Make Your Own Gnocchi

Disclaimer: I do not order gnocchi at restaurants so I had no idea what they were supposed to look like! So don’t judge my funny looking gnocchi 🤓

So, I have wanted to make gnocchi for awhile now and I finally did it tonight! I love anything that is simple yet sounds impressive. This recipe is literally 3 ingredients and 2 of them are staples in my kitchen. Let’s get to it!

Gnocchi

2 russet potatoes
1-2 cups flour 
1 egg
s & p

First, boil your potatoes. Stick them whole in a pot, cover with water, add salt and walk away. I suggest doing this way ahead of time so you can get them cooked and cooled. Mine took 45 minutes or so; just keep pricking them with a fork until you can slide it in easily. Set potatoes aside to cool.

Once cool, peel potatoes and mash in a bowl. Mix in one egg, then add flour. I used 2 cups but it’s really dependent on the size of your potatoes. Add s&p to your liking at this point as well. Honestly, you could add anything you want, like dried herbs or Parmesan. You want a crumbly, shaggy dough. It’ll look like this: 
Dump it onto a floured surface and knead it together until it’s not sticky and comes together. 
Next you are going to grab a handful of it, roll it in a bit of flour and then roll it out into a long snake. 
Maybe it’s supposed to be thinner? I really should’ve done some gnocchi research before I made them…once you’ve got your snake, cut it into 1/2 inch pieces. Mine were more like an inch. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 
Looks kind of like a spinal cord! 🎃 Set them aside until you’ve snaked and cut the whole mound. Some people press or run a fork into the pieces because classic gnocchi has lines? I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe next time 😉 When ready to eat, drop them into boiling water until they float to the top, usually about 3 minutes. I used them in this recipe, switching out parsley for spinach and adding lemon juice. 👅
If you only have 2 mouths to feed like me, you will have leftovers. Lay them out on a sheet pan covered with lightly floured parchment paper and let them air dry for an hour. Then put in freezer until frozen solid (45 min-1 hour) before throwing them in a freezer bag for storage. 
Little potato dumplings! Did you know you could make it with ricotta too? Yum yum! Such an easy, fancy-sounding food. 😄

Love,
Feisty

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Easy Recipe of the Week: Roasted Tomatoes 

  To all my readers and friends, I’ve been wanting to tell you all the ways I’m in a different place than I was two weeks ago.  Two weeks ago to this day, Nick and I packed our endless amount of stuff into the truck (down two flights of stairs no less), raced to South Boston, then emptied the entire truck into our new house! 

Since then, the house is laid out the way it should. In two weeks, we got a lawnmower, tv stand and a 9′ x 12′ rug for the living room (all hardwood floors). I enjoyed laying low for a week, reading this great book my sister gave me for my birthday (The Girls), but alas, a girl needs a job. I walked into Bistro 1888 looking to be a food runner, but they were so over the moon about my bakery experience, Chef Margaret has decided to ‘show me how to make everything on the menu.’ In short, it’s prep work, making dressings, sauces and marinades, and eventually, desserts. 😍 One of my tasks included peeling and chopping roasted tomatoes, and it looked so tasty I decided to make them at home! 

This is easy easy, and the possibilities for them are endless. Eat it on toast as bruschetta or mix it into risotto, like me!

Roasted Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes
Olive oil
S & P/other spices as desired

Start by chopping your tomatoes in half lengthwise. Cut a ‘V’ in the top of both halves to core the tomatoes.   
Place tomato halves cut side up on an oiled rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and spices. I added dried thyme, and dried basil or oregano would work as well.

Bake at 400* for 30-40 minutes, depending on how much you have. I did 5 total, 4 homegrown (smaller), and unfortunately my new oven burns much hotter than its reporting to me. I put them in at 375* for 35 minutes and didn’t think much until my husband walked past and asked what was burning. No worries, the tomato skins got black but that’s exactly what you want!
 
Let cool completely, then remove skins  (should be very easy) and chop. Cook it into tomato sauce, fold into dinner dishes, eat alone on toast with olive oil and basil. Yum yum!

Love,
Feisty

Easy Recipe of the Week: Fish Tacos!

 
Fish tacos. Are. AWESOME! The flakiness of the fish combined with creamy avocado, crunchy cabbage and the irresistible sourness of fresh lime juice is one of my favorite things. And when my husband and I planned on spending the day at Kings Dominion, I knew I needed a simple dinner that was as delicious as it was easy.

Fish Tacos 
Serves 2

2-3 white fish filets
2 limes
2 avocados
Mayonnaise 
1 small head red cabbage
Various seasonings
Corn tortillas

Here’s how I did it: the day before, chop up half a head of red cabbage (green would work too but it’s not as fun!). Mix mayonnaise (enough to reach a dressing consistency) and juice of one lime in a bowl before adding cabbage. Cover and store in fridge.

