Sweet Potato Pumpkin Cazuela for Sukkot

  

SweetPotatoCazuelaSukkot is synonymous with fall fruits and vegetables which are often used to decorate the sukkah. No specific foods are required but using the abundance of our local harvest replicates the Israelites bringing some of the bounty of their harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem. Making the long trek to the city, the travelers dwelled in temporary huts, or sukkahs, at the base of the Jerusalem hills.

It is customary to sleep and eat in the sukkah for eight days. In many climates this is not advisable, but eating in the temporary hut that has a lattice roof through which to view the stars was mandated in the Talmud on this holiday. Mandate aside, it is customary to invite friends and family to partake of a meal in your own sukkah (or to visit friends who have built one).

Dishes that are easily transported from your kitchen to the table outside are preferred and, of course, including nature’s fall produce is a must. Here is a side dish that can be made dairy with butter or parve (no milk or meat products) if anyone in your sukkah keeps kosher. It is Caribbean in origin, an area of the world where many Jews settled 400 years ago. You can, of course, bake your own sweet potatoes and small pie pumpkin to mash for this sweet potato pumpkin cazuela, but to save time and even allow your young children to help you make this recipe I call for canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes in light or no syrup.

One word of warning: This dish is so very delicious that I would double or triple the ingredients if you are making it for more than four people. And don’t forget Thanksgiving. But, please, hold the marshmallows—this is not a dessert, but could be served with any number of other dishes.

Sweet Potato Pumpkin Cazuela

Cazuela ingredientsIngredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 5.6 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
  • 1 29-ounce can of yams in light syrup, drained and mashed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2-inch stick of cinnamon broken into pieces
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 3 whole cloves

 

Directions:

1.  Place the butter or coconut oil in a 2-quart Pyrex bowl and microwave for 45 seconds.

2.  Whisk the sugars, flour and salt into the butter to combine.

3.  Whisk the coconut milk into the mixture until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs and combine.

4.  Add the pumpkin puree and the mashed yams and whisk until a smooth batter is formed.

Spices and pumpkin puree

Pumpkin cazuela5.  Combine the water with the spices in a small glass cup and microwave for 3 ½ minutes. Let the spices steep for 5 minutes. Strain the spiced water through a fine mesh strainer into the pumpkin-potato mixture and stir to incorporate.

7.  Butter a 2-quart casserole and pour the mixture into the prepared dish.

8.  Bake covered in a pre-heated 350°F oven for 1 hour. Serve hot out of the oven or reheated warm or hot.

Happy Sukkot!

Tidbits:

Sugar pie pumpkins are about 1 ½ pounds and very rounded. Always use them when a recipe calls for cooked pumpkin. Larger pumpkins are more watery.

Coconut milk is not milk or dairy. It is the liquid formed from ground, fresh, hydrated coconut.

Traditional Rosh Hashanah Teiglach

  

TTEIGLACHeiglach is an eastern European confection most closely associated with Rosh Hashanah. It was often served for festive occasions such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bris and in some communities during Shavuot or Simchat Torah because Torah is often equated with honey.

Teig in Yiddish means dough and Lach at the end of a word signifies small. Therefore Teiglach are little balls of baked dough submerged in honey syrup and then mixed with dried or candied cherries or raisins and some nuts (usually almond or hazelnut).

Once readily available in bakeries in large Jewish communities throughout North America, this confection is rapidly disappearing, so whether you were raised Jewish or not, this treat may be new to you. Not to worry if your own family doesn’t have the recipe; Teiglach is easy to make!

Even small children can help make the dough because no electric equipment is required and children enjoy rolling the dough into “snakes” while you can rapidly complete the task. However, children MUST NOT be involved with making the honey syrup, as the high temperature will certainly burn them if they accidentally touch the syrup before it cools. They can watch from afar and measure the awaiting dried fruit and nuts, but an adult must work alone while making the syrup and mixing all of the ingredients together.

