Monday, November 30, 2009

EAT IT: Crispy Gnocchi & Lemony Greens

Having recently mastered the relatively indestructible dish of gnocchi - not to mention the fact that it pretty much goes with anything in the fridge - we've been eating it on a fairly regular basis. But I've grown weary of the "boil 'til it floats" variety of gnocchi and was looking for something different. So combined with the fact that I had a whack of kale taking up my crisper, this recipe for Crispy Gnocchi and Lemony Greens turned out to be a dream. 

Frying the gnocchi kept the insides creamy but the crispy outsides turned it into a completely different dish. The lemony greens and the bite of the parmesan balanced the richness of the gnocchi and the spice kicked everything up a few gnotches. I'm lame, I gnow.
I forgot to add the basil - it was still good. Also,  I didn't have any serrano peppers in the house so I used Rooster Sauce instead. The rooster makes everything better :)

Crisp Gnocchi with Lemon & Garlic Greens
2 – 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
About 40 fresh or frozen gnocchi
1/2 cup (loosely packed) basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped kale
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
Parmesan cheese for grating
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add about 1 – 2 tbsp. olive oil. Once it’s hot, place half the gnocchi in the pan. Leave them undisturbed for 5 – 7 minutes on each side, Checking the bottom of a gnocchi occasionally until they’re deeply golden, then flip. You want to make sure not to move them around too much or they won’t develop their golden crust.
Once they’re done, remove them to a plate, then add more oil and make the remaining gnocchi. When all the gnocchi is done, add the kale, basil, garlic, serrano and lemon juice to the hot pan. Sautee for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted and the garlic begins to brown.
Divide the gnocchi among 2 plates and top with the kale mixture. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.

Thanks to Bitchincamero for the recipe. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Things I Wish I Had Known Before Spinning

This week I branched out and joined a spinning class. Usually I hate group exercise - the instructors screech, the music is annoying, people smell... and I'm a cranky old lady SO GET OFF MY LAWN.
It must be said though that I actually had a good time. The class was lead by a non-gym bunny and she turned the lights down low for a sweaty, romantic vibe. It worked.

Two things I wish someone had told me:
1. Run shorts are entirely too short for spinning. Your excess lady parts will rub in a most unpleasant manner.
2. You will lose your own body weight in sweat. Seriously, I have never been this soaked.
Also, I forgot to bring a water bottle, leaving me with the rankest of pasty mouths. Apologies to the guy beside me for my unforgiveable mouth breathing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eating - not just an exercise in chewing

Over the past few years (or let's face it - since I started blogging in 2005) I have taken to photographing and discussing at length the food that we eat in restaurants. The bf used to be quite reticent about the taking of flash photography in public spaces, so now I only snap when light allows. You see - I can compromise.

The majority of the time I'm snapping images of food that I love. Food that makes me want to cry and sing and never stop eating. Unfortunately there are those occasional times when the crying and singing turns into pouting and shouting. As I get older and evolve into more of a "foodie" of sorts I have increased expectations of my food outings - and my demands go beyond the ingredients on the plate to the cleanliness of the bathroom, the knowledge of the servers and the noise level of the dining room. Call me a Dining Room Diva. I can take it.

The worst and most legendary of our food outings occurred in Dublin a few years ago. We went to a pizzeria called Mustard's which was highly rated in our travel guide. We ended up being served cardboard box pizza with raw ingredients and pizza sauce that seemed to be infused with the oils of stale cigarette buts. On top of it all we had the nastiest 17 year old Dolores O'Riordan lookalike waitress and were charged over 60 euro's for this gastric disaster. Ugh, I still shake with rage remembering that unfortunate event.

In October we were lucky enough to travel to both San Francisco and New York City and - as tends to happen with us - we arrived our first night with an empty belly and no reservations. I hate it when this happens because we end up desperate, looking for whatever is palatable and close.
In New York this translated into a diner. The first one that we chose we ended up walking out of because in the words of my bf "there are too many organ meats on the menu for my liking". I concurred. Alas, we stayed on 7th Avenue and thus were destined to a menu that specialized in taking tourists hostage thus resulting in a $19 pastrami sandwich. Ugh, I still can't believe I engaged in such behavior. I had a hankering for pastrami (hence the diner obsession) but as soon as we ordered I said "this is going to be one of those meals that I regret forever". I was half right. My sandwich ended up being fairly delicious and immense, but for nineteen diner dollars I expect more than a plate lined with a pickle slice and half a teaspoon of coleslaw. Yes, in this case quantity counts. The bf was not so lucky with overcooked and under-seasoned veggie lasagna. He suffered in silence.

The issue at hand is not simply a matter of getting what I pay for - it's of not wanting to waste my time on awful or "good enough" food. If I'm out (especially if I'm traveling) I want to spend my time discovering hidden treats and enjoying every last bite and sip of every plate and cup on my table. My friend over at Bon Vivant said it best recently "... this gets back to the argument that we all work too hard for our money, and our time on this blue-green orb is too short to waste time with mediocrity like this."

Three cheers Bon Vivant, I knew I liked your dinner table for a reason. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dear Toronto; New York has something to teach you

Sunday while the bf was having a post-race lie down I went to wander Fifth Avenue. Examining some jewelry at the Met gift shop the saleslady asked me if I'd like to become a member of the Met. I explained that I was from out of town and only there for the marathon.
She got very excited.
I explained how refreshing it was to see so many locals actually excited about and supporting such a HUGE race.
I asked her - don't people get pissed off about being so inconvenienced?
She says "Honey, if you don't want to be inconvenienced than you've got to move OUT of the city".

Snap Toronto. You've been served.
Now quit your damn whining.