savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust

savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust | what's cooking good looking
savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust

Do you feel like you're being bombarded by amazing recipes all the time?  I certainly do. With so many great blogs, books, and food people out there, I feel like I come across at least a dozen recipes a day where I am like – wow, that’s looks really delicious and different. Sometimes there are so many good recipes that I feel like I can't keep up, and I have to shut that internet down and go for a walk. 

I wonder if you counted EVERY SINGLE recipe on the internet and in cookbooks that came out this year, how many years would it take one person to make all of these recipes …….. probably about 4 billion years. And, how about the recipes that we’ve pinned and bookmarked just for ourselves? At least several years worth of cooking.

It's crazy. How do we navigate it all? How do we control how much we are being inspired every day?

Well …. I'm sorry, but I don't have an answer for you. I do know that I am trying to manage the amount of inspiration I allow in every day so I don't feel overwhelmed. Inspiration is wonderful and has made us all better and more exciting cooks, but too much inspiration is …. exhausting. 

So within all of the amazing recipes that we have saved, we still have to decide what one thing to make for dinner tonight. And you know what always wins around here? The simplest recipes that are healthy, and easy to throw together.

 

I recently purchased Donna Hay’s new book: Fresh and Light,  and despite the mound of recipes I have saved on my computer waiting to be cooked,  I keep going back to this book night after night for the fact that the recipes are so simple and clean. Just how I like them. I have cooked about 6 or 7 different dinners from this book before I came across this recipe I am sharing today for a pumpkin pie, a savory kind, with a two-ingredient quinoa crust.

How did I not see this recipe weeks ago when I started cooking from this book, and how is quinoa crust not A THING already? Maybe it is …. I blame all of this on my information overload problem. 

 

Well, now that I went on a rant on recipe overload, here I am …. adding to the mix with another delicious, revolutionary recipe, but I can hardly take any credit for this one. This quinoa crust really is one of the raddest recipes I have come across recently, with so many possibilities. Of all the recipes out there, trust me, this is one you will want in your back pocket.  

savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust | what's cooking good looking
savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust | what's cooking good looking
savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust | what's cooking good looking
savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust | what's cooking good looking
savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust | what's cooking good looking

After testing this recipe a few times, I decided if you are a purist, then this works as is. But if you are someone like me who is a purist who needs a little kick once in a while, then this crust might benefit from some sprucing up in the form a couple of tablespoons of miso butter or melted ghee mixed with the quinoa and egg mixture. I am also a big fan of sauces, and here I think a good drizzle of pesto or cashew cheese over top is a good idea.  

 

savory pumpkin pie + quinoa crust

MAKES a 9" pie

INGREDIENTS

For the quinoa crust:
1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
2 cups of vegetable broth
salt + pepper
1 egg white
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of melted miso butter (optional)

for the pumpkin filling:
about 2 cups of fresh pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled and cut into chunks
2 zucchinis, cut into chunks
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt + pepper
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
8 sage leaves, minced

METHOD

Start by making the quinoa:

  • Place the quinoa and broth in a stockpot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and give it a good stir and let it cool down.

Then roast the filling:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Place the pumpkin, zucchini, and onion onto a baking sheet. Whisk together the minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and the pour over the vegetables. Finish with the minced sage and bake for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the curst.

Make the quinoa crust:

  • Lower the oven temperature to 325º. Grease a pie plate.
  • Place the quinoa, salt, pepper, and egg into a small bowl and mix well to combine. 
  • Press the quinoa mixture evenly throughout the pie plate. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crust is set. Remove from the oven.

Fill and finish baking the pie:

  • Spoon the pie filling into the pie crust and place it in the oven for 10 minutes until everything is warmed through. If you would like to add any cheese, do so before you place it back into the oven.
  • Remove, and allow it to cool slightly before serving. If you would like to wait to serve, then keep the filling and crust separate and heat together before you are ready to serve.

concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)

concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)
concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)

I've been obsessing over savory grapes ever since I saw this gorgeous recipe from Lindsey. I could not get them out of my head, so when I was at the greenmarket the other day and spotted an beautiful, overflowing quart of concord grapes, I grabbed them along with some shallots and pine nuts and I marched them straight home, de-seeded them, and tossed them into my cast iron. 