When you’re ready for dinner, rinse your fish filets (tilapia, catfish, even frozen & thawed–any white fish will do), and season them with a bunch of seasonings! I added garlic powder, red pepper, cumin, ginger, oregano, salt and pepper, basically whatever I have on my spice rack.
Heat pan on medium high heat, add olive oil and/or butter and sauté fish for 3 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile, wrap corn tortillas (I do 3 per person, 6 total) together in tinfoil and place in oven. Preheat oven to 300 degrees to warm them up. Grab 2 avocados, cut them open and scoop them out. Slice each one into thin pieces and place on a plate; squeeze with half a lime.

And that’s your dinner! Cut the last half a lime into 2 wedges and put one on each plate. Perfect for hungry and sore roller coaster riders! 🙂

  Nick and I at Kings Dominion 💏

Bake at a Moment’s Notice

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It all started with the egg yolks.
A few days ago, I was commissioned to make a pan of s’mores fudge bars by a lovely co-worker of mine (my first sale!), and the recipe uses egg whites to make the marshmallow topping. I absolutely hate wasting ingredients, and I wondered what I could do with the 2 egg yolks left over. A cake, perhaps?
So I went to work looking for a recipe. Apparently, I’m not alone in not wanting to waste ingredients. Cakes weren’t a prevalent choice of recipe, but here was mini eclairs for two! Was this something I really wanted to take on? I scanned the recipe and, what do you know? I just happened to have the exact amount of heavy cream it called for, another ingredient I was trying to find a use for! From then on, it was pretty much kismet. 😉
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Mini Eclairs
makes 6
For the pastry cream:
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. flour
pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the eclair:
1/3 c. water
3 T. unsalted butter at room temp
1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 large egg, beaten

For the glaze:
1/2 c. chocolate chips or chunks
1 tsp. vegetable shortening

First make the pastry cream. In a small pot, heat the cream until the tiniest bubbles appear at the edge. Do not boil.
Meanwhile, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add egg yolks and whisk together. The mixture will be crumbly. Very slowly pour the warm cream into the yolk mixture while continuing to whisk. This process is called tempering the eggs, and you pour it slowly so that the yolks don’t cook while their temperature rises to that of the cream’s.
Pour the entire mixture back into the pot over medium heat. Whisk constantly while it starts to simmer. Once it noticeably thickens (bubbles will have a hard time getting to the surface), continue to cook and whisk a few more seconds. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. I whisked it in, which ruined the beautiful texture…but I’ll get to that in a sec. Scrape into a bowl and press plastic wrap directly to the surface of the cream. Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours.
After I added the vanilla, the mixture started to come apart. When I was pressing the plastic wrap to the top, a butter-like liquid was soaking through and I freaked out. I combed the web for tips on what to do; most people said to just wait the three hours to see if it thickens. So I did. And it worked! So don’t freak out if your cream separates.
Now, the eclair dough! In a small pot, stir together butter and water over low heat until butter melts without boiling water. Remove from heat and add flour, sugar and salt all at once. Stir until combined. Put pot back on burner (over low heat for gas stovetop, heat off for glass) and stir until dough pulls away from sides of pot, about 1 minute. Scrape dough into a bowl and mix on low until it’s only warm. Or let it sit out until warm…that’s what I did! Add egg and beat until dough turns pale yellow, about 2-3 min. Lay some parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat!, onto a cookie sheet. Put in piping bag and pipe 6 mounds, about 2 inches lengthwise with a 1-in opening on the bag. Alternately, you could use a spoon, but the piping bag is much easier and makes the mounds prettier!
Bake at 400* for 10 minutes, then open the oven door for 5 seconds and change the temperature to 350*. Bake another 18-20 minutes. When done, turn oven off and remove pan. Use a thin knife to poke a hole in the side of the eclair to release steam. Return to oven and let cool for 30 minutes with the oven door ajar. (I used a strategically placed wooden spoon.)
Next, slice eclairs in half horizontally. Fill with chilled pastry cream. For the chocolate, place chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a small bowl. Microwave in 10 second intervals until melted, or set up a double boiler using a metal bowl and a small pot of water. Carefully dip tops of eclairs into chocolate. Chill until set for 15 minutes. Voila! A lot of words, an easy recipe and 6 delicious mini eclairs you just made yourself.

Love,
Feisty

Original Source

Oh, Sugar

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Fall is here! Maybe it’s Winter where you are, but Richmond has been delightfully mild so far. However, we’ve still had cold days & nights, and It’s prompted me to start writing a list of my favorite things about cold weather. Being a staunch summer girl, it helps ease the transition to remind myself of hot chocolate, soft, comfy socks and all things pumpkin. One thing cold weather brings that will not go on that list? Dry skin.
My preferred face wash is Clean & Clear deep action cream cleanser. It removes makeup and makes my skin feel so fresh and clean afterwards, but it doesn’t exfoliate. And with a tiny pimple next to my nose and noticeably dry skin flaking off my forehead, I needed to do something. Being a girl who loves being in the kitchen, I figured I could make a sugar scrub from ingredients in the house….and I was right!
It’s so easy. Just two parts sugar to one part oil. I used olive oil, but you could also use canola or grape seed oil. I wouldn’t recommend vegetable oil.
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The recipe I found called for
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup oil

I halved the recipe, using a quarter cup of each, but in the process discovered my brown sugar was now a box-shaped rock. So I ended up doing:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup oil
Splash of vanilla (for scent)

I mixed it together with a fork and added more sugar until it was the consistency I wanted. I didn’t want it to be too oily.
Then I rubbed it onto my skin. Want proof? Here’s me acting a fool. My eyelashes look good though. 😉
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After you’re done letting out your inner Noxzema girl, wash it off with warm water. I rubbed a tiny bit of my face wash on afterwards to get rid of any oily residue. Then slap on some moisturizer and marvel at your smooth, smooth skin. Get it, girl!

