grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard stems + green harissa (and a fried egg, if you like)

grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking
grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking

My best meals come from when I have a bunch of leftover bits in my fridge and I have to make something out of them. I bet you would say the same thing. My favorite meals are bowls of food that contain a balance of grains, greens, veggies, legumes, doused in a delicious dressing. Bowls of food made form leftover bits in the fridge is my kind of real, everyday food. 

More and more I am making a conscience effort to collect the odd parts of the vegetables that you might otherwise discard. You know, the stems or leaves that often get chopped off and forgotten about. Since there has been an abundance of swiss chard in the markets right now, I'm finding myself buying them for their vibrant colored stems, instead of for their leaves, since they make such a tasty treat when they are roasted and sautéed. Maybe you've been doing this all along since your mom and grandma used to do it, or maybe you've been throwing them away. Either way, I hope you save your stems, sauté them with some garlic and olive oil and add them to a bowl of grains and other goodies. 

In addition to those pretty chard stems, lots of extra inspiration went into this humble bowl of veggies. Sarah's (Sprouted Kitchen) newest book: Bowl + Spoon, hardly needs an introduction or an endorsement since she is she such a superstar who consistently produces excellent recipes, words, and photographs. Her latest book has has inspired many of my recent meals at home, especially when it's just me or me and Michael on a weeknight.  The Bowl + Spoon concept is simple, lovely, and pure genuius. Bowl food is the best food, and should be celebrated. This green harissa that she shares in the book should also be celebrated. I have made it about 15 times in the past few weeks, I cannot stop pouring it over anything and everything, and anyone that I have made it for is obsessed.  She serves it in the book with eggs, potatoes, and asparagus. This bowl I am sharing today is not too dissimilar, but I promise you that there is not much that this sauce would not compliment. 

This bowl was also inspired by some trays of microgreens that were given to me last week by lovely Brendan of Good Waters Farm. His microgreens are a staple in my shopping cart, so I thought it was so kind of him to give me some trays to play around with. I have been expeiementing with different ways to use the microgreens ..... pesto is always a win, throwing it into your smoothie is also a great way to use up those last bits that you might have left (you know, before they go bad), but the most obvious way is also the best way to use these special mini greens, which is sprinkled over a salad (or ANY dish). It gives a pop of flavor, and makes your food look so much more elegant. 

I've been eating grain bowls since wayyyyyyyy before grains bowl became "a thing" on the internet. Although, I never gave them such a sophisticated name, they were always my: let's-see-what-I-have-in-the-fridge-to-make-an-edible-and-nutirious-lunch .... bowl. They make for the best lunches and the most complete meal. In this grain bowl, I decided to make the sprouts the co-star with the grains, since I had a variety at my fingertips. There are no strict rules to using the microgreens, I like to throw it all in and get surprised by he different pops of flavor. If fact, there are no strict rules when it come to throwing together a grain bowl, just maybe a few bendable guidelines.  For my grain bowl, I usually like to have a grain, a bean, some greens such a kale or arugula, microgreens, some sautéed veggies, and every once in a while a fried or poached egg on top. But of course, all of this can sway depending on what's in my fridge, what I have prepared already, and what kinda mood I am in that day. You know this drill. 

grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking
grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking
grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking
grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking
grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking
grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard + broccoli stems + green harissa | what's cooking good looking

grain + sprout bowl with sautéed chard stems + green harissa (and a fried egg if you like!)

(The green harissa recipe comes from Sara Forte's latest book: Bowl+Spoon, pg. 10)

SERVES 2-3

INGREDIENTS

for the green harissa:
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of parsley
1/2 cup of cilantro
1/4 cup of mint
1 serrano (or jalapeno) chili, stemmed + seeded (mostly)
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of salt (a little more if you like)
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

for the chard stems:
about 10 chard stems (leaves reserved for another use), cut into 1" pieces
some olive oil
salt + pepper
1 large clove of garlic, minced

guidelines for the grain bowl:
about 1 cup of cooked grain such a quinoa, millet, farrow, barley, spelt, etc etc. 
about 1 cup of cooked beans such as navy, pinto, black, cannellini, kidney. 
about 2 large handful of greens such as kale, chard, spinach, arugula (or a mix)
Several pinches of microgreens. I like to use a combination of a few such as sunflower, watercress, sorrel, wasabi, basil, arugula, etc. 
Any other garnishes that you like such as nuts + seeds. 
I also sometimes like to add a fried or poached egg on top. 

