Every year my dad grows a huge garden that results in lots and lots of produce. I do mean ‘lots and lots’–although he lives alone, he usually has at least 20 pepper plants in multiple color and heat varieties, at least that many tomato plants, rows of carrot, potatoes and onions and the list goes on.
What this means to us, his children and grandchildren (and neighbors and friends) is homegrown, fresh vegetables for the taking. But, since we also live 3 1/2 hours away from my dad, it means we get the veggies in bulk and need to figure out how to preserve and/or consume them quickly. Last week my sister, a.k.a. Aunt Dani, came home from a visit to my dad’s with several pounds of potatoes–I thought this would be the perfect time for us to try making gnocchi.
I’ve wanted to try making gnocchi for a while. The kids and I make fresh pasta all the time, and gnocchi is just potatoes and flour really, so how hard could it be, right? Well if you see the pictures on this page, you know that I totally misjudged the whole process. I mean it wasn’t actually hard to make them, but apparently we did not do it right…
Although Sophia did help me form the gnocchi, I did most of the work myself. It was kind of a hot, humid day anyway, and boiling and ricing potatoes just wasn’t high on the list of fun things to do for the kids. I used a recipe from "How to Cook Everything," by Mark Bittman (love that book!). I followed all the steps and even test boiled a couple to make sure I had enough flour.
I did not have enough flour–at least that’s why I believe the boiled gnocchi turned out like a pile of slimey, potatoey goo. Or, maybe it’s because I froze them and didn’t cook them ’til the next day. I boiled the water and then threw them all in, which brought the water temp down to non-boiling. Aunt Dani believes it’s the later, but also thinks we’re insane for making our own gnocchi. Don’t get me wrong, she loves to cook too and is good at it, but her words were something like, "you can buy frozen gnocchi for like $1 at the store, why make your own?"
Well, here’s why the kids and I tried making our own gnocchi and why we will try again: trying out new things is fun. Perfecting them is even more fun. Every time we try a new recipe or cooking tool we learn, and then we try it again and learn more. While we’re learning, we are having fun together as a family. I think Aunt Dani knows it’s about more than just gnocchi, she’s usually right there helping us with our family cooking experiments. Plus, once we perfect our recipe, we know she’ll be there with her fork, ready to eat 😉