Monthly Archives: January 2013

Homemade Gnocchi

Yesterday I set out to make homemade gnocchi for the first time! I intended to use this recipe for sweet potato gnocchi, but apparently boyfriend didn’t realize there was a difference between yams and sweet potatoes.  Oh well? We had plenty of regular potatoes to use. We halved the recipe–the thing about being one person most of the time and sometimes two is that most recipes are not appropriately portioned. It was kind of fun forming the dough and rolling it out to make the gnocchi, although messy! I didn’t realize it was this easy to make gnocchi, and it was kind of therapeutic. Lately I find anything that isn’t my dissertation proposal relaxing.

I had to make them in a bit of a rush because boyfriend had to head back on his 5-hour journey home, and I’m not sure they cooked all the way through. The balsamic brown butter sauce was definitely delicious, but I found the gnocchi a bit potatoey–either because there was too much regular potato (compared to sweet  and regular) or just to my taste.

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This is the gnocchi before it was cooked! looks tasty, doesn’t it?

Tonight was almond-crusted tilapia! This was pretty easy to make, although I should have done a better job smashing up the almonds so they were truly ground. I made it with green beans and rice on the side.  I think the medium-high heat recommended in the recipe is WAY too much, though, I would err closer to medium or  even medium-low–the topping cooked before the fish did, and I’m not a fan of sushi! Also, since you are cooking the fish in butter, the butter burned well before the fish was done. The end result was pretty tasty, though.

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The tilapia cooking away!

In running news, last Thursday’s run in 25-degree weather left me with an extremely irritated throat, which has faded after much administration of tea and cough drops. My voice still sounds a bit manly, however. Yesterday’s run in warmer weather went pretty well! Tomorrow, the goal is to build back up to 2 miles!

This weekend boyfriend and I went into the city–for Christmas, his brother had given us tickets to the opera at the Met! It was our first trip to the opera. Not wanting to waste a trip into the city, we went in around mid-afternoon and wandered Central Park, had macarons and tea with one of my friends (at Sugar & Plumm, which is adorable!), and then embarked on a trip to find food around Lincoln Center.  This is harder than it sounds. While my friend lives on the Upper West Side, we headed closer to midtown because we had planned to meet my brother–he was running late, though, and we were then stuck in the immediate vicnicity of Lincoln Center to find food, with two hours to go pre-opera,  a budget–and exhausted legs that didn’t want to walk anymore! The one cheap restaurant we found was closed for the day. We wandered to a few famous Lincoln Center restaurants, which were all way expensive and way crowded. After about 45 minutes of despair and hunger, I saw what seemed like a mirage–the Wafels and Dinges truck!! And just beyond, a Europan Cafe. Europan was pretty disgusting, as expected, but the waffle afterward made up for all. The Barber of Seville was interesting! It was an abridged translated version, but I still needed subtitles to understand the lyrics of the songs. I thought the singers’ voices were absolutely amazing. Opera is definitely beautiful. This opera in particular was really funny. Overall, despite difficulty finding dinner, a success!

The fun thing about being ABD is that everyone a) asks about your dissertation and b) tries to give you advice. Even my allergist (who is an MD/PhD) lectured me at my office visit today about finishing quickly and getting peer-reviewed publications. Sometimes I want to give a blank look and say, “Really? Peer-reviewed publications? I’ve never heard of such a thing” …in a Scarlett O’Hara type voice, you know.

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Pretzel Hug Snacks

On New Year’s Day, my family always gathers at my cousin’s house, and she usually makes me a cake of some sort due to my imminent birthday. This year, what with having my own place for the first time and also having my first New Year’s Eve company, I decided to make dessert. 

Since boyfriend and I were going crazy cleaning for company (I gave up cleaning somewhere around Thanksgiving, thanks to comps), I didn’t want to do any baking. So I decided on these Pretzel Hug treats, as I’ve named them. 

Directions:

Place a Hershey’s Hug on a waffle-shaped pretzel and bake in oven for a few minutes, low temp. (The recipe said 200 but my oven doesn’t go lower than 260–this may explain the problem I had)

When the chocolate has melted, press an m&m into it and put in the fridge to set.

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Enjoy!

 

About half my treats turned out like the picture on Pinterest…the other half turned out like so:

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It seemed like the chocolate seized and wouldn’t melt, so it got crumbly when I tried to press in the m&m. It ended up tasting OK, but I was frustrated all the same!! My relatives, however, gobbled them up so fast there were almost none left. 

Rating: half-successful. 

Below are my birthday treats from my cousin!Image

 

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Recent Successes and Failures

Successes:

Portobello Mushroom Pizzas–boyfriend is already begging me to make these again! Next time, I would add mozzarella, not just parmesan like the recipe suggests.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies–my cousin and aunt are gluten free so I made these for Christmas Eve. Rich and delicious. They were super hard to make without a mixer though, so I’m really glad I have one now! The dough gets very stiff.

Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken-messy but delicious. Eat on a roll.

Passing comprehensive exams in December to become a PhD candidate! Now I can start paying attention to cooking/running again!

Semi-Successes:

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars–DELICIOUS but should have used more sea salt and sprayed the baking pan…these were from Thanksgiving Part 1.

Frosty Hats–My eloquent boyfriend felt these looked like Frosty did Number 2. I adjusted the recipe by only melting a bit of chocolate at a time instead of all at once, figuring the extra chocolate would harden while each part of the concoction did too. That worked well, but it’s just hard to get all that chocolate to look nice and neat!

Failures:

Stuffed Caramel Apple Cookies–cookies had a cakey texture and caramel kind of fell out and stuck to the other cookies….Thanksgiving Part 2. The cakey texture may have been because being without a car at the time (thanks Sandy), I could only get to one understocked supermarket that did not have the instant apple cider mix. Not wanting the cookies to be apple-less, I added apple juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. They were tasty but the texture was odd.

Not running during comps because of stress….but my two New Year’s resolutions are to run a 10K (hopefully in June with Gabby) and get my dissertation proposal approved…so here’s to both of those!

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