cook this / beet gnocchi with brown butter & crispy sage

Hi, and happy Monday! Hopefully you managed to dig yourself out of the snow and made it to work or school safely. Did everyone have a fun Superbowl Sunday?

We are getting close to Valentine's Day, and I want to share a delicious, hearty winter meal that can double as a Valentine's Day dinner. It's a MAGENTA meal :) almost too pretty to eat!

I have always had a thing for gnocchi. The pillowy texture melts in your mouth, and it is just. so. good. I've always gone the store-bought route, for fear of spending hours on homemade gnocchi, only to ruin it. Well, a few months ago I went to the market and bought a ton of local beets. Feeling adventurous, I decided to try out homemade beet gnocchi. I have to admit, I was incredibly intimidated. I read a million and one recipes, compared techniques and ingredient lists, and decided to go for it - knowing full well I'd have a meltdown if things didn't turn out well. Obviously I wouldn't share the recipe, and the meltdown, if things went poorly... and they didn't! Gnocchi (well, beet gnocchi) is so easy to make! I couldn't believe it. Sure, there are a ton of variations out there that may be more complex, or more authentic, but mine came together quickly and easily. Not to mention, beautifully! I'm obsessed with the magenta color of beets, so just use your imagination to picture my happy dance when I was rolling out MAGENTA gnocchi dough. Heaven!

The texture of the beet gnocchi is a little more dense and chewy than a traditional store-bought gnocchi because there are no potatoes in this recipe. If you want a more pillowy, light and fluffy texture, try this recipe. This is a perfect recipe to try out during a lazy weekend before wowing your family and friends with your culinary abilities. The gnocchi freezes well, so you can try out a few different sauces each time.

I decided to make a simple brown butter sage sauce to avoid overpowering the flavor of the gnocchi. The roasted beet flavor paired with the crispy, rich brown butter sage sauce is earthy, savory and delicious. If you're feeling resourceful, make a beet green pesto instead! I had good intentions of making the pesto first, but the brown butter sage sauce sounded too delicious to pass up. Try this easy recipe for beet green pesto.

Beet Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Crispy Sage

Beet Gnocchi
4 small beets, or 2 large ones (reserve the beet greens for juicing, blanching, or making homemade pesto!)
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 1/4 c. - 1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Brown Butter Sage Sauce
4 T. unsalted butter
10 small sage leaves (fresh)
Grated parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove stems and greens from beets. (Set aside if you plan to use them for pesto, juicing, etc.)
Scrub beets, dry them, and toss them in 1 T. olive oil. Place them on a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour.

Once the beets are done roasting, puree them in a food processor or Vitamix. If the beets are organic, keep the skins on for added nutrients. If not, carefully remove the skins before pureeing.

Let the beet puree cool for about 30 minutes (place in refrigerator to speed up the process). Add 1 cup of the beet puree to a large bowl, and mix in egg, parmesan, salt, and 1/2 cup flour. Continue adding flour until the mixture forms a dough. Liberally flour your working surface (and hands) and divide the dough into 3 large balls. Roll each ball into a long rope, about 1" thick. Slice your gnocchi about 1" wide, and roll each gnocchi onto the backside of a fork to create indentations. (These indentations hold the sauce better!) Repeat with each ball of dough.

 It kind of looks like a sticky heart... (not the cute kind; the organ kind)

It kind of looks like a sticky heart... (not the cute kind; the organ kind)

Place a sheet of wax paper on a roasting pan and place gnocchi in rows. I found that it was easiest to press the fork into the gnocchi on the pan and reshape if necessary (some of the gnocchi got very flat and very sad, so I had to smush them back together). Set the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Beets7.jpg

If you plan to freeze half the batch, stop at this step. Put the gnocchi in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 30 days.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

**Feel free to pat yourself on the back, skip around your kitchen full of glee, and treat yourself to a glass of wine (if you weren't already drinking one)... you did it!!!! Gnocchi isn't as terrifying to prepare as it seems!**  

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the sage leaves and cook for about 3 minutes, or until butter turns a light brown and sage leaves are crispy. Season with cracked black pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup).

Add the gnocchi and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until gnocchi floats to the top of the water. Drain, and add to brown butter sage sauce. Optional: add the cooked gnocchi to the brown butter sauce and cook until edges of the gnocchi are crispy. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
 

cook this / pumpkin spice corn muffins

You better believe I have a pumpkin spice recipe to share with you... it is October, after all! 'Tis the pumpkin spice season. The best part about this recipe is that it is SO EASY. It's what Sandra Lee calls "semi-homemade", all thanks to Jiffy. Honestly, this is barely even a recipe, more of an experiment gone right.

colorwhirl | pumpkin spice corn muffins

Normally the recipes I post have a nutritious twist, but these are just plain, simple, and delicious. No gluten-free (sorry!), paleo, fiber-packed, protein-packed muffins here, just some easy corn muffins with an extra dose of vitamins A, C, and E from the pumpkin. All you need are 7 ingredients, all of which I had on hand - and you likely do, too.

