Monday, February 28, 2011

Sometimes You Just Gotta...

Make your own dang gnocchi.  For real.  

On the always-awesome Fresh 365 Online, I spotted this little recipe that originally came from GoodFood.  It was lovely and colorful:  with greens and more greens, this gorgeous gnocchi which can only described as rustic (a word that is music to my culinarily-leaning ears!) seemed already within my reach as soon as I laid eyes on it.

And, within a few days, this Ricotta, Spinach and Arugula Gnocchi was all mine.

It’s easy. Almost silly-easy, you know?  You boil some spinach so it’s soft. Grate up a bunch of Parmesan, chop up some garlic, and just mix it all with some flour and eggs and salt, pepper and arugula and Ka-Bow (Batman Style!) I had gnocchi mix.  Then you roll it into 1-inch balls, boil them, and suddenly said gnocchi mix is actual, real-life Italian dumplings (but somehow saying ‘gnocchi’ is just so much sexier than ‘dumplings’). They are dimply and light, especially when served upon a bed of arugula, simply dressed in lemon juice and olive oil and salt and pepper.  

They’re especially most-awesome when shared with your best friend while catching up on a Sunday night over a glass of wine and four episodes in a row of United States of Tara.  

My prior attempt at a sweet potato gnocchi this past fall (which culminated in utter FAIL) has already been forgotten and these gnocchi have kindly forgiven me my past mistakes.  Thanks guys!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pita For One, Pita For All

In my hometown of AZ there’s a nifty chain of local restaurants called Pita Jungle.  I love me some Pita Jungle when I go home, mostly because I'm convinced some part of my mongrel self has some Mediterranean  or Middle Eastern soul up in here.  Also, it's just so good  I like to think that, somewhere out there, there’s a literal jungle full of pita trees, with pita vines, and awesome coconuts that break open to provide fresh tabbouleh, hummus, and baba ghanoush.  Oh, it would be my heaven, I can assure you.

So the other day I was thinkin:  you know, my G makes homemade parathas and rotis (Indian Pita!) and I've made tortillas (Mexican Pita!) but nothing, really, can compete with original, awesome, PITA when you want to serve it up with some hummus and other Mediterranean/Middle Eastern goodness.

It’s a flatbread! It’s a holder of delicious goodness!  It’s It’s It’s…awesome, and you need to see that it’s not hard or scary to make and quite lovely, actually.  It’s especially lovely after a long day and all you have is some veggies and maybe a smidge of balsamic white bean dip sitting around, and, suddenly, you have dinner.

Or breakfast in this case, where I whipped up some delicious basil and mozzarella eggs to accompany my new stack of pita.   
Dear Pita:  Thanks for being so versatile and awesome.  I love having you around for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Next time I promise to reunite you with your BFF, tabbouleh and maybe some hummus.  We'll have a party.  Love, Samantha. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Welcome to the Promised Land

So round these parts I’m known for my love of pie. Like here and here and here.

But on Monday night I ventured into new territory, so far ruled by the shepherds in the U.K….the land of Shepherd’s Pie.

Let me tell you about this land. It is delicious and cozy. It has little valleys made of mashed potatoes (with goat cheese!) over a sea of lentils and mushrooms, carrots and shallots and peas (with a splash of red wine, of course) and is quite the delicious February dinner. Also, it’s vegetarian, so all of my veggie friends out there will hopefully appreciate what I concocted. But it’s the kind of veggie dish that meat-loving friends would also appreciate. I like bridging the gap between these two worlds.

Mushroom and Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is like the promised land of food dishes (shared by only Thanksgiving Dinner and a few other select winners). Is that going too far?  I don't think so.  It's where you can eat dinner, linger over a glass of wine, catch up with your friends, and even enjoy a Monday night (of all nights! I hate Mondays!) and come out of it whistling a happy tune with a pledge to return, and soon.

If you can't tell, I really like mashed potatoes.

Also, this week I noticed the sky isn’t pitch-black when I leave work at 6pm, which made my heart soar. I can almost…almost…feel spring out there. Which means lots more produce and lots more food posts and lots more opportunities to eat good food with dear ones.