coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries + a giveaway!

coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking

Whenever I am not feeling so good, my mom makes me rice pudding. Yep, that's right, not chicken soup, rice pudding. It's one of my favorite desserts, but not something I think much about much beyond a dessert that my mom makes for me, often. 

So, since my mom has been recovering, I have been making her rice pudding. A big batch every week. The first time I made the pudding, it occurred to me …. I have not actually made rice pudding for myself. Ever. I would always get my fix on from my mom, so I would never ever make it. Well, now it's my turn to be the one to make the rice pudding. 

My mom always made the classic rice pudding that consisted of milk, cinnamon and raisins. It was so darn good, and perfect. She recently had tweaked it for me and started using almond milk instead of regular milk, a change I very much welcomed.  

Since I have been making batches upon batches of rice pudding recently, I have been making it every which-way possible. With almond milk, with rice milk, testing different rices and different fruit combinations.

As I'm sure you've guessed, this combination right here hit it out of the park. Jasmine rice, coconut and cherries, play very nicely together.

If you live the same part of the world that I do, you may have noticed that cherries are in their peak season right now, so when Whole Foods asked me to come up with a cherry recipe for cherry season … I knew that their cherries were the perfect candidate for my fancy coconut jasmine rice pudding. 

 

 

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY FUN!
Whole Foods has generously given me a $50 gift card to pass along to a reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below with your favorite recipe that incorporates cherries. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, July 21st. Good luck, friends!

coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking
coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries | what's cooking good looking

coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries

MAKES
several servings

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
a drizzle of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
a pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups of jasmine rice
2 cans of full-fat coconut milk
1 cup of water
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1 vanilla bean, scraped + 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or 2 tablespoons of extract)
1/4 teaspoon of salt

shredded coconut, or coconut strips (lightly toasted @ 350º for 5-7 minutes)

METHOD

Bake the cherries:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º. 
  • Place the cherries, a drizzle of maple syrup, 1 tsp of vanilla, and a pinch of salt into a 9" round or an 8"x10" baking dish. 
  • Baked for 20-25 minutes, until the cherries are soft and bubbly. 

Then make the rice pudding:

  • Place the rice, canned coconut milk, water, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes. The consistency and the cooked-ness of the rice is more important than the time it take. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed (you want a slightly creaminess, but not too much liquid), and when the rice has been cooked, you are done. If too much of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is not cooked through, then add a little more water until it is cooked. 

Then, add the rice pudding to the cherries, set, and serve:

  • Pour the rice pudding over the roasted cherries. Finish with the toasted, shredded coconut, and place it in the fridge until it sets, about 30 minutes. 
  • You can also serve this warm right away. 
  • You can also serve this cold, or you can store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for a couple of days and warm it up again, if you prefer to enjoy this warm. 

cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce

cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce | what's cooking good looking
cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce | what's cooking good looking

I feel like I realized it was summer a little late this season. Maybe it's because I have had a lot going on right now in my personal life, and it feels a bit like the days and weeks are blending together. It was not until last week when I went to the market to collect a few things that I saw an abundance of ripe, local tomatoes, and it clicked. Oh, it's summer.

OH … It's summer!!!

Summer is my favorite time of year. I know …. I say that every season (except for winter) … but with summer, I mean it. Maybe it's because I was born in the summer, or maybe it's because I LOVE humidity and hot weather, or maybe it's because I could live in sun dresses, or maybe it's all the summer veggies. I just love this time of year.

Give me a blanket on a beach, a giant summer salad, a glass of rosé, my dog + my man … and I am a happy lady. 

 

I'm a big fan of eating lots of raw veggies in the summer. It's right about now that I break out the julienne peeler and peel any vegetable I can get my hands on. My raw veggie intake triples, and I naturally crave more raw food than cooked food. It's our body's way of telling us what it needs, and in the summer, raw veggies equals energy on those hazy hot days. 

