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Pasta Shells with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms (Pasta Salad Recipe) Recipe

Pasta dishes are always a favorite in my house and this green pasta shell dish is no exception. I decided to experiment with the new barbecue we bought over Memorial Day weekend, so I grilled some tandoori chicken for an alternate version of this recipe. Before cooking the meat, I also grilled large Portobello mushrooms for the vegetarians in my family. I love using this kind of mushroom; they are meaty and add so much flavor to a dish. To finish the preparation, I flavored the pasta with a sweet basil oil, green and pink peppercorns, lentils and onions. The sweet basil oil has a pungent flavor, thanks to the addition of garlic.

I consider the dish relatively healthy as it's vegan. No cheese, butter or cream are involved, but that doesn't mean the dish lacks flavor. What I love most though about making this pasta dish is that you could serve it warm, or bring it along with you for a picnic and serve it at room temperature as a pasta salad. The weather is getting so warm in the Bay Area that it's time for us to get all the blankets, picnic bags and ice cooler from the attic and enjoy meals outdoors for many weekends to come!  


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Stuffed Gnocchi (Cheese Stuffed Pasta with Romesco Sauce Recipe Recipe

I recently had stuffed gnocchi at a restaurant and have been itching to recreate the dish at home, with my own little twists of course. I decided to stuff my homemade gnocchi with pieces of Nabulsi cheese, which is Persian black sesame cheese. I chose this particular cheese because I like the way it melts when it is cooked. It's not as messy as mozzarella, but it does become soft and a bit stringy. I paired the cheese-stuffed pasta with homemade romesco sauce, which contains pine nuts, almond butter, olive oil, bread, a head of roasted garlic, sherry vinegar and roasted red bell pepper. The bright, red color pops against the gnocchi. And since the sauce pairs so well with seafood, I served fried fish on the side.

Lya, Lulu and I had so much fun filming the "how to make gnocchi" video a few weeks ago, and this dish brought back the memories. My little munchkin was sad that she didn't get to help roll and form the gnocchi last time, so I made sure that she got her chance today. She enjoyed it so much, mostly because she nominated herself to be the official taster. Making gnocchi is very interactive, and I’ve found it’s a great way to get kids cooking. It doesn’t hurt that it tastes great too!


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Chili Non Carne with Kidney Beans (Veggie Chili Recipe) Recipe

Lya's school just served vegetarian chili for lunch and she begged me to replicate the meal she had this week. I was more than happy to oblige. To recreate the dish, I used store-bought vegetarian chorizo, red kidney beans, caramelized onions, unsweetened cocoa powder, tomatoes, crumbled firm tofu, roasted green bell peppers and jalapeños. I just mixed them in a crock pot and let the flavors simmer together.

I nested the chili in tortillas, added shredded cheese and secured them with little sticks decorated with cherry tomatoes. It’s not authentic Mexican cuisine, but it’s delicious and incredibly hearty.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe with Picture


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Ca Nuc Kho (Traditional Vietnamese Whole Mackerel in Sugarcane Sauce) Recipe

Cá nục kho mía literally translates to "mackerel braised in sugarcane sauce". It's the fish traditionally served in  a Vietnamese claypot. The dark caramel ginger sauce is made from galangal and sugarcane juice (nước mía in Vietnamese).

Mackerel is high in Omega 3 oils but can have a strong fishy flavor. There are several steps that can be taken to ensure this dish is absolutely delicious. First, when you're at the market, make sure the fish is fresh; fresh mackerel shouldn't smell fishy. Look for clear-eyed fish with bright, shiny scales. The second step is to clean the inside of the fish thoroughly in several water baths and let the fish rest in a vinegary solution for a few minutes. The last part is to use a lot of shallots and galangal, which has a sharper, more aromatic flavor than ginger. It's slightly more expensive than ginger but it's well worth it.

I served the fish with steamed jasmine rice and sautéed rau muống (Vietnamese pea shoot tendrils) with fresh chestnuts and wood ear mushrooms.


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Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe with Cooking Video Recipe

I made sweet potato gnocchi this weekend. But instead of making regular potato gnocchi with eggs as a binder, I used chana dal paste and a little tahini. The dough comes out a little sticky compared to using eggs, but the texture turns out the same. I paired the gnocchi with Asian ingredients for the sauce and bok choy.

I haven't posted anything over the weekend because I spent the last few days filming my very first cooking video! I had no clue how long it would take to film and edit the takes, and I have to admit, it was quite a lot of work. I hope you like it! Let me know what you think and check out the blooper reel below for a few laughs.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe with Picture

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=burYvcPW5RY

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTBbfPVQbc0

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