spicy chickpea + crispy kale salad with chili garlic marinated carrots +

spicy chickpea + kale salad with marinated carrots
spicy chickpea + kale salad with marinated carrots

I am a big fan of picking one thing and doing it really well. 

When it comes to food, I really admire the people who decide to say .... I am going to be THE BEST at ... blank. I am going to be THE BEST falafel maker. I am going to be THE BEST burrito maker. I am going to be THE BEST vegan cupcake maker.

I have always had a pipe dream of owning a small shop where I serve up my very best of something ....... and right now if I could tell you would that something would be, it would be pie or salads. But most likely salads. YEP salads. 

Maybe that sounds like the most boring food on the planet to master, but hear me out.  I take my salad making skillzz very seriously. VERY SERIOUSLY.  I know we've discussed this before .... I make a lot of salads, and I put a lot of craft and love into each salad I make. I always make my dressing, I always use the best organic local seasonal ingredients, I always look for the perfect balance in flavors and nutrients. I'm always trying to come up with crazy combinations that I have never had before. I never use meat and I never use cheese, and I never miss either. 

I have yet to find a place that crafts a salad quite as well as I do at home. I am sure that you feel the same way about whatever it is that is your favorite thing to make at home (and I bet you your favorite thing to make is way cooler than my salad).

Maybe ... just maybe .... someday I will have a little place where you can come and sit down and enjoy one of my salads. It's still a pipe dream, but more and more I would like to make that a reality. We will see my friends. 

Until then, I will share my salads with you, here. And if you lived close enough, I would invite you over for lunch so I could craft a salad special just for you. But since you probably do not,  hopefully you will make one of my salads for someone else, and make it with as much love as I would make it for you.

spicy chickpea + kale salad with marinated carrots
spicy chickpea + kale salad with marinated carrots
spicy chickpea + kale salad with marinated carrots
spicy chickpea + kale salad with marinated carrots

spicy chickpea + crispy kale salad with marinated carrots

SERVES 2-4 as main or side

INGREDIENTS

for the chili garlic marinated carrots:

2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 red chili, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon of honey
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
pepper

3 large carrots, peeled lengthwise with a vegetable peeler

for the crispy kale:

1 bunch of kale (about 20 leaves), stems removed and cut into 1/4s 
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
salt + pepper

for the spicy chickpeas:

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon of salt
pepper

2 cans of organic (low or no sodium) chickpeas, drained
 

METHOD

Marinate the carrots:

  • Start my making the garlic chili dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust any seasoning as necessary. 
  • Then, place the shaved carrot ribbons in a shallow bowl and spoon 1/2 of the garlic chili dressing over the carrots and massage it into them with your hands. Set aside while you prepare everything else. 

Then, make the crispy kale:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 250º
  • Place the kale onto 1-2 large baking sheets, and very lightly brush the kale with the sunflower oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Bake the kale for about 20-30 minutes, until it is crispy and browning (but careful to watch it so it does not burn). Remove and set aside until you're ready to assemble. 

Lastly, prepare the crispy chickpeas:

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Then, add the spices: cumin, chili flakes, paprika, fennel, salt, and pepper and heat while stirring for a minute. Then add in the chickpeas, stir to coat with the spices, and cook for several minutes, until they are warm and crispy.

Assemble the salad:

  • Line the crispy kale on the bottom of a large serving plate. Then top with the chickpeas, and marinated carrots. Finish by drizzling the rest of the dressing over top, and serve immediately. 

zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano + avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread

zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread
zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread

I love the way that everything slows down in September. Summer is crazy (in the best way possible) and then ....it fades, and there is a calmness that comes in as the weather becomes cooler. I love it.  Everything is better in September. Can we make that into a t-shirt and wear it all year round?

