coconut cream pie | pistachio + toasted coconut crust (gf+df)

coconut cream pie with a pistachio + coconut crust (gf+df)  | what's cooking good looking
coconut cream pie with a pistachio + coconut crust (gf+df)  | what's cooking good looking

You guys .... apparently I am having a coconut/tropical themed thanksgiving this year. Do you want to come? I have plenty of coconut chili brussel sprout slaw and coconut cream pie to go around. 

I am not really sure why I have gone on a coconut binge this year. Maybe it's the fact that it was 20 degrees last week in nyc, or maybe I am wishing I lived somewhere warm where the dead of winter will never arrive. Or ..... maybe I just love coconut. Not only is it my favorite substitute for dairy, it might actually work better than dairy in some recipes. Case in point, coconut cream pie. 

 

Last week we talked about how I like to keep it minimal for thanksgiving and the holidays, but PIE. Pie is where things get crazy. I will never make just one pie. I usually will make 2-3 (from scratch) depending on how many guests. There will always be an apple pie with an all-butter crust, and then something a little different. Last year, I purchased The Four & Twenty Balckbrids Pie Book, and if you're not already familiar, the book is filled with uncommon takes on traditional pies that are SO creative and so decadent. Granted, these are not the usual goods that are being baked up in my kitchen, so I always try and put my own dairy-free, etc etc spin on things. Sometimes it works .... sometimes it totally fails. Not everything was meant to be transformed into a healthier version of itself. 

This year, I tackled their pistachio coconut cream pie because .... well, coconut (apparently) ... and because the crust was an amazing 3 ingredient, gluten-free genius combination with toasted coconut and pistachios. I took it in my own direction and switched out the refined sugar in the crust for maple syrup and I added a little bit of melted coconut oil to hold it all together, and it turned out just perfect. Then, to tackle the filling, I took out the dairy (milk, and butter) and switched it for a quick cashew milk and some coconut oil, which is always my favorite fat substitute. I did leave the egg yolks because I felt they were necessary, and farm fresh eggs are always welcome in my home. But if you are vegan or do not want to use the eggs, I do not see why you cannot leave them out. It just might be a little runnier so you can use the freezer method I describe in the recipe below. Last but never least, instead of making the traditional whipped cream, you know that was a no-brainer sub with coconut whipped cream. 

So here we are, with a pie recipe that I am super proud of, but was very much inspired and helped along by one of my favorite (indulgent) cookbooks. It will certainly be one of the pies for my coconut-tropical themed thanksgiving, and very likely again over the holidays. 

coconut cream pie with a pistachio + coconut crust (gf+df)  | what's cooking good looking
coconut cream pie with a pistachio + coconut crust (gf+df)  | what's cooking good looking
coconut cream pie with a pistachio + coconut crust (gf+df)  | what's cooking good looking
coconut cream pie with a pistachio + coconut crust (gf+df)  | what's cooking good looking

coconut cream pie | pistachio + toasted coconut crust (gf+df)

Adapted and inspired by the pistachio coconut cream pie in The Four & Twenty Balckbrids Pie Book.

A few things to note: As I mentioned, I do feel like this pie can be made completely vegan by omitting the egg yolks, however, I did not try it so I cannot vouch for it. If you do try it, please let me know, but I would suggest following the instructions for freezing, because it will hold it together better. Also, I gave the option for white or coconut palm sugar for the filling. I tried it with both, and there was not much of a difference in taste, but the coconut palm sugar gives it a darker hue. SInce I am from the mindset that "sugar is sugar" I would recommend using the white here if you want a prettier color pie filling.  Lastly …. don't forget to put your canned coconut milk in the fridge the day/night before serving. 

 

MAKES a 9" pie

INGREDIENTS

for the crust:
3/4 cup of pistachios, shells removed + unsalted 
3/4 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons of maple syrup 
a pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
***add a tablespoon of coconut and pistachios to toast if you want them to top the pie. 


for the coconut cream filling:
2/3 cup of cashews
2 1/2 cups of water

4 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons of tapioca starch (or potato or corn starch)
1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar (or regular white sugar)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of full fat coconut milk (the kind in a bpa-free can)
the zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon of lime juice
2 tablespoons of coconut oil


for the coconut whip topping:
1 can of full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of almond extract (optional)

METHOD

Make the crust:

  • Toast the pistachios in a small pan over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside in a bowl to cool. 
  • Then, add the shredded coconut to the same pan, and toast over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes until light brown. Add to the bowl with the pistachios and allow it all to cool for a few minutes. 
  • In a food processor, add the toasted coconut, pistachios (be sure to remove the extra tablespoon of each if you are reserving for the topping) and salt and pulse until you have a very fine consistency. Then, add the maple syrup and melted coconut oil and pulse a few more times until everything is combined and you have a sticky mixture. 
  • Place the mixture into the center of an un-greased metal pie dish, and work the mixture into the dish using your fingers. You will want to wet the tips of your fingers to prevent the mixture from sticking. Do this until it is pressed evenly into the pie pan and up the sides. 
  • Place the crust in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or until you are ready to fill. You can make this a few days ahead if you like. 

