Showing posts with label gnocchi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gnocchi. Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Welcome to Our Guest Alexia Gordon

Mystery Lovers' Kitchen is delighted to welcome author Alexia Gordon! For those of us with busy lives (uh, isn't that all of us?) she gives a simple strategy for quick and tasty meals.

Gethsemane Brown spent years traveling the US and the world touring with orchestras and giving concerts. Now she’s busy solving murders, directing an honors orchestra, and keeping a high-spirited ghost in check. Not much time to cook.

I don’t cook much, either. As a single woman juggling writing novels with a full-time day job, cooking for myself seldom seems worth the effort. Heat-and-eat and a variety of quality dining establishments within walking distance make take-out and dining out my default meal options. However, my budget and waistline demand I cook for myself on occasions.

Enter the pasta. I love pasta. Throw it in a pot for ten minutes or less, toss with some add-ins, drizzle with some olive oil and you have a meal. And pasta is perfect for the “some” method of cooking—throw some in a pot with a pinch of this and a bit of that—well-known to home chefs too busy dealing with life to measure ingredients by the milligram.

Here’s a gnocchi recipe I cooked up a couple of weeks ago:


1 package gnocchi
Vegetables of your choosing in amount you desire
Olive oil


Choose some vegetables. Chop them.

Put some olive oil in a skillet.

Put the chopped vegetables in the skillet and cook. If you used onions, cook until translucent. If you used squash, cook until soft. Vegetable hack: use mushrooms, peppers, and olives from the grocery store olive bar and heat until warm.

Set aside.

Boil water. Put a pinch of salt and some olive oil in the water first.

Prepare gnocchi according to package directions.

Put the pasta on a plate. Top with vegetables.

Top with olive oil.

Take a photo to post on Instagram to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.

Eat! Enjoy!

A writer since childhood, I continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. My medical career established, I returned to writing fiction. I completed SMU's Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published my first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016 and book two, Death in D Minor, in July 2017. Book three, A Killing in C Sharp, is scheduled for March 2018.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas. I listen to classical music, drink whiskey, and blog at

Find out more about Alexia at: 


Death in D Minor (Gethsemane Brown Mystery #2)

Gethsemane Brown, African-American classical musician and expatriate to an Irish village, solved a string of murders, led a school orchestra to victory in a major competition, and got used to living with a snarky ghost. She can rest easy over the Christmas holiday. Right? 

Wrong. The ghost has disappeared, her landlord's about to sell her cottage to a hotel developer, and her brother-in-law is coming for a visit—with one day’s notice. She scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save the cottage from certain destruction. 

But real estate takes a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique. Gethsemane strikes a deal with a garda investigator to go undercover as a musician at a charity ball and snoop for evidence linking antiques to a forgery/theft ring in exchange for the investigator’s help clearing her brother-in-law. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. 

“The captivating southwestern Irish countryside adds a delightful element to this paranormal series launch. Gethsemane is an appealing protagonist who is doing the best she can against overwhelming odds.” – Library Journal (starred review on Murder in G Major

Find Death in D Minor at AmazonBarnes and NobleiTunes, and Kobo

Monday, May 6, 2013

Gnocchi with Browned Butter Sauce

My mother doesn't ask for much. So when she called me to say that they were making gnocchi on her favorite cooking show, America's Test Kitchen, I knew that was a big hint -- please make Gnocci!

Now, while Mom has made gnocchi many times, I have not. Not ever. This was going to be an adventure for me. I did have the presence of mind to tape the gnocchi show, which made it all a bit easier.

At America's Test Kitchen, they try out different ingredients and methods of preparation to see what works best. There aren't many ingredients in gnocchi. The emphasis was getting the potato -- egg -- flour ratio exactly right. Turns out it's not that hard to do. Measure the potato and the flour by weight. Do not make the mistake of measuring the flour with a half cup measure. It results in a different amount of flour. Weigh your flour!

The other key to good gnocchi appears to be keeping it light. They used a few interesting tricks to keep the potatoes fluffy, including spreading them out on a sheet of aluminum foil to cool off. If they're in a bowl, the potatoes will weigh themselves down. They also found that ricing the potatoes yields the best results because it produces light fluffy bits of potato to work with. I used my handy dandy old-fashioned potato ricer.

