Monday, October 15, 2007

Starch-a-rama: Gnocci & Rice Pudding

Well, it certainly wasn't Atkins friendly in our house last night. In addition to getting a move on with the gnocchi, I wanted to give Rice Pudding another shot. So, it was a lot of starch.

For the gnocchi, I used the Todd English recipe in Becoming a Cook. It looked straightforward enough. The only fanciness was that it called for a potato ricer, which I picked up at the Chopping Block on Saturday. I've been curious about those anyway.

I can say it went off without a hitch. Rolling out the pieces with the fork takes a little practice, but after 15 or so...

The recipe specifies using russet potatoes, but I mixed that with a few Yukon Gold I had left over. I did learn one clear advantage with using the russets: they're white. Yukon Gold are yellow. When you're kneading in the egg yolks, it sure is a lot easier to tell when you've got a good mix. I also realized that it may have literally been years since I had peeled a potato. I've been doing them skin-on for mashed, etc. the whole time.

We've been eating packaged gnocchi for a while now, but there is no way I'm going back. The biggest difference was in the texture. We've had a number of brands and they all have a little toughness in the center relative to the homemade. They're not bad, by any stretch, but there is a noticable difference. Also, there are so many things that you could add to the dough for variations...

The Rice Pudding was an attempt to figure it out before Saturday. My friend Jenni is coming over to cook Indian with me that day and it'd be nice to get a handle on it before-hand. It can't be difficult, right? I decided to use a traditional recipe, so I could lay a foundation before I tried the Indian variety (kheer).

I took the recipe from the Gourmet cookbook everyone was all over a few years back (the big yellow one - again, recipe to be posted). The only changes I made were using a capful of vanilla, since I didn't have vanilla beans, and throwing in about a heavy dash of cardamom into the milk, to make it more Indian. Turns out you couldn't taste it at all. But the end result was dead on.

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