The Teiglach may be served in a large pyramid or a few coated balls spooned into little paper cups. It is meant to be eaten with the fingers, pulling the balls off one by one and definitely licking one’s fingers afterwards!

L’Shanah Tova!

Teiglach

Ingredients:Teiglach Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • ÂĽ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pound wildflower honey (any honey is O.K. but wildflower is the best)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 piece of orange zest 2″ long 1/2 inch wide
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup candied cherries or raisins

 


Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2.  In a small bowl, combine the eggs, oil, water and vanilla and beat with a fork or whisk until light and combined. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, ginger and baking powder.

3.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until well combined.

Teiglach adding egg mixture

knead the dough4.  Knead with your hands for a few minutes until dough is smooth and shiny. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

5.  Roll out small balls of dough into long 1/2-inch wide snakes and cut into 1/3 inch pieces. Roll dough pieces briefly in your hands to make balls and place them on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely or freeze until later use.

6.  When you are ready to complete recipe, combine the honey, sugar, orange zest and ginger in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and bring slowly to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the teiglach balls, nuts and cherries or raisins to the honey mixture and stir to coat well. Place in a pie plate or individual tart tins mounded to form a pyramid.

 

 

 

Teiglach Syrup boiling

Teiglach Syrup cooking

 

IMG_0509IMG_0508Teiglach finished

CSA Peanut Cabbage Slaw

  

Cabbage slaw

As the mercury creeps ever higher on the thermometer, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven and counteract my hardworking air conditioner. Luckily, we’ve been members of a CSA for the last several years (most recently Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA) and so every week I pick up a huge haul of delicious, organic, sometimes unfamiliar, and sometimes in abundance, veggies.

One of the items we’ve tended to get the most of is cabbage. Napa cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage… lots of cabbage! I was a little intimidated by all these leafy vegetables initially, and opted for cooking up one of my favorite comfort foods–stuffed cabbage. But it takes forever, it’s a little complicated and it requires my summer foe: the oven! I’m not a lover of typical cole slaw as I really don’t like mayonnaise, but a friend’s girlfriend introduced me to a recipe for a peanut slaw a few years back that I’ve worked to recreate. It has since become a summer staple around here.

It’s a great dish to bring to a BBQ or potluck, or to just make a huge batch of and keep in the fridge. It’s especially versatile as it doesn’t contain any dairy or meat so it pairs well with most meals, and without the mayo it’s safe to be out of the fridge for awhile.

Here’s the recipe for what’s sure to become a new favorite in your family as well.

Crunchy Peanut Slaw

1 big bowl of slaw, serves at least 8

Cabbage slaw ingredientsIngredients:

  • 1 medium head green cabbage, outer leaves removed (I prefer Napa Cabbage for this, but anything that comes in your CSA works)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts (half finely chopped, half whole)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (about two big handfuls unchopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup light oil, like canola
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more, to taste)

 

Directions:

Cutting cabbage1.  Shred the cabbage very finely. The fineness of the shredded cabbage is really what makes this salad; you want it in in threads, almost, and with the threads chopped into bite-size lengths.

2.  Toss with the peanuts, cilantro and green onion in a large bowl.

Mix the ingredients3.  Whisk the dressing until emulsified, then taste and adjust to your own preference of sweetness and saltiness. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.

4.  Toss with the cabbage. Garnish with a few more peanuts and green onions and serve.

 

 

 

Dress the slaw

I know that some people HATE cilantro, and in that case, you can substitute a combination of flat leaf parsley and mint. If you’re dealing with a peanut allergy, you can substitute other nuts, or if you’re avoiding nuts altogether, add some shredded carrots for color and sweetness.

You’ll need a large, very sharp knife for this recipe, a good and stable cutting board and a salad spinner, because while organic fruits and veggies are wonderful, they’re often dirty! My favorite method for cleaning greens is to finely chop them and then soak in a large bowl of cold water, then remove to the salad spinner for a vigorous spin, always a fun job for kids!

