peach + honey ice cream cake | toasted cashew crust (df+gf)

peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking
peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking

I have a summer birthday, which means I've requested my fair share of ice cream cakes to celebrate. Carvel ice cream cakes, to be exact, with vanilla and chocolate and some chocolatey crunchy bits dividing the two flavors, and then topped with super sweet, fake-tasting (but delicious) frosting. I loved that cake. I would eat the chocolate parts first, and save the vanilla for second to last and the frosting for  very last. The best part was that any leftovers from my bday would live in the freezer, and I would retrieve a slice when the mood striked (or when my mom wasn't looking). 

There was also the watermelon cake from Friendly's that only was available in the summer. Remember that cake?? SO good. Those chocolate chuncks that were supposed to be the watermelon "pits", made it so much better than REAL watermelon. 

It's not a secret that I have a summer love affair with ice cream in any form, but nowadays it's the dairy-free kind. In the grocery store,  I can usually find myself a carton of dairy-free ice cream in any flavor I could ever want or dream up, however, I have yet to find a dairy-free ice cream cake. This is probably better for a few reasons. First,  I would buy it and eat it ALL THE TIME, and second, homemade is always best. 

With a strong craving for ice cream cake coming over me,  it was time to experiment with a homemade version. Guess what? Homemade ice cream cake is so much easier and foolproof that you might think. The real effort comes into planning ahead. You need a full 1-2 days of chilling and freezing, but it actually takes very little effort putting it all together. If you know you want the cake for the weekend, you can start on Friday morning, and you'll be eating ice cream cake all into this long weekend we have coming up. 

I've made dairy-free ice cream many times, but I usually keep it totally vegan by omitting the egg. This time I decided to try something a little different. Traditional ice cream is made by making a custard with milk, cream, and egg yolks, so I decided to take my dairy-free version one step closer to that by adding in some egg yolks this time, but keeping the coconut milk base. The result was definitely more creamy and more luscious than without the egg yolk, so if you are cool with yolks and luscious dairy-free ice cream, then you MUST try making it this way. 

Of course, if you like, you can just make this peach ice cream and not go all the way with the cake ....... but it's nearing the end of summer, the end of peaches, the end of super hot days, so think we should all have some ice cream in a CAKE form to celebrate these winding down days of summer. 

peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking
peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking
peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking
peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking
peach + honey ice cream cake | what's cooking good looking

peach + honey ice cream cake | toasted cashew crust

MAKES
a 9" cake

PREP
start at least 1 day before serving / less than 1 hour of actual prep/cook

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
an ice cream maker (with bowl attachment, pre-frozen) 
9" springform pan 

INGREDIENTS

for the peach + honey ice cream:
5 ripe yellow peaches, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup of honey (I used raw, but you can use whatever kind you have handy)
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
the juice of 1/2 a small lemon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 can of organic full-fat coconut milk
2 egg yolks

for the cashew crush:
1 cup of cashews
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
3/4 cup of brown rice flour
3 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil (+ extra for greasing)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla

optional topping for the cake: some additional sliced peaches, herbs, or edible flowers

METHOD

At least 1 full day before you wish to have the cake, start making the ice cream:

  • In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, cook the peaches over medium-low heat with the salt, honey, vanilla and lemon juice until the peaches are soft. Add in the coconut milk and cook for about 5 more minutes. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender, and blend until the mixture is smooth. 
  • Transfer the mixture back to the same pot. Add the egg yolks, stir until they are incorporated, and then place the pot over medium-low heat. Cook while stirring often until the mixture has thickened, forming a custard-like consistency. 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool on the stove-top for about 20 minutes (min) before transferring to the fridge. Either place a lid on the pot or transfer to a glass container, cover, and place in the fridge overnight, or for a minimum of 4 hours. (*It's important that this mixture is fully chilled before you churn your ice cream.)

Before you churn the ice cream, make the pie crust:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º, and grease all side of your 9" springform pan with coconut oil.
  • Place the cashews onto a baking sheet, and bake for 4 minutes, until toasted and light brown. 
  • Transfer them to a food processor and add the oats and salt. Pulse until you have a fine crumbled texture, then transfer than mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the brown rice flour, and stir to combine. Add in the coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla, and mix until it's all incorporated. 
  • Press the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan, and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool slightly, and then place the crust in the freezer while you churn the ice cream. 