This cold soba noodle salad is the perfect way to increase your raw veggie intake in the summer. With more raw veggies than soba noodles, and a creamy sauce made with sunflower butter (think pad thai peanut sauce… yum), this is a perfect salad to pack up and eat on the beach on a hot summer day. 

cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce | what's cooking good looking
cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce | what's cooking good looking soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce | what's cooking good looking
cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce | what's cooking good looking

cold soba noodle salad with raw veggie noodles + a spicy sunflower seed sauce

MAKES
enough for two as a main or a few people as a side

INGREDIENTS

for the sunflower seed sauce:
1/4 cup of sunflower seed butter (feel free to sub any nut or seed butter you have on hand)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 red chili, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons of tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil 
1 teaspoon of ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons of lime juice (the juice of one lime)
3-4 tablespoons of water
a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, if you want extra heat

1 package of soba noodles

1 green zucchini, peeled with a julienne peeler
1 yellow zucchini, peeled with a  julienne peeler
3 carrots, peeled with a julienne peeler
2 cucumbers, peeled with a julienne peeler
2 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
a handful of sprouts
some sesame seeds for garnish

METHOD

  • Start by making the sunflower seed sauce. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse several times until smooth. Set aside until you're ready to assemble. 
  • Cook the soba noodles according to the package. Rinse under cold water. 
  • Toss the noodles with 3/4 of the sunflower sauce. Distribute the noodles into individual bowls, then add in the julienned veggie noodles, avocado, green onion, sprouts, and finish by drizzling the remaining 1/4 of the sauce and top with sesame seeds. 

kale + mustard muffins

kale + mustard muffins | what's cooking good looking
kale + mustard muffins | what's cooking good looking

On one of the days my mom was in the hospital, I was chatting with one of the nurses and I was thrilled to learn that he had the same semi-plant-based food love that I do. So I asked him what kind of recipes he was interested in lately, and without hesitation, he said he was on the lookout for a savory vegan muffin. Woah. Yes please. Up until that moment I had not really considered a savory muffin, but then I became obsessed with the idea. 

Fast forward to a day after that conversation, I arrived home to a package with Anya's  (Golubka) new book, The Vibrant Table. Ever since Anya offered me a copy of her newly released cookbook, I was anxiously waiting for the mail to arrive. I've always been a huge fan of her blog, and her recipes are always so inspiring and so healthy. Her book, a direct reflection of her gorgeous blog, exceeded my already enthusiastic feelings towards her recipes.

I opened the book and the first page I landed on was for kale and mustard muffins. YEAH.  That savory muffin that I had been obsessing over, and made with some of my absolute favorite ingredients. This was, without a doubt, the combination I want to try first. 

When discussing savory muffins with my mom's nurse that day, we talked about how good it might be to toss in some caramelized onions into the savory muffin batter, so I decided to do just that here to sub for the cheese that Anya used. I was not disappointed. 

Although I knew that these savory muffins were going to be the first recipe I tried ……. I made sure I went through the entire book, page by page. My book is now filled with sticky notes and at least two dozen bookmarked recipes. I can't wait to try each one. Anya's book is smart, knowledgable, and best of all, beautiful …. my kind of cookbook. 

Well done Anya + Masha. We are definitely food-recipe soul sisters. 

kale-and-mustard-muffins-WCGL-04.jpg
kale + mustard muffins | what's cooking good looking
kale + mustard muffins | what's cooking good looking
kale + mustard muffins | what's cooking good looking

As with most vegan pastries, these muffins can be a little crumbly because there is no egg, and I opted to leave the cheese out that she had included as a binder. However, if you are not looking for a totally vegan muffin feel free to use the cheese or a lightly beaten egg to hold it together.  

These were best enjoyed with a giant smear of super spicy mustard. You know, the French kind that clears your nostrils. Smearing mustard instead of butter on my muffin in the morning made me really happy, and if you are thinking it would make you happy too, then these muffins are definitely for you.  