METHOD:

Make the harissa:

  • Add the garlic, parsley, cilantro, mint, chili, lemon, cumin, and salt to a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Then, while the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until everything is combined. Set aside until you're ready to assemble. 

Sauté the chard:

  • Heat some olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the chard stems and sauté for about 7-10 minutes until they are good and tender. Season with salt and pepper, add in the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until you're ready to assemble the bowls. 

To assemble the bows:

  • Again, this is more of a guide, but this is what I like to do. First, in a large bowl, add a couple of spoonfuls of the harissa to the grain, and toss to coat evenly, then add in the beans, and toss, and lastly add in the greens and toss. You might want to add a little more harissa at this point too.  Then divided the grain salad evenly amongst the bowls, divided the sautéed chard as well, and garnish as you please with some microgreens, nuts, seeds, and the egg if you like. Serve any additional harissa on the side (this will also keep for a few days, in an air-tight container in the fridge). 

black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots

salmon-asian-slaw-WCGL-01.jpg
black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots | what's cooking good looking

I'm a firm believer that no matter who you are, you need to have a go-to dinner recipe in your back pocket for when you have surprise dinner guests or just want something solid to make for your family or friends. Even if you don't like to cook all that much, or even if you cook all the time, having that one recipe that you have made so many times you barley have to think about putting it together is important and will also make you're life a little easier. 

I have 2-3 go-to (easy) dinner dishes, and this salmon is one of them. This is typically what our early-in-the-week-dinner looks like, but I can fancy it up if I have a last minute dinner guest and I don't have time to menu plan.  And by fancy it up, I mean make something like  a really tasty slaw that I can impressively pile way high on top. Fish is my favorite dinner party food, because I have so many friends who are "gluten-free, vegetarian ..... with fish" which I guess would be called a pescatarian, but who like labels. Certainly not me. 

 

When it comes to fish, it's important to be as picky and as savvy about the fish that you buy as you are about the rest of the food that you eat that. I'm sure that you already are, but I find the whole buying fish thing to be a little confusing. You have to look out for for more than one thing (and actually organic is one thing you don't want). When I buy fish, this my criteria:  sustainable, NOT farmed, low in mercury, high in omegas, very fresh and tasty. You have to keep you eye out for tricks like calling a fish "organic" because there is no such certification for that.

Salmon is particularly tricky because there are so many types and names that it's easy to buy the wrong thing.  For example, Atlantic salmon is pretty much always farmed. Scottish too. If you want true, wild salmon, it comes from the Pacific, often Alaska, and there is a season for it which is usually right around now until the end of the summer. A good way to tell if your salmon is wild is that it will look less "fatty" and more red vs. a farmed piece which will have more fat and a organ-y color. I pride myself on the fact that I can spot a farmed piece of salmon from a mile away, but if you're more of a newby to this ...... read labels, ask the person behind the counter where the fish comes from, and how fresh it is. Don't always trust what the sign says. 

If you are not someone who eats salmon, or if you're feeding people who don't, this slaw over a cauliflower steak would be a delicious alternative. Or you can also eat this slaw for lunch, all on it's own, maybe even with a slice of avocado. It's super tasty and is my new go-to side dish. 

black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots | what's cooking good looking
black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots | what's cooking good looking
black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots | what's cooking good looking
black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots | what's cooking good looking
black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots | what's cooking good looking

black pepper + lime baked (wild) salmon with a snap pea slaw + crispy carrots 

MAKES
3-4 pieces of salmon, the slaw makes enough for 4 servings (or 2 very generous ones)

INGREDIENTS

for the salmon:
3-4 / 7oz pieces of salmon (depending on how many people you are serving)
4 limes / half of the lime thinly sliced / the other half reserved for juice
lots of fresh cracked black pepper
sea salt
olive oil

for the slaw:
1 cup of purple cabbage / shredded (with a mandolin, preferably)
1 cup of white cabbage / shredded 
1 cup of snap peas / sliced super thin on the bias 
2 green onions  / thinly sliced
6 basil leaves / finely chopped

for the slaw dressing:
1 large clove of garlic / minced
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger / minced
1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter 
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 lime / juiced
1 tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon of sriracha (optional)
1/2 cup of water

for the crispy carrots:
1 carrot / shredded
1 tablespoon of garbanzo bean flour (or whichever flour you like)
a couple tablespoons of grapeseed oil

