Thursday, February 10, 2022

Quick and Easy Gnocchi in Creamy Tomato and Spinach Sauce

I will say, I am sometimes really really good at pinch hitting.Which is funny because I am an obsessive planner who, when thrown a curve ball has a tendency to just have a wee bit of a freak out. 

I also am apparently a slow learner because I need to recognize that the idea of that guy I married having the time to make handmade pasta after work is just going to make the universe laugh at you. 

It's been busy around here... mostly for him. So, last night Pasta alla Norma was out, dear god what do we have in the fridge that I can scramble together a meal with without having to defrost anything was in. 

And this is why I keep a pack of shelf stable gnocchi in the pantry at all times. 

These measurements are a little loosey goosey, but you get the idea. Adjust to taste! If you are using shelf stable gnocchi, you can cook that while the everything else is going, just start the water boiling when you start cooking the onions and the timing should be perfect.

Gnocchi in a Creamy Tomato and Spinach Sauce

Serves 2 - Cooks in 20 minutes

2 Cups Cooked Gnocchi (shelf stable, fresh or frozen, all are fine)
1/2 White Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 Bunch of Spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
1/2 Cup Half and Half (or mix milk and cream as I did)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
1/4 - 1/2 Cup Mozzarella (I used smoked)
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Basil to finish 

In a skillet, sautee the onions in either butter or olive oil for about three minutes until softened slightly. Add in the garlic, sautee 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the spinach, cover and cook two more minutes. Add the half and half and give it a good stir. Sitr in the gnocchi and parmesan, make sure everything is nice and coated. Now add some salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the mozzarella, cover and cook two more minutes until the mozzarella is nice and melty. Pour onto a plate, top with fresh basil and a good grind of pepper. 

I served this as is for me, and added a grilled chicken breast for that guy I married. 

Thursday, February 3, 2022

A Bit of a Throwback.... Reinvestigating my Vegetarian Days

When I was 12 I decided I didn't want to eat red meat any more. Mostly I was worried about future impacts on my health (jeez, lets not unpack all that shall we... I was TWELVE). I basically then lived off cheese omelettes for several years. I cut out all other meat when I was about 20 and that stuck for about 6 or 7 years. 

I started eating meat again kind of accidentally and then when I got together with my other half, it became at every meal. He was raised very firmly on meat and has a hard time sometimes picturing a meal without it. 

But now, I'm really leaning back into the idea of eating more plant based meals. It's a lot of things... sustainability, health, studying up on how warped of a view we have about how much protein we need. 

But wow, when you've got out of the habit of eating vegetarian it's really really hard to go back. I've been trying to replace two dinners a week with vegetarian meals and I've got to say, it's been tough. I used to be so good at this! We really need to eat things other than pasts! Though in fairness.... spinach and ricotta ravioli in a lemon cream sauce is delicious... rampantly unhealthy, but delicious!

So I'm going another route with this. The plan is to use up all the protein we have in the freezer without adding more, and then going back to grocery shopping based on menu planning, rather than menu planning based on what we have on hand. 

For now, I'm doing very well at veggie breakfasts and lunches....even though I unthinkingly ate a ham sandwich yesterday. So hopefully, February will be all about eating things up and then maybe by March I can start really diving better into more plan focused meals. Wish me luck and feel free to drop me a note on what your favourite non meat focused dinner is!

Monday, January 31, 2022

Mocktail Monday : Pomegranate Citrus Sparkler

 I'm well known for my adoration of gin and wine. Lately though, I've been trying to been getting super into mocktails. Why? Well, I'm definitely working on drinking a wee bit less, but I'm also fascinated by how easy it is to make super tasty drinks with limited ingredients and no alcohol.
It certainly helps the budget too! 

My fridge is definitely getting full with infused simple syrups, fruit juices that I normally wouldn't buy, and the giant stash of lemons from our family lemon trees (everyone has one it seems) are slowly getting used up. 

So my favourite one this week? The Pomegranate Citrus Sparkler.

This is And there are so few ingredients! The one thing I will say though, pretty glasses and giant icecubes are one of the best ways to make a mocktail feel just like a cocktail. I use this big cube mold if you need one!

Pomegranate Citrus Sparkler

2oz Pomegranate Juice (Pom is perfect)
1oz Orange Juice
1/2 Oz Lime Juice
2oz Sparkling Water

Fill a glass with ice. Add juices and stir vigorously for 30 seconds. Add giant ice cube to glass (or a few standard ice cubes if you don't have a big on), pour in the sparkling water, strain in the juices. Enjoy!

If you like, you can also top with a strip of orange zest. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

For the Love of Instagram

It took me ages and ages to get into Instagram and I'm still not using it nearly as much as I think a lot of people are. 

But I wanted to share with you who my favourite folks are in case you aren't aware of their awesomeness. 

The main reason I like all three of these folks is not only do they have awesome little videos and heaps of personality, but I've actually made some of their recipes and they are really really really good!

So here are my top 3!

The Heal Chef 

Harry Heal makes delicious food, often comfort food, with the best voiceover and the finest wink!

Sams Eats

Sam Way has fantastic food videos that are delightful to watch and really easy to follow. Nothing is too out of reach... he provides just the right amount of info to copy his lovely food!

H.Woo Lee

H is brilliant. His gorgeously curated feed is every OCD persons dream. His recipes are bonkers and definitely high level, but watching him cook for himself is so so fun!

You can find me at Well Fed Redd


Who am I missing? Who are your favourites?

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die - 300 Done!

Each Flag is a food I have not tried yet.

So, I've been working my way through the 1000 Foods To Eat Before You Die book for a few years ago now. 

