Monday, March 26, 2012

Vegetarian for a Week - Day 1 - Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce

Hello everyone!

I have some exciting news for you today.  I'm officially a vegetarian!

Hahaha, okay, I'm kidding; I'm not a vegetarian.  I can see the looks on some of your faces- "After you said that you could never be a vegetarian? I don't believe you!"  But while it is true that I am not a complete vegetarian, it isn't the complete truth.  I am actually going to try eating like a vegetarian for one week starting today.  Now let me explain why before you even start doubting me.
  1. One of the major reasons why I decided to try this out is actually for health reasons.  I have really started seeing an unhealthy trend in my food choices recently and I want to change that.  Though I know that avoiding meat is in no way making me healthier (I mean, think of all the french fries I could eat), vegetarianism is my personal step towards being healthier.  I know that with this step, I'll start limiting my food choices to unprocessed and not-fried items.  And I've taken enough nutrition classes in my college career to know that if you do it right, vegetarianism is an extremely healthful and beneficial option.
  2. I've recently been inspired by a couple people to become a vegetarian.  These ladies are beautiful, healthy, and successful women who have chosen vegetarianism and made it impossible for anyone to say that vegetarianism is unhealthy for you because they are living proof that it isn't.  One such women is Annette Larkins.  Watch her story and be inspired too!  Though I don't think I can ever follow her diet, I can take steps towards it (even if they only look like baby steps next to hers).
  3. Lastly, I've never been a major meat eater in the first place.  I can literally count the meat dishes that I enjoy on my fingers.  So, while I do really love my mom's amazing chicken sandwiches (I'll be sure to follow up with a recipe once this month is over ;D), I think I can give it all up for this week.
So, why a week, you ask me, and what's so special about this week?  A week only because it's long enough for me to try being a vegetarian and short enough for me not to give up.  After this week is over, I'll see how much I want to continue or not.

What's special about this week in particular is not that it's the last week of March. Oh no, it is not that.  This week is special because I will be posting an awesome vegetarian recipe every single day of this week until Sunday with thoughts and tribulations of my journey.  So you guys are in for a treat.  Because trust me, I have taken a vegetarian cooking class and vegetarian food is in no way boring!

So let's start this week up with a recipe for...

Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Ready, Steady, Spaghetti
Serves 4 to 6


tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 (14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
salt, pepper, and any other seasoning (optional)

potato gnocchi:
2 1/4 pounds potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
seasoning (optional)

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Step 1: To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook for a bout 5 minutes, stirring.  Add the tomatoes and sugar, and season.  I seasoned mine with garlic powder, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool a little, then process in a food processor until smooth. Just warning you that this is absolutely the best tomato sauce recipe you will ever try.

Step 2: To make the potato gnocchi, peel the potatoes, chop roughly, and boil until very tender.  Drain and mash until smooth.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in the butter, flour, and seasoning, then beat in the eggs.  Leave to cool.

Step 3: Turn out the gnocchi mixture onto a floured surface and divide into flour.  Roll each into a sausage shape.

Step 4: Cut into short pieces and press each piece with the back of a fork.  Cook the gnocchi in batches in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 2 minutes, or until they rise to the surface.  (Alternatively, just deep fry them until they float to the top or turn golden brown in color.) Using a slotted spoon, drain the gnocchi and transfer to bowls.  Serve with the tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Mmmm, look at that amazing cheesy goodness.  I'm sure you'll love this recipe.  Enjoy!

If you have any experience being a vegetarian, please share in the comments below!  I'd love to hear your stories and advice if you have any.  Dinner today with my meat loving family was pure torture.

Abdullah Arif said...

good stuff

Mehwish said...

This was good stuff, yes, but it was also... too gora for me. Don't be scared to slip in some extra spices :D

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