 

METHOD

Prepare the salmon parchment pouches + bake the salmon:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  • Take a piece of parchment and lay it on a flat surface. Place 3-4 lime slices (enough to cover the length of the salmon), onto of the parchment (lengthwise). Lay one piece of the salmon on top of the limes. Drizzle with some olive oil, season with salt, and very generously with the black pepper.  Lay a couple more pieces of lime on top. 
  • Fold up the parchment into packets. Take the two long sides and bring them up to meet, then fold them in and roll them down a bit. Be sure to leave some room, but also make sure they are sealed. Twist both ends tightly. Place it onto a baking sheet, and continue until all of your pieces of salmon are in parchment. 
  • Bake the salmon for 15 minutes. Timing is everything with salmon. If you find your oven is warmer and cooks fast, then you might want to lower the time a minute or two, and check the salmon. Better to cook it less and check it than to overcook. I find that in my oven 15 minutes gets me a medium rare piece of salmon (which I prefer). Salmon does not need to be well-done, unless that is how you prefer to eat it. Just be aware that the more cooked your salmon it, the more salmon-y it is going to taste. Some people like that, some people don't. 

While the salmon is baking, make the slaw and crispy carrots:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the slaw dressing into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust any seasoning necessary. 
  • Place all of the prepped slaw veggies into a large bowl, and then pour the dressing over and toss to combine. 
  • To make the crispy carrots, toss the carrots with the flour, then heat the oil over medium-high heat in a small cast iron. Cook the carrots, undisturbed, for a couple of minutes to get them nice and crispy. Then stir them around until they start to brown. Remove and place onto a paper towel to drain the oil. 

Assemble + serve:

  • When the salmon is done to your liking, remove them from the packets and place them onto individual plate. You can also remove the skin at this point (before you plate), but I usually leave it on. I don't eat it, but it's very easy to eat around. 
  • Place a large handful of the slaw on top of the salmon and finish with a pinch of the crispy carrots, and serve immediately. 

peppers stuffed with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice"

stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking
stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking

Mother’s day is this Sunday, and this is the first year that it is different (for me) than the many other mother’s days I’ve celebrated. Mother’s day in my family usually consisted of a nice brunch, some flowers, a gift, and a card.  We never made a huge deal about it, so I didn’t think it would bother me much this year since my mom is too sick to celebrate, but as it gets closer it’s all I can think about, and writing about anything else seems trivial.

For those of you who’s mothers are here and able to celebrate, promise me you will not take this mother's day, or any day that you have with your mother, for granted. If you live near her, make sure you take the time to visit her, make her a pie, go for a long walk. If you are far, make sure you spend extra time on the phone with her, send her a hand-written card. Do whatever you can to make her feel extra special. If you’re lucky you will have her here for a long time ….. but if not, you will want to look back knowing that you gave her the very best of your time. The memories we've made are so important, I  hold onto them so very tight. It's how I will celebrate this year ….. being thankful for our good times together. 

Last year for mother’s day, I was traveling back from a wedding so I was not spending it with my mom. I called her that morning, and she was talking my ear off about this, that and the other thing. I kept trying to get off the phone, but because it was mother’s day I caved and decided to let her chatter away. I am so glad I did. We laughed a lot, I remember so much of that silly conversation, and I know I always will.  

 

A lot of the food that I share on my blog is inspired by the meals my mother would make for us at home growing up. She always made sure there was a home-cooked meal for us even though she worked full-time. I’m still to this day not quite sure how she did it, but I am so thankful that she did. It shaped my thoughts about food, and gave me so many fond memories and recipe ideas that I now use to create my own, more modern, versions. These peppers are no exception. Stuffed peppers were one of those things that we loved, and this updated version with this magical cauliflower "rice"  is what I've been eating and loving on recently. 

stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking
stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking
stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking
stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking
stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking
stuffed peppers with a ramp + cauliflower fried "rice" | what's cooking good looking

peppers stuffed with ramp + cauliflower fried “rice”

