Friday Night in the Kitchen

Cooking with a partner is seriously fun.  My son learned how to make gnocchi in his home arts class recently, so he took the lead in the kitchen last night, showing me how easy (and messy!) it is to make these soft little Italian dumplings.  We loosely followed this Mario Batali recipe:

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, extra large
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Directions

Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.

Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.

Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.

Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off of fork or concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces and flicking off of fork. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup canola oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.

By loosely following, I mean that we used a potato ricer rather than a food mill (don’t own one) and plopped it all onto a large cutting board.   We also skipped the whole flicking off the fork situation and just left them in the 1-inch cut pieces.  We served the finished gnocchi simply with marinara hit with a bit of cream, salt, pepper, and heaps of fresh parmesan and basil.  Comfort food at its best.

A Weekend in Autumn

Things have been too busy for my comfort level as of late, so I am really looking forward to the weekend.  I plan on taking the mutt for long walks, swapping cotton for cashmere and wool in closets and on sofas, trying this lighter version of cassoulet:

taking these maple pumpkin cupcakes to a get together with friends:

and lazing about doing this:

Wishing you a weekend filled with warm blankets, comfort food, and nothing but relaxation!

image one via the gifts of life, image two via bon appetit, image three via house beautiful, image four via habitually chic

Autumn’s Arrival

Truth be told, I am not sad to see summer go.  Glorious autumn has arrived, towing a heavy low light that dances through trees and bathes the world in gold.  It presents us with an exquisite study in contrast: the sun’s warmth with the shadow’s chill, jewel-toned leaves clinging to branches while their grey and brown skeletal cousins skim along the sidewalk, and, best of all, the crisp night air held at bay by the enveloping weight of a down comforter.

Take long walks.  Pick apples.  Build a bonfire.  This fleeting season always leaves us before we are ready.

photo via the aesthete and the dilettante