Prepare the filling:

  • Place the cashews and water into a high-powered blender such as a vitamix. Blend on high for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth milk-like consistency. 
  • In a large bowl, whisk the yolks until smooth and the set aside. 
  • In a medium sauce pan, combine the cashew milk (that you just made), starch, sugar, salt, vanilla, coconut milk, and lime zest. Whisk to combine the ingredients, then place it on the stove over medium heat. Bring it to a slow boil, while stirring constantly. Once the mixture feels thick and pudding-like, turn the heat off. 
  • Spoon the mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, a little at a time, whisking constantly to prevent the egg from cooking. Once the yolks are incorporated, you can pour in the rest of the coconut milk mixture and stir to combine everything. Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Keep the bowl nearby. 
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil and stirring constantly. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer, and then remove it from the heat and pour the mixture back into the large bowl. Add the lime juice and the coconut oil, and stir to combine. Allow it to cool slightly before adding it to the crust, stirring occasionally to prevent a film from forming. 
  • Once the filling has cooled for about 10 minutes, then add it to the pie shell, and place it in the fridge for 4 hours. OR you can place it in the freezer, you will just need to remove it to allow it to warm up for about 45 minutes - 1 hour before serving. 

Make the coconut whip + top the pie:

  • Do this step after you pie has set in the freezer or fridge and right before you are ready to serve. If your pie was in the freezer, you want it to defrost for at least 30 minutes before adding the whip to the pie. 
  • When you open the can of coconut milk, separate the coconut water from the thick coconut milk. Pour the watery coconut into a bowl and reserve it for another use. Then place the thick coconut milk that is left into a stand mixer, or a mixing bowl (and have a hand mixer ready). 
  • Add the powdered sugar, salt, and extract, and whip the coconut until you have an almost whipped cream like texture. It won't be as light and fluffy as whipped cream, but it will be kinda close. 
  • Using a spatula, spread the coconut whip over the top of the pie evenly. Top with some chopped toasted pistachios and toasted coconut and serve. 

 

chili + coconut brussel sprout slaw

chili coconut lime brussel sprout slaw | what's cooking good looking
chili coconut lime brussel sprout slaw | what's cooking good looking

I originally intended for this recipe to be a thanksgiving side dish, but after making it and devouring for lunch, I realized that this is an any-kind-of-day dish. However, it still will be gracing my thanksgiving table this year under the: need-something-raw-and-healthy-on-my-plate category.  

As thanksgiving goes, I don't like to get too fussy. I do fuss over the pie, and I do fuss over the stuffing, but as for everything else, not so much. I like to go with things that are familiar, things that I have made before, things that I can throw together easily, and things that are not going to leave myself and my guests feel .... overwhelmed. What makes the meal special is spending the day with family and friends, not having to worry about anything else except for being there and sharing a meal. In our home it's less about stuffing our face and more about being together.  

What sets the food apart from any other meal is that I will make one or two things more than a normal dinner party, and of course the turkey (because who actually roasts a turkey except for on thanksgiving), and that is it. I try to make just enough for everyone, because I certainly don't want to be eating thanksgiving leftovers for weeks.  

Since some of the items on the thanksgiving table are on the heavier side, I think it is always a good idea to balance things out by having at least one or two dishes on the lighter side. I always feel better when I have something raw and salad-like on my plate. This chili coconut brussel sprout slaw will do the trick. 

Even though this dish has a tropical/Thai kinda of feel, I know it will be the perfect balance to the butter and gravy, and might even afford some appetite for an extra since of apple pie. 

chili coconut lime brussel sprout slaw | what's cooking good looking
chili coconut lime brussel sprout slaw | what's cooking good looking
chili coconut lime brussel sprout slaw | what's cooking good looking

chili + coconut brussel sprout slaw

SERVES about 4-6

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of brussles sprouts, shredded with a mandolin
2 cups of purple cabbage, sliced super thin
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut (plus a little more to top if you like)
 

for the chili coconut lime dressing:
1/2 cup of coconut milk (the kind that comes in a can)
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
the juice and zest of 1 lime
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
a pinch of salt

**** If you are the kind of person who like a little extra dressing on the side, I would double this chili coconut lime recipe. It certainly will not go to waste. 

METHOD

Make the dressing:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Set aside until you're ready to dress the slaw. 
     

Then make the slaw and add the dressing:

  • In a dry frying pan, toast the coconut over medium-low heat until it turns light brown (for a couple of minutes). Remove and add to a large bowl where you are going to combine the rest of the ingredients. 
  • In the same bow, combine the rest of the ingredients for the slaw: the sprouts, cabbage, green onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Toss until everything is combined. 
  • Pour the dressing over top and massage the dressing into the slaw. Serve immediately, or shortly after dressing the slaw. 

roasted delicata squash stuffed with a millet + leek + pine nut sauté + white bean cream

roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking
roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking

I am writing this from Key West, FL ….. a quirky island where I lived for most of my early 20's. This trip is half vacation, half soul-feeding, with some much needed R+R and vitamin D intake for Michael and I. After the year that we have had, it feels great to have these few days to ourselves and to see a lot of my old friends who are still here living the good, happy, easy life. I needed this big time, and my heart is full and so happy. 

Before I left, I had thanksgiving on my mind and once I am back and recharged I am going to be finalizing my menu. I haven't cooked thanksgiving for the past few years and I am very excited to be cooking once again this year. There will be a turkey, a specially ordered one from a farm not too far away, for the traditionalist at our thanksgiving table….and for the ones that may not want turkey or may want to try something a little different, there will be this stuffed delicata. 

Each season I get obsessive about one vegetable, and this season I have been smitten with delicate squash. It's hands down my favorite vegetable this Fall. Delicata is a sweet, tasty squash with a thin, edible skin. The skin gets super soft when it is roasted so it adds a slight crunch / texture contrast, and a nice little nutrient boost. I have been making it so many different ways since it is one of the more manageable squashes to prepare. Just simply roasted with olive oil salt and pepper, or this filling version that is more of a main dish, stuffed with all sorts of goodness. 

In the next few days, I will be sharing my finalized thanksgiving menu with you here … and I would love to hear what you are thinking of making too. 

But for now …. I'm headed out to walk around and soak up some rays and happy island vibes from this funky little island that still feels a little bit like home to me. 

roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking
roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking
roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking
roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking
roasted stuffed delicata squash | what's cooking good looking

 

roasted delicata squash stuffed with a millet + leek + pine nut saute + white bean cream 

MAKES 10 stuffed squashes 

INGREDIENTS

5 delicata squashes, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
olive oil
salt + pepper
herbs de provence (or dried thyme)

for the millet:
1/2 cup of millet
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 small / medium leeks, diced
1/3 cup of pine nuts
a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
a couple of dashes of brags's aminos (or tamari)
pepper

for the white bean cream:
1 can of organic white beans, drained
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (if you don't have any, then you can leave this out)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
pepper
several tablespoons of water

METHOD

Roast the squash:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425º. 
  • Place the prepared squash onto a baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil and season with salt + pepper + the herbs. 
  • Roast for about 30 minutes until the squash is soft and the edges are nice and brown. 

While the squash is roasting, prepare the millet sauté and make the white bean cream:

  • First, make the white bean cream by placing all of the ingredients except for the water into a food processor. Then, add the water tablespoon by tablespoon until you have the consistency you like. You want to add just enough so that it is runny, but be sure to taste along the way because you don't want to water it down. 3-4 tablespoons should do. Adjust any seasoning as necessary and set aside until  you're ready to serve. 
  • Place the millet, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit, covered, for another 10 minutes. 
  • While the millet is cooking, toast the pine nuts and cook the leeks. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the dry skillet over medium-low heat and lightly toast the pine nuts until they are light brown. Remove and set aside. 
  • In the same skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the leeks until they are soft. If your millet is still cooking, remove the leeks from the heat but keep them in the pan. You are going to add the millet once it is done cooking.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low, and add the millet to the skillet with the leeks and add back the pine nuts.  Add another couple tablespoons of olive oil (you want the millet to be moist). Also add the white wine vinegar, brags, and pepper. Taste and add or adjust any seasoning as necessary. 

