Homemade Pasta

Well, I did it. Finally. It was easy, and it was fun! It’s strange to hear people saying how “fun” it is to do things in the kitchen, because really let’s face it, sometimes it just seems like a lot of work, and work isn’t always easy, nor it it always fun. But this really was a joy… time consuming, not super quick but a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in the kitchen! I better get to the point of what I did in case you don’t remember what the title of this was. I made homemade pasta today! Okay, here we go…

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Or in this case, more than just one way to make pasta. First of all let’s talk flour. Some say semolina is the only way to go. Some say a drum wheat blend is best, and some say something about flour that I didn’t even know existed. So while I was in search of the perfect flour, which apparntly is non- existent, I decided to use the next best thinf to all of the above. Unbleached white flour. It’s inexpensive, and it was really easy to find. Again, a lot of people who cook, have tendencies to use many different ingredients. I say use what you have available, and use what works for you! In a crunch for time Un bleached worked for me!
Secondly, I learned there are a few different techniques on making the pasta, “well method” and I’ll call it the “bowl method”. A lot of people use the well method, which I did. However, I couldn’t figure out why one would waste or shall I say spend ones time whisking in egg by time consuming egg ( while trying not to accidentally destroy the delicate wall of flour that is supposed to contain the whole process) when one could easily whisk the eggs together and then add them to the flour… in a bowl. So, I naturally tried it both ways. ( this blog is both fun and informational) 🙂 In the end, I think I’d go for the pre whisked egg mixture then incorporate with the flour. However, in the end it’s your kitchen and your pasta so do what feels right. I am telling you right now, it feels right to whisk the eggs first and then mix in the flour. The other way, of cracking one egg at a time, slowly whisking each egg while incorporating bits of flour is really romantic and becomes a labor of love however, I don’t have the patients. And, the idea that homemade pasta should be a very fragile and tender yet tedious experience goes just a bit beyond my comprehension. When something can be done differently, and in my mind more effectively, why not re invent?

Two ways to create oh la la linguini.

What you will need
Flour ( 3/4 cup to each egg) so depending on how much pasta you want….
Eggs
Rolling pin ( if you have a pasta roller, awesome. Use it. If not, the rolling pin is more than fine. It’s some work, but like I said it’s fun) This is also why I would choose to whisk eggs before. You’ll be spending enough time trying to get the pasta to the right thickness, you don’t need to spend your time whisking in flour the size of dust particles, while eggs are trying to drain out side of your well and on to the floor… Okay, that’s a total exaggeration but I’m just saying you’ll spend enough time rolling the dough.

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl, whisk together.
In a different bowl add three cups of flour. Dig out a well in the middle of the bowl. Pour egg mixture in and slowly or quickly ( however you want to look at it) whisk in the flour a little at a time. Until it gets pretty thick and “doughy” you then can start using your hands to complete the mixing/kneading process. You want the dough to feel firm, not sticky. But you don’t want it to be crumbly and dry. I have a video attached for you to view because it’s almost impossible to explain what texture I’m referring to unless you’ve made it before. So please refer to the video.

Once you have reached the right consistency with the dough, continue to knead for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then cover it with plastic wrap and let it set up ( about 30 minutes)

Using a heavily floured ( large surface) cut your ball of dough in to two or three smaller pieces. Using one piece at a time flatten and begin to roll the dough as thin as you can without holes or tears… this is pasta not, swiss cheese. Once it is as thin as you desire( and it should be pretty thin, trust me on this) sprinkle a nice coating of flour across the surface and roll it up so that you can cut it in strips. Once the you cut the whole roll of dough you take the strips and “unroll” them an wither hang or lay out on paper to dry. Let them dry for about 3 hours and viola…. you have just made homemade fresh pasta!!!!


