Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Foodist Favorites and Amazing Meyer Lemon Gnocchi

I hope that your Holidays were chock full of fun, love, warmth, good food & drink and the closeness of family and friends.  I took a lovely long time away from the usual demands and it certainly was needed and effective.
And,  as I do every year, here are a few things that I am very excited about as we make our way into 2017:

Collective Creamery Cheese CSA.  We have amazing cheese artisans in our region and a couple of them have joined together to form this fabulous idea.  What a gift for the cheese lovers in your life!  Every other week they will be able to pick up - at a point that they designate - a share of amazing cheese, cultured butters and other extras, as they desire.

“Condiment” in the Reading Terminal Market.  For the friend who loves to eat well, wants to avoid processed and chemically laden foods, but is always pressed for time, this is THE perfect gift certificate!  Condiment is truly unique.  Housemade sauces, fruit curds, and butters, among a long list of other “short cut” items for the home cook are available.  There is everything from vinaigrettes to salsas to mayonnaise to ketchup and mustard! Not to mention pie crusts (which I have been using since the shop opened), biscuits and cookie dough too.  And lots of delicious appetizers.  Condiment whips up a particularly wonderful Pimiento Cheese, something I can be really picky about since I love to make my own.

The Philly Farm and Food Fest. This year the ‘Fest is being held on April 8th. This is one of the best annual events in Philly, in my opinion.  Meet producers, farmers, cooks, and cheesemakers. Take a class or two on areas of interest.  Stop in the Libation Lounge for cocktails made by local producers.  Try lots of samples from hot sausages to Cape May salts and other oysters. And be surrounded by folks with whom you have a lot in common.  Oh and shop!  We always come home with a fabulous dinner for that evening, things for our freezer, and products that we are trying for the first time.  Last year we were gifted with tickets for the Fest.  I thought that was a brilliant idea, so if you know folks who would enjoy this event, including yourself, order those tickets now.

Shibumi Farms Opens in the Reading Terminal Market.  The folks from Shibumi have already set up a weekend pop up in the market until their permanent space is done.  We were lucky to get a chance to chat with them and buy some amazing mushrooms recently.  They will sell dozens of types of mushrooms - many cultivated at their farm, and in season some that are foraged as well.  Housemade mushroom products - like soups and mushroom sausages - will round out their offerings when the stand is fully operational!  Look for them at their weekend pop up.  You can’t miss them.  Mushrooms!  www.shibumifarms.com

Ladavisa Meats & Wyebrook Farms at the Fair Food Farmstand.  We have been fans of both of these for a long time now; we have made a number of trips out to Wyebrook - a beautiful farm and  a lovely road trip from Philly, by the way - and we are regulars at the Reading Terminal stand of Nick Macri’s Ladavisa Meats.  Now, like a gift from the food goddesses, the products of both will be available in a new setting within the Fair Food Farmstand in the Terminal. We now have delicious, readily available, properly treated and raised, meat and poultry products. Not to mention some of the best chaucuterie you will ever have.  During my last discussion with Anne Karlen she said that they are shooting  towards being fully operational by February.  Can’t wait!  www.ladavisameats.com  www.wyebrookfarm.com

Recipe:  Meyer Lemon Gnocchi - if you have been hesitating to jump into the world of gnocchi making, this technique will get you into a comfort zone.  Also - if you can’t get Meyer lemons, good organic lemons can be substituted.  (adapted from Steve Corry in Food and Wine)


1 pound of baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
3 large egg yolks
The finely grated zest of 2 lemons - preferably Meyer Lemons
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
11/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth - low sodium, ideally home made
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter cut into pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Snipped chives or scallions or onion greens for garnish
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese 


In a medium sauce pan of water, bring the potatoes to a boil.  Simmer the potatoes over medium heat until they are tender - about 8 minutes. Drain the potato chunks, return them to the pan and shake them over moderately high heat until they are dry.

Rice the potatoes over a large, rimmed baking sheet.  A spaetzel maker does this job perfectly. The potatoes should be in an even layer.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the salt and pour the mixture over the potatoes.  Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir the potatoes - or use your hands - until a soft dough forms.

Roll the dough in four, 1/2 inch “ropes”.

Ropes and Pieces

Cut each rope into 1/2 inch pieces; roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges.  Note:  the ridges don’t have to be perfect or deep; they are there to hold the sauce. Spread the gnocchi back onto the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  If you are short on refrigerator space, just put the gnocchi outside (at least in the winter!). 

Ready to be Chilled
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer.  Remove it from the heat and whisk in one stick of butter, adding the butter a few pieces at a time.  The sauce should be creamy.  Warm the sauce on low heat.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface; when they rise to the surface, cook them for 1 minute longer.  You can do this in batches - it is better than crowding the gnocchi.  Drain the gnocchi and toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer them back to the baking sheet until they are cool.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet.  Add half of the gnocchi and cook in a single layer over high heat until browned on the bottom - about two minutes.  Transfer the browned gnocchi to a bowl and repeat with the remaining tablespoon of butter.  


Reheat the sauce, pour it over the gnocchi and fold gently until all of the gnocchi are coated. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chives or scallions or onion greens.  Grate some parmesan cheese over the platter of gnocchi and hold some aside for service. 

Served with Oven Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts
Highly recommend that combination!
Enjoy!  Congratulations! You have made gnocchi.  And it is delicious!