Monday, March 12, 2007

Gnocchi and Guinness

Recently I made homemade gnocchi for the first time. Normally I shy away from trying something brand new when unsuspecting dinner guests are involved, but I really wanted to use my new potato ricer. It has pot-gripping ridges and a specially designed angle for maximum leverage!

(I get giddy over kitchen gadgets the way some people get giddy over fast cars or designer handbags)

So I washed the potatoes, peeled the potatoes, cubed the potatoes, boiled the potatoes, and then finally put them through the ricer. It's extremely satisfying, this ricing business. If you liked this when you were a kid, you’d love playing with a potato ricer. Or if the Play-Doh Fun Factory hadn’t been invented yet when you were Age 3 & Up, you might like a potato ricer if you used to enjoy squishing mud through your fingers, or pressing toothpaste into the bathroom window screen to watch it emerge as tiny white worms on the other side.

Not that I did that.

Anyhow, once the potatoes were sufficiently “riced” I added the olive oil, egg yolk, and salt, ending with the flour. I spent a good while forming approximately 300 tiny, perfectly-shaped dumplings, which I lovingly set at appropriate intervals on parchment-lined baking sheets. The trays were placed in the fridge for a couple of hours, until it was time to drop the gnocchi into boiling water.

As I attempted to lift the first dumpling from the tray, it suddenly morphed into a gluey, defiant blob. You know how screaming toddlers seem to go boneless in your arms? That is what my ungrateful gnocchi were doing. THEY WERE HAVING TANTRUMS.

I couldn’t believe it. All that time I spent, molding and patting them and tending to their every need? And THIS is how they repaid me?

Flour to the rescue! I floured my hands, and re-rolled every single dumpling. Every. Single. One.

I have no idea why they revolted in this way. The dough was perfect when I rolled them the first time. Perhaps the kitchen was too warm, and they softened? Should I not have put the trays in the fridge? If you are an experienced gnocchi maker, PLEASE ADVISE.

They still tasted great, by the way, served with Alyssa Torey’s tomato cream sauce. I was just too tired to enjoy them much.

Saturday night M and I went to an Irish pub to build up our Guinness tolerance for the forthcoming Ireland trip. As we grasped our first cold pints we tried to think of an appropriate Irish toast.

“ARRRR, matey!” I finally growled, lifting my glass.

M gave me a strange look and laughed.

“That’s pirate!”

“Blimey!” I tried again.

“British,” he said.


“Braveheart. In Scotland.”

“I’ll be schnookered!”

“Just because you say something with a bad Irish accent doesn’t make it Irish.”

So in the end, we just toasted to Guinness. And foam mustaches.

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Blogger Bearette24 said...

There's an Irish blessing that ends with, "May God hold you in the palm of his hand." I always found it reassuring. Probably too serious for beer, though ;)

Sorry about the gnocchi. I've never tried to make them from scratch. I think Mollie Katzen has a recipe for them in the original Moosewood cookbook. She's usually a pretty good troubleshooter. I can tell they're tough to make, though.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Bethydiane said...

That's rather brave of you to "try out" new dishes on dinner guests. Of course, every time I cook it's always something new; nothing ever seems to come out the same way for me.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Irish blessings are way too long to actually remember. And the curses are more fun anyway.

7:02 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

I tried Guiness in Ireland. The first time I had it after I'd had a wine cooler and I thought it was okay. I had it the next day in the afternoon and thought it tasted - and had the consistency - of motor oil. lol

9:30 PM  
Blogger nejyerf said...

how about.. "here's mud in your eye"?

found you from bethydiane and loving you more with every post!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Iamthebookworm said...

Sounds yummy! I can't get excited about kitchen gadgets though. I HATE to cook.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Bearette- how about, "May we always hold Guinness in the palms of our hands."?

Bethy- I don't know if it's bravery or stupidity.

Lisa- please teach me some good curse words. We'll be renting a car and driving on treacherous roads and I'm sure the curses will come in handy.

Nejyerf- I like it. Short and easy to remember! Plus, Guinness kind of looks like mud.

Bookworm- come to my house sometime and I will regale you with my Williams-Sonoma wish list.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I don't know any Irish curse words, but I know a couple of curses. My favorite: May the ghost of Mary Malone and her nine blind illegitimate children chase you so far over the hills of damnation that the Lord Himself can't find you with a telescope.

As for the roads: I'd learn a few prayers. I remember some close calls on those roads.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Wow. That might be hard to remember in the heat of the moment, but I love it.

Should I sneer and allow a bit of spittle to escape me lips when I say it?

12:55 PM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

(pronounced - badly - Slahn-tra!)
Then drink.
But Guinness should be room temp.

My boys call Guinness "grown-up chocolate milk." If they only knew...

7:57 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

But what does that mean? I don't want to unknowingly call my drinking partner ugly or something.

I guess it was room temperature, looking back. That was only the second Guinness I've ever had.

12:58 AM  

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