Saturday, September 24, 2011

Simplicity and Tomatoes

Today, I watched the film "No Impact Man" and the film "Eatrip" which is a Japanese film about the rituals of eating.
I went into our family's garden this evening and watered it , then went to pick the new tomatoes that were ripe. I am not much of a tomato person, but I tried one of the tiny tomatoes, smaller than your fingernail. It tasted like a grape; it was so sweet!
This day made me think about the things that are most important in life and why I love food. I think it is because it can be beautiful; that is pleasing to your eyes, your sense of taste and smell, even pleasing to your ears and to the touch, but above all, to your soul. I thought about the fact that eating with others is a common tradition around the world. I think that eating with others has something to do with that satisfaction of the soul. Not just when you feel full, but when you feel happy and changed after a really good meal.
Here are some pictures of the tomatoes, which I shared with our dog Macy ( :

Friday, September 23, 2011


Last week, I made fresh gnocchi from a Cook's Illustrated recipe. I have posted the recipe here with photographs.
(Recipe by Dan Souza, Cook's Illustrated)
I improvised  the pasta sauce using heirloom tomatoes and garlic. Recipe below.

2 pounds russet potatoes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs (4 oz) all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
1tsp plus 1 tbs salt

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Poke each potato eight times with paring knife over entire surface. Microwave potatoes until slightly softened at ends, about 10 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through cooking. Transfer potatoes directly to oven rack and bake until skewer glides easily through flesh and potatoes yield to gentle pressure, 18 to 20 minutes.
(Note: Now would be a good time to start preparing the sauce)
2. Holding each potato with potholder or kitchen towel, peel with paring knife. Process potatoes through ricer of food mill onto rimmed baking sheet. Gently spread potatoes into even layer and let cool for 5 minutes.

3. Transfer 3 cups (16 ounces) warm potatoes to bowl. Using fork, gently stir in egg until just combined. Sprinkle flour and 1 tsp salt over potato mixture.

Using fork, gently combine until no pockets of dry flour remain. Press mixture into rough ball, transfer to lightly floured counter, and gently knead until smooth but slightly sticky, about 1 minute, lightly dusting counter with flour as needed to prevent sticking.
4. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and dust liberally with flour. Cut dough into 8 pieces.

Lightly dust counter with flour. Gently roll piece of dough into 1/2 inch thick rope, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Cut rope into 3/4 inch lengths.
Holding fork with tines facing down in 1 hand, press each dough piece cut side down against tines with thumb of other hand to create indentation. Roll dough down tines to form ridges on sides. If dough sticks, dust thumb or fork with flour. Transfer formed gnocchi to sheets and repeat with remaining dough.

5. Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add remaining 1 tbs salt. Using parchment paper as sling, gently lower gnocchi from one sheet into water and cook until firm and just cooked through, about 90 seconds (gnocchi should float to surface after about 1 minute). Using slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to bowl with sauce. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Gently toss gnocchi with sauce and serve.

To make this sauce, I simply chopped the tomatoes and placed them in a shallow baking dish with slices of garlic. Then I drizzled olive oil over the dish. I let the tomatoes bake until soft, then blended them in the blender while hot. I recommend straining the sauce afterwards if possible to remove the tomato skins. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Very Belated Harry Potter Treats

The night of the Midnight Harry Potter release this year, I made a variety of sweets treats to celebrate the occasion: white chocolate peppermint toads with green pepermint buttercream filling, pumpkin pasties and gingerbread newt cookies. The newts were sort of a flop because I ran out of time, although I had success with them many years ago when I spenmt hours shaping them and brought them to a slumber party with my friends ( :
Here are some pictures, with my sister Avonlea!