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Preparing for a Blizzard

The weather forecasting for tonight and tomorrow has run the gamut – from a huge storm to no big deal to a big storm to ::drum roll, please:: a blizzard. Yes, a blizzard. Middle of March, anywhere from 12″ to 2 feet of snow, falling 3″ to 4″ per hour for several hours… sleet… gale-force winds… white-out conditions… the whole shebang. While I haven’t officially called out from work for tomorrow, odds are I will be homebound. A blizzard.

Naturally, one needs to properly prepare for these things. Today, Victor made Gnocchi. I baked Bread and made Peach Rice Pudding. I mean… in the worst of times one must maintain a sense of decorum, right?!? What would the neighbors think if we were forced to eat boxed macaroni and cheese?!? [note to neighbors: we don’t have any boxed macaroni and cheese in the house…]

But I digress… Read down for the recipes.

I did my Monday grocery shopping early to avoid the panic-buying throngs, but the shelves at the local Acme were already looking a bit bare at 9am. There were a few folks in the store with huge overflowing carts of food. I figure the worst case scenario of 2 feet of snow would mean – maybe – 36 hours in the house from the start of the storm until the end and roads were cleared enough to venture out. Five meals. Some of these folks were buying for the apocalypse.

Five meals. At any given moment we have food in the house for a week. The only reason I went shopping at all was to get strudel bites and mini corn muffins for Nonna. They are her morning ritual. I really could have just made them, but I also wanted to get gas for the car in case we lost power and needed a charging station for electronics. I need to be able to read my Kindle… And if we did lose power and the temperature in the house dropped, I guess we could park Nonna in a warm car for a while… On the other hand, I did buy a big box of Duraflame logs as insurance against the power going out…

But back to food.

Victor started things off with gnocchi. He pretty much just created the recipe as he went – potato, flour, ricotta, and egg.

Potato and Ricotta Gnocchi

  • 2 cups riced potato
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups “00” flour, plus more for dusting

Combine the potato, ricotta, eggs and 1 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the flour, mixing well.

Bring the dough together in a ball and cut off one-quarter of it. Dust the work surface with all-purpose flour to prevent sticking, and roll the cut-off piece of dough into a long rope about 5/8 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 5/8-inch pieces. Roll the pieces off the times of a fork or off a gnocchi board. Dust some parchment paper with flour and place the gnocchi on it to prevent sticking. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water for about 2 minutes.

Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

We had them with homemade meatballs and Victor’s homemade sauce. Totally awesome, Delish.

That was half of the batch on the tray. I froze another tray for another day.


The bread was a loaf of James Beard’s French-Style Bread. It’s one of the most simple, basic breads around. been making it for years. Always good.

James Beard’s French-Style Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°, approximately)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 egg, mixed with water
  • sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal

Directions

Combine the yeast with sugar and warm water in a large bowl and allow to proof. Mix the salt with the flour and add to the yeast mixture, a cup at a time, until you have a stiff dough. Remove to a lightly floured board and knead until no longer sticky, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

Punch down the dough. Turn out on a floured board and shape into a long, French bread-style loaf. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal but not buttered. Brush loaf with egg wash and then liberally sprinkle with sesame seeds. Slash the tops of the loaf diagonally in three or four places. Place in a cold oven, set the temperature at 400° and bake 35 minutes or until well browned and hollow sounding when the top is rapped.


And then we have dessert… Peach Rice Pudding.

I picked up a bag of frozen peaches at the store, thinking I might make a peach upside down cake.  I got home and thought Peach Pudding. I mentioned it to Victor and then said, or maybe rice peach pudding – and that was that.

Peach Rice Pudding

  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp peach extract
  • 1 lb peaches, chopped

Cook rice and set aside.

Mix sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add eggs and mix. Slowly add milk and mix well, making sure there are no lumps. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in cooked rice. Continue stirring and cook about 5 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in peaches, and then add vanilla, peach extract, and butter.

Place in bowl with plastic wrap on top to keep skin form forming.

Refrigerate completely.

We have enough rice pudding to last a week, plenty of bread for sandwiches or toast – or breadcrumbs – and pasta and a dozen jars of sauce downstairs.

We’re set, Mother Nature! Bring it on!

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