Tasty treats to tickle everyone’s tummy.
One day, I will venture into the kitchen to try my hand at making my own gnocchi; until then, it’s organic, vegan, gluten-free, potato, store-bought gnocchi.
Not too long ago, I made a gnocchi meal—boiling the water and dropping in the cute little lumps and watching them rise to the top. Like a lotus rising through the thick mud to spread open her blossoms. Okay, not really like that, that was my former yoga teacher voice.
I opened my email not too long ago and a temporary freebie from the NY Times Cooking segment showed a recipe for seared gnocchi with Brussels sprouts. Intrigued, since most of their recipes are not vegan, and only a few vegetarian—I saw the two items that got my salivary glands moistened, gnocchi and Brussels sprouts. I filed it in my brain for a rainy day.
Then—the weird thing that happens when you see or think something and every time you log online, there are advertisements for eco-friendly clothing, face cream, massages—and now I was seeing gnocchi everywhere.
I have to use my open bag of gnocchi in three days (that really means five). I wanted to try different tastes and went on a three-meal idea search by opening my fridge, freezer, pantry, spice cabinet, and checking out the counter.
Ingredients and items common for all three recipes:
I cook for only me, but, typically a large serving. Adjust to feed the number of hungry ones sitting around the table.
Vegan butter or any oil (or maybe none)
One large pan: no lid required
Salt and pepper, maybe
Recipe with Brussels sprouts:
Brussels sprouts: 5-10 depending on size; mine were cute petite ones, so 10.
Baby yellow squash: 1/3 to entire squash; I did a third from the plump side.
Zucchini: ¼ to entire; I cut off a third.
Turmeric, black pepper, sea salt, cumin, coriander, thyme: sprinkle, dash, measure (or not).
Recipe with tomato base:
Tomatoes: depending on the type and size of the tomato. I like multicolored ones if available at my friendly Saturday market.
Mushrooms: pick your choice, maybe go wild and mix different ones—crimini, button, portabella, shitake, lion’s mane, turkey tail, oyster. You can always use one type, such as crimini, and add a serving of a dual-extracted ‘shrooms. This is where I like to use the queen of the ‘shrooms—reishi.
Peas: Or any veggie. I used organic frozen sweet peas, about ½ cup.
Hot peppers: Any type. I use whatever I purchased at the market that week.
Hot sauce: Optional. Dump as little or as much as your taste buds desire. I know when I overdo this part because my apple cheeks redden and my nostrils flare.
Red pepper flakes & oregano: Measure or not. I really am not a fan of measuring, except the ratio of water to rice. And we’re not making that now.
Recipe with mango jam:
Mango jam: Coat the gnocchi with a layer of jam and place the covered glass bowl in the fridge. No set time; mine went in while I was making my morning coffee and breakfast. I prepare my main meals around noon.
Apples: Any type; remember though, that the jam is sweet. A tart apple would be a pucker-up complement to the sweetness of the jam. And, satisfy two of the six tastes we need at each meal.
Orange: A good way to get the sour added to your meal. I chose to use the entire orange and scooped out its juiciness with my fingers, after slicing it away from the skin with my ceramic knife. And I squeezed as much of the juice, too, as I could into the pan with the orange squishy pieces.
Mint: This optional delight to your eyes, nose, and mouth can be added in as a final cooking stage, or used as an edible garnish when plating the meal, or both.
Parsley: Same rule as the mint. I had lots of fresh mint and parsley.
Cardamom seeds, cinnamon, ginger: to taste.
Instructions for all three recipes:
1. Preheat the pan and add vegan butter or oil of choice. You can choose to skip the butter/oil and put the spices straight into the hot pan.
2. Add the spices, give it about 1-3 minutes to get your salivary glands stimulated, and then add the gnocchi. Keep a close eye or two on these and flip them to get them starting to brown.
3. Start adding the remaining ingredients in the order you want less or more cooked. So, crunchier veggies go in later, those folks desiring softer mushier veggies would add them earlier.
4. Find a bowl or plate that enhances the color of whichever recipe you selected, or roll your eyes at me and take a plate or bowl in reach. Plate with love and always remember to give gratitude first.
These three would make a fun, themed meal. Whether you are the only human in the home, or a larger group of family, or friends—get creative. Look around for a colorful centerpiece (using something in the house), a table cloth, music that fits the tastes and sights. No cellphones, no TV, no political talk. Laughter helps the digestive tract.
Bonus recipe: Spinach Carrot Mint Soup: A Bowlful of Health & Warmth.
For a whole bunch of delicious recipes, scroll through my author page.