spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish

spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish | what's cooking good looking
spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish | what's cooking good looking

I know that I have eluded to the fact that I have been working on something "big and exciting" a few times. I have spoken about a bit on Instagram, but I have yet to make  a big reveal in this space ....the home of where this "big and exciting" project all came to be. For the better part of the past year, I have been working on a cookbook with Roost Books that is set to be released in the Spring of 2018 .... and, I just cannot wait to share it with you!

When coming up with the concept for the book, I thought a lot about the kind of everyday cooking that I like to do at home. The kind of cooking that I like to do for myself, or my family and friends is super simple. I like intuitive cooking, and I like choosing one or two ingredients (such as a vegetables and one powerhouse spice) to stand out. I don't like to spend hours hunting down obscure ingredients, and I don't like to spend hours following a recipe, cooking, and then doing all the dishes. I find that if cooking is easier, simplified, but still creative + exciting .... I am more likely to do it often. I am sure you feel the same way too. 

With this in mind, I came up with 125 recipes with a focus on simply, nourishing, easy-going meals .... all with fewer ingredients and less time spent in the kitchen. And, every recipe with be gluten, dairy, and soy free, with the option to add in extra indulgences if the mood strikes. I have had so much fun coming up with, and testing the recipes for the book, that I actually had a hard time pairing things down. Especially when it came to condiment and sauces, so there is a whole section dedicated to that. As well as how to efficiently stock (and not over-stuff) your pantry. There will also be a section for easy vegetarian mans, as well as seafood.

The past few months has been crunch time (which is why I had to scale back a little here, on the blog). We've been going back and forth with edits, shooting ALL of the photos, making this idea fully come to life. A lot heart, soul, sweat, and tears (yes, there have been tears) goes into a project like this ..... and so when you start to see it come together with photos, a cover, and design, it begins to feel so real, and all of that hard work starts to feel so worthwhile. It's a hard thing, wirting a book and putting yourself out there, but if it at all helps more people get inspired to cook more often, and make health(er - ish) choices too ..... then I know that it was all worth it. 

SO, I don't want to get too excited yet, there's still many months between now and the official pub date, which will be sometime in the spring of 2018. However, I am excited that I get to start giving some more love back to this space. Sharing more of the same simple ingredient highlighting recipes (including several that did not make it into the book) here over the next several months. Starting with this simple spring celebratory soup. 

This soup, with just two main ingredients, highlights the first (and only) spring-like vegetable I could find at the market the other day. Spring onions are sautéed with potato and garlic, simmered with miso, and then pureed for velvety soup which is then finished off with a zesty, crunchy radish relish to give it a punch of brightness. Of course, either the soup or the relish can be made on their own, but I think you will be pleaseantly surprised to find how well these two spring recipes go together. 

**To stay updated on the book... be sure to subscribe to emails from my blog (by entering your email in the sidebar) -------> 

spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish | what's cooking good looking
spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish | what's cooking good looking
spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish | what's cooking good looking
spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish | what's cooking good looking

spring onion miso soup + quinoa + radish relish

SERVES
2-4

INGREDIENTS

3-4 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
about 2 cups of spring onions, white parts (green parts reserved), diced
2 white potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of mellow white miso, dissolved into 1 cup of water
+ 3 additional cups of water

for the radish relish:
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced into matchsticks
the green tops from the spring onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of honey
a pinch of sea salt

to serve: about ½ cup of cooked quinoa

METHOD

In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and potato and cook for several minutes until the onion and potato are both soft. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes while stirring. Then add the cup of water that the miso is dissolved in. Then add the additional 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the radish relish.  Place all of the ingredients for the relish into a small bowl and give it a stir to combine. Set aside until you're ready to serve. This can also be done a few days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. 

