gnocchi wins!

23 01 2011

Sometimes you have to take a loss.

Yesterday, it was an epic tire moment just as we were departing for a much-anticipated birthday party.

Right now, it’s the aftermath of hours of gnocchi wrestling. Occupied, lost hours: meaning our laundry remains unfolded, dishwasher unloaded, my To Do list made no progress, and the kitchen looks a mess with at least 4 open cookbooks perched on various makeshift surfaces – dishrack, toaster, table, back of the sofa.

Our evening lurched off-course following the unfortunate directions for a seemingly simple pumpkin gnocchi recipe. Sounds delicious, right? And the picture was so tempting, all golden and steamy. It seemed like a perfect cooking adventure: simple ingredients, straightforward directions, and fast results.

Yet the dough proved elusive and un-doughish, so I kept adding flour, and then another egg, and then some grated parmesan, a pinch of nutmeg, and then some more pumpkin pulp (all of this following suggestions from additional cookbooks). And then… Well, I never achieved dough, just a large vat of orange batter. Too many hours after starting to make dinner, I managed to produce maybe two dozen lopsided dumplings, which Bebe staunchly refused to eat. Of course.

Our refrigerator now holds a ridiculous mass of heavily-floured pumpkin batter, and I am open to creative solutions. Any suggestions?


pumpkin cookies

16 01 2011

Oh, pumpkin cookies: how do I love thee?

pumpkin cookies

Let me count the ways: you taste like pumpkin pie; are almost like tiny, fluffy cakes in texture; and are easily accompanied by a wide variety of beverages (milk, tea, hot chocolate, …beer). And my toddler declares you, “mmm…Nummy.”

Pumpkin Cookies – a.k.a. tiny cakes (per Danielle) (makes 20-24 cookies)
adapted from ‘sweet pumpkin cookies’ recipe in Moosewood Restaurant: New Classics by The Moosewood Collective

1/2 C (1 stick, 4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C pumpkin puree (if using canned pumpkin, make sure it is plain, not pie mix)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In medium to large size mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the sugar) and stir with fork or whisk until well blended.

In a separate mixing bowl, add butter and sugar, and mix together until creamy. Blend in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture, make sure to scrape down sides with a spatula so that all of the dry ingredients are blended into the dough.

The cookie dough will be very soft, so you have two options. 1) Use a teaspoon to scoop-and-drop dough onto the covered baking sheet, OR 2) Chill dough in refrigerator for slightly easier cookie-ball shaping – but still rather messy handling.

For Option #2 : press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of dough and squish out any air, then place the covered bowl in the refrigerator to chill – 20 minutes (or overnight). Remove and uncover, and use a butter knife or flat spatula to divide cookie dough into 4 pieces. Roll each quarter into a log – and be aware that the dough warms quickly, so this is still messy. (I rinsed/wiped my hands off between each quarter). Divide each log into 5-6 pieces, shaping into rough ball shape, and place each piece on the baking sheet.

Bake 13-15 minutes (for Option #1) or 15-17 minutes (for Option #2), until a toothpick tests clean. Remove baking sheet from oven, then transfer cookies to cooling rack and let sit 10 minutes or until cool. Enjoy!

happy, thanks, very full

27 11 2010

A lovely Thanksgiving day! If you’re a celebrant, hope you had a great one, too.

thanksgiving family

And finally the internet connection is repaired, huzzah! Although it is still running a bit funny, so we’re working with brief windows of time for updates. We are checking in from southeast Louisiana, called home again for the next several weeks.

pumpkin pie sweet potato cream pie

Lots of family fun to relate, including roasting the turkey on a gigantic barbecue grill, but first here’s the super-yummy dessert bakefest that I’ve unleashed in my mother’s kitchen over the past week (above: a pretty pumpkin pie & fluffy sweet potato cream pie for the Thanksgiving dessert table).

apple spice cake

Also for Thanksgiving, this really light spice cake with grated apples and a nice lemon-brown sugar glaze. All recipes from a new cookbook, Bon Appetit Desserts,that I picked up a couple weeks ago (partly from the gorgeous pumpkin pie picture right at the opening title page. Genius marketing ploy.)

For my wonderful sibs on a great baking day: you’re the best.


(sibs picture courtesy of our mom: thanks, Mom!)

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