If we are insta-friends, you may have noticed I am spending most of my time recently outside of NYC, in Amagansett NY, to be close to my mom as she gets better.  It's mostly a summer beach town, so it gets really quite during the weeks after labor day. As much as I am missing nyc around this time, I am loving spending this time of year with the peace, the quiet, the ocean, and the farm stands. I feel like I am getting to know myself a little better as I am not constantly making plans to go out and eat out. I am cooking every single meal at home, I am reading a (fiction) book, and I am taking a bubble bath every evening. I cannot remember the last time my life has been this slow, and I am loving every second of it. 

I am also really loving getting my all produce from the local farm stands, which means I am still cooking with an abundance of late summer veggies like zucchini and corn. I never tire of these late summer veggies, in fact, I like to savor every last second. 

I cannot say goodbye to summer until some form of corn fritter has been enjoyed. So to sneak in one last hurrah I made this zucchini / corn / sweet potato fritter .... for you ... and me. I also made some some crazy delicious avocado poblano sauce and homemade pita bread for us to to enjoy along with it. You're welcome. 

 

So, let's talk homemade pita. I am one of those people who loves to make things at home from scratch.......but there is a huge stipulation attached to that statement. I am someone like loves to make things at home AS LONG AS IT'S EASY. I leave the complicated things to the experts, and luckily near me, I have no problem finding goods made from scratch from the best ingredients. 

However, the other day I wanted some pita, so I went to the store and tried to find the best, organic, gluten-free, blah blah bread I could find. I was pretty turned off by what I found, and I even more turned off by the crazy long list of ingredients ......even in the organic pita breads. So with that, I decided to make my own. A bit scared of what I would find when googling "how to make pita bread" ..... I was in for a total shocker when I discovered that pita bread is one of the easiest things you can make at home. So easy, that I am mad at myself for not attempting this sooner. 

5 minutes prep time, 6 ingredients that I always have on hand, 10 minutes in the oven, and I have fresh, gluten-free, dairy-free, "organic", homemade pita bread, that is warm and toasty right out of the oven. YES. I'll take that all day every day. 

zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread
zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread
zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread
zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread

 

zucchini + corn + sweet potato fritters | poblano + avocado cream | homemade (gf+df) pita bread 

*This gf pita bread was adapted from this genius recipe found HERE.  

MAKES about 9 fritters and a couple pita rounds

INGREDIENTS

for the poblano avocado cream:

1 poblano
1 avocado
1 clove of garlic
a couple tablespoons of avocado oil (or another neutral vegetable oil)
a pinch of salt
the juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup of water

for the pita:

2 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour, sifted
1 teaspoon of xanthan gum (if your gf flour blend does not have it)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large egg + 1 large egg white
1/4 cup of warm water + another 1/2 cup

for the fritters:

2 zucchinis, grated or peeled with a julienne peeler then diced
salt
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup of cornmeal 
1/2 cup of brown rice flour (or regular all-purpose flour if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
pepper
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
a couple tablespoons of sunflower oil (or another neutral high-heat oil)

optional accompaniments the fritters + pita: some additional raw shredded zucchini, sprouts, lettuce, avocado, tomato, cucumber, etc

METHOD

Start by preparing the poblano avocado cream:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450º
  • Place the poblano on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the poblano is brown and charred on the outside. Remove, and place in a bowl and cover with a towel for about 10 minutes (this will allow it to steam a little, and make the skin easier to remove). 
  • Once the pobano has cooled, peel off the skin, and remove the stem and the seeds inside. 
  • Place the poblano and all of the other ingredients except for the water into a food processor. Pulse several times until everything is combined. Then, add the water little by litter until you have your desired consistency. I found that 1/2 cup worked well. Set aside, or covered in the fridge until you are ready to serve. 

