Balsamic Glazed Gnocchi

My passion for cooking blossomed early on in my life, stemming from eating dinner on the floor with my dad every Monday while my sister was at her after school grocery store job.

Mondays were our days, and we would usually make turkey burgers and rice-a-roni while we watched 30 Minute Meals and eventually Everyday Italian.

Although I loved Rachael Ray at first, I got annoyed over the years by her voice’s varying stages of raspy-ness and her general over-the-top characteristics.

With Giada, it was the opposite. I started out not being able to stand her seemingly perfectionist personality and pretentious ways, but grew to appreciate the passion behind her style and the sheer beauty of her dishes.

I thank Giada and those Monday TV dinners for introducing me to the wonder that is Gnocchi, an Italian potato dumpling.

After some research I figured out that gnocchi weren’t all that difficult to make, even as a vegan!

This recipe is ridiculously simple, and though it does require a bit of effort, you can easily cook the potatoes ahead of time and make as many or as little as you please, freezing the dough for another gnocchi craving in your near future.

(Photos thanks to my kick ass boyfriend. Tryna take my pic game to a better level hehe).

gnocchi

INGREDIENTS:

For the Gnocchi

  • 3 Medium russett potatoes
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (sub white if you’d like), plus about 1/3 cup more for dusting/kneading

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite red wine
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste

Once potatoes are cooked ( I just zapped mine in the microwave), let cool and peel skin off. Cut into chunks and place in food processor or blender with 1 cup flour. Pulse blend until dough comes together in one big lump.

Dust a clean surface with remaining flour and dump dough on top, kneading until a smooth, elastic dough forms that does not stick to your hands.

gnocchiroll

Once dough is kneaded, separate into 3 separate chunks. Roll first section in your hands as you would make a playdoh snake, about 12 inches long, and 1 inch thick. Create gnocchis by cutting 1/2 inch sections of dough until you reach the end.

gnocchicut

Repeat with remaining 2 sections, or freeze the other chunks of dough (I used 2 chunks, froze 1). Once dumplings are cut, use your fork and just press lightly into each gnocchi like you would when smashing avocado into toast to make indentations. This step isn’t necessary, it just makes them look more ~profesh.~ 

Place about 8 gnocchi at a time in boiling water. When they rise to the top, they’re done! They cook in just about 3-4 minutes!

While gnocchis are cooking, heat a saucepan on medium-high with a touch of nonstick spray, water, or oil if you wish. Add minced garlic and saute for just 2-3 minutes to release the garlic scent. Add wine and balsamic, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and add herbs and spices. Once sauce is reduced by about 1/3 and has a luxurious, syrupy consistency, it is done. 

Carefully toss cooked ghnocci with the glaze, and serve with whatever your heart desires! I just sauteed some summer veggies and made a side of corn on da cob…so good.

Make this gnocchi and impress your man/woman/parents/self with this “fancy” treat that really isn’t so fancy to make after all!

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Current Cabbage Obsession + Asian Peanut Slaw

Just a few short months ago, if someone had mentioned cabbage as a tasty staple in his/her diet, I would have rolled my eyes and conjured up images from my childhood of my mom making that gratuitous pot of corn beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.

…Ya know, the one you’re kinda obligated to make, but that no one really likes at all considering the fact that it makes your whole house reek for days on end/just isn’t tasty? (Sorry, Mom!)

Though I tolerated cabbage in things like spring rolls, I have never been a cabbage eater, and it didn’t make an appearance on my grocery list until I was strapped for cash and saw it for 50 cents a head at my local farmer’s market. Considering I’d recently seen countless Pinterest recipes highlighting this humble veg, I thought I’d stop being a little bitch about it and give it a go!

I added it to stir fries and curries, ate it raw in salads, and even made a wrap or two with it, falling in love with its crunch and surprising subtle sweetness.

Ever since that fateful day at the Public Market, I’ve tried to incorporate more cabbage into my diet, especially during weeks when I’ve been hit pretty hard in the money department.

This past week, I scooped up a GIGANTIC napa (or Chinese) cabbage to play around with, and decided to change my mind about cole slaw, which I also detested until this week based on my memories of it growing up…ya know, the mayonnaise-drenched, mucus-inducing, flavorless bowl of gunk at BBQs (sorry, Grandpa!)

