Gluttonous and Good For You!

Gluttonous and Good For You!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Gluten-Free Gnocchi With Tomato Sauce And Basil



While working at Fundació Alicia in Spain, one of our last duties as an intern was to make a dish that is typical of where we live — that was an intimidating task considering that two of the staff were elBulli chefs. My Italian roommate and fellow intern, Michela, wanted to do a trial run of her dish, gnocchi, at the apartment. Again, we cooked side-by-side, as I made the gluten-free version of her gnocchi.  These pillows of deliciousness are worth the time and work, as well as the sauce.

She taught me that gnocchi is a very basic ratio: 1 kilogram of potatoes to 100 grams of flour to 1 egg with a generous pinch of salt. While working at a restaurant in Bologna, she made 10 kilogram batches of gnocchi on a regular basis. (That is 22 pounds: a lot of gnocchi.) The secret to perfect gnocchi, she confided, was that half the potatoes should be starchy (russets/Idaho) and the other half waxy (red). The flour has very little impact in this recipe, and I figured that potato flour made the most sense to use since it's naturally gluten-free. It makes so much sense that I wonder why all potato gnocchi is not made with potato flour.


Ingredients

For the gnocchi:
  • 500 grams (about 1 pound) russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut medium dice
  • 500 grams (about 1 pound) red potatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten


  • 100 grams (about 1 cup) potato starch, plus more for dusting

For the tomato sauce:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dried chile flakes, to taste (optional)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, cut chiffonade (very thin strips), save some for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish

Directions

For the gnocchi:

Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Cook over high heat until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain through colander and immediately run potatoes through food mill or ricer (in batches, as needed) onto a large jelly roll pan. Make sure that the potatoes are evenly distributed in order to cool off efficiently. (This prevents heavy gnocchi.) Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature.

Place the potatoes onto a clean working surface. Make a small well and add the beaten egg with a small amount of the potato starch. Start worked with your clean hands and knead the dough until evenly distributed. Add more potato starch gradually, while kneading, until dough is still wet, but not sticky. Form the dough into a large, smooth ball. (At this time, dust the jelly roll pan for a place to store the cut and dusted gnocchi.)


Using a bench scraper or a butter knife cut a ½-inch slice of the dough and roll into a rod about ¾ inch in diameter and dust with potato starch. Cut the rod of dough into small pieces, using the first joint of your index finger as a guide to ensure consistent sizing. Transfer to jelly roll pan, and make sure the entire surface of the gnocchi are lightly dusted. Repeat until all of the dough are in the form of gnocchi. Have a large pot of salted water boiling and add in the gnocchi. Once the gnocchi have risen to the surface, they are done, about 2-4 minutes. Transfer with a spider to your pot of tomato sauce, gently fold, garnish, and serve immediately.


For the tomato sauce:In a large sauté pan, much more efficient than a sauce pan, sauté the garlic and olive oil over low-medium heat until aromatic. Add in the canned tomatoes. Bring up temperature to medium. Add in salt, pepper, and chile flakes. Stir occasionally. Once the tomatoes start simmering, use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes into a smooth yet hardy texture. Allow to cook, simmering and stirring occasionally, thickening for about 10-15 minutes depending upon your preference. Add in most of the basil, reserving some for garnish. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.


DetailsServes: 6-8 people

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

The gnocchi can be made ahead and kept frozen. To do this, freeze the jelly roll pan of gnocchi until frozen solid. Transfer to an airtight container for storing. Have a pot of boiling salted water ready to put the frozen gnocchi in.


-Erin Swing

Swing Eats


This is part of Food Network's Summer Soiree. Check out The FN Dish. The summer produce we're focusing on here is basil. On twitter, we're tagging #SummerSoiree. Here are other delicious basil recipes to try out:


Devour: Pesto, Change-o: 6 Recipes to Use Up Leftover Basil

Feed Me Phoebe: Brazilian-Style Moqueca Fish Packets with Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Herbs
In Jennie's Kitchen: Peach & Basil Panzanella
The Lemon Bowl: Thai Basil Shrimp
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Basil Seeds Limeade
Creative Culinary: Ricotta, Lemon and Basil Pasta Salad
TasteBook: Frozen Basil Daiquiri
Healthy Eats: 7 Summer Dishes That Aren't Complete Without Basil
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes & Tomatoes with Basil
The Mom 100: Shrimp and Corn Salad with Basil Dressing
Swing Eats: Gluten-Free Gnocchi With Tomato Sauce And Basil
Taste with the Eyes: Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree
FN Dish: 7 Ways to Take Fresh Basil Beyond Pesto

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Watermelon with Feta, Mint, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt


Watermelon seems like the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. We I went to Greece, the locals preferred to eat it with feta cheese. They thought the saltiness of the feta brought out the sweet flavor of the watermelon. It does. I decided to take it up a couple of more levels with mint, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of sea salt. Try it. You may like it, too.

