Adapted from cooking.nytimes.com
Though I may hate on Valentine’s Day because everyone gets all smooch-y and lovey dove-y (the only guy I need in my life is my gelding), I am really a sucker for all seasonal things. I like everything orange and pumpkin for fall; I like green, red, snowflakes and reindeer for Christmas; I like pink, red, white and hearts for Valentine’s. This year’s Valentine’s Day was no exception: beet gnocchi. Yes, it may sound strange but beets are nature’s natural red dye (the original red velvet cake was made with beet juice!). These gnocchi (or ñoquis as we say in Argentina), taste just like regular potato ones. What’s special is their bright red color. I served them with cream and cheese, as we do any pasta at home, and I was very delightedly surprised to see the cream turn pink! My dad was on a business trip, so I made half the recipe for just my mom and I. Overall, we had a very pleasant, very Valentine-y dinner!
Yields 4 servings
- 1 pound starchy potatoes (such as Idaho or russet)
- ½ pound beets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- Steam the potatoes in the microwave until tender. Split them open immediately to let the steam escape. When you can handle the potatoes, scoop out the flesh. Using a fork or masher, purée the potatoes.
- Peel and grate the beets. Put the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the beets, season to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer the beets and potatoes into a food processor and purée until combined and very smooth. Season to taste.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- In the meantime, sprinkle ¼ cup flour on a clean counter and knead the potatoes with it, sprinkling the remaining ½ cup of flour until the dough just comes together.
- Roll a piece of dough into a ½-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into ½-inch lengths. Score each piece by rolling it along the tines of a fork. As each piece is ready, put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper; don not allow the gnocchi to touch one another.
- Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and gently stir. Adjust the heat so the mixture doesn’t boil too vigorously. A few seconds after they rise to the surface, the gnocchi are ready. Remove them with a slotted spoon or mesh strainer and serve with your favorite sauce.
Comments: This recipe isn’t all that hard though it does require a decent amount of hands-on time. It is typical for us in Argentina to serve pasta with cream and cheese (for me, it’s the only way to go). However, New York Times had some other suggestions for sauces: tomato sauce, brown butter, sage and Parmesan, olive oil and garlic or bacon and cream. I’ll add some trivia as well: in Argentina, we have a tradition in which we eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month; we slide a money bill under our plates and its value is supposed to multiply. Feel free to adopt this tradition! It’s great! Buon appetito!
Adapted from nytimes.com/cooking
Besides the fact that in the picture they looked amazing, the name of these burgers stood out for me. Sweet potatoes? Amazing. Quinoa? Amazing. Spinach? Amazing. Red lentils? Amazing. Also, when looking at the ingredients list I saw feta cheese and that was it for me. These burgers combine a good variety of vegetables with whole grain and vegetarian protein. The spinach and lentils put together also make a great source of iron.
Yields 14 burgers
- 1/3 cup dry quinoa (blond or black)
- 1/3 cup dry red lentils
- 1 2/3 cups water
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, baked
- 3 cups chopped fresh spinach, tightly packed
- 3 ounces feta, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup soy flour (you won’t use it all)
- Combine the quinoa, red lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and blond quinoa displays a thread and lentils are just tender. Drain off any water remaining in the pot through a strainer and then return to the pot. Cover the pot with a dishtowel and return the lid. Let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.
- Skin the sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Mash with a fork. Add the spinach and mash together with your hands. Add the quinoa and lentils, feta, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well.
- Take up 1/3 cup of the mixture and form into a ball (wet your hands to reduce sticking). Roll the ball in the soy flour (or panko or chickpea flour) and gently flatten into a patty. Set on a greased baking sheet and continue with the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour or longer (the longer the better).
- Preheat the oven to 450F (232C).
- Place the burgers in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until browned and crispy on one side. Flip and cook for about 10 more minutes until browned and crispy on the other side.
