Sundried Tomato Gnocchi

22 07 2010

I’ve never gotten into the whole make-your-own-pasta thing. But here’s one pasta I will make over and over again. The recipe is easy, malleable and produces delicious (non-traditional) gnocchi! Instead of waiting for potatoes to cook and using a special flour, you just have to purchase a container of ricotta and use the all-purpose flour you have sitting in your cupboard.

This is from yet another great recipe from the amazing BrokeAss Gourmet.

gnocchi


Ingredients:

•1 1/3 cup ricotta
•16 sundried tomatoes (from a jar), chopped
•1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
•2 1/2 cups flour
•2 egg yolks
•3 garlic cloves
•salt


Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, sundried tomatoes, parmesan, flour, yolks, garlic and a pinch of salt.
2. Mix until a sticky dough forms, adding more flour if/as necessary.
gnocchi 13. Turn out dough onto a floured surface roll into 4 or 5 long snakes, about 3/4 inches to 1 inch thick.
4. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil and add gnocchi. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until gnocchi floats to the surface.
6. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

This gnocchi has a great flavor in and of itself, so you don’t want to serve it with anything overpowering. My favorite is what you see in the picture at the top. Sauté 2 cloves of garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for a minute or two. Add the cooked gnocchi and pan-fry over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Add 1/2 a pint of grape tomatoes (cut into halves), 2 cups of fresh spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the tomatoes start to soften and the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with a little parmesan and serve immediately.

This is also good in a simple cheesy cream sauce (think: most filling, rich, tasty pasta dish EVER). Also, a great appetizer is to take some cooked gnocchi, pan-fry in olive oil until the edges are caramelized, and serve as an appetizer with toothpicks and a tomato dipping sauce.


Tips:

•I liked the idea of having a couple bites of pure sundried tomatoes in my gnocchi, so I opted not to use the food processor and to just mix by hand (chopping the sundried tomatoes somewhat small beforehand). It was also for this reason that I opted to use jarred sundried tomatoes over dry ones. The recipe didn’t specify, but I would recommend this just to have the added moisture.
•My first inclination was to add all sorts of spices and herbs into the gnocchi. I did finally opt for some garlic. But there are two main takeaways here. 1) You can really mold this into whatever you want. Replace sundried tomatoes with some other flavorful veggie or herb (perhaps roasted garlic?). 2) Just be careful not to overdo it. It is, afterall, pasta – something that is normally basically flour and salt. One or two additional flavors is enough, and the more simple you make it, the more different things you can do with it once it is made.


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BLUEBERRY! Pancakes

10 07 2010

I tend to stock up on berries anytime they look amazing, or worse, when they are super on sale. This weekend was one of the first times in a while I could sleep in and be lazy, and it happened to coincide with having several pints of blueberries in the fridge. So what to do? Make my favorite blueberry pancakes, of course!

blueberry pancakes

These are delicious, packed full of berries and easy to whip together. The only downside is the time it takes to cook all the pancakes (I am generally not too patient in the morning) – but if/when you have the time, it’s totally worth it!


Ingredients:

•1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
•3 Tbs sugar
•2 1/2 tsp baking powder
•1 tsp salt
•2 large eggs
•1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
•4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
•3 cups fresh blueberries


Directions:

batter1. Preheat oven to 250º F and place baking sheet in oven.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together eggs, milk and melted butter.
4. Mix wet mixture into dry mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently incorporate blueberries.
cooking pancakes5. Heat large skillet (or large griddle if you have it) over medium heat. Once hot, melt enough butter just to cover the bottom of the pan.
6. Pour 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook about 3 minutes per side (or until browned to your liking) and transfer to baking sheet in oven until ready to serve.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

I’m not a big butter-and-syrup pancake-eater to begin with, but I swear these pancakes don’t need a thing. Just plop them onto a plate, cut into them with a fork and enjoy the sweet blueberry goodness! (Although if you REALLY love syrup, feel free to top with some good maple syrup and even a few toasted walnuts. It’s okay, I won’t judge.)


Tips:

•One of the best things about this recipe is that you can just replace blueberries with most any other berry or fruit and it works well. One of my favorite alternatives is to make banana walnut pancakes (mash 2 ripe bananas into the mixture and add 3/4 cups walnuts).
•The problem of making pancakes for 1 (or even 2) is that there’s too much batter! It’s usually too complicated to half a pancake recipe accurately. And you can keep the batter for only another day or so (if that). My recommendation is to just make the whole batch (even if it’s WAY more than you’ll eat). Then let any leftovers sit out to cool to room temperature (only an hour or so after eating) and then seal in a Ziploc bag and freeze. They’ll be good for a week or more and all you have to do is pop in the toaster oven to reheat.






Sweet Potato “Enchiladas”

7 07 2010

I love enchiladas, I love sweet potatoes – I LOVE sweet potato enchiladas! Below you will find the recipe for my favorite meal. The recipe is simple, takes a small investment in time and rewards big with large quantities and big flavor. I particularly love this using my favorite tomatillo sauce recipe.

sweet potato enchiladas


Ingredients:

•2 large sweet potatoes, diced small
•1 large cooking onion, diced
•1 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
•1 Tbs ground cumin
•2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp salt
•6 cups tomatillo sauce (32 oz. pre-made salsa verde can be substituted)
•12 corn tortillas, cut into halves
•2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (yellow or white – whatever you prefer)
•2 cups Monterey jack


