Saturday, October 29, 2011

Homemade gnocchi

It was time for me to try making homemade gnocchi all by myself. I started with 1lb 9oz of russet potatoes and boiled them until they were soft (30 min).

After they were pealed and put through the ricer, I had 1 lb of potatos to work with for the dough.

It really does look like rice!

For the dough I used 1 lb of the riced potatoes, 2.5 oz flour, 2 tsp salt and 1 egg. This ended up being fairly salty, so the sauce didn't need any additional salt.

I still don't have a gnocchi board, so I scored them with the back of a fork.

I'm not sure the scoring made a huge difference, but it was easy enough to finish rolling out the entire batch of dough.

I wanted to make the gnocchi so badly that I hadn't given much thought to the sauce. I like to use a creamy pesto mix for gnocchi, but I couldn't bring myself to use a packaged sauce on my first batch of homemade gnocchi. I therefore whipped up a simple browned butter sauce.

I thought the packaged gnocchi I bought from Trader Joe's cooked up fast... but man these started floating almost as soon as I had them in the pot! I put them in a bowl to toss with the sauce, but the gnocchi were so soft that some of them got a bit squished. Next time, I'll either put them directly in the pan with the sauce or directly into the serving bowl.

Needless to say, Keith was very excited to come home for dinner. The whole process is so yummy, I know I will be making gnocchi a lot. Soon I'll have to try out some variations and see how well they keep frozen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


What do you do with stale bread? Well I decided to take advantage of my French Bread ends that were hard as a rock by turning them into croutons.

I chopped up the end of a stale loaf of French bread, drizzled them with olive oil and then sprinkled on garlic salt and oregano. Apparently I should have brushed the sides with oil first before cutting, since tossing the bread in oil didn't work as well as I had expected (it wasn't very even.)

I put the bread pieces in the oven at 400 degrees (F) until they started to brown. Voila! Simple and fast croutons... what an easy salad solution.

The croutons, just out of the oven.

My salad.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beef with broccoli

I picked up this beef and broccoli mix at the supermarket, and decided it would be a nice variation to my standard teriyaki beef stir fry.

I chopped up some stake and stir fried it with onions. I added some defrosted broccoli towards the end (so the broccoli would not get soggy.)

I was expecting the sauce to be a brown sauce like you would find at a restaurant. Instead, it is a clearer sauce. It would be really amazing with shrimp. I will definitely use it again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I had some heirloom tomatoes and an avocado that needed to be used up fast. Sounds like a yummy omelet to me!

I was really hungry, so I used 3 eggs in this omelet. This was so fresh and vibrant that I had to share it, no matter how simple it is!

I smothered the omelet in salsa, and then had an amazing lunch.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

I am thrilled to finally own a meat tenderizer! I'm ready to pound some chicken for the first time to make Chicken Parmesan.

I pounded the chicken breasts inside ziplock bags (where they had defrosted). The breast on the left has been pounded about 1/4 inch thin, the breast on the right is unaltered.

I pan fried the chicken breasts for ~5 minutes on each side.

Our pans are VERY non-stick, so we only needed the tiniest amount of oil.

Our griddle pan hadn't arrived in the mail yet, so I had to use two different pans to cook dinner. Thank goodness these pans are dishwasher safe!

What Italian meal would be complete without garlic bread? I had this in the oven to crisp as the chicken was cooking on the stovetop.

After I put the mozarella cheese on top, I stuck the pans directly in the oven at 300 degrees for a min so the cheese would melt.

This meal was so fast and easy to prepare. I cannot see myself ever using pre-breaded chicken again!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Black Cat" Cookies 2

I still had a lot of baking coco and flour around, so I decided to remake the chocolate cookies I made last Halloween.

My notes from the first time I made this dish.

I made a few adjustments to the recipes. I used 1 cup 50% splendor + 1 cup sugar, and substituted 1 cup Crisco for the cup of butter.

The dry ingredients, unmixed and mixed.

The dough turned out super crumbly. I wondered if I added 4 cups of flour instead of 3... but the cookies came out so well in the end that I don't think it was a problem if I did.

The dough.

The balls of dough - before pressing

The balls of dough - after pressing with a glass dipped in sugar.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sushi Sushi!

When cleaning out my pantry before the move, I came across sushi rice and seaweed. Time for a sushi night!

Standard sushi ingredients (left) and my method of making spicy mayo (right)

I would love to have made some tempura or picked up some fresh fish to add into these rolls, but since I am trying to save money, I figured it was better to go with a simpler option - California rolls with cucumber, imitation crab and avocado.

Simple ingredients for a spicy California roll.

I am not a huge wasabi fan, but I like a little bit of spice.

The mat really makes the difference when rolling up the sushi.

Using a sharp knife makes all the difference when slicing the rolls.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Grill Pan

At the beginning of July, we moved into our new Evanston, IL home. You forget how hard it is to cook with an incomplete kitchen, so we worked hard to get it set up as soon as possible.

One of the first things we unpacked was a grill pan we received as a wedding gift. We picked up some JennieO turkey sausages, which they rarely had in Boston but I ate frequently as a kid. This made the first use of a wedding gift even more exciting!

Cooking on a grill pan takes a lot longer than cooking on a normal frying pan. I suppose it's slower than a grill because it isn't covered.

It was hard to flip the sausages... they're slippery little suckers! The tongs that were still packed in a box would have helped a lot with this meal. Nevertheless, this was an easy meal and I was thrilled to be cooking again! Stay tuned for a lot more discussion of brand new kitchen gadgets.

Look at those grill marks!