15 May 2006

makin' gnocchi.

see more gnocchi photos.
Originally uploaded by deepfry.
last week, my friends and i gathered to make gnocchi, inspired by a late night viewing of Lidia Matticchio Bastianich's cooking show a few weeks back. frankly, i was disappointed that at no time during the cooking process did either of lidia's well-fed grown children "coincidentally" stop by to recommend wine, reminisce about childhood meals or face the harsh criticism of lidia while attempting to help cook. alas.

we decided to make traditional potato gnocchi and spice things up a bit by trying yam gnocchi. we also made fresh pesto sauce and pulled out some of the tomato sauce that bruce had made and frozen last summer.

to make the gnocchi, we first steamed up a big pot of potatoes. once they were nice and soft, the potatoes were peeled and put through the ricer here's a photo of erin ricing potatoes. when i took my turn, i found it to be deeply satisfying. To take something so big and smush it through into all these tiny little blobs...instant gratification!

after ricing, we kneaded flour and salt into the mashed potato, making it into a relatively firm dough. the yams took a lot more flour than the potatoes and also required an egg. and even with the egg and flour, after sitting piled on a plate for ten minutes, awaiting boiling, they merged into one, requiring a second round of rolling and cutting.

but i'm jumping ahead. after making the dough, we rolled it out into long thin snakes (such as pictured above) and used a pastry cutter to cut each roll into gnocchi-sized pieces. rolling a fork across the top of each one put on the finishing touch.

the final product was delightful! the pesto and a tomato sauce went wonderfully with both of them and bruce grilled up a piece of halibut, steamed some asparagus and threw together a quick salad. all in all, it was a very wholesome meal. the potato gnocchi, eggless, was a bit mushy for me, but everyone else liked it. i prefered the yam gnocchi, which ultimately held together better.

the project was delightful! there were a few too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen moments, but, overall, we did well, working together like a real team, producing a highly edible meal! delicious, even!

13 May 2006


Originally uploaded by deepfry.
yesterday i went to the grocery store and came home with enough food to keep me alive for about seven months (there could be a blizzard that traps me in my apartment - you just never know), so when i walked down to the farmer's market this morning, i told myself that i would only get something if it was absolutely necessary. no reckless produce purchases for me; oh no, i was going to be Responsible and Reasonable. i brought my camera so i could pretend like i was there only to take photos, not to purchase. i walked the two blocks of the market without narry a inkling of consumer desire, merely admiring the beauty of the vegetables. my mistake was to double back through the market. as i approached the Very Last farm stand, i saw before me piles and piles of strawberry flats. i would've kept walking, but erin had to stop and buy greens. while waiting, i meandered over to the strawberries. Big Mistake. next thing i know, i'm convincing erin to split a 1/2 flat. but how could i resist the beautiful plumpness of the strawberries? and the line winding around the corner only further enticed me - peer pressure, you might say. now i have three pints of strawberries in my kitchen. sigh. i have no self-control. i am weak.

06 May 2006


best raw cake batter EVER.
Originally uploaded by deepfry.
last week i made a cake for erin's birthday. it was a major feat, not for the complexity of the recipe, but because it took EVERYTHING IN ME to resist eating the entire bowl of raw cake batter, the double batch of vanilla buttercream frosting and the strawberry filling made with strawberries from the farmers' market. i mean, look at that batter! light, fluffy, not to sweet. it was like eating a chocolate cloud.

and the buttercream. after the journey that buttercream and i embarked on, i deserved nothing less than to eat every last bit of it. it started soupy after i failed to let the melted sugar cool enough; it broke apart when i tried to rewhip it after fifteen minutes in the fridge. i thought all hope was lost. i considered a last-minute run to the store for, gasp, pre-made frosting! but i perservered and, after reheating a small portion of the frosting, adding it back to the bowl and giving it a good hand whip, it optained the most delightful glossy pink sheen. and so not only had we struggled through the ups and downs together, but, wow, did it look good. so i ate approximately my weight in buttercream and frosted the cake with the rest of it. there was even some leftover, possibly because i made a double batch for only one cake.

all this is to say, I Love Cake. especially cake made by me. it was just so fabulous to see the whole thing come together and get to sample it through the entire baking process. for my birthday, i might just make a bowl of cake batter and pour some buttercream frosting (and maybe a few strawberries) over it. oh yeah.