Recipe Thursday: Spring Gnudi

A few years ago, when I was in NYC for skool, I desperately wanted to go to The Spotted Pig restaurant because I heard about these gnudi. Sadly, I didn’t make it. But I have the recipe (mwa ha ha) and have been dying to try it out. Thanks to some inspiration to whip up some ricotta for sale (with a little left for us!) I am going to try this today.

They take an overnight to set so keep that in mind. And do look up a picture online, they are gorgeous little enriched pasta balls made of fresh ricotta, egg, parmesan, AP flour, rolled in semolina…then flavored with sauteed veg and cream sauce – I’m drooling already. My Earth to Table cookbook pairs them with ramps, morels, and blanched fiddleheads. Foraging is highly recommended…splendid!

This is gratuitous and delicious with extra bread (garlic bread, hmmm?) to dip in the extra creamy sauce and a vinegar-y side salad (to cut the creamy a bit and make you feel healthier – these are scrumptious but not skinny making). They are little dumplings that ooze out cheese like magick.

Spring Gnudi

Serves 4

Gnudi Ingredients:
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup fresh Ricotta Cheese (find at Rock Bottom Homestead!)
2 Lg Eggs + 1 yolk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp minced fresh chives or wild garlic
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
2 cups Semolina Flour (or more to cover if you need, though 2 was more than enough for this batch in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, covered with foil and refrigerated overnight)

To prepare the day before: In a large bowl, combine cheeses, eggs/yolk, and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth and airy. Fold in AP flour and chives. Season to taste with S&P.

With floured hands, roll gnudi into 1″ balls, place in clean bowl or casserole (spread a layer of semolina on bottom of dish first). Cover gnudi balls completely with semolina, cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, bring a large pot of water to a boil (and start your vegetables below). Add gnudi and reduce heat to simmer. Working in batches, poach gnudi until they float to the top, about 3-4 minutes.

Spring Vegetable:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Butter (or Ghee)
2 cups Mushrooms (local mushroom farms have lovely blue oyster mushrooms this time of year, or even just crimini if you are unable to get the wild goodies), or foraged morels
1 cup chopped Scallions (or shallots), or foraged ramps
1 cup chopped (1-2″) & blanched thin Asparagus (or pea shoots), or other foraged shoots such as fiddleheads, hosta, milkweed, lily)

While boiling gnudi, heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Add vegetables and saute until soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan, drain fat if necessary and use pan with juices for next step.

Cream Sauce:
3 cups Whipping/Heavy Cream
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
a pinch of Nutmeg, and S&P to taste

Add cream to pan juices in skillet and heat over high, cooking until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Turn off heat and stir in Parmesan until well combined.

To Serve: Divide gnudi evenly among 6 bowls, top with cream sauce, then vegetables.

Sounds amazing…I’ll be setting up mine shortly…




{a day to check in with a 9 yr old’s doings}

Another typical day for this sunshine kid – cold homemade cheese and black olive pizza for breakfast, maybe a little Odd Squad or Wild Kratts, then some chores; clean the litter box, open the cold frame/water plants, hang laundry, and then a lot of play. These warm days we’re having right now involve a lot of mud and pails of water, sticks, grass. Swinging. Hammering. Playing in the creek. Or helping Josh do whatever it is he’s doing-especially if it involves the riding mower with the wagon or the wheelbarrow (she’s bound to get a ride), cleaning out the brush, building fences, planting trees.

Big hits: she’s learning to drive the riding mower with supervision (Josh has fantasies that someone else will mow someday), foraging for flowers and soon wild strawberry, cartwheels for days, and more Kiwi/Tinker crates.

Soon we’ll bust out the croquet and bocce (free range bocce is the best). And then there will be baby chicks! They always entertain. And then 2-3 weeks later – more baby chicks! (The layers come first, our new ladies of the homestead, and then the meatbirds). And then Ms. Bloo turns 10! We’ll see what excitement that brings!

Wishing you many beautiful days!