Churn the ice cream, and allow cake to set:

  • Pour the ice cream into the pre-frozen ice cream bowl attachment. Check your ice cream maker for specific churning instructions (each vary), but typically you're going to churn on a low speed for about 10-15 minutes. 
  • When your ice cream is done churning, remove the crust from the freezer and pour it into the pan, over the crust, evenly (by smoothing and shaking while you are your pouring it in). 
  • Smooth the top off with a butter knife, and place a piece of parchment (that's cut to size) on top of the cake. 
  • Freeze for a minimum of 5 hours, or overnight. 

Serving:

  • Feel free to add some sliced peaches, herbs, or edible flowers to the cake before serving. 
  • Remove the cake from the freezer about 5-10 minutes before you are ready to serve. Run a sharp knife around the outer edge of the pan, before releasing the springform. Remove the outer circular part of the pan, and then very carefully remove the base and place the cake on a cake stand or a flat serving surface. Run a sharp knife under hot water first before cutting into the cake to make it easier to slice. 
  • You can store this cake in the freezer for a couple of weeks, just make sure you transfer it to an air-tight contain for longer term storage. 

roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch

roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch | what's cooking good looking
roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch | what's cooking good looking

Hey, friends. It's August. The end of August. It's still very much summer. The days are long and hot, the ocean is warm, and our legs have lost that painful shade of pale. There are berries and peaches and tomatoes and crisp local corn. If there is ever a time to live in the moment and enjoy every second, it's now. 

Two weeks ago I overheard someone at the farm stand saying summer was over. Whatt???? No way. How can you say that as your filling your basket with juicy, squishy tomatoes? This is one of the best parts of summer. I'm doing my best to stay blissfully engaged in these last few weeks, and not think about colder days or wearing closed toed shoes. 

One of the ways I get into my late summer groove is cooking with the local veggies from the farm stand and my garden.  Almost everything I am making right now comes from within a few miles of my home. This is rarely the case the rest of the year when I in nyc and a lot of my veggies (even the ones from the farmers market) are coming from many many miles away, so I am really enjoying this moment and holding onto to it until the very last zucchini.

Because everything is super local, that means a lot of zucchini, a lot of tomato, and a lot of corn. I am always looking for new ways to enjoy them and this soup has been my absolute favorite of the season. Zucchini is so much tastier once it's been roasted,  tomatoes too. Puree them with little more than some garlic, a sweet pepper, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and finish with some crunchy corn and pine nuts for some texture, and you have simple summer soup that is a bomb of summer flavors. 

roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch | what's cooking good looking
roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch | what's cooking good looking
roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch | what's cooking good looking

roasted tomato + zucchini soup (gazpacho) with a corn + pine nut crunch

SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

for the soup:
4 cups of chopped zucchini (yellow, preferably)
2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small onion, sliced
olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt (plus more for seasoning the vegetables)
1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 small clove of garlic, sliced
4 cups of filtered water

for the corn + pine nut crunch:
2 pieces of corn, shucked
1/4 cup of pine nuts, lightly toasted
olive oil + salt

additional toppings: microgreens or chopped herbs (such as parsely, cilantro) or some sliced green onion
 

METHOD

Roast the zucchini, tomatoes + onion:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º. 
  • Place the chopped zucchini, tomato, and onion onto a baking sheet. Generously drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes until the veggies are light brown. Remove, and allow to cool slightly. 

While the veggies are roasting, boil the corn and make the pine nut crunch:

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and add the corn, and cover the pot. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove the corn and set it aside to cool slightly. 
  • Remove the kernels from the cob by dragging a knife down the sides of the corn.
  • Heat a small frying pan over medium low heat, add a touch of olive oil and add the pine nuts. Cook for a couple of minutes until they are light brown. Then add the corn and give it a good toss. Remove from the heat. 

Blend the soup:

  • Once the veggies have cooled slightly, transfer them to a blender, and add the remaining ingredients for the soup (1/2 tsp of salt, yellow pepper, vinegar, garlic, and water). 
  • Blend on high until everything is incorporated. Taste and adjust any seasoning if necessary. 

