The Daring Kitchen is composed of two groups: The Daring Bakers, which has been baking monthly since 2006, and The Daring Cooks, which has been cooking monthly since, well, now. This is the very first Daring Cook challenge. We were challenged to make Ricotta Gnocchi from The Zuni Café Cookbook. Needing no excuse to buy a cookbook, I ran out and bought it.
When I first read the challenge, I planned on making the traditional recipe. I went back and forth about making my own ricotta. The recipe strongly encourages you to use fresh ricotta and we have store here that sells great in-store made fresh ricotta. I finally decided I was going to make my own ricotta.
But then I looked at the calendar and realized I procrastinated too long and I would have to make this on my one weekend day left: Sunday. It’s hard for me to cook during the week with work and having to get up early. Because I was going to have to make this on Sunday, I decided to make it vegan. You see, I eat vegan 3 days a week on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I wasn’t going to make the gnocchi and not be able to taste it until the next day.
In reading The Alternative Cooks’ Forum, Shelly from Musings From The Fishbowl posted that she made the recipe vegan by using the Tofu Ricotta recipe from Veganomicon. Score! I use that cookbook all the time. She already made gnocchi using the tofu ricotta and suggested we add between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of flour to help the gnocchi stay intact and that we don’t have to treat the gnocchi as delicate as suggested in the original recipe.
Yay! So I made my own vegan ricotta. You can find the recipe HERE. The recipe calls for basil. I didn’t have any, so I used lemon zest. The ricotta came together quickly and easily and I wrapped it up tightly in cheesecloth and set it in the refrigerator to drain.
Earlier in the week Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the author of Veganomicon and other great vegan cookbooks, tweeted (follow her on Twitter @IsaChandra) that she was free for the next 3 hours and shoot her any cooking questions.
pinkstripes: @IsaChandra Okay…cool. I bought fava beans for the first time. What’s the best way to prepare/cook them?
IsaChandra: @pinkstripes Yum. Love them sauteed with creminis & garlic. Hit with truffle oil or salt at the end if you’ve got it.
So that’s what I did. I sautéed the fava beans with cremini mushrooms and garalic, added the boiled gnocchi (which held together marvously), plated it on top of mâche, and drizzled truffle oil over all of it. OMG. I’m heaven. It may not look like much in my pictures but this was really too good.
Thank you to both Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice, the founders of The Daring Bakers and now The Daring Cooks, for selecting the first challenge. I loved making the gnocchi. It was fun! Please see either of their blogs for the original recipe.