good food

friday night was an unexpected delight.  my dad, one of his partners and his wife, another of their dr friends and his girlfriend, and then one of my friends all came over for wine and “gourmet” dishes.  basically we all wanted an excuse to make really great food and drink really amazing wine.  the second doctor friend is a big wine enthusiast and brought over several bottles…just one of which cost over $600. holy goodness.

our mixed crowd had a pretty great time considering!  i mean, what’s not to enjoy when you’ve got good food and great wine?!

the cooperative menu for the evening: jalepeno grilled shrimp, sweet potato gnocchi with garlic pine nut sauce, avocado cucumber lime salad, baked brei encrusted with cranberries and pistachios, amaretto creme brulee, rich divine and fateful chocolate torte, and of course various olives, sweet peppers, cheeses, crackers, honey and walnuts.  delish…

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Avo Cucumber Lime Salad:
3 chopped and peeled cucumbers
cherry tomatoes
5 avocados sliced
dressing: juice and pulp from 3 limes, 3 pressed garlic cloves, 1 minced shallot, 1/2 tsp cumin, salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi:
2 lbs sweet potatoes, baked, cooled, and peeled
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1-2 c flour (all purpose or wheat – i usually use half and half)

Blend the potatoes till smooth. Add salt. Mix well. Add egg. Mix. Add just enough flour until no longer sticky. Transfer to counter and knead 5 minutes. Form into 6 smaller balls. Roll each ball into a long 1/2 inch ‘snake’ (rope?) and cut into thumb-size pieces. Boil like this or you can add the traditional ridges: Press each piece into the tongs of a fork (not too hard) then roll off so the ridges stay on the outside of the rolled dough.

Add to salted water that is at a rolling boil. The gnocchi should float when ready, but test them every few minutes. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 or 12 minutes and could take as few as 5 depending on how much you’re making at once. Don’t overcook!

I usually just melt butter in a frying pan with a handful of pine-nuts and several chopped garlic cloves. Toss with gnocchi and serve immediately.

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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