Category Archives: Daring Cooks

Daring Cooks


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Hiya! This is Debyi from http://www.healthyvegankitchen.com I am so excited to be your host for the September 2009 Daring Cooks challenge. It took almost a month to decide which recipe that I wanted to do. I wanted to choose something that could be easily adapted for our GF’ers and other Alternative Cooks, as well as still being tasty for everyone else. So, I finally decided on Indian Dosas from the refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. I had a lot of fun with this challenge, it brought back some great memories, I hope you enjoy it. 

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My hubby and I had the wonderful pleasure of visiting one of the Fresh Restaurants (www.freshrestaurants.ca) in Toronto, Canada during a business trip. We ate 3 out of our 5 meals there, it was that good. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it, they have 3 locations in Toronto. If not, their cookbooks are amazing, everything we have tried has been great.

Requirements: Must be free of animal products, this will be a challenge for you “regular” cooks out there, but its worth it. So that means, no cows milk, butter, meat, poultry, fish, chicken/beef broth, etc. This dish is also 99% oil free, using only what you need to keep the dosas from sticking (I used a quick spritz of cooking spray on the first dosa only), which isn’t too bad with a nonstick pan. You can use a different filling/sauce if you like, but it must be free of animal products. I was just looking at the new Fresh newsletter, and one of the new menu items is Avocado Dosas with a filling of avocados, grape tomatoes, cilantro & hemp seeds with a mango tamarind or cilantro coconut chutney. Might be an interesting way to go too.

Here is my adaptation of their recipe:

Indian Dosas

This recipe comes in 3 parts, the dosas, the filling and the sauce. It does take awhile to make, but the filling and sauce can be made ahead and frozen if need be. You can serve them as a main course with rice and veggies, or as an appetizer. This does take a little planning ahead, so make sure you read the recipe through before starting (I forgot & didn’t start making the rice until everything was ready, oops).

Serves 4

Equipment needed:

large bowl

whisk

griddle or skillet

ladle (or large spoon)

spatula

vegetable peeler &/or knife

large saucepan

food processor or bean masher

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Dosa Pancakes

1 cup (120gm/8oz) spelt flour (or all-purpose, gluten free flour)

½ tsp (2½ gm) salt

½ tsp (2½ gm) baking powder

½ tsp (2½ gm) curry powder

½ cup (125ml/4oz) almond milk (or soy, or rice, etc.)

¾ cup (175ml/6oz) water

cooking spray, if needed

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Dosa Filling

1 batch Curried Garbanzo Filling (see below), heated

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Dosa Toppings

1 batch Coconut Curry Sauce (see below), heated

¼ cup (125gm) grated coconut

¼ cucumber, sliced

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Dosa Pancakes

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, slowly adding the almond milk and water, whisking until smooth.

  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed.

  3. Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes.

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Curried Garbanzo Filling

This filling works great as a rice bowl topping or as a wrap too, so don’t be afraid to make a full batch.

5 cloves garlic

1 onion, peeled and finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)

2 medium hot banana chilies, minced

2 TBSP (16gm) cumin, ground

1 TBSP (8gm) oregano

1 TBSP (8gm) sea salt (coarse)

1 TBSP (8gm) turmeric

4 cups (850gm/30oz) cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)

½ cup (125gm/4oz) tomato paste

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Add the garlic, veggies, and spices, cooking until soft, stirring occasionally.

  2. Mash the chickpeas by hand, or in a food processor. Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through.

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Coconut Curry Sauce

This makes a great sauce to just pour over rice as well. This does freeze well, but the texture will be a little different. The flavor is still the same though.

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 cloves garlic

½ (2½ gm) tsp cumin, ground

¾ (3¾ gm) tsp sea salt (coarse)

3 TBSP (30gm) curry powder

3 TBSP (30gm) spelt flour (or all-purpose GF flour)

3 cups (750ml/24oz) vegetable broth

2 cups (500ml/24oz) coconut milk

3 large tomatoes, diced

  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes, or until soft.

  2. Add the spices, cooking for 1 minutes more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.

  3. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Let it simmer for half an hour.

Happy eating!

I served this with a side of coconut tempeh from refresh as well.  Very yummy!

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Daring Cooks for August 2009

flame_w125×125.jpgOur host this month is Olga from Las Cosas de Olga & Olga’s Recipes. She has chosen a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish & artichokes by José Andrés, one of the most important Spanish Chefs at the moment. Olga tells us that Jose Andres trained under well-known Ferran Adria at his 3 Michelin star restaurant El Bulli. He lives now in Washington DC & he owns several restaurants in Washington DC area (El Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel…). The recipe is from his US TV show Made in Spain.

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I only made half of the recipe, since just the 2 of us would be eating it (we still had leftovers). I didn’t have to make too many adjustments to the recipe. You can find the original recipe, as well as everyone elses creations here: www.thedaringkitchen.com

Here is what I did:

Rice with mushrooms, white beans and artichokes
Cooking time: 45 minutes Serves: 2
Equipment: 1 Chopping Board, 1 knife, 1 medium saucepan, 1 Saucepan

1 can of Artichokes, quartered

6 cremini Mushrooms, cut into 4ths

1 Bay leaf (optional but highly recommended)

½ glass of white wine

½ can great northern beans, drained & rinsed

“Sofregit” (see recipe below)

1 cups Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about ½ cup per person

3 cups Vegetable Broth (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)

Saffron threads (you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)

Allioli (adapted from Veganomicon) – optional

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable broth in a saucepan, add a bay leaf, artichokes and the mushrooms. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.

  2. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom get mixed in, giving it more flavor.

  3. Add ½ cup of sofregit & mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with it.

  4. Add the liquid and bring it to boil.

  5. Add the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in high heat.

  6. Add the saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice & the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only ¼ tsp.

  7. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)

  8. Remove the pan from heat, stir in the beans and let stand a couple of minutes.

img_3497.jpgSofregit (a well cooked & fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic & onions, & may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour

2 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped

1 small onions, chopped

½ green bell pepper, chopped (optional)

3 garlic cloves, chopped

½ cup of cremini mushrooms, chopped (optional)

1 Bay leaf

Salt

Touch of ground cumin

Touch of dried oregano

  1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.

  2. Taste and salt if necessary.

The Allioli was an optional ingredient. I did add it, although I don’t think it really added that much to the dish. Olga gave us the option of making a traditional one or a new modern recipe. It is served together with the rice, giving it a very nice taste. I did like the added garlic flavor that it gave.

Allioli (adapted from Veganomicon) Prep time: 5 minutes

½ can great northern beans, drained & rinsed

1 TBSP lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 cloves garlic

2 TBSP water

2 tsp ground flax seeds

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

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Olga’s Tips:
(1) In Spain, rice is not stired as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…
(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.
(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.
(5) For more information on how to clean & remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this
video
(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click
here.
(8) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil & garlic alone.
(9) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.

Verdict: This was simple to make & very tasty. Hubby also really liked it. I did take a couple of shortcuts by using canned artichokes, but this month has been busy, so I didn’t want to add any more to it. I didn’t actually think I was going to get to this. I actually made this with just a few hours to spare. Make sure you check out what everyone else did.

Daring Cooks

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Our Host: Sketchy, from Sketchy’s Kitchen

The Challenge: Skate, traditional flavors powdered (slightly altered) This is a dish from Grant Achatz, found in the Alinea cookbook – page 230. Skates are part of the family of rays (think manta ray or sting ray). Our challenge this month was based on molecular cuisine.

You can find the original recipe here: http://thedaringkitchen.com/  as well as to see how everyone else did.  Below I have put my changes.

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Skate, Traditional Flavors Powderedwith changes

In place of the skate, I made Tofu Fish Sticks from Vegan Lunchbox.

