Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lovely Sandwiches

I ran into a couple of pretzel baguettes at Whole Foods today. They begged me to bring them home and make them into delicious sandwiches. I think I could do that.

Let's see, what do I have at home, and what else will I need? Ah, who cares! If I can't come up with something good, they'll be tasty all on their own.

This is what I came up with.
On your left is Black Forest Ham and Tillamook's Cracked Black Pepper White Cheddar Cheese, and on your right is flat iron steak, avocado, and that white cheddar from Tillamook. I thought about putting some olive oil, or mayo, or butter on the bread, but we don't need the extra calories. I did, however, have some pickled shallots on the side for David and I to add to our portions. Here's what they looked like closed up.
And, sliced and on a plate.
Vincent had the ham and cheese, while Tyler had the steak with avocado and cheese. I had both, with the pickled shallots added (homemade). David had just one piece of the steak sandwhich, as he was heading out to play poker with friends and they'll be having pizza. On the side, we had a golden beets salad with romaine lettuce tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homemade Pasta

I've been thinking a lot about making pasta at home lately. I mean, actually making the pasta. It's actually pretty easy, but I always feel like it's time consuming. A few weeks ago, when I spent my first evening working in Lark's kitchen since 2006. While there, Wiley Frank, sous chef, was showing one of the guys how to make raviolis. He knocked out a set of them so quickly, and smoothly, I thought, "I need to make pasta at home." Of course, he's the sous chef at Lark, and I've never been a sous chef in my life. But, I do know how to use my pasta machine, and I wasn't planning on making raviolis.

I've been hesitant to make pasta since that evening. I'm not afraid. My problem, and this happens with so many things in my life, is that I want to do it right. This desire makes me feel like I need to take the time to research, read, watch videos, etc., before making the attempt to do just about anything I feel worth doing. But, I lack the time, and quite frankly, the energy to go through all that. Instead, I end up not doing it at all. That is, until my want for making such item becomes greater than my need to make it perfectly, and then I just pull whatever I can find off the Internet (thank you, Steve Jobs, for your lovely, lovely iPhone & iPad), and try see what happens. I have every intention to go back and catch up on the research and make it even better then next time.

I finally felt the urge to pull the pasta machine off the shelf and go for it this afternoon. I looked up and compared a few recipes, and settled on a super simple on of semolina flour, water, salt, and olive oil. The result was a very dry, crumbly dough, to which I added a little more water, bit by bit, and kneaded, kneaded, kneaded. When it was finally soft and smooth, I wrapped it up in plastic and let it rest on the counter.

After the boys got up from their naps, I asked if they were interested in making noodles with me. They were super excited. I attached the machine to our dining table, and we went to work, cranking away. The boys each took a turn with the crank, and were amazed to see the large, flat piece of pasta get cut into thin strips of noodles right before their eyes.

What a beautiful thing homemade pasta is, especially when the rest of the meal was homemade as well. I had cooked up a batch of chanterelle and shitake mushrooms at lunch today. I ate about 1/3 of it, and had enough to use for tonight. I pan roasted a piece of flat iron steak, and when it was finished, I threw the cooked mushrooms into the pan with the steak juices to warm up. I deglazed with a little madiera wine, which I then flambeed (mainly just for the effect to show off to my boys), then tossed in the cooked noodles. We also had a romaine salad with golden beets, roasted cashews, and shredded "cracked black pepper white cheddar" cheese from Tillamook. A yummy, yummy meal.

You have got to excuse this picture, as I absolutely need to get a better camera.