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Archive for the ‘Potatoes’ Category

While I love my organic vegetable box, I am apt to find myself overloaded with root vegetables come winter. And as much as I love eating carrots, beets, carrots, carrots, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and carrots yet again, I find they easily become boring mid-winter. I’m always looking for new ways to make them more exciting.

While planning a dinner for friends (and trying to use up my accumulated root veggies collection…), I remembered a simple, yet delicious dish my aunt and uncle served me most recently at Thanksgiving (thanks Liz&Dan!). They make a fabulous 7-veggie roasted root vegetable mix, combining the earthy combination of onions, celergy root, turnip, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. To dress up the veg, they toss them not only in oil prior to roasting, but also balsamic vinegar, which results in a delightful glaze.

This dish is easy to prepare, but requires some time to peel and chop the root veg. My aunt and uncle usually leave out beets, as the vibrant red stains other vegetables, but beets are one of my favourites, so I tried this recipe with candy cane beets.  It worked out great if you can get your hands on some (no staining!) or golden beets would also be a good work around. I’m also a fan of roasted brussel sprouts, so included them in my mix.  Feel free to use whatever mix of vegetables you love. The leftovers are great reheated or served cold with some leafy greens.

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Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables

(serving size varies depending on the number of veggies you choose to include in the mix!)

Ingredients

Selection of root vegetables, peeled and cut into ~2 cm cubes:

  • Onion
  • Celery root
  • Turnip
  • Sweet Potato
  • Potato
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Beets (to avoid staining other veg, use candy cane or golden beets)
  • Brussels sprouts

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix of your favourite herbs, dried or fresh, finely chopped:

  • basil
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • parsley
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Veggies ready to roast! 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Prepare root veggies by washing, peeling, and then chopping them into ~2 cm (3/4 inch) cubes. If using, clean and trim the Brussels sprouts and leave whole or halve if large.

In a large bowl, toss veggies with oil and vinegar and herbs to taste. Transfer to a large baking dish (e.g. 8×13 Pyrex) and bake for ~75-90 mins, or until vegetables are baked through and sides are browned. Stir roasting veggies every 20-30 minutes to cook evenly.

 

Bon appetit!

 

Catherine

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As February begins, I am still excited by wintery meals. I haven’t gotten sick of root veggies or stew yet, so I’m excited to share with you one of my most recent potato-based creations.

I had a spontaneous meal with a friend, so I had to make it interesting – and this is what came out! I’m both delighted by the simplicity and the rich flavour.

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Ingredients: 2 servings (plus some leftovers if eaten as part of a meal)

-2 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, washed
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
-2 tsp dried fresh parsley
-1/4-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup milk

-1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
-2 tsp vegetable oil or butter or a mix
-pinch salt

Directions

Cover the potatoes and boil whole for 40 minutes, or until cooked through. You can use smaller potatoes, it will be faster.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat the 2 tsp oil or butter in a frying pan to make the corn over medium heat. Add corn and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes, until corn becomes browned. Remove from heat and then heat up again just before serving.

Once the potatoes are cooked through, either mash them with their skins on or off depending on your preference (this recipe is not fussy).  Cover with a lid while you melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to bubble, add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add salt and parsley. Add milk and return to heat until the milk is hot but doesn’t boil over (not fun to clean). Add to the potatoes and mix well.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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On our paddling trip, S&G brought along a magnificent cast iron camping pot.  We used it for everything from eggs and bacon to soups, cakes to stews.  Given we were carrying the majority of our food, our diet was heavy on the dried lentils, rice and beans.  We had planned a feast to celebrate Canada Day – aloo gobi with lemon cake.   While the day began promising with multiple sightings of loons and beavers, our dinner plans, however, were foiled by high winds and a thunderstorm prematurely pushing us off the lake.

Making our feast of Aloo Gobi and roasted Northern Pike.   It was a happy reunion for Sitelle and I - our first time cooking together in over a year!!

Making our feast of Aloo Gobi and roasted Northern Pike. It was a happy reunion for Sitelle and I – our first time cooking together in over a year!!

We ended up making the aloo gobi a few nights later.  We procured the cauliflower and potatoes from the bottom of our canoe barrel to make the curry. The curry is a perfect camp meal – relatively quick to make, filling, and tasty.   We feasted on the Aloo Gobi along with our roasted pike!

