Monday, June 13, 2011

Busy Days, Gnocchi Nights

Minutes away from delicious
Hello lovely blog followers! Its been over a week since I blogged, and I wish I had a fabulous new dish to present, but sometimes life is just too busy. I am trying to find a place to live by July and the hunt is going fairly poorly. I feel like the little engine that couldn't find a place to live :) I know there is a home waiting to be filled by my happy cooking self, but right now my housing future is uncertain.

So my nights and weekends are filled with house hunting, interviewing, and craigslisting, which leaves little time for recipe reading and playing in the kitchen. Sigh. Im still making it the farmers market, but my meals are fairly bland as of late. Luckily I have some simple healthy meals I can make quickly, though they are not new or original.

I do have to give a special shout out to basil, which is in full bloom in NC right now, and made my Sunday evening dinner a particularly sweet treat. Healthy Boyfriend even gave last nights dinner a round of applause. Cue pitter patter of heart now. Nothing like making a healthy meal that we both enjoy, making happy bellies is one of the greatest accomplishments there is, especially in this time of unknown.

Green, local, AND delicious? Oh yes, OH YES!
Dinner was simple, as it has to be until I find a place to live. Walking into my home each day I do not see a peaceful place to create food magic. I see boxes, disarray, and rapidly disappearing furniture as my current roommate is moving out a month early and taking her stuff with her.

I understand why it becomes so hard to eat and plan healthy when the chaos of life eats away our time. Luckily with healthy boyfriend as extra motivation I am still eating good food, though have some nights resorted to pizza of the frozen variety sort, because I literally couldn't think of something to make. It happens, though Im very much looking forward to being in my new, yet to be discovered home, and planning all my meals again.
So last nights meal, which was AMAZING, took 20 minutes, if that, and each bite was a little bit of heaven.
Simple "Green" Ingredients...hahaha
I made toasted pre-packaged whole wheat gnocchi with basil pesto and steamed broccoli. When I have time I will make my own gnocchi, but until then the pre-packaged kind is pretty good. The broccoli and basil were from the Saturday farmers market and healthy boyfriend and I gobbled this meal up as if it was a race. Since having toasted gnocchi, I no longer eat boiled gnocchi. Toasted gnocchi is lightly crisp on the outside, yet still soft and chewy on the inside. Its perfection, do it yall.

After making strictly basil pesto and also spinach pesto, I believe I prefer the half spinach, half basil pesto to the traditional all basil pesto. Now the pesto last night was incredible, but I like the additional depth the spinach adds to pesto. If you can make it to a farmers market, grab a bag of basil and make some pesto of your own. It couldn't be easier, and I've never had an unsatisfied customer.

To see a recipe for toasted gnocchi and pesto click here:Toasted Gnocchi with Spinach Pesto
Ill do my best to keep posting, though summer is so jam packed Im not sure where all the time goes. Why can't my life be jam packed with jam? Something to ponder as I begin another week.
Go check out your local farmers market, they are the best part of the summer!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Basic Bruschetta

Oh tomato, why must we fight? I love you in sauce, in bottles of ketchup and even ground up into paste, but on your own, I just don't get it.
Fresh Basil=happy mouths
Well I plan to end this battle once and for all. I WILL love you tomato, all on your own, even if I must eat you every day this summer! Do you hear me!?!?!

For some odd reason, I've never enjoyed just tomatoes. I rip them of sandwiches, or pick them off salads quickly and plop them on healthy boyfriend's plate if possible. Of course I remember when I dreaded broccoli, and now I crave it. I'm not sure I've ever had a local tomato, so this summer I plan on eating lots and lots of delicious tomatoes and becoming a fan of this red beautiful fruit. I mean its so adorable :)
I love Bruschetta, which is basically just tomato with herbs and olive oil. Only a few steps away from loving just tomatoes, muahahahaha!
I know. I want to eat this right now too :)
What you serve this tasty appetizer on makes a big difference, but Im sure many would eat it with any old crackers. Of course I try to pay attention to all the details of my dishes, but not everyone needs local fresh baked baguettes lightly toasted and rubbed with garlic and olive oil. Right?
Who am I kidding, if you serve triscuits with something as delicious as bruschetta you are LAZ. EEEEE. Get some good bread and toast it up. Besides having to turn on your oven to toast the bread, there is no cooking involved. For those of you starting to feel the summer heat, having dishes that don't leave you roasting in the kitchen are a definite plus. Its barely June and already I don't want to cook unless its before 10am or after 7pm. I sound like a sissy, but dripping over a hot stove so I can then eat a hot meal just aint for me. Someday I'll have air-conditioning

I found this recipe out of "America's Best Test Kitchen" aka my new best friend, but I tweaked it a bit. Classic bruschetta does not have balsamic or oregeno, though I think they add a depth to the flavor, and rounded out the whole dish. Be careful with the oregano and balsamic, a little bit goes a long way. You want these ingredients to enhance the flavor of the 'mater, not cover it up. So use with caution. As always use herbs you have, especially if you are lucky enough to have a garden. I dream of having a garden full of basil, some day....

Basic Bruschetta
a mouth full of deeeeelicious
The Goods: Serves 4 to 8
4 ripe medium tomatoes, cored and chopped medium
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegrette
Sea Salt and Fresh ground pepper
1 loaf crusty Italian or French Bread, sliced one inch thick
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced in half
4 tablespoons extra olive oil

The Deal: 
1. Place tomatoes, basil, oregano, 1 tablespoon of olive oil a few dashes of balsamic vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Lightly stir, just enough to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

2. Broil your bread slices until lightly toasted 3-5 minutes, then remove from the oven and rub the sliced garlic clove on each bread slice. Then lightly brush each slice with olive oil. Scoop a heaping spoonful of bruschetta on each bread slice and serve warm.

If you are not going to serve right away, just toast your bread and let people dip as needed. Warm bread is best, but do what you must. Just make sure you share, I could have eaten the whole bowl myself. But I didn't!