Shanghainese Wonton Soup

Whenever I am in the mood to cook Italian I always turn to my favorite Napa Valley Chef, more about Micheal Chiarello. His recipes are always clean and full of flavor. This recipe for Potato Gnocchi does not disappoint. Gnocchi [pronounced ‘Nyoke-ee’] is a type of dumpling made from semolina or wheat flours or starchy potatoes or sweet potatoes. It is not uncommon to find recipes that mix part potato with squash or spinach. Gnocchi are to the Italians what french fries are to the Americans. Everyone loves them. The dough is so light and fluffy it is like biting into a cloud; they practically melt in your mouth. Gnocchi was first introduced by Roman Legions during the expansion into Europe. It was a quick cheap side dish favored mostly in Northern Italy but now is enjoyed throughout the Middle East and South America.

Now, view for the important part: the tips of trade for making perfect gnocchi. Michael prefers to bake the potatoes. It is perfectly fine to boil the potatoes however you must follow these important guidelines.

1. When boiling the potatoes for potato gnocchi you want to cook the potatoes WHOLE with SKINS ON. If you peel and cut the potatoes before boiling they will absorb too much water resulting in mush.

2. Do not over cook the potatoes. Test the potatoes by piercing one with a fork or knife. If it is hard then it needs to cook longer. A fork should be able to insert easily and the potato slowly slip off. (About 30-45 minutes) Lay the potatoes on a board or towel to cool slightly before peeling.

3. Use a potato ricer or push the cooked potato through a strainer. Mashing the potatoes creates mashed potatoes. Gnocchi begins as a light dough. Pushing the potatoes through a strainer or ricer is what gives the gnocchi the airy texture.

The dough should be gently handled similar to when making biscuits or pie crusts or even meatballs. Everything is folded in mixing until just blended. This is not a pasta or bread dough so avoid kneading the dough too much. Add the flour a little bit at a time until the dough holds together. Do not add too much flour. Once the dough is ready you can either cut the dough then cook or shape the cut pieces using the tines of a fork. The indentations created by rolling the dough on the fork is key to holding the sauce. The end result? Absolute heaven. There are many ways to serve gnocchi. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the recipe for delicious ideas. Click here for a step by step tutorial from making the dough to rolling them.

Source: Michael Chiarello
Kosher salt
1 pound russet potatoes
3 to 4 large egg yolks,
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon gray salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board and dough

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Spread a layer of kosher salt on a baking sheet and arrange the potatoes on top (see Cook’s Note). Bake until a bit overcooked, about 45 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, cut in half, and scoop out the flesh. Reserve the potato skins, if desired, for another use. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or grate them on the large holes of a box grater. You should have about 2 cups.

Make a mound of potatoes on the counter or in a bowl with a well in the middle, add 3 of the egg yolks, the cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix in the potatoes and mix well with hands. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour over the potatoes and, using your knuckles, press it into the potatoes. Fold the mass over on itself and press down again. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, folding and pressing the dough until it just holds together, (try not to knead it.) Work any dough clinging to your fingers back into the dough.

If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.

Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them.

To shape use a gnocchi board or the tines of a  fork turned upside down. Rest the bottom edge of the gnocchi board (or the back of a fork) on the work surface, then tilt it at about a 45 degree angle. Take each piece and squish it lightly with your thumb against the board while simultaneously pushing it away from you. As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour.

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a light boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 30 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired.

Cook’s Note:
Baking potatoes on a layer of salt allows heat to circulate 360 degrees. Scrape the salt into a jar and reuse it again and again. If you do not have time to shape the gnocchi, you can freeze the dough, defrost it in the refrigerator, and then shape it. To freeze shaped gnocchi, line baking sheets with waxed paper and dust with flour. Spread the gnocchi on the prepared sheets and freeze until hard. Remove to individual-portion-size freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. To cook, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes after they rise to the surface.

Dazzledish Variations:
– Baked Gnocchi: Prepare gnocchi as directed above. Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat. When melted stir in 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Slowly add 1 cup milk whisking until smooth. Continue to heat sauce until slightly thickened about 5 minutes. Then add 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Place cooked gnocchi in a casserole dish. Pour sauce over gnocchi. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
– Sprinkle gnocchi with 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese then drizzle with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
– Simmer gnocchi in chicken stock with chopped celery and carrots to make dumpling soup. Garnish with chopped scallions.
– Heat 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat until slightly browned. Toss with gnocchi.
– Serve Gnocchi with marinara sauce.
– Use in the place of pasta.

