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Showing posts from January, 2016

Semolina and Ricotta Gnocchi with a Sage Butter Sauce

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I have been wanting this cookbook, One Good Dish, for some time, and when I saw it among the offerings at my favorite used bookstore, Pegasus, I'll admit, I actually hemmed and hawed. The last thing I need is a new cookbook, and yet it's one of the first things I want. Reader, I bought it.

And I am delighted I did, for I made these unusual ricotta gnocchi--the method similar to the French pâte à choux, the dough for cream puffs and profiteroles. Sweet business, they are delightful--and delicate.
The first night I made these (and the night from which these photographs originate), we immediately made little quenelles to float in salted, boiling water. I lifted them gently from the liquid, and the drizzled sage butter atop them. More like dumplings than typical gnocchi, these were light, fluffy, and divine. 

The next night, I went for a run (while talking on the phone to my best friend, sometimes the only way I can get time to chat). She and I talked while I ran up hills (she did…

Siu Mai Open-Faced Dumplings

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Yum, yum. Dim sum.
I am a fan of dim sum, a statement that hardly needs be made here in a blog that extols the virtues of morsels and sauces. A few years ago, when (one of) the landlocked niece(s) came to visit, we took her out for dim sum; she declared that Cantonese food was not her favorite cuisine (instead, she insisted that she loved Ethiopian or Indian food more). While I do not necessarily share in her ranking system (Steamed Pork Buns! Har Gau! Turnip Cakes! Phoenix Claws!), I am glad we got to introduce her to one of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday morning.

Dim sum comes from a Cantonese tradition of weary travelers eating morsels and snacks with a pot of tea in roadside tea houses. Typically these small dishes are served from as early as 5 in the morning all the way until mid-afternoon. Such a tradition is one I readily embrace, and this new cookbook, Asian Dumplings, happily leads me on what is going to be one heck of a culinary journey, even if it is not solely to the …

Baked Rigatoni with Bolognese Meat Sauce

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In a delayed New Year's post, I am am going to admit that, in general, we don't do a lot for New Year's Eve.  This is in part because we used to have a big family dinner on New Year's Day, but our ushering in of the new year is a little more tame now that the in-laws have their new place up near Mendocino, a good three-hour drive away.  Five if you stop at a winery or for lunch. Or both. Or just the wine.


However, for New Year's Eve this year, I did make this baked pasta dish from the famed Marcella Hazan. Combined with a salad, it made for a hearty way to end 2015 and ensured that a few weeks of restraint were in the hopper for 2016.


This recipe is a two-day process, given that you need to make the Bolognese Meat Sauce. However, that sauce is pure perfection, so if you make it, make double the amount. Half of it you can use here and the other half can be used how ever you like. Which might just mean eating it with a spoon from the pot. I won't judge.

I posted on …

Persimmon Loaf (Or Persimmon Quick Bread)

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Oh, Happy New Year! What a delight.  Let's start 2016 off just right, okay?

One of my very favorite poems of all time is "Persimmons" by Li-Young Lee.  Take a minute. Go read it. I promise it's worth it.

See.  Wasn't that breathtaking?



From forced assimilation to a poignant connection to one's aging father with stops at different layers of startling sensuality along the way, this poem bowls me over every time I read it. Torn between cultures, the speaker explores what we can recover or inherit from our families and what we invent for ourselves. This hybridity creates a new language, one of love, loss, and revelation.

And ain't all that just fruit glorious in all its symbolism?



The persimmon used in this baked good--more cake than bread--is the hachiya persimmon Lee references in the poem. Hachiya persimmons need to be ripe, really ripe, to be eaten, or they are bitter and unpalatable. They are astringent unless their tannins are allowed to mellow with a …