Holiday season is in full swing and with it comes specialty foods, recipes, and what we like to call food memories. Most of us have a special food (or many!) that elicit memories and remind us of past times and holidays spent with friends and family. The senses are very tied to memory and while eating both taste and smell senses are triggered, hence, food memories! This week we explore one of Cecelia's nearest and dearest food memories, gnocchi.
Gnocchi are a type of homemade pasta though are also considered dumplings as they contain potatoes. To make homemade, gnocchi are time intensive and can take a few attempts to master the texture, though are completely worth it! Gnocchi are common in Italian cuisine and Cecelia's Italian grandmother was somewhat of a gnocchi master. Cecelia remembers her grandmother's gnocchi as perfect pillows of dough that melt in the mouth and just the word gnocchi, to this day, conjures memories of Christmas days spent cooking and enjoying this delectable dish. Her grandmother didn't need to follow a recipe and seemingly easily prepared 300+ gnocchi for a single meal. Cecelia treasures making gnocchi every year for Christmas though may never achieve the gnocchi mastership living in her "food memories." But that's okay! Gnocchi are delicious in many forms, with different recipes, and made by different chefs. We took a more nutritious take on the traditional gnocchi by using sweet potato and the results were delicious and stunning. Are you ready for some gnocchi making?
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes
Servings: 8-10 servings
2 lb sweet potato
1 cup all-purpose flour + 1/4-1/2 cup additional
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup full fat ricotta cheese
8 Tbsp salted butter
4 Tbsp pasta water (reserved from cooking)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
8 large kale leaves + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
8 oz full fat ricotta cheese, about 1 oz per serving
Boil sweet potatoes until soft in texture, about 20-25 minutes. Allow cooked potatoes to cool, then remove skin and process potatoes through a potato ricer. If you do not have a potato ricer a food processor will also work*.
In a large bowl combine 1 cup flour and salt and form a well. In the center of the well, add in 1 egg, ricotta cheese, and riced sweet potatoes. Using your hands and working from the outside of the well, fold flour into the wet ingredients. Add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup flour 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead dough gently for about 60 seconds until dough comes together. With floured hands and on a lightly floured surface, pinch off 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a long cylinder about 3/4" thick using the tips of your fingers to roll to avoid compressing the dough. Cut each gnocchi into 3/4-1" pieces and repeat until all the dough has been shaped (pictures above). Continue to add flour to your hands and work surface if dough becomes too sticky to handle while working. Keep gnocchi on a lightly floured sheet pan while you're shaping the remainder. This gnocchi dough recipe will make about 100-120 gnocchi (more or less depending on the size you cut them). We froze 1/2 of the shaped, uncooked gnocchi to use later, just make sure to freeze on a sheet pan prior to placing in a air tight bag to prevent gnocchi from sticking.
To cook the remaining 1/2 of the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add 7-10 gnocchi to the hot water at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the top. Remove cooked gnocchi from the water and set aside. Continue this process until all gnocchi has been cooked. Reserve the cooking water for use in the sauce.
To make the brown butter sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pan set to medium heat and cook until butter turns brown and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low then add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute. Add 4 Tbsp of reserved cooking water and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
To prepare the messaged kale, wash, de-stem, and chop the kale. Add the olive oil and salt to the chopped kale and message until bright green and wilted then set aside.
In the sauce pan used to make the brown butter sauce, add cooked gnocchi, messaged kale, and chopped walnuts. Stir gnocchi to evenly coat with sauce and serve with an additional dollop of ricotta cheese on top.
*If using a food processor, avoid over processing the potatoes as this will cause them to become starchy and gummy.
After one bite of homemade gnocchi, you just might be hooked and create some special food memories of your own. And we must stress how different homemade are from prepared, store bought options are much gummier and chewier and overall just not as enjoyable (in our opinion). Each bite of this dish is loaded with sweet and savory flavor, a mix of textures including pillowy gnocchi, and a gorgeous pop of colors. We hope you're creating great memories this holiday season.
Jess and Cecelia
Hi friends! We hope you had a great holiday last week and enjoyed some great eats like we did. With it being that time of year when it starts to get colder and darker, we've noticed a shift in our recipes to some "cozier" foods. Rich flavors, warm dishes, and hearty meals are just what we are craving during this transition in seasons. This recipe for example includes hearty fall greens and starchy beans with a rich but still bright white wine sauce. Let's get to it.
