potato soup (aka gnocchi)

So tonight for dinner we had some friends over, and I was trying to think of what to cook. Clare suggested some of the bread I made yesterday with some olive tapenade her parents had given us. That sounded like a great starter. So I started thinking of other dishes to go along with it. I thought of a risotto, but Clare was not too excited about that. I also considered pasta, but we had just had pasta. Then I considered polenta, but Wendy (one of the guests), is not too crazy about polenta. Then I thought of israeli couscous, which Wendy gave us, but then I realized that she gave it to us because she doesn’t like it. Finally I thought of gnocchi, which sounded very tasty. But we didn’t have any gnocchi. I looked up a recipe in my cookbook, Verdura: Italian Vegetables, but it seemed like a lot of work, and we would still have to buy potatoes. Then I got the bright idea to use the dumpling mix that we had. The mix was for German-style dumplings, but I thought it would do well enough. I mixed it up according to the directions and let it sit for 10 minutes. It was still a little runny, so I added a little flour. I then made it into little balls, and put it into some boiling water. It seemed to be doing well, but after several minutes they started falling apart. We were left a few little dumplings and some starchy soup. Very disappointing.

I am still not exactly sure what the problem was, but I have two theories, which are non-mutually exclusive (i.e. both could be contributing to the problem) —

  1. You are going to lose some of the dumpling regardless, but only from the outside of the dumpling, and usually I make them much bigger
  2. I added too much water to the mix

I will keep these in mind for the next time.

The rest of the meal turned out very nicely though. I made kind of a primavera sauce, with onions, garlic, celery, green and red pepper, carrots, green beans, and diced tomatoes, cooked until most of the water had evaporated. I spiced it with the usual suspects — marjoram, thyme, oregano, sage, and rosemary. I also made some seitan, which had been on sale. I had never tried this type before. It was “chicken style” by White Wave. I drained it and sautéed it up in some lime flavored olive oil we had gotten for Christmas, with a little tarragon. It turned out very well.

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