Indian Fusion Cuisine in Portland and Tucson
Let’s not talk about that one. Let’s just pretend that we’ve been having this ongoing conversation. I post food and food stories and you’ve been continually inspired, jealous, hungry, angry, lusty, and bitter. Right? Totally. Great! Let’s just jump right in then.
Let’s talk gnocchi. Yes gnocchi. Beautiful starchy delicious pillows of squish love. Yes squish love. It’s a thing, perhaps you don’t know. I guess I just made it up. Perhaps I should elaborate.
Squish love is when you and your +1 find that deliciously comfortable and warm space on the sofa of your heart. You’ve known each other for a while, fine wined and dined, shaved and face painted, feigned interest in, trained your body to put a hold on all facets of the digestive process. But squish love is something different, Squish love is past this. Squish love gives pretention the finger. Squish love picks up when you get too lazy to hide the weirdo that lurks within you and magically that weirdo sitting next you is right there with you. Soon you two are cuddling about a warm dimpled spot on a worn-out sofa, settled in for all night Seventh Heaven marathon, two crisp beers, the uber unflattering high waisted pajama jams, drowning yourself in sea of unnecessary giggles. Nothing resembling English has exchanged between the bodies, and no you are not fluent in any other language. This is all fine, because you are living squish love has taken over.
Okay so maybe that was a bit long winded, but gnocchi is the physical food manifestation of this very real phenomenon. It’s a dumpling. Just the name’s got squish love written all over it. It’s ridiculous. It’s a little billowy ball with old world peasant roots. Thick, hearty, toothsome, soft, savory and slightly sweet. Bite into a pillow and it rewards your carnage with a soft hug, clinging to your teeth in all those deliciously inoffensive ways you’ve dreamed about.
We haven’t even gotten to the sauce messengers – those little grooves delivering all sorts of deliciously pungent sweet and savory acidic accompaniments…
Gnocchi always felt so unobtainable for me. At one point any kind of homemade pasta was just completely out of question. That is until I stumbled across Barbara Lynch’s “Stir,” one of the most visually stunning Italian cookbooks I’ve ever seen. Her approach to understanding modern Italian bistro cooking through its rustic roots is a great introduction for someone whose childhood food world has revolved around mushy south Indian porridges and Sonoran street food.
The process is somewhat seamless and simple: flour, fluffy milled potatoes, eggs, and salt. That’s your basic gnocchi (though my little guys are also shamelessly flirting with some minced green onion, sage and nutmeg). You bring it together with just enough effort to get workable dough that’s soft enough to promise fluffiness but dense enough to hold its own in a pot of boiled salted water. This is my first gnocchi a la bolognese. Nothing too special here really… just a basic 3 hour sauce building with all the proper veg caramelization in mind. My shape is still clumsy and I have finally invested in a gnocchi board. Variations will follow upon our next squish love session.