veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust

veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking
veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking

Let me get this out of the way right off the bat and say that the shepard who created the original shepard's pie would probably not be very approving of me adding curry powder and taking away meat from their pie….. but for the sake of recipe recognition (everyone know what shepard's pie is, right?!) I decided to go ahead and call this a shepard’s pie anyways. I hope the shepard will understand.

Before deciding on calling this casserole a shepard’s pie, I did a little googling to find out where this recipe originated, and as I expected is was a sort of peasant dish that was made from leftover meat and mashed potatoes. It actually has been around since the 1700s (wow) and nowadays there are many many varitations, so because of that I felt that there’s plenty of room for my sassy curry version ..... and many more.

This can be a kitchen sink kind of dish where you can use any and every vegetable that is in your fridge to make the filling. Or you can work the other way around and stroll around your farmer’s market deciding on what you want to throw into this dish. That’s what I did.

It was 50 degress and sunny the other day (totally not typical for NYC this time of year), which made it a prime (rare) winter market strolling day. Because it was so warm and lovely outside, I got thinking about not-so-far future spring days, when the market will be filled with lots of greens and super fun spring veggies ….....but when I arrived at the greenmarket, it was the same dead of winter, dwindling array of root veggies and minimal vendors to shop from. Vendors and veggies that I VERY much appreciate sticking around for us all winter, but it still makes me anxious for the warmer more bountiful days. Despite the small variety of mostly root vegetables, I am determined to use what I can find at the market to the fullest, and what better way than in a humble, but super flavorful casserole-type dish. 

At the market, there was a farmer who had a gorgeous assortment of mushrooms, and I knew that those mushrooms would be the perfect substitute for meat in my shepard's pie. The mushroom and lentil combo is protein rich, power switch out for those dishes where you feel like skipping the ground beef. I also stumbled upon some turnips that I am always looking to add in here and there, and this was the perfect opportunity. Lastly, there are no shortage of sweet potatoes and carrots this time of year, so because I had a good amount of both hanging around, I decided to mash them together with a sprinkling of curry powder for a super flavorful crust to top off my market-celebrating shepard's pie.  

**This post is sponsored by REVOL, who also provided this gorgeous dish to make my shepard's pie. 

veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking
veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking
veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking
veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking
veggie shepard's pie with a curried sweet potato + carrot crust | what's cooking good looking

veggie shepard’s pie with a curried sweet potato crust

SERVES
4-6 as an entree

INGREDIENTS

2 large carrots, peeled and quartered
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2+ cups of vegetable broth OR filtered water (enough liquid to cover the potatoes and carrots)
½ tsp of kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons of ghee, butter, or olive oil
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of curry powder

for the filling:
1 1/2 cups of lentils
3 cups of filtered water or broth

a couple tablespoons of olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
about 1 cup of diced turnips (optional)
3 cups of mushrooms (shiitakes or mixed) de-stemmed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
salt + pepper
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

METHOD

Boil the potatoes + carrots and cook the lentils:

  • Place the sweet potatoes and carrots into a medium saucepan, and pour in enough liquid (water or broth) so the veggies are covered. Bring to a boil, and ook for 20-30 minutes until very tender. Strain the veggies from the liquid, mash them with a masher until super smooth, and then add in the salt, ghee or butter, garlic powder, curry power and stir to combine. Set aside until you're ready to assemble the casserole. 
  • Place the lentils and liquid in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Strain the lentils and set aside. 

Cook the filling + crisp the top:

  • Pre-heat the broiler, the oven rack should be in the middle. 
  • In a wok or large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about two minutes. Then add the turnips and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the mushrooms, and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until soft. Season well with salt and pepper. 
  • Add the lentils to the pan with the veggies, and add the apple cidar vinegar. Turn the heat off and give it a good stir. 
  • Transfer the lentils + veggies to an  8"x12" (or similar sized) baking dish. Spoon the sweet potato puree on top, and smooth it out using a knife or spatula. 
  • Place the dish in the oven under the broiler, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes start to turn brown around the edges. Broiler times vary greatly, so keep an eye on it, and feel free to adjust the timing if you know your broiler well. 
  • Allow to cool slightly, but serve warm. 