When the soup is done simmering, puree it  by using an immersion blender or by transferring to a blender and blending until smooth. Distribute the soup amongst individual bowls, and top each with a spoonful of quinoa and a spoonful of relish. Any leftover soup can be kept for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. 

spring loaded gin + lemon tonic cocktail with pink peppercorns + hibiscus salt

spring loaded gin + lemon tonic | what's cooking good looking
the-botanist-cocktail-WCGL-02.jpg

Just like most people, I look forward to spring .... probably more than most seasons. After months of cold, short, gray days, I cannot wait to have more hours of sunlight and higher degrees of temperature. I look forward to the markets being filled with green vegetables once again, and I look forward to things like spring onions, ramps, and artichokes. Spring comes in slowly here in NYC, so sometimes it can feel like a fleeting moment before summer is here and in full swing, so I like to do all that I can to embrace those spring feelings (and vegetables). 

One of my favorite things about spring is that people start to come out of the woodwork. I start to see more of my friends than I did when I was hiding inside watching netflix every single night while making soup and braising things. All of a sudden my social calendar start to fill up with lunches, dinners, and parties. I feel recharged and ready to take on that fuller schedule after my winter hibernation. I get excited to call up friends for spontaneous get togethers, when we finally have those first few warm days to celebrate by sitting outside and sipping fun cocktails and nibbling on some bits. 

Whenever we do host a get together, I love to start with a specialty cocktail, and in the spring and summer it is often some sort of variation of a gin and tonic. It's one of the most refreshing of the classic cocktails, and it's easy to add things like lemon and cucumber to up that freshness. One of my favorite gins is The Botanist, because of it's smooth, herbal flavor, but also because it is a small batch gin that is made with a combination of 22 botanicals that are hand-foraged, locally, by their distiller’s scientists. How's that for some fun party facts to throw around! Also, the bottle is gorgeous and minimal, and looks really nice when you have a little cocktail station set up. I was so excited when The Botanist asked to partner on this spring cocktail, because it is the perfect way to welcome spring, and it's the perfect excuse to call up your friends and have a cocktail party to celebrate. 

 

*This post is sponsored by The Botanist. All thoughts are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support what's cooking good looking! 

the-botanist-cocktail-WCGL.gif
spring loaded gin + lemon tonic | what's cooking good looking
spring loaded gin + lemon tonic | what's cooking good looking
spring loaded gin + lemon tonic | what's cooking good looking
spring loaded gin + lemon tonic | what's cooking good looking

The Botanist Gin + lemon tonic with pink peppercorns + hibiscus salt 

MAKES
1 cocktail

INGREDIENTS 

2oz of The Botanist Gin
1/2oz of simple syrup
4oz of bitter lemon tonic (or regular tonic, and a squeeze of lime juice and a drop of bitters)

to garnish:
a couple of pink peppercorns
a pinch of hibiscus salt (or himalayan pink sea salt)

GLASSWARE:
a tall collins glass
 

METHOD

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the gin and syrup. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Fill the glass with ice and pour the cocktail over the ice. Top off with the lemon tonic, and garnish with the pink peppercorns and the salt and serve. 

minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower

minty pea pesto pasto + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking

When I was growing up, my mom would often take on multiple jobs in order to send my brother and myself to good schools, and eventually to college … and somehow, at the end of every day, she would still manage to throw together a home cooked meal that we would all sit down to dinner at the table and enjoy together. My mom was the best cook I knew (aren’t all our moms) with a big love for vegetables, and would churn out things like escarole and beans, lentil soup, stuffed artichokes …. you know, some of my favorites still to this day.

Although in some ways that sounds idyllic, it wasn’t necessarily. Having a working mother definitely came with some prices and hardships. There were times when I wished my mom would be around more, or when she was around, that she wasn't stressed or worried about work. There were also many times I took those home cooked meals for granted. When you’re young, you just don’t know any better. I never realized how important those things would be in shaping who I am today, until I became a working adult myself. Witnessing my mom’s incredible work ethic, and tenacity to create the best life for her children, taught me so much about the kind of person I strive to be today.

I am forever grateful for the education my mom provided for me, for being able to send me to a university to study art and photography. For putting our schooling over everything else.  But most of all, for instilling in me a love for food, a passion for home cooked meals, and for gathering friends and family around a table.

I was thrilled when SOULPANCAKE and Vitamix asked me to participate in their campaign which is all about gratitude, because I think it is good to be reminded and be able to reflect upon the people and things that have shaped us into who we are now. The things we are most grateful for in our lives, whatever or whoever that may be. To kick off this campaign, they're sharing this video with LA chef Nick Liberato and his surprise story of gratitude for his former boss (you can watch this wonderful story and video below). 

 

Food really is #theotherlovelanguage and is the best way to show gratitude, so to show my gratitude to my mom, as well as to the first days of spring, I am sharing this minty pea pesto pasta with roasted cauliflower. The perfect kind of meal to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring, and also because pesto and pasta were favorites in our house growing up. 

This post was sponsored by SOULPANCAKE and Vitamix . All views are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support WCGL. 

minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking
minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking
minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking
minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking
minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking
minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower | what's cooking good looking

minty pea pesto pasta + crispy roasted cauliflower

SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS

For the cauliflower:
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets and then thinly sliced
olive oil
salt + pepper

For the minty pea pesto:
1 cup of fresh or frozen peas
5 mint leaves
10 basil leaves
the squeeze of ½ a lemon
½ teaspoon of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
about 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

For the pasta:
10-12oz of short pasta (fusilli, penne, cavatelli) – if making this gluten free, I love the Jovial brand brown rice pasta
1 tablespoon of sea salt (for the pasta water)

METHOD

Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Place the cauliflower onto a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle and toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top.

Meanwhile, make the pea pesto. Place all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil in to the Vitamix or high powered blender. Pulse a few times, and then add in the olive oil in a slow stream while the blender is running. Do this until you have your desired consistency. I like to keep the pesto on the chunky side.

Boil the pasta. Fill a large pot with water, add the salt, bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to it’s instructions. Strain.

Assemble the dish. In a large serving bowl, add the cooked pasta, and then add all of the pesto on top and stir to incorporate. Add the cauliflower on top, and any other toppings you like and then serve.

 

fudgy nut + seed butter brownies ... from The First Mess cookbook!

first-mess-brownies-WCGL-01.jpg

I'll never forget the first time I stumbled onto Laura's (The First Mess) blog. I don't quiet remember how I got there, but I do remember spending pretty much that entire afternoon reading through every single post and drooling over every single recipe. I not only fell in love with Laura's charming "real" writing, I also fell in love with her style of cooking. Fresh, healthy, super creative, but (the best part) is that her recipes are really really approachable. It is exactly my kind of cooking. I felt like we were kindred food spirits. 

When Laura first announced that she would be writing a cookbook, I thought two things. There is no doubt this book is going to rock, and it cannot get into my kitchen fast enough. Well ..... it's finally here and it is everything I thought it would be. Beautiful photos, wonderful writing, thoughtful and easy to follow recipes.  There are also lots of tips and tricks (like her recipe to make almond milk when you forgot to soak your almonds) with each page turn, I kept saying to myself .... DANG, this is so smart! Laura also has a wonderful way of making plant-based meals that that would please the masses, beyond the usual plant-based coverts. You know, those people who might need a little convincing that plants and veggies can be indulgent, delicious, comforting, but healthy at the same, she's got that covered.  

As I read through each recipe and headnote, I had already bookmarked about 20 recipes before I even got close to the dessert section, but when I did arrive there and onto to these brownies, that's where I stopped.  I have been looking for a solid gf+df brownie recipe that isn't dry, or doesn't use a lot of unnecessary ingredients. When I read Laura's description in the headnotes, and read about how it was her crowning dessert achievement, I was sold. These would be the first thing I would be making from this book. This recipe is a winner, and it's gotten me even more excited to cook my way through this gorgeous book. Congrats Laura, you are a rockstar, and this book is such a plant-based gem. 

Friends, go out and buy this book!!! -----> HERE

This recipe is reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright

fudgy nut + seed butter brownies from the first mess cookbook | what's cooking good looking
fudgy nut + seed butter brownies from the first mess cookbook | what's cooking good looking
fudgy nut + seed butter brownies from the first mess cookbook | what's cooking good looking
fudgy nut + seed butter brownies from the first mess cookbook | what's cooking good looking
fudgy nut + seed butter brownies from the first mess cookbook | what's cooking good looking

fudgy nut + seed butter brownies ...from the first mess cookbook! 

As mentioned, this recipe is from The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright. The only thing that I changed from Laura's recipe was that I used one pot (and skipped using a double broiler), in order to melt the chocolate and blend with the other ingredients. The only reason being I was hoping to have one or two less pans to wash (since I've been doing a lot of dishes recently). It came out perfect, and I hope Laura would approve! Enjoy! 

MAKES
9-ish brownies

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup of smooth nut or seed butter (almond, hazelnut, sunflower, or peanut butter) 
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
3/4 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 cup ( 1 bar) of 70% dark (dairy-free) chocolate, broken up into chunks
1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
3 tablespoons of nuts or seeds (I used a mixture of almonds, and added some coconut flakes)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8" square baking pan with parchment, leaving some hanging over the edges. 
  • Place a medium saucepan over very low heat and add the nut butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, and vanilla and stir until the nut butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Then add the chocolate chunks and cocoa powder and stir continuously until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt until everything is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the nuts, seeds, and toppings that you like on top. 
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until the brownies are firm, and lightly cracked on top. Cool the brownies completely in the pan, and then transfer them to a wire rack by gently lifting the sides of the parchment paper to release. Cover and place the brownies in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This is crucial in order for the brownies to set, and hold together while cutting. Laura recommends running a chef's knife until hot water and drying it off before slicing into the brownies. 

olive oil baked chickpeas + egg + spinach with sumac

olive oil baked chickpea + egg + spinach with sumac | what's cooking good looking
olive oil baked chickpea + egg + spinach with sumac | what's cooking good looking

Even though I am someone who loves to cook and spend hours and hours in the kitchen, recently I have been working on ways to simplify this area of my life. I have been challenging myself to use less pots and pans, less ingredients, and take less trip to the grocery store. I want to encourage myself to eat most of my meals at home (and not be tempted by takeout) by simplifying my day to day habits revolving food.

Since we are in deep winter, I loath trips to the grocery store where I have to lug back bags of veggies in whipping winds and freezing cold temps. So this winter I have been dedicated to using every single vegetable in my kitchen before making another trip to buy more. Even if that means I am down to only 1 onion, a couple pieces of kale and a half eaten banana. I will find a way to make it work.

I have to admit, I am often guilty of buying more than I need, and restocking before I need to, which means sometimes veggies and other things get thrown away. I hate wasting food, the guilt weighs heavy on me even if I am just throwing away a half-used bunch of wilted parsley. Because of this, I knew that it would be easy for to stick to using up what I have. The best part about this is that it has forced me to get even more creative in the kitchen, and I am loving the challenge of coming up with ways to use ingredients in new ways.

That was kind of how this simple, but extremely satisfying dish came to be. I always have both dried and canned chickpeas on hand, my favorite of the pulses. Pulses are delicious, sustainable, protein packed powerhouses that are ideal for stocking the pantry. I have been known to dump a can of chickpeas into a baking dish with olive oil and herbs and make that my dinner. Chickpeas and olive oil are definitely a winning pair …. so, one morning when I was craving those savory olive oil chickpeas, I decided to add those to a baking dish along with the last of my spinach. I cracked in a couple of eggs to make it more of a hearty breakfast meal, and sprinkled a little sumac (my favorite spice in my pantry) on top, and out came a breakfast that was destined to be a new favorite of mine.  This dish, with just a couple of basic ingredients, ones that can easily be interchanged based on what you have on hand, packs so much flavor …. and, if you happen make a little extra, the leftovers are even better the next day.

This post is by sponsored by USA Pulses + Pulse Canada. VisitPulsePledge.com for more recipes and information. Thanks for supporting the brands that support what’s cooking good looking.

olive oil baked chickpea + egg + spinach with sumac | what's cooking good looking
olive oil baked chickpea + egg + spinach with sumac | what's cooking good looking
olive oil baked chickpea + egg + spinach with sumac | what's cooking good looking
olive oil baked chickpea + egg + spinach with sumac | what's cooking good looking

OLIVE OIL BAKED EGGS WITH CHICKPEAS + SPINACH + SUMAC

You can easily double this recipe by doubling the ingredients and cook it in a larger cast iron pan. Sumac is not necessarily easy to find, you usually have to seek it out in a specialty store or online. If you do not own it already, I will encourage you to find some (maybe on amazon) and add it to your spice rack. Otherwise, feel free to use any other spice that you like. Coriander or cumin would also work well in this dish. 

SERVES
2

INGREDIETNS

14-15oz of canned chickpeas rinsed (or about 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, if using dried)
a handful of spinach, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon of sumac (optional)
½ teaspoon of paprika
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
black pepper
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs

optional toppings: some additional sumac, sliced scallions, sliced avocado, a spoonful of harissa or pesto or another sauce if you choice

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
  • Place the chickpeas and spinach into a small baking dish, add the sumac (if using), paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove, and carefully crack the two eggs over the chickpeas and return to the oven. Bake for another 5-8 minutes. I like to check it at 5 minutes, and if they eggs are too jiggly and not cooked, return for another 2-3. You want the whites to be cooked, but the yolk to be a little runny. Serve right away, and top with any additional toppings you like. 

split pea + white bean chili

split pea + white bean chili | what's cooking good looking

I am so excited to be back in this space, giving it some love after a little break to work on a super fun project that I will be sharing all the details on next week.

Because my workload has been full-force, I’ve being hygee-ing hard these past couple of deep winter weeks …..  if you’re not yet hip on hygee, it’s a Danish word that is used to describe all things cozy and comforting. A couple of months ago, when Michael and I went to Copenhagen, we decided to take a day trip to a quaint, lovely Danish city, Arhaus, a little over two hours from Copenhagen to visit my dear food friend, Sif. When we were there, Sif was so kind to give Michael and I a book that she loved and said was a great representation of Danish culture, and how they get through the very dark and cold winters, with a cheerful dispositions and big smiles on their faces. On the train ride back to Copenhagen, Michael and I thumbed through our gift, The Little Book of Hygee, and being the big-time homebodies that we are, we loved how this Danish word perfectly summed up living your best homebound winter life. It’s all about embracing those little comforts of home, the fireplace, the cozy blankets, the big mugs of warm tea, and the comfy stretchy pants.

Of course, for us especially, a big part about winter hygee is making food at home. Big bowls of simple, warming, delicious, comfort food. We also like to do this while taking minimal trips to the grocery store, which means keeping the pantry well-stocked with nutritious pulses such as lentils and beans. Recently I picked up some split peas to add to the pantry, and I was so excited to use them and make something beyond the typical split pea soup with ham. Split peas actually have a really wonderful texture similar to lentils when cooked, so I wanted to make something that emphasized that, instead of puréeing them like so many recipes do.

I have made chili with lentils before, I have also made it with white beans, but spilt peas I knew were going to be a refreshing way to make an easy, comforting bowl of this spicy goodness. Plus, why do darker beans get to have all the fun when it comes to chili? One of my favorite things about this chili is the contrast in texture between the spilt pea and the white bean, and with a little bit of spice and kick, it is the best kind of food to make when you are in full-on hygee mode.  

 

*This post is sponsed by sponsored by USA Pulses + Pulse Canada. Visit PulsePledge.com for more recipes and information. Thanks for supporting the brands that support what’s cooking good looking!

split pea + white bean chili | what's cooking good looking
split pea + white bean chili | what's cooking good looking
split pea + white bean chili | what's cooking good looking
split pea + white bean chili | what's cooking good looking
split pea + white bean chili | what's cooking good looking

SPLIT PEA + WHITE BEAN CHILI

SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons of ghee or olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 poblanos, de-seeded and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
14.5oz can of organic canned cannellini beans, drained
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
½ teaspoon of chili powder
¼ teaspoon of ground cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of dried green split peas
4 cups of vegetable, chicken, or bone broth
sea salt

for the cilantro yogurt (optional):
1 cup of plain greek yogurt (cashew or almond milk yogurt if you prefer)
2 green onions, white parts minced (green parts reserved as a garnish for the soup)
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of lime juice (or lemon)
a handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped

additional toppings: sliced avocado and the reserved green scallions

 

METHOD

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the ghee or oil over medium heat and add the onions, and poblanos. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the poblanos are soft. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes. Add the cannellini beans, coriander, cumin, and cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the spilt peas, vegetable broth. Give it a good stir, bring it to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook partially covered for about 30-40 minutes. The chili should start to reduce and thicken, and the spilt peas will become tender. Taste and add salt if needed (this will depend on how salty your broth is, and it might not be necessary).

While the chili is cooking, make the cilantro yogurt by stirring together all the ingredients for the yogurt in a small bowl. 

Divide the chili amongst bowls and add a spoonful of the cilantro yogurt and any other toppings you like. 

salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce

salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking
salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking

If you've come over to my place for dinner in the past few months, it is likely that I've made this for you. It's been one of my favorite recipes for both small and large dinner parties, mainly because this is something you can make for eight people as easily as you can for one. But also because it has a fancy feel to it with out of control flavors. Actually, I will let you in on a little secret. What I really do is make this for myself, and make a double batch of the caraway paste (which is the base of the sauce) while in my comfy pants binge watching netflix. Then, when I make this for a dinner party, it's that much easier to throw it all together. 

I stumbled on this recipe several months ago when I had an unusual craving for salmon + spicy tomato sauce ..... so, of course, I did what you do when a specific craving comes on ...... I googled salmon and spicy tomato sauce. I came across a recipe on bon appétite that was exactly what I was looking for. After carefully reading through the instructions, I noticed that it was an Ottolenghi recipe. Of course it is. That is why it looked so flavorful and so delicious. I have so many internet recipes bookmarked, some I come back to more than once, but there are very few that I revisit over and over. This is one of those recipes. 

The thing that is great about this dish, is that this spicy tomato sauce can be paired with ANYthing. If you don't like salmon, or it's not in season, you can use a white fish. If you are a vegetarian, you can make this with cauliflower or broccoli. I cannot think of a fish/veg/meat that this would not go well with. You can make the caraway/garlic flavor bomb paste in advance, or, do what I do and make a double batch each time you make this, store it in the fridge, and then you can quickly throw this together in under 30 minutes. One more bonus is that this uses tomato paste, and only tomato paste to make the tomato sauce. I was kind of skeptical, since I do not really understand or love tomato paste. Mostly because when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of it, I put the rest in the fridge and find it months later, way in the back, moldy, and into the trash it goes. I bet that you've throw out a jar or two of half-used tomato paste too. This is a recipe that you can make to use up that half-filled jar of tomato paste, or if you're opening a new jar to make this, I bet it won't be long before you make this again and use up the rest. 

salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking
salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking
salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking
salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking
salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking
salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce | what's cooking good looking

salmon + spicy caraway tomato sauce 

This recipe is adapted from THIS recipe on Bon Appétit by Ottolenghi. If you do not like salmon, or it is not available, you can use a white fish. A thicker version would be best, such as halibut. If you are a vegetarian, you can switch out the fish for cauliflower or broccoli. The method for cooking the vegetable would be pretty much the same as described here for the fish. Lastly, you can make the caraway/garlic paste in advance, and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use. 

SERVES
2-4

INGREDIENTS

for the caraway / garlic paste:
1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
about 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil

2-4 8oz pieces of wild salmon
sea salt + pepper
about 3 tablespoons of sunflower (high-heat, neutral) oil


2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of filtered water
a pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of sugar

optional toppings: a couple of minced scallions, a handful of chopped cilantro, a handful of microgreens

NOTES on serving: I always serve this with quinoa or rice on the side, since it asborbs the sauce nicely. 

