harissa + coconut milk baked delicata squash with lentils + toasted almonds

roasted squash + lentil coconut curry | what's cooking good looking

This recipe has a funny little story behind it. Last week, in the midst of writing and cooking for thanksgiving, I was in need of a quick, pantry staple kind of lunch. I had recently seen a recipe in Donny Hay magazine for a pumpkin, lentil, korma curry that was all baked together in one pan. I loved the idea of baking a curry-type dish the oven, while only dirtying one pan, so I thought, maybe I’ll give something like that a try. I had some delicata squash, lentils and coconut milk. I also had a red onion, some almonds and herbs. I did not have any curry paste, so I decided to add harissa for flavor and for a kick. I threw these ingredients into a baking dish and crossed my fingers. I had no idea how it would turn out, and I was so surprised, that out came a delicious, fancy-ish, healthy meal, loaded with flavor and texture, and filled with some of my favorite ingredients.

The next day I met up with my good friend Hetty for coffee and a pre-thanksgiving union square greenmarket run. As we sipped coffee and chatted about what we were going to make for t-day, she surprised me with a jar of harissa from her friends NYShuk. I laughed and told her about my semi-accidental, one-pan, pantry recipe success where the harissa was the star ingredient … and that I couldn’t wait to test it again with my new harissa (which is also now my new favorite now, btw).

Being the delicata squash lover that I am (it’s all about that delicious, edible skin) I am always looking for new ways (besides the classic, roasting with olive oil, salt and pepper) to enjoy my favorite fall veggie. I have also been looking to create more one-pot/dish/pan meals, because who doesn’t want less hassle and less dishes to wash. I have a feeling this recipe will become a new all-time favorite of mine for both a quick lunch, or a dinner party side dish. 

harissa + coconut milk baked delicata squash with lentils and toasted almonds

This recipe was inspired by a recipe I spotted in the most recent Donna Hay magazine for tray-roasted pumpkin and lentil korma curry. Feel free to use a curry paste instead of the harissa if you prefer. 

SERVES
4-6

INGREDIETNS

2 medium sized delicata squashes, seeds scooped and sliced into half moons
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
¼ cup of harissa (my favorite is NYSHUK )

13.5oz can of full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of lentils

1/3 cup of toasted almonds
A handful of chopped herbs of your choice such as: cilantro, basil, parsley

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425º.
  • In a medium sized, deep baking dish, toss the squash and onion with the harissa, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove from the oven, sprinkle the lentils evenly over the vegetables and pour the coconut milk and water over the top, making sure the lentils are submerged. Return to the oven and cook for another 30-35 minutes, until the lentils are cooked.
  • Top with the toasted almonds and herbs, and serve warm. 

deviled brussels sprout salad

deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking
deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking

This will be the first Thanksgiving in a while where I am doing the cooking. Our family has an atypical tradition of eating out for Thanksgiving that we have very much enjoyed over the past several years, however this year we decided to switch it up again and go back to a more traditional celebration ...... I could not be more excited for it. I think that this year, and especially after a rough couple of weeks, sitting around a table with family and friends to a big home-cooked meal is especially needed. 

The thing that I get most excited for, and I am sure you are the same too, is to plan the menu. This year I decided to go a simple as possible .... for a fews reason. Simple is always better, I don't want to be eating leftovers for a week, and I am working with a reallllllly really small oven. Plus, I would rather not be over-stuffed, or over-stuff my guests .... I would rather end the day feeling satisfied, nourished, content ..... with a good wine buzz. 

So far, my menu is shaping out to look something like this:

A brined + spatchcocked turkey
..... with THIS mustard seed gravy

THIS cauliflower, leek, and potato gratin with hazelnut milk béchamel

maybe some sort of variation of THIS stuffing fried rice  

one (okay, maybe two) of THESE pies from my favorite pie cookbook, Four and Twenty Blackbirds

OH .... and these brussels sprouts I am sharing today. 

I wasn't quiet sure what to call this dish. They are pretty much a hybrid of a deviled egg and a crispy brussels sprout salad. By taking hardboiled egg and mixing it up with the same kinda of ingredients that would make up a spicy deviled egg filling, it makes for an incredibly rich and extremely tasty sauce to coat those crispy sprouts in. So, if you like both deviled eggs and crispy brussels sprouts as much as I do, then this side dish is a t-day (or any-day) must! 

**This post is sponsored by TABASCO, in conjunction with the #TABACSOtastemakers trip. All thoughts are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support WCGL! 

deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking
deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking
deviled-brussel-sprouts-WCGL-05.jpg
deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking
deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking
deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking
deviled brussel sprout salad | what's cooking good looking

deviled brussels sprout salad 

SERVES | 4

INGREDIENTS

3 hardboiled eggs
2 tablespoons of mayo
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of tabasco
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
5 green onions, thinly sliced

4 cups (about 30) brussels sprouts, sliced in half
a couple tablespoons of sunflower (or another neutral high heat oil)
kosher salt + pepper

METHOD

  • Mash up the hardboiled eggs with the mayo, mustard, tabasco, salt and green onion. Keep in the fridge until you're ready to serve. 
  • Cook the sprouts. Heat the oil (enough to coat the pan) in a large cast iron over medium-high heat. Add the sprouts to the pan, flat side down. Cook, undisturbed for about 5 minutes, until the sprouts are brown/charred on that one side. Give it a stir and continue cook for for another 2-4 minutes, until the sprouts are fork-tender. Transfer them to a serving bowl and allow them to cool slightly. 
  • Pour the egg sauce over the sprouts and toss to combine, and serve. 

twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas

twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas | what's cooking good looking
twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas | what's cooking good looking

I have found it a little difficult to move forward after this highly emotional week. I have found it hard to post pictures of food and everyday life and pretend like everything is ok. I have so many thoughts racing through my mind , I am having a hard time putting pen to paper and making sense of it all. I had another post saved for this week that had such a different tone, of excitement and hope ..... it's amazing how that tone has changed so quickly and so drastically. 

I have so many things I want to say, so many feeling I wanted to get out. I wanted to say them here, but if you're anything like me, you've been reading wayyyy to much the past few days, or even the past few months. I don't want to do that to you or to me. So, today I want to keep it short and positive. No matter what you're thoughts are on the state of the world right now, there is one thing that we can agree on, and that is that we can all use a little extra love right now. 

Sometimes during tough times, posting recipes can seem a bit trivial. Another pumpkin pie recipe, or another thanksgiving side dish seems a bit silly when there are much bigger problems happening all around. I have spent the past few days walking around in  daze, spending too much time on social media or reading the news, and too little time in the kitchen. I've been eating out every single meal and I feel disoriented, not like myself. This morning I realized (as I knew all along) that cooking food is actually incredibly important right now.  It's grounding, it's nourishing ..... and that is everything. 

Life goes on. We need to keep sharing the love in the ways we know best, for me that is cooking, feeding people, and sharing recipes. Spreading the love in every way we know how, and taking care of ourselves and one another. 

twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas | what's cooking good looking
twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas | what's cooking good looking
twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas | what's cooking good looking
twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas | what's cooking good looking

twice baked delicata squash + crispy za'atar roasted chickpeas


The skin of the delicata squash is edible (and really tasty) making it the perfect vehicle for twice baking and topping with these super flavorful za'atar roasted chickpeas. The tahini drizzle is optional, but highly recommended. This dish would make a great holiday side dish, but also works great as a filling veggie main.  


MAKES | 5-6 stuffed squashes

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sized delicata squashes
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
salt + pepper

for the mashed squash insides:
2 tablespoons of butter, ghee or olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
pepper

for the za'atar chickpeas:
1 tablespoon of za'atar
3 tablespoons of sunflower (or another neutral oil) 
1 can of chickpeas, drained

for the (optional) tahini drizzle:
1/4 cup of tahini
3 tablespoons of water
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
pepper

METHOD

Roast the squash

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  • Place the squashes onto a baking sheet, rub all over with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the outer skin is very tender. Remove, and allow to cool. 

Roast the chickpeas:

  • While the squash is roasting, prep the chickpeas. Wish together the za'atar and the oil. Place the chickpeas onto a baking sheet, and toss with the za'atar oil. Roast for 15 minutes, until the chickpeas are crispy. Set aside until you're ready to assemble. 

Make the tahini drizzle (if using):

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredient for the tahini drizzle. Set aside until you're ready to serve. 

Scoop and re-stuff the squash, assemble, and serve:

  • Once the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it down the center lengthwise, and then carefully scoop out the seeds and discard (or save if you have a good use for them). Then, carefully scoop out the insides (leaving the skins in tact), place them into a mixing bowl, and add the butter (or oil), salt and pepper. Mash, and mix it all together using the back of a fork. 
  • Transfer the mashed squash back to the skins. I found that I did not quite have enough squash for all six skins, so I did not stuff the last one (and just cut up and ate the skin on it's own).
  • Distribute the chickpeas over top of the stuffed squashes. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes to re-heat and crisp the top. 
  • Remove, and finish with the tahini drizzle and serve immediately. 

homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk

homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk | what's cooking good looking
matcha-sesame-cereal-WCGL-02.jpg

I have a thing for cereal. Actually, I guess I should say I recently rediscovered my thing for cereal. Back in my office working days, I used to keep a box of cereal in the office kitchen, and some milk in the office fridge. I ate corn flakes with sliced banana every single morning and it was a breakfast that I loved and fully satisfied me until lunchtime.

When I left my office job, I also left behind a lot of not-so-great food habits such as dairy at every single meal, and many processed foods. I found that I no longer needed  the convenience so much, but I also learned that processed stuff (like certain breakfast cereals) can be fine once in a while, but less so as a daily habit. I exchanged my cereal for things like oatmeal and smoothies, and started making my own nuts milks, and never looked back. Well, that is until recently when I got a craving for my old friend cereal and milk.

In a quest to satisfy this craving, I wanted to experiement with a homemade cereal. I have experimented with homemade cereal before, last year, when I made homemade puffed rice (which is basically like homemade rice crispies). I love homemade puffed rice cereal so much, but I do not love how much time it takes to make. So, this time around I wanted to make a delicious homemade cereal that didn’t require as much time and patience. Something that I could make and keep around, even if I were hypothetically still in an office job and convenience was more of a priority.

I am happy to say, I found my new favorite cereal, and it checks all the boxes. A crunchy, satisfying breakfast with lots of healthy ingredients, and even a mini matcha caffeine jolt .... if that’s how you’d like to roll. It can basically can be made with 2, or 1, dirty dishes, about 5 minutes of prep, and 30 minutes of cook time. You can even make a double or triple batch, store it in an airtight container, and munch on it all week long.  

 

This cereal was also made to celebrate a very special arrival ….. Cynthia of Two Red Bowls is expecting a third bowl, and we are throwing her a virtual baby shower to celebrate their arrival! Cynthia is one of the most talented photographers and recipe creators, and her new little one is so lucky to have Cynthia as mom. Congrats to you both! So happy for you! To check out the all of the other delicious recipes to celebrate Cynthia's arrival, head to Steph's (i am a food blog) or Alan's (fix feast flair) for a full list! 

homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk | what's cooking good looking
matcha-sesame-cereal-WCGL-06.jpg
homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk | what's cooking good looking
homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk | what's cooking good looking
homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk | what's cooking good looking
homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk | what's cooking good looking

homemade cereal: matcha cocoa sesame clusters + macadamia milk 

MAKES | about 2-4 servings 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup of oat flour
1/4 cup of white sesame seeds
1/4 cup of black sesame seeds
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of matcha powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1 egg white, beaten until fluffy
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or another neutral oil) 
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

METHOD

For the homemade macadamia nut milk, follow these instructions using macadamia nuts. It will keep for about 3 days, in an air-tight container in the fridge. 

For the homemade cereal:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 300ºF.  
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (or directly onto a baking sheet if you want one less bowl to clean). Combine the wet ingredients in a separate, small, bowl. Add the wet ingredient to the dry and stir until combined. 
  • Spread the mixture out to an even layer small the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until everything is crisp and toasted. 
  • Wait until it has completely cooled (this is important if you want to get larger clusters!) and then gently break apart the mixture into clusters using your hands. Enjoy immediately with a splash of nut milk, and any other fruit or toppings that you like, or transfer to an airtight jar/container to store to enjoy later. It should keep for about a week. 

apple + sage buckwheat galette | salted honey labneh

apple + sage buckwheat galette with salted honey labneh | what's cooking good looking
apple + sage buckwheat galette with salted honey labneh | what's cooking good looking

I am pretty certain that apple pie is the first food I had a crush on. This time of year when I was around 8 years old and we would go visit my grandparents, my grandmother would always makes two apple pies. One for me, and one for everyone else. She took quick notice of my love for apple pie. My grandmother loved that I loved to eat, and that I could eat a lot. She was 100% Italian, and I am convicend that Italians have it in their blood to feed people massive quantities of good homemade food. In her eyes, the more I ate, the healthier I was, even if that meant eating three bologna sandwiches for lunch. I definitely inherited her Italian need to feed people, and do I love a table filled with food, and people who love to eat. 

My apple pie crush followed me through college until today. A couple times during the school year, my mom would drive 5 hours to my university in upstate NY to drop off homemade food and groceries for me and my roommates. She too had that Italian need to feed people, and was always so worried that we weren't eating enough homemade meals, so much so that she would drive all that way just to deliver food. Every time she made that trip, you know that there was always an apple pie there. My mom knew that apple pie was the key to my heart. 

Despite my long time love for apple pie, I have never posted an apple pie recipe here. I think mostly because when I make apple pie, I like to go as traditional as possible and use all of the gluten and butter, and my blog  is a place where I like to creatively use healthier ingredients in lieu of the gluten and dairy. So, this recipe is my compromise. I used buckwheat flour, in addition to regular white flour, which enhances the apple flavor and ups the nutritional value a little. I left the butter in, because, I believe crust is the exception to my minimal butter use. You can always use a vegan butter if you want to make this dairy free, and a gluten-free flour blend works well here in place of white flour. I did use a less refined coconut palm sugar in this recipe, which in my opinion, worked even better for sweetening up the apples. Studded with sage and pistachios, this to me will always be what October and November are all about.

apple + sage buckwheat galette with salted honey labneh | what's cooking good looking
apple + sage buckwheat galette with salted honey labneh | what's cooking good looking
apple + sage buckwheat galette with salted honey labneh | what's cooking good looking
apple + sage buckwheat galette with salted honey labneh | what's cooking good looking

apple + sage buckwheat galette | salted honey labneh

Labneh (a thick, strained yogurt) is optional for serving with this galette. I would highly recommend it because it is so delicious, but it does take about a day of advanced planning. A day or two before you are going to serve the galette, you will want to start straining the yogurt. You also need to make sure you have cheesecloth on hand for the straining. If you don't have time or cheesecloth, you can also just make a salted honey yogurt (by skipping the straining and just adding the salt and honey to plain, greek yogurt). Alternatively, you can skip yogurt all-together and serve with your favorite ice cream. 

MAKES
8 slices

INGREDIENTS

for the labneh:
1 cup of 2% pain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of maldon sea salt or kosher salt

for the crust:
1 cup of all-purpose white flour (plus a couple of tablespoons to roll out the dough)
1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup (typically one stick) of very cold sliced butter
1/2 cup of water with ice

for the apple filling:
3 apples, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons of coconut palm sugar (or regular white sugar)
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of pistachios, roughly chopped
5-6 sage leaves, roughly chopped

METHOD

A day or two before serving, prepare the labneh:

  • Place a colander over a bowl, and drape a large piece of cheesecloth over the colander. Place the yogurt on top of the cheesecloth, and gather the edges to cover the yogurt. 
  • Place in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Remove, and squeeze the cheesecloth tightly to strain any excess liquid from the yogurt. Stir in the salt and honey, and place in fridge, covered, until you're ready to serve. 

Make the dough, and chill for an hour:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. 
    Place the white flour, buckwheat flour and salt into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and incorporate the butter into the mixture by pressing the butter between you thumb and forefingers. I like this method because it creates long, flat butter pieces which makes for a flaky crust. Be sure not to handle the butter too much, and work quickly to incorporate the butter so it stays cold. When you're done, the butter should be evenly incorporated, but you will still see butter chunks in the flour. 
  • Add a 1/3 cup of the ice water to the flour mixture, and work the dough into a ball. If it is not holding together, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, just until it sticks together. Again, try to handle the dough as little as possible. 
  • Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for no less than 1 hour. You can also do this a couple of days in advance. 

While the dough is done chilling, prepare the apples:

  • Place the sliced apples, sugar, salt, and cinnamon into a bowl and toss gently to coat the apples evenly with the mixture. 

Roll out the dough, assemble the galette and bake:

  • Place a piece of parchment paper onto a flat surface, and dust with about a tablespoon of flour. Remove the dough from the plastic wrap, and place it onto the parchment and roll into about a 12" circle. 
  • Arrange the apples however you like, starting from the center of the dough and work your way out reserving a few inches around the edges. Fold the sides in by taking a section of dough and folding it over halfway, and then folding over again to touch the edge of the apples, creating about a 2" border. Sprinkle the pistachios and sage all over. 
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the dough is cooked, and the edges are browned. Carefully cut into slices, and serve warm with a spoonful of the labneh on the side. 

 

turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa

turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa | what's cooking good looking
turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa | what's cooking good looking

This past weekend was our photography + styling workshop in NYC. Just like when any other workshop is over, I am left feeling recharged and re-inspired by the students and the experience. This was the first time we hosted a workshop in my home city, and it was also the first time where I cooked most of the food we were eating. Both made me so happy. Feeding people + NYC are two of my favorite things and I loved sharing them both with our eager students. 

For lunch on Saturday, we indulged on LOTS of veggies. All veggies to be exact. Delicata squash, romano beans, tomato confit .....so many veggies piled high on plates with some greens mixed in.  My favorite kind of lunch, and I think a lot of others feel the same. For Sunday, we brunched on a beet and horseradish cured salmon. I served it along side some pumpernickel bread, watercress greens, radishes, and a herbed tofu spread. The process of curing salmon is not difficult, it just take a few days of advance planning, but the outcome is soooo gorgeous, it feels special. If you want to see some pictures from our workshop (and some shots of the gorgeous salmon) .... you can check them out using THIS LINK to our instagam hashtag.  

We lucked out with the weather last weekend, but last week was the first week the temperature change was noticeable. One day you needed a coat, and the next day you were fine with layering a sweater. This change in season is also reflected in the food that we saw during out visit to the  greenmarket, and the way we will be preparing our veggies from now until the weather gets warmer again. It's soup season, and that makes me so happy because I love soup. 

So to kick off soup season, I am sharing this simple soup with flavors that I crave this time of year. Carrots get rubbed with a super-flavorful and super-immunes boosting turmeric and garlic spice mixture, and the roasted until soft and caramelized. Into the blender it goes with nothing else but a little water or broth. When choosing your carrots, make sure to look for ones with good-looking green tops. You'll need them to make this carrot top harissa, and you'll be so happy you did because it goes so well with so many things ....... but first, drizzle it all over this soup. 

turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa | what's cooking good looking
turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa | what's cooking good looking
turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa | what's cooking good looking
turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa | what's cooking good looking

turmeric roasted carrot soup + carrot top harissa

MAKES 4 

INGREDIENTS

for the carrot top harissa:
1 cup of green carrot tops, chopped
1/2 cup of cilantro
5 mint leaves
1 small garlic clove, sliced
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of salt
about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

for the turmeric spiced carrots:
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
a pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup of olive oil

about 10 carrots, trimmed
1 large yellow onion, sliced into thick chunks
5 cups of water (or a chicken or vegetable broth) 
*If you're using water, you will likely need additional salt, about 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon
juice from 1/2 a lemon

additional/optional toppings: a drizzle of coconut cream or olive oil, a handful of toasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds 

METHOD

Make the spice rub, and roast the carrots:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º. 
  • Make the turmeric spice rub by placing all of the ingredient for the rub into a food processor and pulse until you have a consistent mixture. 
  • Place the onions and carrots onto a parchment lined baking sheet and rub them with the spice mixture. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the carrots are very soft/fork tender. 

While the carrots are roasting, make the carrot top harissa:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the carrot top harissa into a food processor (except for the oil). Pulse a few times, and then drizzle in the oil in a slow stream while the food processor is running, until you have a consistent mixture. Set aside until you're ready to serve. 

Blend the carrots, assemble and serve:

  • Place the roasted carrots and onions into a high-powered blender with the water (or broth) and the lemon juice. Blend on high until smooth. Taste and add any additional seasoning you feel necessary. If your broth was cold, or you do not have a blender such as a vitamix (which can heat the soup while blending), you might want to heat it up a little in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat. 
  • Distribute the soup amongst bowls, and drizzle with a spoonful of the harissa and any other additional topping you like. 

grilled sweet potato stuffed with BBQ baked beans + cilantro yogurt

grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking
grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking

This really is the best time, isn't in? Right now. The days that are still warm but the nights get a little chilly. The markets are bursting with end of summer/  beginning of fall produce. You can still make yourself a juicy tomato sandwich for lunch, but then can roast up some squash or sweet potatoes for dinner. 

It's still grilling season, and some might argue it's the best time to grill, when the sun is not beating down on you.  I personally love to hang by the grill with a glass of red wine on a chilly night. It's also around this time that I start to crave more warming foods ..... things like soups, stews, and stuffed sweet potatoes. I think sweet potatoes are one of the best vehicles for a full-on, hearty, vegggie entree. It's so easy to just throw a potato on a grill or in the oven, cook it until it's tender, and then (over)fill it with whatever your mood strikes, or whatever you have in your fridge. 

This time of year also has me trying to work through my pantry, get rid of some of the stuff I accumulated over the spring and summer ..... like, for example, that fancy bbq sauce I picked up at some speciality store, or the heirloom beans that I seem to be collecting (ahem, hoarding). A recipe like this is great for working through those random pantry bits, to make more room for some winter hibernation pantry foods. 

 

*This recipe is in partnership with Reynolds Kitchens. All views are my own. Head on over to the Endless Table for more easy recipe inspiration. Thank you for supporting the brands that support what's cooking good looking!

grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking
grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking
grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking
grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking
grilled sweet potato stuffed with bbq baked beans + cilantro yogurt | what's cooking good looking

grilled sweet potato stuffed with BBQ baked beans + cilantro yogurt 

Prep Time:  10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2 servings (as an entrée)

INGREDIENTS 

2 large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (or any neutral high-heat oil)
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of black beans, drained
1 cup of (your favorite) bbq sauce (store bought, or homemade) 

6oz of plain greek yogurt (coconut yogurt to make this dairy-free)
2 tablespoons of minced shallots
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
½ cup of cilantro leaves (plus more for garnish)

 METHOD

  • Pre-heat the grill to medium heat.  
  • Wrap the sweet potatoes in Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil individually, so they are completely covered. Place them onto the grill, cover, and cook for 45minutes - 1 hour. You want the potatoes to feel very soft inside the foil. When they are done, remove them from the grill and keep them in the foil until you‘re ready to assemble and serve.
  • Make the beans while the potatoes are baking. Heat the oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook for 7-10 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Then, add the beans and bbq sauce. Stir to combine the ingredients, bring the heat to low and continue cooking for another couple of minutes to heat all of the ingredients.
  • Make the cilantro cream. Place the yogurt, shallots, salt, and lemon juice into a food processor and pulse several times until smooth. Add in the cilantro leaves and pulse just a couple of times until they are chopped and incorporated.
  • Assemble the the potatoes. Cut a slit down the center (lengthwise) of the potato and gently pull the sides apart just enough to create a well for the beans. Then add a couple spoonfuls of the bbq beans, and finish with a drizzle of the cilantro cream. Garnish with some roughly chopped cilantro leaves.

** Reynolds Kitchens Tip: Using Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil to cook the potatoes allows the caramelized juiced to stay close to the potato, which keeps it moist and flavorful.

 

NYC workshop schedule + A GIVEAWAY!

Hi! My friends, Joann + Gabriel and I are hosting a photography + styling workshop in NYC on Oct 1 & 2nd and we want you to come! We have a great schedule lined up, and we are opening up a couple of spots because we want to you be there, especially if you're looking to improve your photography skills, learn master techniques for lighting and styling, and gain valuable photographs for your portfolio ..... and maybe even make some new friends and great memories along the way! We recently finalized our schedule, and our two days would look something like this:

Meet at the Greenmarket (NYC's largest farmer's market), for a bagel picnic (from my favorite bagels in NYC!) and a walk through the market to gather ingredients for the day. We then will head to a location where we will spend some time talking in-debth about lighting and styling, and you'll also get to practice styling and taking your own photos. For lunch, I will be cooking us a feast with goodies from the greenmarket, which we will enjoy outside. We will then take a walk through the west village (my neighborhood) and get a little time practicing city-scape photography. The day will end with rooftop cocktails overlooking the Manhattan skyline, and dinner at Roberta's, in Brooklyn ...... one of my all-time farvorite restaurants. 

The next day, we are spending entirely in Brooklyn, starting at a studio where we will be teaching more photography, lighting, and styling skills. We will spend the afternoon exploring a couple different areas of Brooklyn, and tasting some really delicious food along the way before we send you off!

*******THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED ..... THANKS TO THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED!

 

GOOD LUCK, and we hope to meet you soon!xoxo

cherry tomato + shallot confit

tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking
tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking

As a lover of summer, the transition from warm beaches and sundresses to crisp mornings and sweaters can be a tough one .... but I also love that Fall bring about such great things .... magical in-between weather, scarves, and that rejuvenated feeling that comes with the change of season. I look forward to welcoming squash and warms soup back into the mix, even though I am a little reluctant to say goodbye to tomatoes, cucumbers, and farm stands bursting with produce. 

This tomato and shallot confit is what I make as soon as the tomatoes hit the farm stands, and it is what I will continue to make until the tomatoes are no more. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy my favorite fruit, and it is also my favorite way to preserve and hold onto them just a little longer. Confit, which is just a fancy way to say slow cooked in olive oil as a means to preserve, goes so well with so many things.  You can spoon this over your avocado toast in the morning, or into a bowl of pasta or veggie noodles at night. It would make a killer pizza topping, or can be served simply over salad greens or over a piece of grilled fish. One of my favorite ways to serve this is before dinner, in a bowl with a spoon, and some crispy bread to smother them with. 

I don't know about you, but for me Fall also is one of the busiest times of year. Even as an adult, it has a back-to-school feel, it's as though everyone (myself included) enters into Fall refreshed and ready to work. This Fall has been no exception, and in fact, it has been one of the busiest I can remember. With that, I have a few things I am planning that I want to share with you! 

In a couple of weeks (Oct 1&2) I am hosting a photography and styling wokshop in my home city (NYC) with my friends, Joann (@sliceofpai) and Gabriel (@theartfuldesperado). I am really excited about this one, because I get to show our participants around my city and get to take you to some of my favorite spots and eat some of my favorite foods. If you live near NYC or want to come visit NYC, be sure to check this one out! It's going to be so much fun and you'll also gain some valuable skills and portfolio pieces.

I added a new page to my site called WORKSHOPS + EVENTS where you can find information on the upcoming NYC workshop and the other workshops I have in the works (----> at the top of the sidebar), so go check it out, and I hope to see you at one soon! 

tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking
tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking
tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking
tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking
tomato + shallot confit | what's cooking good looking

cherry tomato + shallot confit

MAKES
about 4 cups of confit

INGREDIENTS

1 pint of red cherry tomatoes
1 pint of sungold tomatoes
8 small shallots, peeled and sliced in half
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
about 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º.
  • Place the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, thyme, and salt into a small, deep baking dish (I use a 9x5 loaf pan), and cover with the olive oil. Make sure the tomatoes, shallots, and garlic are completely submerged. 
  • Cover tightly with foil, and bake for about 45 minutes. You want the tomatoes, shallots and garlic to be tender, but not completely falling apart. 
  • Allow to cool, and then transfer to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid (a large mason jar works great), and serve however you like! This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. 

roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba

roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking
roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking

My mom's KitchenAid Mixer was basically my babysitter growing up. When I would get home after school, instead of turning on the TV or doing my homework (like I should have been doing), I would pull out the mixer and my mom's binder full of recipes and start baking away. I baked so much that we couldn't eat it fast enough, so we had to store cookies and cakes in the freezer for when guests and friends came over.  I had no idea that this quirky after school habit of mine would become a life long love ..... I also think that these days a parent might get in trouble for allowing a 10 year old to operate an oven without adult supervision, but I am thankful my mom trusted me and I grew up during more lenient times ;) 

That very same mixer got passed down to me, and it now stays tucked away ..... a very precious heirloom that I want to protect and keep forever. I do have a newer, bright red KitchenAid that I use from time to time, but to be honest I do not bake nearly as much as I used to when I was a kid. I do still use the mixer quite a bit for iced cream, and whipping up coconut cream ...... but since the mixer is tucked away in the back of the closet, I sometimes get deterred from using it just for the fact that I don't feel like lugging it out of the closet. Recently, Williams Sonoma gifted me the new KitchenAid mini mixer, and I am so excited because lugging is no longer an excuse to not whip something up. Living in NYC, space is such a precious commodity, so when one of your favorite kitchen equipment pieces is made much smaller and lighter, that is something to get really excited about. Also, I am much more into gray and neutral tones that I was when I bought by (bright!) red mixer ..... so that is something else to be really exited about. 

Let's talk about one more thing that I am really really really excited about. Maybe you've discovered the wonders of chickpea liquid, maybe this is the first you have heard of it. I didn't quiet buy into it the first time I read about it, but the more research I did, and the more well-respected chefs were talking about this magical liquid, I knew that was going to be the first thing I was going to test out in my new KitchenAid mini. In case you're not up to speed, it has been discovered that the liquid in the can of chickpea, that is usually discarded, actually has the same properties as eggs making it a great egg, and sometimes dairy, replacement in baked goods. Someone also gave this magical liquid a super cute name, aquafaba, which is my new favorite word for my new favorite food trick. I am not necessarily looking to replace eggs ....my local, organic eggs are one of my favorite sources of protein ..... but I am still weary of dairy, heavy milk in particular, so I was very excited about the prospect of a dairy-free whipped cream that didn't require a can of coconut milk sitting upside down in the fridge. So when I poured that chickpea liquid into my KitchenAid with just a couple other ingredients to sweeten it, you can imagine how exited I was to see real, stiff white peaks after about 5 minutes of whipping. It really is a miracle. You have to try it yourself to believe it. 

To celebrate, I roasted some peaches and plums that I picked up at the farmstand earlier that day, and then I soaked them in wine, you know, to be extra festive (this is a celebration, after all). I topped the fruit with some chopped pistachios, and a scoop of the aquafaba, and with one bite, my whipped dairy-free dreams finally came true. I could finally enjoy one of my favorite, simple summertime desserts with this fancy new whip. 

 

*This post is sponsored by Williams Sonoma who gifted me the KitchenAid mini mixer. Thanks for supporting the brands that support WCGL! 

roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking
roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking
roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking
roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking
roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking
roasted wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba | what's cooking good looking

roasted, wine soaked peaches + plums with whipped aquafaba 

You can use any kind of fruit that is in season, but stone fruit really works best for this recipe. If you are using another kind of fruit, just use enough to cover the the bottom of the baking dish. 

SERVES
4-6 for dessert

INGREDIENTS

about 5 peaches, halved and pitted
about 5 plums, halved and pitted
a drizzle of sunflower oil
a drizzle of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

about 1 cup of wine (white, or dessert wine preferably) 

a handful of pistachios, chopped (optional)

for the whipped aquafaba:
the liquid from 1 can of organic, low sodium chickpeas
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
a pinch of sea salt

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º. 
  • Place the peaches and plums in a 8"x8" baking dish and drizzle the oil and maple syrup evenly over top along with the vanilla. Toss to combine. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is super soft, and brown and caramelized around the edges. 
  • Remove from the oven, and pour the wine in the baking dish with the fruit. Allow it to soak for a minimun of an hour, but obviouly the longer the better. You can even do this a day in advance. 
  • Shortly before you're ready to serve, whip up the aquafaba. Place the chickpea liquid, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and cream of tartar into a stand mixer and mix on high speed continuously until the mixture is white, fluffy, and stiff peaks have formed (about 5-7 minutes). It should look just like whipped cream!
  • To serve, spoon a couple of pieces of fruit onto a plate using a slotted spoon. Finish with a sprinkle of pistachios and a scoop of the aquafaba whip. 

spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing

spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking

I'll always remember the first time I turned a zucchini into "pasta" and covered it in pesto. That was the summer where I never thought I would eat pasta again because the zucchini noodle made my gluten-free, veggie loving, pasta substitution dreams come true.  Let's be honest, I have eaten lots of pasta since, but I am happy to say that on days when I want something lighter and healthier, there is the zucchini noodle. 

At that time, I never even thought to spirialize anything else. Zucchini is plentiful, easy to find, and the perfect size and shape for perfect veggie noodles. The zucchini still reins pretty high in terms of veggies I like to turn into noodles, but thanks to Ali Malfucci .... I have spirilized so many other fruits and veggies. In case you're not familiar, Ali is the brilliant woman behind the blog inspirizalized, and she has so smartly expanded her blog into a full blown brand all by turning fruits and veggies into noodles. She even created her own branded spiralizer, which is what I use to make my veggie noodles. Her recipes are so creative, and she has gotten so many people to eat healthier and to think outside of the box when it comes to spirializing. 

Ali's second book, Inspiralize Everything, is packed with more of the same easy-to-make, creative, healthy recipes for veggie noodles that she is known for. There are obviously so many recipes from this book that I will be making, but since it's August and the weather is still hot and balmy around here, this light and refreshing spirialized sushi bowl immedately caught my attention.

If you're as much of a sushi lover and a ginger dressing lover as I am, this version, which even subs out white rice for a "riced" daikon radish, will be something you will want to make over and over again. There used to be a time when I was afraid to handle raw fish at home, and really only wanted to leave it to the sushi restaurants and delivery places. If that is the case for you, you can always make this with a cooked crab meat such as a lump crab, or a kani (which is what Ali suggests in the book). Since I am a huge fan of wild salmon I decided to get over my fear, because unless you're going to a super high-end sushi place, pretty much all of the salmon you get when you order a salmon avocado roll (unless it says specifies wild), is farmed salmon. Sorry to break the news. Therefore, I would rather pick up my own wild salmon and make it at home. Also, who better to trust to handle your food than yourself? All you need to do is make sure the fish stays refrigerated when you're not prepping it or eating it, and wash your hands well before and after handling.  

Maybe you're an expert with raw fish, or maybe you haven't tried preparing it at home yet  .... once you've done it, it's hard to go back to the farmed salmon sushi. Oh, and of course you can leave out the seafood all together and it would make one tasty, filling spirialized/riced noodle bowl with the most delicious ginger dressing. Make sure to pick up a copy of Ali's book for so many more healthy, inspiring recipes! 

spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking
spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing | what's cooking good looking

spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing

This recipe is from Inspiralize Everything, by Ali Maffucci (pg. 126). I made very little changes, and the changes I made were mostly based off of what I had on hand, and what's available in my area, which is why I subbed wild salmon for crab. I ran out of vinegar while making this recipe so I used some lime juice which worked really well, so I added it to the ingredients. 

SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS

for the dressing:
2 tablespoons of canola or grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons of grated ginger
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
the juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tablespoon of tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 teaspoon of honey
1 carrot, peeled and grated

for the sushi bowl:
8 oz of SUSHI GRADE salmon OR 12oz of kani or lump crabmeat
a splash of tamari/low sodium soy sauce

1 large daikon radish, peeled, spirialized
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large cucumber, spiraled
1 sheet of nori, cut into thin strips
1 avocado, thinly sliced
a couple of teaspoons of sesame seeds
a few torn leaves of basil (optional)

METHOD

Make the dressing:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a food processor and run until the you have a smooth dressing. 
  • Transfer the dressing to a a small bowl and clean out the food processor (to use it to make the daikon rice). 

Make the daikon rice:

  • Place the spirialized daikon into the food processor and pulse just a few times until you have a rice-like size and consistency. Be careful not to over-process or else you will end up with mush. Just a few pulses are necessary to get the right consistency.
  • Transfer the rice into a medium mixing bowl, add the vinegar and scallions and toss to combine. 

Prepare the fish:

  • If you're using salmon or another kind of sturdy fish, use a very sharp knife to remove the skin (if there is skin) and slice into cubes. Splash a small amount of tamari (about 1 teaspoon) over top and toss to coat.  Place back in the fridge if you're not assembling right after. 
  • If you're using crab, flake the crab apart using your fingers or a fork and splash a small amount of tamari over top and toss to coat. 

Assemble the bowls:

  • Divide the daikon rice amongst four bowls and top each with an equal amount of cucumber noodles, nori, salmon (or crab), avocado, sesame seeds, and basil (if using). Drizzle the dressing over top and serve. 

grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches

grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking
grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking

I am sharing two dessert/ice cream recipes in a row ....... and the only excuse I have is summer, heatwave. Serious heatwave. But I'm not complaining at all. A little extra heat to use as excuse to eat more ice cream is fine by me. 

Also, any excuse to spend a little less time in the kitchen and a little more time at the beach or poolside with friends in the dog days of summer is also fine by me. And while I love projects such as homemade ice cream and homemade pies, I also welcome a little sandra lee inspired simplistic meals. You know, the semi-homemade kind of recipes where you find the best of the pre-made stuff and throw it together so your dinner parties are that much easier. For me, the best quality dark chocolate, organic graham crackers, and dairy-free vanilla make the best/easy/summertime dessert.

Oh, and s'mores without the hassle of building a campfire is just taking this to a whole other level of lazy summer cooking. Cover a sheet pan in foil, place the chocolate on top of the graham cracker, cook until the chocolate melts. Scoop your favorite cold ice cream on top and that is one helluva delicious, semi-lazy, adult kind of s'more that you can eat with a fork and knife to save your fingers from getting super sticky. Boom. 

*This recipe is in partnership with Reynolds Kitchens. All views are my own. Head on over to the Endless Table for more easy summer recipe inspiration. Thank you for supporting the brands that support what's cooking good looking!

grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking
grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking
grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking
grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking
grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches | what's cooking good looking

grilled open-faced s'more ice cream sandwiches

MAKES
2 s'more ice cream sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

2 square pieces of graham cracker
1 bar of chocolate, cut in half
2 scoops of ice cream (flavor of your choice)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the grill to medium heat.
  • Fold the Reynolds Wrap® Foil for the grill in half, making a rectangle that is about 8”x11”, and place it onto the grill in the center. Or, if you're using regular Reynolds Wrap Foil®, then you can just cover a baking sheet in the foil. 
  • Place the graham crackers onto the foil, and place the chocolate squares on top. Close the grill, and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Using a spatula, transfer the crackers to a plate. 
  • Scoop some ice cream over top of one of the crackers with chocolate, and then top with the other cracker and chocolate. Top with any additional toppings you like such as marshmallows or crumbled graham crackers. Serve immediately.

*Reynolds Kitchens Tip: Using Reynolds Wrap® Foil for the grill allows you to melt the chocolate onto the graham cracker, with ease and without dripping chocolate onto the grill.