Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gouda (Failed Experiment)

  Ok, so full disclosure, I sort of suspect that I didn’t like this recipe because, well, I kinda think maybe I don’t like gnocchi?  I’ve only made it a few times, and it always seems to turn out like funky little dough wads.  My Mr. swears I like it when he has made it though, so, I dunno.  Either way, this is what we’re making:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Gouda Cheese Sauce
1 lb sweet potato
6 oz ricotta cheese
½ c parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1-¾ c flour
2 c milk
¼ onion
2 cloves garlic
3 sage leaves
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 c gouda cheese, shredded
  Start by stabbing your sweet potato(es) a few times with a fork, placing them on a plate and microwaving them for around 5 or 6 minutes, until tender.  Cut in half and let cool enough that you won’t be working with potato-lava before scraping 1.5 cups of the flesh into a large-ish bowl.  Mash together with your ricotta before adding your parm, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg.  Mix together and then add flour, about a half cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
  Spread some flour on your counter or a silpat mat and divide your dough into 3 pieces on it.  Roll the pieces into long skinny tubes around 20″ long and an inch in diameter.  Cut each tube into around 20 pieces.  Roll each piece across the back of a fork to indent it.  As far as I can tell, this is just for appearances, but it looks nice and is kind of fun to do.
  Start a large pot of water boiling and add a tablespoon of salt.  Working in batches, boil gnocchi pieces for around 5-6 minutes.  Transfer to a baking sheet to cool when done cooking.  Allow to cool completely, these can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time and left to stand at room temperature.
  For your sauce, combine your milk, onion and sage in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat for around 5 minutes.  Small bubbles should gather around the pan edge, but your milk should not boil!  Take your pan off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes before removing your solids.  Cover it to keep warm.
  In a separate saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat and stir in 3 Tbsp flour until it’s well blended.  Slowly add the milk from your first sauce pan, stirring constantly.  Reduce everything to low heat and whisk until the sauce is smooth and thick (about 5 minutes).  Stir in the shredded Gouda and stir continuously until melted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve over gnocchi.
  Well, I already told you guys this was a fail.  It’s just one of those recipes that is so rich you feel a little sick eating it.  The gnocchi seemed really sticky and heavy to me.  Maybe I’m doing it wrong?  There was a strange sweetness to it that played against the richness of the cheese in a really cloying way.  Both G and I liked the first bite, but by the 3rd bite kind of went “Uhm, I don’t want to eat any more of this”.  The Mr. was out of town when I made this, so he wasn’t subjected to it.
  …at least the baby enjoyed the tiny bits of gnocchi I fed to him without sauce on them right after they cooled.

Hazelnut, Mushroom and Gorgonzola Eggs

  Today’s recipe came about due to a great over abundance of egg whites when my Mr. was working on perfecting his dairy free creme brulee recipe.  He pulled out some of his usual magic, and this delicious breakfast was born.

1/2 lb Crimini mushrooms
1/4 c hazelnuts
2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c gorgonzola cheese
6 egg whites
salt and pepper

  Melt your butter over medium high heat.  Once the butter is prepared, saute your mushrooms and hazelnuts for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms are browned.  Turn the heat down to medium, add your egg whites to the pan and scramble them with the mushrooms and hazelnuts.  Just before removing from the pan, add your gorgonzola and salt and pepper to taste.

  I didn’t share this with G, just scarfed it down while sort of snarling at anybody who got too close to me, so I can’t vouch for its child-friendliness.  By this point, you probably know if you’re in the “oh god yes, give me more stinky cheese and fungus in my food!” boat or not and can tell if you’ll enjoy this or not.  If you like that sort of thing, you’ll love this.  If not, perhaps try one of the other recipes from the archives.

Rose Pasta Sauce

  Back at the start of the month I put up a question on the Facebook page asking what your favorite recipes were so far, and what you’d like to see more of.  Ashley-Rose asked about pasta sauces, and rose sauce in specific, so I did a little bit of searching and found one to try out!
 4 tsp garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
 2 c Crushed Tomatoes
5 Tbsp Tomato Paste
 2 c Heavy Cream
1/4 c Parsley, finely chopped
Parmesan, shredded (to taste)
  Start by heating your olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add your garlic and cook it until it begins to brown.  Add your crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for about 10 minutes.  Mix in your parsley and cream and continue warming over low heat for 5 more minutes.  Serve over prepared pasta.
  This sauce is wonderful, but be warned, it makes a ton.  Expect to be able to feed a small football team.  Cutting the recipe in half may be advisable if you don’t want to have tons of leftovers!