Since I don't have a big sweet tooth, I am not a huge fan of fruit on it's own. I am, however, a huge fan of using fruit as a complement to savory flavors. Sometimes you forget how brilliantly the way our palate responds to the balance of sweet, savory and salty until you mix together unlikely combinations like grapes, shallots, garlic, salt, and pine nuts. It just works. 

 

Concord grapes are some of the more stunning edibles made by nature, and they taste just as good as they look. Their midnight hue turns to a deep, rich purple when they are sautéed. They make for a very pretty, very fancy, adult snack.

Looks aside, their seeds can be a bit stubborn. I have researched and researched and have yet to find an efficient way to de-seed these guys, and I'm not going to lie, it's a bit of a pain in the ass. But if you and I are anything alike, you will love that kind of meditative prep work. 

I don't want to give the grapes all the attention, because this herb and shallot loaded socca is pretty special too. Unlike the grapes, socca has no season, so you can make this sans-gluten flatbread anytime, with or without the grapes. Sooca is the perfect vehicle for snack-y dips and spreads. 

 

I am picturing you making these grapes and socca and serving them as app for a dinner party with friends. This is perfect for that, and your friends will think you are real fancy with your sophisticated sweet and savory grape palate. 

concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)
concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)
concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)
concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)
concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)

concord grape sauté | shallot + herb chickpea flatbread (socca)

MAKES 9-12 squares

INGREDIENTS

for the shallot + herb socca (chickpea flatbread):
1 cup of garbanzo bean flour
1 1/4 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
1 spring of rosemary, minced
a pinch of fresh oregano, minced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced with a mandolin
several cracks of fresh black pepper

for the grape sauté:
1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil
1 quart (2-3 bunches) of concord grapes (or any kind of grape), sliced in half and de-seeded
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
a pinch of salt

for the pine nut crumble:
3 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
a pinch of salt
several crack of black pepper

METHOD

De-seed the grapes:

  • You want to do this first (or even ahead of time), because it is going to take a little while. Using a paring or small serrated knife, cut the grapes in half and then pry out the seeding using the tip of the knife. Don't worry if the skins separate from the grape, you will use both parts for the sauté. Once you're done de-seeding, prep the rest of the ingredients. 

Make the pine nut crumble:

  • Grind the toasted pine nuts, salt, and pepper using a mortar and pestle until you have a fine crumbly consistency. Set aside until you're ready to assemble. 

Prepare + bake the socca:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450º.  Grease a small baking sheet (no larger than 9"x12"). 
  • Place the flour, water, salt, olive oil, and garlic into a blender and blend until everything is incorporated. 
  • Pour the batter into the baking sheet. Sprinkle the minced herbs over the top as well as the shallots and finish with some black pepper. 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is browning and the edges are pulling away from the sides. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Then transfer the socca to a cutting board, and cut 9-12 squares. 

While the socca is baking, start the sauté:

  • Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft. Then add the grapes. Cook for several minutes until the grapes have completely broken down and are almost a jam-like consistency. Towards the end of their cooking time, add in the garlic and salt and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from the heat. 

Assemble the socca / grape squares:

  • Spoon a small amount of the grape sauté onto the socca and top with the sprinkle of the pine nuts along with any additional toppings that you like. 
  • The socca, grape sauté and pine nuts can be made a few days in advance, although I would recommend heating up the grapes in a cast iron before serving. 

raw / oatmeal raisin + cacao nib cookies

raw oatmeal + rasin + cacao cookies | what's cooking good looking
raw oatmeal + rasin + cacao cookies | what's cooking good looking

I fell off the health wagon a couple of months ago. We've all been there before, right? For me it usually happens at the end of the summer and again at the end of the holidays, when the social life is in full swing, and temptations are all around. So, here we are, the end of summer and beginning of fall, and my achy body is calling me back .... big time.

