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Blueberry Gluten Free Scones + Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

Blueberry Gluten Free Scones + Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

 have been experimenting a lot with alternate grain flours from oat to millet and I have been fairly successful with the blends. And, recently, I managed to notch it up with a little frozen blueberry action!

And to make the blueberries a complete flavor explosion, I made a blueberry balsamic sauce that was simply divine with the black pudding and potato Irish style hash!

The recipe for these Blueberry, Basil and Cheddar Savory Gluten Free Scones

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Baked Basil Gnudi in Fresh Tomato Sauce - Avoiding deviation

Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce


Just a quick note before we plunge into today's indulgence... :) I am looking forward to reviewing a fresh pasta maker from CSN stores, where you can find anything from kitchen equipment to even modern office furniture!! Stay tuned for more real pasta recipes in sometime. Now on with the regular scheduled programming...

Gnocchi - a soft, pillow of potato goodness encased in flour. That which can melt your heart by it's sheer delicacy. That which is really tricky to make and very intimidating to attempt. That I have many times ordered at different restaurants and mostly been disappointed.... That which is pasta and, hence, out of reach for this month's menu..

Gnudi - Supposed ugly sister of above. That which is made luscious with much ricotta and just a little flour. That is much easier to make and most often comes out great. That which I can make at home with success... That which is not pasta (really!) and hence very approachable at the moment..


Ricotta Gnocchi


My fascination with Gnudi began with a Top Chef episode where the contestants served the said with scallops and it not only looked pretty but seemed rather easy to make. Although somewhat related to the pasta being called "naked ravioli", the amount of flour that goes into making it is rather insignificant compared to pasta. So, it fits my constrained carb diet nicely, satisfying my pasta cravings without guilt!

Besides, these soft balls, sometimes, also go by the name Ricotta Gnocchi. I can see where the idea comes from. Instead of potato, ricotta is mixed with flour and then rolled or cut into cylinders. I actually put my mixture into a piping bag, snipped off the end and cut the gnudi directly into the boiling pot, as I had seen on TV. I have to frankly that this whole fun aspect made this even more appealing! :)

For a fresh twist, and because I don't like just the plain, I added chopped fresh basil to the gnudi dough. I think ricotta and basil make a classic combination and you just cannot got wrong with it! The gnudi gets perfumed and adds to the tomato sauce that I served it with.


Ricotta gnocchi plated


I have seen recipes where the cooked gnudi is sauteed and browned a bit in butter before being tossed in the sauce. I suspect that would just make them even better but I in the spirit of keeping it healthy, I just tossed them as is in my fresh tomato sauce and baked for sometime to infuse the flavors.


Baked Basil Gnudi with Fresh Tomato Sauce

For the Gnudi:
(adapted from
here)

4oz fresh ricotta, drained
2 oz grated parmesan
1 egg yolk
2 T finely chopped basil
zest of 1 lemon
50 - 60 g flour (eyeball based on consistency of dough)
pinch of salt

1 cup fresh tomato sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Combine all the ingredients except the basil into a creamy mixture. You can pulse it in the processor to make it smoother. Fold in the basil. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. When ready, snip of the end at about 1/2 inch width. Bring a wide pot of salted water (with a bit of oil) to boil and reduce to simmer. Squeeze out the gnudi mixture and snip off 1 inch cylinders directly into the water. Continue adding gnudi but make sure you do not crowd them.

Cook for about 3-4 minutes until they float to the top. Drain, transfer to an oven proof dish and place in oven until ready to bake. Cook all the gnudi, repeating the same process above. When done, ladle the tomato sauce over the gnudi, sprinkle the parmesan over and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with more basil and cheese on top. I drizzled a touch of truffle oil before serving. You can also drizzle some good quality fruity olive oil.


Plate of gnocchi and salad

Stacked Enchiladas for Daring Cooks May 2010

Mini Enchiladas with red onion garnish

Indians tend to like love Mexican and Thai food. I think it's the spices, a lot of likeness there... I am no exception. I love a good, hearty Mexican meal, be it the quick burrito bowl from the somewhat-higher-end fast food chain, Chipotle, or a proper sit down meal at Rosa Mexicano. Mr. FSK, on the other hand, determinedly becomes Mr. Nose-Uppity, when it comes to Mexican food as available in NYC. You see, the man has spent time in Austin, with its endless supply of fantastic Tex-Mex, and never lets me forget it...