Then, make the pita bread:

  • Lower the oven temperature / or pre-heat to 400º. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while the oven warms (you can also use a large baking sheet). 
  • Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the sifted gf flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder and sea salt and blend on low speed to combine all the dry ingredients. 
  • Then, add in the egg and egg white and the olive oil and blend until combined. Then, add 1/4 cup of warm water and blend until incorporated. Lastly, slowly pour in the additional 1/2 cup of warm water and blend on low speed for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and just barley pulling off the edges. It should be a very wet and runny dough. 
  • Lay a piece of parchment out on a flat surface and spoon about 1/2 cup of the mixture and smooth it out with the back of the spoon. They will look a little bit like pancakes, and they should about 4-6" in diameter. Leave at least an 1" between each. You should end up with about 3-4. 
  • Very carefully, remove the pizza stone or baking sheet from the oven, and transfer the dough and parchment onto the stone or baking sheet. Place it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. The dough should rise slightly and be a light brown on top. Remove and place on a write rack to cool. I like to serve the pita while they are still a little warm, so you can cover them so they keep warm while you prepare the fritters. 

Make the fritters:

  • Place the shredded zucchini into a colander with some salt. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes to draw out the liquid. Squeeze the zucchini to get rid of any excess liquid. You can also place them in a towel and squeeze some more. The more liquid you can remove, the better. Set aside while you continue to prepare the fritters. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron over medium heat. Cook the onions for 3-4 minutes until soft. Then add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the corn kernels and sweet potato and sautee for several minutes until everything is soft and tender. Place in a separate bowl to cool slightly before incorporating with the other ingredients. 
  • In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add the cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and baking soda and stir to incorporate everything. Add the zucchini, corn, and sweet potato and stir again until everything is mixed together. 
  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in the same cast iron. Make sure the oil coats the bottom of the pan. Using a spoon and your hands, spoon about 1/4 cup full of the mixture into your hands and roll it around and press it together and form a ball. Then carefully place it in the pan with the oil and press down with the back of the spoon. Do this in batches. I had about three going at once, and did three batches. Cook them for 3-5 minutes on each side, and remove and set on a paper towel lined plate. 

Assemble the dish:

  • Cut the pita open by making a slit in the top, and cut half-way around. Stuff the fritter inside the pita, along with any toppings such as the shredded zucchini, sprouts, lettuce, avocado, tomato, etc etc. Then, finish with a healthy drizzle of the poblano avocado sauce. 

 

 

grilled eggplant + roasted tomatoes + scallion miso butter (ghee)

summer-veggies-miso-butter-WCGL-01.jpg
grilled eggplant + roasted tomatoes + miso butter

WOAH, is summer really closing in on us? Let's not discuss this now …. or I might cry. 

I don't know where my summer went. I spent most of it inside, working, cooking, taking care of my mom and my people, and a couple of weeks ago I realized, I need to go outside and experience SUMMER. I've also been working on a big project for the past few months (that I can't wait to share with you … eeeee!!!) That is almost wrapped up, just in time for me to break out my sweaters (sad face),  and I am determined to take the last couple of weeks of summer and spend a little less time on the computer and a little more time riding my bike to the beach to eat tomatoes sandwiches. 

Haven't you heard? September is the new summer. Well … that is what I am telling myself for now. 

Okay, now we really need to stop talking about the end of summer because we have tomatoes to roast, eggplant to grill, and miso butter to make. 

You don't usually find things with the word "butter" on this blog. I rarely cook with it at home,  and I usually will not order anything in a restaurant with "butter" listed as an ingredients, because … well …..  I am one of those weird people who does not love butter.  But after being nudged by a friend recently to order zucchini with miso butter, once I tired it, I decided that I will willingly eat butter if there is miso in the butter. 

Miso butter is basically crack in the form of a sauce that you can spread on vegetables, toast, fish …. or anything your heart desires. It has that umami flavor thing going on that makes you want to eat it with a spoon right out of a jar. It's not a new thing, chances are you've tired it before or have even made your own, but if you have not I insist that you buy up all of the last of the summer vegetables, make some miso butter, and slater your veggies in your miso butter. Then pack them up and take them to a beach, park, lake, anywhere that is outside and summery, because friends …… september really is still summer, and we are going to enjoy every last second of it.  

grilled eggplant + roasted tomatoes + miso butter
grilled eggplant + roasted tomatoes + miso butter

grilled eggplant + roasted tomatoes + scallion miso butter

SERVES 4 as a main

INGREDIENTS

for the miso butter (ghee):
3 tablespoons of ghee or butter, softened
3 teaspoons of sweet white miso
2 scallions, diced
black pepper

for the vegetables:

a quart of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
several small eggplants or 2 Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

for serving: about 1 cup of cooked quinoa, millet, or rice

METHOD

  • Make your miso butter. In a small bowl, whisk together the softened butter or ghee with the miso until they are combined. Then, stir in the scallions and set aside. 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet and toss with some olive oil. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until the tomatoes are brown and bubbly. 
  • While the tomatoes are roasting, grill the eggplant. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Brush both side of the eggplant with oil, and then cook them for several minutes on each side until the eggplant is soft and browning. 
  • To serve, melt the miso butter over the vegetables. Just add a tablespoon or so at a time until you have the desired amount. You can also gently melt your miso butter in a small pan over low heat. Then, it will pour easily over the veggies. Serve immediately. The miso butter will keep for several days in an air-tight container in the fridge, or can be frozen for up to 3 months. 

cucumber radish avocado gazpacho

cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking
cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking

I had gazpacho for breakfast today, and I reazlied …. gazpacho is kind of like a smoothie. Same concept, a combination vegetables blended until smooth, although gazpacho tends to be little more refined. A little more attention is paid to the seasoning and proportions.

Some might think that the gazpacho / smoothie similarities are good thing (I certainly do). Others might find that the smoothie relation might turn them off from enjoying gazpacho as a "meal" meal. I also know a fair amount of people who think that soup should only be served warm.

If you are one of those people who are on the fence about cold soup, I'd encourage your try this version. I am hoping this gazpacho might chance your mind.  

And, while I would not discourage you from having gazpacho for breakfast, I do think gazpacho is best enjoyed on a hot summer day with friends. It’s such an easy meal to prepare. It's minimal effort to feed a big group, and maximum satisfaction on a humid hot day. 

 

 

Last weekend, I was asked by Julie of FeedFeed to participate in a farm share where FeedFeed and Edible East End Magazine proved me with a box of freshly picked produce from my local farm, Amber Waves. They asked me to come up with a few recipes with the produce that was given to me, and this cucumber radish gazpacho was the appetizer on the menu. I had a few friends over that afternoon, and my friend Courtney who was there helping me prep inspired this recipe. It was definitely one of our favorites.  The white radishes from Amber Waves were perfectly zesty, they added just the right amout of zing to the mellow cucumbers and creamy avocado.   

cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking
cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking
cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking
cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking
cucumber radish gazpacho | what's cooking good looking

cucumber radish gazpacho

SERVES 
4

INGREDIENTS

1/4cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon of salt
a pinch of red pepper flakes
pepper
1/2 an avocado
2 large cucumbers, chopped
1 tablespoon of shallots, diced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
3-5 radishes, white or red (if red peel the outside so it does not effect the color of the soup)
1 tablespoon of pine nuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
a pinch or two of microgreens

METHOD

Place the olive oil, water, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes, a few cracks of black pepper, avocado and the cucumbers into a blender or food processor.  Blend until it is smooth. Add in the shallots, garlic, and 3 of the radishes and blend again until smooth. Taste and see if you would like to add more radishes. Some radishes are spicier than others, so I find that it totally depends on the radish and your tastes. I like to err on the side of more radishes, for more of a bite. Adjust any other seasoning that you feel necessary. 

coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries + a giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

coconut rice pudding with roasted cherries

MAKES
several servings

INGREDIENTS

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

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

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

METHOD

Bake the cherries:

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

Then make the rice pudding:

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

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

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