Friday, November 27, 2009

Catching autumn

Autumn is one of my 4 favorite seasons. ;o) It's is much more vibrant and colorful here than in UT and ID so I was especially grateful for autumn this year. I missed getting pictures of it at its peak because it rained for about 2 weeks straight during that time period, unfortunately.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gnocchi - cookbook challenge

My sister, Valerie, ( posted about this challenge she joined. It's for people like me who have way too many cookbooks and yet still go looking on the internet for more recipes. If you want to join the challenge, grab the picture above and post it to your blog. You're supposed to post a recipe every first and thursday of the month with a recipe you tried from one of your cookbooks. As you can see, I already messed up. It's Friday and I'm just getting around to posting.

This dish could have been MUCH easier but I like to make as much from scratch as possible for both health and taste's sake. But let's just say that gnocchi is not something I will ever be making again. It took me 5 hours for just the gnocchi. If you use all the convience items listed in the ingredients, this could be super easy. But I don't like alfredo sauce in the jars so I had to make that, I had peppers from my garden that needed using up so I roasted those, and of course, the gnocchi were homemade too. So, this could be as complicated or as simple as you're willing to make it. I'll include all the recipes I used for the various components. I also added some leftover diced ham and served it ona bed of fresh spinach leaves. I really like the flavor but somehow, I don't think it was worth 5 hours. On the upside, I haven't had to cook all week since it made so much.

Gnocchi with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained
1 jar (17 oz.) creamy alfrdo sauce
3 drops tabasco sauce
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 pounds fresh or frozen gnocchi, cooked and drained
basil leaves for garnish

Puree roasted peppers in a food processor or blender; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine pepper puree, alfredo sauce and tabasco sauce; simmer over low ehat about 10 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in fresh basil. Spoon over hot gnocchi; toss to coat well. Garnish with basil leaves.

Serves 8

Homemade Gnocchi in 5 Steps
(About half way through making these, the dough started to get sticky again so I used wheat flour to knead again since I ran out of white flour. So I had some white, some wheat.)

2 pounds baking potatoes, washed but not peeled
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour

1: Steam potatoes until tender (about 30 minutes). While still hot, peel potatoes, place ina bowl and mash.
2: Mix in the egg and salt, and turn mixture onto a floured board.
3: Put a pot of salted water (about 6 quarts) to boil. Knead the dough for roughly 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until the mixture forms a firm, smooth dough.
4: To form the dumplings, flour palms and board again. Break off small pieces of dough, and roll each into thin, cigar shapes with your hands. With a pairing knife, cut each cylinder into inch-long pieces. Then gently press each piece on the tines of a fork-for the charachteristic ridges-pressing each in the center with your thumb. Set shaped gnocchi on floured napkins, this helps absorb the moisture from the potatoes.
5: Drop the gnocchi, several at a time, into boiling water and cook for about three minutes, or until the rise to the surface. Remove cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon, drain well; place on a platter and cover to keep warm while cooking remaining dumplings.

Simple Alfredo Sauce
(This is my most favorite recipe for Alfredo I've found. It's so easy and tastes so good. Just don't use the cheap parmesan in this or it will be a gritty sauce. I doubled this recipe. I don't have a microwave so I make it on the stovetop and it comes out great every time but here are the original instructions. )

1/4 lb sweet butter (1/2 cup, light butter works fine!)
1 cup heavy cream or light cream
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

1: Place butter in microwave safe pot and heat on high for 30 seconds or until melted.
2: Add cream and warm on high for approximately 1 minute.
3: Add Parmesan cheese and warm until cheese melts.
4: Add salt and pepper to taste.

The Main recipe and the recipe came from The Recipes of the Five Brothers Volume I. I've never been dissappointed by anything I've made from this little book. The alfredo sauce came from the internet (sorry, it's a good recipe so I have no reason to look anywhere else for a new alfredo recipe).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ooey, gooey goodness

I don't know if I was just in the right mood last night or if this was just especially good but whatever the reason, I loved it. I ate a bite fresh from the oven and it was gooey and oozed everywhere. I had to wait for it to cool off before I could actually get it out of the pan without it falling apart. I took some straight over to Barry and Lanette so I wouldn't eat it all. Yum, yum! I even had all of the ingredients on hand and I never have the ice cream topping but I think I was just meant to make these!

Caramel Chocolate Bars

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups quick oatmeal
1 (16 ounce) bag chocolate chips
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 1/4 cups margarine
2 cups flour, plus
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cream brown sugar and margarine.
3. Add dry ingredients reserving 3 Tbsp of flour and stir in the oatmeal.
4. Press 1/2 of the mixture in the bottom of a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake for 10 minutes.
5. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.
6. Mix caramel topping with the reserved flour.
7. Drizzle this over the chips.
8. Sprinkle the top with the remaining crumb mixture.
9. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. (I had to bake for 20 minutes.)
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