Hand Rolled Pasta

Yesterday I experienced an unnatural urge to exercise. But, before risking serious injury by going to the gym, salvation came in the form of fettuccini.

ImageDeceptively Easy

Pasta is deceptively easy to make.  It uses flour but, unlike baking, it’s wonderfully imprecise.  It’s also very relaxing, taking about half an hour to knead and then roll out the dough.  Kneading and rolling count as exercise too, right? Continue reading

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Filed under Pasta, Technique & Dirty Secrets, Vegetarian

Spaghetti Carbonara 

This is a real in-the-moment kind of dish.  It’s made fast, with heat and timing, and get’s your mind off whatever happened during the no-good-very-rotten very bad day that you may have had.  The trick’s to have all of your ingredients prepped in small bowls within easy reach so that you can cycle everything into the pan.

If you haven’t made this before it can be a bit stressful on the first few tries.  But once you learn the rhythm it’ll be like riding a bike – smooth, comforting and relaxing.  And you’ll never forget.

It’s also a technique that allows you to play with different flavors, like bacon or pancetta, and come up with completely different tastes.  Or, in this case, using truffle instead of mushroom.  The truffle was a gift from some dear friends in Italy, and not something I normally keep around.  But, boy, was it fun to use.

ImageFast and Fancy

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian

Vegetable Vinaigrette

Cooking’s often like life.  The highs are high and moments of regret can have a sour taste.  But sometimes these can be turned around.  Take, for instance, the regret of getting a dozen ears of corn because they were on sale.  So what if I spent less than if I’d bought six?  There’s still a boat load of starchy kernels slowly decaying on the counter.

Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating

This means it’s time for a repeat post on vegetables and salad dressing.  Billed as a fancy salad or condiment, veggie vinaigrette’s nothing more than a way to resurrect expiring produce (look in the bottom of your crisper lately?).

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Filed under Condiments, Salads, Sauces & Stuffings, Vegetarian

Potato and Leek Soup

Comfort that can be Chilled in Summer or Warm in Winter

Comfort that can be Chilled in Summer or Warm in Winter

Every time I go to the farmers market I return home to find a little buyers’ remorse tucked in amongst those lovely special treats.  This time it’s a leek.  Smells great, looks impressive, and cooks up like a twine sock.  It’s also mid-summer and I’m too lazy to do anything time consuming with the Hell Veggie.

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Filed under Soups & Stews

Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a rustic garden dish.  It’s meant to be fast and savory without a lot of flair.  Making it fancy is putting lipstick on a pig.  Anyone who says different’s a poseur.  [So there!]

Choke

The following is a basic recipe.  It can be spiced up by adding bell pepper and garlic or a hot pepper.   But remember, overcomplicating this recipe will destroy it.  It will look prettier but taste worse.

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Filed under Sides, Vegetarian

Frittata

Frittata’s nothing more than a quiche without crust.  But its eggs.   And the weird thing about eggs is that, even though they can be made any one of a thousand ways, people are fixated on what they consider to be the best way to cook them.  Don’t believe me?  If you’re ever in a room with two cooks, ask them for guidance on the best way to poach an egg.  Just don’t do it when kids are around.

So play with this and come up with something that works for you.  The neatest thing about this recipe’s that, with a little practice, it can be done entirely on autopilot and early in the morning.

 Nothing Special to Look at

Nothing Special to Look at

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Filed under Main Courses, Vegetarian

Oven-Cooked Pork Ribs, Wet or Dry

This is one of the ultimate comfort foods.  It’s as basic as a rural tradition can be without involving cousins who marry.  This is food meant to feed large groups of people with the least amount of effort (let’s face it, the folks cooking ribs usually spend more time drinking and socializing than anything else).  So if you’re wrapped up in a sophisticated recipe or stressing over the finer points, you’re doing it all wrong.

Wet or Dry, the Trick’s to Go Low and Slow

So get over it.  Take a breath.  Have a drink.  Enjoy the ribs.

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Filed under Main Courses, Pork