by Linda Kozar
The winds of fall are upon us, rattling dried seed pods in the meadows, rustling precarious leaves of red, orange and yellow on tree branches and sending a hint of chill into the air. The imagery is all around us, and our own memories of years past. Sweet photos of family posed in pumpkin patches. Getting hopelessly lost in corn field mazes. Savoring warm apple cider doughnuts and washing them down with hot chocolate. A bite of a cool, crisp apple. A full moon. These are the hallmarks of autumn, a glorious time of year to enjoy the glories that God created.
Autumn is the time of harvest and is a reminder to believers that to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The chill of the harvest season prepares us for the coldness of the winter season that is coming. Aside from spring, summer, fall and winter, we go through many seasons in our lives. Some bloom with possibilities. Some are stark and lonely. God’s promises remind us that we will pass from the days we are in now into a new season, and that no matter what we go through in life, He is with us. God is with us when the freesia blooms its sweet perfume in the sunshine of spring and with us through the freezing rain of a dark winter night.
Read my latest devotion book, Sunshine for the Soul: Morning Devotions to Warm the Heart by DaySpring, to launch your day with hope and promise.
With the heat of summer behind us, autumn is the time many of us enjoy getting back into cooking and baking. The cooler air stimulates our appetite for beef stews and vegetable soups, breads, pumpkin muffins and sugar cookies. Below is a recipe for an autumn version of one of my favorite recipes, potato gnocchi. Hearty and filling, the sweet potatoes add a sweetness and fall flavor to the dish. There are a variety of sauces one could concoct with this dish simply by adding brown sugar, a hint of cinnamon or maple syrup. Get creative with it. Make this dish your own family favorite.
Send pictures of your gnocchi! I would love to hear from you, and I might even try one of your creative sauces if you share your recipe with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
2 lbs. sweet potatoes (four medium-sized, scrubbed)
6-3/4 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus
extra for kneading and rolling.
1 tsp. sea salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Add the unpeeled potatoes to a large pot. Fill the pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes, and set to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when easily pierced with a skewer (30-35 minutes).
Drain the potatoes. Allow to cool until you can safely handle them and then peel. Run the potatoes through a ricer or pulse in a food processor. Let cool until almost at room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Lightly flour a pastry board or work surface. Use your hands to mix the flour and salt together in a medium bowl, then add the egg and the potato mixture and continue until flour is moistened and begins to clump. The dough will be crumbly. Gather the dough together and press it against the bottom of the bowl until it comes together. Transfer dough to a flour surface and wash your hands.
Knead gently until the flour is fully together (30 seconds to 1 minute). The dough should be soft and a little sticky. Avoid overmixing or the gnocchi will be tough. Move the dough to one side. Flour the surface underneath it and cover with a clean towel or cloth.
Cover two large baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle with flour.
Tear off a piece of dough about the size of your palm. Cover the rest of the dough with the towel so it won’t dry out. With your hands, roll out the dough into a rope shape about ¾ inch in diameter.
Use a knife to cut the rope crosswise into ¾ inch squares and arrange on the parchment sheets. Lightly sprinkle with flour. Cover with a clean towel.
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Cook gnocchi in two batches for about 6 minutes.
Drain and place gnocchi in serving bowl or platter.
1 stick of butter
1 large onion sliced
Add a stick of butter to a saucepan over low to medium heat. When butter begins to melt, add the sliced onion and cook until butter is browned and onion is caramelized, Pour over freshly cooked gnocchi.
There are many variations of sauces that work well with gnocchi: mushroom cream sauce, tomato sauce, spinach, pesto and parmesan, sage butter and many more.
Linda Kozar, author of traditional and indie-published fiction and nonfiction books, novellas and short stories, is also a speaker and podcaster (Along Came A Writer, Chat Noir Mystery and Suspense). Linda and her husband of 31 years, Michael, live in The Woodlands, Texas, and enjoy spending time with their two grown daughters, their wonderful son-in-law, sweet granddaughter Eden and Gypsy, their rascally Jack Russell Terrier.
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