Friday, October 23, 2009

Miller farm

Katie's preschool class took a little field trip to a nearby farm. A tractor pulled the group around the farm in a trailer, and made stops along the way so we could pick stuff: red potatoes, celery, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, Indian corn, pumpkins, etc. You could pick as much as you wanted.

The kids were of course much more interested in the other attractions at the farm. There was a huge pile of dirt - Alex could have dug for hours with the excavator and dump truck. There was some bouncy dome thing - maybe next year my crew will be ready to brave the crowds and go for it. There were old cars painted like the characters from Cars. There were a few animals to check out - smart Kat got her thumb bit by the horse - luckily it only turned a great shade of purple.
No one was too excited by the unlimited vegetables, but the pumpkins were another story. Katie could not get enough. After we got home, we busted out the paints and did a little decorating. As you can see, Max's is the most detailed. Today I finally figured out what the crazy smell in my house was: two of our pumpkin creations had taken a turn for the worse and had started to go soft. Luckily we have plenty of backups.

I made some delicious soup with the veggies - which is so delicious that I am the only one who has been eating it for the past week or so. The only thing I've made lately that scored a 5/5 for eaters is . . . pumpkin gnocchi. Martha's show is good for an idea every now and again, and this one really is a hit. It might sound crazy, but how can butter, cream and lots of Parmesan cheese go wrong? This only took about 30 minutes to make, and for the first time in forever EVERYONE ate it! Katie loved helping cut the gnocchi.

pumpkin gnocchi - courtesy of the Martha Stewart Show - modified by moi

1 can of pumpkin -reserve 1/4 cup for sauce - Martha cooks a pumpkin, I cheat and use canned
2 cups flour, plus more for work surface
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for serving
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

1/4 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
20 medium chanterelle mushrooms, trimmed - I re-hydrated a mix of dried mushrooms
8 fresh sage leaves - I used powdered sage
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream - I should have used less - this is a TON of cream

Mound flour in center of a large work surface; add 1 tablespoon salt and the nutmeg. Using a fork, mix until well combined.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add 2 cups pumpkin and 1 cup grated cheese to well. Slowly incorporate flour, beginning with inner rim of well. When flour is incorporated, gather dough together to form a rounded mass; knead mixture until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter; cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Transfer gnocchi to a baking sheet and cover with a clean, damp towel. Repeat process until all the dough has been used.

Bring 6 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Generously salt water and return to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook until they rise to the top, about 4 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over high heat and add butter and shallots. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until shallots are golden. Add mushrooms and sage; cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup pumpkin, chicken stock, heavy cream, and 1/4 cup grated cheese; cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to skillet and toss to combine. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan and nutmeg.

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