I go through phases where I am uber-healthy, but then when life gets busy, I slowly start to pick up little bad habits one by one. Eating out (too much), picking up a gluten-free pastry from the coffee shop because I am too busy to make myself a smoothie (p.s. there is always time to make a smoothie), stocking my pantry with quick to eat things (i.e. too much junk), drinking that extra glass or two of red wine (because ... why not), and just all-around not-so-good habits that go with a busy life. 

I am not a huge fan of dextoxing, especially in the juice cleanse form. I have never done a cleanse in my life, I just don't believe in it. Also, I don't think I could go a whole day without eating solid food …. I would likely end up in jail or divorced by the end of the day. It's just not for me. 

I am a huge fan of bringing things back in check. I genuinely enjoy living healthy and clean, so when the balance is off, I am anxious to get back to it. That usually means getting rid of any junk that may have made it's way in my home, not eating out as much, cutting back on things like refined carbs and my beloved pasta dishes, and the delicious glass of wine that goes with it.

But really it's all about cooking good, clean, healthy meals for myself and my fam as much as possible.  It's what I love to do, so I am happy to get back to these kinds of habits. And, if I sneak that glass of wine back in on the weekend, it's that much more enjoyable. 

 

In celebration of things getting back on tract, I am making these RAW cookies. Because making a raw cookie is the perfect way to celebrate the balance between good and good for you. 

As with most raw desserts, they will never completely replicate the experience of the food item they are trying to be, but if they taste delicious and are good for you too, then who cares.  A raw cookie is never going to taste like a warm, baked cookie straight out of the oven. It's got it's own special thing going on. It's more like eating the cookie dough than the cookie, so if you are one of those people who likes to dip your finger in the cookie batter, then these healthy little bites are especially for you.  

raw oatmeal + rasin + cacao cookies | what's cooking good looking
raw oatmeal + rasin + cacao cookies | what's cooking good looking
raw oatmeal + rasin + cacao cookies | what's cooking good looking
raw oatmeal + rasin + cacao cookies | what's cooking good looking

raw / oatmeal raisin + cacao nib cookies

MAKES 6-8 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of rolled oats (gf if oats if necessary)
1 cup of cashews
2 tablespoons of flax seeds
2 tablespoons of hemp seeds
1/4 cup of almond butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup 
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean powder (or extract)
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
a pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons of cacao nibs
1/4 cup of raisins

METHOD

  • Place the oats, cashews, hemp, and flaxseeds into a food processor. Pulse several times until you have a fine, crumbly mixture. 
  • Then add the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and pulse until you have a smooth, doughy mixture. 
  • Remove the mixture from the food processor and place into a mixing bowl. Stir in the cacao nibs and raisins. 
  • Have a parchment lined baking sheet nearby. Take a small handful of the mixture and roll it between the palm of your hands and then flatten it down on the baking sheet to form the cookie. Do this until all of the cookies have been formed. You should have 6-8. 
  • Place the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before eating so they have a chance to firm up. They will hold together better this way when eating. For longer term storage, you can store them in the freezer in an air-tight container for a couple of months. Remove them from the fridge and allow them to warm up slightly for the best texture. 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

spicy chickpea + crispy kale salad with marinated carrots

SERVES 2-4 as main or side

INGREDIENTS

for the chili garlic marinated carrots:

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

3 large carrots, peeled lengthwise with a vegetable peeler

for the crispy kale:

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

for the spicy chickpeas:

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

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

METHOD

Marinate the carrots:

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

Then, make the crispy kale:

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

Lastly, prepare the crispy chickpeas:

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

Assemble the salad:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

MAKES about 9 fritters and a couple pita rounds

INGREDIENTS

for the poblano avocado cream:

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

for the pita:

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

for the fritters:

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

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

METHOD

Start by preparing the poblano avocado cream:

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

Then, make the pita bread:

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

Make the fritters:

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

Assemble the dish:

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