This recipe makes enough for 4-6 servings. I will say that when I make them again, I'll probably make them in the morning, ahead of time, because while they weren't difficult to make, they are time-consuming since each one has to be handmade. Then I'll toss them in the sauce just before serving.

The results were magnificent. Light, lovely gnocchi with the simple browned butter sauce they recommended. Mom was very happy!

(from America's Test Kitchen)

1 pound (cooked) russet potatoes (roughly 4 medium)
1 large egg
4 ounces flour (weighed, not measured)
extra flour
1 teaspoon salt

Peel russet potatoes and cook in water. Rice with a ricer, spreading the potatoes on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and allow to cool.

Measure the cooled potatoes by weight. You need exactly one pound.

Whisk the egg well. Add to the potatoes and mix in very gently until just coated. Don't over-mix or let it get gooey.

Using a fork and a light hand, toss in the 4 ounces of flour (weighed, not measured!) and the salt.

Gently mix until there are no patches of dry flour. 

On a lightly floured board, gently knead together the potato mixture for about 1 minute. It should be smooth but moist.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured board roll each piece out into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter.

Cut into pieces about 3/4 of an inch long.

They will look like little pillows.

Place the cut side against the back of a fork.

Gently press against the tines.

Using your finger, roll the gnocchi off the fork, thus creating a little curve.

Voila! Gnooci!

Browned Butter Sauce
(from America's Test Kitchen)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot (I used 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
1 teaspoon fresh sage (or a pinch of dried sage)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

Melt the butter in a pan large enough to accommodate the gnocchi. Add the shallot (or garlic), sage and salt. Allow the butter to cook until it just begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and gnocchi. Turn to coat.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Tomato Cream Sauce

by Sheila Connolly

This past week I wended my way through some local farmers markets in the western part of Massachusetts, and confirmed the fact that I love pretty colors.  I have a tendency to buy vegetables that aren't the color they're supposed to be (as you will see below).  A couple of years ago this led to an orgy of eggplants, where I tried everything from pure white through lavender to the standard purple, with a few stripes throw in the middle. (For the record, when I was a child I dyed applesauce blue and ate it.) This year I was playing with peppers and carrots and tomatoes.

The heirloom tomatoes were too pretty to pass up, but then I was faced with doing something with them while they were fresh.  So I turned to one of my family's favorite tomato sauce recipes.

I want to say it's a simple sauce, but not quite.  It is simple in flavor and cooking.  But to be honest, it does require a bit of chopping up front, and then puréeing at the end.  You have choices:  one, you can chop up your tomatoes, cook, then run through a food mill; or two, you can peel your tomatoes, cook, and stick the sauce into a food processor and whirl away.  It's up to you, depending on where you want to put your effort.

In terms of the actual cooking, that is simple too—but not short.  But you can use that in your favor.  Assemble the ingredients in a pan, set the heat as low as possible, then walk away for an hour, stirring as the spirit moves you.  Come back and mill/puree, etc. at the end.

Anyway, it's a flavorful way to highlight your tomatoes, and it's a nice change from a traditional tomato sauce for pasta or, in this case, gnocchi, with a lovely color and texture.

Tomato Cream Sauce
½ stick salted butter
3 Tblsp finely chopped yellow onion
3 Tblsp finely chopped carrot
2 ½ cups tomatoes, chopped (you can use canned or fresh; if you use fresh, you may need to add a little extra liquid, depending on how juicy the tomatoes are)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ cup heavy cream

Put everything except the cream into a saucepan and cook at a bare simmer for an hour, uncovered.  Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally.

 Purée the contents of the pan through a food mill (or if the tomatoes are skinless, in a food processor or blender).  Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring.  Add the heavy cream and heat through.  Taste and correct for salt.  Serve immediately, over hot pasta or gnocchi.

BTW, packaged gnocchi are great to keep on hand--they cook in no time at all, and the go well with almost any sauce.