A Warm Welcome
We’re all about healthy eating here at the office, but it usually requires little more effort than just filling a plate with the delicious food Chef Jane has prepped for us. This week, though, we decided to challenge ourselves and head to Brooklyn Kitchen for a cooking class. From the “What’s that oven thing for?” types — ahem, you know who you are — to those of us who are actually pretty proficient in the kitchen, our BK outing was sure to be an adventure … if only because it was some people’s first time on the L-train.
The class turned out to be a smashing success. Our teacher, Kat Randazzo (an experienced restaurant chef-turned-Mom/personal chef/teacher), was super-fun to work with, and made the class totally accessible for all of us. So of course, we couldn’t keep her awesome insights to ourselves. Check out some of our favorite general cooking tips followed by a kick-a$ recipe for gnocchi (on a bed of greens, to keep it healthy!).
Chef Kat’s Tips and Pointers:
- When sauteeing or pan-frying, place the meat into the pan presentation-side-down, so that it gets the prettiest, brown sear on the side you’ll see when it’s served.
- Let pieces of meat warm to room temperature before sticking them in the oven. They’ll caramelize nicely on the outside and cook more evenly that way.
- Cook a whole chicken in the oven with its legs toward the back. That’s where the heat comes from and the legs take the longest to cook.
Black Pepper Gnocchi with Butter Wilted Greens
2 large Russett potatoes
2 egg yolks
1 cup flour
Salt & pepper
4 tbsp. butter
8 oz. arugula
4 oz. Pecorino cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375. Coat the potatoes in salt (this helps draw moisture out of the potato for a better texture in the final gnocchi) and bake.
- Peel the potatoes while still hot and mash them with a fork or potato ricer. (Eat the potato skins, they’re so good!)
- Add the egg yolks and work into the potatoes with the fork. Knead in a cup of flour until just combined (it may take 1 ½ cups, but add only a cup at first). Season with salt and a liberal amount of pepper.
- Divide the dough into four parts on a lightly floured workspace. Roll each piece into a snake-like log the diameter of a nickel, then use a knife or bench scraper to cut the log into ½-inch pieces.
- Use a fork to gently roll ridges into each gnocchi then transfer to a lightly floured cookie sheet.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi to the water in four batches. They’re done when they float to the top — this should take no more than a couple minutes. Scoop out each gnocchi when it floats.
- When all gnocchi are cooked, melt the butter in a large sautee pan. Add the gnocchi and toss until lightly browned. Add the arugula and more salt to taste, and toss until just wilted.
- Transfer to a serving dish and top with grated Pecorino. Enjoy!
p.s. If you like this recipe, check out Brooklyn Kitchen’s blog for more seasonal recipes.