These are so simple, and SO tasty that they could easily be added to your Thanksgiving spread (that is, if your family members are huge planners - or foodies - and discuss who's making what this far in advance ;).

Now, go get your pumpkin spice on.

colorwhirl | pumpkin spice corn muffins

Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients
1 box Jiffy corn mix
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger

colorwhirl | pumpkin spice corn muffins

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin, or fill each cup with paper liners. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

Fill each muffin halfway, and cook for 15-18 minutes. Test to see if the muffins are done by inserting a toothpick into the center of a muffin. They are done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Drizzle a little honey on top while the muffins are still warm, and enjoy!

colorwhirl | pumpkin spice corn muffins

cook this 16 / caprese flatbread

We are officially nearing the end of summer, which also means the end of abundant summer produce. Hurry up and make this with fresh cherry tomatoes while you can.

caprese flatbread | colorwhirl

I'm a big fan of homemade pizza, but sometimes you just don't have time to make homemade dough. Either that, or you're craving pizza but don't want the calories that come with delicious, fresh dough. The flatbread doesn't really bring much flavor to the table, but it's a healthier alternative and you can top it with piles of cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, basil, salami, and call it a low(er)-carb day. I'm not calling this a healthy recipe; I'm just saying it's healthIER :)

caprese flatbread | colorwhirl

You don't have to roast the cherry tomatoes before making the pizza, but you really should. I don't even LIKE cherry tomatoes and I inhaled these... that's how good they are. Roasting the tomatoes brings out a sweet flavor, reducing the sour or tart flavor they normally have. Toss them in olive oil, kosher salt & pepper, and they're so delicious, you could eat them on their own.

caprese flatbread | colorwhirl

Caprese Flatbread with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

2-3 flatbreads
1 pint cherry tomatoes
8 oz. package of fresh mozzarella
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
4 oz. cured salami, sliced thin
Extra virgin olive oil (about 3 T.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh basil leaves, torn

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Directions

Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cherry tomatoes in 2 T. extra virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and black pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast tomatoes for 10-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don't burn.

Flatbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place flatbreads on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle each with 1 T. extra virgin olive oil. Season each with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Top flatbread with mozzarella, crumbled goat cheese, roasted tomatoes, and salami. Cook the flatbread in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt. (All of the ingredients are pre-cooked, so you don't have to worry about anything cooking through.) Top with basil, and enjoy!

Other toppings
Arugula, spinach, roasted zucchini, roasted red pepper, balsamic drizzle

caprese flatbread | colorwhirl

cook this / 15

Happy Monday, everyone!

I seriously cannot believe it's already August. With summer beginning to wind down, I plan to enjoy all of the seasonal produce I can! We are lucky to have so many farmer's markets in our area. Sweet corn is one of those summer traditions that brings me back to my childhood. My sister and I would help my parents shuck corn on the stoop of our front porch, though I was about 4 or 5 and I'm not sure I was very good at it... :)

SweetCornChowder

Despite the fact that it's summertime, I've been craving healthy corn chowder. I'm not a fan of the cream-based soups that make you feel heavy afterwards, and there's no sense in weighing a fresh summer staple down with half & half. The corn deserves better!

This sweet corn chowder is so flavorful and rich, without having to use heavy cream or milk of any kind. The greek yogurt adds a boost of protein, thickening up the soup to more of a true chowder-like consistency. There are so few ingredients and this comes together quickly, making it an easy weeknight meal that highlights fresh summer produce in the best kind of way.

This soup can be served hot, but it's also really delicious cold. If you want to make this vegetarian, omit the pancetta and use vegetable stock rather than chicken stock.

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Sweet Corn Chowder

Ingredients
6 ears sweet corn
1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 cubes
1 package cubed pancetta
1 jalapeño, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup greek yogurt
Basil (to garnish)
Salt & pepper to taste

SweetCornChowder

Directions

In a large bowl, slice the corn kernels off each cob. Reserve 2 cobs and set aside. Scrub the potatoes and dice into 1/2 cubes.

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, cook pancetta over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until crispy. Add the garlic and jalapeño and sauté for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, corn, thyme, chicken stock and 2 cobs and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Discard the corn cobs.

SweetCornChowder

Puree 2 cups of the soup in a blender and return to the pot. Or, use an immersion blender (highly recommended!) to puree the soup to your desired consistency.  Add the greek yogurt and stir to combine. Taste the soup to see if it needs any salt or pepper.

Top with a tablespoon of greek yogurt and basil, and pair with a hunk of crusty bread (sourdough is best)... :)

SweetCornChowder

Enjoy!