While we made this curry over a campfire, it is something both Sitelle and I have frequently made at home over a stove!

Aloo Gobi

Makes enough aloo gobi to serve 10
Aloo Gobi

Ingredients

Canola oil

2 onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

Spoonful of cumin seeds

Spoonful of tumeric

Spoonful of vegetable bouillon

Cardamom pod

5-6 potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 green pepper, cut into ½ inch squares

1 yellow pepper, cut into ½ inch squares

1 cup frozen green peas

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup dried coconut flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in oil until lightly brown.  Add spices and cook until fragrant.  Stir in potatoes, cauliflower, peas and peppers.  Fill pot with water until all the veggies are barely covered.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.  Stir occasionally while simmering.  Before serving, stir in the coconut milk and coconut flakes. Adjust seasoning to taste!

Delicious served on its own, with some naan bread,  or over a bowl of rice.

Bon appétit!
Catherine

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As you can probably guess, my last two weeks have been quite an adventure. Sandwiched between two vastly different rock-climbing weekends, I spent two weeks working on some intense mind-numbing data collection in the field in the Eastern Townships of Québec. With that behind me, however, I’m thrilled to be home and to enjoy the simple things like cooking dinner together at home.

In Québec, I could well have been paid for my work in mulberries, fresh Montreal Tasty heirloom tomatoes, and zucchinis from a delicious garden in the place I stayed at. Monkeying around in the mulberry tree at 7am probably made me look like quite a character to the neighbours – but I was willing to take on the role if it meant a salad-bowl full of mulberries for breakfast every day!

When I came home, we basically changed gears into preparing for an up-coming adventure (more details to come – but I will admit it will require us to move, and very far at that). That has meant planning to cook so many meals we’ve had on our list of recipes to try all summer. Tonight was no exception: we cooked Lamb Keema from the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine (summer 2012).

We had high hopes for this recipe. Full of home-mixed spices and protein, it’s a perfect end-of-summer meal for those days that are heavy in exercise (it was also delicious without exercise too). Not only was it delicious, it was easy to make as long as all the ingredients are readily available in your kitchen (as long as you’re into Indian cooking, your pantry can probably handle it). Topped off with a sunny-side-up egg, this meal is also an eye-pleaser. Finally, I also want to mention that it is low in carbs, if you’re looking for that.

Ingredients – 4 servings (don’t be discouraged by the long list – most are spices!)

1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
salt

1 lb ground lamb (500g)
1/2 cup yogurt

2 Tbsp cooking oil + 1 Tbsp clarified butter
2 whole green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon

1 medium cooking onion (or the other half of the large red onion), diced
1 Tbsp grated ginger (fresh)
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup tomato purée
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander

2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp garam masala

4 eggs
1 Tbsp butter
cracked black pepper, cayenne to taste

Fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions

Slice the half onion into half-rings. Sprinkle with salt, and let stand.

Heat the oil in a pot with a lid. Once hot, add the whole spices and fry until fragrant, around 3 minutes. Add the diced onion, and fry until translucent but not browned.

Meanwhile, mix the ground lamb and yogurt in a bowl. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger. When onions are ready, add the lamb to the onion mixture and stir to break it all apart. Cook until it is no longer pink, then add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the tomato purée and 1 1/4 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle all of the spices on top except the garam masala. Add the potatoes, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, covered. Remove the cover near the end and leave open if amount of liquid remaining is too much.

Heat the butter in another frying pan. Cook each egg separately sunny-side up, seasoning according to taste.

Finally, add in the peas and garam masala. Remove from heat. Rince the onions under the tap. Divide the keema into four portions and serve with a sunny-side-up egg on top, accompanied with some of those salted onions, and fresh coriander if you have some.

This meal is delicious alone, accompanied with naan, or salad!

The only thing I want to do is thank the LCBO for publishing such a delicious recipe in its Food and Drink magazine!

