Dinner train bound for nowhere: Kenny Rogers’ Thoughts on Spinach Crab Gnocchi

The secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep. – KR

We all have those nights were you are too tired to go out to eat, nothing planned to cook, no milk for cereal and basically hostage to the pantry and freezer. Don’t get me wrong, I do love using up items in the pantry, something very satisfying, a bit crafty and self-reliant and great dishes can be discovered. Even though pantry surfing might mean more preserved food, I try to add in as much fresh food as possible, to keep the health factor up and the multi-syllabic compounds down. Tonight’s challenge:

  • Crab
  • Spinach gnocchi
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Parmesan and gruyere cheese
  • Garlic
  • Truffle oil
  • Shallots
  • Butter
  • Basil (fresh frozen, pretty handy and better than dried)

Enter Kenny Rogers – if there is one source of advice everyone should have at the ready on their iPod, it is Kenny’s 1978 hit song “The Gambler”.

Back to Crab Spinach Gnocchi


  1. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions, basically boil until they float
  2. Melt butter in pan and brown garlic and chopped shallots. We should have also put the sliced cherry tomatoes in at this point. Hindsit
  3. Add in crab, to warm up and mingle flavors. This wasn’t as lumpy as we hoped.
  4. Grate cheese into pan and add some more butter
  5. Drain gnocchi and add a little more butter and truffle oil to taste

Side Dish: Grilled Romaine with Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

  • Heads of Romaine
  • Reduced balsamic vinegar (we really like the Fini brand in a squeezy bottle – very hand condiment)

Slice Romains in half and grill until a nice char. Serve with some grated cheese, salt/pepper to taste and balsamic.

“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table,
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.”

In case you haven’t guessed. This dinner train really did head straight to nowhere. Total FAIL. The putrid colored spinach gnocchi had an odd taste, faintly metallic (likely due to the iron content and shelf stability adds), the crab tasted a bit like tuna and way overwhelming (but probably would have turned out in crab cakes), we didn’t put the tomatoes in to sauté due to lack of communication and it just looked and felt like mush. So, we should have folded when we tasted the gnocchi, void of flavor despite color green. We should have walked away when we opened the crab and dumped it out and actually did decide to run when it was all done and we took a bite. Bleh. NO amount of truffle or butter could save this. The Romaine was tasty though.

I am not one to waste my calories on things that taste bad AND we had some left over pot stickers and the dear MIL brought over some Vietnamese bo la lot, so we decided to cut bait and eat up some left overs, bo la lot, rice and grilled romaine. Matches made in Heaven – not the most photogenic. Did not taste like iron-maiden tuna on green mush pads.

Back to Kenny Rogers – whenever you are in trying times or feeling uncertain or careening, just sing the song to yourself. I have even been known to warble a line or two in meetings and offer it as advice to my business saavy friends (of whom I have some very talented ones, but never hurts to be reminded). This would also fit well when consoling someone on a less than awesome relationship. I would not, however, recommend running if the law is involved. Because I fought the law, and the law won……

With that, I leave you with his sage advice:

On a warm summer’s evenin’,
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler.
We were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness.
When boredom overtook us,
He began to speak.

He said, Son, I’ve made my life
Out of readin’ people’s faces.
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes.
So if you don’t mind my sayin’,
I can see you’re out of aces,
For a taste of your whiskey,
I’ll give you some advice.

So I handed him my bottle,
And he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet,
And his face lost all expression.
He said, If
You’re gonna play the game, boy,
You gotta learn to play it right.

You’ve got to know
When to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.

Now every gambler knows
The secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep.
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep.

And when he finished speakin’,
He turned back toward the window,
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness,
The gambler he broke even.
And in his final words I found
An ace that I could keep.


One thought on “Dinner train bound for nowhere: Kenny Rogers’ Thoughts on Spinach Crab Gnocchi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s