Posts tagged ‘garlic’

Gnocchi with Sage Baked on a Portobella

Last night’s meal unexpectedly went down as “the best thing you’ve made in a long time” according to wifey. “I’ve got goosebumps!” she exclaimed at one point. I mean, while I expected it to be tasty, it went a little beyond that. OK, a lot beyond that. Best of all, it didn’t dirty many dishes or take a long time. (I know that’s a rare occurrence for a lot of my recipes. Sorry, dish-doing-haters). I only cooked for 2, but this should serve about 4. Remember that gnocchi is a gut-buster.

Ingredients:

Gnocchi
The largest portobellas you can find (1 per person)
3-4 stalks of sage
1 handful of chives
2 shallots
1T caraway seeds
6 cloves of garlic
1/4 c flour
1-2 c milk
6T olive oil/butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Feta to crumble over top
Additional oil for frying (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375. Reserve 15-20 of the largest sage leaves for frying later. Chop the rest of the sage and the chives. Set aside. Finely chop the onions and garlic. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the caraway, and cook until the onions are golden (another 3 minutes or so). Sprinkle the flour in a little at a time so that the fat/oil can absorb it. Let this cook another 10-15 minutes until it’s a toasty, golden color, stirring semi-frequently. Begin adding milk a little at a time, whisking vigorously until it dissolves. Once you have a thick roux, add the chopped sage and chives. Salt & pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and let the flavors meld, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the portobellas, and put them gills-up on a large baking sheet. Bake for 10-15min until their juices are just starting to run. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the gnocchi. They’re done when the float. Drain them and set aside. Once the mushrooms are done pre-cooking, remove them. Spoon a little bit of sauce onto the mushroom, and spread it around on the gills. Pile as many gnocchi as you can possibly fit onto each mushroom. Smother in sauce and top with crumbled feta. Put in the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes. While it’s baking, pour 1/4″ of oil into a small frying pan and heat. Take the large sage leaves that you reserved at the beginning into the hot oil bottom-side-up (the way the leaf curls when it fries, it just works better upside-down). Fry for 1-2 minutes until deep green. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel or clean dish rag. Sprinkle a little salt on the leaves while they’re still hot, so that it sticks to them.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and carefully move them to serving plates using a large spatula. (I used two spatulas. The cooked mushrooms will not longer be firm enough to support the weight of the gnocchi, and you don’t want the gnocchi to slide off the mushroom caps when you serve them.) Garnish with 4-5 fried sage leaves.

April 9, 2011 at 9:46 am Leave a comment

Homemade Gnocchi with Spinach & Roasted Garlic White Sauce Recipe

Last night we made gnocchi for the first time. It was actually relatively easy, except that something with the recipe was a little screwy. Basically, you’re supposed to mix a little flour in with the potatoes, until it gets to a dough consistency that is slightly sticky to touch, but doesn’t doesn’t stick to you. The recipe calls for two cups. I used close to eight, and it still was too sticky. We just made sure our hands were well floured before handling it. So anyhow, I’m including the original recipe in the hopes that there was something goofy with my batch. Just be sure you have plenty of flour on hand just in case. Otherwise things went well. We made ours a little too big, but it wasn’t too bad. I would say the ideal size would be oblong balls as long as a quarter and as thick as a dime.

Gnocchi can be gut busters, and this recipe (adapted from Mario Batali and the Smitten Kitchen) makes plenty. We fed 5 people with it, and had enough left over to freeze an entire gallon Ziploc bag of them.

Ingredients for gnocchi:

1.5 kg (3 lbs.) russet potatoes
2 c flour (or 8 if you’re me)
1 egg
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for sauce:

1 bulb of garlic (yes… bulb, not clove)
1 lb spinach
1 c of milk (or cream, if you’re feeling caloric)
4 T olive oil, butter, or a mixture of the two
4 T white flour
1+ c white wine or chicken broth (I used broth)
1/2 c grated mozzarella
1/8 c grated parmesan
Dash of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Prick the potatoes with a fork. Place them in a large pot of water, bring it to a boil, and cook for 45 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pierced. (It’s important to both prick the potatoes with a fork and to bring the pot of water to a boil with them already inside–rather than adding them to a pot of boiling water. If you don’t follow these two steps, the potato skins may split open causing soggy potatoes. And soggy potatoes may have been my problem). Once the potatoes are finished, remove them from the pot.