Busy Busy Busy Beeeees…

And just like that we move into Tuesday Happenings…I know, we’re pretty blog sporadic lately – lots of stuff going on. The weather has been kind to us lately and much is getting done. A new cold frame built, fencing for the espaliered white grapes, blackberry lanes, a new elderberry patch cleaned out and planted and a mess of other stuff. Flower foraging is in full swing – I love the real deep foraging aspects of solomon’s seal shoots, milky oats tops, and wintergreen berry but I also love the ‘weedy’ aspect. Eating the things that we’ve always been familiar with and treat as weeds or forgotten greenery (as herbs and food) are a particular favorite of mine – white and red clover, dandelion, wild carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace), yarrow, chicory, violet, pine, forsythia, daisy, the sorrells/docks, raspberry leaf, wild strawberry, milkweed, daylily, bergamot, lilac – the list goes on and I learn new bits everday. Sometimes I learn to eat new parts of the plant, as well, or new ways to eat the bits I already knew.

And Duende learns well, too – whenever she gets bored waiting somewhere outside (like at the horse barn or in a parking lot) we play ‘what’s edible around here on the ground’ and she can generally come up with at least 5 or 6 things right off the bat. She knows some differences, too, between what is edible/good and what is ‘apocalypse food’ (only edible if you need to eat it). Today she helped me forage for fresh violets for our Summer Syrup series and in a few days she will help me forage and clean out dandelions to set up for Dandelion Wine (which won’t be ready until at least September – but I might hold a few bottles back for Winter to see how they age). I made it a few years ago and we drank it young (we drank it all – it was pretty good).

What are the Summer Syrups good on/with? They are great in cocktails (vodka or gin, especially), good on biscuits or pancakes, lovely on ice cream or pound cake. Anything you put syrup on! There will be an everchanging seasonal supply as different foraged bits come into their own. Enjoy!

Special Seedling Edition

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Seedlings are out and about! Some took off like crazy, others are still getting their groove on but many are ready. I know you’re not quite ready but getting these babies in your windows, coldframes, greenhouses have got to be better than keeping them in mine (I’m running out of room – ha!). Contact us directly: to be added to the order form to get your seedlings and plants.

All of our seeds are responsibly sourced, many organic or in the 1-2 Fedco range (never more than 3), and grown with Coast of Maine organic potting or seedling soil. All of our seedlings have moved on to their ‘true leaves’ and are partially hardened. I try to give you the correct names of the particular seed so you can look it up further, if you like, but please don’t hesitate to ask questions about plant care, vegetable size or taste, companion planting, etc, either in the comments below or use the email above.

Seedlings are in 3″ Jiffy pots: $3.00
Right now we have tons of Winter Squash ready to go: Jarrahdale, Acorn, Kabocha, Spaghetti, Delicata, Wee Be Mini Pumpkins, Aunt Ruby’s German Green Heirloom Tomatoes, Vernissage Black Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon Cucumbers, National Pickling Cucumbers, White Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, Orange Bell Peppers, Chocolate Mini Bell Peppers, Summer Squashes: Pattypan, Bennings Green Tint, Lemon Yellow, Zucchini, Tondo Scuro (like 8 ball), Celery, Melons: Blacktail Watermelon, Honey White Honeydew, Cream of Saskatchewan (yellow) Watermelon, Flowers/Herbs: Borage, Black Prince Snapdragons, Black Hollyhock, Johnny Jump Ups

Plantlings are in 1/2 gallon pots: $6.00
Currently we just have Aunt Ruby’s German Green Heirloom Tomatoes and Zucchini available in big pots.

Seed Packets are also still available – $6.00 for a whole gardens worth of seeds, see our earlier post on the Garden combinations (subject to availability and substitutable only by us) – Free Seed Gift with every Seed Packet purchase!

And keep your eye out for companion marigolds, more heirloom tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes, eggplants of different colors and sizes, phlox, herbs such as oregano/marjoram/thyme/cilantro/basil and more of the above as they get to readiness.

Happy Planting and Growing!

