Giant poufs for Erin’s office

I can’t believe I forgot to mention this, but my poufs are part of a blogger’s home makeover on!

A few months ago, Erin Loechner of Design for Mankind contacted me about getting some giant poufs for her home office.  She was redecorating it and sharing the progress on

Erin is possibly the nicest person on earth, so I was happy to help her out. I made her two gray poufs, and here they are with her DIY shelving.

photos by Erin L.

It was also pretty cool when I saw this reblogged on Swiss Miss!

You can read more about Erin’s home decorating projects here. I will be excited to see the final office reveal.

Also, I have more plans for that rope-y yarn…

Loving: snails and such

Happiness this week is a snail creeping down my neighbor’s house,

or down the driveway,

tiny tomatoes ripening on the vine,

chicken and waffles at Aunt Mary’s Cafe,

and a yarn that’s actually called “Really Big.”

My first time making gnocchi

I pulled this recipe out of Outside magazine, of all places, thinking it would be a good excuse to try making gnocchi for the first time. I figured that since it was in a magazine for manly men (one of my faves, even so), and that it only took up part of one column on the page that it would be easy enough for a beginner. But this recipe is seriously labor intensive, at least by my standards.

Still, I thought it sounded yummy, so I gave it a try.

Potato Gnocchi Tourmalet

You start by baking two pounds of potatoes, which then have to cool so you can peel and mash them. I used russets because that’s what I had on hand, but next time I would use goldens for more flavor.

In a bowl you mix up:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 beaten egg yolks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt and pepper

When the potatoes are cooled and mashed, mix them into the bowl and form a dough ball. Let it rest for 15 minutes.

Next, make the sauce. I really loved this sauce and might use it for other recipes. The sweet chili sauce is a great addition.

Saute in more olive oil:
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

Then add:
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
salt and pepper to taste

When that’s all mixed together, turn off the heat and set it aside.

Set some water to boil for your gnocchi.

Now you get to actually make the gnocchi. You start by dividing your dough ball into four parts. Roll each section into a long rope, about 3/4-inch thick, on a floured surface. I ended up dividing each fourth into another half to get a manageable rope.

Then you cut the rope into 1-inch chunks and roll a fork over them to get them to curl up a little tighter. If I had one, I would have liked to use a little gnocchi roller.

When your water’s boiling, salt it, and start dropping in the gnocchi in batches of 20 or so. They only take a few minutes to cook, and when they come to the top of the water you scoop them up and drop them into an ice water bath to cool.

By this point you will have dirtied every dish in your kitchen and half your utensils. But you’re so close!

So they’re not the most beautiful gnocchi, but they are tasty.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When all the gnocchi is boiled, you’ll add it to a 9×13 baking dish with the sauce, some chopped fresh basil, and 3-4 ounces crumbled feta cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle on 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup pine nuts, and a little more fresh basil. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.

Phew! I am exhausted just typing that.

I was really happy with how this dish turned out, though. It was really tasty, and I can see using the same potato gnocchi recipe to make with other sauces. Maybe pesto or something where you saute the gnocchi in a pan to get that brown crust.