  • *150 fresh green beans

  • sea salt/kosher salt

  • ¼ banana

  • 75g cilantro

  • 75g parsley

  • 50g dried banana chips

  • 150g better than milk powder

  • 50g cup minced red onion

  • 100g capers (brined, not oil)

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)

Powders – prepare ahead of time
caper / onion
garlic powder
cilantro/parsley powder
‘brown butter’ powder

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Powders
once dried, all powders should be pulsed in a coffee grinder/spice mill/morter & pestle then passed through a chinois or fine mesh strainer.

cilantro/parsley powder
75g cilantro
75g parsley

I actually found freeze dried cilantro & parsley, so I used that.

garlic powder (my addition)

75g freeze dried garlic

onion powder
50g cup minced red onions

again, used freeze dried
pulse in coffee grinder.

Caper powder
100g capers (get the ones packed in brine/vinegar)

run the capers under cold water for two minutes to remove some of the brine.
I microwaved the capers on a paper towel for 1 minute, then let it sit for a minute. I repeated heating them in the microwave for 30 seconds and resting for 1 minute until they were done. They were in the microwave for a total of 4 minutes.

Once dry, pulse and sift the powder. Mix it with the onion powder.

Brown Butter powder

50g Dried banana chips (unsweetened if possible – many are coated in honey – the freeze dried ones would be brilliant) – I could only find sweetened
150g spray dried cream powder

I did not toast the cream powder.

grind the banana chips in a coffee grinder and mix with the toasted cream powder. Pass this through a chinois and reserve.

* For green beans, slice each beans into very thin rounds (2 mm)

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Plating
Take the tip of a small spoon and make a small mound of the citrus powder, the onion-caper powder, and the cilantro parsley-powder. Swirl these around in a hurricane type pattern. I found that it is easier, and you get finer lines if you lightly shake the plate to flatten out the mounds, then swirl the spoon through it to get the pattern. (I need to work on my swirl work, mine is pitiful) I served this with a side salad & boiled potatoes with garlic pepper.

peel the remaining banana into very think slices (3mm) fan three slices on the plate, place green beans on top and place skate wing portion on top. On the tall edge, sprinkle the brown butter powder.

Verdict: While this challenge was definitely a challenge & I learned a lot, I would not make it again. Hubby did give it a good try & liked the tofu fish sticks & the salad & potatoes that I served with it. He tried the sticks with each of the powders, as well as banana & green beans with each bite, he wasn’t sold on it. The bananas actually complement the raw green beans very well. The tofu fish sticks turned out really good. I would use more kelp granules next time though. Thank you so much Sketchy for this interesting challenge, it was something very new for me. It was nice to learn how to make the powders. This is an adventure, it is fun to try.

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Just wondering how subbing potatoes would work with this?

Daring Cooks #2


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It’s the second installment of The Daring Cooks! Our host this month was Jen from use real butter, what recipe did she choose? Well, she thought it might be a good time for us to try our hand at something that looks daunting, but is actually pretty straightforward.

The Challenge: Chinese dumplings/potstickers (aka gyoza in Japanese)

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Jen tells us, “It’s a basic concept: a filling inside a dough wrapper, sealed, & cooked. This delicious theme runs through many cultures & is among the more popular bites at Chinese restaurants – especially dim sum. The recipe I provide is based on my family recipe. There is a lot of wiggle room & I encourage you to explore. If you’ve made them before – great! Now try something different!” The process goes a little like this:1. Choose a filling 2. Choose a dough 3. Choose a cooking method (boil, steam, pan-fry)

We had to make our own wrappers, we were not allowed to use pre-made ones. Not too hard, just takes a little patience & practice. For the filling, she gave us a couple of choices, the most common being pork or shrimp. You can fill dumplings/potstickers with just about anything, even blueberries or alomondella. Jen also tells us, “You can make them with other ground meats (beef, chicken…) or vegetarian (tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, glass noodles, Chinese chives – oh yum!). The important thing to keep in mind is that the filling needs to “stick” to itself or else you will make your life incredibly miserable wrapping up filling that keeps falling apart. I think if I were to make vegetarian dumplings, I would sauté the cabbage & mash up the tofu for a better cohesiveness. It’s up to you how you want to fill your dumplings.”