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450º F.
2. Toss sweet potatoes, onion, vegetable oil, cumin, garlic powder and salt and place in a large casserole dish.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and bake an additional 10 minutes until edges are brown.
4. Once baked, remove sweet potatoes and turn down the oven to Preheat oven to 375º F.
5. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. And then spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom.
6. Take 4 tortillas and layer to cover the bottom of the dish.
7. Spread 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tortillas.
8. Spread half of the sweet potato mixture over the tortillas.
9. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of each cheese over the sweet potatoes.
10. Take 4 tortillas and layer to cover the sweet potatoes.
11. Repeat steps 7 through 10.
12. Spread another 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the tortillas and sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top.
13. Loosely cover the dish with foil and place in the oven (set to 375º F). Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
14. Optional: Remove foil and turn oven up to 500º F. Bake on top rack until starts to brown.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

This dish is great by itself. However, my ideal dinner is this served with short grain brown rice, refried black beans, a small side salad (of baby spinach, grape tomatoes and red onion), and a little fresh salsa and sour cream. Yum!


Tips:

•So, as I’m sure you could tell, this is not exactly a recipe for enchiladas. I like to make this more lasagna style because a) it’s easier, b) it gets you more filling without having to use TONS of tortillas (but without seeming like there is not enough tortilla), and c) I always mess up enchiladas when I serve them, so this just makes it messy to begin with, allowing you to say “it looks like that on purpose!.”
•If you do want to make this into actual enchiladas (as I occasionally will), just make individual enchiladas by dipping tortillas into the sauce (you’ll need probably closer to two dozen tortillas), and fill with 1/4 cup of filling and a large sprinkle of each kind of cheese. Wrap and place seam side down in a casserole dish. Cover with extra sauce and sprinkle with cheese and bake as instructed above.
•You can really use any quality tortilla for this dish because it will soak up the sauce and melt into the dish. However, if you make enchiladas, I recommend trying <a href="https://beetnikrecipes.com/2010/06/23/favorite-things-1-tortillas/"these hybrid tortillas – it will make wrapping easier. If you use a less flexible corn tortilla, simply wrap in foil and bake for 10 minutes at a low temperature and that should help.






Red Lentil Gravy

29 05 2010

I am a huge fan of all things breakfast! So I get excited any time I come across a tasty vegetarian version of traditional breakfast foods. This recipe is based on something I found in Vegetarian Times a while back. The picture that accompanied the recipe looked very pretty; the actual dish…well, let’s just say it tasted great!

Be sure to note the ingredients. Not only is there very little fat in this dish, but it is full of veggies and lentils. And I promise it will satisfy most any biscuit and gravy cravings!


Ingredients:

•1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
•1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
•1/2 large cooking onion, finely chopped
•1/2 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
•1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
•3 cloves garlic
•1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs unbleached flour
•1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
•1/2 tsp salt
•1 tsp smoked paprika
•1/2 tsp ground yellow mustard seed
•1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
•2 1/2 cups low-fat milk


Directions:

1. Add lentils to 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until tender (8-10 minutes).
2. Drain lentils and set aside.
3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes.
4. Add peppers and garlic and cook an additional 5-8 minutes, until vegetables are just tender.
5. Combine the flour and spices and stir into vegetables. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
6. Gradually add milk (1/3-1/2 cup at a time), stirring after each addition. After all milk is incorporated, cook 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
7. Remove from heat and stir in drained lentils.
8. Serve over split biscuits or English muffins.


Recommended Serving Instructions:

For a heartier, more traditional breakfast, serve over homemade biscuits with home fries (stay tuned for my favorite biscuit recipe). For a lighter adaptation (and a shorter prep time) serve over your favorite whole wheat or multigrain english muffins and accompany with grilled asparagus or a green salad.


Tips:

•As always, adjust the spices to your liking. I love the taste of smoked paprika, so I sometimes add a tiny bit more so that it’s more present. I also tend to add more pepper flakes for a little more heat.
•I suggest adding some of your favorite veggies to this dish. Whatever you add, just be sure you cut them so that all vegetables are roughly the same size. Also, be sure to add them at the appropriate time so that all vegetables are just tender when you add the flour. Suggested additions: carrots, squash, broccoli stems, and sweet potato.






Tamale Pie

20 05 2010

This is a casserole-style, tamale-inspired dish, fusing fresh vegetables with earthy spices and a mild polenta crust. This recipe is based on one I came across in Vegetarian Times (view it here), but I have tweaked it some (namely the filling and proportions) to make it more veg-centric and gritty.

tamale pie


Ingredients:

Filling
•1 Tbs vegetable oil
•5 cloves garlic, minced
•1 large yellow onion, diced
•1 medium zucchini, diced
•1 1/2 peppers (a combination of red, yellow and/or green), diced
•1 Tbs chili powder
•1 Tbs ground cumin
•1 tsp oregano
•1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
•1 15-oz can tomato puree
•3/4 cup frozen corn kernel
•1/4 cup chilled water
•2 tsp flour

Topping
•2 cups water
•1 cup dry polenta or corn grits
•1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


Directions:

1. Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Sautee garlic and onion for 5 minutes.
2. Add zucchini, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir and cook an additional 5 minutes.
3. Stir in beans, tomato puree and corn. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Mix cold water and flour and add to vegetable mixture. Cook 3 minutes; sauce will thicken slightly.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
7. Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Stir in polenta and simmer on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese.
9. Coat 9×13″ casserole dish with cooking spray.
10. Spread vegetable filling into dish. Spread polenta topping evenly on top, making sure it touches the edges.
11. Bake 30 minutes. The filling should bubble slightly and the top will become golden brown.
12. Let stand 5 minutes or more and serve.


Recommended Serving Instructions:
Serve with fresh salad greens, avocado and sour cream.