Daring Cooks: Its premier time!

For the past few years, I've proudly been part of the Daring Bakers. Heck, I'm proud that I was a Daring Baker before we became the Daring Bakers. Sure, I've had my complaints about the challenges from time to time, but I've gone along with all of them, and done them regardless of whether or not they were sweet or savory.

So when Lis and Ivonne announced that we would be having a second group, independent of the Daring Baker's, a group that was about cooking instead of baking, I was in. I like to think I'm a decent cook. Not a chef, but a cook. I have the occasional disaster, but mostly I do fairly well and get good reviews from my meals.

Still, if the Daring Bakers made me conquer my fear of melted sugar, what could the Daring Cooks do?

For their first month, they sent me somewhere I would not have gone on my own, making ricotta gnocchi, (from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.) I'd have made gnocchi eventually (it is still on my to-do list), but I'd have never thought of making ricotta gnocchi. It just does not seem like something that would appeal to my family. Which was my first thoughts upon reading the recipe, "Oh boy, they are not going to like this."

Still, I pressed on. And learned something important.

I suck at hand forming a soft ricotta gnocchi.

Does that look like something even remotely edible to you?

Me either.

Which is why after butchering 9 gnocchi, I pulled out some spoons thinking, "I can't possibly make them worse."

Which was a good idea. I continued dropping a small amount of the dough into the flour, then would pick one up gently and essentially roll the gnocchi from one spoon to the other, over and over again, until I had a nicely shaped gnocchi that wasn't too floury.

A major improvement, but they still do not look very appetizing to me.

Nor did they appeal to my guys, but being true Daring Baker testers, they stepped up to the plate, literally, and became good Daring Cook's testers.

My little guys tried one gnocchi each, served very simply with just the butter 'sauce'. No go, they didn't really like them.

My 'big' guy, the hubby, actually tried three of them. He and I agreed: they taste much better than they look, but they didn't appeal to either of us. I doubt adding in more of a sauce would have done it, it was more a textural dislike than a flavor.

Like my comparison photo? Don't mind the wrinkles, I'm testing out my homemade light box still, made with the help of my father-in-law and brother-in-law, and had not yet gotten lights or broken out my iron to clean up the fabric when I took this picture. It's an ongoing project right now.

So my first Daring Cook's challenge is over (phew!) and now I get to wait for the next one to show up in a few days! Which reminds me, I should get moving on my Daring Baker's challenge, which I am still participating in.

If you are surfing around the blog worlds today and see a mountain of little white gnocchi, don't worry, you aren't crazy, you have just stepped into Daring Cook's land. Stop in, leave a comment, and then head over to the Daring Kitchen, pull up your Daring Kitchen mug (Lis and Ivonne, I know we have t-shirts and aprons and underwear, do we have a mug?) and sign up to join us for the next challenge.

Big thanks to Ivonne and Lis for inspiring us, pushing our boundaries, getting us cooking, all that fun stuff! You can find this months recipe on their sites (okay, not Ivonne's yet, but when her pc is feeling better, it'll be there.) Don't forget to tell them I said hi if you go visit!


Anonymous said...

Too bad you had a tough time, at least you tried!

Megan said...

Awww - too bad they didn't turn out the way you'd hoped. Kudos for attempting them - I still haven't conquered them on my to-do list.

BC said...

Groan, I forgot the day and don't have pictures of my albino plops! I'll try the recipe again this weekend.

Elle said...

Jenny, the two spoons thing is a great idea. I used my floured hands and the results were not very pretty. I liked the chard that I served with the gnocchi better than the little puffballs, but they were still cheesy, so good in my book.
Neat about the homemade lightbox project! Go girl!

abby said...

'tis sad you didn't like them but at least you know now! my favourite bit of the challenge was making my own ricotta.

Kim said...

I tried the Ricotta gnocchi too and I agree that the texture was different. I enjoyed mine, but I like Tyler's potato gnocchi much, much more.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Somewhere down the line Jenny I'm thinking something you did here will help with something else and be a surprise, at least that's what usually happens for me.

Audax said...

Bravo you have already picked up new skills (using two spoons to shape a very delicat batter) and the difference it made is superb. The challenges are all about new skills and pusing our comfort zones. You will be surprized how one set of skills in cooking/baking can be transferred to another area this is the biggest assest of the DKitchen challenges. I like the pixs. Excellent job on this #1 DCooks' challenge. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Lisa said...

Mine didn't turn out too great either, but skewed photo angles can hide it somewhat..LOL I think yours look great nonetheless, and I would eat 'em! Hopefully next month's DC challenge is something less 'pasty' :P

creampuff said...

I have to agree with your review. They were okay, but are they better than potato gnocchi? No way. Congratulations on your first DC challenge!

beach real estate said...

well you had a tough time with it.. at least you did your best