Smidgen, dash, pinch, are words that reflect the way people used to cook, before celebrity chef recipes were set in stone and before people became irrationally fearful that the slightest deviation from a recipe would ruin their dish.
First of all, what is a dash? In baking terms, according to most sources, a dash is about 1/8 of a teaspoon. It is the largest of the three measuring terms: dash, pinch, and smidgen.
A pinch is smaller than a dash and is typically considered to be the amount of a dry ingredient that can be pinched between your forefinger and thumb. Of course this inaccurate measurement has to vary from person to person. To be precise in adding a pinch of salt or other ingredient to your baking, you will need 1/16 teaspoon.
The final mystery amount that sometimes appears in baking recipes is called a smidgen. This measurement is the least used and is also the smallest. A smidgen is about 1/32 of a teaspoon.
The measuring spoons in the above photo were a gift that comes in handy when I really need to be accurate in my baking. But far too often I just do a little of this and a little of that!
Mushroom Saute with Gnocchi-Parmesan and Spinach
Cook's notes: This recipe was adapted from John Besh's book Cooking from the Heart
Using prepackaged gnocchi (freezer section) aids in the ease of putting this pasta entree together.
Recipe serves 2-3
- 9 oz. gnocchi
- 1 TB. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 TB. fresh chives
- 1 cup torn baby spinach leaves (stems removed)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- optional walnut halves
- Cook gnocchi according to package directions, drain, salt and pepper and set aside
- Heat fry pan with olive oil, saute onions, garlic, thyme, chives and mushrooms (about 6 minutes) stir frequently
- Add in chicken broth and simmer until broth is reduced by half (about 5 minutes)
- Add in wine and cook for 2-3 minutes more
- Stir in cream, torn spinach leaves, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and gnocchi
- Coat gnocchi with mushroom wine sauce and heat 5 minutes more on low heat
- Serve with fresh parsley, walnuts and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese