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We’re baaaack! Now, let’s eat some gnocchi!

May 2, 2008

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Yes, it’s been much longer than we promised, but I have a litany of excuses. (New York is distracting… Our baby is distracting… We are preoccupied by our jobs fighting international crime… The usual.)

But I promise that what my husband has been cooking will be worth the wait. First and foremost, he has an actual culinary degree. (Applause!) Yes, he has been trained by real, live fancy-pants chefs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Does this really make his cooking taste better?

Actually, it kind of does.

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In fact, he is a better cook — if that’s possible. He has learned these things he calls “TEK-NEEKS” which he uses to prepare my increasingly delicious meals. And (bonus) he’s learned to cook more neatly — and to estimate dinner time more accurately. That’s right: As opposed to using every pot in the cupboard and telling me dinner would be at 7 p.m. (read: 7:45 p.m.), he actually keeps the kitchen tidy and puts dinner on the table at — dramatic pause — dinner time.

Let’s just say, my gratitude toward those Frenchies in toques is great and unwavering.

Second, the husband has become a student of spirits. Indeed, while in New York he took “classes” on wine and liquor. (I write “classes” because he came home with purported certificates of completion… but, let’s face it, his assignment was to drink wine and cocktails. Um, what kind of school was this exactly?) And since returning to the DC area, the husband has also become a devoted student of beer.

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So, why should you care about this, dear readers of My Husband Cooks? Because a beer-soaked chef is a creative (and happy) chef. And because he is about to drop some serious knowledge on you guys.

That’s right. My husband and I have decided to turn our attentions back to this beloved blog, where we’ll invite you to share in his new obsessions: Fresh, seasonal and, when possible, local (to the DC area) ingredients… simple and delicious American fare… and, finally, tasty and exciting brew possibilities.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my stomach does!

And now, the husband’s take…

In our absence, I suspect you missed my wife’s clever wit. And while this is one of her best qualities, the one I’d like to point out is her devotion to my crazy cooking obsession. I mean, when your lawyer husband says, “Let’s move to New York City so I can go to culinary school,” and you are behind it 100%… you are pretty amazing. (Oh, and by the way, you’ll also be moving into a tiny apartment, in a city with no family, and you’ll be bringing along your two-month-old son.)

So, my wife is really the hero of all this. I can’t say that enough to her.

… But enough of this sentimentality, this blog is about the food.

Alas, everything she writes above is true. Dinners come out on time. Food looks better, but is also more complicated. And it’s true, I have focused on libations of various types. Yet, in my defense, I contend that all of this “research” is about understanding the food better. It’s about the experience of eating and sharing time together.

In secret, though, I bet my wife would tell you that the biggest benefit of all of this is actually (whispering) the side dishes. My wife is one of those people who at holiday feasts is more interested in the various concoctions of vegetables and starches than the main protein. Quite frankly, she wouldn’t notice that the turkey was missing at Thanksgiving… provided there were enough side dishes.

So one of the biggest things she coos about these days is the variety of sides that I produce. Frequently, it’s the multiple vegetables of various preparations and the perfect carbohydrate-laden starch dish that first disappear from her plate. I hope this recipe for potato gnocchi elicits similar responses from your family and friends.

Now most people think of gnocchi as either fluffy or gut-bomb dense dumplings that are rolled off the back of a spoon, boiled, then covered in some sauce at an Italian eatery. Well, I’m here to suggest an alternative. This recipe is in the vein of French-style gnocchi, which are made using pate choux (the same dough used to make cream puffs) that is boiled and then sautéed.

Here, we keep the more Italian-style potato pasta, but dispense with the fork shaping. The pasta is shaped quickly with a knife, then boiled, drained and sautéed to finish. When done right, it’s impressive, delicious, light and true to the potato.

Click here for the recipe.

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Potato Gnocchi
Yield: 6-8 servings as main dish
Ingredients:
4 Idaho/Russet potatoes
8 oz. / 225 g all-purpose flour (approx. 1 ½ cups)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese (grated)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (grated)
parsley (finely chopped)
salt
pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes until the largest one is soft. Let cool until the skins can be removed.