Whenever I am in the mood to cook Italian I always turn to my favorite Napa Valley Chef, more about Micheal Chiarello. His recipes are always clean and full of flavor. This recipe for Potato Gnocchi does not disappoint. Gnocchi [pronounced ‘Nyoke-ee’] is a type of dumpling made from semolina or wheat flours or starchy potatoes or sweet potatoes. It is not uncommon to find recipes that mix part potato with squash or spinach. Gnocchi are to the Italians what french fries are to the Americans. Everyone loves them. The dough is so light and fluffy it is like biting into a cloud; they practically melt in your mouth. Gnocchi was first introduced by Roman Legions during the expansion into Europe. It was a quick cheap side dish favored mostly in Northern Italy but now is enjoyed throughout the Middle East and South America.

Now, view for the important part: the tips of trade for making perfect gnocchi. Michael prefers to bake the potatoes. It is perfectly fine to boil the potatoes however you must follow these important guidelines.

1. When boiling the potatoes for potato gnocchi you want to cook the potatoes WHOLE with SKINS ON. If you peel and cut the potatoes before boiling they will absorb too much water resulting in mush.

2. Do not over cook the potatoes. Test the potatoes by piercing one with a fork or knife. If it is hard then it needs to cook longer. A fork should be able to insert easily and the potato slowly slip off. (About 30-45 minutes) Lay the potatoes on a board or towel to cool slightly before peeling.

3. Use a potato ricer or push the cooked potato through a strainer. Mashing the potatoes creates mashed potatoes. Gnocchi begins as a light dough. Pushing the potatoes through a strainer or ricer is what gives the gnocchi the airy texture.

The dough should be gently handled similar to when making biscuits or pie crusts or even meatballs. Everything is folded in mixing until just blended. This is not a pasta or bread dough so avoid kneading the dough too much. Add the flour a little bit at a time until the dough holds together. Do not add too much flour. Once the dough is ready you can either cut the dough then cook or shape the cut pieces using the tines of a fork. The indentations created by rolling the dough on the fork is key to holding the sauce. The end result? Absolute heaven. There are many ways to serve gnocchi. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the recipe for delicious ideas. Click here for a step by step tutorial from making the dough to rolling them.

Source: Michael Chiarello
Kosher salt
1 pound russet potatoes
3 to 4 large egg yolks,
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon gray salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board and dough

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Spread a layer of kosher salt on a baking sheet and arrange the potatoes on top (see Cook’s Note). Bake until a bit overcooked, about 45 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, cut in half, and scoop out the flesh. Reserve the potato skins, if desired, for another use. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or grate them on the large holes of a box grater. You should have about 2 cups.

Make a mound of potatoes on the counter or in a bowl with a well in the middle, add 3 of the egg yolks, the cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix in the potatoes and mix well with hands. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour over the potatoes and, using your knuckles, press it into the potatoes. Fold the mass over on itself and press down again. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, folding and pressing the dough until it just holds together, (try not to knead it.) Work any dough clinging to your fingers back into the dough.

If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.

Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them.

To shape use a gnocchi board or the tines of a  fork turned upside down. Rest the bottom edge of the gnocchi board (or the back of a fork) on the work surface, then tilt it at about a 45 degree angle. Take each piece and squish it lightly with your thumb against the board while simultaneously pushing it away from you. As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour.

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a light boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 30 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired.

Cook’s Note:
Baking potatoes on a layer of salt allows heat to circulate 360 degrees. Scrape the salt into a jar and reuse it again and again. If you do not have time to shape the gnocchi, you can freeze the dough, defrost it in the refrigerator, and then shape it. To freeze shaped gnocchi, line baking sheets with waxed paper and dust with flour. Spread the gnocchi on the prepared sheets and freeze until hard. Remove to individual-portion-size freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. To cook, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes after they rise to the surface.

Dazzledish Variations:
– Baked Gnocchi: Prepare gnocchi as directed above. Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat. When melted stir in 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Slowly add 1 cup milk whisking until smooth. Continue to heat sauce until slightly thickened about 5 minutes. Then add 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Place cooked gnocchi in a casserole dish. Pour sauce over gnocchi. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
– Sprinkle gnocchi with 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese then drizzle with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
– Simmer gnocchi in chicken stock with chopped celery and carrots to make dumpling soup. Garnish with chopped scallions.
– Heat 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat until slightly browned. Toss with gnocchi.
– Serve Gnocchi with marinara sauce.
– Use in the place of pasta.

It seems uncanny the things of memory that bring light to our eyes. My summers as a kid were fantastic. It was not all about getting away from the confines of school; although, prostate I am sure that was a great source of my happiness. I was glad to have the wind in my hair and the grass between my toes. The majority of each summer was spent alternating between my Aunt Sandra’s house and my Aunt Ruth’s. Both lived in rural areas of Florida. My Aunt Sandra lived north of Tampa in the small town of Brooksville. Her house was nestled on a spacious piece of land on the outskirts of town. When we were younger my cousin Jean boarded a horse on part of the land. It was a real treat to feed the horse sugar cubes and carrots. The horse was old; still Jean would let us climb on for a short jaunt around the yard.