Boil some water with a bit of salt, add your fresh noodles and only cook for about 3 minutes, serve immediately with your favorite sauce. Olive oil and garlic, a meaty bolognese, a traditional tomato, or whatever your heart desires… you just made your own pasta. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Filet with port sauce

After getting back to the states from a long break I have to admit it was difficult to get really excited about anything ( anything except for cooking that is… I discovered quite a few things I wanted to try ) Well, and our dog because our dog is pretty cool! But anyway, it was back to life and to work, or at least it was supposed to be. I was planning on quitting. Let’s just say, I have been less than satisfied at my current job, and that would be putting it mildly. I/we, decided after a long enough time away ( and feeling so incredibly happy in that time) it would be best for me to leave, and find something a little less…. awful?? That was the plan. Then, I got home. I reluctantly went back to work only to find 247 emails (apparently no one received my out of office). As I was weeding through the necessary, and unnecessary, deleting, and then the highly-unnecessary, and then the are you serious with with this… my boss called and said he needed to talk to me. Head in my hands, I thought that’s great because I’d like to talk to you too. I was planning on leaving. Turns out, I was being offered a different position. One that in my mind( which at this point was/is very corrupt) considering corporate america…seemed so much better. So after one conversation, one interview, a talk with my husband( not necessarily in that order). I accepted that new position, proudly. I accepted change, which is always good. I accepted a very progressive change, which is even better. More than anything, I didn’t quit.

And now on to the recipe I promised….. Ooh, and this one is gooood!!

Port wine 2 cups
Beef stock 1 cup
1 shallot
4 tbsp butter
1tsp cracked pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
( you can add herbs, such as a sprig of rosemary, or thyme, or whatever you may like, I didn’t but I’m sure it would be equally delicious).

Chop shallot and lightly saute in pan with butter, until shallots are soft, not crisp. (3 minutes on medium heat)
Once shallots are tender, add pepper and port. Turn heat up to high and let boil, or begin to reduce you don’t want to burn it, but you want to bring it to a light rolling boil (reducing is when you heat a liquid so that most of it evaporates).
Once it is reduced to 1/2 add the beef stock. Once again, let it “boil” a bit and “reduce”. ( approx 20 min)
At this point you can taste it. You can always add a pinch of salt, or pepper if you feel it necessary, I did not. Also, you can add a tsp more of butter if you feel necessary. Remember cooking is an art, it’s about tasting. Recipes are a guideline, not a rule. Be creative, and prepare what tastes good or done to you!
Once your sauce is done, remove it from the heat and strain it through a cheese cloth. ( I didn’t strain mine because I happen to like the look and texture of shallots and cracked pepper however, you know the drill).

be sure you have your perfectly cooked cut of beef prepared, to serve with this velvety, rich, smooth, and unforgettably delicious sauce.

I hope you enjoy!

Ciao fo now,

Writtenwell, or well written.

So tonight I did it! I re-created what we had in a tiny, little restaurant in Rome. Filet al porto. It turned out perfectly.

Lamburgers, roasted garlic red pepper puree and yukon golds with dill

I made Lamburgers, Yes, hamburgers with ground lamb. If you like the distinct flavor of lamb, then these burgers will be a treat. If you’re adverse to a little gamey flavor, then maybe you should stick to the regular hamburgers as you will find these to be a little lame – y. (I’m trying to convey my sense of humor) Either that or, add a lot more salt than I did. And don’t pair it with the velvety, sweet and slightly tart red pepper puree… Which is wonderful for almost anything, except for lamburgers. I’d use a cucumber dill sauce next time, it would’ve been much more well received by the juicy little rounds. I’m not going to say the meal was a wash, because it wasn’t. In fact it was good, possibly even great. Simply put, I typically don’t like lamb, therefore, I don’t prepare or eat it. However, I saw it at the grocery store, and it looked different from the norm, so I wanted to give it a shot.

Basic Lamburgers:

