Game – 24 points

I made the following game as a Mathematica notebook. If you have Mathematica, you can download it and play it. Even if you don’t have it, you can still get some fun by playing the provided examples.

Recipes – Zabaione

Zabaione (or zabaglione – either way pronounced “dza-bah-YO-neh”) is a  boozy, creamy egg custard.

Minimum working amounts (~2 people):

Two egg yolks
1.5 oz sugar
6 tbsp marsala or other sweet wine

In an oven-safe bowl, whip the egg yolks and the sugar until uniform and light. (Yolks don’t foam up as well as whites, but they do to some extent). When ready, pour in the marsala 1 tbsp at a time and continue mixing. Add each spoonful after the previous one has been fully incorporated.

Heat up the mixture using the double-boiler (a.k.a. bain-marie) technique, i.e., boil some water in a saucepan and place the oven-safe bowl on top. This will ensure gentle and uniform heating.

Keep gently mixing and occasionally whipping until the egg has stiffened, resulting in a thick uniform cream. Use as a dessert garnish or serve as a standalone dessert, possibly with whipped cream.

Recipes – Gnocchi

This is still experimental – please take with a grain of salt. Updates may be coming in the future.

There are two ways to make gnocchi (NYO-kee): with potatoes, or with ricotta. The former are softer, taste less floury, and contain no dairy. The latter taste less sour and contain fewer carbs and more protein.

The following recipe yields about 8 portions.

Potato gnocchi Ricotta gnocchi
2 lb potatoes
2/3+ lb flour
2 lb ricotta
1 lb+ flour
1 oz grated parmesan
1 egg (optional)
2 large pinches of salt
Boil the potates with their skin until soft. Peel them and mash them. Mix all ingredients, as uniformly as you can, but do not mix too long. Twist the ricotta inside a clean fabric towel to squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Mix all the ingredients except the flour. When uniform, mix in the flour.

Work the dough into a ball. From the ball, detach small lumps and work them into a snake shape. From the snake, cut off small pieces. These are the gnocchi. If you are unemployed and not really hungry, use a fork to imprint grooves in them so they are prettier. Throw the gnocchi into a pot of boiling salted water. Mix gently to prevent the gnocchi from sticking to the bottom. Take out the gnocchi with a strainer spoon as soon as they rise to the surface – cook them too long and they will become hard; cook them too short and they will taste floury.

Season with tomato sauce, pesto, or walnut sauce.

FAQ

Q: How big should the gnocchi be?
A: great question! In my experience, the optimal size is about the same as the distal phalanx of an adult’s thumb. Larger, and the center will be undercooked. Smaller, and they’ll look lame. (Hence, if in doubt, I advise erring on the side of too small.)

Q: Everything sticks! I cannot get anything done!
A: The dough should contain as little flour as possible, as long as it’s workable into a shape. Too little flour, and it will stick to your hands. Too much flour, and the gnocchi will taste floury. Neither outcome is acceptable. How to handle that?

  1. Minimize moisture. The less water in the initial mix, the less flour you need to get to a workable point. That’s why you squeezing the ricotta is paramount. That’s also why you shouldn’t add more egg.
  2. Learn to live with stickiness. It’s OK if the dough is a little sticky – to manage this, just roll the dough pieces in additional flour until the outside isn’t sticky. Who cares about the inside? Then, after cutting the gnocchi, toss them in flour and shake them, so that they are coated by a uniform thin film of flour – not too little, not too much.

Q: Gnocchi takes up a lot of space!
A: Yes. You will need a wide counter to make gnocchi. As you produce them, arrange them in neat rows so they don’t stick to one another. Once made, you can do one of three things:

  1. Cook them right away, yum
  2. Leave them out to dry counter. Once dried, they don’t stick to one another and they should last a long time in the fridge.
  3. Freeze them. Gnocchi freeze very well. You will need some sort of trays (I use aluminum pizza dishes). Once frozen, they no longer stick to one another and can be stored in ziploc bags. A one-quart ziploc (50-60 pieces) is about right for two people.