I made that!

It’s Gnocchi Time!

Posted in Because, like, I'm Italian, sort of, I Like Salt Too by brandi on June 3, 2009

It’s that super fun time of the year when my CSA box starts making me giddy. There’s still some asparagus, but we’re getting our first zucchinis of summer. I wanted to make a spring/summer crossover meal, to celebrate the shift, and decided on a pesto. I love me some pesto – at the end of summer I start making large batches to keep in the freezer, to get me through winter, but I always run out by xmas. Now that the basil is showing up again, it’s definitely time to drag out the food processor and get pureeing.


Obviously pasta is a great base for pesto, but I wasn’t feeling it today. So I decided to try out a Zuni Cafe recipe for ricotta gnocchi. I’ve never made gnocchi before and have been meaning to give it a try. But first I needed some ricotta…


I drained the ricotta extra long (though not long enough I later learned), to dry it out. Then I blended the ricotta with eggs, parmesan, salt, nutmeg and melted butter. It looked WAY too soupy to ever be a dough, so I mixed in a little flour to give it some body.


Then I scooped out chunks and rolled them in flour.


I boiled them and tossed them with my pesto and the veggies that I had sauteed. This dish probably won’t be winning any beauty pageants, but it was so good!


Upside Down Cherry Cornmeal Cake

Posted in All Sugar All The Time by brandi on June 1, 2009

Cherries are early this year and I am ON IT. And what better way to kick of cherry season than an upside down cake. An upside down cake with cornmeal and balsamic vinegar.  Oh yes.


First the bloodbath of cherry pitting. No matter how neat I try to be, I always end up with red juice all over me and the kitchen. But it’s ok, I’m excited about all the cherry stains I’m gonna get this summer.

I cooked my pitted cherries in butter, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. I poured them in the pan to cool.

cherries rotated

Then I made a batter.


And a meringue to lighten the batter.


I folded the meringue into the batter, and poured it over the cherries.

batter in pan

I baked it, cooled it, and inverted it! So pretty!

cherry cake

RECIPE (bon Appetit):

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 cups whole pitted fresh cherries (about 21 ounces whole unpitted cherries)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, separated

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


– Preheat oven to 350°F. 

– Combine 1/4 cup butter with brown sugar and vinegar in pot. Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add cherries and bring to boil. Remove from heat and pour into buttered 10″ cake pan.

– Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Cream 1/2 cup butter for 1 minute. Slowly add sugar while creaming. Continue creaming until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. 

– Add flour mixture alternately with milk in 2 additions each, beating just until blended and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. 

– Using whisk, whip egg whites in another medium bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whip until whites are stiff but not dry. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of whites into batter to lighten slightly. Fold in remaining whites in 3 additions (batter will be thick). 

– Spoon batter over cherries in pan, then spread evenly with offset spatula to cover cherries.

– Bake cake until top is golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. 

– Run spatula around edges of cake to loosen. Place large serving platter upside down atop skillet. Using pot holders or oven mitts, firmly hold platter and skillet together and invert. Leave skillet atop cake 5 minutes. Remove skillet. If necessary, rearrange any cherries that may have become dislodged. Let cake cool at least 45 minutes.