Ground lamb
A few cloves of chopped garlic(minced
one small chopped onion (finely chopped about the size of a clementine, or 1/4 cup)
Breadcrumbs about 1/4 cup
one egg
salt and pepper to taste ( I didn’t add enough salt)
Mix the ingredients together and form into patties ( I made mini lamburgers, because small things are so great, and I’m not even sure why) they look great and are very easy to eat, but go ahead and make the monstrous patty that would make a grill drool. Remember it’s your dinner, your experience, your reputation, and if it doesn’t turn out, you can say it was a bad recipe you got on line. No ownership, no accountability, nothing lost except the cost of the dinner, and quite possibly a few appetites ( depending on how many burgers you’re trying to serve) Set prepared patties aside
Preheat oven to 475
Place red pepper in a pan with olive oil, bake turning every 10 minutes until very soft ( 30 min)
remove form oven and let cool. Once the peppers are cool you can skin them. First remove the seeds, and the stem, then remove the pulp from the skin. Put the pulp in a food processor, add a few splashes of olive oil, a clove or two of garlic, and a pinch of salt ( blend with whatever you have food processor, immersion blender) you want it to be a paste in the end so whatever you have that will produce the desired outcome. So much of cooking has to be improvising, because not all of us have the same equipment, so we have to use our imaginations… and how sweet it is when we try one of our own ideas, and it works!!
Boil Yukon gold potatoes, for about ten minutes, or just until a little tender ( you don’t want them overcooked, otherwise you’ll be making mashed potatoes)
toss slightly boiled yukon’s in a bowl with butter and a few pinches of salt. I like butter, once again, it’s your food… at least two tablespoons… go up from there, or stay at a safe, and decently tasting two.
Broil on high( about 6 inches from heat source) until potatoes are a crisped golden brown. Remove from oven and dust with fresh dill. These were undoubtedly the highlight of this meal as far as I was concerned.
Back to the patties get them cooking:
Okay, so while the patties are being, grilled, fried, broiled, whichever way works best for you ( I fried mine because we live in MN and it’s 7 degrees outside) but if you’re fortunate enough to be able to grill, I recommend it.

After all that, viola Lamburgers, Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper puree, Yukon Golds, with dill.

On a scale of one to ten I give this a 10 on effort and creativity, and I give it a 6 on flavor.

If you try it, let me know what you think.
Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

Mini Lasagna Rolls almond, garlic beurre blanc…that turned out… perfectly!!

I started these lasagna rolls yesterday but had to stop due to life happening… like I said it was one of those days. I will save the story for another time. What I am going to tell you is how I made mini lasagna rolls… a little something I though of while making lasagna, rather than throwing out the extra pieces of pasta.

What you’ll need,
Everything you use to make lasagna, meaning, your cheese mixture, noodles and a baking pan.
My lasagna requires:
Ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and Romano cheese.
Eggs, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
Lasagna noodles.
Almonds, crushed( it’s really easy to crush them with a rolling-pin)

Minin Lasagna rolls, garlic and almond beurre blanc


Once I’m done making the pan of Lasagna, and I;m left with extra noodles I cut them in threes ( length wise)
I use the cheese mixture that’s already been prepared, I like to add sautéed Italian sausage to the cheese mixture, it adds a definite zing to the rolls!
Wrap noodle around about a tablespoon of stuffing. Place seam side down, in lightly oiled baking pan. Cover and Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.

When Lasagna rolls are done baking:
Make a garlic beurre blanc.
Santee garlic and shalots in about 1/4 cup of white wine. Once it cooks down, turn the heat down to low and whisk in chunks of chilled butter, one piece at a time ( use about 5 tablespoons) you may need to add a little heat, to continue melting butter but don’t add too much, you don’t want to break your sauce. Once sauce is finnished to your liking, salt to taste.

Plate lasagna rolls and lightly drizzle with beurre blanc. Top with crushed almonds….

Viola…. You have just made a delicious,gourmet meal!

… and sometimes things just turn out!

Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

Chocolate Truffles Simple, and Delicious

I told you yesterday I would be making Truffles in the Suburbs. If you’ve read an earlier entry on the review of Lindy’s you know what I feel about the Suburbs. However, my sister lives in one of the many that seem to surround our city. So, often I have to make the trek, pack a lunch, fill up with gas, and get a map to make it there… And that’s just to get in the general area. Once, I get to the City of Chaska, It’s a crap shoot on which house it is… I pass by neighborhood’s one through 7 and know I’m getting close yet, I still have to call my sister(partially my fault, I get her house numbers transposed) to ask ” exactly which one is it again?” and then Boom, theres the inevitable house clone farm… block after block. I could pull in and ring door bells for an hour, and still be wrong. So I call again, feeling like a total idiot… She answers… ” It’s the white one, with shrubs out front, you know the paved drive way, there is a SUV parked in it.. We just put up a fence.. ” Still, am wrenching my neck to see which white fence she could be referring to.. Alas, I made it. And we made truffles. They turned out great! And they really are easy to make! Please do keep in mind, I am not a Photographer…..


