What's on your plate today?


We love gnocchi, but I've never made it. I might have to try. That looks delicious.
It's not too difficult, you just need a workspace where you can knead the dough and roll it out. The only trick is deciding when it's done. You want to work it just long enough to incorporate enough flour so it's not too sticky. I've made it with sweet potatoes once when we were having non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The key to both the beet and yam gnocchi is to be sure to cook the sage all the way. Raw sage is not good eats!


Santa brought us an air fryer, so I had a couple of friends over on Friday for a Friday Fryday dinner. Air fried French fries and chicken wings started the night, plus onion rings, port cutlets and mac 'n' cheese all fried the old fashioned way. We experimented with air-fried onion rings and pork cutlets, both of which were much dryer in the air fryer. The cutlet begged for a curry sauce or gravy, and the onion rings needed a generous amount of ketchup or more oil in the air fryer.

Air fried wings -- possibly the best wings I've ever had!
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Fried mac 'n' cheese, fried the old fashioned way in a pot of oil!
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Baked jalapeno poppers
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Air fried French fries.
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A friend of mine asked if he could come over and get a cooking lesson, so I put together a menu that was high in flavor and low in technique -- except for the appetizer, which was an experiment in my own culinary journey.


Although this dish would be much better in the summer, I was able to find ingredients that were good enough to make it a hit. Although my friend came over for a cooking lesson, I decided to start with an experiment, and it turned out great. Several years ago I bought a Modernist Cuisine Spherification Kit, but I only used it once. Tonight I decided to try a modern take on the age-old melon and prosciutto by turning the melon into caviar and making a sort of sushi appetizer. I cut half a melon and put it in the food processor until it was smooth, then strained all the pulp until I had a cup of pure melon juice. I added a few chemicals, mixed it with a hand blender, then set it in the fridge to let the air bubbles subside. Using my sperification tools, I made drops of melon juice into calcium chloride laced water, which created a chemical reaction that created a skin on the drops of melon juice, in effect, making melon caviar. I cut out 1-inch discs of sourdough bread, tossed them in olive oil and toasted them in the oven to make a crouton. I wrapped the crouton in a short strip of prosciutto, then filled the inside with the melon caviar, topped it with fresh ground black pepper and a touch of lemon zest. I was pleasantly surprised by the result, and it was a big hit with the guests. It was really labor-intensive, but the result was really impressive.


For the main course, I cooked fragrant sous vied salmon, a recipe from Modernist Cuisine at Home, (my favorite cookbook). I served it with salmon crackling, salmon roe, my secret microwave asparagus, and minute hollandaise sauce; all the while teaching my friend how to do all the steps involved in the process. I picked this menu because it's simple to do, but high on flavor. The sous vied is dirt simple, and the best piece of cooking equipment I own. I bought a whole fillet of salmon, cut the skin off and portioned it into 6-ounce servings. I cleaned the skin and baked it to make a crackling. When we were first married, I'd cook something and slop it on a plate without much thought of presentation or the eating experience. In the last few years, I've been focusing on not only cooking but presentation. Now I strive to ensure that a dish is not only tasty but includes salt, fat, crunch, and savory elements.


For dessert, I reached back to a dish is used to make a lot when I first started cooking, but haven't made in years. It's s a Jacques Pepin recipe for Raspberry Trifle. It's a simple pound cake, yogurt cheese, coffee and berry dessert that is easy to make with prepared ingredients but results in a great combination that no one would ever guess involved short cuts.
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Took some leftover smoked brisket and some leftover sketty sauce.
Absolutely amazing how the flavors came together.

But then again, everything tastes good is sketty sauce


I had 6 hrs of online flight training to do today, but I managed to get some cooking done around the schedule.

This started off as avocado toast but ended up more like an open-faced avocado BLT with a poached egg.

After class, I fired up the smoker and did a few racks of ribs. I tried a new recipe and was pretty happy with the results.