Dinner Menu: Baked Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

This is an elegant dinner that looks like it took you all day to prepare.  From start to finish I cooked the asparagus and gnocchi in 1/2 hour.  The strawberry bread takes an hour to cook, but it’s a breeze to put together.  So if you feel the need for something special, but still easy, this one could be for you.

On the board tonight:

  1. Baked Ricotta Gnocchi
  2. Broiled Asparagus
  3. Loaf of good crusty bread
  4. Strawberry Bread

Years ago, Christmas Eve is spent eating good food at friends’ Mark and Larissa’s house. Mark’s mom is from Italy and Larissa’s mom is from Japan, and luckily for me, the subject always turns to food from both countries. This year we talked about ravioli, gnocchi and fish in salt domes. I have to confess I’m not a fan of gnocchi. Should be good, right? – potato goodness, covered in sauce. What’s not to love? It just isn’t a favorite of mine. Maybe because I’ve never had it fresh I am missing out. But after we discussed how to make it fresh, well, I don’t think I’d be making it anytime soon. Then I saw a recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi and it sounded good and best of all, easy.  So I’d thought I’d try it. This is what I came up with and it quickly became a favorite of my guests.

Baked Ricotta Gnocchi in Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

Sauce:

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while preparing gnocchi. Continue reading

Holiday Dinner Menu: Flank Steak Pinwheels

What’s on your plate for this holiday weekend (how did that happen)? Are you sad summer is waning or is fall more your season? Most importantly, whatcha cookin’?

This steak is easy to make in the oven, but I thought I’d try it on the grill this time. Works great – just remember to cook it away from the coals or turn the grill off if it’s electric, like mine.

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

This steak can be prepped the day before, just wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap. Makes it great for a date night, anniversary or small dinner party. I pan-seared and finished in the oven/on the grill in the same pan, because of the cheese. The reward was great pan drippings when I was finished, which I drizzled over the potatoes before serving.

Flank Steak Pinwheels Final

On the board:

  • Flank Steak Pinwheels
  • Grilled Sweet Corn
  • 4-Minute Potato Salad (recipe here)
  • Fresh Sliced Peaches

Flank Steak Pinwheels

  • 1 large flank steak, butterflied
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed garlic (at least 2 cloves)
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

Cast iron skillet Continue reading

Holiday Gifts: Gluten-Free Chocolate Walnut Cookies

What to do when you’ve made a big batch of Spritz Cookies and now you have leftover egg whites? How about some Chocolate Walnut Cookies?

I get requests for these cookies all the time and bonus, they are gluten-free and taste like little brownie bites.

Notes: To separate eggs, the easiest way I’ve found is the Nigella Lawson method of using your hand. It is quick and easy.

The original recipe for these called for regular cocoa and 3 cups of powdered sugar, that sounded much too sweet, so I reduced that first thing and since I love dark chocolate I used 1/2 dark and 1/2 regular cocoa. Continue reading

Overrun With Duck Eggs So I Helped The Easter Bunny Out

I haven’t dyed eggs in years… but like many, I seem to have a lot of time on hands. So I’ve been doing quite a bit cookings. I’ll probably have a blizzard of posts this weekend.

I’m overrun with duck eggs, and I boiled up a dozen in the multi-pot/instant pot last week, but as you can see, still overrun. Three ducks, two to three eggs a day adds up quickly. So I decided to dye some. Continue reading