Eating the slaw

July Fourth BBQ Sauce

  

When I started dating my husband he was living in Atlanta, and through my visits down south I was introduced to a whole new world of food–barbeque. I don’t want to instigate a war between barbeque lovers and the intricacies of what makes a North Carolina BBQ sauce different from a Kansas City sauce, but, suffice it to say, I think it’s all pretty delicious.

Growing up, BBQ meant chicken breasts covered in store bought sauce, baked in the oven (my mom is from Ohio). And I ate it happily, but after I spent some time eating my way through Atlanta, I’ve learned how much better something can be when it’s fresh and homemade, and I love being able to adjust the seasoning based on what I’m serving or how I’m planning to use the leftovers.

After taste testing many different recipes for BBQ sauce, the ones I liked best have both brown sugar and molasses, with something smokey and spicy to cut the sweetness a bit–in this case chipotle in adobo, one of my go-to-ingredients for chili as well. All of these ingredients work in perfect concert together to create a sweet, smoky, spicy sauce. Whether it’s brisket or chicken, even veggies or tofu, everything tastes better slathered in this amazing and simple sauce.

BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce ingredientsAdding the honeyIngredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 2 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo
  • 4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

 

 

Mix the sauceDirections:

1.  Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes. It’s important to add the onions first or else the garlic will burn.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the rest of the ingredients, the more liquid ones first. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

4.  Using an immersion blender, blend, still in pan, until completely smooth.

If you do not have an immersion blender, consider investing in one! It’s great for everything from baby food to soup to sauce. However, if you don’t have one, the sauce would be delicious slightly chunky: Just make sure to dice everything very finely, or you can pour the slightly cooled sauce into a regular blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

5.  For use on grilled meat, let the sauce cool completely and then marinate the meat in sauce for up to an hour before grilling, and then continue to baste with sauce while cooking.

 

Immersion blenderIf using kosher meat, use less salt, as the meat is already salted.

This is fantastic for a typical American style BBQ feast, but can also transport you around the world. Using it on steak that is then thinly sliced is wonderful on top of a Vietnamese Bun. Used on pulled chicken you can create great sliders or tacos. Inside a simple chinese-style crepe pancake, it’s a wonderful start to mu-shu, along with some sauteed cabbage and carrots. The options are really limitless, and help you get a glimpse into the fact that grilled meat is really a staple in most cuisines.

Just another example of how food can bring people together across cultures and continents, when other factors just seem to divide us. What better way to celebrate the melting pot of America on the 4th of July than a recipe that can transcend? Wishing you the best for a Happy Fourth of July!

Sweet & Savory Palmiers for Papa: French Treats with a Twist

  

sweet title

When I was about to enter second grade and my brother was about to begin Kindergarten, our parents packed our lives up and moved the family to France for the year. We did it all again four years later as well. At the time, especially in sixth grade, I didn’t appreciate being plucked from my life in North America and put into public school in France where they didn’t celebrate birthdays at school with cupcakes, but rather celebrated each child’s Saint Day. Who knew there was even a Saint Leah?

This was just one of the many adjustments we made, but looking back it was all worth it. There are two things that sweetened the deal at the time: The wonderful French patisseries and spending time hiking in the mountains and foraging for blackberries with my brother and mom, and for mushrooms with my father. My dad and I both still consider mushrooms to be the best treat on earth. And while my father is not a huge fan of dessert, he and I do have a sweet tooth when it comes to candy.

The French biscuits known as palmiers (palm leaves) are sometimes called elephant ears. They are a perfect treat to whip up and bring along for a father’s day picnic or BBQ in celebration of the great guy who raised you, or the guy who is raising your kids. Put them in a basket lined with a cloth napkin and they make the perfect hostess gift.