Ingredients:
Watermelon
Feta
Fresh Mint Leaves
Olive Oil
Salt to taste

Directions:
Cut the watermelon into large dice cubes, removing inedible seeds. Crumble feta on top. Cut the mint into very thin strips, sprinkle on top. Drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil on top. Follow with a light sprinkling of sea salt on top. Enjoy! A little taste of summer....

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Summer Soiree. Check out The FN Dish. The summer produce we're focusing on here is watermelon. On twitter, we're tagging #SummerSoiree. Here are other delicious watermelon recipes to try out:

Creative Culinary: Watermelon Mint Cooler
Devour: 
6 Sweet Ways to Booze Up Your Watermelon
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Watermelon & Mixed Berry Pizza
Healthy Eats: 
How Do We Love Watermelon? Let Us Count the Ways
Taste with the Eyes: 
Watermelon Gazpacho - Impossibly Pretty, Mighty Tasty Too
Swing Eats: 
Watermelon with Feta, Mint, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt
FN Dish: 
All the Ways You Can Spike Fresh Watermelon

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mashed Turnips with Celery Root


Turnips.  The enigmatic root vegetable.  Deceivingly peppery with a pretty fuchsia exterior and a perfectly white interior.  Typically for root vegetables, I either roast them or mash them.  Look at this picture, root vegetables appear imperfectly beautiful. I thought celery root would make for a good flavor pairing with the turnips, given its intense celeriac character.  Keeping it simple with rustic, with a dash of nutmeg, garlic, and white pepper for a hint of fall.  Here's the final product which I find rustic and comforting.



Mashed Turnips with Celery Root

Ingredients:
  • turnips: 2, peeled and cut into uniform medium cubes
  • celery root: 1, peeled and cut into uniform small cubes
  • butter: 4 tablespoons
  • salt, white pepper, nutmeg, granulated garlic to taste
  • milk or half and half: about 1/2 cup
Directions:
  1. In a large pan, bring salted water to a boil.  Add in the celery root first (takes longer to cook, and that's why we want to cut it smaller), followed by the turnips.  Cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain well.  In a bowl, or return to pan, mash with masher.  Add in the butter, and seasonings.  Taste while mashing more.  (Alternately, for a smoother texture, make this in the food processor.)  Once the desired texture is achieved, add in the milk or half and half.   Again, taste for seasonings and adjust.
  3. Makes about 4-6 servings.
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Nutella Panna Cotta


This week's blog them is chocolate Valentine's desserts.  My mind automatically goes to chocolate, then to panna cotta, then figuring out how I can incorporate Nutella into it.  Normal progression of a normal person's thought pattern, right?  I wanted to keep to the traditional panna cotta recipe, using sour cream to finish it, giving it a delicate brightness.  I figured that could serve Nutella well.  And it does.  This recipe turned out to be very simplistic in its measurements and minimal in it ingredients (no added sugar needed!), even though it looks super-fancy.  Just the plain Nutella panna cotta is plain brown.  I put a rich Nutella and butter "chocolate button" on top with a sprinkling of chopped toasted hazelnuts for aesthetic and to add textural and flavor intensity.  How I finished it reminds me of an old childhood favorite candy, Toffifany.  (I found an old 1978 Toffifany commercial, "not too good for YOU!")  Hopefully, this dessert works well to win the heart of a Valentine you have in mind.

