Making Gnocchi

Gnocchi can be made 2 ways… with potato or Ricotta cheese.  I use my grandmother’s recipe to make mine and use Ricotta.

What you’ll need:

3 lbs         Ricotta Cheese

2lbs+        Flour (you’ll need to add more than 2 lbs so that the dough isn’t sticky and also for rolling the dough)

3                eggs

handfull of parmesan (I use Locatelli instead)

Gnocchi boards or forks

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Step 1 – Put wax paper on cookie sheets.

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Step 2 – Measure out ingredients and make “well” in center of flour.

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Step 3 – Mix together eggs, Ricotta and parmesan.

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Step 4 – add wet mixture to well in flour and knead dough (don’t over-knead or the dough will become tough).

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Step 5 – Wet a towel with water, wring it out and cover dough so it doesn’t dry out.  Cut of small amount of dough off.

gnocchi8Step 6 – Roll into long “rope” and cut into small pieces.

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Step 7 – Roll pieces of dough on gnocchi boards or forks.

Step 8 – Freeze gnocchis on cookie sheets then put into freezer bags (you can also cook the fresh gnocchis).

Step 9 – Cook in boiling water until they all float.  Serve in a dish with gravy (we don’t call it sauce!) and enjoy!

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Mom-Mom’s Meatballs – a Cooking Lesson

My mom-mom was a little Italian woman who could make anything.  Crafts, cooking, baking … you name it, she could do it.  Every Sunday our family would gather at Mom-Mom’s and Pop-Pop’s house for dinner.  Almost always a homemade Italian meal.  The only exceptions were the dog days of summer when Pop-Pop would grill.

All of us grandkids helped make spaghetti, ravioli, gnocchi, manigot (manicotti), lasagna … and meatballs.  I’ve promised a lesson on making gnocchi, but today we’re talking meatballs.  Mom-Mom’s meatballs were famous.  She’d never make less than 50 at a time, and more often would make 100-200.  She’d sell meatball sandwiches each year at the church’s June bazaar, along with fresh-squeezed lemonade, and people would flock to her booth.

Mom-Mom never measured ingredients and didn’t have a recipe for her meatballs so trying to replicate them was not always easy.  She had it all in her head, but we kept asking for a written recipe.  Thanks to our dear friend, Melba, we got one.  One day when Mom-Mom was making her meatballs Melba was visiting.  She took a pen and paper and wrote down everything Mom-Mom put in the mix.  Every time I make meatballs, I think of my mom-mom.  I also think of Melba and how grateful I am for the recipe in my hands, because it’s more than measurements – it’s a connection to wonderful memories.

 Now to the recipe and the lesson!

What you’ll need:

5 lb                    ground beef (I use 80% lean)

2-1/2 cups          breadcrumbs (or 1/2 cup per lb of meat)

5                       eggs (or 1 egg per lb of meat)

garlic powder, parsley, basil, grated locatelli cheese, salt, pepper, italian seasonings to taste.

Step 1

Spay a baking pan with olive oil Pam or rub with olive oil.  Turn oven on to 350 degrees.

Step 2

Mix ingredients in a large bowl by hand.  (I suggest that you remove any rings)  Instead of salt and pepper I like to use Nature’s Seasons (bottle with blue cap).  Be gentle while you mix the meat or your meatballs will be very dense.

I forgot to put the bread crumbs in the photo above!

Step 3

Roll the meat into meatballs.  Try to keep them somewhat uniform in size so they cook at the same rate.  Also, don’t pack them while you’re shaping – they’ll end up too dense.

Step 4

Bake in your preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until browned.

Step 5

Now they’re ready to eat, add right to your spaghetti gravy (no, we don’t call it sauce in our home), or cool and freeze.  Any juices in the pan can also be added to the gravy or frozen for future use.  Don’t throw them away … I believe Marie on the TV show Everybody Love Raymond called those juices liquid gold!

I hope you enjoy making and eating these meatballs as much as I do!

Tour de … Fleece?

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Tour de France, the 22-day long bicycle race across France starting on July 2nd … but how many of you have heard of the Tour de Fleece?  I’m sure if you’re familiar with Ravelry you’ve heard of it! 

Many handspinners around the world spin yarn while the cyclist are racing.  That’s right … 20 days of spinning at least a little each day with 2 rest days.  For some, it’s simple.  Others have it a little more challenging, especially those who have 2 young children, animals to feed and a growing garden. 

I did manage to spin every day that the cyclists rode.  To kick off the Tour I even made a special dinner on July 2nd…  One of our homegrown turkeys, rubbed with a mixture of olive oil and herbs de provence (brought home from Paris by my aunt!) rotisseried on the grill.

I also watched a lot of the race and really became interested in it.  Noah loved watching it with me in the mornings, and Dave and I watched some of it at night, too.  We all gasped when Johnny Hoogerland crashed and cheered for him when he continued racing.

Some days I only managed to squeeze in 10 or 15  minutes but most days I spun for 30 minutes or more.  A few days I spun on my drop spindle because I didn’t have time to sit down at my wheel.  We also left for camping a couple of days before the Tour was over so I packed my drop spindle to take with us… it takes up far less room than my wheel!  I posted photos of my daily progress to my Flickr account, but here’s a collage of my work:

Tour De Fleece collage