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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Honorary Italian... (in my own head)

I had the pleasure of having my mom come up this week for a couple of days to see my daughter, and in turn, see me.  I always have fun with my mom and always enjoy sharing different cooking techniques and recipes that I have found because, after all, she was the one that started me on this path.  I wouldn't say that she instilled in me that it was important for a man to learn how to cook, but she made sure once I showed the interest to help me out and share family recipes with me along the way.  She was the one I learned how to make chili from.  She was the one I learned how to make cornbread from.  A lot of what I know about cooking I owe to her.

After a long night Wednesday with my daughter barely sleeping four hours total overnight (which means I slept a total of about two hours), today just didn't seem the day to cook.  I knew that it would probably be the last chance for a long time that I would get to cook for my mom which I really enjoy doing.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity so I put on my big boy shorts and sat there with my mind blurry.  For a while now, I have wanted to make gnocchi, but the task always seemed daunting.  I've always heard that it was a hard process, that it took a lot of precision timing, that the humidity had to be at 38.3 percent and the temperature varying from 69 degrees to 71 degrees from start to finish of cooking... OK, maybe not the last bit, but I had heard or read somewhere that it was a difficult process.  So in my "blurry mind" state, it seemed like a great idea to tackle this challenge today.  But of course, I didn't want to make just any old gnocchi, I wanted something different.  And then it hit me:

Potato and Banana Gnocchi....


HUH?  Really?  Yeah.  After doing a quick Google search I couldn't find any recipes for a potato banana gnocchi.  How exciting!  So it was set.  I got a basic recipe for gnocchi and planned for the melding of worlds.  But most gnocchi is served with a pesto sauce or something of the sort.  I personally like mine with a little Parmesan, red pepper flake, and olive oil.  None of that sounded good with banana gnocchi.  After another quick search to find what kind of flavor pairings went good with banana, I found that Heston Blumenthal, one of the leaders of the molecular gastronomy front, found that banana and parsley went together well.  So there it was.  A potato banana gnocchi with a parsley sauce.  Grocery store, home, nap, then cooking....


I have to say the gnocchi couldn't have been easier.  I have no idea why someone would mark this as a daunting task.  If you can boil potatoes and run them through a ricer, you really shouldn't have a problem making it.  However, I did split the recipe in two: one half for the regular gnocchi (just in case) and one half for the banana gnocchi.  An hour later and it was all said and done.  I boiled the banana and pan fried the plain. 

When I presented my dish to my mom, I found out that she had never actually had gnocchi before!  Wow... So mine was the first.  How embarrassing it could have been if it wouldn't have turned out, but turns out.... it turned out.  It was better than any store bought rubber balls I have ever had.  It was light and fluffy and full of flavor.  In the end, I hate that mine was the first that my mom ever tried.  Fresh is always better as I've come to find out and now she will probably go home and make it ten times better than I could have ever thought of doing it.  That's the price you pay though.  It's also kind of the point of cooking for others, to inspire and to improve.  After all, that's what she taught me.

I'll try and post the recipe for this at a later time on a recipe page.  If you can't wait until then, leave me a message and I'll send it to you.

2 comments:

Rachal said...

The only Gnocchi I ever had was Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi soup, and that was just last year...which was also the first time I ate there, and I love it...by chance are you sending any home with your mom? Please? haha...I'm really curious about the banana gnocchi, maybe I'll get that recipe from you!

Evalangui said...

Can i have the recipe for the banana gnocchi? I'm old hat at the potatoe one but I have a lot of bananas and when it occurred to me i could turn them into gnocchi you're the only one that came up.

Where's this 'recipe section' of yours? Can't find it, i'm afraid.

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