Love,
Feisty

Applicious

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Hello friends, and welcome back to Feisty in full swing. I’m back in my element, figuring out new and interesting ways to make breakfast, lunch & dinner! I’m itching to make a pie lately, a peach cobbler promised to my sister is on the agenda, and homemade paninis, risotto and bacon wrapped pork chops are all on the menu again.
I’m also working as a baker now, isn’t that something? It’s grunt work right now but it does afford me the occasional cake writing or torching of creme brûlées. Maybe just maybe, Feisty has finally found her path.
Lately, August has been feeling more like Fall than Summer, with cool breezes, too much rain and chilly nights. Formerly a strict summer girl, I have grown to love what Fall brings. Sweater weather, colored leaves, pumpkins, cool days…and the warm, comforting food that goes with it. Pumpkin pie, biscuits, Crock Pot meals like chicken and dumplings, and of course anything apple!
I’ve had an apple crisps recipe for some time, but it wasn’t until last night that I perfected it. There are two things you should have to make this recipe easy; a mandoline slicer and parchment paper. If not using a mandoline slicer, you can use a serrated knife, making the slices thin and uniform. Unfortunately, wax paper is not a viable alternative to parchment paper because it is not meant for the oven and tin foil will give you a hot mess (I’m speaking from experience here). Parchment paper is worth the extra money, believe me.

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Applicious Apple Crisps

1 apple
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar. Thinly slice apple crosswise, so that you cut it from bottom to top. Discard seeds, ends and stems. Lay out on pan covered with parchment paper and sprinkle evenly with cinn-sugar mix.

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Bake at 250 degrees for half an hour, then turn them over. Bake for another half an hour, than turn over again. Bake for another 20-30 minutes, and then set out to cool. They will crisp up as they cool.

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Store them in a Tupperware container and enjoy! Easy recipe and a healthy, delicious snack, what more could you ask for?

Love, Feisty

Oh My My, Strawberry Pie!

20130723-143042.jpgBehold the strawberry & basil pie with a lemon zest pie crust! If that doesn’t sound like the most perfect summer treat you’ve ever experienced, then I can only imagine that you were born in a very cold, very dark place.
Originally, I wasn’t going to blog this. My mom had bought 2 lbs of strawberries, forgetting her upcoming vacation, so she asked me if I could save them from being wasted. One great way to use a lot of fruit in a recipe is to make a pie, and well, I think my readers know just how much I love making pies. Borrowing the lemony crust from this recipe, and inspired by the fruit & herb combinations at my favorite lemonade stand, this became a pie I had to share with the masses! Plus, it is so delicious and so easy. 20130723-155605.jpgLemon-Strawberry Basil Pie

For the crust:
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c. butter (1 stick cut into small cubes)
1 c. flour

For the filling:
1 qt strawberries (4 cups)
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
10 basil leaves (optional)

First, the crust. The original recipe calls for a food processor but a. mine is currently elsewhere and b. it’s so unnecessary! Use a fork–seriously! It might take a bit longer but it’s definitely simpler. Combine sugar, zest and salt in bowl. Add butter and mix in until evenly dispersed. Add flour and mix until just combined and its crumbly. Spray 9-inch pie pan with nonstick or cover with butter. Press dough into pan and flatten with fingers so it covers evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
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And now, the filling!  Remove stem and quarter your washed strawberries.  Aim to keep pieces uniformly sized.  Throw 3/4 of your strawberries into the cooled down pie crust, and throw the other 1/4 into a pot with the sugar, water and cornstarch.  Turn heat to medium high and stir constantly.  When it starts to boil, your sauce will magically transform and become so jelly!  Cornstarch is awesome.  Don’t boil too long; as soon as its noticeably thicker, take the pot off the heat.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Meanwhile, roll up your basil leaves and chop into strips, like its a tiny sushi roll.  Separate the basil slivers and sprinkle into pot, mixing them in.  Pour pot contents into the pie crust over the strawberries, covering evenly.  Set in fridge for 2-3 hours.

When ready to serve, dollop slices with whipped cream. Best summer treat ever!!! Not sure the basil flavor really comes through, which is why it’s optional, but the pie does taste very cool and refreshing…so maybe it lends more than I realize. Basil or not, this pie makes me yearn for a summer barbecue to bring it to.
Seriously, it’s out of sight!
Love,
Feisty
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