Nutella Panna Cotta
Ingredients:
  • gelatin, unflavored powder, 1 teaspoon
  • water, cold, 1 tablespoon
  • cream, 1 cup
  • Nutella, 1/2 cup (and additional 1/2 cup reserved)
  • salt, pinch
  • vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon
  • sour cream, 4 ounces (1/2 cup)
  • butter, 2 tablespoons
  • hazelnuts, 2 tablespoons, toasted and chopped
Directions:
  1. In a very small bowl, measure out the gelatin.  Then slowly and gently put the cold water on top.  Allow to sit and "bloom" the gelatin for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium/smallish saucepan, measure and dump in 1 cup of cream and 1/2 cup of Nutella.  Over low/medium heat, gently whisk continuously.  Once it heats up over about 5 minutes, it should become homogenous.  At this point, turn of the heat.  Do not allow to boil.  Add in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until it dissolves completely.  Add in the pinch of salt and vanilla.  Stir well.
  3.  In a separate medium mixing bowl, measure in the 1/2 cup sour cream.  Slowly add in the heated Nutella/cream/gelatin mixture while whisking well.  Make sure it is smooth and no tiny lumps of sour cream.  Pour and divide into 4 tiny bowls (I like the kids IKEA set), ramekins, tea cups, etc...  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  4. Over very low heat in a tiny sauce pan, melt together the 1/2 cup Nutella with the 2 tablespoons butter with constant stirring.  Once it gets liquid, cut the heat or it will get weird and clumpy.  Immediately spoon 1-2 teaspoons of this molten goodness on the set up panna cottas and gently spread into a chocolate button.  Repeat for all 4 portions.  Place a tiny pile of the chopped, toasted hazelnuts on top of the chocolate button.  Serve immediately, or keep in fridge until ready for serving.  Makes 4 servings.  Enjoy!
-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Comfort Food Feast. Check out The FN Dish.  This week we're focusing on chocolate Valentine's desserts.  On twitter, we're tagging #ComfortFoodFeast.  Here are other awesome desserts to woo your Valentine with:  

Feed Me Phoebe: Dark Chocolate Vegan Truffles with Matcha Green Tea
Creative Culinary: 
Chocolate Pecan Tart from Chef François Payard
The Hungry Traveler: 
French Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
Dishing with Divya: 
Rock Truffles
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: 
Easy Chocolate Fudge - 2 Minute Microwave Recipe
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Devil Dog Cupcakes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Homemade Chocolate Sauce
Red or Green: 
Chocolate Spice Bark With Sea Salt
The Mom 100: 
Chocolate Banana Cake
Taste with the Eyes: 
Chocolate Pots de Creme with Passion Fruit
Healthy Eats: 
5 Chocolatey Reasons to Stay in This Valentine's Day
Swing Eats: 
Nutella Panna Cotta
FN Dish: 
5 Chocolatey Treats Better Than a Box of Store-Bought Truffles

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both!



Happy Halloween!  Trick or treating is really the best part of Halloween.  However, as adults we find other means besides candy to indulge.  Well, at least we have the best intentions.  Looking at the seasonal produce, I saw so much squash.  And spaghetti squash has a special quality about it.  Once it's cooked, it breaks down into a spaghetti-like texture.  I know it's an old trick, but it doesn't get old.  It's easy, nutritious, takes on whatever flavor you give it, and everyone can enjoy it.  I am partial to spaghetti, with lots of oregano.  And spaghetti squash goes even better than pasta with oregano.  Please take a look at an old blog post of mine about the chemistry of oregano and another great recipe: Spaghetti. With Lots of Oregano.  Use a strong oregano that you can smell - the stronger, the better.  I kept it really simple: roasted the spaghetti squash for best flavor and to ensure even cooking; tossed it with really good extra virgin olive oil, salt, white pepper, and  strong oregano.  To add a little Halloween flavor to it, sprinkle some black salt on top.  Yes, this is a luxurious option.  But why not?

Halloween Spaghetti Squash
Ingredients:
  • spaghetti squash, 1 large
  • olive oil, 1/4 cup total at most
  • salt, garlic salt or powder, and white pepper to taste
  • oregano to taste, about 1 teaspoon
  • black salt for garnish
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cut squash in half length-wise (the most difficult - be careful!) and scoop out the seeds and center goop with a large metal spoon.  Drizzle olive oil and generously salt the cut side/inside part of the squash.  Place face side down onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Cook at 425F for about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. 
  3. Now the fun part: using a fork, grate and fluff up the spaghetti squash.  Place the grated squash into a large mixing bowl.  Toss it with salt, garlic (salt, powder, or granulated), and white pepper to taste.  Add in the oregano and toss until uniformly mixed.  Split into 4 servings and sprinkle black salt on top.
Enjoy and may your Halloween weekend be not too frightening.

