Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I’m a sucker for good gnocchi, and wanted to use up the abundance of sweet potatoes and almond flour that have been hanging out in my cupboard for a good three months. The kicker is I don’t do ricotta, so I adapted this recipe to make sweet potato gnocchi with goat cheese and my own (mediocre) kale pesto creation. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and takes no more than an hour from start to finish.

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For starters, peel and chop a 2 lb bag of baby sweet potatoes or 2+ large sweet potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the sweet potatoes are tender, drain the water and add 1 cup of goat cheese to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, and then add 2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour and combine into a dough-like texture. Roll into bite-size scoops and place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet; bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Note: depending on the sauce you choose, you may want to opt for boiling the gnocchi. That’s what I’m going to try next time for that pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Optional: I made a kale pesto with sauteed kale, olive oil, parmesan cheese and almond milk. This particular combo needs a little more work before it’s ready for the spotlight. Feel free to share your favorite kale pesto recipe in the comments!

Valentine’s Day Pizza Massacre

In theory, homemade pizza with heart-shaped pepperoni sounds like a sweet gesture on this saccharine-soaked holiday. As with matters of the heart, timing is everything, and pizza dough is no exception.

I first cemented the steps last year with much less sophisticated cutlery and no proper pan or pizza stone. But this year, I still found myself staring into the oven wondering why the crust wasn’t fully cooking all the way through after doubling the time listed on the directions.

It still tasted good, once you got past the fact that it required utensils. (Still beats crowded restaurants and overpriced holiday menus!)

If anyone has the answer to avoiding a soupy mess, please let me know. Potential culprits: too much sauce? Mushrooms?

Maybe I’ll get it right in 2015.

My Week in Food

Belated birthday feast at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan in Sacramento, beginning with House Smoked Salmon

House Smoked Salmon @ Mulvaney's B & L

Hand Cut Fettuccine

Hand Cut Fettucini @ Mulvaney's B & L

Sunday dinner at home: Southern Pulled Pork with Mashed Potatoes (swapped chardonnay and water for vinegar)

Exploring the Mission: Turkey Sandwich at Goody Goodie Cream and Sugar

Turkey Sandwich @ Goody Goodie Cream and Sugar

Saturday date night at Scratch in Mountain View; starting with Ahi Tuna Nicoise

Ahi Tuna Nicoise @ Scratch

Macaroni and Cheese (Best ever, according to David)

Macaroni and Cheese @ Scratch

Lava Cake

Lava Cake @ Scratch

Dinner with Dad

On Monday night I had a weeknight houseguest: my dad, in town for business. Since he loves Italian food, and the only form of pasta in my cupboard was lasagna noodles, I made a recipe for cheeseless lasagna (was also low on cheese).

Unfortunately I don’t have the link to the recipe anymore, but you basically brown the meat, simmer it in tomato sauce with spices, pre-soak the noodles, and then layer the mixture in a 9×13 dish, top generously with Parmesan, and bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Delicious and guilt-free!

Summer Fruit Love Fest

Stone fruit and berries continue to dominate my meal planning. This weekend was no exception. By request, my mom showed me the steps to make an apricot pie so I’m armed and ready to make the next one at home. See the “fruits” of our labor…

We also experimented with an ad hoc blueberry compote to serve on waffles, in place of syrup. To make the compote, I combined fresh blueberries with strawberry jam in a small sauce pan over low heat, and added a little extra sugar to make sure the finished product was thick enough.

Also, I put overly ripe fruit to use in an apricot, plum, and strawberry cobbler using the recipe for “Summer Berry Crisp” from the Epicurious iPad app – with a few modifications, of course.

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Eat, Pray, Love, Spaghetti

I can’t read about food without developing a nagging craving for it. Tonight’s spaghetti dinner was the culmination of countless descriptions of guiltless carb-loading in Italy from the pages of Eat, Pray, Love. (And by pages, I mean iPad – which I love reading on so far!)

It was also really important to me to find a tomato sauce recipe that required simmering on the stove. The anticipation of bubbling sounds and aromas coming from the kitchen are part of the experience (and leave me a little time to work out before dinner). I found Mario Batali’s “Basic Tomato Sauce” from the Epicurious iPad app, which I cut in half (and left out the carrot because I didn’t have one).

I also learned from my recent pasta class at Williams-Sonoma that Italians add salt to the water until it tastes “like the sea.” I’ll admit it, I was a little gun shy about adding multiple tablespoons. (The package called for 4 tablespoons but I couldn’t get past 2, which was plenty.) I plated the pasta with a little olive oil and about a half cup of sauce, and the salt brought a nice flavor to it. Buono appetito!

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Makin’ Gnocchi

Potatoes, patience, plus a Williams-Sonoma pasta class = homemade gnocchi. I never thought I would make one of my favorite menu items at home, but I successfully made gnocchi tonight. In subsequent posts, I will give the full instruction. But for now, here’s something worth 1,000 words.

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