Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where did April go?

I cannot believe we are almost to the end of April. What a busy month. I taught two classes of lovely, happy, hungry students. The April menu was as follows:

White bean dip with vinegar-spiked pita wedges
Chicken Francese
Carrots with parsley and garlic
Panna cotta

All of these recipes can be found on examiner.com. Today's recipe is for a lovely fresh spaghetti with pesto sauce. So so good!

Speaking of basil....I went absolutely wild a few weeks ago buying herbs. My dear husband and I were at the Nashville fairgrounds for an event, and I noticed that the Herb Society was having a sale. So, when we were done with our event, we visited the Herb Society sale, and breathed deeply. It smelled positively gorgeous in that building! Mark grabbed an empty flat, and I started filling it with three varieties of basil, oregano, chives, lemon thyme, lavender, sage, mint, and I even picked up catnip for Scooter the cat. I have made some very pretty meals with the bounty now potted on my deck.

Ahhhh this weekend. Although it is supposed to rain, Saturday is a day where there is no agenda. Therefore, I feel the need to make something fantastic. But what? Oh I think some fresh pasta will be on the menu, but I as to the main course I have no idea. Something to ponder.

So let's talk about May! My May classes will be all about fresh pasta! The menu will be as follows:

Fresh farfalle (bowtie) pasta with tomato vodka sauce
Fresh crab ravioli in a creamy shallot sauce
Zabaglione with fresh berries

I will be offering classes on May 15 and May 29, starting at 10:30 a.m. Price is $45 per person, or $35 if you are a member of the Little Black Dress Club. First come, first served!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pasta pasta pasta!

I've been having so much fun making pasta! Yesterday I went to the grocery store, and perused the pasta aisle. I didn't pick up any dried pasta, because I knew I could make a more delicious product in my very own kitchen.

I've written articles about my pasta creations, and I can't stress just how easy it really is, as long as you start with the correct flour to egg ratio. Italians are on the metric system, so it seems natural to me to think of the ratio in grams. 100 grams of flour to one egg equals one serving of pasta. So, if you are making pasta for four, simply bump up your flour for 400 grams, and four eggs. You place your flour on a working surface, like a board, make a well in the center, and crack the eggs into the well. Scramble the eggs, incorporating flour from the walls of the well, until you have something you can work with your hands. Then you just knead, knead, knead until you have a smooth ball of dough. Wrap the dough in cling film, place in the fridge for 20 minutes, and your dough is ready!

You will need a pasta machine of course. Please don't get those plastic atrocities. Invest in a lovely metal, hand-crank pasta machine. Mine is made by Marcato Atlas, and I love it.
Hello my lovely!

Once you have your pasta cranked into thin sheets, you can make whatever shape you want. I decided to make farfalle (bowties) above, and I served it with a delicious pesto sauce.

My next classes are pasta heavy, so I cannot wait to teach my happy, hungry students how fun and rewarding it is to make your own pasta!