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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Pan Seared Gnocchi

 

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Gnocchi is a great side dish, but what about as the main dish? I wanted to rethink how I could make these delicious billowy cloud-like potato dumplings into something with a little more texture. I thought about changing the cooking process to a more Asian-style technique.

The traditional way to cook them is to drop them into boiling salted water. when they float to the surface they’re done.  When you cook with Asian dumplings they’re sometimes pan-fried, first to give that crunchy exterior, then a splash of water is added, the lid is placed on, and they finish by steaming. This allows for the inside to have a creamy texture.

I decided to give this technique a try with gnocchi. For this challenge, rather than making the gnocchi from scratch, I decided to buy a good store-bought brand. It turns out, most grocery stores today carry fresh potato gnocchi so easy it’s easily available. This is my Pan Seared Gnocchi.

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Olive Oil

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time Total: 12 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Yields: 2 servings
Equipment: 2 (12-inch) sauté pans, 1 tight-fitting glass lid, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
1 package of potato gnocchi
1/4 cup of orange bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup of red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup of yellow bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, freshly grated
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 stick of butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated (more if you like)
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Directions:
In a preheated sauté pan over medium heat add olive oil. Add the finely diced bell peppers, stirring frequently, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until peppers soften.  Season with Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add in the grated garlic and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

This next stage goes pretty fast. In another large sauté pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the entire package of gnocchi to the pan. Brown the gnocchi on the one side for 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t disturb them. The gnocchi needs a chance to brown and caramelize. Once that happens, using a spatula, flip the gnocchi and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes on the other side.

Next, add the water. The gnocchi will start to steam. Immediately cover with a tight-fitting lid (preferably a glass lid). Once all the water evaporates about 2 minutes, remove the gnocchi from the heat.

Transfer the gnocchi to a large serving bowl. Add the sautéed peppers, toss to combine. Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top and garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Serve hot. There you have it my Pan Seared Gnocchi.

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Stuffed Artichokes

 

Stuffed Artichoke

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Growing up, whenever there was a special occasion this dish was in high demand. I can remember she would always ask what it was that we would like her to make. Stuffed Artichokes was one of those dishes.

I believe that Italians utilize as much of a vegetable as they can. If you know anything about artichokes, much of it is either trimmed or cut. Preparing the artichokes using this method prevents that waste. Let me explain. I find that many home cooks tend to be intimidated by this strange thistle. I’m here to help fix that fear.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prosciutto

Prosciutto (2)

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Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable. Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes.

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You can see here above how the center is now hollowed out. To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom working your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers. Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between the leaves as possible.

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Stuffed Artichoke

 

 

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6- stockpot, 9 x 11 baking dish, 2 large mixing bowls

Ingredients:
4 medium fresh artichokes
4 cups of Italian style breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, plus 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoon pine nuts
6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 slices Prosciutto, julienned
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O. more if necessary
1 cup of good dry white wine
2 lemons, juiced (save juiced lemons for the water)
water

Directions:
Start by pulling off some of the outer leaves from the bottom. Then take a pair of kitchen scissors, trim the tips (the pointy sharp part) of the leaves. Next, cut the stems off so they will have a flat bottom.

Fill a 6-quart stockpot 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up with water. Cut 2 lemons in half, juice the lemons right into the water. Throw the remaining parts of the two lemons into the water too. This prevents the artichokes from turning brown and/or oxidizing.

As you can see I trimmed the stalks (stems) down quite a bit. I did throw the stalks into the pot because they’re edible. To keep the artichokes submerged in the boiling water, place a plate on top like this.

On medium-high heat, bring the artichokes up to a boil. Once up to a boil adjust the heat so as to keep the water at a boil but not so high the water boils over. Continue to cook the artichokes for 45 minutes or until fork-tender. Transfer the artichokes and the stems to a plate to cool. Prepare the filling while boiling the artichokes.

For the Filling:
In a large bowl add Italian style bread crumbs, grated garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, golden raisins, freshly ground black pepper, flat-leaf Italian parsley, and julienned Prosciutto. The prosciutto and cheese are salty so no extra salt is needed. Finally, add the *E.V.O.O., stir to combine. You want the consistency of wet sand. You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of breadcrumbs used.

…Continued Directions:
Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable.

Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Continue to scrape out the choke until the center of the artichoke is completely hollowed out. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes. For reference, refer to the pictures above.

