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Fluffy for Your Dining Comfort: Home-Made Gnocchi January 13, 2014

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Uncategorized.
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I had the most delicious Gnocchi over the weekend at my friend Alex’s house. Real Italian home-made cooking. I think I could have eaten 3 plates of it if I was feeling greedy, but I decided to be a polite guest and savor each bite of the delicious gnocchi and enjoy the wonderful company.

The very next day (today) I still had a craving for it. Luckily I had a large bag of potatoes in my pantry that had been sitting there for a week. It was a sign.

The best thing about home-made gnocchi is how light and fluffy it turns out. Plus, you can store excess amounts in the freezer to enjoy later.  I’d recommend you try this delicious recipe if you have 2 hours to enjoy cooking it, and not feel rushed.

For the gnocchi you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of potatoes (comes out to 3 cups mashed)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the sauce you’ll need:

  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 small shallot or onion
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon of sage powder
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato puree
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of water (the salted water you use to boil the gnocchi)

1. Take your potatoes and poke each one with a knife about 8 times. Then place all potatoes on a plate and microwave for 10 minutes. (Flip them around when it’s halfway done.)

2. Preheat the oven to 450, and place the potatoes in the middle rack for about 20 minutes.

3. Peel the potatoes using an oven mitt, and place into a mixing bowl.

4. Use a food processor, blender or food mill to blend the potatoes until smooth.

5. Place the potato puree on a baking pan and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Allow potato puree to cool before adding egg, so the egg doesn't cook.

Allow potato puree to cool before adding egg, so the egg doesn’t cook.

6. Add one beaten egg to the potato puree in a large mixing bowl.

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Add the beaten egg and mix with a fork

7. Slowly combine 1 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt with the potato puree.

8. Spread flour liberally over a spacious kitchen counter (which I don’t have)

9. Cut gnocchi dough into 8 separate pieces and place on the counter. Have extra flour handy. This gets very sticky, don’t be discouraged. Fight through it!

10.Roll the dough into 1 inch thick strips on the counter. Feel free to add more (as much as you need) flour onto the gnocchi dough to keep it from sticking.

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Have extra flour handy, you’re going to need it.

11. Cut the gnocchi with a fork and place onto a baking sheet that has flour on it.

You can place excess gnocchi in a ziplock bag and freeze it for later.

You can place excess gnocchi in a Ziploc bag and freeze it for later.

12. Prepare the sauce by melting 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Wait until brown and it releases a nutty aroma.

13. Add minced shallots and remove from head immediately. Also add the sage to the mixture.

Allow shallots and sage to cook while off the heat.

Allow shallots and sage to cook while off the heat.

14. Allow 4-5 minutes for the shallots to cook and the butter to cool down. Place back onto the heat and add the 1/2lb of ground beef, 1 teaspoon of tomato puree, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and some black pepper. Cook thoroughly and set aside with the lid on. Also add 1/4 cup of the gnocchi water you’ll use for cooking the gnocchi in the next step.

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Cook meat thoroughly and combine other ingredients

15. Place gnocchi in salted boiling water. It is cooked once the gnocchi rises to the surface.

Enjoy! Serve with fresh parmesan / mozzarella cheese.

Enjoy!

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Enjoy!

My Name Is Wellington. Beef, Wellington. November 16, 2013

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Uncategorized.
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What on earth inspires a person to cook beef wellington for themselves, on a Saturday afternoon?

Well, let me tell you, nothing gets me going like a good ol’ challenge from a good ol’ friend.

I was talking to my good friend Kaan, who happens to be a chef at one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants in London, and asked him:

“Dude, what should I cook tonight? I’m lacking some much needed inspiration.”

When he mentioned Beef Wellington, I’ll admit, I had no idea what it was. I blindly accepted the challenge, not knowing what I was getting myself into. After I hung up the phone, I rushed to my trusty Joy of Cooking to figure out what the hell this Beef Wellington really was. After some reading and Google searching, I was ready to tackle the beast.

Let me say that this is probably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made. I encourage you to summon your inner strength and put this on your menu tonight. You’ll thank yourself when you take that first bite.

