Let the prepping begin!
For three years running we have cooked Sam's parents a fancy dinner as a Christmas present. For some reason we never get around to making it until the following November. This year's cuisine of choice is Italian.
Last year was French because my MIL had never had a souffle. Sadly, my souffle sucked. It was only the second one I had ever made but the fatal problem was that I discovered at the last minute (like when they were already sitting at the table!) that I did not have the right size cooking vessel. My souffle did not stand tall and proud, peeking over the rim of the French White. It was a little tough, too, and the Earl Grey creme anglaise was just okay.
The lesson learned is not to stress myself out the day of the dinner. I'm all about making things ahead this year.
Tonight I made the gnocchi. I used to be indiferent to gnocchi but then there was that fateful day in L.A. where I had the most amazing gnocchi that had been crisped in a pan after the necessary boil. It transformed them from potato lumps to pillows of deliciousness. I then decided to try my hand at making them and found it it was pretty easy. Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and decided to give homemade gnocchi for Christmas presents. I think I made a triple batch of potato gnocchi and a double batch of spinach and ricotta gnocchi. In one day. I don't think I've even thought about making gnocchi since then and it was probably 8 years ago.
This time the gnocchi will come with brown butter and crispy sage. Maybe with some little squash cubes? Or should I gild the lily and throw in some pancetta?
I also made creme fraiche to use in the dessert. But that's all I'm gonna tell ya. You'll have to come back to see the rest of the menu...