Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Thanksgiving Week Hikes

I am thankful and very very full.  I spent the last 10 days hanging out with family and terrific friends and ate way too much good food.  

My Thanksgiving week began with a camping trip to Joshua Tree National Park.  Something about being in nature makes me hungry.  On my night to cook, we made marinated flank steak, rosemary garlic red potatoes, Brussels sprouts and apple salad, black beans and cocktails.  I brought a homemade German chocolate birthday cake because I believe everybody should have cake and beer in honor of their day! 
After climbing, we walked the Barker Dam Nature Trail.
The dam was constructed by early cattle ranchers in the 1900s.
On Thanksgiving Day I went for an early hike up Iron Mountain before heading over to my sister's for the feast.  This was my sister and her girlfriend's first time hosting Thanksgiving and as first timers do,  they planned for an over-abundance of food.  I filled half my plate with salad and thought I was being healthy, that was until dessert was served ... pumpkin pie and chocolate peanut butter squares.
Iron Mountain peak looking southeast.
Sierra Madre, or as Sara calls it "Mayberry," is a picturesque town near Pasadena and is the starting point for the Mt. Wilson trail which was established in April 1864.  The summit is 5,715 feet in elevation and a mere 7.0 miles from the trailhead.  Every spring Sierra Madre sponsors a trail race to the summit.  I think I'm in for that.  On a lovely Saturday morning, The Doctor Professor, the Mrs., Baby Emma, Jack Jack, Joe Frazier and myself set out for the first post appropriately named First Water. Afterwards, we lunched at Casa del Rey where I sucked down two margaritas and an afternoon nap ensued shortly thereafter.
First Water - Mt. Wilson
Sweet potato gnocchi to ward off Monday
morning blues.
 Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I am feeling a little melancholy and thought making a comfort food dish would help ease me into tomorrow.  

2 large sweet potatoes
1 1/2  to 2 cups gluten-free flour ( I used a mix of brown rice and quinoa flours)
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
pinch of cinnamon
salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon organic maple syrup (I use Trader Joe's Grade B)
3-4 fresh sage leaves, chiffonade (big fancy word meaning to cut into thin strips)

Sweet potato gnocchi
1.  Bake the sweet potatoes in a 450° oven for 40 minutes.  Allow potatoes to cool completely before handling.
2.  In a large bowl use a hand-held potato masher  (a forks works just as well), mash the sweet potatoes until they are smooth.
3.  Then add the egg, parmesan cheese, cinnamon and salt/pepper  and about 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix with a spoon.  Once mixed well, knead until dough forms.  Then gradually add more flour until the dough is not sticky and can be rolled out.
4.  Using your hands divide the dough into four equal section and roll each section into a long thin strand (think rope diameter), then cut strands 1/2 inch pieces or pillows and with a fork from the top of pillow, press or roll down and away to form the classic gnocchi look.
5.  In a large pot bring water to a boil and gently add gnocchi.  Cook until they float to the top, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove with a mesh strainer and serve with maple syrup sage butter.
6.  While gnocchi is cooking, melt 2-3 tablespoons of unsalted butter is a saute pan.  Once the butter has melted, add maple syrup, sage and a bit of fresh ground pepper and pour over gnocchi and top with parmesan cheese.

To freeze the uncooked gnocchi, place "pillows" on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer.  Once gnocchi is frozen, transfer to plastic bag.  To cook frozen gnocchi follow the same cooking instructions above.

Sadly I cannot take credit for this beautiful dish or picture
but I imagine this is what mine would look like.  - Gourmet

No comments:

Post a Comment