Tag Archives: Olive oil

No Boil Gnocchi Primavera – Cuz You Know Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

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Sweet-BrownWe all know that even though we may like to do things, such as playing sports, cooking, reading, and gardening, we don’t always do these things.  Why?  My least favorite four letter word holds the answer: T-I-M-E.  It’s a mystery how it escapes us somedays (except when we get distracted watching Michael Bublé videos…or is that just me?), but we never seem to have enough.  As a result, the things we like to do become the things that we do occasionally.  But wouldn’t it be awesome if “occasionally” didn’t have to mean once a month or worse?  What if it could be more often?  What would it take?

Consider the hobby of cooking.  For a woman who can work anywhere from eight to thirteen hours a day, there is one thing that will ALWAYS get in my way…TIME.  So I have learned to cut corners!  Wam-bam-thank-you-ma’am!  These moments come at me usually after 8 o’clock at night when I am starving and really really over peanut butter and jelly.  Tonight, my gastronomic obsession with gnocchi and a pack of this potato goodness purchased 4 months ago is what inspired me.  I wondered why I had passed it up for months and, stay with me as I realize that this sounds like the LAZIEST thing ever.  It shamefully hit me that I literally couldn’t be bothered to boil the water!  And with gnocchi, it’s not just the boiling!  You gotta make sure those royal pillows don’t get stuck to the bottom of your pan (apparently they have separation anxiety)!  Then you gotta catch the suckers as soon as they float to the top and gingerly spoon them out three at a time while all of the other ones cry out at you, “I’m melting! I’m melting!  Oh, what a world, what a world!” (yes…my food talks to me.  Deal with it.).  I see this starchy drama unfold in my mind each time I look at the package, shudder, and go for the jar of Trader Joes Creamy PB.  Well, tonight, I decided to conquer the divas and treat them like bronchitis, cuz even Sweet Brown knows that ain’t nobody got time for that.   Say “hello” to my epiphany.  All lazy anti-water-boilers out there, you’re welcome.

In 18 minutes I had a delicious, nutritious and warm homemade bowl of Gnocchi Primavera that used to take me 25 minutes.  And the only reason that this didn’t take less time is because I had to run outside to my garden for tomatoes and herby goodness.  Forgive my lack of preparation.

Ingredients:

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to cover bottom of pan)

1 heaping TB crushed garlic

1 lb Frozen Sliced Zucchini (I like the frozen as the ice adds moisture)

17 oz Fornari Potato Gnocchi

1/8 tsp Salt

1/8 tsp Pepper

1 c water

4 TB grated Cravero Parmigiano (or whatever you have on hand)

30 Teardrop red/yellow tomatoes

2 sprigs Rosemary

10 large Basil leaves

Directions

1.  Heat olive oil in cast-iron skillet/pan (I’m a Le Creuset fan).

2.  Throw in and toss garlic until browned.

3.  Throw in and toss zucchini until ice melts.  Keep burners on medium-high heat.

4.  Dump in gnocchi pillows and toss in mixture for 2 minutes until evenly coated and warmed.

5.  Add in water and turn heat to medium.  Cover and steam/cook for 5 minutes

6.  Slice tomates lengthwise.  Wash herbs and let sit;  Do not dry or cut.

7.  Stir gnocchi and add in parmiggiano.  Cover again and cook for 2 more minutes.

8.  Add tomatoes to gnocchi.  In your hands, gather all of the herbs and tear in chunks over the gnocchi.  Once again, you could chop them but a) I like the rustic, non-uniform look it gives, b) I love that herbal burst of Italy that mates with the steam for a Aroma Therapy baby and 3) I aint’ got no time for that.

9.  Toss tomatoes and herbs until evenly mixed.  Cover and let cook for another 3 minutes.

10.  As my Mamela always says, “En Guete!”

Torn herbs Gnocchi primavera

Gnocchi Primavera

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Friends and neighbors will drive you “plum crazy”!

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As creatures of habit and hesitant towards change, there are times when even the most adventurous of humans struggle with giving things a chance, especially when it comes to trying new foods. For me, I have always resisted the humble plum. I have eaten plums at homes of friends with pleasure. If one were to inquire of my opinion regarding this specific rock fruit, I would reply with positivity. I would even go on to describe them as juicy, sweet, tender, and excellent for cooking. Nonetheless, each week when I go shopping at Silver Barn market, I pass by the lovely display of locally grown plums, and each week I continue pushing my cart on by. Do not ask me why. It would likely play out like a Dr. Seuss story as I would proceed to confuse you with all sorts of riddling explanations as to why I never buy this particular fruit. Pretty soon your head would be spinning, then my head would be spinning, and before we could effectively end the discussion, we would both be searching for the nearest barf bag.

However, sometimes, what one needs is a gentle push in the right direction. Or, if you’re me, with stubborn German roots, it requires something resembling…more of a kick in the pants.

Last Saturday, I stopped by my friends’ house to pick them up for a night out in Astoria. Seeing their parents in the front yard, I hopped out to say my “hellos” and get my usual “don’t get into too much trouble there, Juhl-child”. While I was chitchatting about their newest landscape project, I found my friend talking to me in the background about her recent interaction with an Ecuadorian neighbor. Trying to multi-task, I nodded along to both conversations simultaneously – (always dangerous and yet I never learn). Beware – you will ALWAYS say, “yes” to something you don’t want or need. It’s like my sister, who at a naïve 23, had to be told by her Parisian friend to stop saying “Oui” to anything she didn’t understand. “You’re going to end up married to an Arab and in the African district if you’re not too careful!” Ignoring this universal advice, I headed back to the car and realized that I had just agreed to a bag full of plums. OF ALL FRUIT – REALLY??!! Apparently my friend had similarly been bamboozled by her Polish neighbor who asked if she liked plums – “ahhh I have a tree – no can eat it all. Here four bags!” So like a good friend, she “paid it forward” and bamboozled me into my very own bag. How nice.

Fortunately, my conniving culinary brain began working and I decided to similarly “pay it forward”. I had a friend for lunch today and prepared tilapia with plum mint salsa. The funniest part of this whole story – my friend doesn’t really like plums. Muahahahahahahaha!

Friends and neighbors will drive you “plum crazy”!

My little plums all washed and ready to be married to their beautiful mint friend.

The final product which my friend and I quickly devoured with pleasure. A successful “kick in the pants” indeed!
Plum Salsa
  • 6 medium (or 8 small) ripe plums, pitted and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 20 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tb diced jalepenos
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 pinches Stevia

Put plums in a bowl with onion, cilantro, mint, and jalepeno. Add lime juice, salt, and Stevia and mix until combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Broiled Tilapia with Plum Salsa

  • Pam spray
  • 1 lb Tilapia filets
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tb olive oil
  • 1 recipe Plum Salsa (see above)
  • 4 lime wedges

Preheat broiler on High in your oven. Grease a baking sheet with Pam, then place filets on sheet. Generously sprinkle both sides of each filet with salt and pepper. Drizzle filets with olive oil. Broil until cooked to desired temperature (I prefer my tilapia to be medium-well, so I cooked mine for 8 minutes), depending on the thickness.

Transfer the fish to a serving platter and spoon the plum salsa generously over. Garnish with lime wedges and serve immediately.

YIELD: 3 servings

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Now that I have conquered my inexplicable fear of the plum, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do with my-new found gastronomical friend?!

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