Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homemade Pasta

One of my favorite gifts from Mr. Pleasant and my wedding was our pasta maker. Considering the last time I actively used a pasta maker was my Sculpy ceramics class, it took a little while to get readjusted to the right technique, but once you've got it down it's a breeze. Whipped this up with a fabulous red sauce from orangette - it truly is a voluptuous sauce as she claims. It's become my go-to basic tomato sauce.

Basic Egg Pasta
from The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook
1 1/2 c flour
2 egg

Put the flour in a food processor and add the eggs. Start the food processor and run 45 seconds or until dough forms a tight ball. If it doesn't form the ball, add a 1 tbs. of water, and run for another 45 seconds. Add more if necessary, but be frugal. A little goes a long way.

Once a ball is formed, split in half and put 1 half through the well-floured machine. Can make linguine, spaghetti, angel hair or lasagna noodles. We used linguine.

Voluptuous Red Sauce
from orangette

2 cups whole, peeled, canned plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juices (about one 28-oz. can)
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt, to taste

Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a very slow but steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free from the tomato. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.

Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta.

Yield: Enough sauce for about 1 pound of pasta, or 4 servings

Shave Ice

Shave ice - a truly Hawaiian treat ! Don't confuse these babies with snowcones, it's a whole different ballgame. To start, they don't use crushed ice. The ice is litterally shaved with very sharp blades to produce a lovely consistency. Flavored syrups are poured over it - and it can be - as it is here- served over ice cream (macadamia nut to be precise :) It turned my whole mouth blue, but oh boy, was it delicious. While I am sadly without the tools to recreate this little gem of a sweet, I shall remember it very fondly and return for it when I can! Anniversary trip sound good, Mr. Pleasant? :)

Honeymoon Eats

Of course, the location is half of the deliciousness. Hello, Hawaii. Ms. Pleasant is now Mrs. Pleasant - Mr. Pleasant and I tied the knot last month and greatly enjoyed a Hawaiian honeymoon shortly thereafter, first to Kauai then to Maui. Fresh, seasonal tropical fruits - who knew starfruit actually has a taste? Pineapple, mango, papaya, apple bananas... so delicious. After our first and fabulous day at the Four Seasons - with a delicious breakfast served on our Lanai - we stayed in condos where we could do our own cooking. But check out that Four Seasons spread. Oh, five-star resorts, how I wish I could afford to take advantage of you all the time. Fresh pineapple juice?! Mixed with the complimentary French champagne room service brought us? Ohyesplease.

When left to our own devises, we didn't too too shabbily either though. What to do with limited kitchen supplies, but a bounty of fresh farmers market fruit? Apple banana pancakes! No syrup, use deliciously juicy mango!

Apple Banana Pancakes with Fiberless Mango

2 Apple (or regular) bananas
1 pocket of single serving pancake mix
1 fiberless mango

Mash the bananas, add to the mix along with water, according to packet directions. Cook and serve according to packet instructions. Slice mango on top of pancakes and enjoy!