recipes are my go-to’s. Thx for the constant inspiration and delicious healthy recipes!

vanilla bean millet porridge with lavender strawberries + super seeds

vanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messlavender // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first mess
We’ve had our fair share of rain and thunderstorms in these parts lately. It’s been good for setting the mood when developing some recipes for fall and such, but more importantly it’s made for some cozy , very high quality mornings. Once we get into spring + summer, my days of sit-down breakfasts promptly come to a close. Sometimes I like to fix up a raw chia pudding or buckwheat porridge, but generally coffee/tea is just fine right away, and then maybe I’ll have a smoothie or some fruit (or a pastry, cuz sometimes you got to) later on. Something about the heat and umpteen million things to do outside pulling me away from those solitary early moments.

Every week there are more things to do with new challenges, and in this season of life it feels like that notion has exploded times a thousand. Taking moments for simply being leads to better awareness as a human that can say and do out in the world. More opportunities for stillness lead to better connection with the presence of capital-G-good in other forces. I’ve developed an acute sense of how much I need that lately.

Years ago, I used to work at a sometimes stupidly busy café/lunch/brunch spot in Toronto and when I came home after my 40-minute, million miles an hour walk home, I needed to have solitude in the most critical of ways. Even now when I pull up to my porch after a Saturday night service or whatever, it’s weird that someone in my house is still up when I just expect all lights out and the still quiet of night. I guess I’m still adjusting to it. Full absorption in a body + mind decompress/daily moment of simply being has historically been my scene out of a certain social necessity, so I’m trying to reclaim that.

I don’t think it’s simplistic to observe that breakfast helps with that process either. When I think of that morning meal, I think of grains and mindfully stirring them or soaking them prior to the whole process. Even my super quick morning smoothies feature some soaked oats or raw buckwheat most times. There’s an elemental quality to these hearty stores from the fields, a notion that we can hardly be, much less go about our day without them. It’s a foodstuff you can lean on when times are tough, literally and figuratively speaking I suppose.

I feel like most if not all of you are familiar with Erin Alderson’s blog, Naturally Ella, at this point. Erin is an expert at making delicious, vegetarian, whole food recipes feel approachable, and her new book The Homemade Flour Cookbook is most certainly an extension of that. A book focused on making your own flour from grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, and then incorporating that flour into your cuisine was a challenging thought to me at first–I don’t grind too much of my own flour really. Mostly chickpeas and oats if I’m gonna go there. But Erin makes some serious arguments for better taste and nutrient value throughout. She also details different routes for milling flour at home–including a coffee grinder technique that’s within anyone’s reach.

My first go was a sweet version of her ground millet “polenta” for my re-established breakfast routine and whoa! Seriously so good. I wound up eating mine mostly cold and still enjoyed it so much. It’s kind of wild to see a grain that you know and love in a new and delicious light. Her version in the book is savoury with chickpeas and a spicy tomato chutney, and gosh doesn’t that sound just too good? I’ve always liked strawberries combined in a baked good with cornmeal, and since millet has a bit of a corn-vibe, I knew this combination would work. The vanilla warms it up a bit and I just really enjoy lavender with berries, so that got plucked from the backyard right quick. Bonus: once I had the millet ground up (which wasn’t even a big deal), this was ready in about 15 minutes. I’m also interested in trying her quinoa-crusted cauliflower steaks, hazelnut pumpkin muffins, and the zucchini and corn empanadas with spelt dough really soon. Nice work, Erin!

Hope you’re all starting summer on a strong, solid foot of serious being :) xo

The Homemade Flour Cookbook by Erin Alderson // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messground millet // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first messvanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds {via The Homemade Flour Cookbook} // the first mess

vanilla bean millet porridge w/ lavender strawberries + super seeds
lightly adapted from The Homemade Flour Cookbook
serves: 2
notes: I don’t grind the millet all the way into flour because I prefer to have some cracked bits of grain for texture.

lavender strawberries:
1 cup diced strawberries
1/2 tbsp maple syrup (+ extra for serving if you like)
1-2 tsp lavender buds, crushed with your fingers

super seeds (makes extra!):
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted (or not)
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted (or not)

millet porridge:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 ground cinnamon or ground cardamom
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup filtered water
heaped 1/2 cup of ground millet (in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender)
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used fancy pink salt)
seeds scraped from a 1/3 vanilla bean OR 1/2 tsp extract/paste