MAKES
6 stuffed peppers

INGREDIENTS

For the peppers:
3 green (or any color) peppers, cut in half and seeds, etc, removed
a drizzle of olive oil
salt + pepper

for the ramp + cauliflower fried rice:
1 head of cauliflower
1/3 cup of almond, slivered (or chopped)
a couple tablespoons of grapeseed oil (or a neutral high-heat oil)
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
7-10 ramps, cleaned, white and green parts diced (separated)
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of tamari or low sodium soy sauce (or braggs aminos)
1 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar
a handful of golden raisins

METHOD

Cook the peppers:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º.
  • Place the peppers onto a baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, until peppers are soft (but still holding their shape). Remove and set aside until you’re ready to stuff.

Make the cauliflower ramp fried “rice”:

  • Chop the cauliflower into florets, and place them into a food processor. Keep pulsing until you have a small grain-like consistency. Do not run the food processor too much because you don’t want it to become too fine or mushy.
  • Heat a medium/large wok or cast iron over medium-low heat with about a tablespoon of the oil, and then add the almonds. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the almonds are toasted and light brown. Remove them from the pan, and set aside.
  • Using the same pan, turn the heat up slightly to medium, and about a tablespoon of oil and add the onions. Cook for several minutes unitl the onions are very soft. Then add the garlic, and the white parts of the ramps and cook for about 2-3 minutes, while stirring.
  • Add the cauliflower, sesame oil, tamari, brown rice vinegar, and then give it a good stir. Cook undisturbed for a few minutes to brown some of the cauflowier. Give it a stir, and a taste. Adjust any seasoning (sesame oil, tamari, etc) that you like. Cook for a few more minutes, then remove form the heat. Stir in the green parts of the ramps, and the raisins.

Stuff the peppers and serve:

  • Take a couple of spoonfuls of the cauliflower fried rice, and stuff them into the peppers. You might have some extra cauliflower fried "rice, which you can save and eat on it's own, or reserve and make a few more peppers the next day. 

rhubarb custard tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | gf + df

rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking
rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking

There used to be a restaurant called The Pie Plate near my home growing up. It was a bit of a hybrid between a diner and an IHOP that specialized in (you guessed it) pie, but you could also get typical diner / breakfast-y fare too, all day every day.  It was my FAVORITE place on earth. Mostly because when you walked in there were glass cases filled with every type of pie you could imagine, my heaven. Apple, cherry, key lime, blueberry, lemon meringue ...... and so after we ate our breakfast, I was allowed to order whatever piece of pie I wanted. I would usually order apple or blueberry ...... NEVER ever rhubarb. I hated rhubarb pie.

When they had rhubarb pie, it was a big deal. There would be tabletop signs announcing "RHUBARB PIE IS HERE!" and I just didn't get what all the fuss was about. I would think to myself:  Whatever rhubarb pie. I'm just not that into you. 

As I grew up, my taste buds did too (as they do). I got curious about rhubarb. I picked some up at the market and was determine to experiment with it. You cannot eat it raw, you have to cook it down to make it edible and to release it's lusciously bittersweet taste, and I realized I liked that about rhubarb. It's a bit mysterious. 

One of the first things I made with rhubarb was a simple cobbler, just to test it out, and when I took my first bite I thought, what was wrong with me?? How could I have ever hated rhubarb?? It's one of the most delicious vegetables I have ever had. Oh, and yes, in case you didn't know, rhubarb is a vegetable .... adding to it's mysteriousness. 

Now, when I see rhubarb at the markets, I get super giddy. I now think to myself: Hello, rhubarb. I love you. You are coming home with me (wink wink). 

I bring home armfuls and cook them down to an edible form, and usually make 2-3 things with with what is left. I like to reserve a little for cocktails and for serving over ice cream, but I also like to make one main event rhubarb dish. I've made pie (obviously), smoothies, and a dairy-free ice cream with pistachios, but this rhubarb custard tart is one of my proudest sweet moments in my kitchen. It has the texture of a key lime pie, with the yumminess of the rhubarb. Oh, and it happens to be free of dairy, gluten, and refinded sugar..... but the best part about that is that it happens kind of naturally because of the ingredients used. It's not forced, so it does not taste l like a diet-restriced dessert - at all. 