Jen also tells us, “Time: Prep for the filling takes me 30 minutes – longer if peeling & de-veining shrimp. It will depend on your proficiency with a good sharp knife. Rolling & wrapping several dozen dumplings takes me 1 hour by myself. My parents can crank through it in 30 minutes when 1 person is rolling wrappers & the other is wrapping dumplings. Might be fun to get a second person to help! Cooking: I have to cook mine in batches. When steaming, I can cook a dozen at a time in about 10 minutes. Potstickers: 15 minutes per 2 dozen determined by the size of your pan. Boiling – 6 minutes per dozen or so depending on size of pot.”

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You can find the original recipe here: http://thedaringkitchen.com/

Here is my changes:

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

vegetablefilling:
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced
½ cup bamboo shoots, minced
¼ cup ginger root, minced
3 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP corn starch

  1. Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl & mix thoroughly.
  2. Cover & refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or 2).

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dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches – or just halve the filling recipe)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup warm water
flour for work surface

  1. In a large bowl mix flour with 1/3 cup of water & stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water 1 teaspoon at a time & mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.
  2. Knead the dough about 20 strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes.
  3. Take the dough & form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 2“ wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 1” pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking – about 1/16“. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper & fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side. I found it easier to pleat first, then fill. Keep all unused dough under damp cloth so it doesn’t dry out.

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dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part red wine vinegar
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)

dash mirin

  1. Stir together to combine.

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To pan ‘fry’ (potstickers): Place dumplings in a dry frying pan. Heat on medium-high & ‘fry’ for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add ½ cup water & cover. Cook until the water has boiled away & then uncover & reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat & serve.

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil & add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface in a steamer basket with lid. Steam covered for about 6 minutes.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. It helps to rub the base of the dumpling in a little flour before setting on the baking sheet for ease of release. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag & freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

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I chose to pan ‘fry’ mine. I actually made a similar recipe last year for Recipes To Rival

& I boiled those. Personally, I like them better pan ‘fried’. I will make these again, I always love some potstickers.

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For dipping, I made the suggested dipping sauce, straight hoisin and a mixture of chinese mustard & soy sauce. Hubby’s fav was the suggested dipping sauce. The hoisin was too sweet, but I really liked the mustard mix, nice & spicy.

These do take a good chunk of time, but the more often you make it, the quicker it gets.

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Daring Cooks #1!

 flame_w125×125.jpg Yes, I have joined another group! The Daring Cooks. The Daring Bakers have branched off into the savory & I jumped at the chance (I know, like I need one more thing to do). So, what is the amazing first challenge?

 

Ricotta Gnocchi!

Our hosts this month are none other than our fearless leaders: Ivonne of http://www.creampuffsinvenice.ca/ and Lisa of http://llcskitchen.blogspot.com/

They chose a recipe from the stunning cookbook by Judy Rodgers, named after her restaurant, The Zuni Café Cookbook.

“On the surface, this is a very straightforward recipe. The challenge is in the forming & handling of the gnocchi. What you do with the recipe, in terms of variations, is up to you.”

For those of us that are Alternative Daring Cooks , Shelly from Musings From The Fishbowl is here to lead us, encourage us, & answer our questions. Thank you so much Shelly! On to the recipe:

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Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

Source: From The Zuni Café Cookbook.

Yield: Makes 40 to 48 gnocchi (serves 4 to 6) mine made about 30

Prep time: Step 1 will take 24 hours. Steps 2 through 4 will take approximately 1 hour.