Assemble + serve the soup:

  • If you would like to serve this soup cold, leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours. You can also make this a day or two in advance (it will only get better over a few days). You can also serve this right away, warm. 
  • Pour the soup into individual bowls, and top with a spoonful of the corn and pine nut crunch. Finish with microgreens or the herbs of your choice. 

watermelon basil colada

watermelon basil colada | what's cooking good looking

Even though I spent most of my college years bartending to pay the bills ...... these days, in our house, Michael  is in charge of the drinks. I am almost always in charge of food (obviously) and he is in charge of whipping up fancy cocktails and picking out the wine for us and our guests when we have dinner parties or just feel like having a fancy sundown cocktail on the porch. I lean on him heavily for this. I am just not that comfortable whipping up super fancy cocktails. 

However, give me the Vitamix, some fruit, and some other good-for-you-ingredeints, and then I am in my comfort zone.  Frozen blended drinks, with a healthy twist, where you can add in some alcohol if you're feeling frisky, are totally in my wheelhouse. 

The other day, we had a ton of leftover watermelon and we were looking to make a fun and refreshing cocktail to fill up a cooler and take to the beach.  I chopped up that watermelon, threw it in the blender with little more than some water, basil, mint, lime, and a tiny piece of jalapeño ... and it was so delicious. Oh, and we splashed some tequila in there because ...... summer. saturday. That drink was so good and refreshing, I was inspired to make more watermelon cocktails before the summer comes to an end. 

Today, this blogger virtual cocktail party #drinkthesummer, was the perfect excuse to make another delicious watermelon cocktail. This time, I wanted to make something that could work as both a mocktail/cocktail, for that wednesday afternoon when you want to pretend like you are on the beach drinking a cocktail, but you actually have work to do.  We all know that piña coladas are the ultimate old school virgin cocktail.  I thought, watermelon would be a good stand in for the pineapple. Watermelon + creamy coconut, you cannot go wrong. 

If you've ever had a piña colada (I know you have), then you know that it's best to not think about what's in that creamy coconut coco lopez stuff, or how many calories you ingesting (yikes). You know that there is no way I am buying coco lopez and telling you to put that stuff into this drink. Well, after some experimenting, I was excited to figure out that you can easily mimic coco lopez by blending together some good-for-you ingredients to get that same cream of coconut taste. Some light coconut milk, coconut butter, and some honey does the trick. Add to that, some simply blended watermelon and you have a tasty cocktail or mocktail that's perfect for these last few weeks of summer. 

***scroll down for a list of all of the incredibly creative cocktails by the other bloggers participating in #DRINKTHESUMMER  ....as well as the recipe for this watermelon basil colada! 

watermelon basil colada | what's cooking good looking
watermelon basil colada | what's cooking good looking
watermelon basil colada | what's cooking good looking

 

With Food + Love | Fresh Heirloom Bloody Marys with Old Bay and Spicy Pickles
Will Frolic for Food | The Sugar Hollow: Watermelon Gin Cocktail with Cardamom and Lime
Kale & Caramel | Sweet Coconut, Hibiscus & Lime Slushie
Hummingbird High | Thyme Lemonade
Brooklyn Supper | Bloody Maria Cocktails

Cake Over Steak | Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail
Loves Food, Loves to Eat | Coconut Nectarine White Wine Spritzers
Dunk & Crumble | Ginger Peach Whiskey Smash
Tasty Yummies | When Figs Fly: Spiced Rum Fig Kombucha Cocktail
Feed Me Phoebe | Pimm's Cup Cocktail with Fresh Ginger, Lime and Tarragon
Earthy Feast | Strawberry, Basil and Pink Peppercorn Negroni
Ginger & Toasted Sesame | Blackberry Peach Margarita with Spicy Salt
O&O Eats | The Long Hope: a Honeydew Cucumber Gin Cocktail
my name is yeh | Nutella Egg Cream
Faring Well | Sparkling Melon Coolers with Muddled Raspberries and Mint
Beard and Bonnet | Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule
The Pancake Princess | Strawberry Balsamic Shrubs
Edible Perspective | Rosé Slushies
Vegetarian 'Ventures | Sparkling Peppered Plum Blush
The Broken Bread | Blackberry, Cucumber and Mint Gin Spritzer
Tending the Table | Plum Spritzer with Ginger and Kafir Lime
Appeasing a Food Geek | Sugar Plum Margarita