savory oatmeal with roasted butternut squash + sage and walnut pesto

savory oatmeal with roasted butternut squash + sage and walnut pesto | what's cooking good looking
savory oatmeal with roasted butternut squash + sage and walnut pesto | what's cooking good looking

This past fall I went on an epic european adventure, four countries in three weeks, and for a good part of that trip I was traveling all by myself. Most of my alone time took place wondering around Italy .....first in Rome, and later in the southern region of Puglia. In order to get to Puglia from Rome, I made the very ambitious decision to rent a car and drive. After two pasta-filled days in Rome I picked up the rental car, plugged in my spoitify playlist, and drove myself eight long hours south in search of blue water, green olive trees, really good food, and a little peace and quite. The entire trip was spontaneously planned on the heels of a sad and stressful year, so in a way it felt like I was taking myself on a bit of an eat, pray, love, healing-type adventure .... except without the praying (unless it was to save myself from those crazy Italian drivers) and without the loving (unless we are talking about the food). Let's be honest, it was about all about the food, but isn't eating great food in a beautiful place the best medicine for the soul?

A few months before I booked this trip, I began discussing the idea of doing a workshop with a couple of my friends who are very talented photographers. We started brainstorming about combining our skills and gatheing people with similar interests who wanted to learn and be inspired in an enchanting place. Even though we had been discussing it for a few months, our idea was just a concept and did not fully come to life until I pulled into the masseria (farmhouse) where I would be staying for the next couple of nights after that long drive across Italy. The second I arrived, I knew that it was the place we were dreaming about, and the perfect place to host our workshop. 

Immediately after I parked my car, I was greeted by the house mother who took a break from cooking dinner to help me unload my luggage. She asked me what time I would be ready to eat dinner, and showed me to my room. I was starving (of course) so I quickly freshened up and headed to the dining room ..... I could not wait for this meal. Four courses of southern italian home cooked bliss. Easily the best meal I had while on this trip, and such a memorable one. Even though I was eating solo, the food was so special and spectacular that no company, besides a book, was needed. Just me, my thoughts, the food, savoring every last delicious bite. 

I am so excited to be revisiting this very special place in April, where I will be teaching recipe development along side my friends, Joann (slice of pie) and Gabriel (the artful desperado) who will be teaching food photography and food styling (p.s. if you're not familiar with them, their work is out of this world). The whole retreat will be hosted by another talented friend + photographer, Jen Chase, who's excitement for travel and life is contagious and really shines through with the excursions and schedules she will be leading us through. Overall, it is going to be a super special and super memorable experience ......... I so hope you can join. Below is the link with all of the information as well as the registration page. You can also email me directly with any questions you might have about the workshop:

click here ---> WORKSHOP IN ITALY

 

Even though savory oatmeal might not have much in common with Italian cuisine, I think that savory oats speak loudly about the types of recipes I am constantly thinking about and the type of recipes I like to come up with. Especially when it comes to twisting the sweet and savory. I have been playing around with savory oats for a while, and since I prefer to not start my day with a lot of sweet, I am always looking to expand my savory breakfast routine beyond eggs. So I treaded lightly by first adding olive oil, salt and pepper to my oatmeal. While that is still my favorite simple savory oat preparation, I have gotten a little more brave and started going full blown savory. Adding roasted veggies, pestos, harissas, savory spice blends such as za'atar ..... but this right here is such a winner that I knew I had to share it with you, if nothing else but to inspire you to throw a big hunk of pesto or a handful of veggies into your oatmeal for breakfast and be blown away by how well oats play with savory flavors. 

savory oatmeal with roasted butternut squash + sage and walnut pesto | what's cooking good looking
savory oatmeal with roasted butternut squash + sage and walnut pesto | what's cooking good looking
savory-oatmeal-with-roasted-butternut-squash-+-sage-and-walnut-pesto-WCGL-07.jpg

savory oatmeal with roasted butternut squash + sage and walnut pesto 

Depending on how much pesto you like in your oatmeal, and how big your squash is, you will likely end up a little extra of both which is hardly a bad thing. I store the extras in an air-tight container in the fridge and add them to salads or more oatmeal the next morning. 