Truffles:

Chocolate Truffles with White chocolate drizzle


1 cup whipping cream to 1-1/2 lbs. milk chocolate OR 1 cup whipping cream to 1 lb. dark chocolate
Break up the chocolate into pieces so it will fit into a microwave safe container for heating. Keep a few small chips out to add at the end once the chocolate is melted.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Do NOT over heat. You will need to stir it regularly as the good chocolate will retain its shape as it is softening. (See instructions below, although I have never used a thermometer when melting the chocolate)
Scald the whipping cream on the stove while the chocolate is melting.
Once the chocolate is melted add the remaining chips and stir until melted. Transfer mixture into the bowl for your heavy duty mixer.
Add the scalded cream a little at a time while the mixer is on. Mix well.
Add the flavoring oil to taste. Start out adding a little and taste. The Lorann Oils are very concentrated so be careful. The amount to add will depend on the amount of chocolate you are making and your personal preferences.
Mix well until the mixture is very smooth. Cover and refrigerate several hours until mixture is firm.

To prepare for rolling the truffles get some spoons & bowls for the sprinkles. It helps to make a tray for the paper liners before you start rolling with the liners separated. Put on your gloves and scoop a small amount of the chocolate mixture. Roll into a ball. While still soft on the outside from the heat of your hands, place in a bowl of sprinkles and roll around until thoroughly covered. I find a spoon works well to move them in the sprinkles and pour some over the top for complete coverage. Transfer the truffles into the paper liners with the spoon. Place in boxes.
I suggest keeping the truffles in a cool location once they are make. Any extra chocolate can be store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for future use (assuming the family lets it last that long).
This part of the process is fun for a group and is done quickly when everyone helps.
Good luck with the Truffles!!
Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

bread

A Narrative by Writtenwell:

Bread, one of the best, and most versatile foods. I am so thankful that I was never involved in the anti carb movement, because first off I found it terribly annoying, and secondly, I found it to be very ignorant to simply nix carbohydrates out of ones diet entirely. ( everything in moderation, right? ) And I never wanted to be one of those people who would order a double burger extra meat, add bacon, mayo, mustard, skip the ketchup ( too many carbs) add more mayo, no tomato, but add a fried egg, no lettuce, and extra cheese please… Oh, and no bun, I’m doing the no carb thing”. I think you get my point. I enjoy all sorts of bread so very much. I simply can’t imagine a juicy burger without the perfect, butter touched, lightly toasted like bun. Or my favorite pasta with a Low or no carb or cheap imitation of a crusty hearth baked loaf. Or, the perfect bowl of soup, without the wedge of a schmaltzy french baguette, Even a PB&J wouldn’t be the same without the soft white or even wheat everyday bread. I could go on and on, but I’d like to get to the recipe for your sake.

Homemade Bread, Ahhh, a true delight fresh from the oven! The actual recipe for this photo will follow, as soon as it is given to me. A very dear friend and I have a pretty serious love of baking bread which generates a friendly competition at times… it’s always in good spirit and fun. He brought his perfectly crisped loaves over for dinner tonight, and so I felt the need to share them. Like I said I can’t provide the exact recipe yet but Stephen, if you’re reading this, will you please do me the honors and add your recipe for Stephen’s Crusty Buns?

Stephens Crusty Bread

Bye for now,

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

To Everyone who is looking for a blog to read:

Hello,
If you like food. If you like to laugh. If you don’t mind a bit of sarcastic humor… and if you can handle the fact that I’m just learning how to write down recipes for the food that I make ( i’ve never followed recipes), and… if you don’t mind getting a throw in, life story, about something very humorous…. YOU SHOULD SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG!!! I’d love to have you as a guest!

I’m always cooking, and I’m always trying new things. I hope you join me on this adventure.. It is fun!!

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

Biscuits with Rhubarb lightly drizzled with love….

A dinner is never complete without Dessert. Tonight we enjoyed Homemade Biscuits with Fresh Rhubarb and a cinnamon sugar glaze, compliments of our good Friend Leah.
Biscuits
Brown Sugar
Water
Vanilla
Cinnamon
Homemade biscuits, or you can use the always consistent and delicious store-bought brand.
Flatten each biscuit and place chopped rhubarb in the center. Wrap edges over the top and seal.

Biscuits with Rhubarb and a kiss of brown sugar

Flip over and place sealed side down in a baking pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and pour mixture of water, brown sugar and vanilla over the top of the biscuits. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately!

