Monday, March 20, 2006

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday was a glorious, peace restoring, restful day. Which I needed after Saturday. I slept in, got up, ate cheerios and toast and tea with Mr. Bump, then crawled back into bed until well after noon with a good book while he went off to his brother's house to make what you see pictured here--this being a cheese press. He spent a good deal of yesterday welding bits of this machine together so that it looks more like a torture device and less like a pvc pipe that has been wittily attached to a cutting board with bolts and pieces of pipe. The idea of the whole thing is that when finished, we can take the milk and rennet and cultures we already have ordered off the internet and press them down in this thing into a small wheel of
cheese, which we will then dip in wax and hopefully age in a small "cheese fridge" aka dorm fridge that we have yet to purchase. I think we are about to cross a boundary from cooking to "making" food. We shall see what transpires from here. Perhaps we'll soon get to the point where we can hole up in a cabin up in the wilderness with a cow, a herd of goats and a vegetable garden. Of course, neither one of us can keep a house plant alive indoors, so I don't hold out much hope for heirloom tomatoes.

Anyway, when he finally got home and got it all to work we went off to Whole Foods to get ingredients to make gnocchi for our dear friends K and C, who will we be visiting in San Diego at the end of the week. We also got ingredients for a beautiful roast chicken, brie, strawberries and fresh greens salad, and some equally gorgeous fingerling potatoes, etc., etc. I could spend hours wandering around their produce section.

Then we came home and steamed potatoes, added flour, added more flour, added even more flour, and even still more flour to the steamed potatoes (which had been pushed through the ricer) until we had a huge mound of dough that needed to be cut into little gnocchi-like shapes.

We had a two pronged approach to the production: first, a cavatelli/gnocchi maker, with a crank that churned out little pieces of dough which, I must admit, resembled grubs. (Don't worry, they looked better when the dried out a bit.) The second prong was the old run-the-lumps-of-dough-across-the-back-of-a-fork a la Marcella Hazan. Those looked much less like grubworms, but not exactly like gnocchi either.

At some point in this mess when my hands are covered with a starchy mess of potatoes and flour, my dear friend Paige calls me to talk about our upcoming trip to SoCal. I tell her we're making gnocchi and she hears it as "nookie" and there is a deep pause of hoping she's heard me wrong.

So right now we've got about 2 pounds of gnocchi of various shapes and sizes in the freezer, a three day week in front of us, plane tickets to San Deigo on Thursday, and after a weekend of dinners and showers and cream sauces, I haven't gained a pound. I'm sitting pretty good, thanks to a Sunday of snooze, grocery shopping and "nookie" making.

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