Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beet Gnocchi

Phew! Today I was baking up a storm!!! Tomorrow is Ben's 27th birthday, and I want him to have amazing food to celebrate! The presents are wrapped, the alarm clock is turned off, and the fridge is full! Here's the rundown. I made: angel food cake which will get mocha whipped cream tomorrow, dark chocolate ice cream with a peanut butter swirl, a tropical avocado smoothie, pumpkin pie popsicles, mini crustless pumpkin pies, and Garlic Gold guacamole hummus. I'll be posting on pretty much all of this eventually soon, so no need get worried!

Now, on to the beets! Lately I have been trying really hard to like beets. I know they are healthy, they are pretty and they taste....well, there's the problem! They kinda taste like dirt! Literally!

So I have been trying to work them into meals in sneaky ways, like this beet gnocchi. I still get the pretty color, the health benefit, and only a little bit of the flavor. Good deal! Here's the recipe, which I found in a magazine from the UK (which means all of the measurements are in grams. Grr, more thinking!) called Vegetarian Living. They wanted you to make your own pesto to top it all, with smoked almonds and all kinds of fancy stuff, but I thought making my own gnocchi was fancy enough! So here is  my version, which is pretty much like theirs...done the lazy way!

Beetroot Gnocchi
600g floury potatoes (such as russets), cut into large chunks (I used about 3 medium sized potatoes)
125g cooked beetroot, pureed (1 medium sized beet)
1 large egg
450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
a little olive oil

For the top:
homemade or store bought pesto, as much as desired
1 bunch chard
1 cup shredded cooked chicken

-Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 20 minutes until soft. drain thoroughly, then when cool enough to handle, pass them through a potato ricer or mash using a potato masher until smooth. Add the beetroot and mix together.

-Make a well in the centre of the potato and beetroot mixture, and beat in the egg and some seasoning.

 Add the flour and mix to form a dough. Turn the dough out and knead it for a few minutes on a floured surface.

-Divide the dough into four or five pieces

and roll out each one into a 2cm-diameter rope. Cut off pieces of dough at 2.5cm intervals. You may need to keep adding flour as you go, it gets pretty sticky!

-Here you can either cook the gnocchi right away, or freeze it.

The recipe says it makes 4 servings, but I don't want to weigh 500 lbs, so I froze half and cooked half, and we still had leftovers! Just lay out your gnocchi on a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer to a ziploc bag. No need to defrost when you want to cook them, just drop them into boiling water!

-To cook: drop the gnocchi into a large pan of boiling water, then when they rise to the top, after a couple of minutes, scoop out and coat in olive oil. You may need to cook them in batches depending on the size of your pan so they don't stick together.

-For the topping sautee chard in a pan until wilted,

add a few spoonfuls of pesto and the chicken. Toss together until all is hot. Serve on top of the gnocchi with added pesto if desired. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese and voila!

I roasted some cauliflower, tossed in olive oil, s&p, at 450* for about 30 minutes,  stirring once and sprinkling a bit of parmesan on in the last 5 minutes. It was a great side!

It is a bit of work making gnocchi, not something I'd really like to do every day, but we got two dinners for four people out of it, the flavor was amazing, AND it was pretty!

 There is no arguing with pretty food! The beet flavor comes through a bit, but is not at all overpowering. Now this is how I like my beets!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lemon Curd Recipe

Hello friends! I finally found the time to write up that lemon curd recipe for you! Remember all the way back to that cheesecake recipe where I showed it topped with lemon curd, but didn't tell you how to make any? Yes, I'm evil. Just ask my husband! ;)

I'm going to make you wait for that recipe for just a minute more (see, Ben was right about the whole evil thing!). It has been overcast with showers for a few days now out here in the islands. But back on Saturday our afternoon weather was just beautiful. You would have never known it would be raining by evening.

 Ben and his dad decided to go kayaking, and I was planning on taking Izzie for a walk.

 Well, the guys chose Medicine beach as a launch spot, and it's about 5 miles from our house. They drove, and we walked.

 Izzie and I spent some nice time on the beach, and had a snack. I read my book while she napped...
but not before rolling in some unknown but very stinky beach funk which stuck to her neck. Great.

Eventually the guys showed up from their mini kayak adventure, and we all drove home together. Ah, I just love the weekends!