Place the diced strawberries in a small-medium bowl and stir them up with the maple syrup and lavender buds. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together all of the seeds for the super seed mixture and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the ground cinnamon and stir it up until fragrant, about 30 seconds. You should have a cinnamon oil of sorts. Add the almond milk and water and stir. Bring the mixture to a light boil, add the ground millet along with the salt and whisk. Continue to whisk the mixture as it cooks. Once it’s thickened up to the consistency of polenta, pull it off the heat. Allow the millet porridge to sit for a moment, add the vanilla, and whisk it again lightly and serve with lavender strawberries, super seeds and extra milk or maple syrup if you like.

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Millie l add A Little18/06/2014 - 4:40 am

This is so gorgeous – I absoloutely love the way you presented it!

Kathryn18/06/2014 - 5:23 am

I love the idea of taking a few moments of stillness at the start of the day and channeling that focus into a delicious bowl of goodness. Love your take on Erin’s recipe and the beautiful way you’ve brought it to life.

Anne @AVeganAdventure18/06/2014 - 5:58 am

This looks delightful! I’ve just started playing with making my own flours, so I’ll have to try this, and Erin’s cookbook as well. I don’t see the vanilla bean in the ingredient list though. Is it added to the porridge or the strawberries? Either would be fantastic I guess. Thanks!

[…] Chocolate Espresso Doughnuts // Berry Cobbler with Oat Dumplings // Grilled Polenta and Zucchini Salsa // Amaranth Pancakes // Tomato Basil Socca Pizza // Socca Pizza with Summer Squash and Feta // Nut Flour Crepes with Roasted Fruit //  Rhubarb Blueberry Apple Pie // Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge […]

Anoushé18/06/2014 - 6:29 am

Such beautiful pictures! I need to try this!

Laura Wright18/06/2014 - 6:45 am

Anne! Thanks for noticing that. I’ll fix it up :)

I am so inspired by your peaceful perspective. I love that you see making breakfast as a chance for mindfulness. So often I am so busy multitasking through the breakfast hour I forget if I even had breakfast. It is just the dirty skillet on the stove that confirms that I had it. Love this idea. I have recently started getting into millet. It is a new favorite grain here.

Sheila18/06/2014 - 7:16 am

You take beautiful photos :)

Leah18/06/2014 - 8:23 am

There is something really calming about just easing into the day and it is hard to get motivated to put a lot of effort into breakfast and then cleaning it all up. But this is motivating me to do a little more breakfast cooking. Looks delicious! Gorgeous photos!

Abby @ The Frosted Vegan18/06/2014 - 8:53 am

So so pretty and gorgeous! I love that you capture the light and beauty of the everyday. Your words on just being are well heard, I needed to read that today!

Lindsey18/06/2014 - 8:53 am

I totally feel you on the being present/still tip! I am feeling that more than ever these days, especially when you feel like it’s all moving too fast. i wish you all the best moving into this new, beautiful season and can’t wait to see what you’re developing for the fall! hugs + deep breaths! xo

Ashley18/06/2014 - 8:55 am

Your photos are a work of art. There’s so much life in them and they mirror your words perfectly. And this sentence… “Every week there are more things to do with new challenges, and in this season of life it feels like that notion has exploded times a thousand.” Your words are the thoughts I have but can’t put into words. :) — I’m kind of in love with millet porridge and Erin’s book is such a winner! Beautiful!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth18/06/2014 - 9:03 am

There is something about lavender that is very calming and peaceful. Such a stroke of brilliance to add it to this delicious breakfast!

lynsey // lynseylovesfood18/06/2014 - 9:32 am

reading your posts are so calming and energizing all in one swoop!! Mindfulness + the need to run to the kitchen immediately all wrapped into one!! xo

Grace18/06/2014 - 9:33 am

I read your post all wide-eyed without blinking. These pictures, the light, the words and your styling – all so stunning!

cheri18/06/2014 - 10:09 am

I love Erin’s blog will have to order a copy of her book. Love what you did with the millet, beautiful pictures.

Libby18/06/2014 - 10:15 am

I feel like if I were to take a photograph of porridge, it would just look utterly unappetizing. But this is so gorgeous and beautiful (as are all of your photographs).
I’ve never used lavender or millet in my kitchen but your recipes always tend to pull me towards directions that I’ve never taken before. I can’t wait to try it. It sounds truly delicious.