I love lists. Love them. It's a thing, an obsession. I just get so satisfied by crossing things off. The things that I really love about this particular list is that a) it's massive b) you've probably crossed off at least 150 things without even trying and c) it's great to come up with ideas for when you are traveling. 

In 2019, we went on a trip to Montreal. We had a little time on the last day we were there and we literally went on a scavenger hunt to find as many foods from the book as we could... pastrami sandwiches, random candy, adventurous cheese... we also had one of the best meals I've eve had in my life at a restaurant listed in the book (Au Pied de Cochon).

I was quite delighted when I hit 300 foods at the very end of 2021. I'm a sucker for a round number. I'm hoping hoping hoping to clear another 25-50 this year. I think it might need to involve me making some things at home though, which is fine! 

The first entry for 2022 though is done because I ate my very first Persimmon! We actually had a persimmon tree in California when we lived there, but left before the fruit was ripe. I liked the persimmon! Very tasty, good texture, still a bit sweet for me, but definitely something I am glad I tried. Thanks book!

If you want to play along, here is a handy dandy link to where you can grab a copy.

Monday, January 10, 2022

New Years at Sushi Roku

One of the absolute best things about living in Las Vegas is the sushi. Yes, we live in a desert, but we have a really really busy airport and like most of the country, we get fresh fish flown in daily. 

I randomly saw the Omakase New Years menu for Sushi Roku on Facebook, and I jokingly sent it to that guy I married. I was not prepared for him to tell me to go for it, but hey, it's been a busy year and a fabulous dinner was an exciting prospect. I mean... how can you say no to this!

I've never been to Sushi Roku before, but it's been on the list for a long time. The main reason we haven't pulled the trigger before was because it's at Caesars Palace and, as most locals do, we avoid the strip like the plague. I am so so glad we went. 

Firstly, we had an 8pm seating, so we figured we could get in before all the New Years crazy, and get out and home before everything really gets shut down. Also, conveniently, you can get into Caesars parking from the back, so you don't have to touch the strip at all. And as a happy extra, the powers that be had shut down the Forum Shops, which you have to go through to get to Sushi Roku, to everyone except people who had restaurant reservations. So, there were no people to wade through!

We got in, got a couple of cocktails, got to sit down, and met Lewis, our waiter. Who then broke my heart but telling us that they were sold out of the Omakase menu. When he saw the devastation on my face and realized that we had booked a month prior and admitted that the restaurant had been having a wee bit of drama over it, he went to see if there was anything he could do. And I tell you, Lewis.... he is magic! He told us he could make the whole menu happen, except for dessert, which he could sub something else in. As someone who only ever orders cheese or a cocktail for dessert, I really could not care less! We were so thrilled.

And then, the food started coming.

So. The stars of the show. The crab tartare was actually the best bite of the night. It had caviar on the top and a fantastic umami filled sauce on the bottom. It was so balanced, so delectable. It was fresh and sweet, with the right amount of top and bottom salty. I could have eater a bowl of that on it's own. I can't stop thinking about it.

Next course was some very delicious shrimp (top right) with a nice grill taste. It was good, but felt a touch out of place. 

The third course (middle right) had a scallop over lemon. It was gorgeous. Sweet but briny, and the lemon gave it just a touch of acidity for contrast. 

Fourth course the best thing was, of course, the A5 Wagyu beef. We'll talk about the A5 Wagyu obsession another day. But this was perfect. It came out on a sizzling hot stone... so hot I could feel it under the table. It was stunning, melted in the mouth, and again, so much umami. 

The last course was the sushi course (top right). Every piece of fish was fresh, perfect, and so lovely. I adored them all. I think the rainbow trout was my favourite of the fish, but that truffle tempura roll. So great! Light, crispy, just the right amount of truffle. I adored it.

I think that tasting menus at any restaurant are a wonderful thing. It's where chefs get to play... where they get to come up with a presentation of what represents them. It's often things you can't get every day, special choices, unrepeatable joys. 

It was, all in all, an amazing meal, and a great way to end 2021. We were home by 10:30pm and in bed 45 minutes before new year, cuddling our puppies and making wishes for the year to come. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Oh, Well Hello There!

 I know. I know I know I know. 

Five years. FIVE. Redd what the heck?

I'm sorry I've been... busy? Distracted? Quarantined? Getting Older?

All of the above is most definitely true. And I moved. Twice. 

We abandoned Minnesota in the fall of 2017, barely 16 months after we got there. We may have acquired another dog (cough cough, band aid baby). We spent a year in North Hollywood, California in a beautiful house that was teeny tiny and so pretty and oh so very very very expensive. Then we decided we weren't sure what was next, so we decided to go lick our wounds somewhere familiar and comfortable. We moved back to Las Vegas in October 2018. It's been pretty great. Nice house, good neighborhood, lots of fantastic food opportunities, and I even grew a pomegranate! Well, the tree grew it and I grew the tree. 

Hilariously, this update is my 200th post to the blog that I am now hoping to revive. 

I'm using instagram a lot more and you can find me by clicking here. I've started that particular feed just for this blog space. I decided not to use Salted Spoon because there is a charming little ice cream shop in the north of England that just opened with that name, and I want them to have their space. But hey, this blog will stay named as such because, well, I WAS here first. 

 I am not going to make any grandiose claims over what you can expect from my return... just in case it embarrassingly does not stick... you know, like 2017.  But right now I am very into the following things:

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Gin Martinis 

White Wine from Burgundy

Homemade Pasta (I married well)

Anything Nigella Lawson or Stanley Tucci are doing

Working through my 1000 Foods to Eat Before You Die book, of which I start this year at an even 300. I love round numbers so much. 

So. Hi! Hope you are fantastic. See you around!