Ravenous Fig

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Crispy Gnocchi with Romesco and Melting Tuscan Kale

[caption id="attachment_596" align="aligncenter" width="549" caption="Crispy Gnocchi with Romesco and Melting Tuscan Kale"][/caption]

The last couple of days have been bizarre, to say the least. If you found Ravenous Fig via Hacker News, you know what I mean. If not, there's a pretty fantastic recipe in here for you that will hopefully make up for lost time.

Let's rewind. For my birthday last month, Vance took me to Atlanta to visit some friends who just had the most adorable baby boy. Seriously. He makes the Gerber baby look like an elephant calf with angler fish teeth. We stayed at a sweet bed & breakfast in Midtown, which was a great comfort considering how sick I'd get before we left.

[caption id="attachment_598" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Romesco Sauce is thickened with bread and nuts to give it a nice body and texture."][/caption]

These flu-like symptoms kind of snuck up on me. I tried to pretend it wasn't happening and power through, but by the last night I was sitting in the bottom of the bathtub letting the hot water beat on my back as I coughed up Lord-knows-what. Not the best way to spend a vacation, but I got some good magazine time in while I was holed up in the room, specifically with La Cucina Italiana.

[caption id="attachment_600" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="New Mexico Chiles can be found in the ethic foods aisle of most major grocery stores."][/caption]

That magazine has the most beautiful food photography. It almost made me want to throw away my camera and never publicly post a food photo again. It somehow entered into my ill consciousness, though, giving me dreams of gnocchi with rich sauce and melted kale. Soon after I got back to Orlando and over my illness, I had pieced together a meal I could only imagine would taste like magic.

Crispy Gnocchi with Romesco and Kale

This recipe may have been the result of psychedelic flu dreams but believe me, it's worth the hour or so it takes to prepare. After having prepared and eaten it twice, it's one that'll definitely make an appearance in this year's family cookbook. Enjoy.

Special Equipment Needed: Food processor.

Crispy Gnocchi Ingredients

  • ¼ lb butter (1 stick)
  • 1 lb fresh or packaged gnocchi (I use whole wheat packaged Gia Russa gnocchi when I'm in a hurry)

Romesco Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato, cored
  • 1 (1/2-oz) dried New Mexico chile
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts*, toasted and loose skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel while warm
  • 2 tablespoons blanched almonds
  • 2-3 slices firm white or wheat bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 of one bottled roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

* I substituted unsalted shelled pistachios when I made this

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup

Local Kale, Sweet Potato, and Sausage Soup

This month, Vance and I threw together our first family cookbook. It's scheduled to arrive this Tuesday from Blurb, and I am probably disproportionately excited about it. When the Fed Ex guy rings the doorbell I imagine myself running full sprint through the office, knocking over whoever might be in the way, to get to the door first. Imagine what I'll do when I actually write a "real" cookbook!

I've already started thinking about next year's edition. I want each of the recipes to be an original, which is a huge undertaking for me. I'm very comfortable following someone else's instructions, knowing it was good enough when they made it to publish in a book or magazine; it's another thing entirely for me to conjure a recipe on my own.

I'm also planning to make it more seasonal and locally oriented, featuring whatever happens to be growing around us at the time. With all that in mind, I present to you the first recipe for the 2011 Kite Cafe cookbook.

Local kale and squash soup, in preparation for whatever sinful foods we'll eat at the @IZEA Xmas party tonight!

I shall call this "the one that made me feel better about that lobster mac 'n cheese." Or, "the one that takes more calories to prepare than it does to burn off" (okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch). Or how about, "the one that contained kale and didn't set off my gag reflex." I think I've really got something with that last one.

Sweet Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup

Serves 4-6 This recipe features locally grown kale, sweet potatoes, and tomato. If tomatoes aren't growing near you this type of year, you can skip them. They were just sitting on the counter, begging to be thrown into the soup last minute.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 1 tomato, cut into large dice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock would also work)
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ lb. your favorite bulk sausage (vegan if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Whole nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Crispy onions (optional)

Preparation

Wash the kale. I like to do this in a water bath with a few splashes of white vinegar in a clean kitchen sink. It brightens the leaves and firms them up (especially if they've been in the fridge for a day or two). Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring occasionally for seven minutes. Add the garlic and sweet potato; stir to combine. Sprinkle generously with cracked pepper. Reduce heat to medium. While the vegetables are cooking away, de-stem your kale. Stack up all of the kale leaves and cut into thin ribbons, about 1/3 inch wide. Add all of the kale to the pot; stir to combine. Add the wine and wait about 30 seconds, until the sizzling subsides. Stir in the water and stock.

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