Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor of Love for Yukon Gold Gnocchi

I've been cleaning potatoes for days now. It hasn't been nonstop; there's been planting and bed prep and flats and the harvest to break up the day, but I've been going strong, at least a few hours each afternoon, sitting at the potting table in the barn with a few trays of Yukon Golds and the radio on to the CBC and a small scrap of burlap.

Wipe, wipe, wipe the potato with the scrap of brown cloth against my leg; two potatoes in the sack, and I switch to holding the potato in my left hand and polishing with my right. A couple more shiny yellow potatoes ready for winter storage, and I'm already restless again. I shift to hold the burlap in my right hand and rub the potato against the cloth with my left. Is burlap the same as a hairshirt, I wonder aimlessly? (Apparently not -- hairshirts are made from the hair of a goat -- Obvi!)

The radio announcer's talking about Chungking Mansions and I wonder how many potatoes they use for the samosas in their curry houses and who in heavens name cleans them all.

But, duh, I know the answer, whoever grows all those potatoes totally has a barrel washer or some other kind of industrial machine and obviously isn't communing with the potatoes like I am.

The orange-brown dust falls off onto the floor, onto my Keen boots, and sometimes into clouds in front of me until I have to get up and walk across to the big open barn door and take a breath and walk back. Switch position, potato in the right, then in the left. Until I fill a 20 lb bag, and another and another.

There are a lot of potatoes.

So it isn't that weird that I started daydreaming about all the lovely things I could make with potatoes. Not that weird right?

Obviously mashed potatoes, and potato latkes a la Martha by way of Matt, and those delicious potato rolls that Jaime's parents make on Thanksgiving. One night I actually made tortilla espanola, like the kind I ate in Madrid as an exchange student, only it wasn't as delicious without chunks of manchego alongside... And then last week, Rachael of Fuji Mama told me about Rouxbe and I saw the gnocchi recipe with Yukon Gold potatoes and I knew it was my destiny to make them.

So tonight, I made a date with Pritha and we found a ricer, of all things, in the stash of Heritage Farm cooking treasures and we riced those potatoes and fluffed in the flour and kneaded in the eggs gently and made gnocchi.

We didn't wait the 5 hours to let them rest before boiling because we had to catch the 9:15 showing of Julie and Julia (both of whom probably would have been appalled by the shortcut), but the little potato pillows still came out lovely and soft and melty. We made one version, swimming in sage butter with fresh sage on top and another with Pritha's fresh pesto. Temporary intern Jesse made a salad with our huge Brandywine tomato and some farm greens. I was happy.

No photos tonight. If I could send you wafts of sage butter, I would!


  1. Mmmm...I'm all for communing with my stomach :)

    Can we make gnocchi when you come home??

  2. Of course we can! I can't wait. I want to try potato pumpkin gnocchi with sage sauce. Yum.

  3. need to stop telling me about your amazing sounding dishes. i might just have to move to washington.