Rhubarb and I are now lovers forever and ever and ever. The end. 

 

Friends! TOMORROW is the last day you can vote for your favorite blogs for the Saveur Blog Awards. If you haven't done so, it would mean SO very much to have your vote. I'm actually the only veggie focused / healthier blog in the delicious food category, so I think that makes it even more exciting.  It just takes 2 minutes to vote (I timed it!). Click the icon below, and scroll all the way to the bottom to the most delicious food category, to find me. Thank you thank you <3


rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking
rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking
rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking
rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking
rhubarb tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | what's cooking good looking

rhubarb custard tart with a macadamia nut crust + raspberry ice | gf + df

Since rhubarb is super seasonal, you can make this tart using other fruits that are in season. Just sub in the whatever fruit you like for the rhubarb, and make sure to let me know if you try other combinations!

MAKES
one 9" tart

INGREDIENTS

for the crust:
1/4 cup of shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups of macadamia nuts
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of brown rice flour
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

for the rhubarb custard:
5 cups (about 7 stalks) of rhubarb, green tops removed + chopped
2/3 cup of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
1 teaspoon of lime juice
1/4 teaspoon of salt

11oz / 1 1/3 cup of canned coconut milk
4 tablespoons of agar flakes
1 tablespoons of orange juice
1 tablespoon of lime juice

for the raspberry ice (optional):
1 cup of frozen raspberries 

METHOD

Prepare the crust:

  • Heat the oven to 300º. Oil you tart pan and set aside. 
  • Spread the coconut out onto a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove, place into a food processor, then raise the oven heat to 350º. 
  • Add the macadamia nuts, oats, and salt to the food processor (with the coconut), and pulse many times until you have a very finely ground texture. Transfer to a bowl and add the brown rice flour, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and stir to combine. The dough should be wet, and should stick together, but should not  be too sticky. If it's too sticky, then let it sit for several minutes. 
  • With clean hands, form the dough into a ball, and then place it in the center of the tart pan and press it in with your fingers to form it to the pan.
  • Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork, and then bake for 20-25 minutes (check at 20 and see if it is browning on the edges). Remove when the crust is light brown. 
  • Allow the crust to cool for several minutes, and then place it in the fridge to completely cool for at least an hour (you can also do this a few days in advance). 

Prepare the custard:

  • Place the rhubarb, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, lime juice, and salt into a medium sized heavy bottom pan. Heat it up over medium-low heat, and cook the rhubarb down, while stirring occasionally. If it gets too hot and starts bubbling, turn the heat down. You don't want to burn the rhubarb. Cook for about 20 minutes until the rhubarb is very soft. Mash with a potato masher to get a fairly smooth consistency. 
  • Add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Then add the agar flakes, stir, and bring the heat up slightly until it simmers. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes while stirring every several minutes. After 15 minutes, check to make sure the agar has dissolved (just look closely to see if you see any flakes). If you do, cook for a few minutes more. If not, turn the heat off and allow the mixture to sit and cool for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add in the orange juice, lime juice, and blend for about minute until the mixture is smooth. 
  • Allow the mixture to sit (in the food processor) for 10 minutes. This will allow it to cool and thicken even further. Then blend again until it's super smooth. 

Assemble the tart, allow it to set, and then get ready to serve:

  • Pour the rhubarb mixture into the chilled tart crust, and smooth the top. Place the tart in the fridge, and allow the tart to set for at least 2 hours (but overnight would be ideal). If you cut into it too soon, the crust and the inside might fall apart. It's best to have patience with this one.The longer it sits, the better it will hold together. 
  • When you're ready to serve, make the raspberry ice (this topping it totally optional).  Place the frozen raspberries into the food processor and pulse several times until you have a fine-grain ice. 
  • Remove the tart from the fridge, top with the raspberry ice, and serve immediately. 

daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + quick pickled ramps …… and a spiralizer giveaway!

daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking

About 10 years ago, if you would have told me that a tomato was a summer veggie (fruit), I would have looked at your funny. I didn't have much of a grasp on seasonal foods back then, and why it is important to eat seasonally. I did, however, know that those tomatoes were hard and flavorless in the winter, especially compared to the ones that I would eat in the summer, but a tomato was something I thought I was okay to enjoy all year round, because the grocery store sold them, and if the grocery store sell them then that means it's all good. (As I'm sure you've guessed, I've since become much much more skeptical of what is on the average grocery store's shelves. )