Julia18/06/2014 - 11:20 am

Laura, how do you grind the millet? Can I do it in an improvised way since I don’t have a coffee grinder?

Rose Citron18/06/2014 - 3:43 pm

Amazing idea! I love millet, I have to try this porridge :)

Laura Wright18/06/2014 - 5:26 pm

Hi Julia, you could certainly use a food processor or a blender, if either of those options is available to you.

hannah18/06/2014 - 7:28 pm

Laura, I ALWAYS find your words and recipes are sooo in tune with what I am thinking/feeling/craving at any given moment. How funny! And lovely.
How long did the millet take to cook?
h xx

Lisa @ Simple Pairings18/06/2014 - 9:08 pm

Love this! I’m a big fan of wholesome dishes like this. My current favorite is buckwheat, but your millet version looks fabulous, too. The strawberries make it look so appetizing. I also love the ‘super seeds’ part!

Jen from New Hippie Kitchen18/06/2014 - 9:22 pm

Wow! What a great idea. I love polenta and this would be a great alternative to using corn. Can’t wait to try it.

Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures18/06/2014 - 10:15 pm

Isn’t ‘The Homemade Cookbook’ so wonderful? It’s been rainy here and I’ve been enjoying cuddling up with some new cookbooks as well! This porridge you made is gorgeous as always!

Laura Wright19/06/2014 - 7:59 am

Hi Hannah! I would say the millet took a good 10-12 mminutes to get to proper thickness, with fairly constant whisking.

Irene @ {a swoonful of sugar}19/06/2014 - 8:14 am

This is such a gorgeous post! Now I’m just dying to get my hands on some edible lavender! Beautiful flavour combos :)

[…] and Kate (GF) Nut Flour Crepes with Roasted Fruit from Shanna + Tim of Food Loves Writing (GF) Vanilla Bean Millet Porridge with Lavender Strawberries + Super Seeds from Laura of The First Mess (Vegan + GF) Sweet Potato and Lentil Gnocchi from Kathryn of London […]

Ida Skivenes20/06/2014 - 3:40 am

I just made this (topped with apricots and blueberries instead of the lavender strawberries though), it’s very easy and utterly delicious. The only thing that confused me was where the vanilla bean comes in? It’s mentioned in the title and further up the text but not in the ingredients or the instructions. However, I just threw in some vanilla into the porridge as it was cooking and it worked fine. Thanks for a great new recipe for my breakfast repertoire! :)

[…] vanilla bean porridge with lavender strawberries. all over the […]

Alessandra21/06/2014 - 3:23 pm

You had me at lavender! Looks absolutely amazing as always!

Sini | my blue&white kitchen22/06/2014 - 9:44 am

This porridge is just way too beautiful. Absolutely in love with this recipe and these pictures!

Our Food Stories23/06/2014 - 10:56 am

oh my…that looks SO delicious!! can you please send it over to berlin for breakfast ;)

[…] Un porridge au millet et avec… des fraises. […]

Susan25/06/2014 - 2:39 pm

too tempting not to try!

spotlight | This is for Real26/06/2014 - 6:51 pm

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Angela Brown02/07/2014 - 12:44 pm

Holy God…these pictures are gorgeous! The third in this post is simply beautiful! Really lovely work!

Tom12/07/2014 - 1:04 am

Hey , this recipe look amazing , but I just wanted to know if I can use ground quinoa instead ground millet ?!?! Have a nice day ….. !!!!!

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Caitlin @ teaspoon13/07/2014 - 3:54 pm

I’m so excited to try this! I just found out I’m allergic to oats and eggs and most gluten, so breakfast is a bit difficult to say the least. Millet is all good though! Can’t wait to try it out. That cookbook sounds pretty awesome as well.

Laura Wright14/07/2014 - 8:58 am

Hey Tom, I’ve never tried quinoa in this application, but I think it’s worth a shot. Might have a bit of a stronger flavour profile than the millet–and it’ll definitely cook faster, which is a bonus. Let me know if it works!

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño15/07/2014 - 6:49 am

I have everything to make this and now I can’t wait for breakfast! I’m always looking for new ways to eat millet, I’ve found a room temp salad is my favorite, but have never tried it ground. Thanks!

[…] Credit / Recipe Link : The First Mess […]

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