Comments: These burgers offer a fantastic blend of flavors. You have the sweetness from the potatoes and the tanginess of the feta and they also have a brilliant color. The original recipe doesn’t actually say to bake them but to fry them. I started them off in an oven at 350F (180C) and made my way up to 450F when I saw they weren’t getting crispy. I realized that there was a reason for frying them; they are very soft. Therefore, I recommend frying them instead, which is what I’ll do in the future. To fry, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch, heavy nonstick frying pan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and place 4 to 5 patties in the pan without crowding. Cook until well browned on one side (about 4 minutes), turn and brown for about 4 more minutes. Remove to a rack set over a sheet pan and keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve. Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil or as needed to cook the remaining patties. We had these burgers with brown rice but they would go well with a salad as well. Try topping them with Greek yogurt.
Adapted from Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon
What do you do when you have overly ripe bananas that smell and look too disgusting to eat? Well…you can always blend them in a smoothie…or how about baking? You can always go with the classic banana bread but a lot of other recipes, especially vegan baking, use bananas as well. I loved these muffins with their chocolatey banana taste.
Yields 12 muffins
- 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ cup of almond milk
- 2 very ripe bananas
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Line a muffin tin with muffin cups and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and sugar together.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the milk with the bananas until smooth. Pour into the flour mixture. Stir a few times, add the applesauce and stir until mostly combined.
- Gently fold in the chocolate chips, stirring until just combined.
- Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the muffins are golden, fir m to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Comments: Very ripe bananas are perfect for baking as they will gave the baked goods a banana taste as well as sweetness. This recipe is mostly sweetened by the bananas I used almond milk but you can use any nondairy milk if you are vegan or just regular milk if you aren’t. The originally recipe has 1 tablespoon of vanilla as well; I didn’t use any because I somehow didn’t have vanilla at home (the horror!). I used regular chocolate chips, which is what I had at home but if you are vegan use the vegan ones. Since this is vegan baking and uses whole wheat flour, the muffins won’t rise as much as regular ones and they will be denser, not as fluffy. I highly recommend these muffins; they were really good!
Translated and Adapted from La Veganista Repostera by Nicole Just
A week ago would have been my rabbit’s 8th birthday. I had to make a cake for her; yes, I am one of those crazy people who make cakes on their pet’s birthday. I thought it would be a good opportunity to make something new from the vegan cookbook my aunts gave me for Christmas. I started skimming through and found this recipe. I loved the decorative roses, which made the cake look very impressive. It also had apples, a treat my rabbit really loved. It was decided for me.
- 150 grams whole wheat flour
- 150 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 120 grams sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla powder
- Zest from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 170 grams unsweetened soy yogurt
- 130 milliliters soymilk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 large Honeycrisp apples
- In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, sugar and vanilla powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix half of the lemon juice with the lemon zest, soy yogurt, soymilk and oil. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 170C (350F). Grease a cake pan with a 26-centimeter (about 10-inch) diameter and set aside.
- Using a potato peeler, peel the apples. Roll up the strings of apple peel, making about 8-14 rosettes. Place the roses in a large bowl with 1.5 liters (6 1/3 cups) of cold water and the remaining lemon juice. Dice the peeled apples into 1-centimeter cubes. Set aside.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the soy yogurt mixture. Then stir in the apple dice.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Place the apple roses on top of the batter, pressing in a little.
- Place the cake pan in the lower third of the preheated oven. Bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the roses begin to darken, cover the cake with aluminium.
Comments: The cake was really delicious. It came out moist with a great blend of flavors. Those apple roses really make it look quite impressive. No one need know that they are not very difficult to make. Though the recipe says 5 apples, I ended up using just 3. When I had finished mixing in the third apple, I thought it had plenty and adding any more would be too much. You can use your own judgment as you add in the apple. The recipe actually just said to use “sweet-tart apples.” I looked at a sweetness to tartness wheel for apples and found that the Honeycrisp was right in the middle. I had originally thought about using these because they are good baking apples, and the skin would make nice roses. Some other varieties are close to the middle are Red and Golden Delicious.