Family, Food, Parenting

A light summer meal, and a confession

Gnocchi and Grilled VeggiesRecently, my very dear friend Ruth Nemzoff pointed out to me that my recipes were pretty complicated, and had a lot of steps. Which seemed impractical given how busy I am and how many children I have.  She is absolutely right of course.  I realized that part of why I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen is that I feel like I am doing something for my family but I don’t actually have to be with them.  The kids can be running through the kitchen, and I can absolutely guiltlessly suggest that they play other places because I am. after all cooking for them.  This recipe is actually not that time consuming if you use store bought gnocchi.  Gnocchi is kind of fun to make especially if complicated cooking projects are an escape of sorts which clearly they are for me.

Gnocchi

4 Russet potatoes

1 ½ cups Gluten Free flour (you can use regular, I like Pamela’s GF)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by baking the potatoes until they are soft to the touch.  About an hour at 400 should do the job, slice them to cool and set them aside.  Boil a large pot of water, about as much water as you would use to make any other kind of pasta (about 6 cups). Peel the potatoes while they are still warm, if they cool down too much they are harder to manipulate. I use the hand mixer to mash them after I have taken off the skins.  Once they are mashed add the olive oil,salt and pepper and  flour in ¼ cup intervals.  I like to do this with my hands.  When the mixture starts to get really doughy roll it out on a floured surface.  Make 1 or 2 long snakes of dough and cut them every inch.  The pieces should be bite sized, and will expand a bit when cooked.  Lay out parchment paper, you will place the gnocchi on the parchment paper to cool after you have cooked it.  Don’t let them touch or they will stick together.  Throw your gnocchi into the boiling water, they are done when they float to the top.  Gnocchi freezes well, so when I make it I make a few batches. Let them cool and then add whatever sauce you want.

Pete’s grilled pepper red sauce

My son Pete loves pasta, and this sauce is his creation.

6 grilled tomatoes (depending on size, Heirloom or even Roma)

2 grilled red peppers

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1-2 cloves garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

¼-½ cup water

I love the grilled vegetables of summer, we have even grilled peaches!  I served this with asparagus that I just threw straight on the grill and drizzled olive oil and lemon pepper on after they had cooked.  To make the sauce, just throw the tomatoes and the peppers straight on the grill.  When they start to soften and blacken very slightly, pull them off.  Throw them into a bowl with the olive oil, and crushed garlic, add a ¼ cup of water.  You can add more as needed. Again I used the hand mixer to blend it all together, adding salt and pepper to taste at the end.  Garnish with fresh basil.  The sauce is rich but if you prefer it thinner add more water, this sauce also freezes very well.

Food, Uncategorized

Kale and the Emperor With No Clothes

ImageDo you remember the story of the Emperor with No Clothes?

The Emperor walked around naked and everyone admired his clothing because no one was courageous enough to point out that he was in fact naked… Finally, a child speaks up during a parade and the truth sets everyone free.  I used to feel like Kale was the vegetable equivalent of the naked emperor.  Everyone loved it, articles appeared every day extolling its benefits. A friend returned from vacation in Turks and Caicos and the headline about her trip was the incredible kale salad at the hotel. Clearly, I was missing something. I tried repeatedly to develop a love for this much discussed wonder green, but I hated it. I was just about to decide that everyone I knew was powerless in the face of kale propaganda, when something amazing happened.

For Christmas this year I gave my husband tickets to see Neil Young at Carnegie Hall.  To make it feel like a real date, we went to dinner at Candle Cafe, an amazing Vegan restaurant in Manhattan.  We ordered the kale salad, this was my Hail Mary. If Candle Cafe could not make kale taste good, then as far as I was concerned, I would be happy with spinach.  The salad was amazing as was everything else we had that evening.  I may have even begun the story about that night to a friend with news of the incredible kale salad…(sorry Neil)

A few nights later I decided to try and make it myself.  I ordered the Candle Cafe cookbook and used their recipe as a guide but I modified it a bit.  I have included my version below, but highly recommend purchasing their cook book.

Kale Salad (inspired by Candle Cafe)

1 cup Buckwheat (we like the Kasha brand)

4 tsp olive oil

2 large japanese yams (these look like purple sweet potatoes)

½ lb sugar snap peas

1 lb kale

2 avocados peeled, pitted, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Chive Vinaigrette (this is the Candle Cafe recipe almost exactly, and I would drink it if I could)

½ cup plus 1 Tbsp Grapeseed oil

½ cup chopped shallots

2 cloves garlic

¼ white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)

½ cup warm water

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

 Garnish:
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds

The key with kale is to remove the stems, and spines so it is just the leaf.  Then massage olive oil into the leaves.  They don’t need to swim in it, but the olive oil will soften the leaves and remove the bitterness.  Bake the yams at 350 for about 75 minutes, this can be done ahead of time. Buckwheat takes about 15 minutes to cook, but again this can be prepared the day before.  Steam the snap peas, and place them aside.  After you have massaged the olive oil into the kale, very briefly throw the kale into a large pan until the leaves wilt slightly and turn a very dark green. Put the kale, the sliced avocado, yams, snap peas and buckwheat into a large bowl.

For the dressing saute the shallots in one Tbsp of grapeseed oil, add the garlic until they are both soft. I use the hand mixer to make this, but you could use a blender.  Transfer the sauteed ingredients to either the blender or bowl for hand mixing and add the other ingredients.  Pour the dressing on the salad, add sunflower and pomegranate seeds for garnish.

Food

What did you have for breakfast?

Image

There are very few recipes that I cannot tinker with and make them gluten free and vegan, and tasty.  However, when I can tinker with one and make it taste BETTER than it did before, I get excited.  We take waffles in our house very seriously, they are a treat we all love and make me feel like mom of the year for managing to squeeze a June Cleaver moment into our regular life.

In a small bowl and set aside: 3 Tbsp ground flaxseeds, 8 Tbsp warm water

In a mixing bowl:
1 3/4 cups Gluten Free baking flour (I use Pamela’s, just the plain flour, not the waffle mix)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt

In a pot on low heat on the stove:
6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 Tbsp agave

Add Flax and water mixture

After the coconut oil has melted completely add the wet and dry ingredients, and cook on the waffle iron…..

Spend the rest of the day feeling accomplished!