spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spirialized sushi bowl + carrot ginger dressing

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

SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS

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

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

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

METHOD

Make the dressing:

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

Make the daikon rice:

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

Prepare the fish:

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

Assemble the bowls:

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

grilled open-faced s'mores ice cream sandwiches

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

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

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

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

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

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

grilled open-faced s'more ice cream sandwiches

MAKES
2 s'more ice cream sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

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

matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free)

matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) | what's cooking good looking
matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) | what's cooking good looking

Of all the foods out there, I think that ice cream has the most nostalgia surrounding it. For me at least. Ice cream was a ritual in my home growing up ..... it was a summertime treat, and we visited the same 2-3 ice cream places over and over again when the weather was warm. Not the fancy kinds that are all around me in nyc these days .... I'm talking about the suburban, chain ice cream places. Carvel and Dairy Queen. We were having dinner at a friend's house the other night, and he brought out Carvel Ice cream flying saucers (which is basically their version of an ice cream sandwich) and with one bite I was transported back to my childhood. Granted, I haven't had Cravel ice cream in a very very long time ....... but with one bite it was like no time had passed, it tasted just like summertime as a kid. 

One of my favorite memories of ice cream and summertime when I was younger was taking a family bike ride to Dairy Queen on weekend afternoons. Thinking back, it was a really ambitious bike ride, one worthy of a reward of ice cream. I would always order the same thing: the vanilla ice cream cone dipped into the red, hard, cherry flavored shell .... you know the kind that hardens within seconds. I think it was called a cherry bomb. God only knows what ingredients were in it to make it harden like that, but I definitely didn't care then. It was just so good. 

Nowadays, I am a little more conscience about the ice cream I eat ..... but that does not mean that I eat it less. In fact, once I found a dairy-free ice cream version that I liked, my freezer never goes without it. My favorite flavors are vanilla and mint chocolate chip, however, my all-time favorite way to enjoy ice cream is homemade, straight out of the churner. 

I am now making new ice cream memories which is all about making ice cream at home, experimenting with new flavors, and always including herbs from the garden. Last year I was big into experimenting with homegrown lemongrass .... later this summer it is going to be pineapple sage. Today, it's mint, with the addition of matcha. It's as if mint chocolate chip, and green tea ice cream had a baby. Also, I came up with a technique to make dairy-free ice cream extra creamy, and even closer to it's non-dairy counter part. The trick is to make a custard using egg yolk (which is how traditional ice cream is made) .... so while it is not vegan, it is a really delicious way to make a creamy (cream-free) ice cream, and is now a new summer tradition in my home. 

matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) | what's cooking good looking
matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) | what's cooking good looking
matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) | what's cooking good looking
matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) | what's cooking good looking

matcha mint chip ice cream (dairy-free) 

MAKES
about a pint of ice cream

INGREDIENTS

2 / 13.5oz cans of full fat coconut milk
1 cup of fresh mint

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup of regular (or coconut palm) sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of matcha green tea

2oz of dark chocolate
1 teaspoons of sunflower or grapeseed oil

METHOD

Steep the mint in the coconut milk:

  • Place the coconut milk into a medium sized heavy bottomed pot, and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the mint leaves, cover, and allow to steep for 2 hours. When it's done steeping, strain the mixture into a separate bowl, clean out that pot and use it in the next step to make the custard. 

Make the custard/ice cream base and refrigerate:

  • Place the egg yolks, sugar, matcha, and salt into the pot (not over heat yet), and whisk until they are combined. 
  • Pour the coconut mixture over the eggs and sugar and whisk until combined. Place the pot over medium heat and cook while whisking frequently (for about 10-15minuites) until a custard forms (basically until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon). 
  • Transfer the mixture to a glass mixing bowl and place in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, or (ideally) overnight. 

Churn the ice cream, and add the chocolate:

  • Using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the ice cream maker's instructions. Typically you will churn for about 20-25 minutes continuously (that's what I do with my kitchen aid mixer).  
  • While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate either over a double broiler or in the microwave, and mix in the oil. 
  • When the ice cream is about half-way through churning (about 10 minutes), drizzle in the chocolate about a tablespoon at a time. The chocolate should break apart while churning and mix throughout the ice cream. 
  • When the ice cream is done churning, transfer to a container that you are going to store it in the freezer (preferably with a lid) or enjoy immediately from the ice cream maker (this is when the ice cream will be best!). Store any extra in the freezer, and enjoy at your leisure. 

chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula

chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula | what's cooking good looking

Keeping it short and sweet this week, since I have projects piling up up and there are always too few hours in the day! Oh, and also, I took two days off this week to go on a mini birthday adventure to Block Island with Michael. It was sooooo much fun and so needed, even if I will be playing catch up all weekend long. 

Speaking of projects, I have one major one in the works ...... more on that later ...... but, it has to do with recipes (hint!) and this recipe was going to be saved for that. However, I have been so smitten with these simple chickpea crepes, I can't stop making them for both breakfast and lunch. I have posted a few photos of them on instagram, and the recipe has been requested so many times that I knew that I couldn't save them for later. I needed to share these with you asap. 

These crepes are just perfect for breakfast with a poached egg and simple salad, or for lunch with some sauteed veggies and greens, but my favorite way is how I am sharing it today with smashed avocado and a lot of other love on top. 