These petit palmiers can be made either savory or sweet. The sweet version turns these little hearts of puff pastry into lacquered caramelized treats that pastry and candy lovers alike will enjoy. My bubbe used to make delicious biscuits called Nothings; they were light and airy and not too sweet. Adults enjoyed them dipped in coffee (and I just enjoyed sneaking them off the platter). Even though these palmiers are rich with butter from the pastry and have a shiny sugared coating, the light little heart-shaped biscuits remind me of Nothings because they both have a lightness to them and are delicious dipped in coffee.

The sweet version of palmiers are shiny and golden thanks to the caramelization of sugar. The savory version make an impressive appetizer or amuse bouche and bursts with the flavors of summer thanks to the pesto. Either one is a great way to show that you #ChooseLove.

Sweet Petit Palmiers
(makes about 20 little biscuits)

Setting upIngredients:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (1/2 a pack of 17.3 oz or 490 g of puff pastry)
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, split into thirds
  • a pinch of salt

1. Thaw the puff pastry as directed on the packaging. Usually about 40 minutes or up to 2 or 3 hours. Once almost thawed, preheat oven to 400℉.

2. Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with a piece of parchment paper.

 

Pastry with sugar

3. Put another piece of parchment paper onto the kitchen counter or a table. Sprinkle 1/3 of your sugar onto the parchment paper on the counter or table.

4. Put your puff pastry on top of the sugared parchment paper.

5. Sprinkle another 1/3 of your sugar over the puff pastry. My children love making treats for family and friends. They take great pride in sharing something they have made themselves or had a hand in making. Let the kids help with the sprinkling of the sugar. They can then also help with rolling the sugar into the dough.

Rolling the dough

6. With a rolling pin, press the sugar into the dough. Add a pinch of salt, sprinkled over the sugar here.

Roll dough in sugar

Rolling dough7. Fold the dough onto itself in thirds lengthwise. It will be folded the same way that it came in the package. If the puff pastry is more square, don’t worry about it. You can cut it in half to make two smaller rectangles.

 

8. Roll the rectangle out into a larger rectangle. As you can see, it will not be perfect, but you can take a butter knife and trim the edges to create a rectangle again.

Rolling into tubes

9. Sprinkle 1/2 the remaining sugar (the last third of your 1/2 cup) onto the puff pastry and put the rest of the sugar on a small plate or saucer. Without handling the pastry too much, roll the long sides in on themselves until they meet in the middle. They will form one long scroll.

10. Brush a little water along the middle seam to help the rolls stick to one another. Then, with a butter knife cut 1/4 inch slices. The dough will look like snails facing one another. To transform these into hearts, pinch the bottom and press the rounded “shells” of the snails together.

11. Place each heart on the plate of remaining sugar and gently coat both sides of the heart with sugar.

sugared hearts

 

sweet  palmiers

12. Place the hearts about 3/4 inch apart on the tray. Bake for 8 minutes on one side at 400℉. Carefully take the tray out of the oven, and with a fork or butter knife flip the cookies over. They should be a golden caramel color. If the hearts have begun to unravel you can try to reshape them now before cooking the other side.  Do be careful as the sugar is very hot. Continue cooking the other side for 5-8 more minutes until they’re dark, golden brown.

13. Take the palmiers out of the oven and cool the tray on a wire rack. If you are cooking a second batch or will be making savory palmiers right away, then carefully pull the parchment paper onto a cooling rack and the cookie sheet will be ready to go with the next batch.

DSC_7916


Savory Petit Palmiers
(makes about 20 little biscuits)

savory title

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 2-3 Tbsp. pesto
  • 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg

1. Thaw the puff pastry as directed on the packaging. Usually about 40 minutes or up to 2 or 3 hours. Once almost thawed, preheat oven to 400 ℉

2. Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with a piece of parchment paper.