During the week when my Aunt had to work the house served as a base station for our mini day trips. The days we stayed in were spent lounging around watching movie rentals, cure playing games, or listening to music. At night after dinner we would take a walk around “the loop”. The exercise helped to loosen our belt after stuffing our bellies. It also served as an outlet for our wiggles. With flash lights in hand we half jogged and half walked the mile long loop. Of the many memories I have while visiting my Aunt’s house walking the loop is one of my favorites.

The years preceding having children up until five years ago we always enjoyed a walk in the evening. It was a way to unwind from the day. Schedules changed and other aspects of life got in the way. Or rather we allowed them to get in the way. So, we stopped walking. Months ago I was reminded of how much we used to look forward to our nightly walk together. A friend of mine had mentioned she and her husband had stopped by while on their nightly walk to say hi. Letting go of that time together is an activity we miss greatly. So in recent months we have tried to institute the tradition of nightly walks again.

Even though walking is a form of exercise it is a relaxing way to improve energy levels and boost your mood. Walking in the evening helps to unwind the body relieving the stress of the day.

soothing activity that can help you unwind and clear away any negative or stressful thoughts
Whenever I am in the mood to cook Italian I always turn to my favorite Napa Valley Chef, more about Micheal Chiarello. His recipes are always clean and full of flavor. This recipe for Potato Gnocchi does not disappoint. Gnocchi [pronounced ‘Nyoke-ee’] is a type of dumpling made from semolina or wheat flours or starchy potatoes or sweet potatoes. It is not uncommon to find recipes that mix part potato with squash or spinach. Gnocchi are to the Italians what french fries are to the Americans. Everyone loves them. The dough is so light and fluffy it is like biting into a cloud; they practically melt in your mouth. Gnocchi was first introduced by Roman Legions during the expansion into Europe. It was a quick cheap side dish favored mostly in Northern Italy but now is enjoyed throughout the Middle East and South America.

Now, view for the important part: the tips of trade for making perfect gnocchi. Michael prefers to bake the potatoes. It is perfectly fine to boil the potatoes however you must follow these important guidelines.

1. When boiling the potatoes for potato gnocchi you want to cook the potatoes WHOLE with SKINS ON. If you peel and cut the potatoes before boiling they will absorb too much water resulting in mush.

2. Do not over cook the potatoes. Test the potatoes by piercing one with a fork or knife. If it is hard then it needs to cook longer. A fork should be able to insert easily and the potato slowly slip off. (About 30-45 minutes) Lay the potatoes on a board or towel to cool slightly before peeling.

3. Use a potato ricer or push the cooked potato through a strainer. Mashing the potatoes creates mashed potatoes. Gnocchi begins as a light dough. Pushing the potatoes through a strainer or ricer is what gives the gnocchi the airy texture.

The dough should be gently handled similar to when making biscuits or pie crusts or even meatballs. Everything is folded in mixing until just blended. This is not a pasta or bread dough so avoid kneading the dough too much. Add the flour a little bit at a time until the dough holds together. Do not add too much flour. Once the dough is ready you can either cut the dough then cook or shape the cut pieces using the tines of a fork. The indentations created by rolling the dough on the fork is key to holding the sauce. The end result? Absolute heaven. There are many ways to serve gnocchi. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the recipe for delicious ideas. Click here for a step by step tutorial from making the dough to rolling them.

Source: Michael Chiarello
Kosher salt
1 pound russet potatoes
3 to 4 large egg yolks,
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon gray salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting board and dough

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Spread a layer of kosher salt on a baking sheet and arrange the potatoes on top (see Cook’s Note). Bake until a bit overcooked, about 45 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle, cut in half, and scoop out the flesh. Reserve the potato skins, if desired, for another use. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or grate them on the large holes of a box grater. You should have about 2 cups.

Make a mound of potatoes on the counter or in a bowl with a well in the middle, add 3 of the egg yolks, the cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix in the potatoes and mix well with hands. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the flour over the potatoes and, using your knuckles, press it into the potatoes. Fold the mass over on itself and press down again. Sprinkle on more flour, little by little, folding and pressing the dough until it just holds together, (try not to knead it.) Work any dough clinging to your fingers back into the dough.

If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should give under slight pressure. It will feel firm but yielding. To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.

Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them.

To shape use a gnocchi board or the tines of a  fork turned upside down. Rest the bottom edge of the gnocchi board (or the back of a fork) on the work surface, then tilt it at about a 45 degree angle. Take each piece and squish it lightly with your thumb against the board while simultaneously pushing it away from you. As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour.

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a light boil and add salt. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 30 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired.

Cook’s Note:
Baking potatoes on a layer of salt allows heat to circulate 360 degrees. Scrape the salt into a jar and reuse it again and again. If you do not have time to shape the gnocchi, you can freeze the dough, defrost it in the refrigerator, and then shape it. To freeze shaped gnocchi, line baking sheets with waxed paper and dust with flour. Spread the gnocchi on the prepared sheets and freeze until hard. Remove to individual-portion-size freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. To cook, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes after they rise to the surface.

Dazzledish Variations:
– Baked Gnocchi: Prepare gnocchi as directed above. Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat. When melted stir in 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Slowly add 1 cup milk whisking until smooth. Continue to heat sauce until slightly thickened about 5 minutes. Then add 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Stir until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Place cooked gnocchi in a casserole dish. Pour sauce over gnocchi. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
– Sprinkle gnocchi with 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese then drizzle with 1/2 cup heavy cream. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
– Simmer gnocchi in chicken stock with chopped celery and carrots to make dumpling soup. Garnish with chopped scallions.
– Heat 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat until slightly browned. Toss with gnocchi.
– Serve Gnocchi with marinara sauce.
– Use in the place of pasta.

It seems uncanny the things of memory that bring light to our eyes. My summers as a kid were fantastic. It was not all about getting away from the confines of school; although, prostate I am sure that was a great source of my happiness. I was glad to have the wind in my hair and the grass between my toes. The majority of each summer was spent alternating between my Aunt Sandra’s house and my Aunt Ruth’s. Both lived in rural areas of Florida. My Aunt Sandra lived north of Tampa in the small town of Brooksville. Her house was nestled on a spacious piece of land on the outskirts of town. When we were younger my cousin Jean boarded a horse on part of the land. It was a real treat to feed the horse sugar cubes and carrots. The horse was old; still Jean would let us climb on for a short jaunt around the yard.

During the week when my Aunt had to work the house served as a base station for our mini day trips. The days we stayed in were spent lounging around watching movie rentals, cure playing games, or listening to music. At night after dinner we would take a walk around “the loop”. The exercise helped to loosen our belt after stuffing our bellies. It also served as an outlet for our wiggles. With flash lights in hand we half jogged and half walked the mile long loop. Of the many memories I have while visiting my Aunt’s house walking the loop is one of my favorites.

The years preceding having children up until five years ago we always enjoyed a walk in the evening. It was a way to unwind from the day. Schedules changed and other aspects of life got in the way. Or rather we allowed them to get in the way. So, we stopped walking. Months ago I was reminded of how much we used to look forward to our nightly walk together. A friend of mine had mentioned she and her husband had stopped by while on their nightly walk to say hi. Letting go of that time together is an activity we miss greatly. So in recent months we have tried to institute the tradition of nightly walks again.

Even though walking is a form of exercise it is a relaxing way to improve energy levels and boost your mood. Walking in the evening helps to unwind the body relieving the stress of the day.

soothing activity that can help you unwind and clear away any negative or stressful thoughts

Wonton soup is always on the menu for Chinese New Year mostly because it is my favorite. The simple broth with a small wrapped up surprise is delicious and comforting on a cold winters day.

Dinner time topic? What would you wish for if you could have one wish?

Source: Joylicious

Makes 48-55 wontons

7 oz shrimp, website shelled
14 oz ground pork
1 package wonton wrappers
1/2 egg white
1 tablespoon corn strach
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
——-

6 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
cilantro and green onion, chopped for garnish
1 teaspoon salt

Wash the shrimp, squeeze out the excess moisture and chop coarsely. Mix together with the ground pork, egg white, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt, sugar, rice wine and ginger. Take your wonton wrappers and wrap them in a moist towel, this keeps the wrappers from drying out. Wrap one teaspoon filling in each wonton wrapper. You can fold them as the way I’ve shown or just gather and twist the edges together to form a little purse.

Bring the chicken stock and salt and white pepper to a boil and pour into a soup bowl. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and drop in the wontons. Cook until the wontons rise to the top, about 5 minutes. Remove the wontons from the water and place in the prepared chicken broth. Top with scallions, cilantro and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve immediately.

***** A trick my mom would always use to adjust the flavorings for the filling is she would make a wonton and cook and taste it first. That way you’re able to adjust the flavorings according to your taste (i.e. add more salt to the filling or more sugar or more wine).

***** My mom use to steam the wontons and then place them in the broth. This keeps the wontons from falling apart and becoming over cooked. If you choose to steam the wontons you can use a bamboo steamer (as pictured) and steam for 10 minutes on high heat. You can also eat the wontons plain without the broth and serve them alongside a dipping sauce.