Preheat the oven to 375. Take a sharp knife, and cut the top the garlic bulb. A tiny bit of the top of each bulb should be exposed. Place the bulb in the center of a square of a aluminum foil. Sprinkle the top of the exposed cloves with salt and pepper. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the bulb. Wrap the foil over the bulb, and twiste it at the top. Place the bulb on a baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove it when it’s done and let it cool while you make the gnocchi dough.

If you have gloves specifically made for playing Hot Potato, get them now. As I understand it, you want the dough to stay warm while you’re making it, so grab a clean towel (if you don’t have Hot Potato gloves) for handling them. Peel the potatoes, and mash them in a large bowl. (Ideally, pass them through a food mill. I didn’t have one, so I grated them. You could use a food processor, too, or mash them the old fashioned way). Form a volcano hole in the middle of the potatoes, and sprinkle 2 cups of flour over the top. Add the salt and egg to the volcano. Quickly mix them all together so that the egg mixes before it gets cooked by the potatoes. Knead for an additional 4-5 min until the mixture is dough, and slightly sticky to the touch. (This is where my attempt bordered on disastrous. It was super sticky even after an additional 6 cups of flour. Better luck to you).

Take the garlic bulb, and squeeze it from the base towards the top. The roasted cloves should pop out. Take a fork and mash these into a smooth paste. In a large skillet, melt the butter (or add the oil) and heat. Sprinkle the flour a bit at a time, whisking it into the hot oil until it dissolves. Mix in the garlic paste at this time, too. Add the milk a bit at a time, whisking vigorously to make a roux. Add wine/broth until you have a thick sauce, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Sprinkle the cheese on top and mix it into the roux. Add nutmeg, salt & pepper. Reduce heat to low, and stir sparingly. Add more liquid if it’s starts getting to thick. Remove any thick stems from the spinach and roughly chop. Add a tiny bit of water to a pot and heat. Wilt the spinach, drain it and squeeze as much liquid from it as you can. Set it aside to be added at the end.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Take a fist-sized chunk of dough and roll it out kindergarten-style into a snake about the thickness of a dime. Cut the snake into one-inch bits. Roll them briefly in your hands to round any pointy edges, then roll them long-ways along the tines of a fork to create ridges. (Traditionally gnocchi has ridges; we skipped this step). Place them on an oiled baking sheet and rub them around or spray them with oil to prevent sticking. Break off another piece of dough and repeat.

Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and stir once to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. Cook about 2 minutes until it floats up to the surface. With a slotted spoon, scoop up the cooked gnocchi and plop them into the sauce. (Alternately, transfer them to an oiled baking sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they’ve frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. This prevents them from freezing into a large gnocchish lump). Add the spinach to the sauce, and mix them all together.

March 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm Leave a comment

Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe

This recipe was passed to my mom while I was in high school. We had recently moved to the Czech Republic and were desperately missing some good ol’ Campbell’s tomato soup to got along with our grilled cheese on winter Sundays after church. I live in the States now and can buy Campbells whenever I want. Truth be told, this recipe is good enough to overcome my childhood nostalgia. For those of you know me well, this is no small feat. I hold rigidly (obnoxiously?) to some of my childhood traditions.

Ingredients:

2 T butter
2 T finely chopped onions (I usually puree in the food processor)
1 clove garlic, minced (again, I food processor it)
2 T flour
6 oz can tomato paste
2 c milk
2 c water
2 t sugar
Dash of oregano, thyme and basil
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter until golden. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring quickly until it forms a thick paste. Add the tomato paste and mix well. Add water in small amounts, stirring vigorously until it is absorbed by the flour. Add the milk and heat but do not boil. Add sugar, herbs and salt & pepper.

Variation:

Add 1 T of curry powder. This is how Wifey’s mom always prepared it growing up. For years, Wifey couldn’t figure out why Campbells tasted so much better when her mom made it instead of her friend’s mom. They both came out of the can, so why did her mom’s taste so much better? She found out years later about the addition of curry.

January 17, 2011 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

Pumpkin and Black Bean Enchiladas with Mole Negro Recipe

I made mole last night for the first time. It took 4 hours and was fantastically spicy, smoky and sweet. I had a bunch left over, which means some killer leftovers for later on! I’d definitely recommend making a giant batch and portioning it out in the freezer. Because it takes so long to prepare, the directions below are written to minimize the time. You certainly don’t have to follow that, if you like taking your time!

