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Archive for July, 2009

Homemade Pasta

pasta

I recently had a week off in between finishing up my Master’s degree and starting my permanent job.  Since Craig was tied up with studying for the bar exam, I had to come up with fun things to do on my own.  Naturally enough, these things revolved largely around cooking (and eating).  One of the things I decided to do was try this homemade pasta recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  It looked so simple and non-intimidating – no rolling the pasta through a press as I had done in a cooking class a few years ago (the only other time I made homemade pasta other than this gnocchi).  I thought the idea of pairing this rustic pasta with a rustic bolognese, as they did, was a great one, but I used my trusty 4-hour bolognese recipe.  This time around, though, I made it a turkey bolognese with half ground turkey and half turkey Italian sausage.  This pasta was very tasty and surprisingly easy to whip up.  The only trouble I had was that after I cut the noodles with the pizza cutter, I couldn’t get them apart and into the water.  They were fully cut apart in the middle, but still slightly attached on the ends.  Craig had to help me go back through with a paring knife and separate them individually, which was a pain.  Next time, I would either just use the sharp paring knife to begin with or, if I used the pizza wheel, I would move each noodle to a plate as I cut them.  Try these noodles – nothing beats homemade!

This is me cutting the pasta, oblivious to the fact that I won’t be able to move it to the pot in a few minutes.  Don’t be like me.

pasta cut

Homemade Pasta

Recipe from: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for rolling out dough

directions

1. Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Crack eggs into the well and slowly mix together with your hands.

2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for several minutes, until it becomes smooth and pliable, adding more flour as needed.  Cover lightly with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

3. Roll the dough out on the floured surface, as thinly as possible.  Keep in mind that the noodles will plump up when cooked.  Cut the noodles into very thin strands using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel (see my notes about this above).

4. Boil the noodles in well-salted water for 2-3 minutes and dress as desired.

pasta done

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Mahi

When I was a freshman in high school, my family took a trip to Hawaii.  I’ve always loved to travel, and I could spend hours leading up to a trip reading Fodor’s and Frommer’s guides, picking out places I have to go and, of course, things I have to eat!  One of the food items that caught my attention at that time was the bento box.  I believe this is a concept the Hawaiians picked up from Japanese cuisine, as our local Japanese place makes them as well.  Basically, it’s a divided tray of various meats, salads, rice, etc. that are designed to compliment one another – a more fun version of a boxed lunch.

For some reason, bento boxes came back into my mind recently, and I decided to make one with some mahi mahi I’d picked up.  I ultimately decided I wanted to make quick Asian pickles, and after consulting a few quick pickle recipes, I came up with my own concoction.  The key was slicing them very, very thin on the mandoline.  I was extremely happy with how they came out, and I can’t wait to make a bigger batch once my garden cucumbers are ripe (they have huge flowers – it won’t be long now).  I was really bummed that I didn’t have any fun, divided plates to make this dish a true bento box, but otherwise, everything was very good.

Quick Asian Pickles

After consulting a few other pickle recipes, I came up with this one on my own

ingredients

  • Half of a large English cucumber or several small pickling cucumbers
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • Light green parts of 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. grated fresh ginger

directions

1. On a mandoline, slice the cucumber into very thin rounds.  Lay the rounds in a single layer in a strainer and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, scallions, hot sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and another small pinch of sugar in a small bowl.

3.  Add the cucumbers to the rest of the ingredients and toss to combine.  Add additional salt to taste.  Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

For Bento Box:

ingredients

  • Homemade teriyaki sauce
  • One 1/2-pound mahi mahi filet
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • Quick Asian Pickles

directions

1. Prepare rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and place the fish on it.  Broil fish until just firm, about 7 minutes.

2. Thaw edamame under cold water.  Pat dry with a towel.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

3. Plate the rice.  Cut the fish in half for 2 portions and gently dip each half in the warm teriyaki sauce to fully coat.  Add a serving of the edamame and a serving of the pickles, all atop the bed of rice.  Serve and enjoy!

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