Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Night Dinner... Its not a Balanced Meal, but it's YUMMY

Food post here... Well, it's Saturday night. As you can imagine, I am doing fabulous Saturday night things... like sitting at home eating dinner and watching a movie with Mr. Fo... maybe in my pajamas... but I am NOT complaining. Cooking...eating..pajamas... sounds good to me ;)

First things first... an appetizer. It's completely delicious...completely fattening...completely versatile for parties. It's my favorite appetizer... Baked Brie. Moment of silence please for the awesome-ness that is Brie cheese.

Normally, Baked Brie is meant for more than 2 people. But we had it in the fridge and it sounded good. If you can resist eating it all, it actually heats up well the next day in the microwave.

My favorite recipe for this is the Pillsbury Recipe using Crescent Rolls. It's incredibly easy and can be varied in many ways. The best part is it looks fancy and people are impressed... which is always a plus.

Recipe: Crescent Wrapped Brie

The directions are pretty simple. Unwrap a crescent roll and split into 2 square. Press down the perforations so each square is its own piece. Put one square on the baking sheet and place the round Brie on top of it. Then place the other crescent square on top and pull the bottom corners over the top.

Note: there will most likely be excess Brie on the bottom square. That is where your creativity can come in. Use a cookie cutter to cut out a shape and put it on top... like the heart cutter I used. Hearts are my go to these days. This would make it work for a Valentine's Day party or even a Valentines dinner for 2!

Beat one egg and brush the unbaked Brie with the beaten egg. This part is fun to me because I get to use my pastry brush. I need to find more things to use it for. It's fun.

This is the finished product after baking in the oven for 20-25 minutes. I love how the cutouts really stand out. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and cut the Brie open. It will ooze out (for lack of a prettier term)... Serve right away on a platter with crackers. You can serve with a jam on the side or even spread the jam right on top of the Brie round before putting the crescent square on top so it bakes with the jam. However you do it, it's guaranteed to be a hit. You can write mean comments on my blog if it's not.

Now... that was just the appetizer... so you can imagine that we were too full for the entire meal we had planned... which, if you are curious, was gnocchi (more on that later), creamy polenta and roasted asparagus. Due to the enormous amount of delicious Brie we had consumed, we decided to just go with the gnocchi.

You may be asking... what is this... gnocchi? I am so glad you asked. It's one of my favorite pastas - although it's really not a pasta - it's potato dumplings. Do not be scared of gnocchi! Despite its hard to pronounce name (pronounced: nyo-key), its incredibly easy to make. One of these days I am going to make my own gnocchi from scratch , but for now, I can find it at most grocery stores. I take full credit for telling several people about gnocchi... and now they love it! It can be served with all types of sauces and it is very unique and delicious. Plus you can tell pasta haters that it's a potato, not a pasta. (Although why would anyone hate pasta? Seems silly and I certainly wouldn't associate with those types of people.)

I purchased this from Trader Joes... more specifically, their Italian line called "Trader Giotto's" ... get it ? Trader Joe's = Trader Giotto's in Italian. Adorable. Plus it was under $2. Can't beat that.

Just drop the entire package of gnocchi into a pot of salted boiling water.

Wait about 5-7 minutes and you will see the little guys bouncing at the top of the water. (It's really cute... they are letting you know they are ready.) In my opinion, this is what makes gnocchi so awesome - you really can't screw it up. As soon as you see them come to the top, just wait a minute or two and take them out. It's genius, really.

Drain the gnocchi. The main reason for this picture is to showcase my Martha Stewart collapsible silicone colander. Run to your local Macy's and buy one now. You can thank me later. I think this was a bridal shower gift from my friend Leighton who coincidentally just got engaged YESTERDAY. CONGRATS LEIGHTON!

YUMMMMMMMMMM. Gnocchi with homemade gravy. Add some shaved Parmesan and you are golden. Took all of 15 minutes. Beat that 30-minute meals.

Served in my favorite bowls - Crate and Barrel soup bowls given to me by my in-laws for my birthday. Gnocchi tastes like little pillows of heaven. Does that make sense? It weirdly does to me. Mangia :)

In review...I will admit this isn't a well balanced meal... Cheese and potato dumplings? What?! But it's delicious. And if we hadn't pigged out on Brie, we could have made the polenta and asparagus to add some veggies and a side. But sometimes in life you just have too much Brie cheese. And I think we would all rather have too much Brie cheese then none at all.

Try some Baked Brie for your next party or just for 2 people. And the gnocchi is a necessity for a quick but delicious meal. Everyone can use a little bowl of heaven pillows.

I am currently in a food coma and you can find me relaxing in my pajamas for the rest of the evening. Happy Weekend!

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