Very Cheesy Casserole

  Today’s recipe is a new one from our good ol’ stand-by, the Everything One-Pot Cookbook.
1 tsp peanut oil
1 c onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp cumin
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 c brown rice, cooked
3 eggs, beaten
2 c ricotta cheese
1/4 c feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp soy sauce
salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 c bread crumbs
  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
  Heat your oil in a large skillet (make sure it’s ovenproof) and saute your onion, mushrooms and garlic until cooked and nearly soft.  Add your remaining ingredients, minus the tomatoes, Parmesan and bread crumbs and stir well to combine.
  Cover your mixture with slices of tomato and top with Parmesan and bread crumbs.  Place in the oven and allow to bake for 40 minutes.
  This one got a bit screwed up.  I didn’t buy any new feta at the store because I happened to have some in the fridge already.  When I opened the container the feta was in however, it became painfully clear that it was not something any of us wanted to be eating…so my version was absent cheese…and a fairly flavorful cheese at that.  If I remember I was out of one of the spices as well…so take it with a grain of salt when I say that this wasn’t bad, but wasn’t particularly flavorful.  I don’t know that I’ll be bothering to go back and make it again…I’m not a big fan of the beans and rice combination, so I’m not feeling terribly motivated to work for this, but if you do like beans and rice, give it a try…actually add all the ingredients and let me know what you think!

Sweet Potato with Goat Cheese and Roasted Grapes

  Today’s recipe is a little hard to categorize.  It really isn’t quite a main dish…but it’s good enough that you could eat just this for dinner.  Your call if you serve it with other food or just gorge.  Either way, I’m not judging.
4 sweet potatoes
2 c red, seedless grapes
1 tsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz goat cheese
2 Tbsp honey
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

  Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Stab your sweet potatoes with a fork and then wrap them in tin foil.  Bake them for around an hour, until they’re nice and soft and then remove them from the tinfoil.  Carefully (look out for steam burns!) cut a slit down the center of the potato and then let them cool until you can handle them.
  While they’re cooling, turn your oven up to 450 degrees.  Toss your grapes with your oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and then place them on a lined baking sheet.  Roast them for around 20 minutes.  They’ll start to explode.  Take them out of the oven and set aside.
  When your potatoes are no longer molten hot, scoop the bulk of the flesh out of the skin (doing your best to not rip through the skin) and mash it in a large bowl with 3 oz of the goat cheese, your cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and honey.  Once everything is combined, place it back into the skins and top with the remaining goat cheese and your roasted grapes.  Drizzle with additional honey if you’d like.
  So heads up parents, 3 year olds think roasted grapes look gross.  They’re incredibly wrong, roasted grapes are delicious, but if your kid is anything like mine, you’re going to have to employ severe levels of bribery to ever get one of those suckers past their lips.  In general, this was not an easy sell to G.  Darn.  Meant I got all his refused leftovers.  The Mr. and I both really liked this.  I felt a little guilty calling it a meal…it’s really pretty sweet and doesn’t exactly have any green leafies or anything, but, eh, I suppose it’s still better than heading out for fast food, right?

Rosemary and Olive Frittata

  Lest any of you think that I’ve given up my love affair with crustless egg pie…we’re making another frittata today.
8 large eggs
1/2 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
 salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 c black olives, cut in half
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Olive oil, for greasing pan
  Making certain one of your racks is positioned in the middle, start your oven preheating to 400 degrees.  The original recipe calls for a springform pan with parchment paper, but for mine I used a non-stick skillet rubbed with olive oil.
  Mix all of your ingredients together in a large bowl before pouring into your pan.  If you would like a more even distribution of olives you can always position them in the pan before pouring the other ingredients on top, but that seemed like more work than it was worth to me!
  Bake everything for about 15 minutes in your preheated oven, until the top puffs up and the sides start to pull away from the pan.  Mine actually got a huge mountain of an air bubble in the middle of it.  Let cool for a bit before serving.
  I love the olives in this.  The pecorino with them is a great combination and the overall flavor of this is just a touch sour in a way that makes it especially delicious in this hot weather.  G has decided he does not like olives, but happily ate a couple pieces of this none the less…only halfheartedly complaining while he did it.  As much as we’ve been struggling to get him to eat anything without wailing and gnashing of teeth lately, I’m going to go ahead and call that a win.  This is quick, easy and surprisingly sophisticated tasting.  An awesome option for a quick dinner with friends.