-Sitelle

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When I was a kid, my parents enrolled me and my sister in the Nancy Greene Ski League. The two of us would spend our days whooshing down the ski hills at Camp Fortune, while my parents would escape into the backwoods to go cross-country skiing. After a long day of skiing, our entire family would enjoy a few rituals: clementines and Toblerone in the car on the way home and Shepherd’s pie for dinner. Our family was content eating President’s Choice’s Shepherd’s Pie — until it was featured in the Ottawa Citizen as one of the top 10 food items filled with saturated fat. Needless to say, we quickly (although sadly) abandoned our Saturday night favourite.

Our family tried to find a store-bought alternative – but inevitably, the Shepherd’s pie would be a little dry or the potatoes would be lacking any flavour. Since I love Shepherd’s pie, I decided to invent my own version. Inspired by my grandmother’s tortiere recipe, I developed the following last winter and have yet to look back. The secret is the cream of mushroom soup: it keeps the ground beef ever so rich and creamy.

This recipe makes 1 13×9-inch Shepherd’s pie – although I often divide it into two. The larger of the Shepherd’s pies (9×9 baking dish) goes straight into the oven, while the second (in a banana loaf pan) goes straight into my freezer for a future delicious dinner. This is the very essence of comfort food on a cold winter’s eve!

Shepherd’s Pie
(serves 12)

Ingredients
MEAT FILLING
1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 large splash Worcester sauce
1 large dollop Heinz Chili sauce
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 large can kernel corn, drained

MASHED POTATOES
8 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters/sixths
2 tablespoons butter
Large splash of milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

Your favourite cheese (Mozerella, Cheddar, and/or, Parmesan)

Directions
Saute the meat, onions, garlic, celery, and carrot together until the meat is browned and the veggies are cooked through. Drain off any extra fat. Stir in the mushroom soup, Worcester, chile, and thyme, and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes to reduce the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper (if so desired, add more heat with Tobasco and more tomato flavour with the Chile sauce). Stir in the corn.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water. Drain once the potatoes are cooked. Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk, adding more milk if necesasry. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the meat mixture to a 9×13 baking pan. Gently spread the mashed potatoes overtop. Bake for 20 minutes or until the meat mixture begins to bubble. Sprinkle as much grated cheese overtop. Bake for a further 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Broil until the cheese is bubbly.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Falls

Beulach Ban falls

A few weekends ago, I visited Cape Breton with my sister and my friend Alex.  The colours were just past their peak, although still vibrant.  We stopped a few places along the Cabot Trail to take in all her splendour.  The skyline trail led us through spruce groves before opening to a magnificent view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  At MacIntosh Brook, we strolled through maple forests beside a babbling brook to a waterfall. We ventured down a small gravel road to the beautiful Beulach Ban Falls.  Ever searching for the perfect picnic spot, we lunched at the rocky headland on Green Cove, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  At Franey, we climbed like mountain goats to a small look-out perched on a steep cliff, with lovely views of the Clyburn River Canyon and the coast.

Towards the Atlantic Ocean at Freney

We spent the night in Pleasant Bay, a lovely fishing village halfway around the Cabot Trail.  Having dallied to arrive, the only restaurant still open was the Pleasant Bay motel.  The dining room was modest, but the kitchen was a delight with delicious, yet simple Maritime fare.  We each started with a bowl of chowder – creamy with a generous serving of seafood.  La piece de resistance, however, was the fish and chips: crispy batter around succulent haddock, cooked to perfection served with tangy coleslaw and home fries.

Since visiting Pleasant Bay, I have tried to recreate my taste experience.  I’m still brainstorming on how best to create homemade fish and chips without a deep-fryer, but with winter descending, this has given me the perfect excuse to experiment with chowders.  Inspired by cans in the pantry, this corn and salmon chowder was hearty, yet refreshing with the added dill.

Salmon and corn chowder

Salmon and Corn Chowder

(serves 6 bowls)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cans kernel corn, drained and rinsed

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons flour

Generous dash of tobasco

2 cans of salmon, drained and finely mashed (I like my soup infused with salmon – if you wanted to let the corn shine through, one can would suffice)

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic in the butter.  Stir in the potatoes and saute for another five minutes, and then stir in the broth, corn, and bay leaves.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Throughly mix the flour into the milk before adding it to the chowder base. Return the soup to a simmer and allow to thicken, about five minutes.  Add the tobasco, salmon, dill, and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.  Serve, garnished with extra chopped dill.  Delicious served with a crusty piece of bread!

