Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Don't be intimidated to make gnocchi because it really isn't hard at all!! I promise you, after you make it you'll stop buying frozen gnocchi from the store.

This recipe comes from one of Martha's book, Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook. This is a great "how to" book. I find myself going to this book several times a week.

Typically gnocchi is served with pesto basil. I was very close to making a vodka cream sauce but had a lot of fresh basil on hand so decided to go with the pesto. Next time I'll try a different sauce.

2 1/4 pounds of russet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups all purpose flour
coarse salt
basil pesto

Cook potatoes (unpeeled) until tender when pierced with a fork, about 35-40 mins. Remove skin with a paring knife and immediately pass through a potato ricer. Let cool completely. Turn potatoes onto a work surface, then pour egg over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. Start to work mixture with your hands and bring it together to form a dough. Gently knead 4 to 5 mins, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking , until dough is smooth and elastic. To check, pinch off a piece and roll into a rope; it should not break apart. Pat dough into a rough rectangle, 2 to 3 inches thick. Begin gently rolling each piece under the palms of your hands into a rope then continue rolling until it is 1/2 inch in diameter. Use the bench scraper to cut ropes crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Roll a cut side of each dumpling against the tines of a fork with your thumb.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add a generous amount of salt. Working in small batches, add gnocchi and cook until they float to the top about 2 minutes. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and gently shake off excess water. Serve immediately.

Pizza: Whole Wheat Pizza Dough with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers, Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella Cheese

I came up with the idea for this pizza based off one of my favorite panini's (roasted red peppers, mozzarella, & pesto).

The pizza dough is so simple that it will make you question why you use store bought. This recipe for pizza dough makes enough for 2 large pizzas or 8 individual ones. I used one for this recipe and put the other half in the freezer for later use (probably sometime later this week).

1 whole wheat pizza dough (recipe here)
2 Red Bell Peppers, roasted
8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese
1 lb of grilled chicken breast, cubed

Prepare pizza dough according to directions. Bake for 8 mins.

Spread pesto on crust, top with roasted red peppers, grilled chicken, & mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-16 mins.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Last night I went over to Gina's apartment where she made her favorite veggie chili. To go with the chili I made some cheesy cornbread that turned out to be a great pair.

I'm a big fan of cornbread with chili but I'm not a fan when the cornbread is dry. The cheese in this recipe really helps make this a moist cornbread.

I got the recipe from Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) from the food network. She puts scallions and jalapenos in her version but I omitted them from mine. It's key to let the mixture sit for 20 minutes before putting it into a pan to let the baking powder help the cornbread rise.
I made my cornbread in a 9 x 13 x 2 pan but you can be really creative and make individual loafs or muffins.

Try this recipe for cornbread the next time you're making chili!

You can find the recipe here

Friday, November 6, 2009

Turkey Panini with Cheddar Cheese & Cranberry Chutney

(photo by Nadya L Popil)
This recipe was inspired by my one and only trip to Mansour's in Scranton. Mrs. Mesko made me a delcious panini. I enjoyed that panini so much I've been thinking about replicating it for quite some time now. Well I finally got around to it tonight!

It's so simple and easy to do even with out a panini press. I have an indoor grill pan that I used to make these. The George Forman grill works just as well.

This is a great recipe since Thanksgiving is around the corner and there will most likely be a lot of left over turkey.

Prepare panini with the follow ingredients on Ciabatta bread:
  • Cranberry chutney (find recipe here)

  • Fresh craved turkey breast

  • Cheddar cheese

Put on panini press or grill (and press) until thinned out and crispy. Enjoy!