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Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables

July 25, 2016 Print this page

If I were a food, I’d be gnocchi: a happy potato dumpling! šŸ™‚ While the gnocchi takes some time to prepare, the result is so worth it: fresh, chewy, slightly doughy pasta with fresh notes of basil, the sweetness of corn, and umami zing of roasted tomatoes and zucchini.

Inspired by this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hr
Yield 4-5 servings

For the gnocchi:

2 lb starchy baking potatoes (about 2 large baking potatoes)

1 egg

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cupsĀ of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the vegetables:

2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 large zucchinis or summer squashes, halved and sliced into half moons

1 head of basil, leaves finely slivered

2 cups of fire-roasted corn or 2 ears of grilled corn, kernels separated

1/4 cup of olive oil, divided, plus more to taste

2 teaspoons of salt, divided

1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

For the gnocchi:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Let the potatoes cool for just a few minutes upon removing from the oven, then peel off the skin and discard.

Using a ricer, food mill, or box grater, process the potatoes. Dust a clean workspace with plenty of flour and spread the riced/grated potatoes in a thin, even layer atop the flour. Let cool.

Meanwhile, beat together the egg, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Once the potatoes are cool, form them into a mound and make a small hole in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the hole and, using a large fork or your hands, incorporate the egg into the potato.

Pour flour in, 1/2 cup at a time, until a slightly sticky dough begins to form. (I highly recommend using a dough scraper to incorporate all of the flour!) Towards the end, add the 1/4 cup of cheese. If you feel the dough is too sticky, add more flour — but don’t go overboard!

Remove the dough ball and re-dust the workspace with plenty of flour. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut the dough ball into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll the ball into a log about 1/2 inch wide. Cut the log into 1 inch long rectangles.

Gently roll and squish each rectangle so it’s a decent-looking dumpling. A lot of people roll the gnocchi against a fork to create ridges, but that’s too fussy for me, so I just leave them as is. It saves time in an already labor-intensive recipe.

Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and place the gnocchi atop them until you’re ready to boil them.

For the veggies:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease two large baking sheets with olive oil. On one sheet, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt. On the other sheet, toss the zucchini half moons with the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Roast both in the oven until the zucchini is golden-brown and the tomatoes begin to bristle, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.

To assemble:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, 1/4 of the batch at a time, and remove from the pot with a slotted spoon when each dumpling floats to the top. Place the cooked gnocchi in a large bowl.

Once all of the gnocchi have finished cooking, add the roasted vegetables, corn, cheese, basil, and a little drizzle of olive oil to taste. Toss together and add a little salt and/or pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.


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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Print this page

A lot of people get intimidated by risotto, but you really shouldn’t–it’s super easy to make, and it’s a delicious, hearty dinner for a cold winter night. I gave one of my favorite dishes a fresh new spin by frying some sage leaves, adding a splash (a, er, rather large splash) of white wine, and stirring in some roasted sweet potato puree just before serving.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


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Roasted Tomato, Pepper, and Garlic Soup

October 11, 2015 Print this page

Have you ever tried roasting tomatoes before? If you haven’t (or even if you have), you HAVE to give this soup a try. Rich and filling, it’s filled with hearty flavors that make a perfect late summer or early fall meal. Serve with some homemade crusty sourdough bread if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 8-10 servings

2 pounds of mixed tomatoes, halved or quartered if on the larger side

4 large bell peppers, sliced into big pieces

1 head of garlic, outer skin removed

1 teaspoon of sea salt

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1-2 teaspoons of unrefined cane sugar (optional)

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two large baking sheets with olive oil and set aside.

Divide the halved and quartered tomatoes and peppers evenly between the two baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Toss to coat and put in the oven.

Put the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap it up into a little bundle and put it in the oven, too.

Roast the tomatoes and peppers in the oven until soft and beginning to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Once soft, remove the garlic from the oven, too.

When the vegetables have cooled off a bit, transfer the tomatoes and peppers to a large blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and put it in there too. Pour in the salt and add a dash of cayenne, then puree until completely smooth.