Mushroom and Thyme Pie Pockets

  So remember how I said Thursday that I’ve come to the conclusion anything called pie is delicious?  This recipe isn’t changing my opinion on that one bit.
1 Tbsp butter, plus 1 tsp to grease the baking sheet
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh thyme
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
¼ c whipping cream
2 sheets puff pastry
4 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 large egg mixed with 1 Tbsp water (for egg wash)
  Start by heating your olive oil and butter in a large pan.  When they are hot, saute your mushrooms over medium high heat for about 5 minutes.  Add your onions and saute another 5 minutes before adding the garlic and thyme and continuing to saute for 1 more minute.  Mix in your cream, salt and pepper and let everything cook for around 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid evaporates.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Start your oven preheating to 375 degrees.
  Meanwhile, cut each of your pastry sheets into 6 pieces.  Spread 1/6th of your mushroom mixture topped with 1/6 of your cheese into the center of 6 of your pastry pieces, leaving about .5″ around the edge.  Brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash before  placing your remaining pastry pieces on top.  Press the edges together to create a sealed pocket.
  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper before placing the pies on it.  Brush each of the pies lightly with egg wash and cut 2 small vents in the top.  Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating them once, until everything is puffed and golden.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan and serving.
  These were delicious and the leftovers made wonderful grab-and-go lunches the next day.  Score one more for “pies”!

Smoked Cheese Bisque

  Oh cheese…I wish I could quit you.
  No I don’t.  Who am I kidding?
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
4 c chicken or vegetable stock, warmed
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground mustard powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
6 oz smoked Gouda, shredded
2 oz sharp Cheddar, shredded
Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  Start by melting your butter in a large saucepan over medium heat (it should be big enough for all your ingredients…this is a one pan recipe, hooray!).  Add your onion, celery, carrots and salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, til the veggies are soft.
  Stir in your garlic and cook for an additional minute before adding your lemon juice.  Scrape up any browned portions off the bottom of the pan and cook for another minute or so until the juice evaporates.  Stir your flour in and cook for another minute, whisking constantly.
  Once your flour is cooked in, add your stock, Worcestershire, mustard powder and paprika.  Bring everything up to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
  Remove everything from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup (or, as always, a normal blender with a towel over the top so it doesn’t explode will do).
  Bring everything back to a simmer before turning off the heat and stirring in your cheese.  Continue stirring until it’s completely melted.  Serve hot.
  This was fabulous.  We served it with some crusty bread and shared with some friends who had come to stay the night (only slightly grudgingly…we love them dearly enough to share our cheesey soup) and not a drop was left.

Garlic Scape Soup

  Upon hearing that I’ve decided to devote an entire week’s menu to garlic scape based recipes, some people might say in horror, “but the garlic breath!!”.  I call those people cowards.  Also, they should maybe not come too close to me or my man-types this week.  Just sayin, G may be the garlicky-est preschooler ever.
1-2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2-3 garlic scapes, chopped*
a handful of fresh chives
2-3 c loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
~1 cup frozen green peas
~4 c chicken or veggie stock
salt to taste
whipping cream to taste
* if you have some bigger, tougher scapes, this is a good use for them since they get nice and soft and then blended.
  Start by heating your butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Saute your onions for a few minutes until they are soft before adding your chopped garlic scapes and chives.  Sprinkle a small amount of salt in and cook for a few more minutes until everything softens up.
  Next, add your spinach and peas and cook until your spinach wilts.  Add in your stock and simmer everything for 20 minutes to half an hour.
  Use an immersion blender (or a normal blender with a towel over the top) to puree everything til it’s nice and smooth.  Serve warm with a dollup of cream.
  What an awesome way to get your greens!  We served this with grilled cheese and it was a big hit.  The flavor reminds me a lot of creamed spinach (no surprise, it has most of the same ingredients) but was surprisingly not that garlicky.  Obviously next time we’ll need to use more scapes.

Caribbean Coconut and Pumpkin Bisque

  Don’t tell me it’s too hot for soup.  For one, it has been freezing here the last few days, and for another, this is soup from the Caribbean.  I don’t believe for a minute your weather is any hotter than the Caribbean.
2 -5 oz cans unsweetened pureed pumpkin
1 quart chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 small onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and added to pot
salt & pepper
Add everything to a medium pot and simmer it gently.  When the ingredients have cooked for about 20 minutes, blend everything to smooth it out.  An immersion blender is the easiest way, but you can always use a standard blender with a towel over the top to keep it from ‘sploding.
  This was delicious.  I suspected it might be a bit like the gingered sweet potato and coconut soup I posted back in February, and it certainly was.  This was even easier to throw together though.  We topped ours with unsweetened coconut flakes, and I really liked the additional texture it added.  Sure, soups traditionally get shoved into the confines of fall and winter, but why not have one as a lighter meal this summer?