Stuff the squashes and serve:

  • Spoon the millet mixture into the roasted squash, and finish with a healthy drizzle of the white bean cream. Serve warm, immediately. 

 

broccoli + arugula soup with garlic chips

broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking
broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking
broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking

I ate a whole ear of roasted garlic last night, like it was a candy bar. I made Michael do it too .... to even things out.

We were up in Maine this past weekend which is one of my favorite places in the whole world. When it comes to food, Maine knows what's up. The kind of organic farm to table eating that is more "trendy" in the nyc area is pretty much standard there. It seems like every restaurant has it's very own farm where it sources all of it's ingredients. Of course, that is much easier to do when you have all that land in your backyard. Up there, there is such a profound respect for their land, the food that grows on the land, and all of their other natural resources like the water (hellooo, poland springs!)  ... you can feel it everywhere you go. Some seriously good, clean healthy living going on there. 

I would live in Maine if it wasn't for one glaring flaw ..... those winters. As we were leaving my aunt + uncle's yesterday, we saw our first few snow flurries of the winter (wait, no, first flurries of fall .... it's still very much fall). The first snowfall is always the best, but when that first snowfall is witnessed in one of the first days of November .... well, that's a little too intense for me. The snow fell nicely in the morning but quickly picked up and began to accumulate on the roads making a slushy mess, which made our ride home slow (oh, and my many bathroom + tea + snack breaks mayyy have contributed to that as well). By the time we reached the ferry to cross long island sound, we had already been in the car a solid 8 hours. I could not wait to reach long island, and a restaurant with delicious, warm, non-trail mix food ... and I am sure that Michael had heard enough of my singing along to every.single.song on Sirius and updates from social media. We got to the restaurant and ordered an entree to share .... and I also got a side of roasted garlic, because, when there is a side of roasted garlic on a menu - it needs to be ordered. We devoured that garlic. 

Since garlic will likely never be accepted as a main dish, I am happy to settle for it as a side dish or a garnish or a flavor booster in most of my meals. In the case of this soup, the garlic is a garnish but the garlic is also a very important component. Without these crispy garlic chips, this is just another green broccoli soup. With these crisps .... this soup becomes that much fancier, tastier, and special. They are not hard to make, and in fact, I would recommend making a big batch and keeping them around so you can sprinkle this magical garlic dust onto anything and everything your heart desires. 

broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking
broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking
broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking
broccoli arugula soup with garlic chips | what's cooking good looking

The making of this soup is more deconstructed compared to most traditional soup making. Ingredients are blanched, sautéed, and then blended together to make one silky smooth (dairy-free) puree. This soup is easy to throw together, and making it this way keeps much of the intensity of flavor in-tact. As with any soup, I love to have lots of textures going on. The garlic chips are the obvious, but I would also give it a little extra love with some arugula leaves, a healthy drizzle of really good olive oil, and several cracks of fresh black pepper. 

 

broccoli + arugula soup with garlic chips

SERVES about 4 

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of broccoli, roughly chopped (including the stems - peeled and chopped)
1 cup of arugula, packed (a few leaves extra for garnish)
1/3 cup of shallots or onion, diced 
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt + pepper

for the garlic chips:
10-12 cloves of very fresh garlic, sliced thin with a mandolin 
4 tablespoons of grapeseed or peanut oil

METHOD

Start by making the garlic chips:

  • Set up your area by placing a small saucepan with the grapeseed oil on the burner (but do not turn it on yet), and have a paper towel lined baking sheet nearby. Also have a small fine mesh strainer or slotted spoon nearby. 
  • Place the garlic in a medium saucepan with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil, then remove it from the heat and scoop out the garlic using the slotted spoon and rest it on the baking tray (keep the water in the pot, you will use it to blanch the vegetables). 
  • Heat up the saucepan with the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat, and when the oil is hot enough (it will start to look wavy) then add the garlic. Add the garlic and give it a shake to make sure they don't stick together. Cook the garlic until it just starts to brown, then remove it from the oil using the slotted spoon and place them on the paper towel lined baking sheet. Set aside until you're ready to serve the soup. 

