Thursday, January 10, 2013

homemade gnocchi

i think i have a special knack for being friends with homeless people.

a few nights ago i'm driving in ballard, and stop at a light on the corner.
it's super cold and stormy outside, so i roll down my window
and tell the homeless man that the only thing i have with me is a box of chocolates.

he proceeds to change the subject all together. 
our conversation went something like this:

 him... 'have you ever seen charlie's angels? the old one?'
me... 'yeah i think i've seen it'
him... 'do you remember what the angel's names were?'
me... 'no, haha, i don't remember!'
him...(starting to yell)... 'AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A SEAHAWKS FAN?'

(not sure the connection - LOL)
anyway... back to the angels...

him...'do you remember the angel's names??'
me... 'no, i'm so sorry i don't remember them!'
him... 'the one with long blonde hair was farrah fawcett, and the one with dark hair was.... etc, etc'
(he runs through the whole list of names)
he continues... 'you are more beautiful than all of those angels combined'
him... 'i would pay $8.41 to see YOU at the movie theater!'

(i'm dying at this point, and really want to get him these chocolates before the light turns green!)

awkwardly i say... 'that's a lot of money!'
(it does seem like a lot of money, especially if you were homeless!)

and sure enough... the light turned green, i said goodbye and drove away.

BUT, i'm keeping that box of chocolates in my car 
for the next time i see my homeless friend daniel on the street corner.

i've been wanting to make homemade gnocchi for sometime.
this recipe is actually incredibly simple, but it takes some finesse.

 while my gnocchi wasn't a complete failure...
it held together, cooked properly, and tasted pretty good, 
i would do some things differently on round 2 of this recipe.

1. i would cook my potatoes for longer - making sure they were super soft all the way through.
softer than if you were just going to eat them like a baked potato.

2. i would knead the dough for longer.

recipe via smitten kitchen

*this recipe makes an enormous amount of gnocchi. 
i could have at least cut it in half*


2 pounds russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten


1. preheat your oven to 400°F. 
prick the potatoes all over with a fork, 
and bake them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour, 
or until they are tender. 
for best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. 
let the potatoes cool slightly.

2. peel the potatoes, and then pass them through a potato ricer, 
food mill or grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. 
add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes 
and mix well with a wooden spoon.

3. add the flour to the potatoes a little at a time, 
using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. 
when the flour has been incorporated, 
bring the dough together with your fingertips.

4. dump the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a slightly floured surface. 
knead the dough as you would bread dough. 
press down and away with the heel of your hand, 
fold the dough over, make a quarter turn, and repeat the process. 
knead for about three or four minutes.

5. form the dough into a ball and then divide it into 6 smaller balls. 
on a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the six pieces 
using your fingertips into a long rope about 3/4 inch thick. 
cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.

6. you can cook the gnocchi as it is now, but traditional gnocchi has ridges. 
(i skipped this part alltogether - but feel free to try it out) :)

to create the ridges, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. 
with your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. 
this takes a little practice. if you find the dough sticking to the fork, 
dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.

7. place the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly floured or parchment-lined dish. 
if you’d like to freeze them for later use, 
do so on this tray and once they are frozen, 
drop them into a freezer bag. 
(this ensures that you won’t have one enormous 
gnocchi mass when you are ready to cook them.)

8. to cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. 
after a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. 
continue to cook for one minute then remove and set aside.

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