Sunday, October 25, 2009

Making From Scratch What Others Buy At The Store

I grew up in a family that made things from scratch. No frozen pie crusts for us. If it was worth making, it was worth making the long way. Mom still bakes the majority of her bread (except Dad's sandwich bread) and Grandma make homemade noodles that put to shame anything you can buy. So with my gluten free diagnosis, it didn't seem like such a big deal that I should have to make pretty much all of my baked goods from scratch, especially if I didn't want to shell out the equivalent of a dinner out for a small cheesecake from Whole Foods. Besides, the majority of the pre-made gluten free fare isn't that great. Not when you're used to things made from scratch.
Most of this has been fun. I've been challenged to make things that I normally would have bought at a store or relied on someone else to make for me. Case in point, cheesecake. It took two tries, but I now have a fantastic and relatively simple recipe for gluten free cheesecake that even the gluten-eaters enjoy.
Last winter I did a stint at an Italian restaurant as a second job. While there and while in denial of my diagnosis, I fell in love. With gnocchi. Sauteed gnocchi with garlic and olive oil and sausage and onions finished with a wedge of grilled lemon. Yum... Oh gnocchi, how I missed you... Until tonight. Tonight I decided to make my own gluten free gnocchi as part of a lovely dinner for my husband.
Have you ever watched "them" make gnocchi on TV? They make it look so fun and easy! They even get the kids to help with cutting the long ropes of dough and marking them with a fork. It's a wonderful family activity. Right... it's wonderful... if you have help. The reason that it is a family activity is because it is too damn tedious to do by yourself. Having never made any kind of gnocchi before, it is also a bit nerve racking because they look like doughy lumps of par-boiled dough and taste like nothing or worse until you cover them with sauce. Fortunately, about 1/3 of the way through my cutting, forking, boiling, and freaking out about whether they were coming out like they were supposed to, my husband came to the rescue. He took over the cutting and forking while I concentrated on the boiling and the sauce.
The result: delicious. The process: long. The plan: next time I need to convince an ambitious 8 year old that this is "fun."

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