Monday, October 17, 2011


I like food. And I like that Charlie likes food. This is a meal he made near the end of September.
And yes, that is Charlie's homemade sourdough topped by his mother's jam.

At any rate, I get to eat pretty well normally, but we recently had an even more amazing food weekend. Charlie was house/dogsitting for these lovely folks:

Charlie got permission for me to come hang out with the dogs too, and it was a treat especially since there was a piano and bookcases on bookcases of cookbooks and food books.

The first night, I brought ingredients for thai coconut chicken soup and endive/pear/blue cheese salad. They were so delicious, we forgot to photograph them. We started the next morning off with Swedish pancakes, bacon and a frittata made with locally grown peppers and some local eggs.We discovered a pasta machine, so in the evening we combined more peppers and some Cloverleaf tomatoes with ground bison and our homemade pasta.
Since breakfast was so good the first morning, Charlie surprised me the second morning by making more Swedish pancakes on his own as well as eggs and bacon. He learned from my mistake in halving the recipe and made the full recipe this time so we not only had larger pancakes, we had leftovers.Frankie had already had her breakfast, but she thought ours looked better.
That night we made Chinese style noodles. These were similar to Italian noodles with the addition of more water/less egg and dusting the dough with cornstarch to smooth it as it's pressed through the machine.
We did a cold noodle recipe with a soy sauce/black vinegar/scallion/sesame oil sauce. Very tasty and I was too hungry to take pictures, but I made chinese noodles again a couple days later as a stir fry this time.
After enjoying their pasta machine so much, I had to have one of my own. Coincidentally the one I purchased off of ebay turned out to be located in Winters where we'd been housesitting and I knew the folks selling it. Small world...

Chinese noodle recipe (adapted from The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking by Barbara Tropp)
3 cups flour
1 large egg or 2 medium eggs
3/4 cup water
1-1.5 tsp salt

Mix flour and salt and form it into a mound (I do this in a bowl to make cleaning easier). Make a dent in the middle for the egg. Crack egg(s) into indentation and beat, then add water and mix. Gradually incorporate flour into wet ingredients. Once it comes together as a dough, start to knead, adding more flour as necessary to keep hands from sticking (or more water if too dry). Knead until elastic and smooth then form into a dough ball, lightly oil the outside and let rest, covered for 20 minutes to 3 hours. The rest lets the gluten relax and really helps.

Divide dough into six parts. With each piece of dough, roughly flatten with hands and dust with cornstarch before running it through the thickest setting on the pasta machine. Fold in thirds, dust, run through thickest setting with folds to the sides, repeat 2-3 times. Continue dusting with cornstarch as needed and running through the machine at decreasing thicknesses until the thickness you want. Plenty of cornstarch shouldn't really need it to keep the dough from sticking in the machine, but it helps smooth the texture and produce a silkier noodle. I used the second to last setting "6" on my pasta machine. Let the thin sheets sit for a while on a towel to dry out a bit (15-30 minutes?) before cutting.

I cut the noodles with the thin cutters, taking each bundle after they went through and stretching them out a bit further. Long noodles are lovely, but for sanity in cooking, it helps to cut them to about 15 inches or so. Dust cut noodles with cornstarch to prevent clumping. Let sit before cooking. Noodles can sit outside the fridge for an hour or two before cooking, just fluff them occasionally, or can be stored in the fridge for a day (again fluff occasionally). They can also be dried completely or frozen. Cook in boiling water briefly...if made thin, they will only need around 10 seconds after the water comes back to a boil. Noodles should be tender but still have a slight bite. Stop the cooking by rinsing in cold water. If not immediately saucing, mix noodles with a little oil to prevent sticking.

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