METHOD

First, make the caraway / garlic paste:

  • Toast the caraway seeds for a couple of minutes on low heat in a dry frying pan. Grind the seeds using a mortal and pestle or a spice grinder, until FINELY ground (if using a mortal and pestle, this takes a bit of elbow grease).  
  • Add the ground caraway to a food processor,  along with the garlic, paprika, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon, and pulse a few times until combined. Add in the sunflower oil and run continuously until a thick paste has formed. Set aside until you're ready to use. You can make this paste ahead of time and keep it in the fridge in an air-tight container for at least a week (maybe two). 

Sear the salmon:

  • Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large cast iron over medium high heat (the pan should be hot enough so that the salmon sizzles when it hits the pan).  Add the salmon, skin side up, and cook for two minutes, flip, and then cook for about three minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate while you cook the tomato sauce. 

Make the sauce, and finish cooking the salmon:

  • Using the same pan and oil you just cooked the salmon in, add another tablespoon of the oil and lower the heat to medium low. Add the caraway garlic paste and cook for about two minutes, while stirring, until fragrant. 
  • Add the tomato paste and water and stir until everything is combined. Add the salt, lemon juice, and sugar, and stir again. Lastly, add the salmon back to the pan. Cover, and cook for 4 minutes (for medium rare) or 8 minutes (for medium well). Serve immediately with any of the suggested toppings. 

 

raspberry chipotle chocolate truffles

chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking

 

The holiday season is already in full swing here in nyc. There are christmas trees for sale on many of the street corners in my neighborhood, holiday music is playing everywhere, and there are several parties to attend every week. We picked out and decorated our tree this past weekend, we have the harry connnick jr holiday pandora station on continuously, I dusted off my pine tree scented candles, and I feel like I am living in a state of overindulgent exhaustion.

I don't necessarily mind the overindulgence this time of year, as long as I can balance it out with healthy indulgence in the form of warm salads, soups, and smoothies. Oh, and maybe a health-ish dessert thrown in there too. 

Dessert feels like the first and best place to make a healthier switch during the holidays, and each year I try to come up with a couple of recipes that I can make for us or bring to a party to lessen the dairy, gluten, and sugar load just a little. Last year I made THIS pie which I cannot wait to make again. This year, I am adding in these very easy to make 3-ish ingredient truffles, with Tabasco's raspberry chipotle hot sauce to give them a sweet little zing. I have always been into making super easy truffles, and I love it when chocolate-y things have a spicy kick to them, so this seems like the perfect treat to add to my repertoire this winter. 

This really delicious raspberry chipotle hot sauce by Tabasco is a must-have for your fridge! Especially if you're like me and you love when sweet gets together with spicy. This would go so well with so many things (I am thinking dessert, swirled into some vanilla ice cream), and would also make a great stocking stuffer. You can only find it online, but you can easily order a bottle of your own HERE.

**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! 

chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking
chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking
chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking
chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking
chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking
chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking
chipotle raspberry chocolate truffles | what's cooking good looking

raspberry chipotle chocolate truffles 

If you want to make these truffles and you do not have the raspberry chipotle sauce handy, you can simply omit it, and add a couple of extra pinches of cayenne (if you still want a spicy kick). 

MAKES
about 2 dozen truffles

INGREDIENTS

12oz of 70-80% dark chocolate, cut into chunks
1 cup of canned full-fat coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
a dash of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of Tabasco raspberry chipotle hot sauce
a pinch or two of chipotle or cayenne (optional, if you want an extra kick)

toppings: 
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
a tablespoon of gogi or pomegranate powder (optional)


METHOD

  • In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk over low heat and add the chocolate. Stir continuously until the chocolate has completely melted. Add the salt, cinnamon, and raspberry chipotle sauce and stir to incorporate. 
  • Remove from the heat and immediately transfer to small baking dish (I like to use a loaf pan). Refrigerate for a minimum of three hours, over overnight, until the mixture has solidified. 
  • Place the cacao powder, and any of the additional toppings (if you choose), onto a flat plate. Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop the chocolate to form the truffles, roll them between the palm of your hands to make a smooth ball shape, and place them on the plate with the cacao and roll it in the cacao until covered. Do this until all of the truffles have been formed. 
  • Place them back into the fridge for another 3 hours, minimum, or until you're ready to enjoy. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight container.

 

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.