"And it is a name by which I think it expedient to be called..." ~ Jane Eyre
This Armenian woman has no business to be making gnocci on Sunday, but she making it anyway.
As a novice chef, gnocci is one of those recipes that puts you over the edge of being a good novice chef to a great novice chef. I am anxious and nervous already about the task; this is the SAT exam of cooking for me. I am sure that other novice chefs have their own standards of what recipes make them more masterful of the culinary arts. Some are cooks, others are bakers. Whatever it is in whatever genre of cooking, there is that one dish which challenges us novices.
I wonder what it is for others. For me, it is a mixture of potato and flour.
J. Sarah was a comfort when I told her of my gnocci anxiety last night over sushi dinner.
"Remember, Amy, this is one of those recipes where you need to remember that you are probably going to fall flat on your face the first few times. Gnocci is a dish that probably can't be mastered until you have done it at least a dozen times."
I know she is right. However, deep down I hope that the little potato dumplings I assemble on Sunday will be edible. The danger lies in the flour...too much or too little can ruin the consistency and make the gnocci dough get tossed in the garbage instead of boiling water. If I can't do this simple mixture, how will I ever make manti on my own one day?
(For a general idea, see here: http://www.thegutsygourmet.net/monti.html)
Still, I will take the risk on gnocci. I don't own a potato ricer, and Lidia says I need it for this. So, after my English Department meeting, I will head to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (aka Bed, Bath, and Bananas to J.Sarah's clan) and get my kitchen tool.
I love shopping for kitchen tools. The wishlist in my profile is linked to Williams Sonoma. You name it, I love it and want it. The garlic press, the melon scooper, the new OXO mango pitter. (You can check out new arrivals at WS here: http://ww1.williams-sonoma.com/cat/index.cfm?CID=ctlnewi&src=catcctli%7Cp1%7Crshop%2Fhme Does anyone else out there get excited over batter ladles? Alligator vegetable dicers? Sesame seed and spice toasters?
Once I master the gnocci, I want to make a platter that looked just like the one Tea's mom did when I was a kid: A platter of gnocci in the colors of the Italian flag. Bolognese sauce for the red, Parmesan for the white (or as Chaz pronounces it, "PAWMAASOWN"), and a pesto sauce for the green. Mmmmmm.
Thanks to Chaz and his ever-thoughtful nature, I have Lidia Matticchio Bastianich's cookbook, Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen. We both love her show on PBS, though we joke that she has "man hands." I wonder if that is the secret to her gnocci? I am in trouble if it is. I watched the episode where she makes gnocci twice now, and I want to believe her when she tells me its easy. I hope to make Lidia proud one day. She rocks. She is the only guest on Martha Stewart's show that can instill the fear of God in Martha; Martha becomes Lidia's bitch. It is awesome.
I was talking about names the other night with Chaz. The older I get, the more important my last name is to me. I am no staunch feminist by any means, but why should I have to give up my grandma Krikor's name if I ever get married? One day it will be one of the only things I still carry outwardly of my father, Richard, and my grandpa. I don't want to lose it. I won't. Even if it were another Armenian name, I still won't do it.
If Lidia Matticchio Bastianich can hyphenate her name, I am going to hyphenate mine! :) And if Lidia can make gnocci, I know I can do it too. I don't know when it will be a success, but it will get there. And when its good, you are all invited to my table, as my darling Lidia says!
Reader, welcome to my life.
- Name: ThursdayNext
- Location: New York, United States