Ingredients you'll need

Ingredients you’ll need

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 pack of frozen puff pastry
  • Couple sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Colman’s English Mustard
  • 0.75 lbs of Beef Tenderloin – Fillet Mignon
  • 1 pack of Prosciutto
  • Mushrooms (7-8 of them)
  • Garlic (3-4 cloves)
  • Chicken Liver Pate (7 oz.)
  • Scallions (Half cup)
  • Asparagus
  • Potatoes

1.  Marinate the fillet in olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 30 minutes. I used some fancy mushroom salt, which made it extra tasty. Check your spice cabinet and be creative. Don’t let this intimidate you!

Marinate the fillet in salt, pepper and olive oil for about 30 minutes

Marinate the fillet in salt, pepper and olive oil for about 30 minutes

2. Place about 7-8 mushrooms, half cup of scallions, 4-5 sprigs of thyme, and 3-4 cloves of garlic into a blender. Add some olive oil. You should also take out the frozen puff pastry out of the freezer if you haven’t already done so. We will be using it soon, and need it to thaw.

Blend mushrooms, thyme, garlic, scallions in a blender

Blend mushrooms, thyme, garlic, scallions in a blender

3. Add in 1 pack of chicken liver pate (7 oz.) to the mushroom mixture.

Mix in the chicken liver pate into the mushroom mixture

Mix in the chicken liver pate into the mushroom mixture

4. Cook the mushroom mixture in a pan until the moisture is absorbed. Add a tablespoon of Vermouth if you have some. Give it a taste, this is what makes the beef wellington really come alive.

Cook the mushroom mixture on a pan until the moisture is absorbed. Add 1 tablespoon of Vermouth if you have any.

Cook the mushroom mixture on a pan until the moisture is absorbed. Add 1 tablespoon of Vermouth if you have any.

5. Using the same pan, throw in the fillets. Sear them on each side for about 2-3 minutes until brown. Set aside.

Sear the fillet on a pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the exterior is brown.

Sear the fillet on a pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side until the exterior is brown. Use the same pan you used for cooking the mushroom mixture.

6. Lay out some stretch film on your kitchen counter. Layer the prosciutto on the film. Spread the mushroom mixture on it, and place the beef on top. Rub mustard over the beef.

Lay out some stretch film on your kitchen counter. Layer the prosciutto on the film, spread the mushroom mixture on it, and place the beef on top. Rub mustard over the beef.

Lay out some stretch film on your kitchen counter. Layer the prosciutto on the film, spread the mushroom mixture on it, and place the beef on top. Rub mustard over the beef.

7. Roll up the stretch film over the beef. Let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Roll up the stretch film over the beef. Let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Roll up the stretch film over the beef. Let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

8. While the beef is resting, cut and season some potatoes with salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, olive oil. Throw them into the oven for about 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, get some potatoes in the oven. For about 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, get some potatoes in the oven. For about 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

9. Take the frozen pastry and lay it on a piece of stretch film. Beat one egg, and spread it over the pastry (egg-wash). Take the stretch film out from over the beef and place it right in the middle of the pastry.

Take the frozen pastry out and do an egg wash over it. Place the beef right in the middle.

Take the frozen pastry out and do an egg wash over it. Place the beef right in the middle.

10. Use the stretch film to roll the pastry over the beef. Make sure it’s nicely sealed. Use some of the remaining egg wash over the entire pastry. Place it on a baking sheet, and cut 2 vents on top of the pastry. I used some more of my fancy mushroom salt on top of the pastry before putting it into the oven.

Cut 2 vents on top of the  pastry and do another egg wash over it. Sprinkle with some seasoned salt if you have any.

Cut 2 vents on top of the pastry and do another egg wash over it. Sprinkle with some seasoned salt if you have any.

11. This is the tricky part. I’d recommend using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The cooking time will vary depending on how much time you took to brown the meat, your oven, etc. You should be on the safe side and not cook it for long. I placed it in the oven at 420 for about 30 minutes.

Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes at 420 degrees.

Bake in oven for about 25-30 minutes at 420 degrees.

12. While the beef is cooking, cook some asparagus with just olive oil, salt and pepper. Add in some of the potatoes you cooked and combine them in one pan. Sear them until crispy.

Cook up some asparagus and throw in the potatoes and sear on a pan together.

Cook up some asparagus and throw in the potatoes and sear on a pan together.

13. Let the beef wellington rest for about 10 minutes before cutting. Place everything on a plate, and you’re ready to go!!

Enjoy with some beer!

Enjoy with some beer!

14. Tell me that doesn’t look amazing….

Garnish with a sprig of thyme! It's all about the presentation.

Garnish with a sprig of thyme! It’s all about the presentation.

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