Hearty Greens N' Beans
PREP TIME: 10 minutes (plus 8 hours to soak beans)
TOTAL TIME: 60-90 minutes, includes cooking beans* (plus 8 hours to soak beans)
2/3 cup dried beans, ~2 cups cooked (we used a variety of heirloom beans, however any dried bean would work)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 small red onions, diced
2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp stone ground mustard
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 large bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
3 small endive, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Shaved Parmesan to taste (~2 oz or 1/2 oz per dish)
Pre-soak beans in room temperature water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse beans, cover with water in a large pot, and gently boil for at least one hour* or until soft. In a medium sauté pan set to medium heat, add olive oil and chopped onion and sauté until translucent and golden on the edges, ~10 minutes. Add minced garlic and mustard to the pan and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add wine to de-glaze the pan, then add the vegetable stock and turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the cooked beans, chopped kale and endive, and salt and pepper then simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the greens are somewhat wilted and bright green in color. Remove from the heat, add chopped parsley and shaved Parmesan and serve immediately. This dish is best eaten the same day it is cooked.
*Cooking times will vary depending on the beans used and may take 1-3 hours to fully cook
Well there you have it, a warming and cozy but still completely nutritious dish. Though containing mostly greens and beans, this dish feels extra hearty and rich from the flavorful herb and wine sauce. If you're looking to make this meal extra cozy, serve over pasta or with fresh bread. Go on, get cozy!
Jess and Cecelia
There are many different ways to enjoy Thanksgiving. Here at TGBK we enjoy the festivities poultry free, instead opting for seasonal produce based dishes that are still gobble worthy (meaning you'll want to gobble them up!). We've picked a few of our favorite fall recipes to features here - which will make the cut for your Thanksgiving table this year?
Bright fall colors and a mix of unique ingredients create a standout starter to your meal. Originally debuted as Freaky Freekah Halloween Salad (recipe here) can easily be re-titled "Freekah-mazing Harvest Salad" for its Thanksgiving use.
An impressive, photo-worthy, and unique main vegetarian entree for your Thanksgiving table. This Brussels Sprouts Tart (recipe here) is rich and savory with bold flavors and textures. There is nothing quite like whipped ricotta to top off any dish, especially this one.
What plant based meal would be complete without a veggie based cake? Our Rainbow Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting (recipe here) provides the sweetest finishing touch to a seasonal and inspired meal.
We sincerely wish you a happy, healthy, and delicious holiday-
Jess and Cecelia
Hello friends, we've got a unique take on a classic fall recipe for you this week. Along with that we have some fun new developments that you could say are also orange in color....
Just what are we talking about, Yummly. If you aren't familiar yet, Yummly is a recipe database on which you can search for millions of recipes and save your favorites to your personal page - check it out here. We've started to add the Yum button to the bottom of our posts (look for a little orange "Yum") so that you can easily save our recipes once you've created a Yummly account. On Yummly you can begin to build a portfolio of your favorite recipes from all over the web (with a large percentage of TGBK recipes of course, wink, wink). All our new recipes will include this Yum button and we will start adding the button to older posts though this will take some time (there are just so many!). We have a few recipes published to our Yummly account which you can check out here, and look forward to "yumming" many more. We thank you for your patience as we get more added and hope you enjoy creating your own virtual recipe book.
Butternut Squash Red Curry Soup
PREP TIME: 35 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes
Servings: ~ 10 cups of soup
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt + 1/4-1/2 tsp to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp fresh ginger juice (2 Tbsp chopped ginger root would also work)
3 Tbsp red curry paste
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 cups full fat coconut milk
1 package (15 oz) sprouted tofu, cubed (or protein of your choice - white beans or chick peas would also work)
1 cup dry pearl barley (or grain of your choice - quinoa, spelt berries, or wheat berries would also work)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash, peel, and cube butternut squash then place on a parchment lined backing sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft enough to pierce with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Cook pearl barley according to package instructions then set aside.
Drain tofu from water and cube into bite size pieces then set aside.
In a large pot set to medium heat, sauté onion with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook onion until translucent and golden on the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic to the pot and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the ginger juice or chopped fresh ginger and red curry paste. Stir until combined then add vegetable broth, peanut butter, and cooked butternut squash to the pot and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and work in batches to puree soup contents in a large blender on high until completely smooth. Add pureed soup back to the pot, stir in 2 cups coconut milk and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add additional 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste.
Pour hot soup into serving bowls and top with cubed tofu, pearl barley, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, the juice of 1 lime wedge, and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes. If you do not plan to serve all the soup at once, store soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. If you freeze your left overs, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw about 2 days prior to consuming. It's best to keep the toppings separate from the puree and add them in when you're ready to warm up your next bowl of soup. Enjoy!
