Purple Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi

Purple Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi-7

One of the pleasures of dating someone who loves eating as much as you do is that there are no restrictions to what they’re willing to try. This is especially helpful when you cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting. Your partner is a willing taste tester for all your new inventions. They’ll volunteer to go to the store when you realize that there is hardly a quarter cup of milk left in the carton in the midst of recipe development (thanks, sweetie!). Or they understand the importance of spotting ramps or purple sweet potatoes at the farmers market because you’ve been mentioning them constantly for weeks (sorry, sweetie!). When you love food, the only thing that makes food even better, more enjoyable, is a companion to share that love with.

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And that is how these purple sweet potato gnocchi came to be. I searched for these purple beauties every where for weeks and even took trips to every grocery store within a 10 mile radius of my home to look for them. I couldn’t find them anywhere. Then after I had given up, I went to the Arlington Farmers Market (I think I was in the area to watch a soccer game- it’s important to support your partner’s interests). It was freezing cold and we were walking briskly through the small market when I found them in one stand, barely recognizable because of how covered in dirt they were. They were purchased with excitement and then promptly stored in the closet and forgotten about for months (a cool, dry place helps keep sweet potatoes good, longer). Last weekend when the snow fell and all I wanted to do was stay in the kitchen to warm up, I decided to tackle making gnocchi.

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Gnocchi isn’t difficult. It’s a simple process, but the tricky part is getting a feel for the dough. It should be a little tacky, but not too sticky and you want to avoid adding too much flour or they become heavy. If you add too little though, they can disintegrate as they cook in boiling water. I like the process of making gnocchi because it has that same meditative feel of kneading dough. Although I like that part, I have little patience for baking. This is a nice way to play with dough but not sit around waiting all day for it to rise.

I like my gnocchi served simply. A little browned butter, maybe sage if you like, parmesan and pepper is all you need. You want to taste what you’ve cooked, in this case brilliantly colored sweet potatoes, ricotta and parmesan.

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Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of sweet potato, purple (or any color)
  • ⅔ cup of whole milk ricotta
  • 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1½ cup of flour (I only needed 1 cup) and extra for dusting the board
  • large pinch of salt
  • 8 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 large fresh sage leaves (optional)
  • parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, for serving
Instructions
  1. Bake the sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for about an hour or until tender.
  2. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and mash the potatoes (or put them through a ricer). Bring a large pot of water to boil with a large pinch of salt.
  3. Mix in the ricotta and parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. Add half a cup of flour at a time, mixing it in until dough forms. It should be a little tacky (a little bit sticky, not completely dry) but not too sticky.
  5. Form into a log onto a floured surface and cut into 6 even pieces.
  6. Roll a piece out with hands to create a long 1-inch thick rope. Cut into 1-inch pieces and press along the back of a fork for grooves if desired. Dust with flour and put on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
  7. When the water has reached a boil, cook in batches, making sure they aren't crowded in the pot and that if they go to the bottom of the pot they do not stick. When they are fully cooked (about 5 minutes) they should be floating.Collect with slotted spoon and put onto another baking sheet. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.
  8. In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat until it starts to brown and smells nutty. Add in sage leaves and turn off the heat. Divide the butter among serving dishes, top with gnocchi, pepper and parmesan chese for serving.

 

 

Rushing Home + Jamba Juice

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This post is brought to you by Jamba Juice. The content and opinions expressed below are mine.

Like most people living in the metro DC area I have a daily commute that is stressful, rushed, and crowded. Every morning I commute from Virginia through DC into Maryland. In the evening I do the same trip in reverse, and by the time I’ve arrived home I am exhausted and painfully hungry. Sometimes the trip runs smoothly, sometimes it’s a nightmare. The cold snap last week lead to delays as rails broke (unfortunately the end of my line is exposed to the elements and this happens often in cold weather). I didn’t feel that this winter was particularly cold until February arrived. Record lows, snow storms, and travel delays have plagued us in the ill-prepared Mid-Atlantic region…. 

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Egg in a Grilled Cheese Basket + Happy Friday

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Today is Friday the 13th and the day before Valentine’s day. I’m not the biggest fan of this holiday but I do like a reason to do something extra special for someone I love. On the morning of the 14th I’ll be making this egg-in-a-grilled-cheese-basket for my boyfriend, with a special addition of fresh Mexican style chorizo. Why? Because dark chocolate is my food love and chorizo is his. If we are out together at a restaurant and there’s something with chorizo on the menu I know that’s what he’ll order. 95% of the time that’s the case. So here is my special Valentine’s day brunch dedicated to my chorizo obsessed, runny yolk loving boyfriend. <3… 

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Poppy Seed Cake with Blood Orange Glaze

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The other day I had a bit of a baking mishap. I had followed the instructions for an old family recipe from a photo I had taken of a quick handwritten note in the back of my mom’s planner. She’d written down that recipe into her planner years ago and every time she got a new planner she transferred this recipe into the note section in the back along with the phone numbers from Korea she’d scribbled down over the years. I don’t know who she got it from originally- it was most likely my grandma (on my dad’s side) or my aunt Cris- but it is something my dad absolutely loves to eat. Anyway, the cake was stuck in the pan and when I attempted to remove it I tore several huge chunks out of it and it was not salvageable. I texted a photo of the sad thing to my dad and of course he offered to take the cake off my hands…. 

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Happy Friday: Kimchi Edition

kimchi stew with tuna and ramen
I didn’t have a computer to use for the past week and a half because I left my laptop’s charger in New Jersey! At first I wasn’t too happy about it and I would go over to my parents’ house to charge my computer every other day. But eventually I gave in and realized it was a nice opportunity to unplug and enjoy evenings at home free from the time suck of articles on the web and binge watching terrible reality TV.

It seems like kimchi has taken over the world… or at least the world wide web. I grew up eating kimchi as part of my family’s Korean dinner table. Now I try and find any way I can to add kimchi to a dish.

  • To start, let’s look at a quick overview on cooking with kimchi.
  • Kimchi getting a bit old? Throw it in a pot with pork belly and make some some kimchi stew.
  • What’s your comfort food? For many Koreans, especially in my mom’s generation, it’s budae jigae, or “army base stew”. It’s basically an amalgamation of the Korean ingredients you see in stew like kimchi, tofu and rice cakes with a random assortment of Western food items like Spam, hot dogs, cheese, and baked beans- items originally sourced from US Forces Korea when food was scarce.
  • In the last few years I was in Korea, Tex Mex became the trendy cuisine in Korea. I remember the first time I tried kimchi carnitas fries- I felt really skeptical about it initially but after the first delicious bite I knew it was a tasty mix. I can’t wait to try this recipe for kimchi fries!
  • I love this creative take on kimchi jeon. Jeon is a type of savory pancake (like a latke chock full of vegetables and/or meat) and one of my favorites is kimchi jeon. Mabel decided to waffle some kimchi jeon and make a bulgogi kimchi-jeon sandwich.

And finally, not kimchi related but Korea related. My friend Amy Ginther was featured in this week’s cover story on New York Time Magazine. I am incredibly proud to be her friend. Please read this article about international adoption, adoptee identity and its implications.

Happy Friday + A New Year

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Some tasty dishes at Cuban restaurant La Isla in Hoboken, New Jersey.

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Midtown Manhattan is right across the Hudson from Hoboken.

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I celebrated the new year in Hoboken, New Jersey with my boyfriend and some good friends, eating a delicious meal at Amanda’s and counting down the seconds to midnight wearing a ridiculous hat and having an obnoxious noisemaker blown into my ear. Originally I had planned to return this past Sunday but seeing how I had a week off between my old job and new, I decided to spend more time up north. I got to see my best friend Jessica in Manhattan for coffee, cook dinners for my boyfriend while he was at work and craft a long term editorial schedule for the blog. This must be what it’s like to be a New Jersey housewife (minus the table flipping and cursing).

