Here it is, my first day off from the restaurant, and I’m celebrating with a new post. It’s been 47 consecutive 14-18 hour days, but who’s counting. Honestly, I probably could have taken a day off sooner, but chefs, by nature, are control freaks. It’s not that I don’t trust my staff, but what if… While I don’t plan on having an extremely relaxing day, it will be nice to spend time with the Mrs. and the girls. Soon, they’ll be in Germany for another couple of months during the summer so I need to get as much time in as I can before they leave.
As an admitted control freak, I will force myself to try not to think about the restaurant, but I’m sure it will happen without my noticing. Not that I think things are going wrong, but more, what could I be accomplishing on a day I would have free reign to do as I pleased in the kitchen. I had a day like this last week and it really was fun working on a personal recipe.
Armed with a slew of cheeses from Cypress Grove and an insane passion for spring produce, I whipped up this little number. The gnocchi recipe is based on a ricotta gnocchi I’ve done in the past but adjusted for a dryer chevre log. The vegetables can really be anything you have on hand but with access to a guy who brings me produce daily, I splurged.
1 cup Cypress Grove Goat Cheese
1 cup whole milk
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper, finely shredded
½ tsp. grated fresh nutmeg
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
1. Combine the goat cheese, milk, eggs, lamb chopper, nutmeg and salt in a medium size mixing bowl.
2. Mix well.
3. The batter to this point with be a little lumpy which is fine.
4. Add the flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated and a wet dough forms.
5. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and working in batches, shape the dough into ¾ inch ropes. Cut the dough in 1 inch increments and remove to a floured baking sheet.
6. Cook the gnocchi in lightly salted boiling water, about 3-4 minutes.
7. Remove from water with a slotted spoon and drain.
English Pea Puree
2 cups English Peas
1 Tbs shallots, minced
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup stock or water
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. butter
1. In a small sauce pan melt one (1) tablespoon butter over low heat and sweat the shallots and garlic for 2 minutes.
2. Add the peas, white wine and stock.
3. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are soft.
5. Remove from heat and puree till smooth.
6. Strain and fold in the butter and salt.
Spring Vegetable Ragout
½ lb asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces, blanched
4 baby carrots, blanched and sliced into discs
½ cup English peas, blanched
1 oz morels, washed and sliced into discs
1 Tbs. garlic, minced
2 Tbs. butter
2 oz. dry white wine
¼ tsp. rosemary, minced
1. In a medium size pan, melt the butter over low heat.
2. Add the garlic and sweat for one minute.
3. Turn the heat to medium high and add the asparagus, peas, carrots and morels.
4. Cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the white wine and rosemary and cook till dry.
1. Melt 2 Tbs. of butter over medium high heat.
2. Add the gnocchi and cook quickly until it begins to brown and crisp on all sides.
3. Toss with the warm vegetable ragout.
4. Ladle 2 oz of English pea puree in the middle of a plate.
5. Place the gnocchi and vegetable ragout in the pea puree.
6. Garnish with grated Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper cheese.