She Eats | Fizzy Lime and Blackberry Shrub
holly & flora | Pimm's Cup with Blackberry and Lemon Zest Shrub
Vigor and Sage | Peachy Tomato Basil Gin and Tonic
The Pig & Quill | Raspberry Basil Gingerade Fizz
Hungry Girl por Vida | Peanut Butter and Berry Smoothie
A Brown Table | Fig and Bourbon Summer Smash

The Clever Carrot | 5 Minute White Peach Margaritas
Cookie and Kate | Watermelon Sangria
le jus d'orange | Peach Yogurt Soju and Ginger Plum Kombucha Cocktail
Chocolate + Marrow | Raspberry Thyme Smash

The Bojon Gourmet | Basil Pluot Pimm's Cup
Snixy Kitchen | Sparkling Asian Pear and Mint Iced Tea
i am a food blog | Thyme Gin and Tonics
Fix Feast Flair | Berry Peachy Kentucky Mules
Salt & Wind | Watermelon Aperol Spritzes

ANDDD ...... here's mine! 

watermelon basil colada

SEVRES 4

INGREDIENTS

for the coconut cream:
1 can of organic light coconut milk
3 tablespoons of coconut butter
2 tablespoons of honey
a pinch of salt

for the watermelon juice:
4 cups of chopped watermelon
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1/3 cup of filtered water
3-4 basil leaves, plus more for garnish

Options for alcohol:2-4 oz of dark rum, tequila, or vodka

METHOD

  • Blend the ingredients for the coconut cream. Pour them into a separate container, and rinse out the blender. 
  • Blend the ingredients for the watermelon juice. Keep in it the blender. 
  • To mix the cocktail, slowly add in the coconut cream, and stop to taste along the way. You might like a lot of the cream coconut, or you might just like a little. So it's best to taste after adding about 1/2 cup and add more if you like or just keep it as is. If you would like to add alcohol, add 2-4 shots(oz) of the alcohol of your choice and blend. I find it's best to start with 2, and add one at a time so that it doesn't taste too strong (unless you want it to, of course). 
  • Serve in individual glasses over some ice with a few basil leaves as a garnish. 

 

 

vegetable paella + grilled prawns on the beach | a collaboration with eyeswoon

vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking

There’s not much I love more than cooking a meal and sharing it with friends, but put us on a beach with an open fire, some rosé, and that gorgeous light right before sunset, and it’s my absolute favorite way to spend an evening.  

Our little beach town of Amagansett is filled with so many creative people who often share an appreciation for community, food, and living as local as possible by supporting the farms and fishermen of the town. When I came across Athena’s gorgeous site, Eyeswoon, and Instagram, and saw that she too spends a lot of time in Amagansett, I knew we had to meet and I knew we would have so much in common with food and the likes.

After exchanging emails for a few months, Athena and I finally got a chance to meet at the beginning of the summer, somewhat serendipitously, at the Saveur blog awards that I was attending and she was speaking at. Within the first few minutes of us chatting, Athena suggested that we get together in Amagansett and cook paella on the beach …. Yes! I love it. A girl after my own heart.  

Michael and I have made paella many times, and we cookout on the beach many many nights throughout the summer, but this was the first time that I was going to cook paella on the beach. In Spain, paella is often cooked and enjoyed on the beach, and I cannot picture a better setting for this meal. It’s less intimidating than you would think to cook paella on the beach, in fact, as long as you build a good area for your fire and sturdy place to rest your paella pan over the flame, the rest is fairly simple.

 

Athena and I started off our day at our local farm stand and collected the veggies and seafood for our dinner. We prepped the meal at my home, then loaded up our cars with cookout essentials, and set up our meal on a nearby beach.  Athena brought some gorgeous beach-inspired blankets, pillows, linens, plates, silverware, and we also made sure we had ingredients to make a honey-lavender rosé sangria (recipe coming later this week!), and a few light bites to snack on. We collected rocks from around the beach to build the fire, and brought a grill grate to place on top of the rocks which would hold our paella pan just above the flame. Once the pan was good and hot, we started cooking and not long after we were enjoying delicious paella with our toes in the sand. The evening couldn’t be more perfect, except for the fact that it was sweltering hot that day, but once the sun started to set and that gorgeous early evening light came around, the setting could not be more perfect for dinner on the beach with new friends.

