Posts Tagged ‘leeks’

Hello, I Love You, Won’t You Tell Me Your Name?

Complete

During the past few months I’ve become increasingly entranced by the idea of making my own pasta.

While achieving ribbony, hand cut noodles has been a work in progress, I’ve slowly but surely become more proficient, bit by flour-covered bit.

As such, I’ve been on the market for some form of pasta machine, but ever since my snafu with the stand mixer pasta attachment, I haven’t been in much of a hurry.  I’ve also been told they can be quite expensive, so I didn’t want to plunk down any cold, hard cash until I was absolutely certain it wasn’t just a passing fancy.  In the interim, pastas have been made with some regularity in our household by using the old fashioned method of rolling pin plus sharp knife.  Rustic for sure, but still extremely satisfying when compared next to your standard out of the box fare.

So, while the Everyman and I were out shopping for our upcoming trip, it occurred to me to stop into a housewares store to check if they happened to sell pasta makers.  In the first store I was out of luck, but ducking into the second as we headed towards the exit, not only did I find a pasta maker, but it was the last one, and a floor model at that, so for all intents and purposes it was a steal.  The only catch was that it didn’t come packaged, which meant that a) there was no manual, and b) it took the clerk 20 minutes to try and figure out what the SKU was so they could enter it into the cash register.  But, for a mere $20 I certainly wasn’t complaining.

Semolina Dough

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The Most Ambitious Project Yet

Garden 2010

After much deliberation (and a healthy dose of procrastination), I’ve finally selected and plotted my intentions for the 2010 garden.

It might seem awfully early to some, but seeds must be ordered, delivered and started before a springtime sowing in late May can be accomplished.

This year will be interesting for a number of reasons.

Primarily because I’m going to be trying to grow a couple crowns of asparagus for the first time, but I’m also attempting rare French strawberries from seed, as well as leeks, garlic and chard.

As you can see from my crude 10,000 foot drawing, there are lots of different veggies being installed, as well as a small bee garden that I hope will attract a healthy amount of polinators to our rooftop sanctuary.  We had a bit of a problem with the lack of bees last year, though I’m not sure if it was due to colony collapse or the overall shitty weather, but it can’t hurt to encourage them with a pretty flower garden.

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Strange And Delicious

Raw Ingredients

On Saturday afternoon I began to wrack my brain for something nomlicious to have for dinner.

I’d been to Terroni earlier in the day to procure a jar of pepperoncini for ‘nduja after grinding all 4 bags of dried chillies came up short.  As an educational aside, grinding that many chillies in a mini prep can be hazardous to your health because the fiery dust will get lodged in your nose and lungs.  The preserved pepperoncini were intensely spicy and salty, and surprisingly delicious all on their own.  Once the initial blast of heat wore off, they had a wonderful lingering finish.  I wanted to incorporate this interesting new condiment into our evening meal, but was drawing a blank on how to do so.

Being a somewhat rainy spring day, and also owing to the Everyman not feeling entirely top notch, a tart seemed to be the perfect compromise of a meal.  Several flavor combinations were considered but rejected once I realized that pepperoncini would completely drown out anything else.  I wanted to use a bit of guanciale, because you can’t really go wrong with pork fat of any description, so I built the flavor profile around that.  Next I contemplated a medley of potatoes and pears that I originally envisioned as some form of pave but in the end became small chunks.  To round it all out I added some sliced leeks and rosemary, sauteed in a pan and stuffed it into pre-made puff pastry shells.

Potato, Pear And Leek Tart

The pepperoncini was still on my mind, so I grabbed a few Paris toasts, smeared them with the flaming paste and topped them with small knobs of caciocavallo.  A brief blast of heat from the oven and I had perfect fiery-cheesy croutons to top off my salad.  And the verdict?  I liked it, the Everyman liked it, but next time I’d probably cut down on the pear a tad and cook the potatoes further before stuffing them into pastry.  Recipe proportions have been adequately adjusted to reflect those preferences. (more…)