Ok, now that I have made you suffer, here is the lemon curd recipe. From Cathy Burgett, as usual. Her recipe's are my baking staples!

Lemon Curd
zest from 6 lemons
juice from 6 lemons (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
6 eggs
12 egg yolks
9 oz. butter

-Place the eggs and egg yolks in a large bowl that will fit over a water bath.
-Whisk in the other ingredients to mix, and continue whisking over hot, simmering water until the butter is melted and the curd is thick.
-Remove from the heat and strain into a clean, dry bowl.
-Cover the curd with plastic wrap, pressing it right down onto the curd so it doesn't form a skin, and refrigerate.
-Lemon curd will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days, and it will freeze, well-covered, for 2 months.

Yield: 1 qt. lemon curd

You can also make this recipe using oranges, limes or other citrus (think blood oranges!). I used it as a cheesecake topping, but it is also good over ice cream, as the filling in a layer cake, in tart shells, over fresh berries, or by the spoonful (my favorite)! Try it in crepes, or use it as a layer in a parfait! The uses are endless.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Larabar Winners!

Hello bloggies! Here's what you've been waiting for! The Larabar giveaway winners!

Everyone who commented won! That's right, you heard me! Here is the list.

Trine bean
Emily B
Evan Thomas
Amanda Thomas

9 lucky winners! Please send me an email at with your address so I can send off your Larabar prize!

Thanks for participating! Hope to keep hearing from all of you in posts to come!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream and My Father-In-Law's Birthday!

Hi there! I have been so excited to write this post! I think ice cream is my favorite food group! hehe

So, last weekend was my FIL's birthday. We had some white fish made by my MIL, sauteed chard by me, and a fantastic cheese souffle made by Ben (a betty crocker recipe, I believe!).

I looove cheese souffle! It is beyond good. I just have to hold myself back from consuming the entire bowlful of light, flavorful cheesy goodness!

It looks so amazing coming out of the oven, before it falls!

Needless to say, we had a great time with his birthday celebration and dinner. Then, we got to the important stuff! My father-in-law is all about chocolate. I mean the good stuff. Dark and uncontaminated (aka unflavored and without added nuts etc.) chocolate, straight up. That's his thing.

For his cake I made some plain, and some chocolate pastry cream which Ben used to fill between the layers of a marbled chiffon cake. Frosted in chocolate whipped cream, it was so amazing!

The FIL asked for a "small" cake. Said request was happily and intentionally ignored by Ben as he made the most massive cake ever!

Keeping with the chocolate theme I decided to make some dark chocolate ice cream to go with the cake. After searching around I found this recipe from the cilantropist. I love that blog! It looked chocolatey enough, so I gave it a go!

Dark chocolate ice cream

1 cup fat free milk
2 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
2/3 cup sugar
5-6 oz. chopped dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla

Place milk in a medium sized bowl with a strainer over it. In a separate small bowl whisk the egg yolks. Set both bowls aside.

In a large saucepan combine cream, cocoa powder, coffee powder and sugar. Whisk over med-high heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate, making sure all chocolate is melted before proceeding.

 Mix a small amount of the hot chocolate mixture with the yolks, whisking constantly, then add it all back into the saucepan. Return to heat and whisk constantly until mixture thickens a bit.

Strain chocolate mixture into the bowl of milk to remove any cooked egg bits. Stir in vanilla and cool completely in fridge. When cool transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions.

This is goood stuff! So rich and chocolatey! Ben has actually requested it for his birthday too, but with the addition of some peanut butter swirls. We'll see what I can do! Hope you guys enjoy this recipe, and make sure to go check out the Cilantropist, and see all of the other great recipes there!

Happy (late) birthday to a wonderful FIL!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mushroom and Pesto-Potato Frittata

Today I want to tell you about a new product I tried: dried black trumpet mushrooms generously sent to me by the wonderful people at Marx foods!

Usually I am not a cooked mushroom fan (can we say slimy sluglike things in my food?! Ick!), but I was recently served cooked mushroom by a friend and I kinda liked it. Sooo I decided to try this sample in something that I knew I'd like. A pesto-potato frittata! I found the best looking recipe in my Vegetarian Times Farmer's Market Cookbook magazine. I'm seriously in love with it! So many good ideas! I did change/add some things to the original recipe.

