Hand made Gnocchi

These delightful little mini pillows of deliciousness are so fluffy and simple to make – easily ready to become your new favorite recipe!!

Bake 3 russet potatoes until tender all the way through and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.

When cool enough either put them through a potato ricer, or grate them into a large bowl.  Add 1/2 tsp sea salt and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper and toss lightly with 1 3/4 cups flour and a grating of fresh nutmeg. (don’t worry if you don’t have fresh nutmeg – use 1/8 tsp of ground)

Lightly beat 2 eggs with 2 tbsp olive oil, and then stir into flour/potato mixture.  Mix gently until all is blended, and knead in another 1/2 cup flour.  Your dough should be soft and supple, easy to work with and not too sticky.

If you have trouble either way – just add either a bit more flour if it is too sticky, or a bit of oil if it is too dry.

Divide this mixture into 4 balls.  Roll each ball into a long skinny rope (snake if kids are helping!). Cut along length into pieces about 3/4 in each.  Dust lightly with flour.

Keep a bit of flour handy – continue dusting your hand with it so the gnocchi doesn’t stick.  Take a fork, and dust it with flour.  Turn it upside down in your hand and roll the gnocchi down the tines of the fork.  Set aside until ready to cook.

When you have all the gnocchi rolled out – and remember that they don’t need to look perfect – you are ready to cook them.

Hand made gnocchi – they don’t have to be perfect – just delicious any shape you get – neither Joe Bastianich or Mario Batali are going to criticize your form!!

Boil a HUGE pot of water – when it comes to a boil toss in a generous amount of salt.

At this point drop the gnocchi in the boiling water – it will return to the top when it is ready – let it bounce around for a moment and you are ready.

Really the gnocchi is great to eat just as is – toss it with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper – delish.

HOWEVER …. if you really want to kick it up a level:

In a heavy bottom pan (like cast iron) heat 1 tbsp each butter and olive oil – stir the white parts of 2 leeks, and 2 garlic cloves until just tender.  When the pot is really hot, push the leek mixture to one side, and drop the just boiled gnocchi onto the hot pan in small batches.  As they crisp up push them over into the leek mixture and toss in the pan – using your hot spot to continue crisping up small batches of the gnocchi.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper and I guarantee you will love it!

Barbacoa (Mexican Beef Tacos)

If you love beef tacos, don’t look any further than this recipe.  We have enjoyed more than our fair share of Mexican street tacos, and these fit right in there.

6-8 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp mexican chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cider vinegar

3 chipotle chiles, in adobo sauce

1 tbsp mexican oregano

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock

Blend all ingredients together in food processor – be sure to taste it and adjust seasonings.  You really want it tangy and full of taste – if you are cooking this the next day put roast in a ziplock bag with the adobo sauce and marinate overnight.

Taste the sauce before putting it over the beef – if necessary you may have to adjust a bit – keep tasting for balance of flavour!

3 pound bone in chuck roast – MAKE SURE YOU USE A CUT WITH SOME FAT RUNNING THROUGH IT – a leaner cut of beef won’t give the same result!

Put roast in the bottom of a slow cooker, and then pour adobo sauce over.  Add enough water to come half way up the roast.  Put lid on and cook on slow for 6 hours.

Remove liquid from cooker and reduce in saucepan until sauce has thickened and is deliciously rich.  Shred beef with two forks.  When liquid has reduced by about half, return liquid to meat.

Serve with fresh tortillas, cole slaw, pickled red onions, and slices of avocado.  You will think you are on the streets of Mexico City!

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions

Cebollas en Escabeche

Makes 1cup



1 small red onion, peeled
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

 You really need to use fresh squeezed lime juice for this – nothing in a jar!


With a knife or food processor, thinly slice the onions.  Scoop into a non-reactive bowl.  Pour boiling water over them, count to 10, then immediately pour the onions into a strainer.  Shake off all the water, pour the onions back into the bowl, pour on the lime juice and stir in the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

These will last for a week or more in the refrigerator. (I usually make a big batch and they last weeks)

Pumpkin Scones

pumpkin scones

Pumpkin scones just scream fall.  You can either use your own pumpkin flesh or canned pumpkin – whatever you have works with these incredibly moist and pumpkin filled, spice laden muffins.


Preheat oven to 425°.

2 c flour
7 TBSP granulated sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup cooked or canned pumpkin

6 TBSP cold butter
3 TBSP half-and-half cream
1 large egg

Pumpkin scones 1

Baking Class – one of Sloan and Stella’s favourite activities in Nana’s kitchen.  (Nana’s too!)

White Glaze:
1 cup plus 1 TBSP powdered sugar
2 TBSP whole milk

Spiced Icing:
1 cup plus 3 TBSP powdered sugar
2 TBSP whole milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cloves

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/2 t nutmeg, 1/4
t cloves 1/4 t ginger in a large bowl.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half-and-half, & egg.

Cut cold butter into cubes then add it to the dry ingredients. Use a pastry knife or
a fork to combine butter with dry ingredients. Continue mixing until no
chucks of butter are visible.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then form the dough into a ball.
Pat out dough onto a lightly floured into a round shape.

Cut through with a large knife, or a pizza wheel to make 6 wedges.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes on a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled or
lined with parchment paper. Scones should begin to turn light brown.

While scones cool, prepare white glaze by combining ingredients Mix until smooth. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint a coating of the glaze over the top of each scone.

pumpkin scones 2

If you are as careful as Stella, the scones will get good coverage.

As that white glaze firms up, prepare spiced icing by combining
ingredients in another medium bowl until smooth.
Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone & allow the icing to dry before
serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can 
drizzle with a whisk.  Our other trick is to just fill a ziplock bag, and cut a tiny hole in one corner.

pumpkin scones

Sloan likes using the ziplock bag to drizzle – I think she likes the feel of the icing in her hand….