I spent a few hours yesterday cooking. I wanted to try Nick's Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe from his blog, Macheesmo, and Jess's Pumpkin Empanadas recipe from her Vegan A Go-Go podcast that I watch. (I watch only two cooking podcasts; Vegan A Go-Go and Maangchi's Cooking Korean Food podcast. I made Maangchi's hwajeon once, but I don't think I made it well. They looked pretty, however!)

Anyway, while waiting for things to cook/cool/etc., I ended up roasting some pecans as well. I had so much leftover empanada filling that I made a pie, too. I'd say it was a productive day.

Details and results as captions; read on!

One of the reasons I have problems following recipes (besides my inclination to "make it better" without ever having tried it all the way through first) is because I don't know how big a "medium-sized" anything is. What I think is large or medium or small may be very different than what the recipe-writer thinks. Although Nick said "2 medium or large sweet potatoes" in his ingredients list (which could mean anything, to me), he also included a picture of how much he used, and basically implied that it didn't matter, 'cause you just add enough flour to get the gnocchi dough to the right consistency anyway. Pictures that go along with the recipe's steps? Awesome. Pure awesome.

...but despite Nick's detailed pictures and instruction, I think I didn't add enough flour to the mix before trying to form the gnocchi. They were pretty sticky and soft when I tried to roll them out on the floured cutting board. But, I say "good enough." I have so many! They're tasty even without cooking them.

I call myself lucky that this was about the only mess I made throughout the day.

Here's the gnocchi served. I made a butter sage sauce and garnished with fresh sage. It was absolutely wonderful with sage! The sweet potato flavour is very subtle, but the sage accents it well, and the butter wasn't overpowering.

Jenna at ModernDomestic was featured on the Washingtonian's Blogger Beat a few days ago. I'm on Twitter now (I know, shoot me), and I follow her. She had tweeted about this feature, saying that her kitchen really was that small. I had to see. I had to see what other people consider to be small. Because, as you can see, I think mine is smaller. I have a clean pan, a dirty pot, a greased cooking pan thing, my bowl with dough in it resting on the lip of the sink, a cutting board acting as a countertop, a countertop acting as a drain and a countertop, and the sink full of hidden dirty dishes. This is the extent of my kitchen. It used to be a closet right next to the front door (I live in a converted hotel). All of my big kitchen supplies (think crock pot, rice cooker, blender, etc.) are stored in the walk-in closet that leads to the bathroom.

If you feel particularly moved by my hardship, you may donate an apartment to me, preferably with two kitchen sinks, an island, and a large freezer separate from the refrigerator. Throw in a kitchen aid or a breadmaker, too, and I'll knit you an awesome scarf.

Here's me overfilling my empanadas. I didn't have pumpkin, so I used acorn squash and butternut squash all mashed up together. I made the dough a bit too thick; I'll make 'em thinner next time so I can fit more filling in. Or, I was thinking of splitting the filling and turning half into the dough and the other half into the filling, so the dough would be, like, wicked-awesome tasty. But, still, this recipe was very tasty, incredibly easy, and versatile. They're almost better than burritos! I can see baking scrambled eggs and cheese in these, too!

The finished product. I only had one packet of yeast, so I couldn't do the full recipe (which makes 16).

With or without enough yeast for the dough, I still had way too much filling. I don't know what I did, but the pie doesn't taste all that good, and the crust was not exactly yummy. But, I'll eat it anyway. I just won't subject anyone else to it!

This is my first attempt at roasted pecans. They were good, but a little overburned. Even so, they were hard not to eat throughout the day. I was happy when my friend finally arrived and almost finished them off. These things are dangerous!

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