In order to ensure I would like the slaw, I decided to go the Asian route, since I’m almost 100% guaranteed to adore anything Asian, as I’ve expressed many times. Thanks to Pinterest inspiration…Pinspiration? I concocted this recipe that I cannot keep my fork out of!

asianslaw

INGREDIENTS:

For the slaw:

  • 1/2 GIANT head of Chinese cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup edamame, unshelled
  • 2 scallions, minced

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp. organic crunchy or creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced/pressed
  • 1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop your cabbage into ribbons and place in a large bowl. Add shredded carrots, scallions, and edamame and give a good mix. 

In a smaller bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients, tasting for seasoning and adding more salt and pepper as you please. Pour dressing over slaw mixture, and give a good mix to coat veggies with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. The veggies will absorb the dressing and go down in volume quite a bit.

Trust me…this shit is GOOD, and quite magical seeing as it made me change my stubborn mind about slaws, and strengthened my new found devotion for cabbage.

Try this out and make believe it’s summer with me!

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Surviving Winter + Millet Stuffed Acorn Squash

Okay, Winter, your shit is getting pretty old.

When I wake up at 5 in the morning to bust out a workout, I get in my gear next to the saving grace that is my space heater (thanks, mom), carry it with me to the kitchen while I make breakfast since by then my sweat has dried and I’m even colder than I was when I woke up, and then proceed to wrap myself up in a blanket and fleece over my sweat-stained workout clothes to enjoy my breakfast with a side of Gilmore Girls.

The next part is the hardest: Dragging myself into the shower.

Obviously my space heater nips at my heels as it follows me into the bathroom while I shower, making it at least a bit bearable to leave the pseudo sauna that is my steamy shower.

Now that I’m dressed and semi-warm, the worst is yet to come.

I suit up and walk the one mile to work through the poorly-shoveled (and many, not shoveled at all) sidewalks, where it takes a surprising about of effort to balance my hat-ed and hooded head, backpack full to the brim with my lunch, snacks, and shoes to change into.

At work, my feet never quite dry out or warm up even with a change of socks and shoes, and my hands are perpetual icicles. I lay a blanket over my lap all day while I huddle up at my desk since our building is a grandma and apparently the heat doesn’t work correctly.

You get it….I’m cold. I’m cold all the time. The only times I am truly warm are when I’m working out, taking a shower, or eating soul-soothing, body-warming food.

This past weekend, when it was particularly hard to handle the winter vortex we’re succumbed to for eternity, I made this stuffed squash that I consider truly healing for everything from a broken heart, a sore throat, or the winter blues.

It’s healthy, but totally stick-to-your-ribs thanks to the hearty millet filling. It’s creamy, had a rich flavor that just screams “soul food”, and is surprisingly easy to put together.

stuffed

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed.
  • 1/2 cup dry millet
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans, already cooked
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup veggie broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 2 dry or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat over to 400 degrees. While over preheats, slice squash in half, removing seeds. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, dividing evenly on both sides, and rubbing to coat the squash. Place squash halves face down on a cookie sheet, and roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.

While squash roasts, cook millet according to package and set aside. Next, preheat a skillet on medium-high, and add sliced onion, diced zucchini, cooking until soft and tender. Next, add the garlic and kidney beans, and sautee for another few minutes until everything is incorporated. Add the veggie broth, balsamic, wine, and bay leaves, and give it all a stir. Turn heat up to high, and let boil rapidly for 3-5 minutes. Turn heat back down to medium-low, and add the millet, stirring to incorporate. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. 

Take the squash out of the oven, and scoop out just a bit of the inside, making more room for filling. Spoon millet filling into the centers of each squash half, filling as much as you please. Place back in over for 5 minutes or so, until top is slightly browned.

I had a ton of filling leftover, which I am eternally thankful for since it makes an excellent and comforting bowl of goodness.

This recipe really helps you slow down and remember the bright side to winter: cozying up after a long, cold day and enjoying the warming sensations that come with winter comfort foods.

Enjoy and stay warm!

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