3. Put another piece of parchment paper onto the kitchen counter or a table.

DSC_7870

Grating parmesan4. Spread up to 3 tablespoons of homemade or store bought pesto over the puff pastry. You want the pastry nicely coated with the pesto as above, neither spread too thin nor overloaded with pesto.

5. Grate Parmesan on a plate or right over the pesto to create a thin layer of cheese.

6.  Roll the pastry lengthwise from both sides (as above) until they meet in the middle creating a long double rolled rope (pictured below). These rolls are attached in the middle like a long scroll.tubes of dough

7. Brush the middle with a little water to help the sides stick together.  Then (as above) slice the rope into 1/4 inch slices and pinch the bottom to create a heart shape.

DSC_7878

8. Beat one egg and brush the beaten egg over the savory pesto hearts.

9.  Put the tray into a 400 ℉ oven for 18-20 minutes. You can flip the palmiers 1/2 way through so that they are golden on both sides, but they are just as tasty if you are too busy playing with the leftover dough with the kids to flip them.

For fun, you can try to make words or shapes out of the leftover scraps.  Bake them for 12-18 minutes and you’ll have a few extra tasty treats.

Bubbe’s Banana Bread Muffins

  

banana muffins

After dealing with the challenges of food in an interfaith family during the Passover and Easter season, it’s nice to come back together at Mothers’ Day to celebrate without the pressure of not serving meat on Good Friday when it also happens to be the first seder or how to have a traditional Easter dinner without a ham.

I also love Mothers’ Day because it’s another great excuse for BRUNCH! My favorite meal.

When I got married my mom’s friends threw me an amazing bridal shower and put together a recipe book with favorites contributed by all of the guests. I treasure these hand-written recipe cards, which have a place of honor in my kitchen, and they have become even more special as many of the recipes were contributed by my grandmother (bubbe) who passed away in the fall. I know I’ll be missing her as we sit down together for Mothers’ Day, so I’ll do my best to evoke her memory by baking one of her recipes.

I love my grandmother’s banana bread, and whenever my bananas are turning brown, I toss them in the freezer to be used later. The original recipe calls for margarine (which I don’t like to use), LOTS of sugar and sour cream. I switched it up a little bit here, and prepared it as mini muffins instead of as a loaf, since my kids will eat nearly anything if shaped like a mini muffin (think: meatloaf muffins, egg muffins … you get the picture).

This recipe is also great because it requires no fancy equipment. You don’t need a stand mixer or even a hand mixer; you really can do the whole thing with just bowls and a fork!

If you’re serving this dish at a meal that involves meat to people who keep kosher, you can easily substitute the yogurt with soy yogurt.

Bubbe’s Banana Bread Muffins

Yields 48 mini muffins (or 24 regular sized muffins)

It's always helpful to get everything together before you start.

It’s always helpful to get everything together before you start. The French call this “mis en place.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. salt.

 

 

 

Creaming

Use a a fork to cream together sugar, honey & coconut oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Liberally grease 2 mini muffin tins.

3. Combine baking soda and yogurt in a large bowl.

4. Cream together coconut oil, sugar and honey in a small bowl until well mixed. Add to yogurt mixture.

5. Use a potato masher to mash the overripe bananas into the batter.

 

 

directions

batter

6. Add smashed bananas and beaten eggs to mixture.

7. Combine flour, baking powder, vanilla, lemon zest and salt in a medium bowl.

8. Add dry ingredients to wet in two batches, mixing as you go.

9. Using a medium sized scooper, fill the tins to just under full.

10. Bake for 20 minutes (25 if you are making full size muffins), turning the pan once. Use a toothpick to check for done-ness: If it comes out clean, they’re ready! They should be just slightly golden brown on the edges. Let the muffins cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.

muffins cooling

muffins

A perfect addition to your Mothers’ Day brunch

I like to round out this meal out with a baked egg casserole, breakfast potatoes a big fruit salad and a Bloody Mary.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in our lives! What are some of your Mothers’ Day favorites?

