Pumpkin Gnocchi with Kale

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For those of you lucky enough to have more than one season, fall is almost here!  Just know, that from thousands of miles away, I’m giving you the stink-eye as you drink that pumpkin spice latte.  On the other hand, pumpkins grow year round here! Yeah, you still win.  But you can even eat the skin!  Most people probably don’t think of pumpkins when they think of Thai food, but the pumpkin dishes are some of the best.  On an unrelated note, it took me like 6 months to be able to say the word pumpkin in Thai without giggling.  Put it in google translate if you’re curious… and make sure your headphones are in :)

There’s a lot you can do with gnocchi, but I wanted to keep it simple.  The gnocchi is simply pumpkin and flour, and the sauce is olive oil, garlic, kale, and salt.  The ingredients are few, but this dish is still very flavorful.  You could surely throw in some spices or change up the vegetables.  Throw in some vegan butter and fresh sage leaves if you so desire.

A note about the pumpkin.  If you have fresh pumpkin on hand, you’ll want to roast .75 kg at 400°F for an hour and a half.  It should be soft enough to scoop from the shell.  Mash it a little with a fork and it’ll be good to go.  Canned works just fine too!

Depending on the water content of the pumpkin you’re using, you might need more or less flour, so adjust as needed.

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Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi with Kale

Ingredients:

1 and 1/4 cup mashed pumpkin

1 – 2 cups all purpose flour

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup kale, chopped

salt + pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Combine pumpkin and 1 cup flour in a bowl.  If the dough is sticky, add more flour.  It should be soft, but not sticky.  Don’t knead it!

2.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces.  On a floured surface, roll the pieces out into snake-like shapes, about a foot long, or as thick as your thumb.  Cut the long dough piece every inch to create little gnocchi pillows (see photo above).

3.  Next, using a fork (or a gnocchi board if you’re fancy), roll the gnocchi down with your thumb to create the indents and elongate the pieces.

4. Bring a large pot filled with water to boil.  Salt the water, and gently drop the gnocchi in, making sure not to over crowd (I did three batches).

5.  When the gnocchi floats to the surface (about five minutes), wait 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain.  Repeat until they are all cooked and set aside.

6.  In a pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic, and cook until it begins to brown.  Add the kale and cook until the kale is wilted and soft, about three minutes.  Be careful not to cook too long, or the kale will turn crispy (and pop!)

7.  Place the gnocchi in a medium bowl.  Pour the olive oil/garlic/kale mixture on top.  Add salt + pepper to taste, and more olive oil, if desired.  Finished!

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Tempura Udon (vegan)

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One. If you live in SE Asia you know…rainy season is upon us.  This means crazy thunderstorms and pouring rain about 5% of the time and dreary, cloudy weather the rest of the time.  That being said, without sunlight, I know my pictures have been kind of…sub par lately.  Grey-ish.  Blah.  I usually love the rain, but come on!  I need some light.

Two.  While yummy, I make absolutely no claims about the authenticity of this dish.

Three.  I used tofu, mushrooms, and a carrot because it’s what I had on hand, but this soup is perfect for using up any vegetables in your crisper.  Some broccoli, pea shoots, onions, would work great too.

Four.  You’ll have some left over tempura batter if you feel like frying up anything else.  I really recommend enoki, but again, any vegetable will be delicious.  Also, a tip about the enokis…they can be a little difficult to fry because they tend to un-bunch when you cut the bottom off.  After I fry the clumpy ones, I usually throw the stray mushrooms in the batter, squeeze the excess off, then scatter it in the oil.

Five.  I think putting fried stuff on top of mushy stuff is one of the greatest texture (and flavor) combinations out there.  Like green bean casserole.  Is it Thanksgiving yet?

