Cooking for Sukkot: Part 1

It’s holiday season in Jewish land! Which means a TON of feasting. And a ton of cooking.

This time of year has been scary for me the past few years, because I have to figure out how to cram multiple feasts into my lifestyle, keeping in mind my three times a week rule and the everything homemade rule.

First of all, I need to give a shoutout to my mom and sister who made Rosh Hashana so much easier than it would have been. They slaved for a while to make sure I could eat well.

And now, it’s up to me to finish off the season with Sukkot. Luckily, I’m not cooking ALL six meals (Wed dinner – Sat lunch, not including breakfasts). Just 3 large ones, contributing one dish to a potluck, and having small meals that are just for me. Still, this kind of task can be daunting. For anyone, but especially when it comes to specific dietary needs.

But I am proof that it’s doable!

Here’s night one of cooking — recipes are either stolen or from my gut, or a combo. My apologies for the low quality pictures. Just go back in time to when Blackberries were the bomb diggity, and you’ll be like, WOAH, your phone took that picture???

Also, these are for two separate meals. More sides for each of these meals to come…

Herbed Chicken

Herbed chicken:

chicken , canola oil, garlic, oregano, thyme, black pepper. Cook at 400 until the juices run dry, anywhere from 30-45 minutes

Butternut Squash Kugel

Butternut Squash Pie/Kugel

http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipe/butternut-squash-souffl/

In the above recipe, I use frozen butternut squash cubes that I stick in the food processor. It’s also AMAZING with oat flour, but use 3/4 cups instead. This is my first time making it with maple syrup and cinnamon. Substituted ginger for nutmeg.

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Sauce: tomato puree, garlic, oregano, thyme, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper

Cook in layers: sauce, small pieces of eggplant, pizza cheese, sauce, eggplant, pizza cheese, sauce, eggplant, cheddar cheese, sauce, parmesan cheese. Cook at 400 for 30 min covered, then 10 uncovered.

 

Gnocchi in maple butter sauce

 

Gnocchi in maple butter sauce

Gnocchi: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/gnocchi-i/ (make sure to follow this recipe. I recently tried to make this while I was exhausted, and wound up reading the instructions wrong and mixing the flour without the sweet potato. And then I had this whole to-do where I burned my fingers. And then the gnocchis wouldn’t stick. I wound up with what I call inside out ravioli casserole. It was DELECTABLE. But ugly. Not that these gnocchi are gorgeous, but they are at least a shape.

Sauce: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/sweet-potato-gnocchi-with-maple-cinnamon-sage-brown-butter-recipe/index.html – I substituted parsley and garlic for cinnamon, pepper, and sage. We’ll see how it goes!

Tons more to cook before Wednesday. But I’m happy and proud. I can eat really interesting, fun dishes. No need to be bland just because there are foods I can’t eat!

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Oh My God, I Just Made Gnocchi

There are some foods you don’t think you can make yourself. Foods that you associate with dining out. And once you stop eating out, you think, “Ok, I will live the rest of my life without this food, and that’s just how it is.” It’s sad, but it’s really a waste of time to be sad about food.

For me, gnocchi was that food. I’m not sure why. I guess I just always loved ordering it in restaurants, so I just associated it as a special restaurant treat.

It’s not so! Gnocchi is totally an easy home food. And – spoiler alert- made a fantastic dinner tonight.

I decided to make the dish because we’re editing a cooking show at work, and in the episode currently in edit, the chef is making gnocchi. I found it utterly impossible to spend the day hearing about gnocchi without developing a serious craving. I couldn’t think of any other food that was worth eating. I needed gnocchi.

I figured since the chef on the show could make gnocchi in her home, I could, too. I googled it, and turns out it’s ridiculously easy. I followed a simple recipe from All Recipes (though I used 2 eggs to get the consistency I needed, and made the balls with my hands instead of rolling the dough out), made homemade sauce, melted on string cheese, and had a delightful restaurant-esque dinner from the comfort of my couch.

More importantly, I learned something: there is no reason people will food allergies who have to restrict their dining out can’t have restaurant food. Cooking is easier than we think it is. Sure, some things have serious prep time, but a lot of that can be done while multitasking — I washed dishes that were long overdue while my potatoes boiled, for example. This morning I roasted chicken and pears while I got ready for work. Yes, the dish takes 40 minutes to prep. Luckily, it takes me 40 minutes to get ready in the morning, if I decide to eat breakfast. Cooking doesn’t have to be a whole “to-do.” But there’s no reason you can’t do it.

I was totally empowered by my gnocchi experience. Plus, I made a few servings worth, and now I have lunch and then some. And all it took was some googling and half an hour of my time (including letting the potatoes boil for longer than they needed to). It would have taken the restaurant that long to bring me the food, plus it would have cost more and I wouldn’t have had leftovers. (Or dishes, but hey. You can’t win them all). While restaurants are nice — I am going out to dinner tomorrow — a home-cooked meal that’s outside the box is somehow more satisfying.

Gnocchi boiling in my pot. Who knew mashed potatoes rolled into flour and eggs and boiled for 5 minutes could be so darn delicious?

Gnocchi boiling in my pot. Who knew mashed potatoes rolled into flour and eggs and boiled for 5 minutes could be so darn delicious?

Gnocchi, tomato sauce, and cheese. The best dinner ever.

Gnocchi, tomato sauce, and cheese. The best dinner ever.