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one food item i’ve longed to make at home is fresh pasta. two ingredients – flour and eggs. so basic. how hard could it be?
many years ago, mike received a pasta maker for christmas with the hopes of making fresh pasta, particularly ravioli. it is a beautiful machine. trouble is, you need a particularly solid surface or counter top with just the right “lip” for the clamp to grab onto. if you don’t get it really solidly tied down, it is a real pain in the ass. our previous two homes haven’t had the right space to set up the machine. because it wasn’t really working for us, the machine went into the basement and we went back to buying dried pasta from a box.
when we started trying to eat less preserved/boxed food, i started buying pasta from a seller at west seattle farmer’s market. it is yummy, but the price adds up. i couldn’t help but feel like i should at least try to find a way to make it work at home.
and…well…perhaps i should have called this post failure #1.
i followed the instructions as described in this video on the williams sonoma site. it seemed easy enough. the pasta maker was easy to set up and i managed to get it pretty well secured to the counter. but, i’d forgotten about the other difficulties. like needing four arms to deal with the dough and the way the dough will stick itself really easily if the sheets are allowed to touch. the demonstrator really breezes through that part in the video.
i wasted at least 1/2 the dough because of my own screw ups. my most common error was not having enough flour on my work surface and/or the pasta maker and not noticing when the pasta was folding on itself and creating a big sticky lump of dough.
nonetheless, i started to get the hang of it eventually. i even managed to get enough fettucine for a meal for mike and i, with enough left over for a meal for one of us later in the week.
it tasted pretty delish. and, i’m stubborn enough that i want to figure this out, so i’m going to try again soon. maybe even next weekend.
things i learned:
1) you really can’t have too much flour on the work surface and pasta maker.
2) it is much easier to work with smaller pieces of dough. i have my greatest successes when i worked with 1/8 of the dough rather than 1/4 as shown on the williams sonoma video.
ultimately, this photo describes how i dealt with the whole debacle.
cocktail to accompany your pasta failure
1 part stoli vanilla vodka
2 parts pomegranate juice
any homemade pasta makers out there have any tips?
i believe that jess has finally convinced me to resurrect the blog.
in the last year or so, i’ve gotten really into food preservation, particularly freezing and canning. it is a great way to extend the summer growing season and have fresh and yummy food available all year long. ideally, i would be preserving local food. however, it is impossible for me to resist the call of all the delicious citrus fruits now in season to the south of us. i recently purchased a metric ton of blood oranges through my csa. it ended up in a bunch of edible forms. in addition to eating them fresh for the last couple of weeks, i’ve made blood orange olive oil cake (yummy!), blood orange vinaigrette for salads, and blood orange vanilla marmalade.
look at those gorgeous jars of pretty, pretty jewel red marmalade. i cracked open a jar this morning and we enjoyed a breakfast of fresh biscuits with blood orange vanilla marmalade and peach lemon jam, which i made last summer. i’m really happy with the flavor. just enough bitterness to balance out the super sweetness. i slightly modified this blood orange marmalade recipe from food in jars.
blood orange vanilla marmalade
10 – 12 blood oranges – enough for about 10 cups, give or take
4 cups sugar
1 cup blood orange juice – any juice will do really
juice of 1 lemon
1 or 2 vanilla beans
2 packets liquid pectin
sterilize your jars and lids as needed, get your water bath going.
place fruit, sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice in a non-reactive pot and get it boiling. some marmalade instructions have you remove the fruit flesh from the pith, but i just toss it all in. it ends up separating quite a bit as it heats up. scrape the seeds from the two vanilla beans into the pot and drop the beans in there too. reduce the temperature and simmer until it is shiny and starting to thicken. most recipes say about 10 – 15 minutes. i cooked this one down for almost 30 minutes as i wanted the peels to get nice and soft. squirt in your pectin and bring to a boil for another couple of minutes. remove the dead vanilla bean bodies at this time. ladle into your sterilized jars with about 1/2 inch headspace. process for 10 minutes. this recipe got me 7 half pint jars and the cute, little quarter pint you see in the photo above.