Caprese Salad with Gnocchi; eating packaged foods

A long time ago, in a place far, far away, in another life, I went to a restaurant show.

Not the kind of restaurant show for the general public; the kind of restaurant show for people whose business was restaurants:  People who sold to, bought for, managed or owned restaurants.

The one fact that I remember from that show was: if a restaurant (not a Michelin starred restaurant) has more than one or two dishes on their menu that are difficult or fussy to prepare you can be assured those dishes are purchased, ready-made and frozen.

I never ordered Chicken Kiev again.

I have opined often on this blog that I only eat real food.

I don’t eat prepared food – no frozen pizzas, tins of soup, bottles of salad dressing or little boxes of Lean Cuisine.

Naturally I should add qualifiers to all such statements along the lines of: occasionally, rarely, not if I can help it, only under duress, or when pigs fly.

Like many (most, some) people I try to eat and cook healthily.

But I try not to be a crushing bore about it….. Even to myself.

Sometimes one is just served food that one normally doesn’t eat.

There are some things that I will never eat (she says with conviction at this point in her life).

I’m quite sure I would be willing to cause an international incident before eating monkey eyeballs or bull testicles.

Under normal circumstances, however, unless it actually makes me ill, I eat what is offered.

That means if mon mari has his heart set on a Big Mac, I eat at McDo’s.  I can manage to chow down on a double cheeseburger and fries a few times a year and thoroughly enjoy it – regardless of how I feel after the fact. (Actually, the French McDo’s have pretty good specials).

If there is Green Bean Casserole with Cream of Mushroom Soup on the table when I’m in the U.S. – I eat it and make nice comments.

Where is this all going you wonder?

I’m going to the US in a few weeks; mon mari is staying home to mind the pups.

Normally I fill the freezer for him with little chickens, duck breasts, sausages and burgers….
Anything he can grill.

There are still squashes, green beans and tomatoes in the garden, add some potatoes and he’s a happy chef.

When we were at the big supermarket last week he found a package of Turkey Cordon Bleu in the weekly specials section, 10 of them, all stuffed, breaded and ready to cook, for 5 euro.

Cheap enough to try; could be nice if it’s cold and rainy and he doesn’t want to grill.

I divided the package and froze them in individual servings – and kept some out to try.

I was concerned that they would be fatty or salty…. It’s been my experience that most prepared foods taste as good as they do because of the added salt or fat or sugar or whatever. (Like McDo’s).

These were such a disappointment!

They were tasteless.

I could see the ham and I could see the cheese, but neither had the least bit of flavor.

Thankfully, we have lots of green Tabasco….

I do hate it when I decide to be ‘bad’ and it’s not worth it.

When I’m bad I want it to be really, really good.

This was really, really good – and hardly bad at all.

The normal package of gnocchi is too much for the two of us as a side dish. (yes I buy it – I also buy pasta),

I snitch a few to use for a starter on a different night.

My tomatoes are at the stage where they are ripening unevenly.

It’s good-bye to pretty slices and hello to tasty chunks.

Caprese Salad with Gnocchi
Caprese Salad with Fried Gnocchi

20 – 24 fresh gnocchi 1/3 of a package of fresh gnocchi
2 tsp olive oil
1 ball mozzarella de Bufala, 4oz (125gr) net weight
2 – 3 garden ripe tomatoes
large handful fresh basil
Balsamic vinegar
salad olive oil or truffle oil

Heat water in a medium pot for gnocchi. When boiling, add the gnocchi and cook just until they all float, 1 – 2 minutes. Drain. 
Heat 2 tsp oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add gnocchi and sauté until light brown, stirring and turning occasionally, 12 – 15 minutes. 
Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into big chunks and arrange on 2 plates.  Top with browned gnocchi, basil leaves and a bit of freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with olive or truffle oil and serve. 
Mon mari likes to add the Balsamic; I’m a purist.

When I’m in the US, there’s a place I know that makes the absolute best double chocolate chunk brownie….

Sometimes, it’s good to be bad.

8 thoughts on “Caprese Salad with Gnocchi; eating packaged foods”

  1. I had to laugh! I live in the U.S. and don’t touch that green bean dish. And I so agree with all the prepared foods. But, I love a Big Mac and have to satisfy that craving every now and then.
    Your salad sounds and looks delicious! Sauteed gnocchi must be great! Have a good trip!

  2. I am very selective re pre packaged foods. I do buy frozen gluten free pizza bases but mostly I, too, cook from scratch. I wouldn’t have been tempted by those turkeys as we are predominantly vegetarian.

  3. Tanna,it has to be calorie-worthy LOL
    Pam, sometimes I just have to eat the stuff to see if the memory is right…. Usually, not….
    Belinda, thanks – we love the gnocchi that way!
    Val, mine are disappearing fast, I’m sorry to say.
    Feast on the Cheap – it was ;-))
    Liz, thanks!
    manningroad, I wasn’t tempted by them – but the hubs was. Now he has to eat them… He has lots of hot sauce LOL

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