3. Run the skinned potatoes through a ricer, food mill, or blitz quickly with a stick blender. If you use the stick blender, take care not to overblend. You don’t want to create glue. The goal is to get a fluffy, consistent texture.

4. Set a large pot of water to a boil and, at the same time, make an ice bath.

5. Add the beaten eggs, cheese, nutmeg and 1 cup of flour to the potatoes. Mix together until integrated. If the dough is too wet, add more flour. You want to add only enough flour to get the texture right. It should be firm, but easily malleable. Also, try not to overwork the dough. Too much flour or work will result in dense, hard gnocchi.

6. Work with about a quarter of the dough at a time. Roll into a 3/4 inch log about 18 inches long. Using a knife or pastry scraper, cut the dough into 1/2 inch pieces.

7. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook until they float. Remove from the water and add to the ice bath to cool quickly. Remove to a paper-lined sheet tray to dry.

8. Once relatively dry, you can store them covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. These are great to make a day in advance, or for multiple meals as a dish. Once to this point, they are quick to finish.

9. For final use, you may need to work in batches depending on how many you are making. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and butter to the pan. Once butter melts and stops bubbling, add the dumplings to the pan and toss until brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add any herbs (such as parsley) right before removing from the heat. Drain any excess fat with a paper towel. Serve hot.

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40 comments

  1. mmmmmmmmmmm welcome back !!!


  2. *squeal!* welcome back!
    looks delicious, how was new york? and when do we get, uh, toddler pictures?


  3. Welcome back! I don’t think I’ve ever commented before, but I’ve missed your posts. Since you’ve been gone I’ve had my own baby and would love to see recipes for delicious baby food! Any chance? (And pictures of babies of course)


  4. Hooray! I just discovered your blog before your hiatus and was crushed when I was suddenly cut off from my new favorite find. I was about to remove you from my blog roll when *gasp*, you are back! I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures.


  5. Your return elicits my first comment on your blog ever…HOOOOOORAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I checked back on a near bi-weekly basis with much disappointment to see that you had not returned! I missed your awesome recipes and stunning photos!

    Welcome back! I too am a sucker for variety in side dishes, and DH is a lover of REAL beer, so we both will be watching with eager anticipation for all you have to share with us!!!!

    Wooo hoooo!!!!! Your return just brought tears to my eyes (as DH seemed quick to point out:) )!


  6. Welcome back and the gnocchi looks spectacular!!


  7. First time to your blog, and well, I am glad you’re back! Gnocchi look sooooo delicious!
    You are so lucky to have a husband who, not only can cook, but has a culinary degree!!! Wow!
    Got to go discover your blog now! ;)


  8. I was very happy to see a post from you guys on Tastespotting, glad to have you back!


  9. Oh my god … to everything in this post and about this post and especially the ‘side dish mentality’ (that’s me) and GNOCCI like this.

    Would you please consider polygamy and choose me? I don’t need any sex from your husband — just these gnocci. Wait. That’s redundant.


  10. yay!

    i would be totally happy at thanksgiving with mashed potatoes, stuffing, a green veggie and some good gravy. oh, and i nice warm roll.

    i would also be totally happy eating these gnocchi. the ones i’ve been making lately have been tasty but complicated. these look like the perfect food for a shitty, chilly day like today.


  11. also, now that you’ve been through culinary school: what’s with the checkered pants?


  12. Yay, you are back!


  13. About time!

    Can you do this with instant mashed potatoes? Hi it saves about an hour on a week night!


  14. I am really looking forward to hearing about the ‘new’ cooking, and seeing the delicious results.

    Welcome back! And yeah….where’s pix of the lil’ boy?


  15. Yummmmmy!


  16. When I make gnocci I have one extra step, I use a fork to add a little pattern to my gnocci. Thanks for sharing!


  17. Gnocci is one of my favorite things, i cant wait to make this!


  18. What can I say…but, YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY! My first time here and I know I’ll be back! Wonderful!


