Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Magic Food, Sometimes you have to Pull a Rabbit out of a Hat.

Click to enlarge. (c)2007 SmellsLikeGrape
No, I’m not making hasenpfeffer, it is late, there is next to nothing left in the pantry and I’m hungry. Taster B is coming home from work at 7:30 and although she doesn’t expect dinner, I like to let her know I’m thinking of her.

So there I was, standing in front of the fridge for 5 minutes thinking, "I have nothing to work with". The pantry was missing the emergency tomato sauce. That saved my butt last night. I pride myself on always being able to pull a rabbit out of my hat when it came to matters in the kitchen, but I was ready to give up and to run up to the corner for a pizza. (Oh, that bottle of Super Tuscan is starting to sound good.)

Then out of the corner of my eye, I spied a bottle with a bit of white wine. I’m SAVED! I grabbed two carrots, a handful of kale, two medium onions, two sticks of celery, a finger of ginger, some fresh parsley and got to work.

The vegetables were rough-chopped and put into a five quart pan, covered with water and the remains of two bottles of white wine saved for cooking. This made about two or three cups of wine. The kale is cut fairly fine in long strips. The onions were caramelized in a frying pan with some olive oil and two cloves of garlic while the other vegetables were boiling like mad in the stock pot to which I added some marjoram, rosemary, a half of teaspoon of cayenne pepper, ground black pepper, sea salt, a big cube of peeled ginger, and dill.

I had some frozen gnocci that we bought from a local Italian deli. Oh, this is going to be good.

Cook the veggies until they are done (I mean really done). I let this boil hard, covered for 20 minutes. Usually, I’ll simmer for a couple of hours. Your vegetable stock should be ready now with the color extracted from the kale and carrots. Remove the vegetables (most would have you pitch the veggies because you just want the flavor--I’m going to put some rice vinegar on them and serve them as a salad tomorrow).

Now bring the stock back to a boil and put the gnocci in and cook for five to seven minutes. Oh, this came out perfect. The white wine gave it a citrus flavor, with the ginger in the background and slight taste of cayenne.

Pair it with a New York State Chardonnay and you’ve got a gourmet meal. Save a little for the photo props and you have your snack set aside for later. I'll talk about the Lamoreaux Landing Chardonnay in the near future.