Tips:

– If you can find it, use fresh ricotta. As Judy Rodgers advises in her recipe, there is no substitute for fresh ricotta. It may be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it.
– Do not skip the draining step. Even if the fresh ricotta doesn’t look very wet, it is. Draining the ricotta will help your gnocchi tremendously.
– When shaping your gnocchi, resist the urge to over handle them. It’s okay if they look a bit wrinkled or if they’re not perfectly smooth.
– If you’re not freezing the gnocchi for later, cook them as soon as you can. If you let them sit around too long they may become a bit sticky.
– For the variations to the challenge recipe, please see the end of the recipe.

Equipment required:

– Sieve didn’t use
– Cheesecloth or paper towels didn’t use
– Large mixing bowl
– Rubber spatula
– Tablespoon
– Baking dish or baking sheet
– Wax or parchment paper used a silpat
– Small pot didn’t use
– Large skillet used 2 small ones
– Large pan or pot (very wide in diameter & at least 2“ deep)

For the gnocchi:

1 pound (454 grams/16 ounces) fresh ricotta (2 cups) used 1 lb super firm tofu
2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten used Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter used 1 tsp
2 or 3 fresh sage leaves, or a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg, or a few pinches of chopped lemon zest (all optional) used basil & nutmeg
½ oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (about ¼ cup very lightly packed) used nutritional yeast
about ¼ teaspoon salt (a little more if using kosher salt)
all-purpose flour for forming the gnocchi

For the gnocchi sauce: didn’t use, used homemade spinach pesto & a store bought mushroom marinara

8 tablespoons (227 grams/¼ pound/4 oz) butter, sliced
2 teaspoons water

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Step 1 (the day before you make the gnocchi): Preparing the ricotta.

If the ricotta is too wet, your gnocchi will not form properly. In her cookbook, Judy Rodgers recommends checking the ricotta’s wetness. To test the ricotta, take a teaspoon or so & place it on a paper towel. If you notice a very large ring of dampness forming around the ricotta after a minute or so, then the ricotta is too wet. To remove some of the moisture, line a sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels & place the ricotta in the sieve. Cover it & let it drain for at least 8 hours & up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can wrap the ricotta carefully in cheesecloth (2 layers) & suspend it in your refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours with a bowl underneath to catch the water that’s released. Either way, it’s recommended that you do this step the day before you plan on making the gnocchi.

I skipped this step & made it all on the same day.

For the ricotta, I used the Basil Tofu Ricotta from Vegan With A Vengance. I highly recommend this recipe, it was great! I followed Shelly’s advice & added ¼ cup of vital wheat gluten to the tofu mixture, it really helped to hold it together.

Step 2 (the day you plan on eating the gnocchi): Making the gnocchi dough.

To make great gnocchi, the ricotta has to be fairly smooth. Place the drained ricotta in a large bowl and mash it as best as you can with a rubber spatula or a large spoon (it’s best to use a utensil with some flexibility here). As you mash the ricotta, if you noticed that you can still see curds, then press the ricotta through a strainer to smooth it out as much as possible. (didn’t drain or press the tofu, just used super firm, as is)

Add the lightly beaten eggs to the mashed ricotta.

Melt the tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add in the sage if you’re using it. If not, just melt the butter & add it to the ricotta mixture. only used 1 tsp

Add in any flavouring that you’re using (i.e., nutmeg, lemon zest, etc.). If you’re not using any particular flavouring, that’s fine. used basil & nutmeg

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano & the salt.

Beat all the ingredients together very well. You should end up with a soft & fluffy batter with no streaks (everything should be mixed in very well).

Step 3: Forming the gnocchi.

When forming the gnocchi using tofu, you don’t have to be gentle with it at all. You need to use a firm hand. I didn’t test one, just dropped them all in (I was hungry). I used a 1 TBSP cookie scoop, dropped into flour, & shaped.

Fill a small pot with water & bring to a boil. When it boils, salt the water generously & keep it at a simmer. You will use this water to test the first gnocchi that you make to ensure that it holds together & that your gnocchi batter isn’t too damp.

In a large, shallow baking dish or on a sheet pan, make a bed of all-purpose flour that’s ½” deep.

With a spatula, scrape the ricotta mixture away from the sides of the bowl & form a large mass in the centre of your bowl.

