Make Noodles


These handsome nephews of mine are busy rolling out some pasta dough to be cut into fettuccine. They were out to visit from New York along with the rest of the family which was super fun and these two were excellent rolling helpers. While I spent way too long on whatever else I was cooking that night, rolling fresh pasta is surprisingly quick. I think I timed myself from mixing dough to having noodles ready to cook at 14 minutes (and the dough should rest sometime in there) – and then cooking time is literally about three minutes depending on your noodle size. Anyhow, I do love to enlist the help of Addie and have mixed up dough in a couple preschool classes which was fun. So, yep, fun for the whole family. And other people’s too.

I usually make my dough by pouring two cups of flour onto a big board, counter or large flat-bottomed bowl. Mix in a little salt and I’ll often toss in some fresh herbs from the garden. Make a little mountain with a dome and crack three eggs in the middle, then mix up the eggs working in some flour until you can stir it all up. You can add some drops of water if the dough is too dry. Knead for a few minutes and then the professional folks will say to make a couple balls and wrap them up, which I’ll do if I have time, but I often end up making eight balls and just begin rolling when they’re formed. Having a wee roller is great but I’m sure a rolling pin and cutting works fine too, though maybe that would take forever (probably still worth it for how delicious it is). Coating with plenty of flour maintains separation in the noodles and clean up of the machine is easy too as it only involves wiping off the flour.

Okay, I thought I might write some silly pasta suggestions here or something, but this is already ridiculously long and boring so you one should get a prize for even reading this far. If you just skipped to this last short paragraph you don’t get a prize.

Tomato Bread Salad


Did I mention that Rachel is really liking tomatoes this year? She has never liked tomatoes but each year really wants to since they are so lovely and I force her to plant tons of them. Well, with her newly found love we have been making bread salad full of tomatoes over and over. Our CSA comes with a loaf of bread on pickup at Grand Central Bakery, which these days means that the day after we usually have some beautiful tomatoes and a heal of crusty bread. perfect. The photo shows a version probably breadier than we usually make it and with mostly cherry tomatoes and some other small varieties from the garden, but the best is a salad heavy on big, meaty heirloom varieties. We typically toast the bread in the oven with some garlic and olive oil rubbed on then toss with tomatoes, some herbs from the garden (basil, lemon verbena, parsley sometimes). I like to make a vinaigrette with a touch of balsamic vinegar, but sometimes we just use olive oil and salt, then some mozzarella or a time or two we have tossed in some feta because its what we had (it works when the tomatoes are really flavorful but might overpower some). So easy. Oh hey, just noticed that this salad in the picture has fried capers too. Fun.

Lavender Honey Cakes

ImageRachel made these super cute and delicious Lavender Honey Cakes the other day. I like to make fun of her with lavender things because I once added some lavender to french toast and she said, “mmm… this is delicious, it reminds me of my bath water.” I hope you’re not drinking your bath water Rachel. That is gross.

Anyway, here is the recipe for the cakes.

  • 2-1/2c quick rolled oats (she used old-fashioned rolled because thats what we have)
  • 2c flaked coconut
  • 1-1/2c white flour
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 1c butter (oh, that’s why they were so tasty)
  • 1/2c honey
  • 1t dried lavender flowers

Combine oats, coconut, flour in large mixing bow. Boil sugar, butter, honey and lavender in saucepan – pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Make into small balls or drop into lined or greased muffin tins (Rachel used mini muffin tins which is why they’re so dang cute).

Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool in tins before removing or whatever.

O’ the Summer Bounty!

Rachel is such a super gardener and this year our yard is finally starting to come together a bit. Well, half a bit.  So, we have lots of cucumbers – the pickling ones shown and those cute round yellow balls which are cuter than they are tasty actually, but Rachel and I have each made some delicious pickles. And the UFO squash are pretty tasty, (if you like that sort of thing) though summer squash is not exactly my favorite. So, now that I whined about my not-favorites – I will sing praises for the neighboring basket of tomatoes and artichokes. Yum and yum. We let most of the arties flower this year which is so lovely, but Rachel grabbed these two to eat. And ooohhh tomatoes… are you the greatest thing about life?

I will write something again soon Rachel. I promise.

Kind of like Shakshouka

So basically this is some eggs poached in a bunch of cooked tomatoes with lots of tasty spice. A bit like huevos rancheros and the like, Rachel spotted this recipe in Sunset and thought it would be a tasty way to use up lots of our tomatoes. This from the lady who doesn’t really like tomatoes, except cooked sometimes, so we gave it a shot. She was right and it was super delicious – it begins with a paste of cumin and coriander seeds, lots of paprika, then salt and garlic. Along with some peppers and several tomatoes and thats pretty much it. We made this a lot when we got a build up of tomatoes from the garden and so never got around to canning any whole tomatoes or sauce which is a shame, but oh well. It was also fun to cook over a fire, though of course heat is a little trickier to control and poaching the eggs in the sauce is a bit tricky already as the bottom seems to cook up pretty fast while the tops don’t get too much heat, even covered. Maybe an attempt to flip the yolks would have helped, because generally they went from way undercooked to overcooked in seconds. Still tasty though.

Broccoli pesto and green beans w/ tomatoes

The broccoli pesto is from Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson, who also blogs at 101cookbooks where there is a similar recipe. I never have any really great ideas of what to do with broccoli, though Rachel makes some tasty soups, so it was fun to try something unique and even summery. This broccoli had a little bit of a bite to it which made the leftovers seem a bit too broccoli-ish if that makes sense.

The beans and tomatoes are from our yard and the CSA (yes this is from a while back – so what) and were super delicious. I love to throw this little business together, though Rachel maybe doesn’t quite as much since she doesn’t really like tomatoes, except cooked, and these are only cooked a wee bit.

Start with some red onion slice thinly and toss in olive oil warmed over medium heat. Cook until soft then turn up the heat and toss in the beans along with some salt and pepper. Cook that together a few minutes – sorry I’m not good at specific times or markers – just cook them until they are nice and warm and perhaps you even see a few spots where they are browning. Then throw in the tomatoes cut into chunks along with a pour of red wine vinegar and then a pinch or two of red pepper flakes. I suppose I should try this recipe with some fresh peppers sometime, but I think maybe I just want a tiny kick without overpowering with pepper flavor. Cook and stir until the tomatoes break down a little bit and you’re done. Eat it.