Thursday, February 3, 2011
100th Post : Gnocci & Cheese
Happy 100th Post!! I never thought i would get here, especially last summer when i had slowed down for a bit, but i managed it! I am also happy that i got my New Year's Blog Resolution of doubling my readership this year. And in only a month!! I want to welcome the twelve new people who joined me last month, and the twelve people who joined me last year. I am so happy to have everyone here to share my kitchen catastrophes! I was originally going to post this tomorrow, but i have a cold and can't sleep, i have a fever so i called in sick for tomorrow in case it goes higher and i have to make a trip to the hospital. So, if i start randomly rambling and not making sense, give me a boot, would ya? And blame the fever. I am blissfully medicated and monitoring my temperature every half hour, so I will be OK, and I am also under orders to call my beau if i need to run up the hill. I can also can sleep all day tomorrow, hopefully. Now on to the rambling! :-)
So for my 100th post, i wanted to make something new, unique and a bit more difficult. A few weeks ago, this recipe popped up on a lot of blogs, part of French Fridays with Dorie. It has a slightly more fancy title: Gnocci a la Parisienne, but i changed it because i changed the recipe a bit. The rules of French Fridays with Dorie state you can not post the recipe, if someone wants it they have to buy the book. I am going to stick to that rule and just show you my process rather than the actual recipe. I want send a BIG thank you to the person who shared the recipe with me (she is on my favorites list, check them all out) even though she should not have. I know everyone here are friendly folk, but i am not going to advertise her name in case she gets shunned from the French Fridays with Dorie World (doubtful, but you never know). But THANK YOU!!
Step one is to make the pasta. It is a simple pasta consisting of water, flour, eggs and oodles of butter.
It is times like this that i love my kitchen aid mixer. I could not imagine having to mix the eggs into this dough by hand, it was very stiff both before and after each addition. My source stated she mixed them in by hand, and i applaud her, yikes! To make the gnocci, you scoop little balls of the dough and dump them in boiling water. When they float, they are almost done. One more minute and fish them out. Here is my second batch starting to float.
I got about 3 and a half potfuls and as per a suggestion, i used my cookie scooper to plop them into the water. After fishing them out, using the big spoon to the left, I drained them on paper towel. By this time, i was starting to worry about the recipe, as these puppies look odd. But, i nibbled one, a bit plain but good.
To the right is my phone perched on the very edge of the counter, after calling my beau and saying dinner would be half an hour. And i wonder why it is always hitting the floor (glad it is a sturdy phone, is all i can say)
So step two is the Bechamel, or the "what's that?" sauce. I have told my family, beau and a few work friends about what i was planning on making this, and each one has asked me that question upon seeing the word on the recipe. It is basically a white sauce made of milk, flour, salt, pepper to taste and oodles more butter. So why are these French ladies so skinny? All this rich butter! I had to cheat, i dumped it into a bowl and attacked it with my submersion blender, since the flour went all lumpy.
Just for kicks and flavour, i added a couple spoonfuls of the water had boiled the pasta in. Change number one! :-) Finally, you layer the sauce, pasta and some cheese into a dish and bake it for twenty minutes.
Change numbers two and three, i used a marble cheese instead of the suggested fancier (and more expensive) Conte, Gruyere or Emmantal (but i did use the Parmesan, i love that stuff). And i did not dot it with butter before baking it. No more butter!! :-)
So, here it is, i served it with a very non fancy garlic bread and we both liked it. My beau actually loved it and said i have to make it again. It was easy to make, but it was a lot of work because of so many steps. Next time, he helps :-) And my kitchen is a mess, again. But when he left to go back to work, i was given orders to sleep and worry about the dishes tomorrow (no worries there, i have no intentions of touching them tonight) . No sleep yet. I am going to head back to bed soon and hope this fever drops. It has not gotten any higher while i was typing, which is good. This made enough for 4, so we have leftovers for tomorrow. It was a very soothing dish, when i was eating the pasta lumps kind of gave me the impression of soft bread, like maybe bread pudding. Either way, i will be making this again!!
Happy 100th, and here's to 100 more!!