SEVRES 2+

INGREDIENTS

for the squash:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced
a drizzle of olive oil
salt + pepper

for the sage + walnut pesto:
1/4 cup of sage leaves, stems removed and loosely packed
1 cup of spinach leaves
1 small clove of garlic, sliced
1/3 cup of walnuts, lightly toasted
about 1/2 teaspoon of salt
pepper
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

for the oatmeal:
1 cup of regular rolled oats (make sure they are gluten-free, if you are avoiding gluten)
3 cups of water
a pinch of salt
a drizzle of olive oil

METHOD

Roast the squash:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. 
  • Place the diced squash onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Roast the squash for about 20 minutes, until soft and golden brown around the edges. Remove and set aside until you're ready to assemble the oatmeal. 

While the squash is roasting, start cooking your oats + make the pesto:

  • Place the oats, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower to a simmer. Cook while stirring frequently (to prevent sticking and clumping), until the oats are cooked and creamy, about 5-7 minutes. I sometimes add a touch more water at the end if they get too dry. Also, check the instructions for your oats, because depending on the type of oats you have the cooking time and ratios might vary. 
  • After you started to oats, make the pesto. Add the ingredients for the pesto (except for the olive oil) into a food processor and pulse several times to chop, and then while the food processor is running continuously, drizzle in the olive oil in a slow steam until incorporated. 

Once your oats are done cooking, assemble and serve:

  • Place a scoop of the oatmeal into a bowl, drizzle as much pesto as you like on top, finish with a large spoonful of the butternut squash, and serve warm, immediately. 
  • This recipe makes about 2 servings of oatmeal, but you will likely have extra squash and pesto. I kept those in the fridge in an air-tight container and served it the next morning, by making the oatmeal fresh once again. 


 

white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves

white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking
white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking

I obsessively read about food, in any form I can get my hands on. Cookbooks, magazines, old clippings that have been saved, the internet, reading menus of restaurants as I walk around nyc. I am sure that if you read blogs like mine, then you are an obsessive food reader too. It's as if my brain wants the same attention to food that my stomach gets. The struggle is oh so real, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  

I have also become an obsessive food listener. I recently got into listening to podcasts, thanks to Serial (I'm sure that Serial is responsible for getting a lot of people who never listened to a podcast, into podcasts). Then from Serial I started listening to the Ted Talks radio hour, and from there I realized that the NPR series, The Splendid Table, was also available on my podcast app. I have now found myself in a rabbit hole of fun and interesting food podcasts, and my long car rides (which are pretty frequent) have been forever changed. My one frustration with being in the car all the time used to be that it took those couple of hours away from me when I could have been writing or reading about food, but now with the splendid table podcast playing while I am driving, I can still consume my food infatuation in a completely different, but just as satisfying, format. 

Even though I am lovinggg listening to my podcasts, my favorite way to take in food knowledge will always be through cookbooks and magazines. My love for the printed word is real and big, and the promise that each new magazine or cookbook holds for me is the same every time I thumb through crips new pages for the first time. I have so much love and respect for the printed word that I have a hard time throwing out food magazines. Now is a good time to mention that I am the complete opposite of a hoarder. I get excited about purging, and I am very quick to get rid of things that are no longer of use, with the one exception being food magazines.  I have a pretty large shelf on a closet dedicated to saving these magazines, many of which I have not looked through in years, and when room runs out on that shelf, I am not sure what I am going to do ...... I might have to negotiate with Michael for another shelf somewhere ;)

As you can probably guess, a lot of my inspiration for recipes comes from books and magazines. Sometimes I will see an ingredient, a unique technique or preparation, or just a really great recipe, and my wheels will start turning. I think that is how a lot of recipes in this world come to be ...... we read something, see something, taste something and we can't get it out of our head until we create something based off of it. 

When I read recipes, there is one thing that really turns me off and it is recipes that are long and complicated. Even more so when there is no reason for them to be long and complicated. More and more I am trying to pair things down to basics, because when you think about those five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami ... then you realize that it really doesn't have to be that complicated. You can achieve really  flavorful meals with fewer ingredients if you really think about the five tastes, and then choose your ingredients thoughtfully. 

