Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eating in the Gnud(i). - Gluten FREE!

Green garlic.  It's a culinary sign of what we've been noticing for the last few weeks.  Spring is uber early in Northern CA.  The Bradford Pears, Tulip Trees (Don't know the real name do you?) and even poppies are blooming like it's April and it's just now mid-February.  The unseasoned (AKA drying out til the stem falls off and the outer skin becomes papery) version of ordinary garlic, Green Garlic offers a more herbaceous and less assertive flavor very similar to the difference between Spring (or green) Onions and their seasoned counterparts. 

Along with the spinach that was in my veggie box this week and the unused half container of Ricotta in the fridge, I had an epiphany for Meatless Monday.  Spinach and Green Garlic Gnudi. 

GNUDI?  What? 

It's pronounced NUDE-ee!  It's fun to say and fun to eat.

It's called this in Italian because it's like ravioli filling without it's wrap of pasta.  So it's naked ravioli.

With a quick dip in salted boiling water, the spinach was ready in no time. (Most time consuming part of the whole recipe?  Rinsing off all the sand that is inherently present in farm-fresh spinach and taking off the stems.  Baby spinach would make it a bit quicker, though not as farm driven.)

One big tip...squeeze out all the water from the spinach before chopping it.

Then a quick mix with two egg yolks, the chopped green garlic, a little flour and parmesan.  It was the perfect rollable consistency.  My eight-year old helped with the simmering process for the first cooking, then we dropped the little dumplings into brown butter with a little sage.  YUM! 

For Gnudi purists (or gnocchi purists for that matter), the shape was off.  Yes they looked more like meatballs instead of the little fork imprinted ovals they should be. But when you have cheesy goodness draped in brown we really care? 

Don't have spinach, chard will work fine.  No ricotta, use a cup of mashed potatoes for spinach potato gnocchi and no flour in the mix.

Now get out there and go Gnud(i)! 

Seasonal Veggies - green garlic, spinach

CWYG List Items - parmesan, egg yolks, flour (gluten free blend that I make), pepper, ricotta (on The List it would be one of the fresh cheese...I only buy when it's really on sale.)

Spinach & Green Garlic Gnudi
1/2 lb spinach, tough stems removed and rinsed well
2 stems of green garlic, rinsed well and chopped fine (or 2 tsp minced garlic)
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup gluten free flour blend (or 3 tbsp unbleached flour) plus more for rolling
1/3 cup parmesan cheese plus some for sprinkling
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
several stems of sage, leaves removed and stems discarded

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt liberally.  Drop the spinach in and when it is still vibrant green, but very soft remove to a colander and drain for a few minutes.  Squeeze out excess water in several layers of paper towel or a clean kitchen towel (not white, or it will be forever green.)  Place in a bowl with chopped green (or regular) garlic, ricotta, egg yolks, flour, cheese and pepper. 

Mix well.  Cover the bottom of a pie plate with additional flour.  Scoop out the spinach cheese mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls (or use a very small melon baller) and form into balls or ovals. Drop into the flour and once you have several in there shake the pie plate back and forth to gently cover the gnudi with a thin coat of flour.  When all the spinach mixture has been formed into balls, drop several at a time into boiling water. (I use a "spider" to do so without splashing boiling hot water.)  When they float, they're ready.  Remove them to a plate to hang out for a bit. (You may want to put a piece of parchment down to make sure they don' stick as they cool.)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until it turns a caramelly color.  Add the sage leaves and cook until they turn a dark olive color, then add the gnudi.  Toss them around gently to brown and crisp them on all sides.  Carefully transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with more cheese. 

Serve with a salad and bread.  (We just had salad and everyone was totally satisfied.)

You can also make these as an appetizer.  Serve as is or with marinara sauce.

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My New Favorite Snack - KALE?

Kale chips.  I'd heard about them, even tried to make them awhile back and they didn't take.  Then just before Christmas, with an abundance of greens in my box and tired of soups and sautes, I decided to try again and bake them.  Sprinkled with my son's seasoning blend (soon to be available online), this time they were so addictive I had to use self-control to keep from eating them all.  I wanted my kids to try them and I'm so glad they did.  They loved them, too.

Super simple and a fun way to get all the folate, Vitamin K and antioxidants in this SUPER food.

Do buy Organic kale or if possible local kale from a farmer.  Conventionally grown kale is on the Dirty Dozen Organic list for 2011 (this is the most current). Which means it carries a high pesticide load and cannot be cleaned.  (Check out the Clean Foods on the same chart and you'll be surprised what's on there, too.)

Here's a super easy recipe from one of my favorite blogs!  Rather than reinventing the wheel, I'll pass it along to you.  The only thing I did differently was to use large torn pieces of curly kale and Red Russian kale since that's what I had.  And Shauna's smoked paprika garlic salt combo is a great sub until my son's seasoning is widely available.

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Avocado Citrus Salad

My kids finally started back into school on the 9th of January!  The 9th.  What happened to getting out BEFORE Christmas and then going back after New Years Day.  My whole life is thrown off (in a good way) when they're home.  We get around more slowly, we eat more treats, I don't work out as readily.  So starting any sort of better eating habits on January 2nd (as is customary in our resolution-setting culture) were realistically not happening until they started back up into the old school routine.

BUT as of the 9th, the game was on.  The Bon Apetit Food Lover's Cleanse was my plan for getting all the sugar/alcohol/wheat toxins out of my bod. How bad could it be, I'm a Food Lover, right? (Editing Note:  For you detail people who went oo the link, and noticed it said 2011... I had printed it off with good intentions last year, but never did it.  Then I found it again this year and realized I had most of the foods on hand to begin with since they were part of The List. I'm not crazy and it is 2012!)

To stick with my CWYG concept, I didn't follow it exactly, I simply used the menus as guidelines and focused on eliminating dairy and gluten as well as limiting sugar and wine.  From that I used what I had and went for it.  (And have gone off of it for weekends and my entire birthday week!)

Turns out, I was right, it's not bad at all.  I realized again how good it feels to eat tons of fruits, nuts and veggies in lieu of sweets and more complex fatty foods. 

With a suggested similar salad on one of the lunch menus and grapefruits and avocados everywhere these days, I created this salad using sesame oil and White Balsamic from House of Balsamic (you can use rice wine vinegar if you don't have White Balsamic) instead of the Bon Apetit verjus and walnut oil version.

It was fantastic and I'm hooked.  Give it a try.

Seasonal Veggies - avocado, spinach, grapefruit, orange

CWYG Items - sesame oil, olive oil, shallots, white balsamic

Avocado Citrus Salad

Serves 2

1 avocado
1 grapefruit
1 orange
1/2 tbsp chopped shallot
drizzle of sesame oil
drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of white balsamic or rice wine vinegar
1 large handful spinach

Scoop the flesh out of the avocado with a large spoon and slice.  Cut the ends off the grapefruit and orange. Slicing downward toward cutting board, shave off the peel and white pith, reserving the peels.  With a paring knife, cut between the membrane to make supremes (the cheffy word for peel-free citrus segments.) 

Toss spinach with sesame oil, olive oil, vinegar and sea salt to taste.  Squeeze the reserved peels over the spinach and toss again.  Arrange half each on two small plates and top with half of the avocado, grapefruit segments and orange segments.  Sprinkle with the shallots and a little more of the sesame oil and vinegar.

Serve immediately and feel the sunshine inside!

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got

Copyright 2012 TablaVie Personal Chef Service

All photos and recipes may not be used without express permission from Christi Flaherty, owner and creator of Cook What You've Got Concept and blog.
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