I know, I know…. I’ve been a bad blogger. No excuses. While I love all of the side projects I have been working on, neglecting healthy recipes to you should not be happening! Forgive me?
And… if you happened to notice- how good does DK look? You can thank the uber-talented Mike Reda for my new layout. I couldn’t be happier! I am also working on main pages to better navigate through my articles and recipes, those should be up by the weekend.
I would LOVE to hear what you think about the new site. Like it? Love it? Gotta have it? Let me know!
Now that it’s Summer (yes, it’s summer in Sacramento. When days are 75+, we have bypassed Spring), I have been craving more raw vegetables and salads. Of course, my thoughts never stray too far from pasta. How about some zucchini pasta then?
You know the moment that you’ve made something amazing? The exact second when you taste something and you start dreaming of self-titled cookbooks, shows, and appearing on the Today Show?
This is that dish.
I’ll be honest. It’s really hard for me to tell what is ‘good’ from what is ‘eh’ sometimes when I craft recipes. I like most of the food I make, but I’m also the same person who thinks a big bowl of steamed kale and brown rice make a fine, fine dinner.
I get that not everyone has those same taste buds.
Sometimes I think the Universe played a cruel joke on me by making me fall head-over-heels for my sweetie.
BL, as I affectionately put it, has the taste buds of a 5 year old.
His favorite meals? Mac N Cheese, Pizza, Chix Nugget Salad, Stir-Fry, Lentil Tacos, Soups. Sure, fine, I love all those kind of foods too. But. When I start getting a little crazy in the kitchen, adding my own spin and spice to favorite recipes, I know he wishes I was making bean burritos instead. The other day he said, in the kindest voice mind you, ‘Can we stop putting Curry flavor in everything? I feel like that’s all we’ve been eating lately’
I could have gone on my Indian kick forever.
But, love is love, so you change it up a bit. You make hearty, not-so-scary, manly yet healthy meals and all is right in the world.
That’s exactly what we have here. I knew the second I tasted the sauce that BL was going to love this dish. I did a little jig in the kitchen knowing that I was going to make him oh-so-happy for dinner that night.
Because, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I should be able to experience that once in a while, right?
What he lacks in flavor-adventure, he makes up for in everything else. Shoot this video for me so I can show people how to roll gnocchi like my grandmother taught me? No questions asked.
Try a zillion variations of chocolate chip cookies until I get the perfect one? Sigh. Yeah. He does it all.
Sometimes living with a food blogger isn’t always that fun. Sometimes the food is cold because I took too much time photographing. Sometimes we eat at 10PM because I started over 4 times. But when I get it right, I know. If BL loves it, I know everyone else will too.
So, in the spirit of upcoming Valentine’s Day, I hope you enjoy this easy, very impressive meal, worthy of anyone you make it for.
We made a video! And it was fun! The worst part is realizing all of the mistakes you made after you’ve finished filming. Oh well! YOLO.
I hope you enjoy. We have a few more coming in the next few weeks, think hummus, tofu, burgers, oh my!
Homemade Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragu
2 large baking potatoes
1 cup regular flour
1//2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Clean potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Bake for 1 hour until really soft. Remove from oven, let cool and peel skins off.
Using a ricer, rice potatoes and place in a large bowl. If you don’t have a ricer, mash until there are as few lumps as possible.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, dried herbs, and salt. Slowly add the flour to the potatoes and stir into a dough forms. Wrap dough in plastic and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
Unwrap dough and place onto a lightly flour-dusted workspace. Divide the dough in 4 and roll each section into a 1/2 inch thick log. cut the rope into 1″ pieces. Using your pointed and middle finger, place fingers onto a piece of dough and pull towards you. Fold the other side over. You want to make a crevice where sauce can get in.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place gnocchi in water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 3 minutes. You will do this in batches, being sure not to overcrowd the gnocchi in the sauce pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a cookie sheet in a warm oven.
Only cook the amount of gnocchi you intend to use. Freeze any additional gnocchi before cooking.
4 cups mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/8 cup parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
Heat the oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, let cook for 10 minutes until reduced and caramelized, stirring only a few times. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, shallots, rosemary, oregano and cook for 5 more minutes. Add tomato sauce and red wine, stir and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1 tbsp. butter and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
BL approved. After he takes a bite, looks at me and says ‘A+’ I know we have found a winner.
Growing up, we were allowed to pick any dish we wanted for our birthday. Being the good Italian child that I am, I usually rotated between ravioli and pasta figoli. As I got older though, this became my favorite birthday dish. Rich, creamy, decedent, penne a la vodka is still one of my favorite meals.
While it’s no where near my birthday, I decided to recreate this dish for a special night in. While this used to be a special once-a-year meal, recreating this without the excess cream, butter, and cheese allows me to enjoy it whenever I get a craving.
Whole-wheat fusilli, savory cashew cream, vodka tomato sauce. The teenager in me gets a little homesick whenever I make this dish. Since I am 3,000 miles away from most of my family, recreating it this week, being just a few days short of Thanksgiving, seemed appropriate. Food is so powerful, it’s funny how a simple meal can recreate so many wonderful memories.
Penne a la Vodka
1 large can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 tbsp. Earth Balance butter
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in 1 cup water for at least 30 minutes. Soaking allows them to blend easier.
1/2 cup water
12 oz. penne pasta
In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add onions, and garlic; cook down until soft and onions are translucent. Stir in red pepper flakes and salt. Add crushed tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes stirring occasionally. Add vodka to the sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes until alcohol is cooked off.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add the soaked and drained cashews to a blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend until a smooth sauce forms, about 2 minutes depending on the power of your blender. Pour the cream into the tomato sauce, stir to mix and reduce heat to low.
Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta, sauce, and reserved pasta water.
Show me someone who doesn’t love fettuccini and I will show you a liar. Or someone with amazing willpower.
Cream. Butter. Cheese. The holy trinity of a delicious, artery-clogging meal.
Unless you make a sauce that is just as creamy and rich, without all the unnecessary cholesterol and saturated fat. Sure, Fettuccini every now and then isn’t a big deal. We are all allowed an over-indulgent meal every now and then. But why? When you can make the same sauce with a fraction of the typical calories and fat, I don’t see the need. Plus, this version allows Fettuccini to be on the menu a lot more often. A win-win if you’re counting.
Since all of my recipes this month have been getting a pumpkin makeover,-fettuccini is no exception. A simple addition of pumpkin, sage, and nutmeg makes this the perfect fall meal- and fancy enough to serve for others. It is so good, it has made the short list of my Thanksgiving menu.
1 lb. fettuccini pasta
1 recipe Pumpkin sauce, below
Bring a lot pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Bonus points if you use fresh pasta for this.
Warm the prepared pumpkin sauce in a saucepan. While cooking, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water after the noodles have been cooking for at least 5 minutes. The starches in the water help the sauce to bind to the noodles.
Toss the sauce with the fettuccini. Season with fresh cracked pepper and/or cheese to top.
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup water
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese or veggie parmesan
In a high powered blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Add in 1 tsp. dried sage, 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg and 1/2 cup canned pumpkin. Blend for another minute, until combined.