Let me begin my cooking journey at the beginning. I have always been interested in food, eating it, cooking it, talking about it. Many family stories revolved around food.
My mother was Italian and my mother-in-law was Hungarian so I learned early on about making everything from stuffed cabbage and chicken paprikash to lasagne and pasta dishes.
The earliest memory I have of French food was when I was about 12 years old. My family and I would go into New York City and eat in one of the most wonderful French restaurants, Pierre Au Tunnel. Sadly, it closed a few years ago but I always ordered the same things. Escargots and Frogs Legs. I can still taste them !! Garlic and oil and just sheer yumminess!
But I digress. So I decided to choose the gnocchi recipe from Julia's cookbook. The name of the dish is Gnocchi Gratines au Fromage.
Although I've never made the Italian version of gnocchi, a potato dumpling, I was just plain curoius to see...rather taste...how this would turn out. Join me please as I try to explain the steps with the photos.
First I had to make a Pate A Choux (Cream Puff Paste). Julia says every cook should know how to make this! I only needed half the amount for this recipe so the other half went into the freezer. You just never know when you'll be craving French Dessert Puffs !
I measured the flour just as she said. Sift it into a cup and be sure not to press down to get the correct amount. Done !
Next I boiled the water and butter and added the flour and the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating the heck out of it...til I thought my arm would fall off!! Mix in the potatoes and cheese and beat some more.
She says to take a dessert spoon and on a lightly floured board, roll the dough with the palm of your hand to a certain size. Here is where I found a much easier way. Just roll the dough into a long thin rope and cut the shapes. So much easier! Really Julia...we need shortcuts!!
Poach them...don't boil or they'll fall apart, she says for 15 to 20 minutes. This I found way too long. The next batch I poached just a few minutes.
They really did have a great flavor. Very buttery and light as a cloud but almost too light!
Place into a buttered baking dish and when ready, heat on the stove and put under a broiler a few minutes. I didn't heat on top of the stove. I think I would have broken my pretty dish !
As I stated, I did like the flavor of the gnocchi but they were almost too light and delicate with the swiss cheese over top. My son said he thought they were great ! So... that's something !!
Would I ever make them again. Probably not. Certainly not in the summer in my hot kitchen!
Well, there you have it..do I dare say it??? Bon Appetit !!