So, I am starting my trend in that direction with this soup, which was inspired by a recipe I saw in the latest issue of Saver magazine. The recipe was simple to begin with, but I decided to make it even simpler. This soup only consists of 5 main ingredients if you do not count olive oil, salt, and pepper. (Side note ..... do you think this can officially be called a 5-ingredient soup without counting the olive oil, salt, and pepper? Let's discuss, tell me what you think in the comments below.) White beans, onions, and garlic and pretty flavorful on their own, but with some toasted fennel seeds and a squeeze of lemon juice added, they are taken to a whole new level. Top with some crispy sprout leaves, then this soup is easily transformed into something really special (all while keeping it super simple). 

white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking
white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking
white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking
white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking
white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves | what's cooking good looking

 

white bean + fennel seed + lemon soup with crispy brussels sprout leaves

recipe inspired by a white bean + fennel seed soup recipe in this month's issue of Saveur

MAKES
about two large bowls, or four smaller bowls of soup

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (organic BPA-free) can of white beans, drained
the juice of 1/2 lemon

for the sprouts:
10-15 brussels sprouts, leaves separated
olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of juice from the other half of the lemon 

METHOD

Get the soup started:

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat, in a medium, heavy bottomed pot. Add the onion and the fennel seed and cook until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for another two minutes, while stirring. 
  • Add the white beans, and 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes. 

While the soup is simmering, make the crispy brussel leaves:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º. Spread the sprout leaves out evenly onto a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, squeeze a little lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper and give them a gentle toss to coat. Roast until the they are crispy and the edges are starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes. 

Blend and assemble the soup, and serve:

  • Add the juice of half of a lemon, and then using either a standard blender or an immersion blender, blend the soup until silky smooth. Taste and adjust and any seasoning you think is necessary (maybe a pinch more salt / pepper, etc). 
  • Ladle the soup into bowls, and then top with a handful of the crispy sprout leaves, and serve immediately (warm). The soup will keep for a few days in an air-tight container in the fridge, but the sprouts are best enjoyed right out of the oven. 


 

carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie

carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie | what's cooking good looking
carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie | what's cooking good looking

I know the tone of my last post was a little anti-detox, so it's kind  of funny that I am following that with a very detox-ish recipe for you. But I have a little secret to tell you ..... when I got back from my mini new years vaca, I was wiped out (in the best way possible). I was feeling all out of whack, and I needed some extra love. Every time I go away, I always try extra hard to not get sick when I get home. Airplanes, and eating out a lot is a recipe for a cold (at least for me it is), so I like to give myself extra love when I get home. I was playing around with different smoothie combinations, to find the biggest bang in nutrients for the taste, and here we are. 

Soooooooo ...... this smoothie is not so much about dextoxing, it's (once again) about keeping the balance. Not only the balance from the lesser healthy foods, and the overworked, overplayed days, but also from the colors. I find that I sometimes get into such a habit of drinking and eating SO MANY greens that I neglect the other colors. And this time of year it is even more important to get  those bright orange colors ...... because if you're not seeing sunshine outside, why not make the sunshine happen in other ways. Orange is the new green? Maybe. At least for these next few chilly months. 

Every single ingredient in this smoothie has super benefits from vitamins + minerals (yeah, carrots + bananas + cashews!) and anti-inflammation (hello, turmeric + ginger) ..... it's amazing how well these ingredients play together to boost your immune system during these colder months, but the real harmony comes in how it tastes. I've been making this smoothie all week long because I am seriously addicted to it. It is SOOOO  tasty, refreshing and satisfying .... and that color alone  just makes me so happy. Isn't happy-looking food (and smoothies!), the best food?

 

** SOME FUN ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Friends! I have a number of events, workshops and a retreat in ITALY(!) coming up in 2016. If you want to be informed of when events and workshops are taking place, please sign up for the event + workshop email which you can find  in the sidebar ----->
or if you're having trouble signing up, you can also email me directly at jodi@whatscookinggoodlooking.com and I will make sure you're on the list. THANKS + I hope to see/meet you this year! xoxo

 

carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie | what's cooking good looking
carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie | what's cooking good looking
carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie | what's cooking good looking
carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie | what's cooking good looking

carrot + orange + turmeric (immune boosting!) smoothie

MAKES
2 smothies

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup cashews
2 cups of filtered water

