Riced potatoes, salted and peppered and ready for some flour
I had a friend in graduate school who, during one of our late nights in the studio, asked us to answer this one question of ourselves: Dairy? Vegetable? Meat? or Bread?
Undoubtedly, I selected Bread, with Vegetable as runner-up. I am complex-carbohydrate obsessed, or at least I certainly was back then to handle the late nights of grad school. Now, well, now I like to diversify. But I have always made a mean gnocchi: heavenly little potato dumpling-like pasta. And hey, with this one little dish I do hit the two main categories, bread and veg! And then of course you can serve it in a butter, cream and meat sauce…my favorite treatment of course being stinky melty blue cheese.
Someone asked about the potato ricer I mentioned in my last post. Here it is, and notice, there’s that very intriguing CRANK. (I think it’s Crank Week here at Old Vines, seeing as I have brought out my old beater, the old meat grinder and now the ancient ricer all within a calendar week.) I figured it’s time for one of my favorite dishes, NeeOHkee. They’re pretty easy to make. You don’t necessarily need the ricer but it certainly helps make airy and light little puffs, and makes the most wonderful mashed potatoes too so it’s a fairly useful tool. Having a light touch with the kneading (you don’t want to overly glutenize either the flour or the spuds) AND with the flour too is helpful, not to put too much pressure on you or anything. Anyway, the recipe is in the comments. Bon appetit.
A little mixy, a little kneady, a little rolly…then chop and shape/roll with a fork. Let dry slightly, then into a pot of boiling salted water they go. Then, once they float, drain them and serve.
So, tell me: Dairy, Vegetable, Meat or Bread?
From the one cookbook I would take to a deserted island: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by the inimitable Deborah Madison:
2 large russet potatoes, about 2 lbs.
1 1/4 cups flour with more if needed
Salt and freshly milled pepper
Preheat the oven to 400* and prick the potatoes with a fork, then bake 45 minutes or until knife-tender. Peel them while they’re still hot, then pass them through a food mill or ricer into a large bowl. They should be light and fluffy. Let cool for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, gently work until you have a smooth, soft dough. Add flour if it seems sticky, but don’t knead or overwork it.
Take a quarter of the dough and roll it into a long rope about 18″ long and 1/2″ in diameter. Cut it diagonally into pieces about 1/4″ long, then either roll into little balls or roll with the tines of a fork. You can place them on a cookie sheet that’s lightly dusted with flour. Cover with a towel and refrigerate until ready to cook.
To cook, set a saucepan or stockpot to boil. Have on hand a casserole or large bowl with butter in it. Add salt and then reduce to simmer. Add a batch of 10-15 gnocchi to simmer gently until they rise to the top: count 10 seconds and remove them gently with a skimmer to your butter-filled bowl. Now they’re ready for any treatment you can throw at them: broiling with a bit more butter and some parmesan, or a tiny dollop of sugo (meaty tomato sauce) or simply a bit of gorgonzola or Maytag blue.
Breads, breads, breads. But they are neck and neck with vegies, vegies, vegies. Thanks for this post, a nice reminder that I’ve always wanted to try making gnocchi. I too treasure this cookbook and can’t wait to try the recipe.
Dairy: I drink a glass of (superb) buttermilk for breakfast nearly every day.
Gnocchi! The first time you make them, and they rise to the surface of the water as predicted, you are a god!
You are amazing! I get more good recipes from you than I do other places.
Vegetable, absolutely. Without a broad variety of plant-based foods, I’m toast.
Wait, does that make me bread?
Dairy and berries. I could absolutely live on the combo whether it’s yogurt, ice cream, whipped cream, cheesecake, cheese, cottage cheese, etc. with either fresh or cooked berries. Oh yum, now I want spring to get here.
Bread and dairy. Toast with butter is my breakfast, sometimes with peanut butter, sometimes with egg.
We are working on building up our CRANK supply…
Oh, no question….DAIRY! I am all about that stinky blue cheese. And ice cream, and yogurt, and non-stinky cheese too. Oh, and milk pudding, and tapioca, and butter, and cream. I have a whole drawer in my fridge for cheese. The only kind I don’t like is the stuff that comes in the little square wrappers in a violent orange color. Ugh. Not really cheese anyway.
I wish I was all about vegetable. I’d be a lot thinner.
You dairy people make me violently ill just reading your posts. I love all those items, but when I eat them, we’re all very, very sorry. Lactose intolerance sucks.
Dairy, no bread, umm hard to pick just one! This looks like a fun recipe to try with the ‘chicks’. I will be on the look-out for some of those cranky tools. I’m going to need them!
Psst, BTW check my small life blog- I have found some great stories of my great grandfather recalling his youth in Norway. The ultimate homesteaders! I am getting these oral traditions into my hard drive on onto the web! Kris
Wow, I am so surprised about all you dairies! But then again, I think butter is a food group so perhaps I should’ve clarified: dairy, vegetable, meat, bread or…butter.
Deborah, we’d enjoy a great meal together then. It’s been weird having all this meat in the house because now I feel like I need to shove over the veggies on the plate to make room for it. Hmm. Maybe meat bread next.
CC, now you surprise me, mainly because your postings aren’t so very dairy-obsessed!
Aw Linda! That’s funny as I don’t think I pass on many recipes! But what are you?
Zandt, well, bread can be a side-line. But yeah. IN summer I can go weeks without even eating bread. But poor you on the dairy thing.
Laura, maybe you need a milk goat?? And a row or two of raspberries, gooseberries or, begoshandbegorrah, lingonberries…
TechS: YES toast! Okay I admit it’s a vehicle for butter but yeah, that’s my breakfast most days too.
Claire, well, you’re near enough to get Maytag locally!
Hickchick: I saw your grandpa’s story, how cool. You could have lots of fun making gnocchi with your girls…mine wasn’t interested the day I made these but then again she’d made pizza the day before.
I got jolted out of my “white-food diet” when superfoods stormed to the fore.
But I’m still all about yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and good, hard cheeses (or semi-hard… or soft, too).
I don’t blog about it because I just put it on a plate and eat it with olives and nuts. Not very creative.
Am I the first Meat? And I’m going to cheat for my #2 slot and say Fruit, too. Oh dear.
CC, that’s often the way I feel about meat! Not terribly taxing to my creativity. But yeah I feel I should out you as a lactophile.
April! Well, you’ll happily join ranks of good people like my husband and daughter if you do.