Gnocci with Vodka Cream Sauce

When I go to an Italian place for dinner, I scour the menu for gnocchi. I love it. While the gnocchi from the grocery store will do in a pinch, homemade is so much better. Also, the gnocchi from this recipe freezes well, so if you want to impress someone with a fab dinner on short notice- this is the key.

Serves: 8
Time: 2 hrs

Ingredients!

Gnocchi:
18 potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher salt
13 1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
20 oz Parmesan, grated, plus more for serving
4 tablespoons mixed finely chopped herbs (equal parts basil, chives, and parsley- or you can get creative here)
Vodka Cream Sauce:
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs finely chopped shallots
2 Tbs vodka
2 Tbs heavy cream
14 oz canned or fresh ripe tomatoes
3 Tbs olive oil
6 fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions!

Gnocchi:

  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water. Add salt and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the potatoes until they are tender, about 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When they are just cool enough to handle, peel them then pass them through a food mill or use a blender (immersion or regular).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the egg yolk, cheese and warm potatoes. Work the mixture until it becomes a smooth dough, then incorporate the herbs. Form the dough into 2 balls.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll each ball of dough into a ‘rope’ about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the ‘ropes’ into 3/4-inch pieces. Arrange the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet. (You can freeze the gnocchi at this point and use straight from freezer.)
  4. Shortly before serving, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the water maintains an active simmer. Working in small batches, drop gnocchi into the water. Cook the gnocchi until they float 3 to 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain fully in a colander/strainer.

Vodka Cream Sauce:

  1. Puree whole tomatoes without their liquid in a food mill/blender.
  2. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the pureed tomatoes. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper and simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce is concentrated, about 25 minutes. Remove the basil, or don’t #youdoyou
  3. In a separate skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Add the vodka, cream, and tomato sauce, and simmer until the flavors blend, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately before serving, add the gnocchi to the sauce and heat, stirring gently to coat. Spoon the gnocchi into warm bowls and serve.

Enjoy!

Nutella Cigars

I really love eating these Nutella Cigars and they are the perfect dessert to bring to a BBQ or party since they don’t require plates, cutlery and are easy to grab and eat. Also, they are pre portioned so you won’t hear guilty voices saying “Oh! Give me the small piece!”- they can just guilt free enjoy the amazing dessert you brought.

These require very few ingredients and only an hour or so to make them yet they seem so much more impressive than the output required.

ingredients

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of Nutella (ish)
1 package of phyllo dough (you will only use half of the package this time- the rest is for your next impromptu gathering where you need to bring something sweet)
1/4 cup of butter- melted

 

Clean off your workspace, you will need a bit of counter room. If you haven’t ever worked with phyllo dough, its tricky, but very doable. The trick is ensuring that the phyllo dough you aren’t working with doesn’t dry out. I use a slightly damp rag or paper towel and set it on top of the dough that you aren’t working with. You don’t want to get the dough wet, but just don’t want it to dry out. This is actually a really good ‘beginner phyllo dough recipe’ so you can make spanakopita after you master this. Then call me to come over and share :)

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Lay out the stack of phyllo dough with your damp cloth over it, then grab two pieces of phyllo dough and put it on your clean counter space. Use a brush (kitchen or unused paintbrush) to spread/blot butter over the entire surface (I was careful around the edges so the dough didn’t tear) then spread your Nutella on the bottom of the piece of dough. I spooned the Nutella into a corner of a sandwich bag and snipped the end for easy spreading.

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Roll the dough up from the bottom to the top and place on your baking pan. Repeat that for the rest of the bag, cut each roll into thirds and you should have about 30 cigars on your pan. Brush your rolls with a healthy dose of butter then bake at 400 degrees for 10 min. Sprinkle with a bit of salt before service and enjoy!

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Simple! Now you are ready to make some more complex phyllo dough recipes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafty Summer Part 3: Ring Bearer Outfit

As soon as I found out my niece Molly was going to get engaged, one of my first thoughts was, “I wonder if Wyatt will be a ring-bearer?” Sure enough he was asked!