This soup really does deserve the "Yum." Such an interesting twist on a fall favorite - butternut squash soup. Though in this preparation the mild squash is brightened by red curry and made super rich with the addition of coconut milk. Peanut butter provides a nutty finish and the various toppings can be adjusted to your liking. Why not take a risk with your next squash and try this variation? And don't forget the Yum!
Jess and Cecelia
As we celebrate all things fall with seasonal produce inspired recipes, we can't help but feel bad for the less "popular" vegetable crops. We think it's about time we invite them to fall recipe party. Take parsnip for example, an easily forgotten root vegetable that almost looks and tastes like a carrot, but isn't....
Though not a carrot, parsnips are a closely related root vegetable but have a pale color and more mild taste. Parsnips are also starchier than carrots which lend them better to cooked preparations similar to the potato. Then why choose parsnip over potato or carrot? Because v-a-r-i-e-t-y is the basis of a well-rounded, wholesome, and nourishing diet. Every plant provides its own unique profile of nutrients that we can benefit from, especially if we vary the type of foods eaten week to week and season to season. Specifically, parsnip provides double the amount of fiber per serving than potato - definitely an added bonus for a food not generally considered "healthy," fries. Though we gave them a healthier spin with the use of parsnip and a baked (not fried) preparation.
Parsnip Greek Fries
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes (includes roasting time)
1 Tbsp ghee, melted
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt (reserve 1/8 tsp to sprinkle over the top once out of the oven)
2 oz feta cheese
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Wash parsnips then use a vegetable peeler to peel off outer skin. Cut parsnips into long skinny sticks. Toss parsnips with melted ghee and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp sea salt. Roast in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once for even cooking. Adjust oven to the broiler setting and broil fries for ~2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove fries from the oven, sprinkle with remaining 1/8 tsp sea salt, chopped parsley, dried oregano, feta, and lemon juice. Toss fries until evenly coated then serve immediately. Fries taste best hot and crispy right out of the oven. Enjoy!
If these pictures aren't enough to persuade you let us explain that these fries are the perfect combination of salty and sweet thanks to the subtly sweet parsnip. The lemon and herbs brighten each bite rounded by a richness from the feta. This recipe is truly not to be missed. After you've tried it, we hope you agree that it's about time to invite parsnips to your party.
Jess and Cecelia
It is apple picking season and you know what that means, an abundance of apples! If you're like us there is no such thing as self control when there are so many varieties of fresh from the tree, local apples to choose from. With that being said, we have to get creative in ways to use all these apples. Apple slices with nut butter will always be a favorite but we love finding new and exciting ways to enjoy this fabulous fall fruit. It's also interesting how different varieties lend themselves to different types of recipes depending on their flavor profile. For this recipe (which is also a unique use of oatmeal might we add), a tart apple variety worked perfect for the bottom of the bake and a sweeter apple for the raw slices on top. So pick your favorites and let's get to it!
Baked Apple Oatmeal
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 90 minutes
2 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened toasted shaved coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 4 Tbsp water + 2 Tbsp ginger juice)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla soy milk (or milk alternative of your choice)
1/2 cup no sugar added apple sauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil + 1 tsp to oil the pan
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large tart apples, chopped into 1"x 1" pieces (~3 cups)
1 small sweet apple, sliced thin (optional topping)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9"X9" glass pan with coconut oil. Wash and chop apples into 1"x1" squares and place in the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a large bowl combine oats, toasted coconut, chopped walnuts, ground cinnamon, and baking powder then mix well until combined.
In a separate bowl whisk flax seeds with water and ginger juice and let sit for about 5 minutes or until gelatinous. Add soy milk, apple sauce, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the flax seed eggs and whisk until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Spread oatmeal mixture over the chopped apples making sure they are fully covered. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 60 minutes. Remove oatmeal from the oven, allow to set and slightly cool for ~5 minutes. Layer top with apple slices if desired and enjoy!
Oatmeal is great by itself, on top of yogurt or ice cream, or in a bowl with additional milk. Leftover oatmeal can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge and reheated in the microwave for 60 seconds or placed back in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Oatmeal will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Though this recipe may look unassuming, it tastes SO good. The warm baked apples meld perfectly with the hearty oatmeal and finish with a fresh crunch of sweet apple topping. Can be enjoyed for breakfast/brunch though may be best enjoyed over vanilla ice cream for dessert (wink, wink).