I distinctly remember my first realization that there was a very specific season for certain foods. It was in the springtime when I started shopping at whole foods more often instead of the run of the mill stop and shop, and all of a sudden fresh peas and fiddlehead ferns started taking over the shelves pushing out some of the root vegetables. It also was around the time that farmers markets started to pop up where I lived, and I became much more aware of the change in season based on what was coming into the markets at what time. If I wanted a really tasty peach, I had to be patient and wait until late summer, same thing went for that juicy tomato. Nowadays, I wouldn't be caught dead buying a tomato in the dead of winter. It just feels wrong. 

Spring is my favorite season for veggies because it is exciting to see a spring veggie after months of roasting root vegetables.  Spring also feels shorter than the other season, like a fleeting moment. If you don't slow down and savor it, it is gone and we're onto those summer veggies. Ramps are the prefect example, because they are here for such a short period of time that when you see them you have to grab as many as you think you can eat, and turn them into pickles and pesto so that you can enjoy them for a little longer than there are here for. 

A few days ago I found ramps for the first time, and snatched up three bundles. Just enough to get my ramp fix, but I want to leave some behind for other ramp enthusiasts to enjoy too. Determined to use them all right away (because they can turn limp pretty quickly)  I decided to make a quick pickled ramp, a ramp tahini, and I also saved a few on the side to enjoy in their deliciously pungent raw form.  I whipped out my spiralizer, made some veggie noodles, tossed them with the ramp tahini and finished them with the pickled and fresh ramps, and threw on some roasted shiitakes for an umami kick. I sat outside, with my ramp-heavy, raw pasta, and I was so happy. It was now officially spring. 

 

For the SPIRALIZER GIVEAWAY!

Friends, I am giving away 2 spiralizers to two separate readers! This is the one I use at home, and I love it! It is well designed and it comes with three different attachments to make different shaped veggie noodles. 

To participate, please sign in right below here and then leave a comment telling me what you would love to make with your new spiralizer! Contest closes one week from today (4/30/15). Good luck! 



daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking
daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking
daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking
daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking
daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking
daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes + pickled ramps | what's cooking good looking

daikon + zucchini noodles with a ramp tahini, crispy shiitakes, + pickled ramps

If you cannot find ramps near you or if they are no longer in season, you can leave out the ramp pickle, and sub green onion in the tahini. It will not make much of a different (except it might not feel as exciting as using a ramp ;). 

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

for the pickled ramps:
about 10 ramps, trimmed, white parts only (green parts reserved), chopped
about 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

for the crispy shiitake's:
3.5 oz (about 1/2 cup) of shiitake mushrooms, stem removed, and sliced thin lengthwise
tamari + sunflower oil

for the ramp tahini:
1/4 cup of water
3 tablespoons of tahini
1 tablespoon of tamari
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 scant tablespoon of shallots
10 ramps, the green parts only (the white parts reserved for the pickle), chopped 
** feel free to reserve a few of the green parts to sprinkle on top

for the noodles:
2 large yellow zucchini
1 large daikon

additional toppings: gomasio, microgreens

METHOD

Pickle the ramps:

  • Place the sliced ramps (white parts) into a small bowl and cover with the vinegar. Set aside until you're ready to serve. 

Roast the shiitake's:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425º. 
  • Place the sliced shiitake's onto a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with tamari. Then drizzle with a little sunflower oil and toss to coat evenly. 
  • Bake the mushrooms for about 15-20 minutes, until they are brown and crispy. Remove, and set aside until you're ready to assemble the noodles. 

Make the ramp tahini:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the tahini (except for the ramps) into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour into a small bowl, and stir in the ramps (green parts). Set aside until you're ready to assemble. 

Lastly, make the noodles:

  • Using a spiralizer, or a julienne peeler, turn the zucchini and daikon into long noodles that resemble spaghetti. Place the veggie noodles into a large bowl. 

Assemble the dish:

  • Toss the veggie noodles with the ramp tahini.  Add about a teaspoon of the pickled ramp (strained from the vinegar). Top with the shiitakes, and any additional toppings that you like.