Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Caper Brown Butter Sauce and Roasted Vegetables

Hello! So as promised, I’ve returned with a recipe that’s NOT dessert.  This is one of those recipes that I tried on a whim a few years ago, and it worked out SO well that it keeps coming back. Believe it or not, it was inspired by a recipe from a cookbook we once bought in Disney World. The book is called Kitchen Magic With Mickey (hilarious, I know, but once you try this you’ll see they really weren’t lying!), and it features foods from the Disney locations. As a family in love with Disney World, buying this cookbook was a no-brainer, and it has paid off handsomely.

This dish is a perfect combination of flavors- slightly sweet from the potatoes and honey, savory and rich from the brown butter, with just a touch of acidic kick from the capers. It’s a full meal in just one dish and when you make this for your friends or family, I am telling you they’ll be so impressed.

This meal was much needed comfort food this weekend following the emotional hangover of seeing the love of my life (Harry Styles) in concert on Thursday night. For anyone who doesn’t know who that is, 10/10 would recommend looking him up. For those of you who do know who that is, you’ll understand why I needed to retreat into my pajamas and brown butter sauce to recover for two days straight after standing 20 feet from him!!!! But I digress, we’re here to talk about food and that’s what we shall do. Without further ado, let’s cook!!


Serves: 
8-10 people
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes
2 egg yolks
4-6 cups all purpose flour
1½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 tbs honey
4 tsp capers, drained
1 lb. brussels sprouts, halved
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


Steps

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain, and allow the potatoes to cool completely before removing the skins. *If you have a potato ricer, this step isn’t necessary, just peel and dice your potatoes, steam them until soft, then put through the ricer until smooth.

2. For those not using a ricer (like me), pull the skins easily off the cooled potatoes and grate them using the smallest side on your cheese grater (I love this trick borrowed from Smitten Kitchen!!!) into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the potatoes and add the egg yolks, the first 4 cups of flour, and salt.

3. Starting with a spoon, mix the dough until it starts to combine and get sticky, then, switch to your hands and begin kneading the dough until completely incorporated, adding the remaining 2 cups of flour as necessary. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

4. Working in sections, cut off pieces of the dough and roll into long, thin ropes. Slice the ropes into 1 inch pieces and toss with flour to keep the pieces from sticking together. Spread the gnocchi on flour lined baking sheets and chill for at least 1 hour.

5. While the gnocchi are chilling, preheat your oven to 425ºF. Spread the sliced brussels sprouts and mushrooms onto a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are roasted on the edges.

6. To make the sauce, melt the 2 sticks of butter in a pan on medium high heat. Stir, cooking for 5-10 minutes until the butter is golden brown and smells rich and nutty. Add the honey and capers, and toss in the cooked vegetables, turning the heat down to low to keep everything warm while the gnocchi cooks.

7. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches for 5-6 minutes, then add them directly to the sauce. The beautiful thing about boiling gnocchi is that they rise to the top of the water and remain there when they’re done cooking, so there’s no guess work!

8. Once all the gnocchi are cooked and added to the sauce, toss everything together and serve immediately. Yum!!

xoxoxoxoxD

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New York Cheesecake with Roasted Blueberry Sauce

Hello! I’m here to talk about cheesecake. Before this weekend, I’ll be honest, I had never made a cheesecake in my life. For some reason, I had it in my head that it would be so difficult and it kept me away for years. But then, after quite some begging from my sweet sister Clare (who’s favorite dessert is a good cheesecake), I obliged for her birthday weekend. I followed a recipe from my newly purchased “Vanilla Bean Baking Book” by Sarah Kieffer, and WOW how cute. There’s an entire page in the back for music to listen to while baking!! Anyway, I used her “Classic Cheesecake” recipe as my guide and got going. To my surprise, it was SO simple and SO rewarding. It bakes up smooth and creamy, with a crisp and buttery graham cracker crust, and it’s perfectly offset by the tart, citrusy blueberry sauce that I added. All in all, a perfect combination for a summery dessert, and I am quite pleased with myself.

I think we’re just about in summer now, and the idea of going to the farm and getting fresh corn and watermelon and greens is almost too much to bear. I feel some corn chowder in my future and I’ve never been more excited. But I’ve also hit a kind of inspirational roadblock, so if there’s anything that any of you feel like seeing, by all means, let me know!

But for now, I’ll keep it short and sweet, and let’s get to the baking!

Makes: 1 9″ cheesecake, serves 10-12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 5 hours (for chilling)
Total Time: 6.5 hours

Cheesecake Ingredients:
adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

For the crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or 14 whole graham crackers, pulsed in the food processor)
¼ cup granulated sugar
5 tbs unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature


Cheesecake Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 325ºF. If you’re using whole graham crackers, pulse the pieces in the food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. Add to a medium mixing bowl. If starting with pre-made crumbs, start now!

2. Whisk together the crumbs and the granulated sugar until combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix until all the crumbs are coated and pack together if you squeezed them. Pour into a 9″ springform pan and pack down the crust firmly using the bottom of a measuring cup or other flat utensil. I spread most of the crust on the bottom and some up the side of the pan, but if you like a thicker crust, feel free to put less on the sides. Bake the crust for 10 minutes until slightly crisped and golden.

3. Once the crust has cooled, wrap the sides of the pan with aluminum foil (shiny side facing out) to keep the sides of the cake from browning during baking.

4. Meanwhile, whip the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl 2 or 3 times during the process to make sure that everything is completely smooth.

5. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl down 2-3 times as well. Then, add in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat until incorporated. Drizzle in the melted butter on low speed.

6. With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs and the egg yolk one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. At this point, scrape down the bowl again to make sure that the bottom and sides are all evenly mixed.

7. Pour the filling over your cooled crust and smooth out the top if necessary. Tap the pan on the counter until all the air bubbles rise to the surface- it will take a few tries, there are a lot of bubbles!

8. To bake, place the tin foil wrapped pan in a large roasting tray. Create a water bath by pouring boiling water into the roasting tray so that it reaches about halfway up the springform pan. This will keep the cake moist and prevent any cracks during baking. *Tip- it’s easiest to place the roasting tray on the rack of the oven with the springform pan already in it, and pour the water in then, so that you’re not juggling a tray of boiling water and cheesecake batter into a hot oven!

9. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour without opening the door. After 1 hour is up, check the cake. If the outer 3 inches or so are set and the middle is still slightly jiggly, then you’re finished. If this is not the case, bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. At this point, turn the oven off and open the door just slightly, and allow the cake to cool here for 30 minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Run a thin knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it from the pan before cooling, then allow to cool completely. Once the cake is cooled, cover the top with a piece of parchment paper and chill in the fridge for 5-6 hours or overnight.

11. To remove, run your knife around the edges once more, then carefully remove the outside ring of the springform pan. Slice the cakes into desired sizes and top with a generous portion of the roasted blueberries (recipe immediately below). Yay!


Roasted Blueberry Sauce Ingredients:

2 cups blueberries
3 tbs granulated sugar
Zest of ½ lemon


Roasted Blueberry Sauce Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 425ºF. Place the blueberries in a shallow roasting dish and sprinkle the sugar and lemon zest over the top. Mix to combine.

2. Roast the blueberries for 15 minutes until they are just beginning to burst. Stir the berries around 2-3 times during the roasting to make sure everything is cooking evenly.

3. Allow to cool slightly before serving. This would also be delicious on top of ice cream, pound cake, cocktails, you name it!

xoxoxoxoxoD

 

 

Tart Cherry Clafoutis

Alright folks, I’m here to talk to you about clafoutis. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s a type of baked French dessert with a thin, eggy batter that bakes into a custard-y cake studded with the fruit of your choice. This was my first attempt at clafoutis and let me tell you, I am a changed woman. The recipe I followed, which you can find here, used pitted sweet cherries, but because I had 2 jars of tart cherries I decided to try those out instead and let me tell you I was not disappointed. A generous sprinkling of sugar caramelizes into a crisp, top layer, while the vanilla-almond scented batter is perfectly offset by the slight sourness of the cherries.


It reminds me slightly of a more substantial Dutch Baby, and I am not joking when I say this was the easiest baking project I have ever undertaken. You have 50 minutes total? You can make this, and 45 of those minutes are spent baking anyway. It’s crucial that the batter is completely mixed without lumps, so the entire thing should be blended before baking, preferably with an immersion blender, but it can also be done in a regular blender as well, never fear!

I know this picture doesn’t do it justice, but i needed everyone to see how thin it baked up and the LAYER of custard it produces.

