Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From the Kitchen of Keenan

Lately, Conor & I have been spending lots of time in the kitchen!  I was getting tired of our same old recipes, so I wanted to start making things I never had before and doing it completely from scratch.  There were delicious triumphs and couple of so-so dishes, but regardless of the outcome, the cooking was fun!  In fact, one night Conor & I had a spur of the moment dance party in the kitchen.  Taio Cruz, Katy Perry, empty bottle of wine, flour covered counters, sink full of dishes, full bellies: Quite. A. Night!

Here are few things that were recently cooked up in our kitchen:

French Onion Soup
With my new love of french onion soup taking over my life, I decided it was time to make my own!  As a wedding gift from my girlfriends in Delaware, I recieved a "Cooking for Two" cookbook, and here is where I found the most delicious recipe.  It has thyme in it (my favorite herb) which adds a nice touch.  I went to Whole Foods to find all my ingredients, and the people working there were so helpful.  The cheese guy & I chatted it up while he talked me through what would be the best option to melt over my soup.  We decided on an aged swiss gruyere, and then he convinced me to buy a massive block of it, much more than I probably needed...  There never is a shortage of cheese in the Keenan household, we love it!  Then the wine guy caught me scouring the white wine section and offered his expertise.  I told him what I was making, and he was so excited because apparently that is his favorite soup too!  He then divulged into telling me what wine would just be perfect. Of course it cost more than what I was initially looking for, but he was impossible to turn down.  That makes Whole Foods: 2, Laura: 0... but happy.

The recipe was fairly easy and didn't take too long.  Conor came home to a wonderful smelling house, and then helped make some delectable sandwiches to go with our soup.  Everything was oh so good, I am very excited to make it again soon.  Here are the finished products!

Infused Tequilas
This is one of my other new obsessions!  Inspired by El Que in Spokane, Conor & I decided to start doing this at home.  The first three flavors we picked: blackberry, ruby red, & jalapeno/cilantro.  They were all delicious, but blackberry was the best!  My brother Ryan told me to try blackberry/jalapeno so that might be next on the list.  I also have blood orange brewing at the moment, but it has yet to be sampled...maybe tonight ;-)  We infuse the tequila in a mason jar and then after a week or two we strain out the fruit and transfer it to easy to pour bottles.  Overall quite a fun and continuing project.  If you come for a visit expect the best margaritas you can find, except for maybe Shari's famous marg's; but a strong second best!  My trick: using fresh lemon & lime juice, patron citronage, and adding agave nectar as the sweetener.  We've been serving them up with a salt/sugar mm mmm!

This is my dad's absolute favorite food!  During a trip to New York, I think my dad had gnocchi at every Little Italy restaurant he could get his hands on.  My mom has tried to make it before, but has been relatively unsuccesful.  So, with my go-to chef offering no solid assistance, I was on my own to find a recipe.  The texture of this dish is hard to conquer; if it goes wrong, it's very heavy & leaden.  For my first try at this classic italian dish, I used a recipe (also from Cooking for Two) that uses ricotta instead of potatoes and is supposed to be a little bit easier...hmmm.   It was definitely not easy for me, so I had Conor help me out when he got home from work.  The gnocchi itself turned out pretty good, we got the texture of it right...but the sauce this particular recipe called for was really boring.  Overall, the meal was okay.  I'll try to make gnocchi again but will probably use a different recipe.  Or maybe I need a lesson from an expert?  Our family friend Gary Bloom is supposedly the master of gnocchi, everybody raves about it.  Maybe next time I'm in Spokane he can show me the ways!  Anyway, here's what my gnocchi looked like....

We made a few other fun things for Conor's birthday, but I'll save those for the birthday post!


  1. You beat me to it! I was going to offer up my Dad's services, but it looks like you are already aware of his expertise. His gnocchi is a long standing family recipe and I LOVE them because they're made with cottage cheese instead of potatoes, so they are light and fluffy! They also take a lot of time and lots of patience, but it's worth it in the end. Let me know the next time you are through Spokane and we'll set it up! Plus, Ben and I will make the trip just so we can eat them. (:

  2. Yes, I have been hearing about Gary's gnocchi for years, but have never gotten to try it! I think my mom has already coerced him into teaching her, so I will have to join. I'll definitely let you know of my next trip would be so great to see you!