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Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

This weekend is prime tomato season, so we’re putting up sauce for the winter!  We’re also making another batch of Bread And Butter pickles and lordy-lou the house already smells awesome from Hannah’s Buttermilk Bread.

* Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce
* Bread and Butter Pickles
* Finishing touches on Limoncello
* Paella with Chicken and Fresh Littleneck Clams
* Spanikopita with Braising Greens and Fromage Blanc

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Weekend Foodstuffs: August 15-16

Here we are mid-August and into prime tomato season. So what are we making this weekend? KETCHUP!!!!!

* tomato ketchup
* peach boubon preserves
* pepperoncini
* pickled hot peppers
* pickled eggplant

What are you making this weekend?

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It is going to be another ambitious food weekend in our awkwardly shaped kitchen. Jam-making, pickling (with compromise),  the season’s first cherry tomatoes, and fire-escape grilling with friends are slated.

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Bread and butter pickles (for Hannah)

Pickled beets and eggs (for Matthias)

Blueberry jam

Ice cream sandwiches

Homemade pasta

Modified muhammara

Spiced beef kebabs

Chopped salad

and

Corn on the cob with compound butter

Pictures and a recipe will follow on Monday. Let us know what you’re up to in the kitchen this weekend!

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You sit and you sit and you wait around for water to boil and for the San Georgio pasta to finish cooking to a point where it’s no longer a moderately hard, possibly still slimy, wholly inedible mess, and you think to yourself, My God, there must be a better way.

You think that when you pour your pasta sauce on top; a thick mess, with the same flavor as last time, with the expected sweetness of King’s Table Syrup and the richness of a penny.  It has an odd greasiness, the source for which you just can’t place and it just sits there on top of your not quite fully cooked pasta and looks back at you.  You’re vaguely reminded of the Nietzsche quote about the abyss looking back at you.

The cheese, for so it is called on the plastic container, is pulverized; a dairy blizzard contained in the petrochemical container.  You shake it onto your pasta with sauce and winter comes to Pastaland.

And then, in a flash, you are transported.  The world is new, your kitchen is bright.  You have in front of you, a pile of flour and a carton of eggs.  You have the makings of a dough, and inexplicably, you begin to put it together:  flour, eggs, elbow grease.  The dough, a thick, plastic substance in a lump, looking at you, expectantly, like an ominous sort of nineteen fifties B-movie monster baby, that looks cute, but will kill you at a moment’s notice!

Relax, that’s not the case!  You don’t need the fire extinguisher, Steve McQueen.  Just let it sit for a bit.  You’ll see.

After it has melded and you’ve finished your drink (because that is important while cooking.  Be sure you’ve gotten some whiskey or some wine), you get up, fire up your pasta press and you run your pasta dough through it, a very zen action.  In.  Through.  Fold.  In.  Through.  Fold.  In.  Through.  Fold.  When it’s smooth enough, you turn it down, to a smaller setting, and smile devilishly, as you begin to consider your pasta as the Chief guard from the Temple of Doom.  He doesn’t have a chance!

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Thinner and thinner the pasta gets.  You have some problems here and there, but it gets easier and it gets smoother and it gets better and better and soon, you have an edible curtain of egg and flour.

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What to do with it though?

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You have fresh, local, organic zucchini and garlic scapes in the refrigerator and a jug of olive oil on the counter.  Some salted water, two minutes and a quick saute of the veggies later, you have an amazing new meal that will fill you up, help you sleep and give you some vegetables.  You shave a bit off the block of Parmesan that materialized on your table and as you take a bite, the crisp scapes snapping under your teeth and the zucchini, soft and a bit salty from the cheese, with a touch of oil to smooth it all out…

Homemade tagliatelle with zucchini and scapes

You wake up and look at your plate of industrially manufactured “pasta sauce.”  It was all a dream, there was no such experience.

But there could be.

Pasta
serves 2 generously

2 cups of flour
2 large eggs

Pour flour into large bowl (if you’re ambitious and have no fear of insane messes on your counter, pile it up on your counter).  Make a well in the center.  Add your eggs.  Use a fork to gradually incorporate eggs into flour.  When it becomes too thick, switch to a wooden spoon or your hands.

Form dough into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap, rest in fridge for 30 minutes.

Break dough into quarters to run through your pasta maker (note:  if you don’t have a pasta machine or want to be like the Italian mamas, slap that thing on the counter, and use a rolling pin.  That’s called doing it old school.) Be sure to have plenty of flour around, in the event that your dough is a little too sticky.  Thickness and width of noodles should be to your own preference.

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