{June 15, 2009}   food, food and more food

I’ve made several yummy things I wanted to share, but wasn’t really in the mood for writing until this evening. So, here’s a big long post with several yummy things. sadly there are no pictures. I got pissed off at my laptop and didn’t bother to take photos I wouldn’t be able to retrieve (although really, it would’ve been possible to get the pics… just… inconvenient).

So one night, pete convinced me to try making gnocchi. But he wanted yam gnocchi. :) I was craving mushrooms and peppers, so i got some of those too, and asparagus.
I went out and bought groceries, then came back and put 2 potatoes and 2 yams (washed and poked with a fork) into the oven. Then went back out because i’d forgottten to buy asparagus :P when i got back again i chopped some peppers and got the other gnocchi ingredients prepped. I took out the potatoes and yams… And then wondered, how do i peel the cooked potatoes? Later on we googled and found that holding them in a teatowel and using a peeler is best, but at the time i used a fork to cut them open like baked potatoes, then gingerly peeled off the skin in as big chunks as i could manage – split open skin side up i could pull the skin away without too much burning :)

I did the potatoes and yams as separate batches. The potatoes went fairly well, although i didn’t really understand how to shape them. I also didn’t notice i was dehydrated and tired until i suddenly really needed to sit down :P so then pete helped make some while i looked up video instructions online (which it seems I forgot to bookmark).

Next came the yams. They had leaked delicious syrup onto the baking tray, and peeled and mashed easily (yay cooling). They weren’t starchy like potatoes, though… When i added them to the flour mix, it didn’t go quite right. It was all gooey and mushy and wanted to stick to everything. Pete added more flour… Then more. And more. I left him to work on that while i fried up the peppers and mushrooms and put on a big pot of water for the gnocchi. I also heated up the pasta sauce and added some soy milk to it. When pete had somehow produced gnocchi from the crazy yam goop, we started putting them in the boiling water. As they rose to the top, pete scooped them out with a sieve, while i kept an eye on the other stuff and cooked some asparagus. I love how easy asparagus is if you have a double boiler- just get a little water boiling in the pot, rinse and snap off the ends of the asparagus, put them in the steaming thingy, then put that on when the water’s boiling and in only two minutes they’re bright green and done. A little oil/butter and salt and they’re delicious.

The yam gnocchi, while it did come out as gnocchi, didn’t taste much of yam. It was a fun experiement, but next time i’d rather just have potato gnocchi and mashed yams. :)

I was going to a friend’s party a while ago, and needed to bring something to bbq. I asked a couple of vegetarian friends for suggestions and got lots of yummy ideas – asparagus, yam, tofurkey beer sausage, kebabs… But one that i tried and really loved was the portobello mushrooms.
I actually had a portobello burger in boston, too – jefferai was nice enough to get me veggie food of my choice when he was picking up some of the gsoc students – but we tried teriyaki sauce that time and it turned out… Not bad, but not memorable either. This time i found the secret to making them awesome ;) i put some soy sauce (kikkoman’s tamari, iirc) and water in a bowl (i’d guess it was 3:1 water:soy, maybe 2:1), and added plenty of grated ginger and garlic (the kind of grater with small holes, not the regular sort). Mostly i grated them because i was in too much of a hurry to chop, but it worked out well. :) I took the stems off my two mushrooms, put the caps in a ziploc bag, and poured the soy marinade over them. Afetr sealing the bag i put it in a box just in case – and that was good, because it did leak a tiny bit.

I shoved my food in the fridge at the party, and a few hours later i took the mushrooms out and put them on the bbq. I also brought some blue cheese to go on top. :) I found the best method was to put the mushroom upside-down on the bbq, pour a bit more of the marinade into the cup, then add thin slices of cheese right away. It cooks fairly fast – really you just need it to get hot and soften the cheese.
I’d forgotten to bring hamburger buns, but whatever, they were awesome on their own. :) And i was too busy licking the plate to care about the dumb anti-vegetarian comments. :P

Next up was mushroom soup. I’ve made that several times before; I use this recipe but with half the paprika or less. I skip the lemon juice and red wine, too, because very few people are actually around at dinnertime.
This time i did a triple recipe, although i didn’t triple everything… I decided four onions was quite enough :P i also used just a tablespoon and a bit of paprika (i have two one-tbsp measures but no half-tbsp; aren’t roomies great?) And i’m sure i added far more dill than nescessary – how do you measure fresh herbs?
For mushrooms, i used two bags of regular (button?) mushrooms, one pack of shitake, some button and shitake mushrooms i found in the fridge, a pack of oyster mushrooms, and two packs of enoki. I’m afraid I can’t give more accurate measurements; I forgot to save the receipt. The enoki i put in just a few minutes before the end, and tthis time i chopped them in half too, so they’d be a bit less stringy. :)
Getting three cups of soymilk into the roux wasn’t going to happen with the little pan I used (I needed something I could hold up high with one hand while full), so i added the third cup of soymilk (plus a bit) straight to the soup. Btw, there’s a different recipe with a good explantion of how to make a roux – it helped me a lot. :)
The soup turned out great, and there were loads of leftovers. :) Pete just finished the last of it today.

This sunday i was quite busy, so i wanted something easy to cook. I chopped up some peppers and half a red onion (it was a humongous onion), peeled a bulb of garlic (and cut some of the bigger cloves in half so there were more pieces), added some seasoning and roasted them. I hadn’t bought any herbs, but we had a bunch of leftovers wilting, so i used a bunch of dill, dried basil, salt&pepper, and some “italian” seasoning. I almost forgot the olive oil, because the herbs were happily sticking anyways.
I put those in the oven, but i put them on the top rack on broil (at 425, the usual temperature) and i’d cut fairly small strips, so instead of needing 40 minutes they were smoking after 15 – it came up out of the stove :P I kinda wanted them crisp anyways but not so fast… I turned them over and considered cooking the other side, but instead i turned off the oven and left them in there to keep warm.

While the peppers had been quietly burning, i’d been improvising a dressing for the pasta. It was vaguely inspired by pesto. I used up the wilting parsley and mint, added lots of dried oregano and basil, chopped up some walnuts and tossed in a bit of nutritional yeast.

After rescuing the peppers I put water on for the pasta, rinsed and snapped the ends off the asparagus, put the pasta (linguini) into the boiling water, and put on some water for the asparagus… When i put the asparagus on I kept checking on it and letting the steam out, so it took a bit longer, but soon everything was ready. I pushed the veggies over to make space on their tray, laid the asparagus out there, drizzled flax oil over it and added a little salt. I drained the pasta and put it back in the pot with flax oil and the herbs. Mixing that into the pasta was a little harder than i expected, but once i’d done that, dinner was ready. :) And all in just an hour and a half – including time spent washing some dishes beforehand :P

FiNeX says:

You can even try to do smaller gnocchi and dress them with cream, speck ham (cutted into small slices), minced walnuts and a bit of pepper. Moreover I like to grate parmisan over :-)

tada says:

Were the gnocci so darn good, you decided to tag them KDE and take a spot on KDE planet?

Anon says:

Don’t listen to tada, he apparently doesn’t know that KDE developers need to eat too.

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