Tuesday Happenings

What is happening on this little plot of land? Mostly, our list of things to get done outpaces our getting things actually done but such is this life. I’m getting excited about setting up some Dandelion Wine, Flower Syrups, and Foraged Kimchi. I’m getting seedlings ready for sale and ready to plant. Josh is building a cold-frame, cleaning out and shaping the blackberry rows, and trying to edge closer to the creek. We’re hoping to clean out the seasonal swamp it creates and make it an enjoyable babbling brook (doesn’t it seem more charming to have a little place for frogs and toads to visit than a mosquito cesspool?), I envision little waterside irises and a bench and a bridge, maybe water lillies…with a backdrop of ferns and maples. Dreamy. I wanted to put some gingko’s out there as a sweet little canopy but Josh got it into his head that they are ‘stinknuts’ and is less fond of the idea. My homestead dreams want ducks, too, but I hear they are stinknuts in themselves…hmmm…

But things are blooming nicely here – always a little later on our northside but blooming nonetheless. We’re trying out narcissus and garlic bulbs throughout the orchard as companion plants to ward off foes and invite friends. Their little yellow faces are starting to appear at the same time the tips of the apple flower buds are pinking up! The bees have already arrived for the azalea, dandelion, and creeping charlie. And the garden churns up the midges, and the foraging delivers the ticks (my biggest foe). Let the bug battle begin!

Big D has taken her hand at yard photography this week, and you will be entertained. I think soon we will start doing Black & White film photography & developing together. She’ll love it, I’m sure.

I had a lovely Mother’s Day – my people made me waffles with our new classic waffle maker (thank you JB!), and new apothecary shelves made from the drawers we took out of the laundry room – so cool! And fits perfect! ❤

This week expect seedlings and some healthy plants (some tomatoe and zucchini took off like gangbusters!) for sale, but there are still plenty of seed packet gardens, too. You still have time to plant! I hope you like the spicy kimchi, another varied batch will go in this week. Keep your eye out for the foraged variety. Happy Mid-May!

Monday Musings

“…change is possible…and people can do it, also…people can change themselves…I sometimes feel very sad because the people who have had the power to do so have been incredibly destructive to all of us and to the planet. But I’ve never lost faith in the people who didn’t have that kind of power, who didn’t do that kind of destruction. …the reason I’m here in this, on this hill, and the reason I worked very hard to get out of the city, is because I get energy from the earth itself. I feel that as long as the earth can make a spring every year, I can. As long as the earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can, because I’m the earth. I won’t give up until the earth gives up. Of course, that’s why where we are now is so sad, because you just start feeling the earth has pretty much had it with this species. And with good reason. We have to exert all of our love and all of our energy to try to convince the earth that we haven’t forgotten that she is, it is, home.”
~ Alice Walker

by duende

Recipe Thursday: Bread Book – Harold

The simplicity of Harold. Who is he? He’s not our in-house-special-chef. He’s not our cooking mentor or even family member, though he’s a bit of the latter. No, Harold is the name we give this dish, that is not a dish. If you know us well, you know that we give names to things all the time (the rooms in our house, apple trees, all kinds of inanimate objects – they do have a kind of life after all). This ‘dish’ is no different.

It’s not a prescribed set of ingredients, or the pot that it’s cooked on, or the serving preparations; it’s just a way of things. Some less inspired folk could possibly call it a ‘bread board’ or ‘sophisticated snack tray’ but that would still be sort of incorrect. Harold is also the style of eating this particular meal. Let’s get into it so you can see – it’s not a hard concept, just a hard one to describe.

Harold consists of parts, and ease, and togetherness. It generally can be centered around bread but flatbreads, tortilla chips, crackers, biscuits, lettuce cups, rice cakes, would all work – think stable surface to dip/pile on/slather, etc. Harold does center also around being on the same or very near ‘board’ or serving tray with accompaniments such as cheeses, mustards, charcuterie, cornichons or other pickles, nuts, fruits and vegetables, oil or butter or flavored vinegars, sauces/condiments/spices, but all as a relaxed affair of whatever is on hand or that you desire.

