I enjoy old recipes and sharing wholesome food ideas, so when the opportunity to teach kids about cooking presented itself, I jumped at the chance. We explored mixing ingredients, experimented with various blends of chocolate, and rolled out pasta dough. I also introduced the little chefs to Vegan food as well and was grateful for their questions. They have an eagerness to share, especially when expressing their culinary preferences, which was often entertaining. Kids have a way of cutting right to the chase.
I learned over time not to worry if they decide to get up and run around while their cookies are baked, or if they were more interested in eating the ingredients (maybe I shouldn’t have done that class on chocolate) than preparing a recipe. I realized what mattered was how they connected to the food; whether they were mesmerized by garlic sauteing in a pan, or fully engaged in eating the gnocchi that they made from scratch.
Hopefully, that connection to food will continue beyond the classroom, where they will continue to explore and create experiences of their own.
Vegan Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sage
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup unbleached, self-rising flour + 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon almond milk
1/2 cup non-dairy (non-hydrogenated) butter
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Place the sweet potatoes into a pot of simmering, water. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove the potatoes from the water and peel off the skin; if they are too hot to handle, use tongs to remove the skin.
2. Use a potato ricer to crush the potato; if you don’t have a ricer, shred the potato with a cheese grater. Work while the potato is hot. Sift 1/2 cup of the flour on the riced/shredded potato and add the additional 1 tablespoon of the flour. Mix the potato dough slowly; you don’t want to overwork it. Add the almond milk while continuing to work the dough until it soft and fluffy. Roll the dough into a cylindrical shape, cover it with a dish cloth and let sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Cut the dough into 4 inch pieces. Roll out the pieces into logs, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut each rolled out log, into 1 inch pieces. Gently imprint each gnocchi with the tines of a fork and gently set aside on a parchment lined sheet pan.
4. Boil the gnocchi in a pot of boiling, salted water. When they rise to the top, they are done. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside to keep warm.
5. Place the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisking constantly until the butter turns brown, and smells toasty, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from flame and add the sage and black pepper.
6. Place the brown butter sauce in a non-stick skillet over low to medium heat, add the gnocchi and gently toss to coat. Serve warm.