Posts tagged ‘potato’

January 1, 2009

Gnocchi alla Cannella

I love the unique flavour of gnocchi, which is kind of comical because I avoided eating it for several years, mostly because someone had described it as tasting like pierogis, which I really am not a fan of.  But truth be told, the similarity stops at potatoes.  They are very light in texture, it’s difficult to put into words – but they are very tender and airy.

You can use either my recipe for homemade gnocchi, or store bought gnocchi.  Gnocchi is very light and this sauce blend is not overly sweet so it works well as a unique side dish or a dessert.  You want to make the sauce promptly before serving or it will crystallize as it cools, and gnocchi become chewy if cooked too long or reheated.  The preparation time for this is only about five minutes, so you can easily make this up while the dinner dishes are being cleared.

IngredientsGnocchi alla Cannella19

Gnocchi (either 1 package of prepared gnocchi or one single batch of my recipe)

1 stick unsalted butter (note that I didn’t say margarine)

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons sugar


  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  • Add cinnamon, paprika and sugar to melted butter mixture and whisk til blended.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Boil gnocchi 3 – 5 minutes, until it floats.  Remove as soon as they float to surface!
  • Drain and add sauce mixture to gnocchi.
  • Serve warm.

Gnocchi alla Cannella1Gnocchi alla Cannella6

    January 1, 2009

    Irish Stew

    We go to a Celtic Festival each year locally and I tried getting the lady at one of the vendor stations to give me her recipe for this and she flatly refused. Her husband winked and began explaining how it is made, butchering it thoroughly. She got agitated with him and began telling me the correct recipe. He gave me a wink, and she gave me the recipe and man is it delicious!  I love beef stew and this stew has such a rich flavour and is just so filling. It really is a meal unto itself and I serve it with biscuits unless the store has soda bread for once – I can’t bake bread.


    2 lb beef, cubed*
    10 large potatoes, cubed with skin on
    1 lb carrots, sliced to 1/2″ thick
    1 yellow onion, chopped
    1 bottle Guinness
    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    2 cans Campbell’s beef stock

    *I usually use a roast or if there is a good deal on sirloin, I will buy steaks for this

    • Using a large skillet, place over medium to high heat for about 3 minutes. Lay beef cubes in skillet and vigourously shake the skillet to prevent them from sticking. After thirty seconds, turn them over and then drop them into the cooking pot. For the majority of this cooking, you will use a crock pot or a large pot over very low heat. If you are using a pot over direct heat, you will want to stir it occasionally.
    • Pour in the bottle of Guinness, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Allow to cook for two hours over low heat.
    • After two hours, add chopped onion and carrots to the pot and add only enough water to cover the tops of the foods in the pot. Cook for two more hours over low heat.
    • After two hours, add potatoes and add only enough water to cover the tops of the foods in the pot. Cook for two more hours over low heat.
    • Serve steaming.
    January 1, 2009


    Gnocchi is a really unique tasting Italian pasta that can be prepared in so many various ways.  You can store buy prepared gnocchi, but I just don’t think it compares.  This recipe will make enough gnocchi for about 4 servings and can be doubled or multiplied, but not really reduced.


    5 medium to large russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 cup all purpose flour


    • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
    • Poke potatoes with fork and bake about 1 hour.
    • Skin potatoes and quarter.  Drop into a large bowl and mash well.
    • In separate bowl, stir yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
    • Mix in egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
    • Pour yolk mixture over potatoes and stir thoroughly.
    • Spoon in flour to form a dough texture.
    • On a lightly floured surface, turn the dough out.
    • Break it into quarters.
    • Using your palms, roll the dough out gently into a rope form about 1/2 inch thick.
    • Cut into half inch pieces.
    • Use a fork to lift each piece, making gentle grooves into the dough piece with each.
    • Lay out on a floured baking sheet to air dry for about one hour.
    • Repeat with reserved dough quarters.

    When ready to prepare gnocchi, gently drop into a large pot of water at a rolling boil and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until it floats to surface.  If you allow them to boil too long they will become gummy and chewy.

    Gnocchi alla Cannella5

    The gnocchi can be frozen before cooking the dough pieces for later use.  Freeze baking sheet and then pack into airtight container or zip lock baggies for later.

    January 1, 2009


    When I was a little girl in Sicily, this was one of my favourite foods. The difficulty here is patience in making them but oh so worth the effort. These are easily reheated and are a meal on their own. I usually serve two per person.


    3 cups white rice
    3/4 lb shredded beef*
    1 jar spaghetti sauce**
    1 1/2 cup raw peeled potatoes, diced to pea size
    8 oz mozzarella cheese
    2 sticks salted butter
    2 cups peas
    4 eggs
    2 cups breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning
    4 cups cooking oil, for frying

    *I typically use deli style roast beef, broken into small half-inch pieces. I have also tried it the way my parents did with a small chunk of roast beef, cooked in advance and then pulled and shredded – but I think this recipe is time consuming enough without having to cook a roast as well.

    • In a large pot, pour 6 cups of water and a dash of salt. Bring to boil. Add rice and cover, lowering to medium-low heat. Once rice has cooked, remove heat and put both sticks of butter into the pot. Cover and let sit for ten minutes. Stir thoroughly and leave uncovered.
    • In a separate pot, pour spaghetti sauce in over medium heat. Add beef and potatoes and stir often. Potatoes should be cooked but firm, not mushy. Once done, add peas and remove from heat.
    • Spread out a large sheet of wax paper and when rice is cool to touch, begin forming it into balls about three inches in diameter. Let sit on wax paper to harden to the outside a bit. Once the outside is hardened enough to hold its form, use a finger to create a hole in it about an inch to two inches deep. Press in a decent amount of mozzarella and a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture. Tighten the form of the ball to seal the hole and set aside.
    • The balls should sit for about 3 to 4 hours.
    • After the balls have sat to harden, begin to heat the oil. My dad’s recipe says to 350 degrees, but to be honest I have always checked it the way my mom did – toss in a bread crumb and when it sizzles, the oil is ready.
    • In a medium bowl, break eggs and beat thoroughly.
    • Pour bread crumbs onto a plate.
    • Dip the balls individually into the egg batter and then roll in bread crumbs until covered completely. Using a serving spoon, lower the ball into the oil, bouncing it gently on the spoon, but do not drop it into the oil as it is very heavy and breaks apart easily.
    • When a dark golden brown, remove from oil and gingerly lay on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.