A ‘typical’ Harold for us (children do love the expected) – is bread, brie, olive oil with garlic and a little sea salt, roasted strips of eggplant, orange wedges or fresh tomato wedges, sliced soppressata, mixed cured olives, and nuts or dukka. Though we have had ‘Scandinavian’-style Harold’s (Sven’s?) with salted/cured/creamed fish, sweet pickles and onions, rye bread, roasted beets, capers…we’ve had Mediterranean-style with feta, pita, falafel, hummus, pickled onions, olives…and Spanish ones with specific tapas, and other regionally-inspired boards, breakfast boards with biscuits, honey, jam, butter, bacon or sausage, and oranges, it’s a place for a mini crockpot fondue or seafood dip – the combination and styles are endless and all about your access and preferences.

The key point is to make it fun and easy. It’s a dish to have on a low table, near the fire – or as a picnic in the early evening light, or at the table with a board game while playing records. It’s a meal to collect and connect. It’s an anniversary romantic dinner or ‘date night’ with a nice bottle of wine. It’s a time to savor and share dreams or exciting plans – it’s not a time to talk about serious things.

I bring it up because I’m itching for a Harold. He used to visit a couple of times a month (if not once a week for awhile) but we haven’t seen him in a long while. And Mother’s Day is coming up – whether you are/have/want to be a mother or not, this is a good lazy Sunday meal. End of the weekend, building up for the new week – or even a Friday or Saturday night – whenever you need to take it down a notch. Mid-week crazies? Harold should come to visit. We don’t have weekdays/weekends here – all days are days, so this guy appears when we need him. Or when we want to plan for him.

I’m planning for this weekend. And I know I want some cheese, some cured meats, some veg, some olives, and dukka. Just a classic Harold. And though it is still just mid-Spring here, I’m gonna find a nice bottle of pink wine and relax with my peeps.

Rock Bottom Dukka

Dukka is a Persian spice mix sprinkled onto bread or hummus or roasted vegetables. Here, at Rock Bottom, we use it pretty liberally – it might as well be a full protein option in our Harold. We dip our bread in oil and then dip our bread in the dukka. Use it as little or as alot as you like. The 2 key elements are toasting all nuts, seeds, and whole spices, and grinding them to your preferred consistency.

It is also an easily substitutable mix – we use a classic recipe as a ‘guideline’, heavy on the nuts, the seeds, and coriander, middle ground on cumin and herbs, smaller amount of salt, pepper, and exceptional spices…this last category is a great place to play up your ‘theme’ if you have one – spicy or smoky chili or pimiento powder, sumac, zaatar or ras el hanout mixes, nigella seed, garlic or onion powder, Old Bay or Sazon seasoning, things like that. As for nuts and seeds – classic dukka uses hazelnuts, but I have made yummy dukka with almonds and pistachios, as well – sesame seeds are kind of a must for me though you could use flax, though in place of some of them (and some of the nuts) I also like to add pumpkin or sunflower seeds. The coriander and cumin are best if they are whole seed but it’s not a deal-breaker if you only have ground on hand.

Approximate amounts:
1 cup Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios or a combo of any/all)
1/2 cup Seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower – or a combo of any/all, can substitute all of nuts for seeds if needed)
1/4 cup whole coriander or 2 Tbsp ground (added after grinding all nuts/seeds)
2 Tbsp whole cumin seed
2 Tbsp finely chopped Herbs (mint is classic, but rosemary, thyme, sage, bergamot, lemon balm, oregano/marjoram, basil could also work – dried or fresh, if dried, use 1 Tbsp)
2 tsp Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

*Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a small serving bowl

If you are using already roasted nuts – great, all the easier. If not, chop nuts to coarse bits (I put mine in a zip storage bag and let the child beat them with the flat side of the meat tenderizer) and toast in a Med saute pan over Med heat, turning often being careful not to burn them. Remove to small food processor or mortar. Add seeds, heaviest first, pausing a minute between additions, then whole spices to toast. Mix continually but slowly (or can shake pan as long as seeds still move around), and cook until fragrant and darker in color (if using ground coriander or cumin, add after pulverizing other nuts/seeds). Remove to processor/mortar.

Grind toasted nuts/seeds to desired consistency. We like ours ‘coarse but fine’ -ha! Not like a powder but not full bits, maybe like bread crumbs (not panko). Sometimes I use both toasted whole spices and add ground at the end, too (to taste) and I like to save a few toasted sesame seeds or add a spoon or two of untoasted sesame seeds at the end to cover all the flavor bases and texture. After grinding, add herbs, salt & pepper (more to taste). Leftover dukka keeps pretty well in a jar on the shelf for awhile (I’m afraid refrigeration would add too much moisture) but I would eat within the month or so (untoasted seeds will eventually go rancid). Great for whenever you need a little pizzazz or protein boost!

Enjoy your Harold – feel free to post pictures or comments of your combinations and loves!


{a day to check in with a 9 yr old’s doings}

Secret code love notes, scavenger hunts, sewing babydoll clothes (and repairing home clothes), shaping/baking her own bagels, growing Mexican gherkins, morning glories, and catnip, weeding strawberry beds, official laundry line hanger, seed-bomb making (to shoot with her wooden slingshot – thanks Ian!), new manual lawn mower pusher, bark effigy carving, reading her dog news, newspaper comics, and Bink & Gollie, and she’s obsessed with making ‘hay’ bundles – one to become her first witch’s broom – might try to get her into basket weaving, and pet and nature photography…she’s a busy bee, this one…

Happy Duendesday!


Rock Bottom Happenings

  • Peas, Onions, Carrots, Beets, and Potatoes are in! Yay, Spring! (Alright, not all of the potatoes are in – I have too many, as usual, mostly in the fingerling department so we’ll be doing those in bags and buckets). I’d like to find a good permanent bed for the parsnips and get the smaller raised kitchen bed together so I can get some smaller (Parisienne) carrots and snow peas in.
  • Meanwhile, Josh planted the white grapes and expanded the small beds (essentially combining them into bigger beds, that broadfork is amazing – Thank you!!). I’ve amended the tomato bed with banana peel and compost, I’ll add crushed eggshell this week for the next turn (turning keeps the weeds from setting too). Duende has weeded and hayed the current strawberry beds and we will be adding three more this week.
  • Josh is also expanding the Northern Concord grape and adding another arbor. They will trail lazily from one hidey nook to another and proliferate like the wild monsters they are (but boy, do they make great jam, we’ll try some wine this year).
  • The old chicken coop is effectively dismantled (thank you Josh and Cameron!) and now the new coop can be built from some of the lumber (chicks are coming in a month!) but we did have to dissuade the poor Phoebe who were desperately trying to build their little mud nest in the door overhang of the old coop. Josh put up a shelf on the back of the garage, under the eaves, so hopefully they find that and put it to good use.
  • The Blackberries are being further shaped into more accessible (and therefore hopefully more productive) rows, the leaves are starting to unfold – we will have grape and berry canes available for sale next year- start thinking now in what sunny spot you might want these beauties!
  • And you asked, so we complied – Spicy Kimchi is available. Because this is the first batch, you must let me know how spicy you like it, think it is, etc. The chilis I put in are from the ReVision Energy gardens last summer, pickled, and then blended into this very purple kimchi. Keep your eye out for seasonal changes and additions (I will be integrating some foraging into the Kimchi – I’m thinking cattail and daylily shoots, dandelions, fiddleheads, ramps, primrose leaf and root, daisy leaves right now). We had to get an additional crock to keep up (oh darn!) and to try out some other fermented pickling.
  • Tuesdays are bagel dough making, cracker baking (I’m forever trying to convince Josh of new flavors – speaking of pickles, how about pickle flavored crackers?) and order form organization day.
  • Now that the flowers have started blooming, keep your eye out for seasonal simple syrups – pine, violet, dandelion, forsythia to start, not far behind will be lilac and honeysuckle, then rose, wild strawberry, lavender…oh, I love syrup season! Summer cocktails and mocktails for everyone!!