naan pizzas

It wouldn’t be summer if I wasn’t wiping noses and playing Bop It alone in a dark room.  (click on the link for a description of Bop It a.k.a the greatest game in the universe).

Wait, what?! You all probably expected me to say something more glamorous like “putting on tanning oil and playing volleyball in Aruba.” Nope, not me.

I’ve been working at the same summer camp for the past six summers.  Every year by week three, I ask myself why in the world I come back every year to clean up “accidents” and listen to “Down By the Bay” for the millionth time.  But nevertheless,   I find myself back at camp every June — with a box of Clorox wipes and an open mind.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If there’s one thing that playing with kids as a job has taught me, it is the importance of being able to roll with the punches.  I never know when a game of duck duck goose will turn into a WWA showdown.  I’ve learned that it can be an emotional experience when the lunch ladies switch from strawberry to grape jelly.  I’ve learned never to let my kids play Doodle Jump on my phone — it always ends in a dead battery and a lot of goo on my screen.  I’ve learned the importance of censoring spooky stories before telling them (recapping the Paranormal Activity 2 = not the move).  I’ve learned that when I tumble down a concrete staircase while daydreaming and sipping my Venti triple-shot latte, I need to take a break (I have the knee bruises to prove it).

I play patty-cake on the reg.  I can climb up a plastic slide faster than you ever will.  I smell like Clorox, play dough, and sunscreen.  Unstoppable? Kind of.

Working with the little munchkins is a ton of fun, but it can get noisy, messy, and sticky really fast.  I have no time to color-categorize pony beads, disinfect Legos, or bedazzle our class sign.  I just dump multicolored glitter on everything and call it a day. #yolo

Just like a class sign that is not made with a ruler, there’s something to be said about a recipe with no measurements.  That leads me to the recipe of the day: naan pizza.  Super easy, super savory.  It gives me time to scrub the tie-dye off my hands, and it’s always a hit. You’re a bacon guy?  Throw that hickory-smoked goodness all up in this pizza.  You’re vegan?  Slather this with tofu.  Go nuts with it (meaning you could even add some pine nuts to this).   Or just let it be, and make an easy-peasy Margarita with pesto like I did.  Just toss things on, add a little extra cheese, and add some fresh herbs to be classy.

Dinner = done.
Now I have time to buy more puffy paint at Micheal’s. 

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
Naan
Cheese
Basil
Toppings of Choice (pesto, tomatoes, Parmesan, bacon, whatever your heart desires)
Olive Oil

Preheat your broiler.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan.
Assemble all of your toppings (cheese + everything else) onto the naan.
Grill the pizza in the frying pan over medium-high heat for 5 min
Transfer pizza to the oven and broil until cheese is melty.
Enjoy!

 © Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

creamy roasted tomato basil pasta

I apologize for not posting for a while, but I have a legitimate excuse this time, so please hear me out.  See I have this medical condition…

It’s called spring fever.

Let me elaborate.  It’s something between a head cold and a rash.  Just like a head cold, I feel lazy as ever.  Book report? Heck no.  Clean my desk? Yeah right. Like a rash, I can’t stop itching.  Itching to go outside.

In the winter time, I have nothing better to do than make fifty blueberry muffins and photograph them from different angles.   Now that it’s 80-degrees, with sunbeams and clear skies, it’s been a real struggle to get my butt in the kitchen.  (Let alone whip out my DSLR).  It’s nothing personal, I swear, my history book feels neglected as well, my elliptical machine could use some love, and my hair could really use some deep conditioning.

Alas, all I want to do is slip on my shorts, run out the door with nothing but my house key, and go exploring.  That being said, at this time of year there’s nothing less appealing than slaving over the stove for hours preparing dinner.  I’ve officially kissed all of my roux, stews, and marinades good-bye until the October boredom sets in. 

Lately, I’ve been coming home late, opening the windows, turning on some breezy music, and whipping up some sinfully easy (and delicious dinners).  The goal is for me to be in and out of the kitchen before the sun sets.  There’s really nothing quite like flopping over in the sun after eating a gigantic bowl of cheesy pasta.

This pasta is on the table in less than 30 minutes.  Using roasted tomatoes adds an extra smoky touch (that just gets me even more psyched for BBQ season).  Cheese. Ease. A gentle summer breeze… Talk about instant gratification.  Who said a girl can’t have it all.

This is classic, good, old comfort food, that doesn’t require arugula.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup basil, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 10-12 ounces fusilli pasta (or any good pasta shape for holding this rich sauce)
Directions
  1. Bring large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, start the sauce.
  3. In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook one more minute.
  5. Add flour to onion mixture and stir to combine. Let cook another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Slowly add half and half and then the milk, stirring continuously.
  7. Add tomatoes then cook another 7-10, stirring often, to let sauce thicken.
  8. While the sauce cooking, add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
  9. With
    an immersion blender, puree sauce until your desired consistency. I
    left a few chunks, but wanted my sauce pretty smooth.
  10. Add basil and Parmesan and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, to your liking
  11. If sauce is too thick, add about 1/3 cup of the pasta water to thin it out, if you feel that is needed.
  12. Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine.
  13. Serve topped with additional Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! 

