Posts tagged ‘potatoes’

Tomato and olive gnocchi

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)

1 recipe of homemade gnocchi
1 jar homemade tomato sauce
1/2 cup of pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
Grated parmesan, chili flakes and chopped fresh herbs to garnish

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.

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March 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm 2 comments

Gnocchi with chanterelle mushroom sauce


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.

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January 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm 5 comments

Cedar wrapped salmon

We are grilling again after an arduous journey to convert our natural gas BBQ to the propane tank variety. I made a great find while wandering the accessories section of the exciting BBQ showroom and parts store in North Vancouver we went to to fix our BBQ: thin cedar papers that can be soaked and wrapped around fish or vegetables.

The taste is the same delicious westcoast flavour of cedar plank salmon, but without the hour-plus soaking time and scorched board at the end of the night. Just soak the thin strips of wood in water along with some kitchen twine for 10 minutes and use them to wrap up salmon filets dressed with olive oil and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 10 minutes a side on the top rack of the BBQ (indirect heat) and you’re done. I served ours with sliced avocado and tomato and new potatoes – simple and perfect for a summer dinner.

July 16, 2011 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Potato chickpea and kale curry


I wrote recently about the fact that I am now cooking with real cream. In the days of old, I was a substituter – always finding inventive ways to step around full-fat ingredients like cream, butter, cheese and oil. No more. Cream is now part of the weekly shopping list. That aside,  I am usually pretty health-conscious in my eating and cooking and I realize that it’s important to strike a balance. Gluten-free and vegetarian is the main fare coming out of my kitchen, and this curry dish with chickpeas, kale, and potatoes falls squarely in the virtuous category. Kale is also one of the few vegetables that is truly local this time of year. Walking around neighbourhood and community garden plots this winter, I’ve discovered that kale grows year-round in Vancouver. It will definitely be part of my cool-weather gardening mix this year.

Potato, chickpea and kale curry

4 cups cooked potatoes, diced about 1-inch square
1-1/2 cups chickpeas, drained (about 1 can)
2 cups chopped fresh kale
1-1/2 cups coconut milk (1 can)
2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon ginger juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Combine potatoes, chickpeas and kale in a casserole dish. Mix together coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, soy sauce and ginger juice in a small bowl and pour over top potato mixture. Stir gently to mix. Bake in a 375F oven for 25-30 minutes and top with fresh cilantro.

March 1, 2011 at 12:31 am 2 comments

Travel Eats: Mas Rabell, Penedès, Spain

Ensaladade Tomate del Huerto (organic tomato salad)

I’ve started going through travel photos recently as a diversion to the grey winter days. Tomatoes have never looked more beautiful to me than they did in this salad, which was served on a hot July day as part of our lunch at the Torres family’s Mas Rabell restaurant in the Penedès wine region of Spain (about an hour south of Barcelona).

The produce was grown in an on-site organic vegetable garden and all of the food was seasonal, local and impeccably fresh. Seasonal and local have a completely different meaning and taste in Mediterranean countries. Vegetables like tomatoes, artichokes and olives come with rich flavours and an abundance we rarely experience in North America, and the olive oil is truly a wonder. We brought some back with us, but it just doesn’t taste the same as it did when the weather was hot and you could see groves of olive and almond trees dotting the landscape.

Everything we ate at Mas Rabell tasted like something from a beautiful dream. Along with the tomato salad was fresh bread with extra virgin olive oil, a cod fish main course, a cheese course, apple pie and, of course, delicious Torres wines: Santa Digna Sauvignon Blanc (2009); Ibericos (2007); Mas La Plana (2006), sweet Moscatel Floralis and the Torres 20 brandy.

Pescado con timbale de cebolla y patata (fish with onion and potato timbale)

Quesos Catalanes (local cheese from the Catalonia region)

Pastel de Manzana (apple pie)

Moscatel Floralis (a dessert wine)

The garden at Mas Rabell where they grow tomatoes, fresh herbs and other produce for the restaurant kitchen.

January 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm 4 comments

Kale and lentil potato bake

We all need to eat more leafy greens like kale and more lentils. Here is a recipe to help you do that! If you don’t like asiago cheese, try substituting mozzarella. I can’t believe that some people don’t like asiago, but apparently it’s true.

You’ll notice that there is a three-stage baking process with this dish. This is to help minimize the time it takes to bake the potatoes. Also, I like to add the kale right at the end so it doesn’t cook for too long – I think it tastes better this way and I’m sure it helps to retain more vitamins.

1-1/2 pound of potatoes, thinly sliced (about 4 baking potatoes or 8-10 mini potatoes)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup French lentils
2 cups of water
1 cup red wine
1 cup of shredded cabbage or raddicchio
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 cups shredded kale
1 cup asiago cheese, grated

Layer potatoes in a greased casserole dish. Heat oven to 425F and put potatoes in oven while preparing rest of ingredients (this will help you get a head start on the baking time required to soften the potatoes).

Saute the onions and garlic in oil until softened, about five minutes. Rinse the lentils and add them to the pan with the garlic and onions. Add in mushrooms, half of the thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, and then stir in the wine. Cook until the wine boils down and then add the water. Simmer for five to ten minutes until the lentils are just barely tender. Stir in the cabbage and remove from heat.

Take the half cooked potatoes out of the oven and pour the lentil mixture over top. Stir it around a bit to distribute the mixture with the potatoes and then put the dish back in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, bring the dish back out again and stir in the kale and sprinkle with the cheese and remaining thyme. Return to the oven for another five to ten minutes until cheese is lightly browned. Serve with salad and a glass of red wine and bask in your healthy glow.

May 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm 3 comments

Broccoli soup

This was my first attempt at making broccoli soup from scratch. I did a bit of poking around on the internet for recipes, but wasn’t able to find one without lots of cream. And you’d be surprised at how many broccoli cheddar soups contain big dollops of processed cheese spread as the magic ingredient. No thank you! So instead of using a recipe, I just cooked the way I usually do – with a general idea of how to make the basic dish – here, a soup – and then taste testing along the way until it’s something worth eating. (more…)

February 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm 2 comments

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