I think I’m finally off my rhubarb kick, so thank you all for sticking with me! I also realized that it’s been ages since I’ve posted a savory recipe and for that I apologize, I find myself cooking the same meals lately (I’ve been in a bit of a dinner rut), and branching out more into baked goods. The good news is that with the warm months comes fresh produce, so some new dishes will be coming soon, never fear! But until then, I really suggest that you bake this dish up at your earliest convenience, most fruits can be substituted for the tart cherries, and it becomes the easiest (but also still impressive) dessert.
Let’s get baking!

Makes: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50-60 minutes

Ingredients
Adapted from “David Lebovit’s Cherry Clafoutis” on Food52
2¼ cups (1¼ lbs) pitted cherries, I used tart, but sweet will also do! (Can also be done with berries, pears, peaches, etc.)
3 eggs, room temperature
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
½ cup + 3 tbsp white sugar, divided- ½ cup is in the batter, remaining tablespoons go on top for baking
1 1/3 cups milk
Softened salted butter, for greasing the dish

Steps

1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and generously grease a 2 quart baking dish (mine was roughly 9″x13″). When I say generously I really do mean it, I thought I had done enough and there was still some sticking in the corners.

2. If your cherries are fresh, wash and pit them, or if they are jarred in juice, drain. Spread the pitted cherries on the bottom of the dish evenly, but don’t obsess over it because they will shift when the batter is poured in.

As a side-note, look at this fun summer tablecloth!!!!

3. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, white sugar, and milk. Using the aforementioned immersion blender (or regular blender), blend this batter thoroughly until smooth, so that all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

4. Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

5. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is brown and crisp, and a knife comes out ~mostly~ clean.

This can be served warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, whipped cream, but it’s also perfect on its own!
xoxoxoxoD

 

 

Rhubarb Snacking Cake

HELLO! I bet you thought I was done with the rhubarb recipes, huh? Well, I’m sorry to report that since I have a combination of no self control and no concept of how much rhubarb is too much rhubarb, I bought about 12 stalks too many and they are currently taking up more of the fridge than is convenient. So, until such time as I find recipes for all of it, the winners will undoubtedly find their way here. Today’s recipe is a slightly adapted version of this one from The New York Times. That recipe uses the name “quick bread”, but in my opinion, this turned out with more of a cakey texture, hence my renaming it to a snack cake. In addition to the name change, I switched out lemon zest for the orange zest (I know that might be weird, but I don’t love the rhubarb and orange combo), and sprinkled the top with some turbinado sugar for a nice crispy lid.

The result is a wonderful mix of bright lemon, caramelized sugar, and tart rhubarb, which bakes into little pockets with an almost jam-like texture. It is delicious on its own with a nice cup of tea, served warm with some butter or a light confectioner’s sugar glaze, but could also benefit from a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream or a quick toasting. ALSO, this recipe can actually serve as a base for any number of other fruits, including blueberries, strawberries, or peaches.

Now I’d like to tell you that by this time next week I’ll be off my rhubarb kick, but I’m afraid to make that promise so I guess we’re just going to have to see. I hope you stick with me while I ride this out. Now let’s get to it!

 

Ingredients
(adapted from The New York Times “Rhubarb Quick Bread”)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for greasing the loaf pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs lemon zest (if you’re really tied to the orange zest, it can be substituted here)
1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt (this makes for SUCH a moist cake)
2 large eggs
1¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the loaf pan
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1¾ cups diced rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
1 tbs turbinado sugar, for topping

 

Steps

1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour your loaf pan. Set aside.

2. In the larger of two bowls (you don’t even need a mixer for this one!), mix together the melted butter, sugar, lemon zest, and yogurt until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until combined. In the second bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. At this point, thoroughly wash your rhubarb and cut into roughly ½-inch pieces. Add the flour mixture and 1½ cups of the diced rhubarb (saving the last ¼ cup for the top) to the butter mixture and mix until just combined.

4. Spread the batter evenly into your loaf pan and artfully top with the remaining rhubarb and a sprinkling of the turbinado sugar.

5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and golden, and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. And, technically you’re supposed to cool it completely then before slicing, but I was so impatient and it was 10pm and I cut it almost immediately. While I wouldn’t ~really~ recommend doing this because the cake tends to crumble, I have to say nothing really beats the taste of cake still warm from the oven. I’ll leave the choice up to you!

Enjoy!!

xoxoxoxoxoxoD