 

Spring Bone Broth with Potato Knaidlach

  

spring bone broth with parsley potato knaidlichMatzoh ball soup is a staple in many Jewish homes and if you recently attended a Passover seder, you likely indulged in this comforting winter dish. It is the soup many of us crave when we’re not feeling well and the soup that has become known as Jewish penicillin. Lately (or, like, a few years ago on the West Coast), there has been a new “buzz word” in the world of soup: Bone broth.) The basic recipe for bone broth hasn’t changed from the days of our nonna, bubbe or grandmother. What has changed is that we’re talking more and more about ingredients and cooking methods. We’re going back to our roots where there wasn’t a fear of using all the parts of all our ingredients, but rather, our grandparents embraced the versatility of their ingredients and took pride in stretching them, wasting nothing.

Soup is just broth until you add dumplings. Dumplings are a comfort food and every culture’s cuisine has some sort of dumplings. They come in all shapes and sizes. They are dropped in soups, served with chicken, fried up, steamed, filled with soup and meat, folded, rolled, pinched and pressed.

The universal truth when it comes to dumplings is that there are perhaps never enough. Whether you grew up alongside your Italian nonna cutting and rolling gnocchi on a Sunday morning or you poured matzoh ball mix out of a box with your father on Sunday afternoons, you know what’s in the back of everyone’s mind is, “Will this be enough?”. This recipe for brodo with potato knaidlach makes so many dumplings there are extras to freeze for a quick weekday meal.

This Spring Bone Broth and Parsley Knaidlach takes us on a trip to Italy with inspiration from brodo (broth) and potato gnocchi (knaidlach). If you or your partner has Italian ancestry, this is a fun way to combine your cultures in a meal that’s fun to make together. You may want to save this one for the weekend because it takes a little time, but not so much that you can’t whip up a batch on a weekday evening either.

Spring Bone Broth and Parsley Knaidlach
(soup serves 4-6 with additional knaidlach to freeze)

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 large Russet (or baking) potatoes
  • 2-3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 8 cups of boxed bone broth or chicken stock
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 1 bunch of curly parsley
  • 1-2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Bones from 1 rotisserie chicken or two chicken legs
  • 1 bunch of fresh herbs (choose one): chives, basil, parsley, dill
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

For this recipe we’ll be doctoring up a boxed broth to save time, but you can try this fabulous brodo if you enjoy going the extra mile.

1.  Begin by preparing the potatoes for the potato dumplings. Scrub the potatoes with a brush and place them in a pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and let the potatoes boil for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes a toothpick or skewer should easily go into and slide out of the flesh of the potato with no resistance.

potatoes

2.  Once the potatoes are ready, let them cool on a plate for about 10 minutes until the skins are cold enough to peel off by hand. In the meantime, set your toaster oven or oven to 350℉.  Put some parchment or foil down on a tray (for easier clean-up) and drizzle 1 Tbsp. of oil on the tray.

3.  Slice your onion in half and wash (no need to peel) your carrots and cut them into thirds. Place the vegetables on the tray (onions cut side down) and just slide them through the olive oil so they are well coated. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables (about 1 tsp) and roast them for 25-30 minutes.

onion and carrots

4.  Now, the potatoes should be cool enough to handle. Peel them by pinching the skin and pulling it away from the potato.

peel potatoes5.  If you have a food mill (you know, the hand crank one you bought to make baby food), then use a food mill to process the potatoes. If you don’t have a food mill, a fork will work just as well. Make sure you use a large cutting board. Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices (a little bigger is OK too) then take your fork and press it through each slice so that the potato breaks into little strips.

Fork or food mill: it's all good.  Do not use a blender because it will make the potato gluey.

Fork or food mill: it’s all good. Do not use a blender because it will make the potato gluey.

