Monday, February 19, 2018

Gauguin Gnocchi, served up with a Book Review

Quite a while back, I ordered up one of the Nook deals that occasionally pop up on my e-reader.  This deal gave you the first three books in a series by Estelle Ryan.  The novel I'm sharing with you today is the first in that series, The Gauguin Connection.

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These novels sat on my e-reader for nearly a year (maybe longer) before I finally got around to opening this one.  Now I am kicking myself for waiting so long and for wasting so much time.  I read this on the airplane while traveling to California.  The trip went by in a flash, so engrossed was I with this well written novel and the characters portrayed.

The protagonist is Genevieve Lenard, an extremely intelligent woman who suffers from high functioning autism.  Doctor Lenard is an unparalleled expert at reading non verbal cues and as such has been hired by an insurance company to study footage of clients who are making multi million dollar claims.

The novel starts with Dr. Lenard meeting a police detective who is a friend of her boss and mentor, Phillip.  Phillip is the closest thing to a "friend" that Genevieve has.  There is mutual respect and trust so when Phillip asks Genevieve to work with this detective, Manny, she forces herself to listen and agrees to work with him in a limited capacity.

The best laid plans......Dr. Lenard soon finds herself surrounded by "criminals" who insinuate themselves into her life.  There is Colin, the handsome and charming art thief and forger.  Vinnie his huge, intimidating and loveable body guard and Francine a fashion model type beauty who can hack into any computer system around.

This unlikely crew all end up working together to solve the mystery of who is having forgeries of great works of art created and then killing those young artists that they have hired to paint the forgeries.  

Vinnie, as big and as intimidating as he is, has a very maternal streak in him and spends his time, while guarding others, cooking and cleaning.  One of the meals he served was his grandmother's recipe for Gnocchi.

I had never made Gnocchi before but this scene in the book made me want to give it a shot.  I found this recipe over at Taste of Home and served it up today for Meatless Monday.  This is also a great recipe if you are abstaining from meat the Lenten Season.

Every nationality has it's version of dumplings.  These "little pillows", as tenderly referred to in Italy, are their version.  I thought they were very similar in technique to Pelmini that I have made with my Russian daughter, Marina.  They are even more similar to Lazy Pierogi, that we make using Frank's Mom's recipe.

I learned a couple of things when making this tonight.  First, I needed about a cup more flour than the original recipe to make my dough able to be worked.  Second, the smaller dumplings were tastier than the large, so I will take better care next to use consistency.  

I used pesto to dress my gnocchi but you can use a marinara sauce, ragu or just toss it with olive oil or butter and salt and pepper.

I am linking up with Foodies Read where my friends and I meet up to see what the others are cooking, reading and eating.  Stop by and find some great reads and recipes.

adapted from Taste of Home

4 large, waxy, golden potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 c. flour
Sauce of choice

Place the potatoes into a pot and cover with water.  Add salt and bring to a boil.  Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.  Drain and spread onto a baking sheet to dry and cool a bit.

Mash the potatoes.  Place 2 cups of the potatoes into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Reserve any remaining potatoes for another use.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the dough hook onto the mixer and stir in the egg and the flour, a half cup at a time, until it is firm and elastic.  Let knead for a couple of minutes and then turn onto a floured surface.

Using a pastry knife cut the dough into pieces and roll into ropes.  Cut each rope into 1" pieces. Place each piece onto a fork, time sides up, and press with your thumb, creating little pillows with ridges on one side and an indentation on the other.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the gnocchi in small batches and cook until they float to the surface, about 7 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a wire rack placed over parchment.  When ready to serve, toss with heated sauce of your choosing.  Print Recipe


  1. I'm going to look for that book, it sounded like my sort of read. Also a good reminder to make gnocchi, it's been way too long. And they're tasty little dumplings.

    1. I think you will like it Claudia. On book 2 of the series now.

  2. I can't wait to try this series! Sounds like fun.

    1. I'm enjoying it. Taking a break though, picked up the next CTB selection.


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