Any way you choose - enjoy,
Jess and Cecelia
A whole new season of recipes is upon us here in Chicago and we can barely contain our excitement. And why should we!? The abundance of fall produce has sparked our creativity as we dream up hearty and festive ways to utilize the new ingredients. One of our ultimate fall favorites, squash. With so many varieties to choose from the recipe ideas are almost endless. We decided to start with something simple and familiar. A recipe that lends itself to your favorite squash variety. We used butternut for our hummus but know that the recipe would be just as great with acorn squash or pumpkin. We look forward to a fun filled fall with you!
Spicy Squash Hummus
PREP TIME: 35-40 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins
1 can organic chick peas
1 cup cooked squash (we used butternut squash)
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 tsp drizzled on top
1 Tbsp sriracha sauce + 1 tsp drizzled on top
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise then place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes or until inside is soft. Scoop out the inside of the squash and place in a bowl to the side to cool to room temperature. Combine chick peas, 1 cup cooled squash, tahini, olive oil, sriracha, garlic, cumin, and salt in a blender and process on high until a smooth hummus is formed. Scoop out hummus into a bowl or platter and drizzle with additional olive oil and sriracha. Hummus can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge in an air tight container. Any left overs can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The squash addition makes this hummus SO creamy and provides a stunning pop of color. Though the flavor is mild and similar to traditional hummus, exactly why we decided to mix it up with a spicy ingredient. And don't forget about the extra nutrients (specifically vitamin A - more on that coming in another post this season) that you'll get by adding this simple, seasonal ingredient.
Jess and Cecelia
The school year is back in full swing which means, for many, a change in schedules very different from the lazy days of summer. For those of you finding the adjustment difficult - this recipe is for you! A delicious breakfast drink combining protein, natural sugar, and your morning dose of caffeine. Perfect for the hectic days where time is too precious to be making separate breakfast and coffee (we get it).
Sweet and Creamy Cold Brew Smoothie
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 5 minutes
Servings: one 8 oz smoothie
6 oz unflavored cold brew coffee, homemade or store bought
1 Tbsp cashew butter
2 medjool dates
1/4 vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a high speed blender combine cold brew, cashew butter, dates, and vanilla and blend on high speed for 30-60 seconds. Add blender contents to a drink shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously to chill the smoothie then pour
through a strainer into a glass. Sip chilled smoothie and enjoy!
We hope this recipe makes your busy days just a little bit easier. The creamy texture combined with sweet coffee flavor may make this a recipe you enjoy on more that just your busy days - it's that good.
Jess and Cecelia
We got to counting the other day and realized that TGBK now features almost 150 recipes on our site! Not to boast (well maybe a little), but we've got tons of great recipe options of all different varieties and skill levels. Some of our recipe preparations are complex and call for lesser known ingredients though we love the simplicity of one step, few ingredient recipes too. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best because they allow the featured ingredient to really shine - this week, zucchini. Their abundance in home gardens or at farmers markets this time of year can lead to the inevitable question, what to do with all this zucchini? This recipe was born of just that question and with simplicity in mind. Similar but a unique alternative to the popular zucchini noodles.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2-4 servings
4 medium zucchini
Juice of 1/4 of a lemon, ~2 tsp
1 tsp green curry powder (red curry powder will also work)
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin set on 1/8" setting to peel or slice zucchini into ribbons. Combine zucchini ribbons in a bowl with lemon juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Enjoy immediately at room temperature or this salad can be saved in the fridge for up to one day.
Zucchini prepared this way is just so good! The texture is soft but with a fresh crunch, the flavor light and bright, and the presentation is well, gorgeous. The seasoning can be adjusted to whatever you have or like as zucchini is mild and takes to flavor well. Swap out the curry powder for basil and oregano and you've got an Italian take on this zucchini salad. Zucchini is the perfect late summer food "canvas" for your flavor creations and the possibilities are endless.
Jess and Cecelia
What are you eating this holiday weekend? In our opinion, more important than the typical questions regarding holiday weekend plans. So when asked, lead with your food plans first, like us! And no need to think too hard about them - we've got you covered...
Cheers to Friday and cheers to those of us in the workforce. I'm sure we've all been working hard to deserve the day off Monday and this adult beverage of course. Recipe for our Kombucha Cocktail or Mocktail - add it to your food plans.
An original but still favorite TGBK recipe for our Sweet and Salty Shishito Bites is a perfect appetizer for a gathering or a simple snack dinner if you're just completely done with all forms of work right now (including cooking). Second must on your list of food plans.
Food plans finale - we saved this for last because we just can't think of a better way to treat yourself this holiday weekend than with a gourmet and perfectly cooked grilled cheese. Our Trumpet Mushroom Grilled Cheese recipe is just that. Feel free to sub with other mushroom varieties you find available.
Happy Labor Day,
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.