To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom and work your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers.  Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between each row of leaves.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a large baking dish, place the stuffed artichokes along with the stems. Add a cup of white wine. Top each artichoke with more cheese and drizzle each one with a good amount of *E.V.O.O.

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the filling is nice and hot, the cheese is golden brown, and the artichokes have absorbed almost all of the wine.

When you’re ready to eat the Stuffed Artichokes, just pull each leaf off using the leaf as a natural spoon, getting all that deliciousness off each one. As you make your way to the center, there you’ll find the best surprise of all, the heart of the artichoke. The heart is the most tender part of the whole artichoke. Don’t forget about those stems too, YUM!

Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley. This dish is a show stopper and any dinner party.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Cajun-Style Fajitas With Citrus Marinated Onions And Peppers

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I want to say, I love watching food shows. The shows give me a chance to keep learning new things. All types of chefs throughout the U.S. are always coming up with innovative ways to take classic dishes and make them their own.

I love to take what I’ve learned and put my own spin on the dish. The star of my dish is Andouille sausage. This type of sausage is widely used in New Orleans cuisine, for example; Jambalaya. It’s really flavorful, but it does have some heat.

These are my Cajun-Style Fajitas With Citrus Marinated Peppers And Onions.

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Cilantro

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Prep Time:
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours minimum
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 12-inch sauté pan, 10-inch sauté pan, 2 large mixing bowls, large Tupperware container, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, non-stick cooking spray

Ingredients For Andouille Marinade:
10 links of Andouille sausage (about 1 1/2 pounds/2 packages), sliced on the bias
1 packed cup of light brown sugar
1 cup of molasses
2 tablespoons of water

Ingredients:
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 large sweet onions, quartered and roasted
2 red bell peppers, roasted, seeded and julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, seeded and julienned
12 ounces of orange juice
1/4cup of soy sauce, low sodium
1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
6 limes, 2 juiced, 4 cut into wedges for garnish
2 large cloves of garlic, freshly grated
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated
2 cups of Queso Fresco, crumbled
6 (6-inch) flour tortillas
6 (4-inch) corn tortillas
Cilantro for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
In a large bowl add equal parts brown sugar and molasses. Add 2 tablespoons of water, mix to combine. Add the sliced Andouille sausage to the marinade, toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, overnight’s even better.

After quartering the onion place them into a large mixing bowl along with the bell peppers. Add olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, toss to coat. Arrange the onions and bell peppers on a rimmed baking sheet pan as seen in the picture above.  Roast for 40 minutes, turn the peppers halfway through to all them to char on all sides.

A Good Tip: When you open the oven to retrieve the roasted peppers, stand back for just a second so you don’t get a pepper facial.

Allow the onions to remain on the baking sheet to cool while preparing the roasted peppers for peeling. Using a pair of tongs grab the hot roasted peppers, transfer them to a large bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. This will cause the peppers to steam, while in the bowl, and this will ensure their skins will peel off easily. Give it around 30 minutes, before taking off the plastic wrap. Remove the skins and seeds. Slice the peppers into thin strips (julienne) placing them back into the bowl along with the roasted onions.

In a large Tupperware container add orange juice, low sodium soy sauce, light brown sugar, the juice of 2 limes, freshly grated garlic, 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, whisk to combine. Add the roasted peppers and onions to the marinade, mix to combine and set aside.

The next step is to grate the Monterey Jack cheese and crumble the Queso Fresco. Transfer the cheeses to a plate and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the marinated sliced Andouille sausage. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and sausage becomes caramelized. Add the roasted peppers, onions, and the citrus marinade to the pan. The marinade will help to deglaze the pan by using your wooden spoon to scrape any bits that may be stuck to the bottom. Frequently stirring the sausage, peppers, and onions together, cook for another 5 minutes or until the marinade’s reduced and the sauce has thickened, then turn off the heat

Preheat open to 400-degrees F.
I’m using both corn and flour tortillas for this dish. For the corn tortillas, I sprayed both sides with cooking spray and arranged them onto a rimmed baking sheet pan to crisp up in the oven, around 5 minutes.

The flour tortillas place on at a time into a dry hot sauté pan over medium heat. Cook for about 30 to 60 seconds, or until browned, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds.

Place a little of the marinated Andouille with the roasted peppers and onions on one of each type of the tortillas. Top with a combination of the Queso Fresco and the Monterey Jack cheese. Garnish with a kiss of very finely chopped cilantro. Serve with a couple of lime wedges. There you have it, my Cajun-Style Fajitas With Citrus Marinated Onions And Peppers

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