 

kale + mustard muffins

MAKES
12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

1 large onion (about 2 cups), diced
1 1/4 cups pumpkin seeds
3/4 cups of buckwheat flour
1/2 cup of brown rice flour
1/2 cup of almond flour
1/3 cup of manchego cheese (optional)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of full-fat canned coconut milk
1/4 cup of grapeseed oil or another vegetable oil (plus a little more for greasing + for cooking the onion)
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard (plus more for serving + smearing)
2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
2 cups of finely chopped loosely packed kale (about 3-5 leaves, stems removed)
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (or more pumpkin seeds if you prefer) for sprinkling on top

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  • Lightly grease a 12 muffin pan. 
  • In a small cast iron pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook the onion for 10-15 minutes until it has started to soften and caramelize. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 
  • In a food processor, grind 1 cup of the pumpkin seeds into a coarse flour. Lightly toast the remaining 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds on a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground and toasted pumpkin seeds, the flours, cheese (if using), baking powder,  baking soda, mustard powder, and salt. Stir to combine. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, grapeseed oil, mustard, and woscestershire sauce, and the caramelized onion. Stir gently to combine.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix lightly with a fork, incorporating the chopped kale while you are mixing. Be careful not to over mix, the batter should be lumpy, and the ingredients should be barley combined. 
  • Spoon the muffin mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups, then sprinkle the tops with the pumpkin or sunflower seeds. 
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan, just enough for you to be able to handle them. Then place them on a wire rack to cool a little more before serving. I enjoyed these with a healthy smear of spicy mustard. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
     

broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini

broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini | what's cooking good looking

Mark my words: broccoli stems are going to be the new hot thing. 

If you're anything like me, then you've probably thrown away more broccoli stems than you would like to admit. I'm also embarrassed to admit that I never really knew them to be an edible part of the vegetable until recently (let's keep that between us). Well … no more, my friends. Broccoli stems have become my favorite vegetables trick that I have up my sleeve. 

Once you peel off the thick outer skin, a crunchy delicious vegetables awaits. I prefer eating the stems raw wayyy more to raw broccoli florets, and cooked they are so delicious. I dip them in hummus, I chop then up and throw them into salads, I make raw spaghetti out of them, I roast them right along side the florets. 

But today, we are going to save up all of your broccoli stems and make these fries and this chimichurri tahini to dip/drench them in. It will be your new favorite veggie snack. 

Let's promise to never throw away another broccoli stem ever again. 

broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini | what's cooking good looking
broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini | what's cooking good looking
broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini | what's cooking good looking
broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini | what's cooking good looking
broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini | what's cooking good looking

broccoli stem fries + chimichurri tahini

MAKES
enough for 2-3 people as a side or appetizer

INGREDIENTS

3-4 broccoli stems, heads removed and reserved for another use, peeled and sliced into long sticks (like french fries)
a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
a light dusting of the following: cornmeal, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sesame seeds

for the chimichurri tahini:
1 teaspoon of tahini (whisked together with 1 tablespoon of water)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 of a small red onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)
a generous handful of cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a pinch or two of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
about 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  • Start by making the chimichurri tahini. I like to chop everything by hand for chimichurri, but if you feel like you want to use your food processor go right ahead and toss all of the ingredients in and pulse until everything is combined. If you are chopping by hand, then place all of your chopped ingredients in a small bowl and add the salt and red pepper flakes. Then add the vinegar and olive oil (you want the olive oil to just cover the ingredients). Stir, and taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. You can make this ahead of time, up to a day or two. I find the longer it has to sit and develop flavors, the better.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º.
  • Line a small baking sheet with parchment. Place the sliced broccoli stems onto the baking sheet and drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Season with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Lastly, sprinkle and toss them with the cornmeal so they are lightly coated.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes. Check them at around 30min, and see if they are browning and fork tender. It might need another 5-10 minutes depending on your oven. 
  • Allow them to cool slightly. Taste one and add any salt or additional seasoning if necessary. Enjoy warm, dipped in the chimichurri tahini.  

rhubarb milkshake | vegan

vegan rhubarb milk shake | what's cooking good looking

I have been one of those lucky people who, up until now, has coasted through life without many major life-altering events. With more positives to count than negatives. I am so grateful for that, but I always knew in the back of my mind that the day would come that I would have to face something that I didn't really want to face. That day when I would get a phone call that would change everything.

Well, about two weeks ago, I got that phone call. My mom was being rushed to the hospital. You don't really know how strong you are until you are tested. I never thought I would be able to survive that day ….. and what I learned is that not only did I survive, but a new side of me came out that I never knew I had, but has probably been there all along. This kind of super power strength and resilience that I've admired in others just decided to show up that day and take over. I like this side a lot, I hope it sticks around. 

My past few weeks have been filled with long days at the hospital, talking with doctors and trying to keep her spirits up. As you can imagine, I quickly got sick of eating hospital cafeteria food, so I decided to start bringing my shakes and lunches for myself every day. I even pack an extra one for my mom so that she gets a little break from the terrible hospital food they've been feeding her. Food, once again, has found it's way to being a connector, even in this situation. My smoothies have brought a smile to my mom's face and have added a little brightness to her day. They've also become a conversation piece with the nurses who like to talk about food as much as I do. Food is bringing me moments of happiness, peace and normalcy …. which is exactly what I need right now. 

In an effort to keep this my positive, happy place, I will spare you all the in-between details and the sad moments and skip to the part where I will tell you that my mom is going to be okay, and she is going to get better soon. We both survived, and my outer skin is a little thicker now.

 

So when things are looking down, the best way to cheery them up? MILKSHAKES. And, if things are extra extra tough, then you add rhubarb to the milkshake. I promise, it will add instant brightness to your day. 

(and …. if your day is really really really rough and you want to sneak some booze to your milkshake, no judgements here what-so-ever)

vegan rhubarb milk shake | what's cooking good looking
vegan rhubarb milk shake | what's cooking good looking
vegan rhubarb milk shake | what's cooking good looking
vegan rhubarb milk shake | what's cooking good looking
vegan rhubarb milk shake | what's cooking good looking

This recipe may yield more rhubarb than you need for the milkshake. Extra rhubarb is hardly a bad thing. I saved my extras and served them over some coconut ice cream for dessert one night. I would encourage you to  do the same. 

If you cannot find fresh rhubarb, you can always try and look for some in the frozen section. Strawberries, which are making their way around again soon, would also make an excellent substitute. 

 

rhubarb milkshake | vegan 

MAKES
1 large / 2 small milkshakes 

INGREDIENTS

5-6 rhubarb stalks, trimmed and diced (add in a couple more if you want extras)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
a pinch of sea salt

2+ cups of nut milk (homemake almond milk is best)
1 banana (frozen, preferably)
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch or two of nutmeg

a handful or two of ice

optional (if you want to make this more of a sweet treat or dessert): a scoop or two of non-dairy ice cream, and a sprinkle of shredded coconut

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  • Place the diced rhubarb on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss with the maple syrup and vanilla. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the rhubarb is very tender and broken down. Set aside in a small container, and allow to cool. 
  • Add the nut milk, banana, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the blender. Add in 1/4 cup of the rhubarb. If you have extra rhubarb, you are welcome to add it to the milkshake or you can save it in an air-tight container in the fridge and use it over ice cream or toast or any other way you choose. 
  • Blend on high until smooth. Add in the ice and blend again until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary, and feel free to add more milk if you want a thinner consistency. 
  • Pour into a tall glass and (if you like) finish with a small scoop of vanilla non-dairy milk and a sprinkle of coconut and nutmeg (if you choose). Enjoy.