Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Daring Cooks first ever challenge - Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

1 Peter 5:7 
"casting all your anxiety on Him, 
because He cares for you."

I joined the Daring Bakers because it looked like so much fun and I love to bake. But I joined the Daring Cooks because I really needed to be challenged to be more adventurous when it comes to cooking. The first challenge is right in line for that - I've never made gnocchi before, and I've only eaten it once. It was at a well known restaurant, and I didn't think it was all that good.

Well I have to say that this gnocchi was much better than the one at the restaurant. It was so delicate and pleasant. AND ..... it was actually quite easy and I'm definitely going to make it again - as an entree. I had meant to make it for dinner last night, but I had had such a stressful day with Emily that I forgot all about it, and I was quite happy so settle into watching a baseball game. But by the end of the game I was doing much better and at that point I remembered the gnocchi and I talked my husband into being willing to eat gnocchi at 9 o'clock.

Not only was he willing to eat the gnocchi, he was willing to help straighten up the kitchen for me, so it would be easier to cook there. He is really a terrific husband. So after it was cleared up I set up everything I needed for making the gnocchi. I didn't have large eggs, only extra large. My Parmigiano-Reggiano was of a course shred, so I needed to try and get it smaller in the food processor. When I weighed out what I had it was an ounce, so I went with it, particularly because my eggs were bigger than called for. My mixture seemed like maybe it was too wet, so I added three tablespoons of flour. This was to compensate for the big eggs.

It still seemed a bit wet, but then I made the test gnocchi and it came out really nice. So at that I did up a batch of gnocchi.

And at that my mind began thinking our what I could add to the gnocchi to make it a finished dish. I had made 4 quiches on Mother's Day, and I still had vegies left-over from that. I decided that I would fry up a bit of zucchini in a little butter and olive oil with a light sprinkle of garlic salt and some pepper. I also added to sea salt, and when I opened the container I picked the wrong side, and almost ruined the zucs, but luckily i shook lightly. Then when the zucs looked nicely cooked I added six grape tomatoes cut in half and sauteed them just a teeny bit. Then I scooped out the gnocchi from the boiling water after about 4 minutes and put the vegies on top.

I love all the possibilities for this dish, and I think that it's the perfect entree. The gnocchi were really light, even with my addition of flour. Riley really liked the zucchini and I really liked the grape tomatoes with the gnocchi.

One thing that I found very interesting is that the recipe is almost exactly the mixture that I put into my Christmas lasagne. That really gave me some ideas. For an herb in the Christmas lasagne I put in sweet basil. So what if I boiled up my mixture into gnocchi before putting it into the lasagne?

This recipe was brought to us by the Zuni Cafe, and the recipe can be found in The Zuni Café Cookbook.

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step." 
C. S. Lewis

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Teaching your children to cook - and then they teach you how to cook

 "Train up a child in the way he should go, 
Even when he is old he will not depart from it." 
Proverbs 22:6

Today I had my first public article printed. It was just a volunteer project - in other words, I wasn't paid. But it was still kind of exciting to see what that feels like - having something you wrote printed up. The article was on "Teaching Your Children to Cook", and it is on the Daring Kitchen site, and can be found here, or here, or lastly here, on one of my blogs.

And in a funny little twist of irony, it was today that one of my daughters taught me how to cook something. It all started when Riley and I were at Winco and he spotted tomatillos. It seems his mouth began to salivate at the thought of Sarah's chicken tacos. Next thing I knew he was on the phone to Sarah, who incidentally was going to be spending the evening at our house, because her husband was going to a wrestling banquet. Wrestlers seem to have lots of banquets.

We then proceded to gather up all the food items we would need for the tacos, as well as gathering up the things needed for the birthday dinner for my Dad tomorrow. He's actually 90 today, but Sunday was a better day for the dinner.

"You can observe a lot by watching."   Yogi Berra