Mole recipe:

5 ancho chiles
5 guajillo chiles
1/2 c almonds
2 med. onions (unpeeled)
4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
4 tomatillos (unpeeled)
1 large tomato
2 cinnamon sticks (about 3″ each) broken up in the smaller chunks.
1/2 bunch (about 2 dozen sprigs) or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 c fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 c sesame seeds
16 whole cloves
14 allspice berries
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 c raisins
1 c breadcrumbs
4+ T olive oil, divided
1/2 c dark unsweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli extra-dark 70% cocoa)
1-2 c chicken or veggie broth as needed

Enchiladas recipe:

1 small pumpkin
2 cans of black beans
1 can of corn
1/2 to 1 c chopped cilantro
3/4 c goat cheese, divided
1 T fresh lime juice
2 T olive oil
10-12 large tortillas

Mole instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Wipe off the peppers, remove the tops, saving the seeds. Arrange chiles and almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven, rotating the chiles occasionally. Toast the almonds for about 10 min., chiles for about 20 min. The chiles should be starting to blacken. While those are toasting, heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Blacken the pepper seeds. Be careful for the fumes when you do this. Once they are blackened, soak the seeds in hot water (changing the water occasionally). When the almonds and chiles are done, place them in a bowl to cool. (There will be a lot of “setting aside to cool” in this recipe. I just had one or two large bowls on the counter that I would throw things in while I was waiting). If you’re making enchiladas with pumpkin, increase the heat to 375. Half the pumpkin, scoop out it’s guts, put it open-side-down on the cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. It needs to cook for at least 45 minutes, so do this now while you’re working on everything else. In the heavy skillet, toast the sesame seeds, shaking frequently. Set aside to cool. Add onions, garlic, tomatillos (all still with their skin) and tomato to the skillet. Pan-grill these, moving around occasionally to cook on all sides. The garlic will be soft and starting to brown (about 10 min.) Tomatillos will start to char on the outside and become soft (about 15 min.) The tomato will become soft with charred skin (15-20 min.) The onions’ skin will start to char (20-25 min.) When each is done, set aside to cool. While the veggies are cooking, prep the spices, chopping the thyme and oregano if fresh, and grating the nutmeg and ginger. Once the veggies are cool enough to handle, peel them and set aside. When all the veggies have finished cooking, heat a liberal amount of olive oil in the skillet until shimmering. Fry all of the herbs and spices, stirring often, until heavily aromatic (2-4 min.) (Warning: Something reacted pretty strongly when I added it to the hot oil. I think it may have been the nutmeg, but I’m not sure. Regardless, something started popping and exploding, like bacon but way more intense. Be careful when you add the spices). Set aside to cool. Finally, heat a couple more tablespoons of oil and heat until shimmering. Add the breadcrumbs and raisins, stirring often. The breadcrumbs should turn golden-brown, and the raisins will plump up a bit. Remove from heat and cool.

Whew! Good job. You’re almost there. All of the ingredients for the mole are now cooked! At this point, check on the pumpkin to see if it’s tender when pierced with a fork. Remove it from the oven and set it open-side-up to cool. Now it’s time to make the mole into a sauce. If you have a gigundous food processor, you could just throw it all in and blend. Mine is small, so I did it in batches. Either way, start with the chiles, and save the tomato and tomatillos for last. Grinding them into a powder. (You may want to cover your nose and mouth for this. Breathing chile = lots of coughing). Start adding the drier ingredients (almonds, sesame seeds, spices, pepper seeds, garlic and onions). If the mixture starts getting too pasty, throw in one of the tomatillos or a chunk of tomato to give it enough liquid to move around a bit. You want the consistency of a thick sauce. Transfer batches to a 3-quart pot. Save the breadcrumbs, raisins and tomato (or what’s left of it) for last. (The smoother you can get the overall mix, the better. If you have a hand blender, you can use that if you want to once it’s all in the pot). Heat the entire mixture, and add the chocolate. Simmer for at least 3o minutes (but the longer the better), stirring occassionally. Add stock as needed if it starts getting too thick.

Enchiladas instructions:

Remove the skin of the pumpkin and chop the meat into 1/2″ cubes. Drain and rinse the black beans and corn. Chop the cilantro and crumble 1/2 c of goat cheese. Toss all together in a large bowl with lime juice and olive oil.