– Catherine

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I have never really been a meat-and-potato kind of gal.  I struggled most with mashed potatoes: some cold and lumpy, others rather bland, even at times the consistency of glue, this dish generally did not appeal to me.  And then, a few weeks ago over Thanksgiving, I was introduced to the brilliant idea of putting horseradish into mashed potatoes.  It gives the potatoes a little kick and richness in flavour without needing pounds of butter.  I believe I may even have been converted for life to horseradish mashed potatoes.

Halifax today is dreary: blustering winds carrying nearly freezing rain. My antidote to the weather?  A homey meal of bangers and mash, jazzed up with horseradish.  Perhaps deep at heart, I am a meat-and-potato kind of gal after all.

Bangers and horse-radish infused mash, with peas and beet greens

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

(serves 2-3)

Ingredients

4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces

Butter

Milk

1-2 tablespoons horseradish (more or less, given the strength of your horseradish)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Boil potatoes in a large pot of salted water, drain.  Mash butter and milk into your potato to your liking.  Mash in the horseradsih, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  A perfect way to spice up your mashed potatoes!

-Catherine

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This Saturday I took my very last walk down to the great little market I’ve grown accustomed to visiting each week here in Montréal. Although I don’t leave for another two-and-a-half weeks, my week-ends are already completely booked and elsewhere.

As I walked past the beautiful trees over the layers of colourful leaves on the ground, I caught my last few glimpses of summertime.

 

At the market, I indulged in my last bag of ultra-squeaky goat’s cheese curd, the very best almond-chocolate croissant that the baker had, and discovered a great surprise: my first sunchokes (aka jerusalem artichokes) of the year!

Although I’m trying to empty my fridge, I picked up the four most beautiful sunchokes that were covered in soil, knowing I’d be having a treat for supper that night. Using sunchokes in this recipe gives the latkes a nuttier flavour, which comes from their high inulin content. Inulin is quite popular these days as a prebiotic [oops, the nutritional scientist in me just couldn’t resist – sorry!].

Ingredients – serves 4 as a side or lunch

Latkes

-1 pound jerusalem artichokes (approximately 6), washed, peeled, and grated
-1 carrot, washed and grated
-1 large potato, washed, peeled, and grated
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-1/4 onion, finely minced
-1/4 + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/4 tsp salt
-dash pepper
-1 Tbsp butter or canola oil

Possible accompaniments

Applesauce (preferably not too spiced)
-Sour cream

Directions

Wash and grate all veggies. Combine all vegetables in a medium-sized bowl, mix in the flour, salt and pepper, and then mix well. Add the egg, and continue to stir until the mixture is evenly coated.

Heat the oil or butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place flattened tablespoonfuls in the pan, and press gently. Fry until golden, approximately 4 minutes. Turn the latkes over, and repeat.

Serve hot with applesauce and/or sour cream.

Bon appétit!

-Sitelle

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I love leeks.  They have such a delicate flavour, with delicious nutty undertones.  Versatile, they are the perfect substitute for onions in any risotto or soup.  Leeks are often overpriced in the winter, but the Halifax market is currently overflowing with this vegetable, so I have been taking full advantage of their presence!

Vichysoisse is one of my go -to soups.  Ready in less than half an hour, this soup is lovely served either hot or cold. With a piece of crusty bread, it makes for a rusting meal. While purists may recommend serving it chilled, I also love this soup hot. Its flavour is subtle, but comforting.  The secret is to use flavourful broth (homemade is best – although if you buy yours in-store, I recommend spending the extra 50¢ to upgrade from a can to a box) and fresh leeks.

My largest recommendation?  Do not get impatient with your blender.  I may have tried to velouté too large a batch, only to end up with my blender and the hot soup exploding on me.  There are smudges of vichysoisse on my kitchen ceiling to prove it!

 

Vichysoisse

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 bunch leeks, dark green segments discarded and the rest coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

About ½ teaspoon salt

Broth (about 3 cups)

Pepper to taste

Cream (about ½ cup) – Both liquid or sour cream work well here

Chives or green onions for garnish, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

Sauté the leeks and garlic in the butter until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, broth, bay leaf, and salt, and bring the soup to a boil.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and leeks are cooked through.  Allow to cool slightly.

