Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I’m a sucker for good gnocchi, and wanted to use up the abundance of sweet potatoes and almond flour that have been hanging out in my cupboard for a good three months. The kicker is I don’t do ricotta, so I adapted this recipe to make sweet potato gnocchi with goat cheese and my own (mediocre) kale pesto creation. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and takes no more than an hour from start to finish.

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For starters, peel and chop a 2 lb bag of baby sweet potatoes or 2+ large sweet potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once the sweet potatoes are tender, drain the water and add 1 cup of goat cheese to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, and then add 2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour and combine into a dough-like texture. Roll into bite-size scoops and place on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet; bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Note: depending on the sauce you choose, you may want to opt for boiling the gnocchi. That’s what I’m going to try next time for that pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Optional: I made a kale pesto with sauteed kale, olive oil, parmesan cheese and almond milk. This particular combo needs a little more work before it’s ready for the spotlight. Feel free to share your favorite kale pesto recipe in the comments!

Enchilada Chili

Tortillas got you down? No matter the reason, here’s a way to enjoy the flavors of enchiladas without them.

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I used my favorite Sunday night enchilada recipe with a couple of guest stars to add texture in this layered version. 

 To make the enchilada sauce, combine the following ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 regular can tomato sauce
  • 1 can of tomato soup (V8 works too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp each of salt, sugar (palm sugar works well) and chili powder
  • Optional: 1/2 cup onions

Meanwhile, prepare the meat filling by browning it and then stirring in the ingredients:

  • 1 pound of ground turkey

Ground Turkey Shepherds Pie in the Crock Pot

Ever since I made my first corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot 10+ years ago, I’ve been hooked on slow cooked St. Patty’s fare.

With limited staples on hand, I decided to try my hand at this Shepherds pie recipe using ground turkey, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and broccoli. It turned out well! Luck of the Irish perhaps?

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First, prepare mashed potatoes using your preferred technique and scoop into a bowl so you can use the same pot for the meat to cut back on dishes. 

Brown ground turkey and 2 cloves of garlic, and then add the following:

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 generous handfuls of sliced baby carrots (or 2 regular chopped carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli (or peas)
  • 1 cup broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/4 cup wine (I used white)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Generous sprinkling dried thyme

Stir and simmer until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add to a greased crock pot in an even layer and then spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Season with salt and pepper.

After cooking on low for about 3-4 hours, grate cheddar cheese over the top. Slainte!

Almond Flour Waffles

In my quest to eat less processed or refined foods, and more nutrient-rich foods in their original forms (or close to it), I’ve stumbled my way through some baking disasters. Fortunately, this morning I made my first successful batch of almond flour waffles.

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Thanks to The Daily Dietribe for testing out the right ratios of flour to starch – a key make-or-break factor in baking with nut flours and root starches. I found that adding one egg was necessary to keep the waffles from splitting in half when opening the waffle iron.

Almond Flour Waffles (Adapted from The Daily Dietribe)

1 – 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup almond milk

1 egg

Mix dry ingredients separately from wet ingredients. Combine and whisk in egg. Make sure your waffle iron is greased. You may need to play around with settings and open the iron slowly to make sure waffle is thoroughly cooked.

Broth-Braised Crock Pot Pork and Noodles

New year, new kitchen quandaries! Rather than freezing four separate containers of homemade crab stock, I used it to make a healthy Ramen/Pho-like pulled pork and soba noodles dish. We even had leftover pulled pork at the end of it.

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Pulled Pork: place all ingredients in a crock pot on low for 6 hours.

3 cups broth or stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pork tenderloin

Noodles: once pork is ready, cook noodles of choice separately in their own pot using additional broth. Add kale or other greens once noodles are near al dente.

Serve pork on top of noodles and add condiments of choice. David had his with a little Sriracha sauce.

2014: The Year of the Crock Pot for Dinner with David

From s’mores to crock pots, WordPress uncovers what dominated Dinner with David in 2014…

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

3-Egg Broccoli Breakfast Casserole

This morning, my excitement and plans to remake last weekend’s delicious breakfast casserole were thrown a curve ball when I discovered only 3 eggs left in the fridge. But not to worry! Adding more veggies and shredded cheese does the trick.

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First, saute frozen breakfast sausages (I like Applegate) until thawed on low; then fill the pan with frozen broccoli and continue cooking and stirring until thawed. Slice sausages into pieces.

Next, combine 3 (or more if you have ’em) whisked eggs, 1/4 cup of almond milk, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (adjust based on your heat tolerance), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese in a bowl.

In a 9×13 greased pan (or smaller for thicker slices), pour the broccoli and sausage, along with a handful of spinach or kale (I used the latter). Then pour the egg batter in and stir to combine. Sprinkle a little extra cheese over the top.

Bake at 375 degrees, covered, until golden brown on the edges. (It took about 45 minutes in my oven, but keep an eye on it.)

I believe the the red pepper flakes are the secret to this recipe’s success (and David’s ringing endorsement); and for a girl that is a major wimp about anything spicy, I’ll be the first to admit it.

Checklist:

4+ frozen breakfast sausages

1/2 bag frozen broccoli

3+ eggs

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded cheese, plus extra for topping

Kale or spinach, optional

When Craft Beer and Volcanoes Collide

By some twist of fate, both the TBEX Europe and SATW conferences landed in volcanic destinations this year. Fortunately, that’s given me the opportunity to sample some of the most interesting craft beers I’ve tasted.

Case in point: Iceland’s Olvisholt Brugghus Lava Imperial Stout (which coincidentally, is carried at Compton’s Market in Sacramento) and Volkan’s Santorini Black (which I picked up at an unassuming market on the main drag of Oia).

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Lava rock isn’t just good for beer, but makes the soil extra fertile too. That’s why Santorini has such delicious tomatoes, and why Maui lavender and Molokai purple potatoes are all over gourmet menus in Hawaii.

Special thanks to Our Tasty Travels for the heads up on Santorini’s craft beer scene, and Lee Abbamonte for suggesting I blog about my (brown and darker) craft beer obsession (currently documented on Instagram).

Where else have you experienced volcano-related travel destinations, beer or food?

Short Ribs that Forgive

Forgot to pull out the crock pot? Even without a grill, these ribs won’t rub you the wrong way. In fact, the rub is what makes these speedy, BBQ-like short ribs meat-and-potatoes-guy approved.

The technique and an expanded ingredient list comes from Better Homes & Gardens, but I took many shortcuts for the sake of getting dinner ready in less than two hours, which is the minimum for most short rib recipes. Who has time for wood chips? Here’s my Cliff Notes version:

In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Place short ribs (optional but recommended: trim fat first) in a casserole dish and rub with the mixture.

Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, then brown on both sides on a grill pan before serving.

Final Fling: End of Summer Bites

There’s still time to enjoy the best of summer, without resorting to “it’s complicated.” With flavors at their peak, keeping things simple is the best way to go.

For starters, heirloom tomatoes are worth every penny. So splurge one last time! Simply season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Or slice and serve with fresh avocado (a winter crop in summer’s clothing) or goat milk yogurt and basil.

Peaches are best undressed. While I love a good cobbler or pie, the best way to enjoy them for dessert on warm summer nights is au naturel.

For a refreshing hors d’oeuvre that takes no time, slice a cucumber and top with smoked salmon. Party bonus: The colors will pop on a buffet table.

Mixed company? The options above will make it easy for all dietary persuasions to partake!

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