Wednesday, July 30, 2008

For Christmas I got a pasta maker...

I had been wanting a pasta maker for quite some time, and for Christmas I got one.

Since Christmas it's been neatly folded into it's box, and stored on the shelf.

Until NOW..!

My wonderful husband has subtly been reminding me of said unused pasta maker ever since. For whatever reason (fear) I'm been reluctant to actually try to make pasta. People always emphasize the importance of not letting the dough stick to the machine - so I've always been afraid that there's very little chance of preventing this failure. Thus I had already resigned myself to pasta-maker fear and avoidance. (I think laziness might have played a factor in not opening the box too, but...)

The motivation to finally try the pasta maker was given when some good friend's mentioned wanting to borrow the pasta maker to try their hand at it. Embarrassed at never trying it myself, I decided it was now or never.

Much to my surprise, pasta making was easy! Basically two ingredients: flour + eggs, turns into a delicious feast! And, much to my surprise, sticking never became a problem.

For this first try, I used the recommended pasta from the manual, and served it with a little bit of olive oil, cheese, basil, and cherry tomatoes from the garden.

500 g flour
4 eggs

Place the flour in a large bowl (or on a flat surface), make a well and break the eggs into it. Mix this into a big dough ball, and then let it rest 30 minutes covered with a damp towel. Put the pasta through the machine one fist-full at a time, slowly making it thinner until it is your desired thickness (I stopped at 2), and then put it through the attachment to cut to your pasta size.

Note to self: don't be so afraid of trying new things, don't knock it till you've tried it!

Photography provided by my wonderful husband

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spicy Potatoes

The night I usually see my brother is Tuesday, or as some call it, Wing Night. He supplies the wings, I supply the homemade spicy potatoes.

Baked potato coins were one of the first things I learned to cook, and they've been a wing night staple ever since. This side dish comes together in a snap, and there are an infinite number of versions. The usual method is to sprinkle with cajun seasoning (hence the spicy potato name), but for this batch I used some rosemary and oregano fresh from the garden.

These potatoes end up being a cross between french fries and potato chips. Perfect to sooth the flame of wing night heat.

Spicy Potatoes

1-2 pounds red potatoes
Sea salt for sprinkling
Fresh herbs
1-2 TBS olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Slice potatoes (the thinner, the faster they cook), and place in a large bowl. Coat and mix potatoes with olive oil and herbs. Spread potatoes on cookie sheet one slice deep, and sprinkle with salt.

Bake 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: blueberry pie

I didn’t want to have a whole blueberry pie on hand, since we were traveling over the weekend, so I decided to pull out the mini Le Creuset’s and do individual pies!

These turned out pretty good, and just the right size for a little treat. I also used plenty of chopped lemon verbena from one of the plants on my patio.

I spent all last summer searching for verbena, the best I could do was lemon balm (which is now growing out of control). This spring I lucked out and found a great nursery with lots of interesting herbs. Now my patio is full of (among other things) stevia, verbena, 4 different types of basil. So far, everything has been doing well, we’ll see how they fare in late summer heat. My cherry tomato plants in pots are already starting to protest!

This is my part of the weekly Tuesdays With Dorie blog where fellow cooks produce the same recipe every week. Check there to find all the great entries.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Apple Cheddar Scones

This week's recipe was an easy sell, we are a scone- loving household. I've tried making scones a few times, but in my laziness, I've never given them a fair shot, and the results have generally been less than spectacular.

This scone, however, made everybody happy.

My husband has a weekly male bonding time at a local coffee shop, I sent these along and have been receiving rave reviews ever since.

This was one of the first Dorie recipes that I followed nearly to the letter (subbing yogurt for buttermilk), and the results were amazing. Maybe I should just let Dorie do the work in the future, and stop trying to tweak every recipe. There's a reason she has us all blogging her recipes every week!

I would encourage everyone to try out this recipe, it's simple and delicious. Be sure to check out all the other fabulous blogs who take part in the weekly Tuesdays with Dorie posting. This event is hosted by Laurie of Quirky Cupcake, and this week's recipe was chosen by Karina of The Floured Apron.