Posts tagged ‘recipes’
As you might remember, I recently tackled what I long felt was a daunting recipe: homemade gnocchi. I’ve made it three times now and as long as you can summon your patience it is easy to make these beautiful potatoey pillows.
Cooking is a huge source of relaxation to me and this recipe really fits with that. There is lots of meditative prep work to do preparing the dough, an endless array of choices for dressing the gnocchi and the satisfaction of sitting down to something special and handmade.
We had this olive and tomato gnocchi last weekend. We weren’t doing anything special, but it was Saturday and there is more time for cooking. We spent the day painting the main floor of our house (a beautiful robin’s egg blue) and puttering around outside in the garden (finally a warm weekend!). There is a celebratory feeling about both of those things, so I thought it was a good night for a special dinner.
Olives are a wonderful match with a simple tomato sauce, giving it a good zing of salty, tangy flavour.
Tomato and olive gnocchi
Serves 4 (at least)
Doesn’t that sound easy and delicious? It is! I made the gnocchi from dough I had frozen in the freezer since I made more than we could eat the last time. This works perfectly fine, just defrost the dough thoroughly and use extra flour when you are making the little gnocchis.
We hosted a dinner party on New Year’s Eve and with that I decided to tackle a long held goal: to make homemade gnocchi. I consulted several recipe books for different variations on how to make the actual gnocchi pasta and landed on Mario Batali’s version, along with a sauce inspired by my affection for chanterelle mushrooms.
This is just past Charleson Park, along the seawall between the Cambie Bridge and Granville Island. It’s an easy 20 minute walk from our house, downhill on the way there, and uphill on the way back. We spent a good part of this past Sunday lounging there with egg salad sandwiches and lemonade and local cherries, happily folded into a summertime cliche. We walked through the docks, found a section of seawall beside this big, bright bed of cosmos, and spent an hour or so looking out into the bay watching the ducks, kayaks and sailboats cruise by and thinking why don’t we do this ALL THE TIME!?
Egg salad sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (here is how to make them)
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
1 tablespoon fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Arugula or lettuce leaves
4 slices of bread
Mix together eggs, celery, red pepper, chives, dill, paprika, mustard and mayo. Season with salt and pepper. Layer arugula or lettuce on the bread and top with egg salad. Don’t forget the lemonade!
I’ve just arrived home from a relaxing 10-day holiday on Prince Edward Island and it was so refreshing to be in such a simple place. My parents have a cottage near an area of PEI called Tyne Valley, a tiny place filled with small town charm. In their yard are several sour cherry trees that were ripe with berries when we arrived. You’ll see a lovely tractor in the photo above: it was there along with several others to help repair their bank, which was damaged in the winter storms. Not the most tranquil thing to have at the cottage, but it was helpful for cherry picking in the treetops.
I spent about an hour picking these cherries and my mom and I put in at least another hour pitting them (drinks in hand, of course). I made a sour cherry sauce that we enjoyed on my mom’s famous no-bake cheesecake and on ice cream. More cherries were picked when my uncles visited and they were transformed into an amazing sour cherry crisp. I think it is safe to say that sour cherry eating, in all its delicious forms, will become a new cottage tradition.
Sour cherry sauce
8 cups of pitted sour cherries (I’m sure cherries of any variety would also be good)
1/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Put cherries in a saucepan along with sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over low-medium heat for about 15 minutes until cherries come to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until cherries are tender and the juice is beginning to thicken. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 2 tablespoons of water and stir into cherry mixture. Let simmer for 5 minutes until sauce thickens to desired consistency. If you find it to thin still, add mix another teaspoon of cornstarch with water and add to the sauce; if it is too thick, add a touch more water. Squeeze in the lemon juice at the end and store sauce in a jar until you’re ready to slather it on cheesecake, ice cream, biscuits, etc.
Oven-roasted tomatoes are something I see all the time in cookbooks and on food blogs and I’ve been meaning to try them for awhile now. I think this dish would be amazing with the abundant, ripe tomatoes that are harvested garden-fresh in late summer and early fall, but for now this is a good way to use up those poor grocery store tomatoes that have been lingering too long in the fruit bowl.
Roasted tomato and basil pesto pasta
Makes 2 servings (double or triple for a bigger crowd)
3 cups of dried pasta
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons basil pesto*
1-2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Fresh ground pepper and grated parmesan cheese
Combine tomatoes, pesto and garlic in a glass pie plate or other oven-safe dish. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 400F. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta and pull the tomatoes out of the oven. Stir the drained pasta into the tomato mixture and serve on plates. Sprinkle with fresh pepper and parmesan cheese and enjoy with a salad and red wine.
*I used store-bought pesto but should really try to make it myself someday. As a substitute for pesto, you can also try 3 tablespoons of olive oil plus a squeeze of lemon juice and some chopped fresh herbs.