Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! (...and gnocchi advice)

The holidays are upon us again.  My lovely wife and I are visiting my family today and we're also celebrating my grandma's 80th (which was yesterday).  My mother decided she wanted me to make sweet potatoes so instead of making what she'd expect, sweet potato puree...

I knocked out a 4 1/2 pound batch of sweet potato gnocchi this morning.  Good times.  Here's the recipe for any who are curious.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

6-8 medium sweet potatoes
4-5 Idaho 90 ct. potatoes
Pasta Flour, "00"
1 egg
1 c. grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

Roast both types of potatoes after poking holes in them with a paring knife in a medium heat oven until cooked though.  Do not wrap in foil as you want a drier potato.  Process through a food mill or potato ricer.  Cool.  Add to a mixer with a dough hook attachment.  Add a little over half pasta flour to puree by weight.  Add the other ingredients and mix until it forms a ball and then for about 5 minutes after.  Add flour as necessary, sometimes you run a higher moisture content and need to adjust. 

Get a pot of salted water boiling.  Keep a spider or slotted spoon handy, along with an oiled cookie sheet. 

Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand until it doesn't stick to the surface.  Using a dough scraper, cut the dough into 3-4 oz. pieces.  Cover the pieces with a damp towel.  Lightly flour your work surface.  Now take a dough ball and roll it like a kid making a snake out of play doh.  Use your fingertips.  This is easiest when there isn't too much flour on the surface you're rolling on.  Reserve the "snakes" and keep them from sticking by coating them with a little flour.  When you have a few done, take the dough scraper and cut the "snakes" into gnocchi-sized parcels.  Blanch briefly in the water, but before they float, about 20-30 seconds.  Remove from water and place onto the oiled cookie sheet.  Refrigerate and continue making gnocchi.  Once you've finished, you're ready to get an accompanying sauce or integral garnish together.  When that's ready, blanch your gnocchi until they float.  Remove, toss with sauce, garnish and serve!

I made a citrus & soy reduction to toss the gnocchi in.

Citrus-Soy Reduction

2 qt. tangerine or orange juice
2 c. sugar
Soy & yuzu juice to finish
A few drops of sesame oil

In a large pot, add juice and sugar.  Cook on medium-high heat until thickened, don't scorch the sides.  A little color on the sides is okay, but if you see black switch pans.  Whisk in enough soy to tint, but not overpower the citrus.  Finish with enough yuzu to taste and a little sesame oil.

Then I made some blanched green beans and charred some shallot rounds with a blowtorch.  Kinda mimicking the fried onion & green bean salad we all eat on Thanksgiving.

Well, I'm out the door to see how the family likes it.  Here's a pic to make you smile.

 Marilyn Monroe as a pilgrim.  That's one lucky turkey...

Update:  Gnocchi went over extremely well.  Any suggestions for next year?

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