Adapted from Greens N’ Chocolate

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

tomato soup

My dad said that he could have soup and a toasty sandwich every day, and never get tired of it.

This soup is traditional, mellow, and has a lovely tomato flavor.  It conjures up peaceful, childhood memories — without coming from a red and white can.

As the days get cooler, and the air gets nippy, I start to think about comfort food.  Mac and cheese, lasagna, and warm biscuits come to mind.  Unfortunately, most of these dishes contain dairy, and my mom has sensitivity to dairy products. Luckily, this tomato soup is dairy free.  It’s nice, thick and creamy… but contains no heavy cream!  How do I achieve such a rich texture without dairy? Ritz crackers.  My dad always crumbles Ritz crackers onto his tomato soup, why not put them in the soup? When crumbled into the broth they act as a delicious, buttery thickening agent.

This soup is extremely easy to make, and uses all fresh, wholesome ingredients.  One of the things that makes this recipe unique is that it 100% fresh, roasted tomatoes.  Nothing comes from a can, bag, or freezer — resulting in an extremely rich, tomato flavor.

Whip up a pot of this steamy soup and cuddle up for some good, wholesome comfort.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients:
2 pounds fresh tomatoes (use small tomatoes, like plum or cherry)
4 garlic cloves (skin on)
4 small Vidalia onions, cut in half (or 2 regular onions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried basil
2-4 cups water (depending on how thin/thick you like your soup)
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Slice the tomatoes in halves and place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Place the garlic cloves and onion halves on a separate baking sheet and
drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast the vegetables until soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool.

Peel the skin off the garlic cloves and place with the rest of the
vegetables, in a food processor. Add about 2 cups of water and puree
until smooth. Add more water to reach your preferred consistency. Add to a large pot on the stove top and add Ritz crackers.  Simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust
the seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.

Adapted from Cup of Jo

provencal tomatoes

before being baked
 I took a trip to the farmer’s market this past weekend and picked up some gorgeous tomatoes.  Almost too pretty to eat.  These are nothing like the spongy, flavorless “tomatoes” that I find at the grocery store — these are juicy and bursting with flavor. This means that they only need simple treatment to be turned into a fabulous, healthy meal.
These provencal tomatoes are perfect for a light and refreshing summer dinner. They are a great side, but also make a stellar meal when served with some crusty bread to soak up all the juices. I took my beautiful, flavor-bursting tomatoes from the market, and filled them with aromatic provencal flavored breadcrumbs, garlic, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 
What is your favorite summer vegetable?
With love, 
Erica

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh rosemary, thyme and basil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
    after being baked

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out a little bit of the center of each. Arrange the tomatoes in a casserole dish and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic, and parmesan. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over each tomato. Drizzle the tomatoes liberally with olive oil.
Bake for 15 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes, or until golden brown.

caprese breakfast tartines and zucchini fries

 These caprese breakfast tartines speak for themselves: crunchy herb bread from the local bakery, slathered with homemade herb butter, fresh basil, juicy tomatoes, golden, bubbly melted cheese, and topped with a perfect sunny-side-down egg. I like to serve them with a side of perfectly crunchy, herb-y, Parmesan-y baked zucchini fries (one of the French-fries classier cousins…). Instead of explaining to you all how good these are, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
With love,
Erica

butter=melted
tomato-ed
cheese=grated

cheese-ed
cheese= bubbly, melted perfection
egg-ed
parm + panko
baked
crunchy!

caprese breakfast tartines

ingredients:
  • good bread (I used herb)
  • herb butter (this is my favorite recipe)
  • basil
  • tomatoes
  • sundried tomatoes
  • cheese (I used white cheddar, but mozzarella or Gouda would be very yummy too!)
  • eggs

Heat the broiler to 500 degrees. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch slices. Butter the bread and place on a baking sheet. Bake until butter melts (2-3 minutes).
On the non-buttered side, assemble the basil, tomatoes, and sundried tomatoes.
Grate the cheese and sprinkle on the tartines.
Return them to the oven, and broil until the cheese becomes golden and bubbly (keep your eye on them! mine usually take about 5 minutes).
Cook the eggs however you like them best (I like mine sunny-side down) and place one egg on each tartine.

parm-zucchini fries
 ingredients:

  • 3 large zucchini
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (other bread crumbs would be fine too)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut zucchini into thick French-fry-size sticks.
Now make the assembly line. Arrange 3 shallow, wide bowls or pie plates in a row. In the first bowl, mix flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In the third bowl, combine panko, Parmesan, rosemary (if using), and 1/2 tsp. salt.
First dip zucchini in flour, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg mixture and toss until coated, then coat zucchini in bread crumb mixture.
Arrange fries, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes and then rotate the pans. Continue to bake until panko coating is golden and crisp, 7 to 12 minutes more.

inspired by Oprah.