For more on this story, and the details on the decor ..... check out Athena’s post on her blog  |   http://eye-swoon.com/sand-sea-paella-cookout/ 

Photography by Sarah Elliott | http://www.sarahelliottphotography.com

 

vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking
vegetable paella on the beach | what's cooking good looking

vegetable paella +  grilled prawns

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

extra virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 large zucchini, sliced thin into 1” long pieces
1 green + 1 yellow pepper, sliced thin
1 cup of shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of oyster mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig of thyme, minced
1 sprig of rosemary, minced
sea salt
2 cups of arboro rice
8 plum tomatoes, grated
2 links of fresh chorizo, sliced (optional)
4 cups of (homemade) vegetable broth or chicken broth or water
3-4 generous pinches of saffron
a few lemon wedges for serving

optional for serving: some roasted red peppers (sliced thin), chives

for the prawns:
4-6 large prawns, with shells, tossed with olive oil, salt + pepper

equipment: a 15” round paella pan

METHOD

Start by making the sofrito (cooking the vegetables):

  •  Heat the paella pan over an open flame on an even, flat surface. You want your flame to be not too large, but not too small. Also, make sure you have twigs nearby to feed the fire if it gets too small. You can also make this over a gas grill or stove. Heat it over medium-high heat, and make sure there is even heat distribution under the pan.
  • Add a generous amount of olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Then, add the leeks and cook for about 2 minutes, until tender. Then, add the zucchini and peppers and cook for another 2 minutes, while stirring. Then add the mushroom. When all of the vegetables are soft, season them with a couple of pinches of salt, toss, and then push them to the outer edges of the pan creating a circle in the center. Add a little more olive oil in that circle and then add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes.  

Add and the rice, toast it, and then add the broth:

  • Pour the rice into the center of the pan. Add another drizzle of olive oil over the rice, and then stir well to incorporate everything. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes and then add the grated tomatoes and stir some more to incorporate the tomatoes.
  •  Keep stirring continuously for about 5 minutes to continue to toast the rice and develop the flavors. Add a little more olive oil if it starts sticking to the pan.
  • Once the rice has a nice light brown color, then add in the chorizo (if you’re using) and toss to coat. Then add the broth and stir to be sure the vegetables and rice are evenly distributed. Lastly add 3-4 generous pinches of saffron and give it once last stir. 
  • At point you should leave the paella be and let the rice cook. After a few minutes, taste the broth (but be careful, it will be very hot!). Add more seasoning if need be. Also, if you’re cooking over an open flame, make sure the fire is not too hot. You do not want to burn the bottom, but rather you want to create a nice edible crust on the bottom and you do this by making sure it is hot enough to boil the water but not too hot to burn. You can move the rice around and check to make sure it is not burning underneath if you think your flame is too hot. If you are cooking this on a gas grill or stove, you would lower the temperature just slightly at this point, but the water should still be boiling / bubbling.
  • Cook the paella until all of the rice has been absorbed the broth, and the edges are starting to get crisp and are pulling from the sides. Ideally, this is when you want to have a slight crust developing at the bottom of the rice.

While the paella is finishing, cook the prawns:

  • If you only have one fire to do this, you will want to wait until your paella is cooked. Otherwise, if you have room, you can do it when your paella has about 5 more minutes to go.  In a separate, medium sized pan, add a little olive oil and then add the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside until you’re ready to serve.

Serve the paella and prawns:

  • Spoon the paella into individual bowls, and place a prawn on top. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, and any of the additional toppings you like. 

grilled eggplant + zucchini | sungold tomato + leek salsa | zucchini blossom pesto marinated kale

grilled eggplant + zucchini with a sungold tomato salsa | what's cooking good looking
roasted-zucchini-WCGL-02.jpg

Summer is by far my favorite time of year, and this summer  has been one of my favorite summers I can remember. My measurement for "best summer"  is different now in my 30's than it may have been when I was a kid vs. a teenager vs. a 20-something. As a kid, my best summer ever would mean a killer time at camp with few rainy days, lots of pool time, and maybe even an awkard summer crush. As a teenager, it would be measured by how many parties I got to go to, and how many friends collectively visited me on the lifeguard chair throughout the summer. In my 20's,  it would be how many summer weekend get-aways could I fit in while staying within my (very tight) 20-somehintg budget. 