-Erin Swing
Swing Eats

This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest. Check out The FN Dish.  The season them is anything Halloween related.  On twitter, we're tagging #FallFest. Here are other Halloween inspired recipes to try out:   

The Hungry Traveler: Halloween Spiderweb Brownies
Devour: 
6 Halloween Movie and Food Pairings for a Spooktacular Party
Creative Culinary: 
The Black Goblin – Tequila, Coffee Liqueur and Cream
TasteBook: 
Pan de Muertos (Day of the Dead Bread)
Domesticate Me: 
Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treat Bites
Elephants and the Coconut Trees:
 Pumpkin Brain Pasta Halloween Special
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Curried Pumpkin & Apple Chowder
Red or Green: 
Pasta with Cilantro, Jalapeno & Pinenuts
Swing Eats: 
Trick or Treat, Spaghetti or Squash? Both!
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Blood Orange White Sangria with Pomegranate
Taste with the Eyes: 
Pumpkin Risotto Stuffed with Burrata, Fried Sage
Healthy Eats: 
5 Ways to Host a Healthier Halloween Party
Weelicious: 
Deviled Egg Spiders

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


So continues Food Network's Fall Fest with squash. The first thing to come to my mind, as I sure most people's minds, is butternut squash soup. With good reason. It's comforting, warm, hearty, rich, and not that difficult to make. Most soups start with a mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery), which creates the aromatic foundation. Then add in cooked tender squash, stock, seasonings, and puree. That simple. Well, I find the most difficult aspect is the handling of the butternut squash. Every time I break one down, I curse at myself for not buying a cheap work horse cleaver from the Asian market. Hence I prefer to roast the butternut squash split in the oven. Then it works it easy to scoop out and add into the stock pan. Roasting adds a great depth of flavor from the Maillard reaction: the browning reaction (think meats, caramel, etc) that breaks down proteins and carbohydrates into small tasty flavor molecules. I add the mirepoix on the baking sheet to roast with the squash, too. That tends to get more browning, which means more flavor. Make up a big batch. It keeps well in the fridge and reheats well. Add a little flair by garnishing using your creativity. I prefer sour cream and chives. Other garnish ideas: roasted pumpkin seeds, celery leaves, thyme leaves, a sprinkle of chipotle or ancho chili powder....

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash (or 1 package of cubed butternut squash)
1 medium onion, chopped medium
3 stalks celery, chopped medium
3 carrots, peeled, cut medium dice
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
dash nutmeg
salt and (white) pepper, to taste
1 quart chicken broth, not all will be used (or vegetable) 
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)
1/4 cup half and half 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise, remove the seeds with a spoon, coat with oil and salt, place cut side down on a jelly roll pan. Add the mirepoix (onions, celery, carrots) on the jelly roll pan with remaining oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes. Stirring the mirepoix a couple of times. Done when the squash is fork tender and some of the mirepoix is lightly browned.

In a large sauce pan or small stock pot, add about 1 cup of stock and heat on medium. Add in the roasted mirepoix to the stock while the squash cools off enough to handle. With a spoon, remove the skin from the squash, cut up in smaller chunks, and add into the stock. Top off with more stock until the level of stock is about 1/2 inch above the vegetables. Allow to simmer for a few minutes, add in thyme or seasonings of your choice. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion/stick blender. If you do not have one, blend in a blender or food processor in batches as needed. During this, add in the half and half. Taste and adjust seasonings per your palette.

Notes:
This makes up to 2 quarts of soup. Adjust this recipe for your preference. I view a recipe like this as a guideline. Freezes well, too.

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


This is part of Food Network's Fall Fest, highlighting the produce that is in season. Check out The FN Dish. The seasonal produce we are focusing on this week is squash. Come over to Twitter where we are discussing it on #FallFest. Here are other delicious features on squash:

The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Beef Curry
Creative Culinary: 
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash, Potato and Roasted Pepper Soup
The Wimpy Vegetarian: 
Butternut-Apple-Kale Panzanella Salad
Swing Eats: 
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Taste with the Eyes: 
Acorn Squash and Korean Pear Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Butternut Squash & Eggplant Ratatouille
Red or Green: 
Butternut Squash & Chipotle Frittata
The Mom 100: 
Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Chicken Enchilada Cups
Healthy Eats: 
From Soup to Stir-Fry: 6 Healthy Uses for In-Season Squash
FN Dish: 
7 Days of In-Season Squash