Gnocchi with Eggs and Green Onions

Most evenings from 7pm to 9pm you'll find us at home, in front of the TV. First, it's Jeopardy and dessert, and then it's PBS and cooking shows. The 7:30 shows run the gamut from Julia Child and the original French Chef series to Hubert Keller - who we both think sucks - to Jacques Pepin.

I have always liked Jacques Pepin. I like his style, his passion for food, and his ability to change and adapt over the years while still staying true to to the food. His last show was a perfect example - store-bought gnocchi elevated to heights heretofore never seen. And ready in six minutes start-to-finish. He talks about taking shortcuts he never would have done in his youth. I can relate to that. I've finally realized I don't really need to grind the wheat if I'm going to make a sandwich. On the other hand, I once embraced canned hollandaise sauce. Never again. But I make it in a blender.

It's not often we see a recipe and immediately want to make it - as in immediately want to make it - but this one looked too good not to. And, as it turned out - it really was as good as we thought it would be.

I love it when that happens.

The only trick to the dish is whisking like mad when you add the eggs. You don't want scrambled eggs - you want a soft, creamy egg sauce. I more or less got it right but even with a couple of egg curds, it was one hellava good dish!

Jacques topped his dish with shaved truffles and truffle oil - because he's French and that's what French chef's do. I opted out of both but may drizzle with a walnut oil or something like that next time I make it - because there definitely will be a next time.

I mean... dinner in 6 minutes. C'mon!

Gnocchi with Eggs and Green Onions

  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 lb package shelf-stable potato gnocchi
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • About 1 tablespoon flavored oil, such as truffle oil, basil oil or walnut oil (optional)

Spread the gnocchi in one layer in a large nonstick skillet and add the water, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Most of the water should be absorbed.

Add the green onions and continue cooking, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the gnocchi and green onions start to sizzle and begin to brown lightly.

Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, for 45 seconds, to 1 minute at the very most. The eggs should be soft and loose. Add the sour cream to stop the cooking; mix it in well.

Divide the mixture among plates and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and a few drops of flavored oil, if desired.

Serve immediately.

And this really is a serve immediately dish. It's not going to sit around waiting for you.

Thanks, Jacques. And since we have most of your cook books, I'm sure there will be more fun food with your name on it!

Bachelor Dinner

It's been a while since I was home alone for dinner. Victor and Nonna took off to North Jersey for Joanna's and Miles' birthdays while I worked, so I fell back onto my old standby from yesteryear - chili dogs!

Hot dogs really are one of my most favorite foods. I really really like old-fashioned skin-on hot dogs, but they are getting more and more difficult to find locally. Most of what is now out there is skinless - the kind that just sorta dissolve in your mouth with no chew and no texture. Bogus.

I do pick up the all-beef dogs at work. They, at least, have a bite to them - but I really do miss that snap and pop when you bite into a real one.

I usually grill them, but tonight I split them and fried them like we did when I worked at The Donut Center circa 1961. And then topped them with canned chili - hot, of course - and cheese and raw onions.

Gastronomic Heaven on Earth.



Oven Fried



Tonight's dinner is brought to you by store-bought frozen mozzarella sticks. I know, I know... but sometimes you just have to give into the Dark Side.

But while the cheese may have been a store-bought, the potatoes and chicken strips were homemade. As low as they may be, I do have my standards!

The chicken started out as two boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips, marinated in a  bit of buttermilk, and then dredged in a combination of bread crumbs, corn meal, garlic powder, freshly-grated parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and Hungarian paprika. The potatoes - one large russet - was cut into 8ths, rolled in olive oil, and then covered with bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, freshly-grated pecorino romano, and  Spanish paprika. Everything cooked at 425° - the potatoes about 25 minutes, the chicken about 20 minutes, and the mozzarella, about 9 minutes.

Of course we needed fabulous dipping sauces... Ketchup - organic, of course, local honey and dijon mustard, soy sauce with sambal oelek, and salsa. I actually considered a fifth sauce and then came to my senses.

It was a fun finger-food dinner and since it was just the to of us, we even got to double-dip.

And speaking of dipping... More chocolate-dipped strawberries for dessert, tonight.

It doesn't get much better.

Baseball Food

It's Giants baseball tonight.  Baseball.  This is it.  Game 7.  If they win tonight it's off to the World Series.

I'm in my Giants shirt, Giants socks.  If I had Giants underwear I'd be wearing it.

So dinner was hot dogs and chili fries with lots of cheese and onions.

Bags of peanuts in the shell.  If I can keep from throwing them on the floor I will be happy.  So will Victor.


Turkey Club

What do you do when you have turkey and are not quite in the mood for turkey a la king or turkey tetrazzini?!?

Make a Turkey Club!

I really love a good clubhouse sandwich, but rarely order one out anymore because it seems they're all made with turkey roll.   If I want lunch-meat, I'll buy lunch-meat.  A Turkey Club should be made with hand-carved fresh-roasted turkey.  And thick-sliced bacon.  And fresh ripe tomatoes.  Crisp iceberg lettuce.  Mayonnaise.  Toast.

As basic as basic can be.  There really is no big trick.  A couple of good, quality ingredients make for a fantastic sandwich.

And I do have to admit that these were pretty good sandwiches.Neither of us cleaned our plates, but we did a good job trying!

And those sweet potatoes?!?

Even better than last night!

Sunday Burgers

It's kinda cold, wet, and dreary outside today.  Perfect for breaking out the charcoal and firing up the grill!

I bought two different types of rolls yestersay.  Either would work for burgers, but the smaller ones will work better for dinner tonight, so the focaccia rolls were the choice.  I'm a fan of fatty beef for grilled burgers.   4% fat stuff makes for a dry burger  but I had some 4% fat beef that I had used for something else and wanted to use it up.  The solution was to add some sun-dried tomato butter to the beef!  I added just a tablespoon or so for the two burgers and it added just enough moistness and flavor that I didn't have to do anything else!

The rolls were the perfect  choice for the sun-dried tomato burger, so keeping with the vaguely-Italian theme, I sauteed some arugula for the bottom of the bun, added roasted red peppers to the top, and melted provolone cheese on the burger!

French fries were the A&P house-brand, America's Choice.  No nasty ingredients.

It was the type of burger one would expect to find at Barney's in San Francisco.   Juuuuust quirky enough.  And nothing stood out and overpowered anything else.  The flavors all were unique, yet blended just as they should.

Summer is approaching.  It's time to start thinking about reinventing America's favorite grilled sandwich.  Again.  And again.

The possibilities really are endless.

Instant Asian - Sorta

Of all the foods in all the world, Chinese is the one I am least comfortable cooking.

I can get my fingers around a lot of different cuisines, but Chinese has always alluded me.  Possibly (or probably) because it's the one type of food I virtually always ate out.  I remember my first experience with Chinese Food was in the mid-50s at a restaurant in San Francisco called Kwan's.  It was on Geary Blvd around Arguello.  My parents would take us there when there were only the three kids.  Mike would eat a hamburger, Judy wouldn't eat anything, and I ate anything put in front of me.

Over the ensuing 50+ years, I've really never had to cook Chinese.  When I worked at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, we had The Empress Room where I could gorge on gourmet Chinese offerings.  At home, I could pick up the phone and have Andy's Excellent Chow Mein delivered to the door.  And now I'm in the Philadelphia suburbs where nothing is convenient and the best Chinese food is just not dim sum from Yank Sing - or Andy's Excellent Chow Mein.  I'm spoiled.

So... I attempt a Chinese meal now and again, but let's face it - it just ain't San Francisco. I'm very spoiled.

Enter Frozen Food.

I don't buy a lot of frozen entrees.  In fact, I really don't buy any.  But I will pick up frozen Asian foods from time to time.    I have my standards and I have my exceptions.  Love the Assi store in North Wales.

Tonight, a doctored up bag of Chinese Chicken worked.  I added sauteed peppers, diced papayas (thawed, with the juice), and lots of Sambal Oelek.  It was a spicy and sweet dinner in a mere 20 minutes.

I do have a couple of Chinese cook books - and lord knows I have the spices and sauces necessary to do the job.  One of these days I'm just going to have to get serious.