Friday, February 26, 2010

gnocchi, or, egg yolk spinach water soup.

      So I haven't written for quite some time.  My apologies.  Shall we?
      Like I've stated before, the reason for not writing is not for lack of cooking or baking.  Au contraire!  I bake, I cook.  I just get too lazy to sit down and write out a recipe.  But I'll undoubtedly end up repeating recipes in the future, as I oft do, and will write them down.  So it's not like you've missed much.  You'll have chewy chocolate chip cookies and roasted beet and goat cheese pizza and fun little salads and couscous situations.  Never fear!
      On the menu tonight: spinach and potato gnocchi.  Our CSA box came with the recipe, and it looked reasonably simple.  Steam things, mash things, mix things, boil things.  So I get home from work, and my common law comrade has already boiled and mashed the potatoes.  Hurrah!  So all I have to do is steam the spinach and mix some dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.  After steaming the spinach for probably two minutes too long, I remove it with a paper towel to squeeze dry and place it on a cutting board to chop.
      How the hell did kids ever eat cooked spinach before Popeye told them it would get them ripped?  Seriously, I took one look at it and laughed to keep from crying.  It was absurd.  And hideous.  It felt like gelatin in my hand, even with a paper towel wrapped around it to soak up the water. So after I dried it and played with it for a bit (made mini mountains, shaped it into Gumby...), I chopped and mixed it with everything else.  Rolled the dough out into little fingers, cut it into bite-size pieces, and put it in the pot to boil.  The recipe didn't give me an estimate for how long it would take the gnocchi to cook, just "when they rise to the surface, remove them from the pot with a strainer".  Easy enough.

      Except for as soon as the gnocchi hit the water, it turned milky and I couldn't see anything through the bubbles.  I thought I saw a rogue gnocchi or two come to the surface, but since none of the others breached, I assumed that convection was just doing its thing.  Four minutes later and no gnocchi, I decided to venture in with a strainer.  When I pulled the strainer up, all I got were pieces of spinach and bits of dough.  I turned the heat off to investigate, and this is what I saw.

      So I poured the egg yolk spinach water soup out of the pot, filled a wine glass with the rest of our Cabernet Sauvignon, and had a think.  My roommate suggested that it was the pot, since I followed the recipe (that's right.  I actually followed it.  Not that there were a lot of shortcuts I could take.), so I should try another one.  I filled another pot with water, brought it to a boil, and dropped the first 20 gnocchi in.  30 seconds, if that, later, they popped to the surface and we scooped them out.  Success!  Ish!
      Taste test survey said they were not as flour-y as traditional gnocchi, so we added more flour.  That more or less did the trick.  In the future, I think I'll add up to a 1/4 cup more or so of flour, and more salt to the water.  I'll include the recipe with the presumably better updates.

Spinach and Potato Gnocchi, more or less followed from Recipezaar
      Prep time: 15 min
      Cook time: 5 min, max, to cook all of the gnocchi
      Total time:
      Serves: 4
  • Ingredients:

    • 1 lb spinach, steamed until wilted (this doesn't take that long. honestly. i'd say 2 min max), squeezed dry and chopped
    • 2 1/2 lb potatos, boiled, peeled and hand mashed
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 5 quarts boiling water
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 T grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 3 T salt
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • Directions:

    1. Add the three tablespoons of salt to the five quarts of water and bring to a boil.
    2. Put spinach, potatoes, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, salt and flour in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. What usually ends up happening with me is that I use a wooden spoon for a bit then get frustrated/childish and end up using my hands until everything's incorporated.
    3. Pull off chunks of dough and, on a floured board,(whoops. I just realized that I didn't flour the board beforehand. So you should probably do that, as well as use the recommended amount of flour) roll into finger-thin ropes. Cut into 1 inch pieces and drop 20 at a time into boiling water.
    4. After 20 - 30 seconds, they'll start to pop up. You've got 10 seconds to get them out of the water and into a strainer before they dissolve and destroy your life.
    5. If you're fancy, you'll make a sauce with 1/4 c butter and 4 T parmesan cheese.