Saturday, April 29, 2017

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus Pesto

It's a very rainy day here in Ohio, but we're coming off of a week or two of summer-like weather which has been the perfect introduction into spring. Asparagus is one of the quintessential spring vegetables and seems to make its way into most spring recipes. For this recipe, asparagus is used in two different ways and although this was our first foray into making ricotta gnocchi, overall I think everything came together really nicely. 

Recipe from How Sweet Eats.*

Ricotta Gnocchi
-12 ounces ricotta cheese
-1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Asparagus Pesto + Serving
-1 pound asparagus spears, woody ends removed
-1/4 cup  toasted sliced almonds
-1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
-3 garlic cloves
-pinch of crushed red pepper
-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
-shaved parmesan, for topping

* The original preparation involves squeezing excess moisture from the ricotta and weighing out a perfect eight ounce portion. Dave declared this to be messy and a waste of time, so it didn't happen for our recipes. All turned out fine. 

To Prepare the Ricotta Gnocchi: 

In a medium bowl stir together the ricotta that you've weighed out, 3/4 cup flour, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper until just combined. Add the remaining flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough has come together. Once the dough is ready, form a ball of gnocchi dough, then press it into a disk on a floured surface. Cut the disk into four equal pieces and then take each piece and roll it into a log about 16 to 18 inches long. Use a sharp knife to cut the rolls of dough into 1-inch pieces.

To Prepare the Asparagus and Pesto:

Cut the asparagus spears into thirds and bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until still bright green, but now tender. Remove some of the pieces and set aside to toss with the gnocchi later.

Add the remaining asparagus, almonds, garlic, cheese and crushed red pepper to a food processor. Pulse the food processor until the mixture begins to come together, then stream in the 1/3 cup of olive oil in while the processor is running. Once you have used all of the olive oil and the pesto has reached the desired consistency, taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Cooking the Gnocchi:

To cook the gnocchi, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and then add the gnocchi -- cook about 2 to 3 minutes, until it floats for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Once all of the gnocchi are ready, drain the water reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.


In sauce pot that you used to cook the gnocchi add the pasta back in and the asparagus pieces. Toss the gnocchi and asparagus together with the pesto. Add the reserved pasta water until the sauce has reached the consistency that you would like. Divide into four servings and top with shaved parmesan and garnish with lemon.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ginger + Lemongrass Infused Thai Soup with Crispy Tofu and Wild Rice

We made this soup a while ago, but it was so good that I needed to share the recipe. This soup would still work for spring if you wanted to serve it as a starter to a light Thai meal. The lemongrass infuses the soup with a tangy flavor which works nicely with the savory vegetables and sweetness of the coconut milk.

Adapted from Sobremesa.

-2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
-1 package of extra firm tofu, pressed
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 teaspoon sesame vinegar
-1 small yellow onion, diced
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
-1 bunch scallions, chopped and divided into two piles
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
-2-3 tablespoons lemongrass paste OR 1 stalk lemongrass, leave whole and cut an x in the bottom of the root end
-3 cups vegetable broth
-1 can full fat coconut milk
-zest and juice of 1 lime
-4 cups cooked wild rice

Mix the soy sauce, honey, and sesame vinegar together in a small bowl. Then cut the tofu into bite sized cubes. Toss the sauce and tofu together, then in a large skillet melt down a small amount of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes to the hot pan and cook on all sides until brown and crispy. Once the tofu is finished cooking, remove from the pan and set aside.

While the tofu is cooking, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the onion and carrot and cook until soft and fragrant. Next add half of the scallions, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove lemongrass from pan (if you're using the lemongrass stalk, I was only able to find lemongrass paste). Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and add the lime zest and juice.

Scoop a serving of rice into each bowl, top with tofu, and ladle broth over top. Add the remaining scallions and peanuts as a garnish for more texture, color, and flavor.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Blackberry & Bacon Grilled Cheese

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day! The are 81+ grilled cheese recipes on Vegetarian & Cooking! if this sandwich doesn't seem like the perfect grilled cheese for you to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day.

I love using Morning Star's vegetarian bacon, this would also be good with coconut bacon (or regular bacon if you would like to make the sandwich non-vegetarian). The combination of salty, sweet, and spicy is delightful. Dave and I each ate a sandwich and a half and were wanting more. This would be good with any jam that isn't too sweet, elderberry jam is coming to mind as one that still has a little pucker to it while maintaining some sweetness.

Adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling.

-1/2 tablespoon Miracle Whip (or mayo)
-6 pieces bread of your choice (I used a multigrain bread)
-3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
-6 pieces Morning Star veggie bacon, cooked
-Pickled jalapeno slices
-3 tablespoons blackberry jam

Lightly spread Miracle Whip on one side of three pieces of bread and place the bread Miracle Whip side down in a skillet.

Top each piece with swiss cheese, pickled jalapeno slices, and the veggie bacon. Add more swiss cheese on top. Spread the blackberry jam onto the remaining three pieces of bread and place the bread jam side down on top of the sandwiches that are in the pan.

Spread the remaining Miracle Whip on the top of the sandwiches. Grill over medium heat until each side is golden brown. If you use your hand to steady the sandwich, you should be able to flip the sandwich without losing any of the filling.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Key Lime Coconut Doughnuts

Dave brought home some key limes and I had some leftover coconut milk in the fridge, so this was my attempt at finding a recipe that would utilize those ingredients, but not require me to buy anything new. I purchased my doughnut pan several years ago on Black Friday, but have found it to be a lovely piece of baking equipment for an every once in a while baked doughnut treat.

I made these when I had a day off work and Dave was happily surprised to come home to warm doughnuts. I enjoyed one or two with coffee, but these really were a treat that he liked. It's usually best to eat donuts within a few days, but these didn't last too long in our house so keeping them wasn't a concern. I was able to make seven doughnuts with this recipe. 

Recipe from Baker By Nature.

For the Key Lime Coconut Donuts:
-1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
-2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
-1 large egg, at room temperature
-1/2 cup coconut milk
For the Key Lime Glaze:
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-1 and 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice
-1 teaspoon lime zest
-1/8 teaspoon salt
(Optional) Decoration:
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
2 teaspoons lime zest

Prepare the glaze first, combine the juice and sugar whisking to combine. Add some addition lime juice if the glaze looks too thick and if the glaze looks too thin add additional sugar. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and great a doughnut pan with coconut oil.

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar and lime zest; mix together with your fingers until zest is evenly distributed in the sugar. Add in the melted coconut oil and, using a whisk, mix until combined. Beat in the egg, then stir in coconut milk.Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture together using a rubber spatula, stirring only until mixture is evenly combined.

Spoon the batter into a large ziplock bag and use the bag as a piping bag in order to get the batter into the molds of the greased pan. Fill-up each mold 2/3 of the way. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until firm and lightly golden.

Remove the doughnut pan and allow the doughnuts to cool for a few minutes, before transferring them to a cooling rack. Once the doughnuts are cool dip them into the glaze and top with shredded coconut and additional zest if desired. 

Once cool, dip each doughnut in glaze and serve once the glaze is set.