Taste3 that is. Yesterday was busy, quite busy, actually stupidly busy. Aki and I normally cook for small crowds. We cook on the small scale and do most everything ourselves. We were just reintroduced to the other side. The side where we need to figure out how to do a canape for 300 guests. A side where our contemporaries, our friends push us to excel, to make sure second best does not get any further than the bin and that fine tuning is done to the last second so that we can try and excel and create great food.
I make gnocchi. Not traditional gnocchi, rather many varieties of gnocchi made with Methocel. For the event last evening we were serving ranch gnocchi with smoked and crispy cocks combs, bee pollen-grains of paradise and garlic-celery leaf puree. I will go further into the dish and the event and the people soon, I hope. We are trying to relocate west and time is moving faster than I thought was possible. The story I wish to tell revolves around the gnocchi themselves. The basic gnocchi base is relatively simple. Yet, I managed to mess it up twice. And mess it up I did. We were making the ranch gnocchi and the first base was grainy. I could blame the cheese. It was not the one I wanted. However, I am smart and have a bit of common sense and should have worked and adapted to the ingredients. Yet, I did not. Back to the drawing board. I refashioned a recipe and swung for the fences. What a miss it was.
Now, time was getting short. The other chefs were organized with their dishes together and their stations set. Aki left me alone. I had the look. I was frustrated with myself because the gnocchi should have been fine. They should have worked. They should have been a no brainer. They were not and I had just over an hour before the event started to go from start to finish with the gnocchi. My first two failures actually taught me a fair amount about what I wanted with taste and flavor from the gnocchi. I put my head down and soon Aki emerged from making sure everything else for the dish, the station and what we needed to get done for the event was completed to make sure I was going to make it. I was there. I was not able to do it alone. I was helped by a number of the cooks in the kitchen of Mondavi winery as well as the exposure to the other chefs who were producing creative and polished dishes. The gnocchi came together. In fact, the flavor, texture, and taste of the final gnocchi is what we were going for. It just took three times to get it to taste right.