Blend the soup in batches in a food processor until smooth.  Return to the stove and season to taste with salt, pepper, and cream.  Serve either hot or chilled, garnished with chives or green onions.  Delicious with a crusty slice of bread.

Bon appétit!

–       Catherine

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For the past several years, I have embraced coming up with new or unusual ways to cook traditional foods usually eaten at and around Thanksgiving. Like Catherine, Thanksgiving is also a favourite holiday of mine. The brilliant colours around me remind me of the changing seasons, and this year, they remind me of a bountiful harvest had at our (now previous) home in Toronto. Although I loved the autumn colours in Toronto, I must admit they are absolutely stunning out here in Western Montréal. I frequently have to travel at least an hour to visit field sites at work, and I am really fortunate because I end up driving along some of the most beautiful roads in Canada. Driving doesn’t feel like a chore, in that case – but rather a treat!

This year I spent Thanksgiving in Ottawa. We decided to have a roast beef (rosbif en français), and so I thought I should try to make something different with squash, because squash are something I can never get enough of. A relative of mine who knows me well gave me a beautiful Kuri squash (aka red hubbard) as a housewarming gift a few weeks ago. What a great idea! It had a smiling face carved into it naturally in a few crevices – and made a lovely meal which I greatly enjoyed sharing with my family. I made this recipe without parmesan because of a dietary restriction – and I think in the end that allowed the subtle squash flavours to really come through. I based the recipe off one found on Bon Appétit‘s website which I bookmarked last year as a must for 2011. This is quite an ambitious project to take on if you’ve never made gnocchi, but don’t shy away just because of that. Especially if you have the helping hands of a mother or friend, it ends up being really fun and the outcome is certainly worth it.

Ingredients – 6 side portions

-1 medium kuri (red hubbard) squash
-1 Tbsp olive oil

-3 small potatoes or 1 large potato – approximately 350g
-1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 egg, beaten
-1/2 tsp (freshly if possible) grated nutmeg
-1/2 tsp salt

-4 Tbsp butter
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Place cut-side up on a baking dish and brush with olive oil. Cook in oven at 400F for 75-90 minutes, or until the squash is fully roasted and some brown spots begin to appear on it.

Meanwhile, boil the potato whole for about 20 minutes or until a fork can be poked in and flesh is tender. Remove from water, peel, and purée the potato (use a potato ricer if you have  – which my dad and his wife do to my great surprise!). Purée the potato while it is still warm, and if you do not have a ricer, mash it up thoroughly. I like to pass it through the ricer several times because it makes the gnocchi that much more delicate

While letting the puréed potato cool, scoop the squash flesh out of the skin and purée it (I did it by hand because I did not have a food processor – but that would be great if you have one). Then place the purée in a pot and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is hot and thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.

To the cool potato, add the nutmeg, egg, and salt. Then add the squash, and mix thoroughly. Add the flour in 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well enough that the mixture is even but not over-worked. If the dough is still quite sticky once all the flour has been mixed in, add a couple of table spoon fulls of flour until it is not too sticky to handle.

When you are ready, roll small tea-spoonfuls of the dough on floured hands, and then roll over a fork to create indentations. Place on a well-floured cookie sheet or if you have parchment paper this is the time to use it on the baking sheet.

Once your gnocchi are all formed (congratulations! it’s not the easiest thing to make), place them in the fridge for an hour.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and then cook the gnocchi in batches of 1/4 at a time. Place them into the water carefully, and wait for them to begin to float. Once they are cooked (floating), remove them with a slotted spoon and place in a single layer on a baking dish again. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.

To make the brown butter: in a frying pan, melt the butter over medium/medium-low heat. Once it begins to bubble, keep a careful eye. It should eventually foam white, and then the foam should pick up a yellow tinge. This is the point the pan needs to be taken off the heat immediately otherwise the butter will pass the brown/hazelnut stage and burn. Place the chopped fresh sage in the butter and return over low heat for a minute or two.

Place the gnocchi in the pan with the brown sage butter, toss so the gnocchi are fully covered, and serve as an accompaniment to a special meal!

-Sitelle

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