Sunday, September 5, 2010

Creamy Tomato Gnocchi with Cauliflower

The other night I was standing in front of my pantry, not in the mood to do anything much less cook, trying to decide what to make for dinner. I spotted a box of gnocchi that I picked up at the store and decided to go from their.  The cauliflower needed to be used and I thought would add a little texture to the dish.  It turned our surprisingly well. My family even liked it (although they did comment that there was no meat) which really surprised me.  The only change I would make next time is to get a better quality gnocchi. I used a box from Fresh and Easy and it tasted good the first few bits but became rather gummy.

Creamy Tomato Gnocchi with Cauliflower
1/2 quart Italian Style Tomatoes (you could use an equivalent can size I just had some home canned on hand)
1/2 head of cauliflower cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic
2 cups milk
1 cup of shredded cheese

Directions:  Prepare gnocchi according to instructions and include cauliflower.  In a small sauce pan melt butter, add flower to melted butter to create a rue.  Allow to cook to light blond.  Slowly stir in milk over medium heat.  Allow to come to a boil and thicken.  Add small amount of salt and pepper to taste (remember you are adding cheese so don't overdue the salt).  Add the garlic. If you like the garlic bits go ahead and add minced. If you just want garlic flavor use the back of a knife to "crush" garlic clove, remove skin and add to cream sauce.  Then you can take out the garlic clove before you serve. You can the flavor but no one ends up with a sharp bite of garlic.  After you allow to boil gently and thicken add the cheese and stir to melt.  Finally add the tomatoes.  Bring to temperature.  Drain the gnocchi and cauliflower.  Top with sauce and stir. Best enjoyed immediately.

If you like gnocchi visit Noble Pig for what looks like an amazing Gnocchi Mac n' Cheese recipe. I haven't tried yet but the pictures have my mouth watering! Plus it's just an awesome site - amazing food and photography.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quick & Easy Garlic Bread

I love garlic, probably a little too much, and I love garlic bread. This is so simple and easy and goes great with a variety of dishes and soups.

Garlic Bread
1 loaf french or Italian bread
3-4 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning
2-3 finely minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice bread into 3/4 inch pieces. I leave the very bottom uncut to keep the loaf together for baking. Mince garlic.  Put butter, garlic and seasoning in a microwaveable dish and microwave in 15 second increments until melted. This will hopefully prevent the butter explosion in your microwave.  You can also do in a small pan over medium heat on the stove if you like. With a pastry brush coat each side of cut bread with melted butter mixture. Brush remaining over the top of bread. Bake for 6-10 minutes until golden brown.

A little tip  I normally try to load up on french or Italian bread when it's on clearance for less than 50 cents at Fresh and Easy.  I make sure it's not stale and I put immediately in the freezer. Pull out the freezer the day you want to use and only allow to partially defrost. This actually makes it easier to cut perfect slices. Depending how frozen the bread is you might need to extend the cooking time 2-5 minutes.