Then, prepare the soup:

  • Set up your area to blanch the veggies. Using the same saucepan and water that you used to blanch the garlic, add some more water so it is 3/4 of the way to the top and season with salt. Bring it to a boil. While you are waiting for it to boil, prepare a large bowl of water with ice (which you will use after you blanch the veggies). 
  • First, blanch the arugula for about 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and place it in the ice water. 
  • Then, using the same pot and boiling water, add the broccoli and blanch for about 3-4 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. Remove the broccoli and place it into the ice water bath, and reserve the boiling water (you will use 2 cups of this for the soup). Strain the broccoli and arugula from the ice water. 
  • Then, in a small pan, heat the grapeseed oil and sautee the onions and garlic on medium low heat. You want them to be very soft but be careful not to brown them. 
  • In a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, add the sautéed onions and garlic, the arugula and the broccoli. Then, add in two tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and about two cups of the warm blanching water. Blend on high until you have a very smooth puree. Taste and adjust any seasoning accordingly. 

Assemble the soup, etc:

  • Ladle the soup into small serving bowls, and finish with a sprinkle of garlic chips, a couple of arugula leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil and some pepper. 
  • This soup will be luke warm, but if you would like it to be hot, you can either do this by using your Vitamix (refer to the Vitamix's soup heat instructions) or you can transfer the soup back to a medium or large saucepan and heat over very low heat and then serve. 
  • This soup and the garlic chips will keep for several days in the fridge. If you have extra garlic chips you can use them for so many things such as over a salad or other warm dishes. 

pear + sage baked oatmeal

pear + sage oatmeal | what's cooking good looking
pear + sage oatmeal | what's cooking good looking

Breakfast. Let's talk. I think about breakfast in two categories. Weekdays and weekends. Weekday breakfasts are fast, and involve the same two-three things in a rotation. Smoothies, or oatmeal if I am at home. The same, or avocado toast, if I am on the run. I don't venture outside of that unless Michael surprises me and takes me out to breakfast before heading to work. 

I always have warm water with lemon and turmeric first thing when I get up, and then later on in the day, when my body is hydrated and I am ready to kick the day into full gear, I make (or buy) myself a latte. It's my treat for the day. 

I love my morning routine, it's a strict one. 

My weekday morning routines are sacred, and are the one part of the day I feel like I can fully control before the madness begins. Before the phone starts ringing, the door starts knocking and the emails start piling up. 

Weekends are different, and are obviously more relaxed. I loosen up that routine and try to make the morning last as long as possible. Michael tends to take over breakfast in the mornings on the weekends, and I like it that way. We introduce eggs from the farm into the rotation, or maybe some pancakes or waffles if we're feeling extra decadent. We allow ourselves to take that extra time in the mornings on the weekend because all that is waiting for us is the New York Times and maybe a walk on the beach. 

This baked oatmeal might be the exception to all of these rules. I have made baked oatmeal on the weekday because it is quick and easy (and falls into the oatmeal category), and it's so tasty and last for a few days, making breakfast for the rest of the week a breeze. I have also made this on a lazy Saturday and enjoyed it throughout the weekend because it's that kind of weekend breakfast too.  

I have used different fruits for this oatmeal. Blueberries were particularly delicious when they were in season, but now that we are fully into Fall, I am giving you this recipe with pear, and some sage (for an extra bit of fall-ness). Fell free to use any fruit or berry you have on hand, even frozen will do. You will want to use this recipe all year round. 

And here we are..... where weekend breakfast + weekday breakfast meet. 

pear + sage oatmeal | what's cooking good looking
pear + sage oatmeal | what's cooking good looking
pear + sage oatmeal | what's cooking good looking

pear + sage baked oatmeal 

SERVINGS / several 

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sized pears, cored and diced
a pinch or two of cardamom
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
a drizzle of maple syrup 
6 fresh sage leaves, minced

1 cup of cooked brown rice or spelt (optional)
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats (make sure they are gluten-free to make this dish gf)
1 teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
2 cups of homemade almond milk (preferably) or any milk of your choice
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (plus a little for greasing)
1-2 tablespoons of mixed seeds (pumpkin, chia, sunflower, etc)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Grease an 8x10 baking dish with a little bit of oil.
  • Layer the pears at the bottom of the baking dish, and sprinkle with the cardamom, cinnamon, drizzle with the maple syrup, add the sage leaves and toss everything to combine.  
  • Then, in a medium bowl, combine the spelt (or brown rice), oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and stir to combine.
  • Then, in a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and oil and whisk until the egg is lightly beaten and everything is combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and give it a good stir to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into the dish over the pears. Top with a layer of mixed seeds. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the oats are cooked. Allow to cool slightly, and serve warm.
  • This will save covered in the fridge for a few days. To reheat, I like to drizzle some almond milk over the top and heat in the oven at 350º for a few minutes.