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So then came the mission of finding the perfect ring-bearer outfit. We decided on suspenders and a bow tie. I found these great blogs on Pinterest that have excellent directions on how to make suspenders and bow ties:

Suspenders: never could have thought of using hem tape. It makes the whole process so easy! http://coconutxoxo.blogspot.com/2013/03/my-better-easier-faster-way-to-make.html?m=1

Here is a snippet of the blog that shows how easy they are to do with no turning!

Since the strap is 4x the width, and the outer fourths will be folded to the inside, you want to  make sure your pattern falls in the 2nd or 3rd fourth of the strap, like this. The pin marks the section that will be centered on the front of the strap.

To get started…
  • Fold strap in half lengthwise – press and unfold (you just want a center crease)
  • Fold the ends in to the center crease and press
Yes, you have just sorta kinda made double fold bias tape!

 

In order to prevent the layers from shifting as you top stitch the long sides, you sneak a little hem tape in between and iron to fuse them together. This way you don’t need interfacing and you don’t have to press out any stubborn wrinkles!  I got this funky netting type hem tape at Ikea, and when I ran out I found this Heat n Bond tape at JoAnn in the notions aisle:

from Ikea

 

The bow tie was on a different blog: http://www.awaitingada.com/2012/12/fat-quarter-friday-baby-or-toddler-bow-tie.html

Here is a little bit of the blog just to get your started. I actually made a  button and button hole for the strap that goes around the neck.

Materials:

  • 1 fat quarter
  • scrap of interfacing
  • velcro

Step 1: Cut your pieces out. Out of your main fabric you need two pieces of 2.5″x8.5″ for the bow, one 2″x2.5″ for the middle, and one 2″x15″ for the strap. From your interfacing, you need one piece 2″x8″.


 Step 2: Take one of your bow pieces and put it right side down. Lay your interfacing right in the middle of that rectangle and attach your interfacing according to the product instructions. Then take that piece and the other rectangle for the bow and put them rights sides together. Sew around the two longs sides and one of the short sides using a 1/4″ seam.


 Step 3: Take your two leftover rectangles that you cut out and fold them in half long ways and sew down the long edge with a 1/4″ seam.


 Step 4: Turn all the pieces right side out.

Use a safety pin to help turn the skinny ones. Iron all the pieces flat and make sure to iron the seam onto the back of the skinny strips.


 Step 5: Take the small strip for the center and fold it in half hamburger style with right sides together (so the side with the seam is showing). Sew with a 1/4″ seam and press open the seam like so. Then you can flip the piece right side out so you have a nice little ring for the middle of the bow tie.


 Step 6: Take the big rectangle that makes up the bow and fold under the open end like so and iron in place.

Fold the rectangle in half so the short sides meet up and sew with a 1/4″ seam along that short edge.

 Turn the tube right side out, so that the seam is now on the inside of the ring and center the seam in the back like so.


 Step 7: Fold your bow tie in half and then fold the two sides back toward the middle again to make a bow. Pinch in the middle.

Take your middle ring from step 5 and slip it over on the the sides of the bow. Keep pinching the bow.

 Center it and adjust your bow so it looks all pretty.

 

The shocking thing about all of this was when I was all done putting all of this work into the outfit, he wouldn’t wear it. I mean full on screaming match the first three times we attempted it. He would tear at the bow tie, pull off the suspenders. It was pretty awful! So the next blog is all about how I solved that problem!

 

Paper Flowers

I was obsessed with giant paper flowers for a while, I pinned and I read and searched all of Instagram. There’s some great articles out there. I believe I combined the best concepts(greatest result for the least effort) and compiled in my Snapchat tutorial that I eventually uploaded to YouTube.  I think in all it took me 8 hours to make all the giant flowers in the video, I took my time and didn’t rush. With something so beautiful and individual, you should really give yourself the time to enjoy creating these if possible.

 

Materials Needed:
Tissue Paper
Pipe Cleaners or other wire
Floral Tape
Zip Ties
Something to tie them to, I used branches fallen in my yard, you can use a dowel or if you want to do a whole wall/space, you can use chicken wire.
Hot Glue
Scissors
Craft Moss (not necessary)
Imagination