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by Alexandra Greeley

Special to the Times

Roasted vegetable gnocchi

Serves 4-6

Clean the vegetables before preparing the gnocchi dish. To give you an idea for quantity, try using the ones from Trader Joe’s that they keep with the pasta.

Ingredients for the roasted vegetables portion:

1/4 broccoli head

1/4 cauliflower head

1/4 small bag fresh Brussels sprouts

1/4 medium eggplant

1/4 tub of whole baby bella mushrooms

¼ cup (plus a little more for drizzling) extra virgin olive oil

Garlic salt (to taste)

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp basil

Herbamare Original Seasoning Salt (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the broccoli, mushrooms, eggplant and cauliflower into bite-sized portions. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half. Then in a large bowl throw all the cleaned and cut vegetables and mix the following: olive oil, garlic salt, oregano, thyme, basil and Herbamare Original Seasoning Salt (to taste).

Place the seasoned vegetables on a baking sheet (the ones with the tall sides so the juices don’t leak in your oven) and spread the veggies out so they aren’t lying on top of each other (touching is okay). Drizzle a little more olive oil over the vegetables so they remain moist. Once the oven has been preheated, place the baking sheet with the vegetables in there for about 15 minutes (If you like your vegetables more on the crunchy side, check them every 5 minutes or so. When they reach the desired crunch level take them out).

While the vegetables are cooking in the oven, you will need to start preparing the gnocchi.

Ingredients for the gnocchi portion:

1 large garlic clove, diced

1/4 small onion, diced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus a little more to coat gnocchi after boiling

Roasted vegetables (diced into small pieces — please wait for them to cool enough to handle)

2 gnocchi packages

Sprinkle of garlic salt

Grated Parmesan to taste (for the gnocchi at the end)

Dice the garlic and onions and toss them in a skillet with the ½ cup of olive oil. Sauté on medium for about 5 to 10 minutes (don’t let the garlic turn brown). In the meantime put a large pot of water to boil (chef’s note: if the water starts to boil before the onions and garlic have cooked, please hold off on tossing in the gnocchi because the gnocchi don’t take long at all to cook). When the onions and garlic are ready, add the diced, roasted veggies until they are warm. Add garlic salt to taste.

When you add the vegetables to the onion and garlic mix, you may add the gnocchi to cook. When the gnocchi are ready (they float when they are ready), drain the water and put a little bit of olive oil in the pan they were in. Put the drained gnocchi back in the pan with olive oil and let the olive oil coat them. Then toss in the roasted vegetable mix and stir until all the ingredients have mixed.

Serve on a plate or bowl with grated Parmesan to taste, and enjoy.

As any diarist knows, keeping tabs on daily goings-on can be intriguing, instructive and inspiring. But be a food diarist — well, a food blogger — and for many of us that makes keeping written records of say, ingredients, recipes and great restaurants a great pleasure. That certainly must be the case for Springfield resident Anna Bruce, a young food blogger whose real, full-time profession is being a portrait photographer who specializes in photographing women.

But, she added, she loves food and she loves to cook. “I do the food blog as a hobby,” she said. “I am interested in food because my mom loves to cook and it runs in the family. I am half Italian, so my mom is always cooking and baking.”

Because she was raised that way, she admitted she, too, loves to cook and to eat. But her focus is not solely on Italian food.

“I was born and raised in Venezuela,” she said, “so there is a lot about Venezuelan food on my blog. It’s all about just trying out ingredients and experimenting with food and flavors.”

Venezuelan food aside, Bruce admitted that one of her favorite staples is pasta, an ingredient she cooks and eats often. “I normally cook lots of different pasta,” she said. “It is my most favorite food and what I love to eat the most. I try to cook everything with pasta, cream sauce, vegetables, mushrooms ... anything with pasta.”

Because of her food passion — she does nothing but post photos about food on her Instagram account, a friend said recently — she started her food blog (<>) last fall. She thought if she started a food blog, she could share recipes and food ideas with friends. It seems to have worked: She now has 86 fans on Facebook on the blog.

What other foodies find are her own renditions of other recipes. “I never really cook by the recipe,” she said. “I always look at it and add this or that because that’s what I would like to eat. For example, I look at tomatoes and think, ‘What should I do with them?’ And with a pasta recipe that calls for adding ham and peas, I add edamame instead of peas, and added wine. I made it for my mom, and it was really good.”

If her mom has inspired her daughter to cook, she has not inspired Bruce to be a baker. “My mom’s a baker,” she said. “We kind of bake together, but she really has the baking hand.”

As it turns out, Bruce does have two food-related goals: blog more than just biweekly about food, and take culinary classes. “I never considered a cooking school, but it is my goal to take a cooking class with a friend this year,” she said. “I am not sure if I want to be a chef, but it is definitely a possibility.”