1 carrot
1 ripe banana
1/2 of an orange (the insides - pulp)
a thumbnail size piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
about two pinches of turmeric

METHOD
 

  • Place the cashews and water into the blender and let it sit and soak for a minimum of 30 minutes, or overnight (I like to do this in the blender to save from washing an extra bowl). 
  • After the cashews have been soaking, run the blender on high for about a minute, until the cashews are liquified. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients for the smoothie: carrot, banana, orange, ginger, coconut oil, and turmeric. Blend on high until smooth. Add a couple of ice cubes if you like, and blend again until smooth. Serve immediately, or you can store any extra for 1-2 days in an air-tight container in the fridge (mason jars work well for storing smoothies). 

almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney

almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking
almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking

January …… the month of “detox” and all of those of internet talks about the best way to cleanse and the good decisions we are going to make. For the next few weeks, anyways.

If you’ve read along here for a while, you know that I am not really into detoxing. I have never done a juice cleanse, or any kind of cleanse, and I never will. I am all for balance, and I am sure that you are too. By balance that means enjoying those days of indulgence during the holidays, but keeping it clean with salads and veggies on the in-between days. Drinking one too many glasses of champagne on new years eve, and a green smoothie the morning after. I like my balance to be weighted heavier on the side of health and wellness, and less on the side of general over-indulgence ….. Because I actually really really enjoy that healthy feeling, and it also makes the fun, less healthy treats feel even more special.

In lieu of detoxing, I prefer to keep healthy in check by eating well most of the time …. all year long. I like to have realistic healthy habits and realist goals that are easier to stick to, always leaving a little room for some french fries etc once in a while.

Speaking of french fries, or fried food in general …. I have to say that is my #1 weakness.  It’s something I crave, and the longer I keep the fried bits away, the more that I want them. I’m always looking for ways to better re-create that fried food satisfaction, and we all know crusting and baking is the next best thing.

So the other day when I had a fried food craving, I whipped up these almond crusted sweet potato tenders. More like a chicken tender than a sweet potato fry (because of the big, chunky cut of the sweet potato). These gluten-free treats are just as satisfying as they are good for you. That’s the kind of balance I like to go into the new year with, because it’s the kind of balance that I will stick with all year long. 

almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking
almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking
almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking
almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking
almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking
almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney | what's cooking good looking

Almond crusted sweet potato tenders + mint and pistachio chutney

FEEDS
2-4 people as a snack or app

INGREDIENTS

For the mint + pistachio chutney:
¼ cup of pistachios, shelled
½ teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 ½ cups of mint (loosely packed)
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup of onions, diced
½ teaspoon of lemon zest
1 small, mild green chili (seeds removed)
½ teaspoon of salt
2-3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (or any neutral oil)

for the almond crusted sweet potatoes:
3 sweet potatoes, sliced into wedges (sliced in half lengthwise, and then in half again)

1 cup of almonds (with no skins, preferably), finely chopped
1 cup of almond flour
2 teaspoons of hot paprika
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of salt
black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten
olive oil for drizzling

METHOD

*Pre-heat the oven to 425º.

Make the chutney:

  • Toast the pistachios and coriander seeds lightly in a small pan over low heat, for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.
  • Place the toasted pistachios and coriander into a food processor along with the other ingredients for the chutney. Pulse several times until a thick paste has formed (I like to keep some chunks for texture). Transfer to a small dish and set aside until you’re ready to serve. You can also do this a day or so in advance (it would actually be better since the flavors will have time to develop). You can also add a little more (neutral) oil, if you like, which makes it a little smoother for dipping. 

Prepare + bake the potato wedges

  • Mix together the ingredients for the almond crust: chopped almonds, almond flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Lightly beat the egg in a wide-rimmed bowl.

  • One by one, dip the wedges into the egg and then into the almond crust mixture making sure all sides are evenly coated, and then place it onto a large parchment lined baking sheet. Do this until all of the wedges are coated. Drizzle the tops with olive oil, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove, flip the wedges over (using tongs), and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Bake for another 20 minutes. When they are done they should be light brown and crispy on the outside and fork tender on the inside. Serve immediately with the chutney on the side for dipping.