Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gnocchi with Spinach and Gorgonzola

As I said in yesterday's post, when I was freshly out of my dad's and living on my own, the first cookbook I bought was Rachael Ray's Just in Time.  Since I had it out to make the flounder, I decided to whip up another old favorite last night - Gnocchi with Spinach and Gorgonzola.  We usually make this as a main course, but we had bought some salmon the other day and wanted to have that, so the gnocchi ended up being a side for that (which meant more leftovers and a yummy lunch today!)

This is very simple to make, though Rachael Ray says it takes 15 minutes and tries to lay it out step by step so you can be doing 5 things at once.  The way it's written, it's a little hard to tell exactly when you're supposed to start the next step, and usually I was still finishing one thing when the timer for the previous component went off.  In all, it took me maybe 30 min to get everything done and cooked.  To make this kosher, I substituted Imagine No-Chicken Broth for the chicken stock.  Additionally, in my market, the gnocchi only comes in 17oz packages, so we ended up using a bit more than she says.  Oh, and I thought that we had chopped walnuts at home and it turned out we barely had any left, so I used sliced almonds this time around.  Tasted delish, though!

Gnocchi with Spinach and Gorgonzola (from Rachael Ray's Just in Time)

2 (10 oz) boxes frozen chopped spinach
2 (14-16oz) packages fresh gnocchi
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 4 times around the pan
3 to 4 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
Black Pepper
1 cup chicken stock
8 oz gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

- To defrost the spinach, place it on a plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Wring it dry in a clean kitchen towel and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the gnocchi and season it liberally with salt.  Cut open the gnocchi packages and set aside.
- Place the walnuts in a small skillet and toss over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes until toasted and fragrant.
- In a deep skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic to the warm oil, then add the spinach, separating the clumps as you add it to the garlic oil.  Season the spinach with salt and pepper, add the stock, and bring to a bubble over medium heat.  add the gorgonzola to the spinach and stir until it melts.
- While the spinach heats, cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the surface.  Drain, then add to the spinach and toss for 1 minute to coat, then adjust the seasonings.  Serve the gnocchi topped with the toasted walnuts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poached Flounder

When I was first living on my own, I decided that I should try eating like an actual adult and cook real meals, so I went out and bought Rachael Ray's Just in Time.  One of the first recipes I tried was her recipe for Poached Flounder.  In the past, I would eat flounder a few times a month, but mostly just put lemon juice and paprika on it and throw it under a broiler for a bit, so I was excited to have a new way to cook it.  It was so delicious that I started making it every few months.  A few months into dating my now-husband, I decided to cook for him and made this dish.  I'm convinced it's one of the reasons he married me.  Even at my bridal shower, they played a game where they asked me questions and I had to guess his answer.  They asked what his favorite dish I made was his favorite, and without hesitating I knew it was this one.  He knows that I've been trying to make new stuff and try new recipes, but every so often he'll put in a request for the flounder.

What's interesting about this dish, kosher-wise, is that it can be dairy, parve, or meat with minor adjustments.  I normally make it dairy, using butter and vegetable stock, but this time decided to make it a meat dish, using soy margarine and chicken stock.  To make it parve, I'd use the soy margarine and either vegetable stock, or (the best invention ever for Kosher cooking) Imagine No-Chicken Broth.  The recipe actually calls for chicken or seafood stock, but I haven't yet found a Kosher seafood stock, so I'm not sure how that would change the flavor profile.

I don't know if it was the chicken stock or the fact that my chopping skills have vastly improved recently (thanks to a knife skills class at The Brooklyn Kitchen) but this was the best this dish has ever tasted!  This recipe will be staying in regular rotation for a long time to come....

Cheryl's Poached Fish (from Rachael Ray's Just in Time)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons drained capers
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken or seafood stock
4 (6-8 ox) fillets of flounder or other white fish
Black Pepper
1 lemon, sliced
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Crusty bread for mopping

- In a large skillet, melt the butter into the extra virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the capers, Worchestershire, and wine, and allow the wine to bubble up and reduce for a minute, then stir in the stock.
- Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Arrange the fish in the skillet, scatter the lemon slices around the skillet, and poach the fish for 10 to 12 minutes until firm and opaque.
- Scatter the parsley over the fish, then transfer the fillets and sauce to shallow bowls or deep plates and serve with bread for mopping.