Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Gnocchi Fail of 2011

Tim and I like to's somewhat of a hobby for us. And we're pretty good at it...most of the time. We've (ok, I've) only had one dish we just really couldn't eat (even though Tim tried, God bless him). We also love the food network and have had several successful dishes including homemade bread, Italian sausage with parsley pesto and homemade pasta, homemade sushi...not to mention our Easter menu which featured lamb and Parmesan risotto. (Is your mouth watering yet?)

One of my favorite foods is Gnocchi (sort of sounds like "no-key"; pasta made from potatoes). It is like eating little "heavenly clouds" or "pillows of goodness". We made this about a year ago with great success for the first time, but hadn't made it since because it can be labor intensive. Normally, when it comes to making things with a dough (bread, pasta, pizza, etc), I wait until Tim can do it with me (really because we're both control freaks in the kitchen and he eventually just takes over and does it for me...hehehe. Ok, and he's better at making that kind of stuff). But due to crazy schedules, I ended up making gnocchi on a week night before having to run off to a church meeting. And since Tim wasn't home from work yet, I was on my own.

The great thing about gnocchi is you can make a big batch and freeze it for a quick meal later. Knowing this I tripled the recipe. A normal gnocchi recipe begins with 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of potatoes, so I had ~6 pounds of potatoes to make my gnocchi. Tons of leftovers for future meals. When I went to mix in the flour, I kept adding flour, and more flour, and more flour...but my dough was still SOOO STICKY. Unfortunately, I ran out of time after combining all the ingredients and told Tim that we could finish it after I got back from church (I had made box pasta so we could have something to eat).

When I got home from church it was already late, but we set out to finish rolling out and cutting the gnocchi. Tim pulled off a piece of the STICKY dough and kept adding flour to it. After adding a TON more flour than the whole recipe called for he finally got a dough that he could at least work with. We decided to cook some and see if it was ok, before adding our entire flour store to the mix. It came out ok, but was REALLY dense and heavy. Not exactly fluffy pillows of goodness. Since it was so late I decided to freeze the ones we had formed, and refrigerate the rest of my ginormous batch of gnocchi dough. When I told Tim that I had tripled the recipe I think his eyes popped out of his head, and then he just laughed at me.

I wasn't able to get back to the dough until a few days later. When I pulled out the still incredibly sticky gnocchi dough, I noticed a change. The dough had formed a thick GRAY colored layer on top, and had taken on a very "off" smell. I thought it better not to take a risk so I dumped the entire mixing bowl of dough away. So sad. But at least I had some that were frozen. This was several weeks ago.

Tonight I pulled the gnocchi out of the freezer to make dinner. Since there wasn't a lot of it I boiled some pasta too. I was excited to have my dense gnocchi (hey, it's a little better than no gnocchi), but when I had Tim taste one, he made a face. My heart dropped. "What's wrong with it?" I asked him. He replied "it tastes like freezer". Sure enough, I had forgotten to remove the gnocchi from the cookie sheet and put it in a container after they were frozen. We ate a little of it anyway since the sauce I made covered up the freezer taste. They also looked weird from being stuck to the cookie sheet and they had to be the ugliest, least uniform gnocchi I have ever seen.

Poor little ugly gnocchi

I did some research tonight on how to make gnocchi, and found out that I had done pretty much everything wrong. One big giant gnocchi fail. Maybe this week I will go to one of my favorite restaurants and eat some gnocchi to make myself feel better.

What gnocchi should actually look like - image courtesy of Google Images

Monday, July 4, 2011

Charleston, Roommates, and Anniversary

We normally go away on 4th of July weekend for our anniversary. This year we decided to forego the anniversary trip to go to Charleston and visit Tim's college roommates, Austin (who lives in Charleston), and Ben who was returning from the Eukraine after more than two years in the Peace Corps. I lovingly call all four roommates my "Welch Boys" (Welch Place was the name of the apartment complex we all lived in during college...moment of silence for the awesome times in Welch Place). We soaked up a lot of sun on the beach, ate a lot of good food, and hung out at Austin's new bachelor pad.

Tim and Austin eating amazing food from the farmer's market.  Lemon crepes and Vietnamese good!

Tim and me by the water at Red's Ice House

Taking pics of Austin while waiting for a table.  You can't beat the food and prices at Red's.

Up to no good, I'm sure.

We went to Starbucks to do  Tim, Austin, and Ben (love the face)  :)

My Welch Boys with their man bags

We of course did NOT miss fireworks. We sat on the beach with drinks and cigars in hand while watching a handful of firework shows pop up around us and listening to a group of VERY LOUD (and probably intoxicated) people sing American pride songs.

Even though we gave up our anniversary weekend, this did not stop my sweet husband from waking up early on our anniversary and walking (our car was blocked in) down to the store to buy me a dozen roses and Dunkin Donuts (does he know the way to my heart or what?).

Happy 3rd Anniversary my love!