  19. So nice to have you back! I’m looking forward to more giggles and great stories from your kitchen.


  20. Glad that you’re back. Always fun to read.


  21. The foood looks sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo yumm yumm!! :) Wish I could have a taste of it.. neway, Im an avid “experimenter with food” .. So, I guess Id soon enuff try out ur husband’ delicious food.. :)


  22. btw, here’ my link if u wanna get bk to me… http://4mgiselle.wordpress.com


  23. Don’t take this the wrong way, however if I know what’s good for me, this will be the first (and last time) I will be visiting your site. I’m afraid the photos are just too darn good and food looks just too darn… hang on while I wipe the drool off my face.

    My husband cooks too, but I don’t think it is quite to the same degree.


  24. You have my mouth watering!


  25. I am so thrilled to hear that you are back and look forward to your posts (as I did before your absence). My daughter just moved to the DC area (Shirlington)so we will be in the area much more frequently now. There is a lot of great food to be had there! Welcome back.


  26. Hi there! Welcome back–I love your blog and have missed it greatly!! Did you happen to be at Rick’s Wine and Gourmet on Saturday buying beer (per your comment of being a student of beer now)? I saw another customer there, who made me think–that looks like the husdband from my husband cooks…just curious; that would really prove that it’s a small world:) Anyhow–welcome back; can’t wait to read the new content and look at your lovely pictures.


  27. Apparently I’m not the only one who was glad to see you guys pop up on the ol’ feedreader. Welcome back!


  28. Wow! The hubby and I are so THRILLED that all you guys have commented and are reading us again! And some have even foolishly asked to see more pics of our baby… well, I’m only too happy to oblige. (You’ll be sorry! I’m an avid photographer — of food and babies alike.)

    I’ll have to let the husband answer any cooking related questions (instant mashed potatoes, baby food, and the like). As far as polygamy, I’m afraid I can’t condone crossing forks with a rival spouse. Sure, the husband makes generous portions… but they’re mine, all mine!! (Muahhahaha!)

    Anyway, just wanted to chime in to say thanks for all the comments. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one with an appetite for my husband’s delicious recipes!

    (And Lesley, I’m sure that was my husband at Rick’s. He seems to be there on a near daily basis, and was there on Saturday. He even has his ‘guy’ at Rick’s who helps him choose beer. Clearly, this ‘guy’ knows a sucker when he sees one… our second ‘overflow’ fridge is wall to wall beer.)


  29. WELCOME BACK! I adore your blog and am excited to see new recipes and photos :)


  30. The Gnocchi looks amazing and I’m going to have to try to make it sometime. Or I’m going to have to try to find a professional trained chef who will make it for me! Any ideas on where I can find him? Ha ha…


  31. I can’t tell you how often I go back to your blog for things (special red sauce, various ice cream recipes, commentary that puts a smile on my face….) I am beyond happy that you guys are back!! You’re my favorite people for all of today!! Stamped no erasies.


  32. Welcome back! You have been dearly missed. Can’t wait for all the treats and what a great recipe to start with.


  33. I’m so glad you guys are back. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got to teach us!


  34. So glad to see you’re back! And what a fabulous looking dish to start with. Those gnocchi look fantastic. What do you serve them with?


  35. Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Welcome back! Those gnocchi look divine.

    Thoughts on Top Chef?!?!


  36. Hooray! I missed your blog! I couldn’t believe their were two posts from your site in my RSS feeder today. Welcome back!

    p.s. So far Richard is my Top Chef pick. I do hope you’ll keep share your opinion of the season when you have a chance!


  37. Congrats! We missed you and can’t wait to see the yummy new creations from your kitchen.


  38. *delurks for the occasion* It’s been a while, but welcome back :) I did a google search on “husband cooks blog” and was glad that your site showed up. It makes me smile knowing your first post back was a day before I got married!


  39. So glad to have you back! I’ve been either (1) on the road, or (2) busy working this summer and have missed a lot of my favorites online, you two among them! Congrats, husband! And wife, so happy to see you still have your wonderful wit about you!

    Mimi


  40. It looks so yummy………..
    Welcome back again here……….



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