When I relaunched this blog a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’ve started catering. I love cooking more than almost anything else and my friends have been telling me for quite some time to just get out there and do it, so I had to listen.
Continue reading →
Did you know it’s currently National Vegetarian Week? If ya didn’t, now ya do, so go out there and eat a carrot or ten!
I do love myself a beautiful piece of rare meat now and again, but I find that I cook vegetarian more often than not even though I’m not consciously planning it. I guess it may have to do with the fact that I don’t really know what I’ll be cooking on any given week and therefore rarely buy meat or fish on my weekend shopping trips and prefer to buy it the day of when I figure out what’s for dinner. Add that to the fact that I’m usually running behind, and it leads to me making our meals out of whatever we have on hand, which is always vegetables and some sort of protein that keeps well for longer periods than fresh meat, like tofu, cheese or beans. Continue reading →
It was J’s birthday this past weekend, and although he was on tour in Japan on the actual day, I wanted to make something special for dinner the day he came home so we could celebrate. I went out and bought two beautiful filet mignon and decided to make some gnocchi as a side dish instead of serving plain ol’ potatoes. When I spied a recipe for spinach gundi (pronounced nu-dee) in a new cookbook I’d just purchased, I decided to ditch the potato version altogether and make these ricotta-based dumplings instead.
Well a few things changed and we ended up having four for dinner instead of just J and me; to top it all off, one was a vegetarian. Luckily the gnudi was the perfect thing to serve as a vegetarian entrée, so I simply made extra and served our veggie friend a whole bowl of them while the remaining three of us had some as a side dish to our beef. I’ll post later this week about the rest of the meal, but here’s the gnudi. It’s really easy to make, and would go well with marinara, a gorgonzola sauce….pretty much anything, but I opted to make a forest mushroom cream to coat the fluffy gnudi.
I’d purchased 6 ounces of fresh spinach at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market (which is awesome but so large that it’s almost overwhelming!) and, after blanching it for a few seconds in salted hot water, shocked them in ice water and squeezed the excess moisture until I had 2.5 ounces of spinach.
I combined the spinach with ricotta cheese, which I’d strained overnight in a paper-towel-lined colander,grated parmesan, 2 TBS of egg and flour and kneaded it lightly until it came together.
After dusting my cutting board with rice flour, I just rolled pieces of dough into fat tubes and cut them into 1 1/2 inch pieces. I thought it’d be nice to have large pieces so you could cut and eat each one…a lot of the gnudi I’ve seen tend to be larger than regular gnocchi.
These gnudi took only a couple of minutes in boiling water before they were ready to be tossed in sauce. I found some beautiful chanterelle mushrooms at the farmer’s market so I simply sauteed those in butter and olive oil, tossed in some chopped garlic and thyme, added a splash of cognac and then finished it off with fresh cream and a grating of parmesan cheese.
Considering how last minute our change in plans were, I’d say things worked out pretty well. Our vegetarian friend, who normally isn’t crazy about mushrooms, really loved the dish.
I’ll post on the rest of the meal soon!
Farmer’s Market Dinner
Taking a mini break from my Japan posts to share with you my dinner from last night.
I’d been wanting to make Heidi’s Sprouted Garbanzo Burgers ever since I saw the recipe in her book, Super Natural Cooking. I finally had the chance, although the sprouts lady at the Pasadena Farmer’s Market had run out of sprouted garbanzos by the time I arrived. Luckily she had some yummy smelling onion sprouts so I bought those to put in the mixture of regular, canned garbanzo beans, chopped onion, egg and a few additional ingredients which came together quickly. It was very easy to form the patties and after about 5 minutes on each side in a lightly oiled pan, they were done.
I didn’t use them as the bun part of a veggie burger (Heidi makes a good point that a beany burger isn’t exactly the best thing to put between two slices of bread and suggests putting avocado, tomato and other fillings between the two veggie patties) but served them alongside some gorgeous vegetables I purchased at the same market. A salad of spicy arugula and other baby greens, sweet corn cut from the cob, red onion, chopped chives and sweet basil went so nicely with the gigantic heirloom tomato which didn’t need much more than a drizzle of good olive oil and Maldon sea salt. The unfortunately looking avocado was actually good but got a little bruised when it found itself at the bottom of my very full market bag!
Speaking of Maldon, yes, I, too, jumped on the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie bandwagon and made a batch of what they call the “consummate chocolate chip cookie.” The ingredients aren’t that different from your standard chocolate chip cookie recipe minus the use of both cake flour and bread flour, plus letting your dough rest for 36 hours before baking. I made myself a small one and found it to be delicious- particularly due to the addition of a light sprinkling of Maldon salt on top. Was it the best chocolate chip cookie I’d ever had? I can’t be sure since I just haven’t eaten enough cookies in my life to really know (ask me about tuna sandwiches though, and I can be of some help!). Judging by the “MMMMMMMMMMMMMMs!” I’m hearing from my co-workers, I’m guessing this cookie does come close to being one of the best.
Ok, back to Japan posts now!