Issue 05

From Yucca Valley With Love

Desert sunshine, dreamy landscapes, and the most delicious girls' weekend ever.

Drive less than two hours east of L.A. and you’ll find yourself in the Mojave Desert—where the sky seems positively enormous, the rock formations are otherworldly, and the yucca plants dotting the sprawling landscape look like friendly space invaders. In other words, it’s the perfect place to gather your girls, unplug, and soak in that wild desert sun. But pulling together a weekend away can feel like trying to make the stars align. The last thing you want to do when you arrive at your destination is dive into kitchen duty. Unfussy food—like melon slices for poolside snacking, grilled pizzas, and a literal tabletop salad—is a must. For dessert? Popsicles that look as good as they taste. Take a couple bottles of nice rosé and some mezcal (serve on the rocks with a squeeze of lime) to round out the meal. And when the sun goes down and your heart is just as full as your belly, make sure you look up at that magical night sky and thank those stars for aligning.

Hibiscus-Coconut Popsicles

These two-toned beauties make for the perfect casual cooldown, so grab your popsicle molds and start freezing.

1½ cups water
1 cup sugar, divided
½ cup hibiscus (jamaica) leaves
½ cup coconut milk
2 limes, zested and juiced

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add ½ cup sugar. Once dissolved, turn off heat, add hibiscus leaves, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain leaves from hibiscus tea and let cool. In another small saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk and ½ cup sugar until sugar is dissolved; once cooled, add lime zest and juice. Fill popsicle molds halfway with hibiscus tea, add wooden popsicle sticks, and place in freezer until partially frozen, about 2 hours. Fill remainder of popsicle molds with coconut milk mixture and return to freezer overnight or until fully frozen.

Tabletop Salad

This simple salad is served right on the table, sans container, for a side of tasty, rustic greens.
4 cups mixed greens

¼ cup each parsley, mint, cilantro, and dill, chopped
½ cup red onions, thinly sliced

¼ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper

Throw greens and herbs into a big bowl of water to rinse. Lift the greens and herbs from the bowl and set aside on a towel-lined table. Toss sliced red onions into the greens. To make the dressing, put all vinaigrette ingredients in a lidded jar and shake until emulsified. Leave jar next to the greens for the guests to serve themselves.

Grilled Pizza Dough

Makes 4 personal pizzas

Preparing pizza dough on a grill gives it a nice charred flavor. Plus, it gets you out of the kitchen and into the great outdoors.

1 store-bought ball of pizza dough
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Divide pizza dough into 4 portions; follow directions on package for letting the dough rest. When ready, prepare grill to medium-high heat and close the lid for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out dough, brush one side with olive oil, and place oiled-side down on hot grill (not directly over heat). Close lid for 3 to 4 minutes. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, flip, and repeat. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Prosciutto, Cantaloupe, and Arugula Pizza

Makes 4 personal pizzas

The sweet and salty combo of prosciutto and cantaloupe tastes even better when paired with citrus-splashed bitter greens on a grilled, ricotta topped crust.

1 cup ricotta
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup arugula
¼cup olive oil
1 4-ounce pack prosciutto
¼ cantaloupe, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

Mix ricotta with garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Top each piece of grilled dough with ricotta mixture. Dress arugula with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Finish pizza by topping with dressed arugula, prosciutto, and cantaloupe. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Eggplant with Charred Lemons and Burrata Pizza

Makes 4 personal pizzas

Creamy burrata, smoky eggplant, and the sweet bite of grilled lemons create an explosion of flavor.

2 eggplants, sliced into ½ -inch rounds
2 lemons, sliced into rounds
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 ball burrata
Salt and pepper

Salt eggplant slices and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When ready, rinse and pat dry. Brush eggplant and lemons with olive oil and place on grill. Grill until eggplant is tender and lemons are nicely charred, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place eggplant, lemons, and oregano on grilled dough. Dot the crust with burrata, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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