One of my favorite things about these crepes, is that you can make the batter ahead of time, and save it in the fridge so you can throw together a fancy-ish, healthy, filling meal in no time. That's what I do, and it's been particularly convenient on the busiest of days when I want a home cooked meal but only have about 5 minutes to make something. 

chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula | what's cooking good looking
chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula | what's cooking good looking
chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula | what's cooking good looking
chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula | what's cooking good looking

chickpea crepes topped with smashed avocado + arugula 

As mentioned, you can top these crepes however you like, both sweet and savory toppings would work well here. Also, you can make the batter ahead of time and save it in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a week, and make individual crepes as you wish. 

MAKES
4-5 crepes

INGREDIENTS

for the crepes:
1 cup of chickpea flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons of filtered water
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

ghee or olive oil (for cooking) 

optional topping:
1 avocado
the juice of 1/2 of a lime
a couple of pinches of pepper (such as alleppo or red pepper flakes)
a pinch or two of salt

a handful of arugula
a drizzle of olive oil
a splash of vinegar

other additional toppings: microgreens, sesame seeds or gomasio, chives/herbs

METHOD

Make the crepe batter:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the crepe into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Allow the batter to sit, at room temp, for about 30 minutes while preparing your toppings. Alternatively, you can store this batter in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week. 

Prep your toppings:

  • Prepare the toppings you would like, or if using the avocado, smash the avocado along with the lime juice, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, drizzle olive oil and splash some vinegar over the arugula and toss to coat. 

Cook the crepes, and assemble with the toppings:

  • Heat a large cast iron over high heat. When the pan is hot, lower it to medium heat and add enough ghee or olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add about 1/2 cup of the batter, using a ladle, and spread the batter (just slightly) using the back of the ladle. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. You will know the crepe is ready to flip when you see a good amount of bubbles that have popped on the surface (similar to when you cook pancakes). 
  • Transfer to a plate and top with the toppings of your choice. If topping with the avocado, add a thin layer of the smashed avocado, top with a pinch of the arugula salad and finish with any of the additional toppings that you like. Enjoy immediately. 

cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodle "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes

cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking

Every year when tomato season comes around, there are very few days that my oven is not roasting away and my house doesn't smell like sizzling sweetness.  I very rarely eat tomatoes raw, I find their acidity too strong .... but more so because they taste of a roasted tomato is one of my favroite things in the whole world. Caramelized, drenched in olive oil with just the right amount of salt and pepper .... it adds a punch, a pop of color, and a subtly sweet flavor to anything you serve it on top of. 

On the weekends when we have friends over for lunch .... I always make a big summer veg salad, and the one ingredient that stays consistent is the roasted tomato. Sometime I make my salads with quinoa, sometimes they are all roasted veggies, and sometimes they are mostly veggies in the form of a veggie noodle with one other long noodle as a filler, just like this version I am sharing today. But there will always be those tasty little tomatoes on top. Rice noodles are a nice and light noodle to work into a summer salad, but I also love kelp noodles, because they have a great texture and I am always looking for ways to add more sea veggies into my meals. 

Just about a week ago, my garden bursted and I now have so much arugula and basil that pesto will be a staple in the fridge from now until late in the fall. Arugula pesto is one of my favorite pestos because the spice and bite from the arugula makes for a super flavorful sauce. I don't add much to it, I keep out the cheese but I do add lemon juice and zest, and it goes so well on so many things. Eggs for breakfast, mixed in with a salad for lunch, a basic pasta for dinner, as a smear on a toast topped with avocado ... I can go on and on. 

If you asked me what my favorite meal of all time would be, I would without hesitation say pesto, pasta (in some form) with roasted tomatoes on top. Simple summer fare is the way to my heart. 

 

OH, and ...... nominations are open for the Saveur blog awards, until this Monday July 18th (also, my birthday!) it would be a huge present to me and this blog if you took two seconds to nominate what's cooking good looking, or any other blog that you enjoy reading and cooking from. Click HERE to nominate

cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking
cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodles "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes | what's cooking good looking

cucumber + zucchini + kelp noodle "pasta salad" with arugula pesto + roasted cherry tomatoes 

If you are not familiar with or can't find kelp noodles, you can use any kind of long noodle here (such as a rice noodle or angle hair pasta) or leave out the non-veggie noodles all together. Alternatively, you can make this same recipe with all pasta, in which case I would recommend a short version such as a cavatelli. 

SEVRES
4+

INGREDIENTS

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
olive oil
salt + pepper

1/4 cup of pine nuts
2 cups of arugula, tightly packed
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
the juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/4+ teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 cup of really good olive oil

1 zucchini, spirilized or peeled with a julienne peeler
1 cucumber, spirilized or peeled with a julienne peeler
12 oz of kelp noodles (or any other kind of long noodle of your choice)

to garnish: a few pieces of torn basil, some microgreens, a handful of crushed pine nuts 

METHOD

Roast the tomatoes:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF. 
  • Place the halved tomatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes until blistered and starting to char around the edges. Set aside until you're ready to assemble the salad. 

Make the pesto:

  • Lightly toast the pine nuts on a dry frying pan over low heat for a few minutes, until golden brown. Place them in the food processor with the arugula, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and salt. Pulse a few times to chop the ingredients, and then while the food processor is running continuously add in the olive oil in a continuous stream, scraping down the sides as need be. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. 

Assemble the salad:

  • Place the zucchini, cucumber, and kelp noodles into a large serving bowl. Pour the pesto over the noodles and gently toss until they are evenly coated. Sprinkle the tomatoes over top, and finish with the garnishes of your choice. Enjoy immediately.