Using a tablespoon, scoop up about 2 to 3 teaspoons of batter & then holding the spoon at an angle, use your finger tip to gently push the ball of dough from the spoon into the bed of flour.

At this point you can either shake the dish or pan gently to ensure that the flour covers the gnocchi or use your fingers to very gently dust the gnocchi with flour. Gently pick up the gnocchi & cradle it in your hand rolling it to form it in an oval as best as you can, at no point should you squeeze it. What you’re looking for is an oval lump of sorts that’s dusted in flour & plump.

Gently place your gnocchi in the simmering water. It will sink & then bob to the top. From the time that it bobs to the surface, you want to cook the gnocchi until it’s just firm. This could take 3 to 5 minutes.

If your gnocchi begins to fall apart, this means that the ricotta cheese was probably still too wet. You can remedy this by beating a teaspoon of egg white into your gnocchi batter. If your gnocchi batter was fluffy but the sample comes out heavy, add a teaspoon of beaten egg to the batter & beat that in. Test a second gnocchi to ensure success.

Form the rest of your gnocchi. You can put 4 to 6 gnocchi in the bed of flour at a time. But don’t overcrowd your bed of flour or you may damage your gnocchi as you coat them.

Have a sheet pan ready to rest the formed gnocchi on. Line the sheet pan with wax or parchment paper & dust it with flour.

You can cook the gnocchi right away, however, Judy Rodgers recommends storing them in the refrigerator for an hour prior to cooking to allow them to firm up.

Step 4: Cooking the gnocchi.

Have a large skillet ready to go. Place the butter & water for the sauce in the skillet & set aside.

In the largest pan or pot that you have (make sure it’s wide), bring at least 2 quarts of water to a boil (you can use as much as 3 quarts of water if your pot permits). You need a wide pot or pan so that your gnocchi won’t bump into each other and damage each other.

Once the water is boiling, salt it generously.

Drop the gnocchi into the water one by one. Once they float to the top, cook them for 3 to 5 minutes (as in the case with the test gnocchi).

When the gnocchi float to the top, you can start your sauce while you wait for them to finish cooking.

To sauce the cooked gnocchi, I added the pesto to one small skillet & the marinara to another, then just dropped the drained gnocchi into the sauces & gently stirred. It is best to let it sit a bit, to let it firm up.

Place the skillet over medium heat & melt the butter. Swirl it gently a few times as it melts. As soon as it melts & is incorporated with the water, turn off the heat. Your gnocchi should be cooked by now.

With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the boiling water & gently drop into the butter sauce. Carefully roll in the sauce until coated. Serve immediately.

Variations: For the gnocchi, you can flavour them however you wish. If you want to experiment by adding something to your gnocchi (i.e., caramelized onion, sundried tomato), feel free to do so. However, be forewarned, ricotta gnocchi are delicate & may not take well to elaborate additions. For the sauce, this is your chance to go nuts. Enjoy yourselves. Surprise us!!!

Freezing the gnocchi: If you don’t want to cook your gnocchi right away or if you don’t want to cook all of them, you can make them & freeze them. Once they are formed & resting on the flour-dusted, lined tray, place them uncovered in the freezer. Leave them for several hours to freeze. Once frozen, place them in a plastic bag. Remove the air & seal the bag. Return to the freezer. To cook frozen gnocchi, remove them from the bag & place individually on a plate or on a tray. Place in the refrigerator to thaw completely. Cook as directed for fresh gnocchi.
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Verdict: I was a little nervous about the texture. I have had things with vital wheat gluten in them before that hasn’t set up & the texture was awful!!! So, I was a little nervous, but I had nothing to worry about, it was great! I let it sit for about 15 minutes before we ate it. My hubby actually had 2 helpings, that is saying something. I liked the pesto better, hubby liked the marinara. Thanks to Ivonne & Lisa for this great challenge & to Shelly for all the great tips! I served this with a side salad & some baked pita chips.

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