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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Anniversary - to ME!

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! It has been a strange and exciting journey, to say the least. I have learned a lot about photographing food, and timing it for optimal photogenic freshness, about what people like to learn to cook, and about myself.  I also learned that looking back to when we were in Alaska, and realizing that some of the hardships of that time - helped me give birth to this project, and so I'm grateful.

To celebrate, and because I'm on a big Italian food kick right now, I wanted to try to make and experience gnocchi - that wonderful potato pillow-o-goodness that I hear Italian-Americans wax nostalgic about frequently. I may not be any one's Nonna, but I think with basic chef-a-licious skills, and the desire to achieve the tender pillows...it can be done.

First, I baked three large potatoes for nearly an hour in a hot oven, and when done and cooled enough, I grated on to my cutting board with the eggs, Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg. This is what it looked like at that point...


I quickly sprinkled 1/2 a cup of flour over this mixture and worked it until it was incorporated. Then, an additional cup of flour was worked in to make a proper dough.  When done, I cut the dough into four pieces, more or less equal, like so...

Then, the recipe called for rolling the dough into four 1/2 in. diameter rolls, for cutting into gnocchi. I did not get out my ruler.....but I think this approximates the correct size.....



You then cut the dough into little half-inch chunks....to be rolled into the actual gnocchi...like this...

I coated the back of a fork with flour, and gently rolled each dumpling across the back of it, to create the signature marks that, in addition to telling us that they are gnocchi, help them to hold on to the sauce. When I had rolled all of them, I placed on a piece of parchment paper for a half hour rest in the fridge. This rest enables the dough to relax, and the gnocchi to dry up and prepare for being immersed in boiling water, without falling apart. This is what they look like on their way to the fridge.

Little pillows of tater-y goodness!

While they rested, I warmed up some leftover pasta sauce that I had used for my Italian Meatballs (I know...but that's another post).

Then, time to cook the gnocchi in some boiling, salted water....just until cooked through, and they have risen to the surface...this picture shows a batch in the middle of the cooking process, as you can see, some have popped up to the top and are ready to be scooped up with a slotted spoon.

I did not cook the entire batch - as that was a little TOO much for this particular Pixie...but...how was it? Let me count the ways that this dish was amazing! First, have a look at the final plating, with a little more Parmesan, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley and basil...


Those little potato-pillows-o-goodness were like nothing I ever tasted! An entirely different texture and mouth feel from pasta. An Italian adventure, for a year of photographing and tasting fun!

What do you do to commemorate something memorable? Does it involve a special dish?

I went to see what Kitchen Angel thought...as you know, I value her opinion......I looked in the normal place where she usually stands.....ready to laugh at me give valuable advice...and she was GONE!

I looked everywhere! Frantically! Kidnapped! Hurt! Where was she? As I looked around the house in vain.....something near the back deck caught my eye. In disbelief I looked on......and still could not believe what I saw........................

That's right...borrowed the corn cob holder...and was sledding in the back yard! Girls just want to have fun, indeed! The nerve.......

Anyway, that's the moral of this story....one year into the blogoshpere - I want to have fun, show you a bit of my world and what it means to me. Eat well, my friends, and stay tuned for another year of adventures in Pixie land! Love and kindness to all...................

Pixie

2 comments:

  1. Great recipe!!! I love gnocchi and ate it non stop while I was living in Italy but I have always been afraid to make it at home. I am definitely going to try this one, thanks Maria

    Happy 1 Year Anniversary!!

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  2. Thank you my friend! Wish I could have you over, and we'd eat some until we popped!

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