The Pendulum Swings

After the decadence of the steak frites, we were in the mood for something cleaner. I had a bunch of ideas swirling around, so I got to work and let them take shape around the ingredients at hand. To begin, I wanted to make a simple broth to warm us up at the end of a raw fall day. So I simmered some soba-cha, dried shiitake, and toasted walnuts in water for about an hour. Strained, and with a drip of soy sauce and a garnish of chives and truffle oil, it tasted not a little like beef tea, which is what I was shooting for.

There were mashed sweet potatoes left over from the shepherd’s pies from last week, so I turned them into gnocchi with a little flour and an egg yolk. I sliced an apple, and sautéed it gently with sage leaves, then browned the gnocchi in the same pan. I crumbled the leaves over the plates, and hit them with a little maldon salt. I’ve made this before, in different versions- boiled first, sautéed in duck fat instead of olive oil- and it’s always a winner this time of year. Last year I paired it with duck confit, cranberry-wine reduction, and nettle purée for the “main” course in our insane 11-course Thanksgiving dinner. It’s quick, easy, filling, and delicious.

Next, I cooked some beets sous-vide at 83˚ C for a couple of hours- that’s the magic temp for vegetables, giving them the perfect al dente texture and rich flavor. I served them like sushi on brown rice, with a soy-balsamic sauce and lemon thyme. And to follow, kidney beans that I pressure-cooked with onion, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, spices, and their soaking water. I forgot to take a picture. I do love multi-course meals- even though they tend to dirty a lot more pots- because the variety eliminates fatigue with the same flavors, and I find that I end up feeling more satisfied with less food.

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5 Comments

  1. cook eat FRET
    October 22
    Reply

    i’m about to give gnocchi a whirl… i have actually never made it. i’m thinking of investing in a $4 gnocchi board so that i can feel professional. i can’t roll em off the fork times, i just know it…

    sous vide… one day…

  2. Brittany
    October 22
    Reply

    The gnocchi looks great!
    So fall-ish and festive.
    Yum! I want some NOW

    ….I think that was an unintentional haiku…

  3. cookiecrumb
    October 22
    Reply

    Simmered toasted walnuts?
    Oh, I gotta give this a try.

  4. The Spiteful Chef
    October 22
    Reply

    I’m certain you’re terrible in bed. That’s the only fair way to compensate for the delicious food that you’re creating.

  5. peter
    October 22
    Reply

    Claudia: I rarely tine my gnocchi. They don’t need it.

    Brittany: Would you like them before your steak, or on the side?

    CC: It’s surprisingly rich and convincing.

    Kristie: Life isn’t fair. But believe whatever you need to in order to keep from stabbing yourself or your fiancé.

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