Homage to Michael Chiarello

Needless to say, the meal was excellent and the restaurant just beautiful. They have some wonderful terrace lounge seating which would be a great way to spend an afternoon! By far our favorite dish was the Crispy Potato Gnocchi, English Pea & Tallegio Fonduta, Spring Vegetables, Prosciutto Crisp. We would have licked the plate clean if we weren’t in mixed company!

We were having friends over that next night and I was so inspired I went back up to Yountville and the Napa Style shop, purchased one of his cookbooks, and decided to make gnocci for the very first time. Interestingly enough, Michael’s Bottega cookbook does have a gnocci recipe but it requires you to make it 24 hours before you cook it and that wasn’t going to work! In his Tra Vigne cookbook there was a potato gnocci recipe, that sauteed the gnocci, which was how Bottega’s dish was prepared. This was the recipe for me! Although, in the book, they discuss a gnocci mold/maker that helps you shape the gnocci in the traditional shape. I didn’t know they had such a thing! But I may have to find one!

My gnocci with cherry tomatos, mushrooms and carrots was good but not in the same league as Bottega’s! Could be because it was my first time but the restaurant’s dish had many more complex elements. I did crisp up some proscuitto as well but the fonduta was missing. Practice makes perfect! Would love to get the restaurant’s recipe!

What I liked about my meal was that it was primarily vegetarian. The crispy proscuitto was laid out on top of the gnocci but not integral to the dish. As a side dish, I had zucchini spaghetti which was also ‘borrowed” from Bottega. Delicious!

I continue to eat primarily fruits and vegetables with a little dessert on the side (but not every day)! My new juicer is Fabulous. The green juices I’ve made have been truly yummy. I think about them all the time.

I think other people must think about food as much as I do. I plan out what I’m going to eat every day except weekends. Now that I’ve been eating fresher, I end up having to go to the market a few times a week. And let me say, Trader Joes is just one of the best things going. A six-oz package of blueberries is $2.99 and at Andronico’s a four-oz package is almost $7.00. When you consume as many blueberries as I’ve been, it’s a no brainer!

So in the spirit of firsts, I also made my first pie! I can’t believe I haven’t made one before but there’s always a first time.  Here it is. And it is delicious. And was so simple. Simple and classic. Isn’t that always the best?

Tomorrow night, Roasted Zucchini, Tomato and Mozzarella Torta. Yummy!

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