These were quite a surprising treat. Light, flakey, buttery pillows of bread, stuffed with semi tart, fresh rhubarb, and the perfect accent of a brown sugar glaze with the added hint of vanilla and just a kiss of cinnamon. Yum!

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

Chicken au poivre ( ah – pwav) and Adult Bubble Tea

Good evening! I have to start by saying that I’m not trying to be condescending when I write out the pronunciation for a name. I just want you to be able to say it the way it’s supposed to be said.

Tonight we had dinner with a group of lovely friends of ours! They are each truly a blessing in our lives. We had sort of a pot luck theme, so I’m just going to go ahead and give you two of the stars, though there were many.. I will save the others for another time.
Chicken Au poivre:

Chicken Breast
shalots
Demi Glace
Heavy Cream
Cognac
Peppercorns
Butter
salt

Drizzle chicken with olive oil, lightly season, place in baking pan, and cover with foil. Bake Chicken breast in 350 oven for about 35 minutes.

While chicken is baking, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan add about 2 tablespoons of shalots, and 2 tablespoons of crushed peppercorns. Simmer until the shalots soften ( 5 minutes)
Add 1/2 cup of cognac and turn up heat until most the alcohol has cooked off.
Add 3 tablespoons of Demi Glace, and 3/4 cup of water, bring to a light boil and stir until all the demi glace is incorporated.
Add 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and bring to a light boil, turn down to a simmer and stir in well, and let thicken.

Once it’s thick, add salt to taste… you shouldn’t need much, be sure to test before you start salting ~
And now you should have a VERY, VERY, rich and tasty, sauce… I’m telling you… it’s good!

Lightly top your chicken, or whichever dish you’re planning to serve it

with and, do the inevitable… ENJOY!!

We also got to enjoy a special treat form our friends Jamie and Suzanne, We’re going to call it adult bubble tea. I guess with the word ‘Adult’ in there you’re going to be expecting something alcoholic, or just ‘adult’.. not really the case. I was just so excited to have a ‘punch’ of sorts that was actually worth making and even more worth drinking, that I had to give it a fun name. In fact it doesn’t even have tapioca balls in it… it’s better, it has raspberries!
Raspberries
raspberry sorbet
Ginger ale
Pineapple juice
Lemonade concentrate
This fantastically fun Adult beverage, packs a refreshingly fruity, citrus flavor, with the soft and slightly tart raspberry zing! I’m just telling you I’m a pretty big fan! It was Awesome!
Nothing though, is better than making some great food and being able to share it with good friends, no matter where you are, or what you may be sharing, or whether or not it’s really Adult Bubble tea! 🙂

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe

Breakfast, quick, healthy and good!

I recently mentioned that I enjoy cooking and writing. I also mentioned that part of my reasoning for starting this blog was to keep me doing both of these things, while sharing or documenting them ( well the cooking part anyway) I did say I would make an effort to write every day. Since food is a part of my life every day this should be easy right?

I planned Last night to wake up early to actually prepare breakfast… Just so I could share with you a healthy and fairly quick way to fuel your body for the day! And so that I could keep my word.. so here you go~

Open Faced Egg Sandwich, spinach and tomato.

Eggs
Spinach
Tomato
Whole Wheat Bread
Bacon
Butter

Whisk three eggs with 1/4 cup of milk. Pour ingredients into skillet and cook on medium heat until eggs are cooked through.
Microwave a few slices of bacon ( yes I said microwave, I also said this was a quick breakfast Microwave=quick)
When bacon is a little crispy ( 3-4 minutes depending on microwave) blot excess oil with paper towel.
While eggs/bacon are cooking slice tomato ( 3 to 4 slices per sandwich)
Set spinach aside enough to lightly top sandwich
Toast Bread and lightly brush with butter when finished.

Remove eggs from pan put on Toasted bread, layer a bit of leafy green spinach ( think energy, vitality, strength) add bacon ( don’t give it a second thought) add sliced tomato (think antioxidant, vitamins, health) .
Viola!

Open Face Breakfast Sandwich

Bon appetite!

Seriously, this takes a total of 10 minutes, and I guarantee you we are all worth at least an extra ten minutes in the morning!

Bye for now!

Writtenwell or well, written.


Subscribe