I had vague intentions of posting this before the grand move to Bishkek, but, uh, you know. Life gets in the way. Camera cords end up in boxes they aren’t supposed to and precious stateside time is withered away trying to squeeze a piano out of the tiny apartment. Sigh. Rather than trying to edit it, straining to make connections between a train of thought I had several weeks ago with the state my life is in now, I’ll simply present the post as it was written on July 30th.

“As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Donald Rumsfeld, April 2004

If we replace “go to war” with “make gnocchi” and “army” with “appliances”, then Rummy was spot on in describing my cooking predicament today.

In my limited time left in the states, I’m attempting to stay organized and focused by using a list on It definitely helps to remind me of things I need/want to do before I leave for Kyrgyzstan, but I’ve noticed that it’s led to some… well, skewed priorities.

For example? Stuck between necessary things to do like “write thank-you cards” and “back up computer files”, I have vague declarations like “work on moving”, wild ambitions like “buy a typewriter”, and bursts of random thought like “OMG make gnocchi”.

The OMG must have been necessary at the time when I first thought of it because I was hungry and overly excited at the thought of eating a meal consisting solely of puffy potatoes.

Anyway. (Here’s where I make a connection to the Rumsfeld quote)

We all know that to make successful gnocchi, the potatoes must be cooked thoroughly, but not take on too much moisture, and then have to be completely mashed. No lumps, and that’s that.

Every recipe I found spoke of this or that wonderfully efficient potato smashing device, like a ricer or what have you, or else there would be a comment about how “a fork worked just fine for me!”

After several frustrating hours of trying to get my mutant bunch of potatoes to soften, a fork was not working just fine for me. I cursed at my bowl of lumpy potatoes and lamented my lack of a potato ricer. I considered waving the white flag, surrendering after a tiring, though half-hearted, battle.

Then the revelation hit: use my freaking food processor, duh! Mere minutes and I had smooth gnocchi dough. After figuring that out it seemed like such an obvious solution. Use the appliances I have, not the ones I wish I had or might have in the future.

Thanks for the wisdom, Rummy!

– Gnocchi with dill-icious sauce – gnocchi adapted from here, sauce adapted from here, lame pun by me
2 lbs potatoes, peeled (this was five tennis ball-sized red-skinned potatoes for me)
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups flour (more might be necessary)

4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups water (more or less depending on your desired consistency)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tbsp dried dill
salt and pepper (to your tastes, probably at least 1 tbsp each)

– Wrap each peeled potato in tin foil, poke a couple times with a fork, and roast for about an hour – an hour and a half at 400 degrees, until potatoes are soft and a fork easily pierces it.
– Smash potatoes to a smooth consistency using forks, a potato ricer, or a food processor.
– Mix potatoes with egg, salt and pepper.
– Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky, but be careful not to over mix. Divide the dough into five or six sections and roll out about as round as a penny. Cut into little half inch pieces and roll them on a fork to get the cute little notches (or on a gnocchi board, whatever army you have).
– Boil in salted water for about one or two minutes, until they float.

– Prepare sauce by melting butter over medium-low heat in a saucepan. Stir in flour, making sure no lumps remain. Add water and stir to achieve a thin, smooth sauce. Bring to a simmer and add sour cream, dill, salt and pepper. Continue simmering for about two or three minutes.