Saturday, August 25, 2012

handmade pasta with 1970s look recipe card photos

This isn't a step by step tutorial or recipe as such. If you're an experienced cook this will be enough. If not, you may want to check out a professional tutorial or cookbook.

6) homemade pasta with tomatoes, onions,  garlic.and cayenne peppers.

My recipe ended up being:
(all flour was King Arthur flour)

1½ cups bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
4 - 5 eggs (start out with four and add fifth if necessary)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
~¼ cup water as it was still too dry
*The recipe called for a bit of salt, but I leave it out. I add salt to the water that the pasta will be cooked in.

Yield is about 1½ pounds of pasta.

I was surprised at how dry this was with only 4 eggs. I've made this recipe many times, but apparently my flour was very, very dry. I could have added a 6th egg, but decided to use water instead.

Make a mound of the flour and make a well in the center. Add four eggs & olive oil to the center. Gradually mix flour into the eggs using your fingers or (if you must) a fork. If all of the eggs are incorporated into a firm dough and there is still ½-¾ cup or more flour left unmixed, add another egg. If after adding this it is still too dry, add a little (one tbsp at a time) water until you have a knead-able dough that doesn't stick to your fingers. It can be tacky, but should not be sticky.
Knead the dough on a cool surface for 10 minutes or until you have a nice neat ball of dough that doesn't come off on your hands or the kneading surface. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for one hour. This is important. There is quite a bit of gluten in this and you won't be able to roll it out if it doesn't rest.

1) roll out the dough - i did it by hand this time
1) Roll out the dough, add a little flour if necessary. If you look closely above, you can see the wood-grain showing through the dough from the cutting board. You need that thinness to make noodles. Otherwise they will be thick and more like dumplings. But of course, still good.

2) fold the dough a little from each side and cut
2) Sprinkle with cornmeal first. The cornmeal will keep the dough from sticking to itself and will slide off when you lift it. That way you aren't adding anything to your dough. Fold the dough a little from each side towards center and cut cross-wise with a sharp chef's knife. (for the length)

3) pasta drying
3) Drying is optional. You may dry your pasta if you'd like or you can cook it once it's cut. But if you have to wait even for 30 minutes to cook, it's best to hang it than have it sitting on top of itself getting sticky.

4) boiling
4) Boiling. In my family we add a little salt to the water, but that's your call. Bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta, stirring gently with a long fork.
Start testing after 4 minutes. If your pasta hasn't dried. (if you started cooking it right after you made it), it will cook quickly.  If your pasta dried for a while, it will take a bit longer. But keep testing every minute once it's started to cook. Too soft pasta is not an option!

5) cooked and ready for sauce
5) Strain the pasta and place on serving plate (or bowl whatever is your style). As you can see here, this pasta is a little thick due to the fact that I rolled it out by hand. That's okay, simple is often best. (the truth is that i didn't feel like dragging out the pasta cutter this time) Don't take too long adding the sauce here, a hot pasta dish, should be hot.

6) homemade pasta with tomatoes, onions,  garlic.and cayenne peppers.
6) Sauce! Make this in a large skillet. (not cast iron) This is a simple sauce with one medium onion & 2-3 cloves garlic sauteed in olive oil (my preference first cold press, extra virgin) until the garlic is just starting to get a little toasty. Add a pint of chopped canned tomatoes with liquid and abut ⅓ cup chardonnay (or any white one or nothing if you prefer)> If you like a little spice, add red pepper flakes to taste (add gradually) or a fresh chopped cayenne pepper. Cook over low heat until enough liquid has evaporated to make a nice chunky sauce.

These tomatoes were from some local tomatoes that I canned. They were half roma and half pink. It was little more tart than I expected. It was not too tart, though. I just expected more sweetness from the pink tomatoes. The cayenne peppers made it just a little spicy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

linen sheets - I finally did it.

I've been wanting linen sheets for years. I could have bought them, but I guess I am too frugal sometimes. Well, that and I do like to make things. :)

Here are my 'colors' from natural & bleached
(I think they're out of the bleached at the moment) It's back in stock now.

I couldn't find 120" wide linen in the amounts I wanted. So I did that thing you are never supposed to do with sheeting: I stitched two halves together.

Originally, I had planned to sew two widths side by side. That would have given me a 118" width x 118". That's an awful big square and I didn't need it to be that wide. So I could have cut it some on both sides giving me ~ 118" x 90". This would require 6 yards each. But I ordered 5 yards of each, by mistake. I measured twice and still went and ordered incorrectly.

However, this worked out to my advantage. I cut both pieces of fabric in half. I ended up with two 2½ yard pieces of fabric in each color. I sewed the two pieces of each color back together at the selvage. (The seam is down around my knees, so I didn't notice it at all when sleeping on them.) All I had to do then was hem the sides so they won't ravel and that's it. Oh yeah, I also sewed the top hem down 4" for a more finished look on the top sheet. I did that for both of these so they will be interchangeable.

The selvage looks like trim. I love to use the selvage as part of the design.



Friday, August 03, 2012

last batches of soap

my last batches of soap - paled rosemary, lavender, peppermint (top) and grapefruit

I don't know if I will ever make more soap. My blender died after 5 years and I am selling my essential oils (local buyers).

But I think I will keep my molds. I may not like supermarket soap after all this time. And to be honest, I may not like other handmade soap, either. :)

I like my 50% olive oil, rustic shapes, pale color and single note scents. I also like not having added color.

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex. - Oscar Wilde

And soap is a simple pleasure, isn't it? It's just used for cleansing - no matter how much essential oil scent, color, fragrance oil, expensive base oils or dye you put into it - it is just soap.

It is lovely in it's simplicity of ingredients and it's ease of use.