Sunday, March 1, 2015

As Seen on TV

Please yell at me if I ever sound pretentious on here. Although I love reading blogs with beautiful photography and picture-perfect looking meals with no issues, that is not me (not yet anyways). I am nowhere near a perfect cook. I love doing it but I make a mess. I usually can't go without dropping food on the floor when dicing vegetables. I am not allowed to use flour according to my mother and husband. 

Case in point:

There is actually a perfectly good explanation for this which I will talk about later.

Weekend Food Fun

Friday night was a basic spaghetti and meatballs dinner. Nothing to write home about. Or blog about. My husband and I decided to minimize going out to eat on our own and will only go if someone asks us. So we spent the night in.

My mother and I went to Simpson Spring in South Easton. Simpson Spring makes spring water and soda from a natural spring. It has been around for 100+ years and you can go for tours and tastings to see their process. Their claim to fame is that they are the oldest bottling plant in the US. Who knew?? There is an event each Saturday called the Marketplace at Simpson Spring where, in addition to their own company store, they host local vendors can hawk their goods. These goods range from food to up-cycled baby clothes to jewelry. It is always great to support local businesses.

We spent awhile here walking around and sampling.

We obviously had to buy something...

The Marketplace has a lot of events going on in the coming weeks so we hope to make another visit.

At night, I went out to eat with my college friends locally in Quincy. My friend Laura asked for some butter and this what she got:

Sorry, I just had to share that. Isn't that an absurd amount?

I was around today so I was able to prep some food for the week. I made these Coconut Berry Muffins from Minimalist Baker. I tried one (quality control) and they were really moist. They were easy to make as they could be made in one bowl but they did require a lot of extra measuring cups, spoons, etc. so there was still a lot to clean. But they were yummy!

Don't you just love the liners?! My friend Kristen gave them to me. They are adorable and make my muffins look almost professional. Almost.

I also made Oil-Free Falafel Bites from the Oh She Glows cookbook for lunches for the week. I baked them and froze them to have on hand. Normally falafel is deep-fried but these are rolled in breadcrumbs and baked to make them crunchy. I added some extra spices and they came out pretty good!

My big project today, that I hinted about above, was to make homemade pasta. That is what the mess is from. See? I promised there was a reasonable explanation.

It took 3 tries but finally got dough that was able to go through my brand new pasta roller. I had originally attempted semolina flour but I had difficulties in kneading it.  My final try was with more eggs (3 instead of 2) and all purpose flour in which I found success! With some practice, it can be as easy as you see on TV. But I think I got a little cocky and it was harder than I thought. You live and learn, right?

The kneading took quite awhile. But the Kitchn (one of my FAVORITE blogs) noted that when you cut the dough in half, it should have minimal air bubbles in it. I used that as my guideline and was able to get smooth, pliable dough.

Once you stretch it out, you also have to let it dry out for about 15 minutes or so before you hand-cut it. I found that out the hard way too. 

I didn't make this pasta just to look at so I made a Charred Cauliflower Carbonara from How Sweet Eats (another favorite blog. I have lots of faves apparently). 

The recipe called for bacon but to be adventurous, I bought pancetta. I didn't have much fat from it so I used olive oil to roast the cauliflower. I also added peas because...just 'cuz. My pasta ended up being between a tagliatelle and a paparedelle in size when I cut it. What? Let me show you what that means.

Tagliatelle is about 0.25 inches wide and originates from Emilia-Romagna and Marche in Italy. I had a lot of it when I studied abroad in Italy. 

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Pappardelle is about 0.75-1 inch wide

Courtesy of Wikipedia

My pasta was probably like 0.5 inches wide. I'm sure there is a name for it. So anywho, this is the final picture of the carbonara which was REALLY good (also served with wine and these biscuits. I know, biscuits and pasta? They are easy so that's why).

Has anyone else out there attempted handmade pasta?

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