Nowadays, my "best summer" goals are a little different. It's all about balance. Beach time vs. work time. Being healthy vs. partying. Me time vs. friend time. Knowing when to say "no" things that might throw off that balance, and "yes" more activities I might easily push aside like walks on the beach or bike rides to the farm stand. This summer, I feel like that balance is in check where I am having the right amount of fun and relaxation vs. the right amount of ..... you know, the busy people stuff.

This is the first summer that I have allowed myself to go to the beach early in the morning on a weekday,  instead of going straight to my computer. I take a relaxing ride to Montauk, pick up a smoothie and the newspaper along the way, set up my towel and read and watch my husband surf for about an hour. When I do go back to my computer later in the morning, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and more ready to start the day. I look at it as a form of  meditation.....  something that's was desperately missing from my old routine. 

I've also been saying "no" to eating out, so that I can say "yes" to cooking at home with the gorgeous produce I've been getting from the local farm stands. By cooking more at home, I feel healthier, more relaxed, and maybe even a little more creative in the kitchen. By eating as local as possible, I end up working with many of the same vegetables and ingredients over and over again, so it encourages creativity so we're not eating the same exact thing over and over again. 

Eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes ...... there are so many ways they can be enjoyed, separately and together. This recipe I am sharing today is my favorite at the moment, and uses all three in the simplest way. Eggplant and zucchini is so tasty when it's been simply grilled or roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper. Tomatoes, raw, with little more added to them but sliced leeks, chili, olive oil and salt. Basically just throwing one simple classic preparation onto of another to make it feel a little more special. And if you're feeling ambitious and you are still able to find or harvest zucchini blossoms, this zucchini blossom marinated kale takes this lovely humble side dish or lunch salad to something really special.

grilled eggplant + zucchini with a sungold tomato salsa
grilled eggplant + zucchini with a sungold tomato salsa | what's cooking good looking
grilled eggplant + zucchini with a sungold tomato salsa | what's cooking good looking
grilled eggplant + zucchini with a sungold tomato salsa | what's cooking good looking
http://therunawayspoon.com/2011/07/squash-blossom-pesto/

grilled eggplant + zucchini | sungold tomato + leek salsa | zucchini blossom pesto marinated kale

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

for the salsa:
a pint of sungold (or any kind of small/cherry tomatoes), sliced in half
1 large leek, green and light green parts, sliced super thin (on a mandolin)
1 serrano chili, de-seeded and minced
a drizzle of olive oil
a pinch or two of salt

for the eggplant + zucchini:
8-7 small variety eggplant (japanese or fairytale, preferably), sliced in half lengthwise
2 zucchini, slized in half (or quarters) lengthwise, and then sliced in half 
a few tablespoons of olive oil
salt + pepper

for the zucchini blossom pesto marinated kale  (which is completely optional):
1 bunch of kale (about 10-12 leaves), ribs removed and roughly chopped

for the pesto ..... I followed this recipe, pretty much exactly, except I sautéed the blossoms in some olive oil over medium heat for about 3 mins on each side before adding them to the food processor.
http://therunawayspoon.com/2011/07/squash-blossom-pesto/

METHOD

Make the salsa:

  • Combine the sliced tomatoes, leeks and chili in a small bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil and add a pinch or two of salt and give it a couple of tosses to combine. Set aside in the fridge while you prepare the rest. 

If using, make the zucchini blossom pesto and marinate the kale:

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Cook the blossoms for 2-3 minutes on each side until they just start to wait. Do not overcook.
  • Add the cooked blossoms to a food processor, and follow the instructions to make the pesto from the link posted in the ingredients.
  • Pour the pesto over the chopped kale and massage it into the kale using your hands. Set aside to marinate until you're ready to serve. Taste, and feel free to add a squeeze of lemon if it needs some acidity. 

Prepare and grill the eggplant and zucchini:

  • If cooking in the oven, pre-heat your oven to 425º. If cooking over a grill, heat the grill to medium heat. 
  • Bush the sliced eggplant and zucchini with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  • If cooking in an oven, place the eggplant and zucchini onto a sheet pan, and bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. If cooking on a grill, cook the eggplant and zucchini for about 7-10 minutes on each side until very tender and brown. 

Assemble and serve:

  • To assemble the dish, using a large plate or bowl, lay the kale down first (if using), then lay the cooked eggplant and zucchini on top, and finish by adding the tomato salsa (using a slotted spoon so you don't add too much liquid). Enjoy immediately.