Monday, December 15, 2008


So, it's been the usual two weeks since my last post. I think I have started a trend. It's not that I don't have recipes, I just get really lazy. Props to Ron and Jessie for doing this every day. Holy crap, I do not have that kind of commitment. Anyway, things here have gotten colder (-20 to be exact), and then warm (0 degrees today) enough to ski! Hallelujah! I got skis about 5 days ago, but it's been so freakishly cold that I have not gone out. This homebodiness, accompanied with the fact that I do not have enough work hours, I am making close to no money, and I miss my friends makes this a hard time. I'm debating what will become of the winter. I then remind myself that whenever I start something new, two months in I feel like I'm going crazy. Guess what? It's the two month mark! So, I'm pulling through the holidays, and if things don't get better, change may be necessary! I am also a little bit P-Oed by the fact that I have to share a kitchen with 6 other, dirty people. It not only makes creating things more difficult (it's like a ballet in the kitchen area when there are more than 2 people in it), but it makes them less sanitary. Gross. 

This week has heralded the opening of the fabulous Italian cookbook that we have in this godforsaken dorm. It's called 'The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia' and it is fabulous. I m
ade gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce (fabulous), made up a recipe for ravioli with butternut squash filling (alright), and pizza this week. It's been like a trip to Italy! Minus the warmer weather and generally beautiful people. I also have...drumroll first ever posted recipe from a friend! Laura is making butternut squash soup with sundried tomato puree, which after going to the grocery store in a few days, I am definitely trying. 

I have wanted to make homemade gnocchi ever since watching Lydia's Kitchen last year. It's one of my favorite Italian dishes, and it is really easy. Like, for serious. 

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce

1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
1 large egg
1 cup flour
salt and pepper

4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup cream or milk
1 tbsp thyme
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

To make gnocchi: 
Cook potatoes in boiling salted water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain and cool. Force the potatoes through a sieve/colander by pressing them with your hands (or, if you have a ricer, use that). Collect in a mixing bowl, and add plenty of seasoning and egg until completely incorporated. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead for 3 minutes. Until it is soft and smooth and not sticky (add more flour if necessary). 

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, and gently roll each piece into a log about 1" around, 6-8" long. Cut each log into 6-8 pieces, so each gnocch (gnocchi?) is 1" by 1". To cook, drop in boiling water and cook until the float + 4 more minutes. 

To make Gorgonzola sauce: 
Place Gorgonzola, cream/milk, thyme and tomato in frying pan until cheese melts to make a creamy consistency. Add gnocchi and toss! 

Butternut Squash Soup with Sundried Tomato Puree a la Laura

2 tbs olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves
2 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and seeded, chopped into 1" pieces (or 1/2 sweet potatoes)
5 1/2 cups veggie broth
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp orange peel

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, saute onions until tender, about 10 min. Add garlic, stir for 1 min. Add squash, sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 40 minutes or until squash gets soft. Puree in blender until smooth (probably have to do it in batches). Return to pot, add thyme and orange peel. Simmer for a few more minutes to get it hot again and to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, top with a spoonful of sundried tomato puree (which was made from 1/2 jar of sundried tomatoes, bunch of olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, a generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper, all pureed in blender). 

That cayenne pepper and orange peel make squash soup sound fabulous....yummmm. I am also attempting a second batch of Cardamom Bread tonight. We'll see how this one turns out. I found an old scrap of paper with a recipe on it. Could be a winner!

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