6.  Once the potatoes have been pressed (through the food mill or fork), let them cool briefly on the tray or board. While the potatoes cool, you can start the broth. Gather your roasted vegetables, the bones you saved from a rotisserie chicken (from earlier in the week or that you saved and froze for soup), and your soy sauce.

Set aside two of the roasted carrots for later. If you are using chicken legs, just season them with salt and pepper and add them into the pot. Pour the two containers of broth into your stock pot. There should be about 8 cups. If you are short, just top it off with some water.

Then add: your chicken bones (if you haven’t already), your vegetables and the 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce to the pot. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.

7.  While the broth is cooking, you can make your gnocchi. This is a great “play dough” style activity to do with the kids. Make sure you have a clean counter and clean hands. There will be flour on the floor but you can sweep up after.

make the gnocchi

A true Italian nonna would have to you make this on the counter, but I prefer the security of a bowl. Sprinkle a little flour (about 1/2 cup) into the bottom of the bowl and then put 1/3 of the potatoes on top of the flour. Sprinkle a cup of flour over the potatoes and add another 1/3 of the potatoes over that. Sprinkle another cup of flour (you’re up to 2 1/2 cups now) over the potatoes and top with the last 1/3 of the potatoes. Gently toss the potatoes in the flour with your fingers to coat. The extra 1/2 cup of flour (3 cups in total) will be sprinkled in as needed later if your dough is too sticky.

potato and flour

8.  Make a well in the middle of the bowl of potatoes and flour and crack in 2 eggs. Add 1 tsp of kosher salt over the eggs.

gnocchi eggs and potato

With a fork, whisk the eggs and salt until combined and then slowly mix the eggs into the potato flour mixture. You will end up with a sticky dough. Continue to add flour until you have a dough that is soft and only slightly sticky. (You should only need at most 1/2 cup of flour but you can add as much as 1 cup of flour here if needed.)

making gnocchi with Isabelle

9.  Let the dough rest for a minute or two while you chop some parsley. You will want a small bunch of fresh curly parsley (wash and dry with a towel first). If you are making all the gnocchi with parsley, you will want 2/3 cup of minced parsley. If you have some picky eaters who cringe at the sight of green, you can leave 1/2 the potato knaidlach plain and you’ll want 1/3 cup of minced parsley.

10.  Now the fun begins. Split your dough in half and knead in 1/3 cup of parsley unless you are making all of your dumplings green. To help make clean-up a little easier, I like to put some wax paper or parchment paper down on the counter. You can sprinkle a little water on the counter first so the paper doesn’t slide around when you roll out the dough. Sprinkle flour on the parchment generously and roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick.

gnocchi dough

11. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips. Then roll each strip out into a long rope. I like to pinch the strips first and then roll them.

roll gnocchi

12.  Then, with a butter knife, cut the ropes into dozens of beautiful little knaidlach. They should be about 3/4 to 1 inch long. Do the same with the leftover plain dough if you are making some plain.

finished parsley knaidlich

13.  Now your broth is ready (it’s OK if it simmered longer than 20 mins). Strain your broth through a sieve into a new pot. Cut the carrots you set aside into tiny cubes (about the size as a pea). Take 1-2 cups of frozen peas (based on how much your family likes peas). Add the minced carrots and peas to the broth. Once the broth comes back to a boil, add in 1/3 of your potato knaidlich (aka gnocchi). The knaidlich are cooked once they float back to the top of the broth; about 5 minutes.

For picky diners, you can cook the plain knaidlach in salted boiling water and serve them like pasta with parmesan, butter and salt, pesto or tomato sauce.

The rest of the knaidlach can be put on a tray in the freezer until they become solid, and then transfered into a plastic bag. Frozen knaidlach can be cooked straight from frozen in boiling water or stock.

Serve the knaidlich and broth in a bowl and sprinkle with fresh herbs such as chives, basil, dill or more parsley. Buon appetito!

spring dumpling soup 2 spring dumpling soup