Monday, 7 April 2014

Say Cheese!

I love going to Farmer's Markets and seeing what amazing vegetables could be featured on my plate in the summer, but right now Farmer's Markets are filled with mostly cheese, eggs, preserves, and baked goods. While I am a little less excited about baked goods and preserves because I love to make my own, choosing a special piece of local artisan cheese is worth the trip to a Farmer's Market in a colder weather. 

This month's Canadian Food Experience Project challenge is to write about a Canadian farmer or producer and I can't think of any local producer better that Salt Spring Island Cheese Company. They make handmade goat and sheep's cheeses and each bite is worth every calorie. Their chèvre is particularly delicious, but I love putting out a cheese board filled with a few of their cheeses so I can sample a taste of everything.

I love to enjoy a bite of Salt Spring Island Cheese with nothing more than a cracker, but I think even just a few small pieces enhance a dish and makes it even more special. Why not try some with my Carrot Gnocchi recipe? It would make a great Easter treat this year!

Carrot Gnocchi with Spinach and Salt Spring Island Cheese - serves 4

2 medium or 1 large baking potato(es)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 egg
5-6 tablespoons of flour
4 cups of spinach
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic
Salt, to taste
Salt Spring Island Cheese - crumbled chèvre or grated Montana

1. Bake or microwave potatoes until soft and tender. Then scoop the flesh out of their skins and put them through a ricer. You can also grate them, but your gnocchi may not be quite as smooth and velvety.

2. While your potatoes are cooking, boil your carrots in salted water until tender. Then drain them completely and purée them in a food processor or blender.

3. Stir together the potatoes, carrots, egg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 5 tablespoons of flour, stir until combined, and then knead the dough until it's smooth. You may need to add a little additional flour depending on the size of your carrots and potatoes. 

4. Roll your dough out into two 3/4 inch thick ropes and cut each rope into bite sized pieces. If desired, roll each piece against a fork or gnocchi board to make ridges. 

5. Next, boil water and cook gnocchi until they rise to the surface. 

6. Finally sauté the spinach in butter and garlic until wilted. Serve gnocchi over spinach with a generous sprinkling of Salt Spring Island Cheese and enjoy.

The Canadian Food Experience Project began on June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories through our regional food experiences,  we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.

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