Dinner, Entrees

Comfort in the Cold

It happened just after 5 a.m. A phone call re-awakened me…all schools and programs are closed today. A.snow.day! What does one do with a snow day you ask? Well, for starters, you shovel a lot of snow…Snow days are wonderful but they are an awful lot of work! I needed fortification this morning. I whipped up another variation on the Single Lady Pancake…adding in craisins and blueberries instead of the usual banana and chocolate. I just wasn’t feeling very chocolate-like this morning. Not wanting to tackle the snow just yet…it was coming down at a pretty good clip…I fueled up with coffee and started in on a new project.

What new project you ask? Thanks to a fantastic friend I was given a quick 5 minute tutorial on Garage Band. Suddenly, my mind started working out melodies, harmonies,¬†counter harmonies, rhythmic lines…round and round this musical merry-go-round went. A whole new world has been opened up! So…armed with my new favorite software I laid down some vocal tracks (look at me…trying to talk like I really know what I am doing!). And, I am becoming addicted…slowly…but surely. There are worse things to be addicted to than music recording software – so I am really ok with this).

I wanted to try a new recipe this week. Not a baking project. Something old world, or old fashioned. Something completely different that would require my own two hands and strength. The Great Pasta Project was created! I started researching and immediately became scared. What if I couldn’t do this? What if my dough failed and was an eggy, soggy mess?! What if, what if, what if. I shoved my what if thoughts aside and took a deep breath. I could do this…even though it was taking a risk, a chance and could be a complete failure.

Simple

It starts out very simply…in fact you have these ingredients I am sure! Go forth and conquer. These are the ratios I used:
1 3/4 C. Flour
1 t. salt
2 eggs
2 T. water (I needed a little more)
As in the picture above… mix your flour/ salt together and make a well in the middle. Then you add the eggs and the oil. I think I added a little water at this point. Then you take a fork and start whisking away. Careful! Don’t break the walls…..keep your guard up! However…like life…you eventually need to let your guard down. Start incorporating the wall o’ flour into the egg mixture.

I needed another hand…

You will go through a few ‘stages’ here. Nice egg mixture turns to a raggedy floury mess. Keep going! Eventually you will have a dough to work with. Look at the clock. You will need to knead this gem of a dough for 10 minutes. (Mario Batali says so…and we should all listen). After the 10 minute mark you will be a hot, sweaty mess….but you will have a gorgeous sight before you. It is worth the wait. And it gets even better readers! After that you cover it with plastic so it doesn’t dry out and let it rest. I suggest pouring yourself a hefty glass of wine. You will need it for the next step.

Grab your rolling pin. And get ready. If you think rolling out a pie dough is hard then you may want to call a friend who has a pasta roller. This is not for the weak, or impatient folks out there. I cut my dough into four sections. The dough was SO smooth and satin-like. I, being the epic food geek I am, was very excited over this discovery. I didn’t get a good photo of the finished dough so you will need to use your imagination. So you roll. And roll. And when you feel like you cannot roll anymore you keep rolling. An important note to remember is when you cook the pasta it will plump up. When all the rolling is done you cut. Now if you are like me who cannot draw a straight line, you get nervous….immediately I thought what if my papparadelle isn’t cut straight?! Or the fettucini?! Gasp! Then I took a little sip of wine and calmed down. Ummm…I was cooking for me. If Giada de Laurentis and Lidia Bastianich were coming to dinner I would have something to worry about.

Fairly even!

Next was adding a sauce. I happened to have, wisely, stored a batch of Giada’s Simple Bolognese sauce. Heated up the sauce…added the freshly cooked pasta and…well…there were fireworks of flavor happening – the meaty, robust sauce, fresh pasta and grated cheese having a big ol’ party in my mouth. Try making fresh pasta at home. You don’t need fancy gadgets!!

Success

What else did I do with my snow day? I made cookies of course. I went for an apple cinnamon oatmeal cookie from Miss Joy the Baker.

Tomorrow I can eat cookies for breakfast, you know, because of the oatmeal and apple. Duh. One change I made was to cut the brown sugar/ sugar by half. So my total sugar count was 1/2 cup. I like the subtle sweetness of these cookies. I used only half of a Pink Lady apple as well. The last time I made these I used so much apple that the cookies were a little too apple-y. These however, were just right in my opinion.

Deliciousness on a pretty plate

I have eaten A LOT of cookies this evening. During the cookie making process, after the baking, before dinner, after dinner….I am thankful I had to shovel and blow some snow around today – I surely needed some calorie blasting moves. Have a wonderful rest of the week readers! Thank you for stopping by! Stay warm, be well, play in the snow and have a great weekend!

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