October 15, 2015

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Kalamata Olive “Pesto”

There was quite the dilemma at our table when I told the fellas their choices for the “Orange & Black Improv Cooking Challenge. They wished to try “all the above”, so we made two meals -- one over here, which was slightly Southwesty, & this one, was moderately Mediterranean. E.J. gnocchi (21)

We served the gnocchi with blackened salmon, for one more layer of orange & black…

    • 2 c. mashed sweet potato (bake sweet potatoes @ 400° for about an hour, let cool)
    • 1 c. ricotta cheese (let drain overnight until it’s about 6 oz.)
    • 1 t. kosher salt
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/4 c. gluten-free flour, plus some for the work surface

I started out by draining the ricotta overnight so it would be nice & dry for the gnocchi. I also baked the sweet potatoes ahead of time.E.J. sweet potato gnocchi(This was my first time using Bob’s Red Mill® Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. It worked, but tasted slightly “rice-y”, I thought…) You can see I tried to make the ridges with a fork, but that wasn’t working for me. I’ve since picked up a gnocchi board at the kitchen store to use on the next batch…

E.J. kalamata pestoAfter the gnocchi was sitting around drying a little before cooking; I started the tedious process of hand-chopping the pesto ingredients. (Using the food processor would’ve made this too pasty, I think.)

    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 6 oz. Kalamata black olives, pitted and chopped
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1.5 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves (about 2 oz.) chopped

Time to brown the gnocchi in butterE.J. gnocchi (19)I may or may not have eaten half while waiting for everyone to show up from school/work.E.J. gnocchi (20)

The salmon was simple. It wasn’t truly blackened. E.J. gnocchi (18)I used a tablespoon each of dark brown sugar, espresso powder & Cajun seasoning. E.J. gnocchi (17)I stuck it in a 425° oven for 10-12 minutes. Came out perfect!

The fellas love the Kalamata condiment! This nacho plate happened more than once with the leftovers:E.J. gnocchi (6)Yes! That’s tortilla chips, salmon, pesto & a little Colby-Jack… to. die. for.

Here are the links to the other Orange & Black participants’ foods:

Cilantro-Lime Black Rice & Southwest Grilled Shrimp

There was quite the dilemma at our table when I told the fellas their choices for the “Orange & BlackImprov Cooking Challenge. They wished to try “all the above”, so we made two meals -- this one, which was slightly Southwesty, & the other one, moderately Mediterranean.E.J. orange-black (4)
We’d had black rice before, so I knew its color wouldn’t be black black, but I went with it anyhow…E.J. orange-black (2)
Started out by getting the shrimp a-marinating. E.J. orange-black (1)OH   MY   WORD! This marinade is awesome & I will most definitely be trying it out on other proteins!
    • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 3 T. chipotlé sauce
    • 3 T. tequila
    • 1 T. coconut oil
    • 1 t. crushed red pepper
    • ¼ t. Chipotlé Tabasco®
    • 1/2 t. kosher salt
    • 6 garlic cloves, pressed
    • 1 t. cumin
    • 1 ½ pounds unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
I cooked the rice according to the package directions, and then stirred in the cilantro lime elements which I’d run through the Blendtec. E.J. orange-black (3)So simple!
    • ½ t. pink Himalayan sea salt
    • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/3 c. fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 cups uncooked black rice
    • zest from one lime
Next time I will probably add a bit more cilantro. I went pretty light with it, ‘cause the fellas are not huge fans… You might notice from the picture that my limes are yellow. When they ripened on the tree they turn that color. (Plus, they’re slightly sweet. So, if you’re using store-bought green limes, you might wish to add a little sugar or honey to sweeten the rice a bit.)

I bet you’re curious to see what my fellow Improvians cooked up this month, right? Just follow their links here: