This sandwich is so much more than a sandwich, you guys. Garlic chicken pitas with carrot salad and edamame hummus (say yes to green hummus!) are most likely magical. Some dishes require a kind of synergy of ingredients to be truly complete, know what I mean? That unearthly shimmer that seems to pass over a dish like the successful casting of a good witch's spell in a fairy tale, the flavors of each ordinary, individual part melding perfectly once they're all together. Pull those ingredients apart, however, and each are........somehow lacking. Refusing to shine. Much less than the sum of its parts. Like a lackluster solo career that never should have been (if there were a sandwich equivalent of Scott Weiland), it's simply more evidence that some partnerships are just not meant to be split up, ever.

This dish, though, guys? Definitely NOT one of those situations. Fantastic together, fantastic apart, whatever the situation calls for....each of the elements of this sandwich is your new mealtime best friend. Allow me to introduce you.

This colorful flatbread sandwich, including tender, citrus-glazed garlic chicken with carrot & feta salad and a generous schmear of edamame hummus is something more like a dream team, composed of only star players. Simple flavors--olive oil, garlic, lemon--repeat again and again like plucked notes against a strain of music, creating a kind of resonant harmony when the layers of this sandwich comes together. Yes, it's that good. But split it apart into three new recipes for your mealtime arsenal,'s still that good. These garlic-infused chicken breast slices, for example, could also moonlight as toppings for a hearty kale salad or sit atop a tangle of whole wheat pasta dressed lightly with olive oil and tomatoes. Sweet and earthy carrots play brilliantly off the tart brightness of fresh lemon juice and the salty tang of crumbled feta in a simply assembled carrot salad, one of my favorite side dishes ever. Try this alongside grilled lamb, layered in almost any sandwich, or tossed with leafy greens as a main-event salad. Carrot salad is a perennial hit in my household and formed the original inspiration for this layered pita sandwich, but I have to admit, it was nearly overtaken by a new favorite I discovered while developing this recipe: edamame hummus. Hummus. Made with edamame, you guys.This simple twist on classic hummus is lighter and fresher than the original, and takes on the kind of pretty, delicate green hue that always inspires wonder and hunger in me simultaneously. Edamame hummus is the kind of easygoing side dish that will happily play with flatbread, crisp raw vegetables, fancy crackers, and just about anything else you'd care to pair it with. All things being equal, I'd recommend a spoon. :)

Garlic Chicken Pitas with Edamame Hummus, and Carrot Feta Salad
Makes 4 servings

For marinated chicken:

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

For carrot feta salad:

3 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
3 teaspoons flat leaf parsley, chopped (divided)
1 tablespoon feta, crumbled

For edamame hummus:

8 oz. shelled edamame (frozen)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
¼ cup water
¼ cup tahini
4 pitas, or other flatbread of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, arrange chicken breasts in roasting pan. In a small bowl, whisk together one tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon lemon juice, one garlic clove the dried oregano, then drizzle this dressing over chicken and finish with a sprinkle of salt. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken breasts are done. Remove, season lightly with pepper to taste, then set aside to cool. Once chicken has cooled for about ten minutes, cut into ½” slices for serving.

Place grated carrots in a bowl, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil, one tablespoon lemon juice and one teaspoon honey over them, toss well with a fork. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon parsley and all of the crumbled feta over carrots, toss once more with a fork.

Heat a good amount of salted water to boiling in a medium saucepan, add edamame and boil for 5 minutes, then strain and place in bowl, set aside to let cool. Once cool, place edamame in a food processor with minced garlic clove, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons parsley, ¼ cup water and tahini. Puree until a smooth paste begins to form, then drizzle in the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil and continue to blend until the oil is absorbed.

To assemble sandwiches, spread a heaping tablespoon of edamame hummus on each pita (or inside, if using pitas pocket-style), top with slices of chicken and another heaping tablespoon of carrot feta salad. Fold, eat, and enjoy!


Carrot Apple Pecan Breakfast Cake

First we eat, then we do everything else.

- M.F. K. Fisher

What else could she have been talking about but breakfast? M.F.K. (whose name, because profanity always makes me giggle a bit, gives me great sorry, Mary Frances) Fisher's words were ringing in my ears the other day as I was out for my ritual morning walk* and dreamed up the idea for this hearty breakfast cake. A cake, but a good one, one you can feel good about eating for the first meal of the day. Lots of protein, ground almonds, yogurt, that sort of thing. It shouldn't feel too healthy though, there should be a certain amount of sin built in, just enough to promise fun for the day to come, so some sweet-and-ever-so-slightly-salty toasted pecans and a hit of real sugar in there, too. Gluten-free? Why not. Texture? Grated carrot and apple, for some extra sweetness, as well. Shape? Definitely a Bundt**. Let's do this breakfast thing.

( *The reason for getting out of bed at daybreak and doing that whole morning ritual walk thing in the first place? Two adorable, wet-nosed reasons. See below.

( **I've got Bundts on the brain lately, it seems)
Also, I've got to mention it just one more time....nominations for the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards close tonight, March 13th at midnight EST. Please consider nominating this site for this round of awards (just highlight/copy, then click over here to cast your nomination in Best New Voice/Best Writing/Best Photography, it couldn't be easier!), it would mean the world to me even to be a finalist in the best awards in food blogging. 

Carrot Apple Pecan Breakfast CakeSweet Laurel: Carrot Apple Pecan Breakfast Cake

I promise to keep the recipes for delicious things like Carrot Apple Breakfast Cake coming for a long time to come! Thanks for reading, all. On to the cake!!

Carrot Apple Breakfast Cake with Toasted Pecan Glaze*

( *Gluten-free!)

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup tapioca starch, plus about 1 tablespoon extra for dusting the pan
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup milk (you could also substitute 3/4 buttermilk for this mixture)
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated apple
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces, divided
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon water (or more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a cake pan (I used a 6-cup Bundt pan), lightly dust with tapioca starch, then tap off the excess. While oven is heating up, toast pecans on a baking sheet for a few minutes, until warmed and just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl to cool (nuts burn easily; if you leave them on the hot baking sheet they may darken too much. Ask me how I know this. Go on, ask me).

Place oats, brown rice flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl, stir to combine thoroughly. In another bowl, whisk together sugar and oil, then add egg and beat until well combined. Add yogurt + milk mixture (or buttermilk, if subsituting) and beat until smooth.

Add liquid mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, stir until everything is blended. Add carrot, apple, and 3/4 cup of pecans (reserving the rest), mix until just blended. Pout batter into prepared cake pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the thickest part can be removed cleanly. Remove and let cool. Turn cake out onto a plate.

Place 1/2 cup toasted pecans (this should leave you with 1/4 cup of pecans remaining) in a food processor with confectioner's sugar and water, blend into a smooth paste (you may need to sprinkle in additional amounts of water to keep blending, do this sparingly). The ideal, pourable consistency for this mixture is something like honey, it should be a runny enough glaze to spread down the sides of the cake when you pour it on. Add the rest of the pecan pieces, toss to coat, then pour the mixture evenly over top of cake. Serve once glaze has set up a bit, after twenty minutes or so.

Add a cup of coffee to this morning cake ritual and experience paradise. Trust me. :)