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light saber chopsticks mandatory

 Tempura Udon Soup:

serves two – three

Ingredients:

200 grams udon noodles

3 cups water

1 carrot, or other vegetables, chopped

200 grams enoki mushrooms, divided

100 grams tofu

1 tbsp miso

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup water

6 tsp oil + more for frying

Directions:

1.  Cook udon noodles according to package directions.  Drain, let cool, and split up into two or three bowls.

2.  Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, water, and 6 tsp oil.  Place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, prepare the broth.  Bring 3 cups of water to a simmer.  Add miso, soy sauce, and mushroom soy sauce.

4.  Add vegetables (except 100 g enoki mushrooms) and simmer until soft, about 5 minutes.

5.  Add tofu, cover, and set aside.

6.  Heat oil in a deep pan or pot over medium high heat.  Remove tempura batter from the fridge.  Coat remaining mushrooms in batter, and place in hot oil.

7.  Fry 30 seconds on each side.  Place on a paper towel to drain and repeat with remaining mushrooms.

8.  Pour broth and vegetables over noodles and top with fried mushrooms.  Finished!

Source: Tempura batter from about.com

Meatball Subs (vegan)

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Hello again!  I’ve been all over the place the last couple of weeks, least of all on here.  I recently got back from Laos, spending my 4th of July staring out the window at hammer and sickle flags…(Fourth of July fail.)  I hope everyone had a great holiday!  Since having the month of July off, I thought I’d be all over my little blog, but alas.  Anyway, I’m back!

I love me some meatball subs.  The first time I made them I used a TVP + VWG combo, and they were pretty great, but I thought I’d try something new this time (mostly because I ran out of VWG).  I used a bean combination, and were pleasantly surprised that they didn’t come out bean-y.  I’m not a huge fan of mock meats, so when I when I make something that originally had meat, like MEATballs, I’m not going for re-creating that exact flavor.  What I am into, is liquid smoke.  The smokey flavor that usually accompanies meat can be infused in any dish that needs a little extra flavor.

These subs go wonderfully with any form of fried potato :)

Below are the meatball recipe and the marinara recipe, but you could certainly use store bought marinara sauce if you’re short on time.

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Meatball Subs:

makes four sandwiches

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

2 cups of cooked beans (any type, or a blend)

tsp salt

tsp liquid smoke

1/4 cup bread or panko crumbs

1/4 cup flour + more for dusting

2 tsp nutritional yeast

oil, for frying

Marinara:

8 tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp olive oil

tsp salt

2 tsp nutritional yeast

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup water

Additional:

4 hoagie rolls

chopped basil

Directions – Marinara:

1.  Preheat oven to 210°C (410°F).

2.  On a baking sheet, place halved tomatoes cut-side up in a single layer. Drizzle one tbsp olive oil and sprinkle salt and nutritional yeast over the tomatoes.  Place in the oven for one hour.

3.  After one hour, turn the heat up to 230°C (450°F) for 15 more minutes.  Remove and allow to cool, then dice.

4.  Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan until shimmery.  Add garlic and cook until browned.  Add the tomatoes, water, and the drippings from the pan.  Add the meatballs and simmer for 10 minutes, or until desired consistency.

Directions – Meatballs:

1.  In a skillet over medium heat, add oil.  When oil is shimmery, add the onion and garlic.  When the onions are starting to brown, add in the mushrooms and saute until brown and crispy.  Turn off heat set aside, and let cool.

2.  In a medium bowl or ziploc bag, smash the beans into a paste.  Add the remaining ingredients and roll into twelve balls.

3.  Heat oil in a pan over medium heat.  While oil is heating, lightly coat the meatballs with flour.  When oil is hot, add meatballs six at a time into the pan.  Turn the meatballs over about every minute to evenly brown. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

4.  If using store-bought marinara, heat in a small saucepan and add meatballs for 10 minutes to absorb the sauce.

Directions – Assembly:

1.  Halve hoagie buns.  Toast and spread with vegenaise, if desired.

2.  Add three meatballs to each bun and a spoonful of sauce.

3.  Top with chopped basil and eat!