  • This article in the New York Times discusses bone broth becoming a trendy health food, especially with the paleo crowd. They mention seolleongtang which is a Korean bone broth soup that I grew up eating. At cold noodle restaurants in Korea you can get a cup of bone broth from a large carafe as the beverage that goes along with your bowl of spicy cold noodles.
  • Style Weekly, a publication in Richmond, Virginia named the 2014 Richmonders of the Year as the food and drink pioneers of the city. Often these entrepreneurs have opened up businesses in neighborhoods ready for renewal. They’re credited for the revival of Church Hill, my favorite neighborhood in Richmond. I plan to visit Richmond in February and I have a pretty ambitious agenda for visiting many unexplored eateries.
  • A new year calls for restaurant openings. Here is a list of 9 restaurant openings happening in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia area) this year. I’m especially excited about the opening of Yona, a noodle shop that will be opening in my neighborhood. Mike Isabella is a partner of this shop and he’s opening two other restaurants in the Ballston, Arlington area that I live in: Kapnos Taverna (around the corner!) and Pepita. Walking a few blocks to good food is a pretty exciting prospect for me!
  • Before I start indulging at these new restaurants I need to consider hopping on the healthy eating bandwagon that starts creaking along in January.  My brother gave me a vegetable spiralizer for Christmas so I think the first thing I’ll be making with it will be Healthy Zucchini Noodles Chow Mein with Pork.
  • I want to pack this Sweet Potato and Green Rice Burrito Bowl for lunch every single day. It looks so satisfying and healthy.
  • Or maybe I’ll just make Black Sesame and Ginger Chicken Noodle Salad because any time I read black sesame in a recipe title my mind can’t think about anything else.
  • One of my New Year’s resolutions is to organize my apartment better, especially my kitchen. Here are 29 things you can do right know to get your kitchen organized.

Beet and Fennel Soup with Beet Green Pesto

Beet and Fennel Soup with Beet Green Pesto-1

The past few days I’ve been at my boyfriend’s apartment in Hoboken, NJ. I originally came up with my friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve and to hang out in New York but since I had a few days between jobs (yes, a big change for 2015!) I decided to stay longer to hang out a few more days. Yesterday as I made this soup a good amount of snow fell and blanketed the town and the skyline of Manhattan was blurred, the Empire State Building a shadow in the sky.

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Happy Friday + Christmas 2014

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Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with those you love. I know I had a really nice one here at home with my family eating good food, playing Scattergories and Chinese checkers, opening gifts and attempting to take a big family picture of all of us. I love the second picture of us laughing. I told them the camera took ten frames in this certain setting but no one believed me and luckily the camera caught us in an impromptu moment.

There were tons of amazing recipes out there this week but here are a few of my favorites and a couple of other links, too:

I love grits and these baked cheese grits look like the next dish I’ll be making with the bag of grits I have in the fridge.

After I introduce my family to Union Market this weekend, we’ll be heading over to DC Brau Brewing Company for a tour. They have tours on Saturdays at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

The Washington Post had an article about why you feel so lousy after a huge holiday meal around Thanksgiving, but I bet this applies to a lot of people right now.

“But if we talk among ourselves and properly love one another the best we can, we will prevail. A just and wonderful world can be ours, as long as we do not relinquish our citizenship.” -Mark Bittman’s Christmas dream.

Brian Feldman’s project “BFF” is running January 1st- December 31st in 2015. I highly encourage you to go! Brian is a wonderful and talented guy and he explores important questions about friendship through this unique and interesting show. If I seemed biased because I know him personally, check out his reviews and buy a ticket here (side note: I shot his poster! It was really fun and I also got great shots of a protest that sprang up in front of us while we shot this).

Mulled Cider with Rye

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One of my favorite things to drink when the weather gets cold is something warm with a kick like a nice chai tea or a hot toddy. On Thanksgiving my family brewed an impromptu pot of mulled apple cider and for a little extra warmth we added a nip of whiskey. For this recipe I used some apple cider pressed in Virginia and some rye whiskey distilled in Virginia.

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Pie Crust Cookies + Cookie Swap

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Last year a few bloggers I follow participated in a cookie swap for food bloggers. It seemed like fun (who doesn’t like receiving packages of cookies in the mail?) and a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers. I signed up for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap to benefit Cookies for Kids’ Cancer a few months ago. We received an email with the names of three bloggers and a few weeks ago I shipped out three boxes of a dozen cookies each to three food bloggers all around the country. In the following week I received three boxes of cookies from three other food bloggers, all delicious and beautifully presented. I got Peppermint Chocolate Chip Teacakes from Bake N Quilt, Snickers Surprise Cookies from Dining with Alice, and Candied Buddha’s Hand Olive Oil Shortbread from Culinary Adventures with Camilla. My coworkers really appreciated the many cookies I brought to the office (and my waistline appreciated it, too).

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