So, here it is!
Pesto-Potato Frittata
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, cubed (3 cups) I used waxy gold potatoes
1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup) I didn't have this, and added Marx' reconstituted black trumpet mushrooms instead. I'd use the pepper too next time though.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, parsley leaves, arugula, or watercress I only had about 1/2 cup fresh, so I ended up using that plus 1/2 cup prepared pesto sauce.
2 cloves garlic, peeled yes, I still used this, even though there was garlic in my pesto sauce!
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, optional

1. Heat 1 Tbs oil in 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. (I didn't have a 9-inch, so I made two small frittatas in 6-inch nonstick skillets) Add potatoes, onion, and bell pepper (if using) and cook 15 minutes, or until potatoes and onion begin to brown, stirring often. (At this point I added my reconstituted mushrooms.) Transfer potato mixture to large bowl  and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. meanwhile, place basil and garlic in food processor (with pesto if using) and pulse until finely chopped. Add mustard and flour, and pulse until combined. Add eggs, egg whites, and parmesan cheese, blend 1 minute, or until frothy. Stir egg mixture into potato mixture.

3. Wipe out nonstick skillet, and heat remaining 2 Tbs oil in skillet over medium-low heat, swirling oil over bottom and up sides of pan. (I did this with both of my small skillets) Spread potato-egg mixture into hot skillet, making sure potatoes are evenly distributed. Cover, and cook 10 minutes. Gently lift bottom and sides of frittata with spatula to allow uncooked egg mixture to reach pan. Cover, and cook 10 minutes more, or until frittata is brown and crispy on bottom and sides and mostly set in center.

4. Remove skillet from heat, loosen edges of frittata, and place a large plate over skillet. Carefully invert frittata onto plate (This takes mad skills, and I had to do it twice! Kinda messy, but do-able). Slide frittata back into skillet, uncooked-side down, cover, and cook 5 minutes more, or until both sides are browned and crispy. Transfer to serving plate to cool. Serve at room temperature. (we ate it hot. Psht! Like we could wait!)

I seriously loved this recipe! Great comfort food! I really want to try other variations, like using sweet potatoes, other veggies, different sauces other than pesto...the list goes on! It made great leftovers too! If it weren't for our dear pet pigs I might have added some bacon to this! Don't tell Rufus and Dorothy!

I am so excited that I added the mushrooms to this! I had diced them up, so every bite was filled with their earthy flavor. It was perfectly finished off with a dollop of plain yogurt on top! There actually could have been more mushroom in it! Yes, you heard me right! I really liked the mushroom flavor! Crazy! I did notice though, that the mushroom flavor intensified over a few days, so each time I ate the leftovers it had a better, more noticeable mushroomyness.(uh, that's probably not a word) Good stuff!

You should really check out the Marx foods website! They have an amazing selection of dried foods like these mushrooms! You can also visit their blog for tips, techniques and recipes, like how to rehydrate dried mushrooms, or how to convert fresh mushroom recipes to dried mushrooms. I have yet to try the palm leaf plates, or the dried peppers that they sent me, but I am even more excited to do so after using (and loving) their dried mushrooms! Hat's off to you, Marx foods! Great products!

So, dear readers, do yourselves two favors! Order some deliciousness from Marx foods, and then make this frittata! You won't regret either decision!

Have you entered my giveaway for Larabars yet? You still have time! The winners will be drawn this Sunday, so get to it! You know you want free Larabars! Go to this post to enter!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Welcome Fall!

Hi there! This is a quick post, having not much to do with food. I am just SO excited that Fall is finally here! Today is the first day of Fall! Last night there was a full moon, the first full moon on the Autumn equinox since 1991! It was a bit foggy, with rain clouds rolling in, but I caught a glimpse of it. Spectacular!

Now it can all begin! Slippers,
 movie days, comfort food, everything pumpkin, soups and stews, fires in the wood stove, changing leaves

and all the other wonderful things associated with Fall! Our second anniversary is this month, too!

Here are some things that are making me feel Fall-y! Hope this gets you in the Autumn spirit too!

Mmm, chai!
Squash from our garden!

Happy Fall!

What is your favorite part of fall?

Just a reminder, you have until this Sunday to enter my Larabar giveaway! I have SO MANY cases to give away, so enter to win!!! It's super easy! Just go to this post. I know you'll love these flavors!