Line the bottom of a baking pan with a thin layer of mole sauce to keep the enchiladas from sticking. Fill tortillas with squash, black bean mixture, roll, and line them up in the pan. Spoon a liberal amount of mole oever the top off the enchiladas to cover. Crumble the remaining 1/4 c goat cheese over the top. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

November 6, 2010 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Corn and Bean (Burritos)

This has become an absolute staple in our house. It’s cheap, healthy, low in fat, high in fiber, delicious. We affectionately call it, simply, “corn ‘n’ bean.” For the black beans, we use a pressure cooker to cook dry beans, but you can use canned beans. The spice mix for this recipe is the key.

Spice mix:
2 parts cumin
2 parts coriander
1 part cinnamon

Ingredients:
4 c black beans (2 cans)
2 c corn (1 can)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c salsa
4 T corn’n’bean spice mix
Chili, salt, pepper to taste

Instructions:
In a large frying pan, saute the onion in olive oil. 3 minutes before the onions are done, add the garlic, spice mix, chili, salt and pepper. Then, add the beans, corn, salsa and simmer for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid cooks off.

Put in tortilla with cheese, kefir, and Sriracha.

May 20, 2010 at 4:32 am 1 comment

Saffron Ricotta Ravioli Recipe

562px-Crocus_sativus1Last night the wife and I made homemade saffron ricotta ravioli. Saffron consists of “threads”–stigmas of a crocus flower. Each crocus contains 3 stigmas, which must be picked out by hand. It takes approximately 80,000 crocuses to make one pound of saffron, making it the most costly spice in the world by weight. My Herbs and Spices book describes its aroma as: “rich, pungent, musky, floral, honeyed and tenacious,” and it’s taste as: “delicate yet penetrating, warm, earthy, musky, bitter and lingering.” Saffron’s bright color also make it an excellent dye. I’ve heard that it was traditionally used to dye the robes of Buddhist monks.

Pasta:
400g flour
4 eggs
1T olive oil
1t salt

Ricotta filling:
1/2 t saffron
1 T milk
1 1/2 c ricotta
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 egg
Pepper to taste

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic
3 small tomatoes
1 sprig of fresh sage
4 T olive oil

Make the pasta dough:

Sift flour onto clean counter top.

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Make a volcano out of the flour. Break eggs into the crater.

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Add olive oil and salt. Using your fingers, mix eggs, oil and salt. Begin working flour into the egg mixture, being careful not to rupture the edge of the volcano.

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Work into a dough, and knead for 3-5 minutes. One finished, wrap and let sit for an hour.

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Make the ricotta filling:

Crush the saffron and let it soak in the milk for 20 minutes.

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Zest the orange.

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Mix the zest, egg, pepper and saffron/milk into the ricotta.

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Make the ravioli:

Step 1: Keep all cats away from the pasta machine.

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Break off a fist-sized chunk of pasta dough, and run it through the machine to the thinnest setting. (If you don’t have a pasta machine, roll the dough out on a floured surface until about as thick as a postcard).

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Lay the dough over a ravioli tray. Carefully stretch the dough into the pockets of the tray.

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Beat an egg with 1T of water. Paint the edges of the ravioli pockets (acts as a glue). Scoop a heaping teaspoon of filling into the pockets.

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Lay another sheet of pasta dough over tray to cover the pockets. Roll the tray to perforate the edges of the ravioli.

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Dump them out, separate them, and let them dry for an hour.

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Finish:

In olive oil, lightly fry two cloves of minced garlic. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting. Add diced tomatoes (seeds removed), chopped thyme and pepper to taste.

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In another pot bring water to a boil. Add ravioli, and let them cook 4 or 5 minutes until puffy and floating.

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October 25, 2009 at 6:15 pm 2 comments

Creamy Pumpkin Curry Soup Recipe

I got this recipe from a good friend last fall. It may be the best culinary use of pumpkin I’ve ever tasted. It’s absolutely delicious. This is coming from someone who isn’t a huge fan of pumpkin to begin with. This wonderful fall recipe is s a perfect blend of spicy and sweet; the curry does a wonderful job of highlighting the pumpkin without either becoming too overpowering. The red pepper gives it a nice kick without scorching the palate. It’s the perfect warm-up for a cold fall day. Pares well with a good pumpkin ale or Oktoberfest.

Servings: 4

3 olive oil
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1/2 to 1 cup cream (I usually substitute with milk)

Heat olive oil large saucepan over medium-high heat. In a food processor, puree onion and garlic. Add puree to saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in curry powder, salt, coriander and crushed red pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes to develop flavors. Stir in pumpkin and cream; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until heated through. Do not boil.

October 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm 1 comment


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