Dump the contents of the blender into a large pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and add a bit of sugar, if necessary. If the soup seems incredibly thick, pour in up to 1 cup of vegetable broth or water.

Serve hot.


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Fire Roasted Corn and Black Bean Burgers

May 21, 2015 Print this page

Wonderfully spiced, easy, and delicious, plus gluten-free and vegan to boot, these burgers make a perfect spring or summer meal to serve to your vegetarian and meat-eating friends alike. Pairs perfectly with mango and cucumber salsa.

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 45 min
Total Time 50 min
Yield 5-7 burgers

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 cans of cooked black beans, drained and lightly washed

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of mild chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup of rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)

1 cup of fire-roasted corn, thawed if previously frozen

Mango + cucumber salsa

Buns (gluten-free if necessary), tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, and other veggies, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with a little olive oil and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Add 2 cups of the black beans, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and salt, and cook for one or two minutes longer to allow all of the flavors to mingle.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the oats until crumbly, about 30 seconds, then add the sauteed onion/black bean/spice mixture and pulse until everything is combined, but not mushy. Fold in the remaining cup of black beans and the fire-roasted corn, then taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Form the mixture into 5-7 patties, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then flip and let cook for another 15 minutes on the other side. Let cool for a few minutes before serving with buns, vegetables, and mango and cucumber salsa.


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Purple Vegetable Sushi (vegan)

March 4, 2015 Print this page

Yes,Ā YOU can successfully make sushi at home, I promise! You can of course use regular sushi rice here, but I love how the deep purple contrasts with the greens, reds, and golds of the fillings. I’m no sushi samurai, but these wound up being both beautiful and delicious…and if I can do it, you can, too!

Ingredients

Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 1 hr 30 min
Yield 6-8 servings

FOR THE RICE:

1 bag of Thai Sticky Purple Rice, or 2 1/4 cups of sushi rice

4 1/2 cups of water

1/3 cup of rice vinegar

3 tablespoons of sugar

3/4 teaspoon of salt + a pinch extra

FOR THE SUSHI:

2 large avocados, thinly sliced

1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced

6 sheets of nori (seaweed paper)

A bamboo sushi mat, which can be purchased here

Directions

FOR THE RICE:

Pour the rice into a collender and rinse well with until the water becomes clear. Dump into a medium saucepan, add the water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook until most of the water has been absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Warm for 5 minutes, or until both the sugar and the salt have been dissolved completely. Pour into a measuring cup with a lip and set aside.

Once the rice has finished cooking, let it stand for ten minutes before fluffing with a forkĀ and transferring to a large bowl. Slowly add the rice vinegar mixture to the rice–JUST a little bit at a time–while fiercely stirring the rice with a wooden spoon or spatula. This will help the rice get properly sticky while cooling it down at the same time.

After all of the rice vinegar mixture has been used, set aside the prepared sushi rice and set up your sushi-making station.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Set out a bowl of water mixed with a little rice vinegar. You’re going to need this to wash your hands, because things are about to get, er, sticky.

To make a roll of sushi, place a piece of nori on the bamboo mat shiny-side down. Place a large scoop of the prepared sushi rice on top and, using damp hands, spread it out all over the nori sheet, leaving about anĀ inch free on the end farthest from you and just a little space around the edges. The rice should form a layer approximately 1/2-inch thick all over the nori sheet and spread evenly throughout.

Now it’s time for the fillings! Place a couple of slices of each filling about 1/2 inch from the edge closest to you, keeping everything as tightly packed together as possible. You don’t want too much or else your roll is going to explode, so go light on fillings, especially for your first roll.

To roll the sushi, fold over the bottom of the bamboo mat on the edge closest to you over the fillings, picking up the nori sheet with you as you go. Give it a good squeeze to secure and continue rolling, using the mat to fold the nori over itself and applyingĀ gentle pressure every so often to keep things together.

Once you’ve completely rolled up the sushi, pull out the bamboo mat and use a sharp, damp knife to slice the sushi into smaller pieces. Repeat the process with the remaining rice, fillings, and nori.

Serve immediately with tamari or coconut aminos, and give yourself a big pat on the back for being a sushi ninja.


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