Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Kitchen Bootcamp Number 1

This series is about getting back to basics in cooking. Tips and tricks for people wanting to roll up their sleeves, throw away the box and do some real cooking. Please feel free to share any questions or tips you may have in the comments.

Basic Pasta Dough

Fresh pasta is something that is so easy and cheap I wonder how they got people to eat the dried stuff. I got this recipe from my grandmother. The recipe is easily scalable so you can make large batches and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. I usually roll and cut mine as needed. It is still is faster than cooking dried pasta. Personally I like my Italian made pasta mill but roll and knife cutting works ok for a more homey feel. This dough makes great ravioli and lasagna noodles too.

  • 2 cups of hard semolina wheat flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • a pinch of salt
  1. pour the flour on a clean work surface
  2. make a depression in the middle of the mound
  3. widen the "well" so you have room for the wet ingrediants
  4. break the eggs into the well
  5. add the salt. water and oil
  6. use a fork to mix the eggs water and oil
  7. begin pulling flour into the liquid as you stir
  8. keep working the flour into the center till you have a ball of dough
  9. dust the ball with flour and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. let the dough rest for half an hour
  11. roll into a thick sheet and cut into squares.
  12. Dust with flour and stack them up
  13. Seal the pieces in a plastic bag for storage

Ok, What Can I Do With All This Dough?

Think of it as play time. The choices are nearly limitless. For starters you can make your own home-made lasagna noodles.The beauty of home made pasta is you roll and cut the noodles as needed. It's faster and easier than you may think. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried. The amount of time required for preparing fresh and dried pasta is the same.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Joys of Harvest Season

The leaves have not begun to turn yet but the change is in the air. Autumn has arrived and the pace of harvesting and processing food for the long hard winter is in full swing. The orchards are pressing cider, the markets are full of this season's bounty and wild mushrooms are beginning to pop up.

Some Seasonal Food Recipes

Red Cabbage Hunter's Pot

This dish is influenced by Polish and Eastern European Cooking. It is a great cold weather meal using many of the autumn harvest fruits and vegetables.

  • 1 large head Red Cabbage, roughly shredded
  • 1 large Red Onion, crescent cut
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 pound Smoked Sausage,
  • ½ pound Slab Bacon, cubed
  • 1 Large Bay Leaf (Laurel)
  • 1 tsp Caraway Seeds, roasted
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 cup Apple Cider, Fresh-Unfiltered
  • ½ Chicken Broth or Stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cider Vinegar
  1. Roast the caraway seeds in a large dry skillet.
  2. Keep the seeds moving so they do not burn.
  3. Remove when the seed color turns a bit gray.
  4. Set the seeds aside to cool.
  5. Combine the cider, chicken broth and vinegar.
  6. Add the mustard, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  7. Mix well and reduce in a saucepan.
  8. Remove from the heat and reserve.
  9. Heat a heavy wall casserole
  10. Add the oil to the casserole.
  11. add the bacon and onion to the oil
  12. Cook till the start to turn transparent
  13. add the garlic and red pepper
  14. Add the sausage and stir well
  15. Use a slotted spoon to remove the food from the casserole.
  16. Drain well so the fats go back into the pan, we will use this.
  17. Lightly sauté the cabbage until it is beginnng to wilt.
  18. The surface should be glistening and you hear a sizzle.
  19. Add the caraway seeds and bay leaf, stir.
  20. Add the meat and onion to the cabbage.
  21. Stir Well to combine all the ingredients.
  22. Add the cider sauce and toss well.
  23. Reduce heat, cook covered till cabbage is just tender.
  24. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

Serving Suggestions
  • A good pint of hard cider
  • Rye Bread
  • Lentil and Leeks Soup
  • Roast Rosemary, Apple Stuffed Chicken
  • Small Boiled Red Potatoes dressed with Parsley Butter
  • Thick Egg Noodles in a Sour Cream Dill Sauce
  • Hot Caramelized Cinnamon Apples on a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream.