IRON: Standard preferred | TIME: 2 hours | YIELD: Serves 4 (makes about 60 gnocchi)
These could easily become your new once-a-month tradition. Living in Argentina gave me an appreciation for gnocchi. Although Europe is an ocean away, immigration left its mark and Italian influence is strong there. The 29th of every month was gnocchi day. Lines formed at pasta shops to buy gnocchi for the evening meal. Why gnocchi and why on that day? The idea is that it’s the end of the month and the pantry is bare. The ingredients for gnocchi couldn’t be more humble: potatoes and flour, though many people add some Parmesan and maybe an egg. Maybe you don’t have much, but you have enough to make gnocchi. And gnocchi are comforting and filling.
Gnocchi often get lumped in the pasta section of the menu, but in truth they are potato dumplings. Many recipes use boiled potatoes, but this recipe uses baked. The fluffy, dry texture of the baked potato means we can control the amount of moisture added, in the form of an egg. If you’re serious about gnocchi, you use a ridged paddle called a gnocchi board to put the trademark indentations in the gnocchi. If you’re not serious about gnocchi—or have a healthy disregard for tradition—you use a waffle iron.
There are two cooking methods. The first method is cooking the gnocchi to completion in the waffle iron. This results in golden brown dumplings that pair nicely with a pesto sauce. The second method is the surprise: You don’t even turn on the waffle iron. Use the waffle iron grid to shape the dough and then cook the gnocchi in boiling water. This gives you waffled dumplings that are moist and pillowy, and the gnocchi’s indentations hold the sauce of your choosing beautifully.
1 large baking potato (such as russet) and 1 large sweet potato (about 1½ pounds total) 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the work surface ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Dash of grated nutmeg (optional) 1 large egg, beaten Nonstick cooking spray or melted buter Pesto or Waffled Sage and Butter Sauce
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Bake the potatoes until easily pierced with a fork, about an hour. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel them. (They may be just shy of the texture you'd want in a baked potato, but keep in mind they're being cooked again later.) Pass the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer or grate them over the large holes of a box grater and into a large bowl.
3 Add the 1 1⁄4 cups flour to the potatoes and use your hands to mix them together, breaking up any lumps of potato along the way. Sprinkle the cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg over the dough and knead lightly to distribute evenly.
4 Once the flour and potatoes are combined, make a well in the center of the bowl and add the beaten egg. Using your fingers, work the egg through the dough until it starts to come together. It will be slightly sticky.
5 On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough a few times to bring it together. It should be moist, but not wet and sticky. If it’s too sticky, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time, up to 1⁄ 4 cup. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 4 pieces.
6 Roll each piece into a rope about the diameter of your thumb and then use a sharp knife to cut into 1-inch segments.
7 Preheat the waffle iron on medium. Coat both sides of the waffle iron grid with nonstick spray, or butter the grids using a silicone pastry brush. Turn down the oven to its lowest setting and set aside a baking sheet to keep the finished gnocchi warm.
8 Gently shake off any residual flour from the gnocchi and place a batch on the waffle iron, leaving a bit of space for each to expand. Close the lid and cook until the grid marks on the gnocchi are golden brown, 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi, keeping the cooked gnocchi warm on the baking sheet in the oven.
9 Serve hot with Pesto Sauce or Waffled Sage and Butter Sauce.
There’s another method possible: shaping the gnocchi in the waffle iron and boiling them. Follow the recipe through Step 6. Do not turn on the waffle iron. Dust the gnocchi lightly with flour, place them in the waffle iron, leaving space for the gnocchi to spread a bit, and close the lid. After 10 seconds, lift the lid, remove the gnocchi, and set them aside on a plate. Repeat until you’ve shaped all the gnocchi. At this point, the gnocchi can be boiled until they float, about 2 minutes, or flashfrozen in a single layer on a baking sheet for an hour, and then transferred to a zip-top bag for storage in the freezer. Frozen gnocchi will take an extra minute to cook.
(Recipe excerpted from Will It Waffle?53 Unexpected and Irresistible Recipes to Make in a Waffle Iron -Workman Publishing, August 2014- by Daniel Shumski)
While having a client's car inspected in New York, I walked down Greenwich Street looking for a simple coffee shop and a breakfast bite to eat. Instead i passed Juice Press (Vegan Foods) and then Sweet Green until I noticed Kaffe 1668...
I don't think I ever saw so many micro sheeps decorating walls, shelves after shelves of them, many more than the hip and international patrons of the establishment.
I asked the girl who helped me at the counter, why sheep?
Her answer was that the owner grew up surrounded by sheep and a few people in Sweden
10 Do's and Don'ts return with 10 Do's and Don'ts of New Orleans by Chef Alex Harrell of Sylvain in New Orleans. He spent childhood summers on the Gulf Coast learning how to cook seafood with his family . He's been at Sylvain since opening day in 2010.
- Spend a Sunday night in the courtyard at Bacchanal with wine and music. Bacchanal has mostly gypsy jazz from a varied line up on Sundays, favorites: the Courtyard Kings.
- Take a walk down Magazine street and explore all of the independent shops and restaurants.
- Beat the New Orleans heat with a stop at Hanson’s Sno-Bliz. My favorite is Satsuma with condensed milk.
- Spend a part of Tuesday or Saturday morning at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market checking out what is fresh and local. You get the best buys when produce is in mid-season and farmers have a lot of it. I love all of our local producers because of their passion for what they do. Some of these farmers and producers include Accardo’s Gourmet produce for heirloom tomatoes and peppers, Bellegarde Bakery for ciabatta and country breads, Cajun Grain for their brown jasmine rice and rice products, and our local dairies Ryal’s and Progress Milk Barn.
- Come to New Orleans at least once for Jazzfest, it’s an amazing time of the year in the city.
- After a night of music, get your strength back with tacos from food truck Taceaux Loceaux. My personal favorite is "Messin with Texas".
- As any New Orleanian will tell you, don’t waste your time on Bourbon Street. There are too many great neighborhoods in the city to explore.
- Don't think that you can come to New Orleans and not explore the city’s cocktail culture. French 75 bar, anything that Chris Hannah is pouring including their namesake cocktail and Ellipses and Dash, Sylvain for Sazerac and cocktails using the house made cola, Cure favorite is Mexican Bus Ride, but really anything they suggest based on your preferences., also Sobou with Barrel aged cocktails, and the Big Chief, these are all great places to do your research.
- Forget about tourist bus tours. Take in history of the city on foot, there are a number of great walking tours and museums that will offer information on the city’s past.
- Let's not forget City Park. With New Orleans Museum of Art and its Sculpture Garden, walking trails, and sporting opportunities there is plenty to do and see.
(* Photos of Martinique Bar and Three Muses from their websites, all others from their respective Facebook pages)
On Sunday, my wife and I took our youngest son to Newark Liberty Airport, Terminal C, where he was catching a flight to Brussels for his year of high school abroad sponsored by Rotary Youth Exchange Program.
After making sure he made it through security (it was his first time flying by himself), my wife suggested we head for the 4th level of the parking lot and try to catch a glimpse of his plane taking off.
(* Aiport view from rooftop -4th Level- of Newark Liberty Terminal C parking lot- you can see planes taking off above end of Terminal ahead)
We saw it and many other planes (not sure which one exactly was his).
I was a bit shocked when i exited the parking lot that 2 hours and 45 minutes there set me back $24 or $4 for each half hour.