Which, is why I have been rather thrilled with my recent forays into the cuisine. For long, I had been intimidated by the Austin memories until March's challenge finally convinced me to believe in myself and go for it and all that. So, armed with a recipe from the Rick Bayless (who is just adorable, btw), I made Red Mole (hehe.. well, if I am going for it, might as well go with a bang.. either way! :)). It was a raging success!! It's not me saying it, the hub loved it!! The path (like that green line of Fidelity) had been laid for more of the cuisine to feature in my kitchen..Wooohoo!

Enchilada Stack Close up

So, of course, I was very thrilled to see this month's Daring Cooks theme! Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on http://www.finecooking.com/ and written by Robb Walsh.

The mandatory part of the challenge was to make a Mexican sauce from scratch. It didn't have to be the one they suggested. But since, aside from Mole, I had made virtually none other sauce from the cuisine, I decided to go with it.

Enchilada served wm copy

I made the sauce based on the recipe that the lady running the Mexican grocery store, where I get my supplies, uses to make her enchilada sauce at home. She was sweet to share her family recipe. Her version is spicier as she (as did I) uses Serrano chilies rather than Anaheim peppers. The Serranos up the heat quite a bit and our sauce hot, hot, HOT. But we like it hot!

I loved this challenge because it gave me room to play.. On the first day, we had Beef Enchiladas, the regular way. I rolled tortillas around sauteed beef that was marinated with salt, pepper and Serrano chilies, poured the green sauce over them, generously topped with cheese and baked to melt it.

Mini Enchiladas with tomato and chili

With the leftovers, I decided to make some finger food and the stacked version. The lady at the store said that she doesn't use the oven at all. She just fries her tortillas, layers the meat and sauce, tops with cheese and zaps it up in the microwave just long enough to melt the cheese.

And, that is what I did with my mini enchilada stacks. I cut little scalloped circles of tortilla, fried them crisp, arranged smoked turkey and sauce and then melted cheese over them...

Lilacs on the table

As to the presentation, I was inspired by the gorgeous color of the lilacs that I picked up on the way home and decided to use their vibrant color as the theme. I was amused that red onions and lilacs were of similar shades. So, I decided to use the sliced onions as garnish to tie in the theme with the flowers.

Mini Enchiladas with lilacs

Verdict: This is a really easy sauce that packs quite a punch in flavor. It makes for a quick everyday meal as also a leisurely Sunday lunch. We loved it! The little mini stacks are cute and are perfect finger food, yet make an elegant choice as cocktail appetizers.

Note: Many people in the forum mentioned difficulties in finding tomatillos. You can substitute with tamarind. It adds the same sweetish tang to the dish but well, you may end up with a browner sauce. For the measures in the recipe below, I would use 1 tablespoon of bottled tamarind paste or 1/3 cup of fresh tamarind water.



Enchilada Sauce

**
1. As I said, this recipe uses serrano which add significant heat even after being deseeded. Please, do add with caution. Start with one and keep adding them to the puree as per your heat tolerance.

2. Grandma's recipe did not include roasting the tomatillos or chilies. She boiled them to cook. I roasted them for added flavor (as for easily deseeding the chilies)

5-6 tomatillos
3-4 Serrano chilies
1 cup chicken stock (if you want to keep it vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock)
2 tsp cumin powder
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup cilantro leaves

Roast the tomatillos and chilies until blackened. When cool enough to handle, peel skin off and deseed the chilies. Puree the tomatillos, garlic and chilies. Transfer to a sauce pan, stir in the stock and cumin. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until it thickens to the consistency you want.


Stacked Cocktail Enchiladas

Cut desired shapes out of tortillas. Fry them till lightly golden and crisp. Arrange cooked meat (I used chipotle smoked turkey. It was fabulous!), a teaspoon of sauce. Repeat as many layers as you want, finishing off with the cheese layer.

Beef EnchiladasEnchilada Beef filling wm

Enchilada Sauce (above)
Cooked Beef
Melting cheese

Marinade:

1 lb (1/2 kg) beef, cubed into 1/4 inch pieces
2 serrano chillies, finely chopped
salt as needed

Marinate the meat overnight. Saute in a bit of oil until cooked completely. Warm the tortillas, place some meat in the center, roll and place seam side down in a baking dish. Line up as many as the dish can fit. Pour sauce over and top generously with cheese. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes or so, until the cheese melts nicely.
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