Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bowties optional

So I tried my hand, so to speak, at making pasta yesterday. After reading some recipes, tips, and discussions online, I decided that while it looks so cool when Mario Batale makes the pasta using his fingers, I am not a trained chef who makes pasta by hand for a living. I'm not even someone who's been in a room where someone else made pasta by hand. Thus, I used my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer with dough hook. Besides, it needs to earn its rent for the valuable counter space it takes up.

Basic Pasta Dough
2 1/3 cup AP Flour divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil

Mix 2 cups flour with salt in mixing bowl. In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.

Slowly add remaining 1/3 cup flour while kneading dough. Knead till dough is smooth and elastic (if by hand approx 8-10 minutes; if by machine, eyeball it.)

Cover and let rest 10 minutes. (This is enough time to clean up!)

Divide dough into fourths. On lightly floured surface, roll each fourth into a 12"x12" square, keeping remaining portions covered until rolled. (I used a rolling pin. If using a pasta roller, then follow the machine instructions.)

Cut into desired shape. (I made farfalle, or bowtie, by cutting the squares into 1"x2" pieces and pinching the middles. Andrew helped pinch.)

Cook for a few minutes in lightly salted water, if eating right away. Homemade pasta does not take as long to cook as packaged pasta, so 2-3 minutes should do it. (More on this later)

If choosing to store the pasta for later use, dry on a cooling rack (I used cookies sheets but will use racks next time as the pasta didn't dry evenly) or hung over clothes hanger overnight, till completely dry. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or dry at least 1 hour and store in airtight freezer container in freezer up to 8 months.

Okay. I dried itovernight. This morning I made myself a small test serving of pasta and added pesto. I cooked it for aout 5-6 minutes, testing along the way for doneness. I think maybe it took so long because they were a little thicker and had dried overnight. But it looked pretty.

And it tasted good. But it was a little thick. Reminded me of Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings. I need to roll it thinner next time, or until I break down and get a pasta roller. I did enjoy the rolling part though, so we'll see.

I may try using wheat flour next time (healthier). Or maybe using egg replacer (vegan). Or tomato paste(yummy). The possibilities are endless.

David gave me a sort of compliment the other, or just a nice observation. He pointed out that we don't need much pantry space anymore because I make so much from scratch these days; we just need enough space to store flour. He notices. :-)

Andrew made up a snack last night and wanted to photograph it. He thought it was yummy.

Andrew's Snack
2 saltine crackers (we like Wheatines)
Peanut Butter

Spread one side of each cracker with PB. Add raisins and craisins. Lay one cracker on top of the other, PB side down, forming a sandwich. Eat it all up!

He said it was delicious. I didn't get a bite.
I'm now wondering if he thinks that everyone takes pictures of their food...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Waffles - It's what's for dinner

OK, I know I totally stole that tag line from the Beef Council, but it just stuck in my head.

Last week, Andrew & I made Belgian waffles. From scratch. Whipped egg whites and all. They were so good. It made a large batch, so we ate a couple then froze the rest to have for breakfast throughout the week. Then, David discovered them, and decided they would be great for dinner. And late night snack. (They were a tasty snack, I confess.) Thus, alas, our frozen waffles did not last 24 hours. Andrew polished them off the next morning for breakfast.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to do it again, and add some cinnamon. They were delicious. Just so happens I had fresh strawberries and a carton of whipping cream in the fridge. You see where I'm going with this, right? So, we had cinnamon waffles with strawberries & cream. For dinner. Andrew didn't notice that I did not add sugar to the fruit or the cream. He called it dessert for dinner. Hey, I'm not going to argue. It even looked like dessert:

He had waffles for breakfast this morning too. We still have some in the freezer. Maybe it's because David isn't here to help eat them.

I just used the recipe in the KitchenAid stand mixer booklet. Yesterday we added 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Now, I'm thinking of making pasta for dinner tonight. From scratch. I love my stand mixer.