Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Marcella Hazan can make you crazy, sometimes. I mean, she'll give an elaborate four paragraph explanation of exactly what tone of voice you should use with your cheesemonger to get the freshest possible Gorgonzola, and then will tell you to just boil your potatoes until tender, with no discussion of how long that might take.

Fortunately, I know that it takes 20-25 minutes, but not everyone does. Then you puree them through a food mill (or, if, like me, you have no food mill, a sieve) and add flour, roll, cut and shape. Y'all? I still have no clue how to shape gnocchi. None. They were the most misfit dumplings in the world. But they were also excellent- Jeff declared it the best homecooked meal he'd ever had. A side of spinach and a very simple, inexpensive meal.

I also roasted a chicken. My first ever brined chicken, the rosemary-garlic chicken from the latest Cook's Illustrated. Being an idiot, I forgot to dry out the inside at all, and I think bits of brine or fat or something fell out of it and almost immediately started burning and smoking at the bottom of the roasting pan.

Dire fire hazards aside, it was incredibly tender. Super moist. But the skin wasn't crisp at all. Is this a brining thing? A failure to dry out the internal cavity thing?