My country cube steak with saw mill gravy for a crowd


I’ll let you in on a secret. I love red meat. Being a guy one could easily know that but I love bison cube steak when I can find it for a true country breakfest.

Mix together flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Dredge the Cube steak in the flour mix on both sides and set aside until all the yummy cube steaks are covered in flour. In a large camp fire skillet, add oil, garlic, and onions. When onions are clear remove from pan along with garlic. Add butter into pan and allow to melt. Once melted add in cube steaks. Watch them carefully, when the sides get a golden hay like color flip them and give them 1 more minute before removing from the pan. Turn off heat and remove grease by pouring through a fine mesh screen over a funnel into a mason jar.  This filters out the solid particles from the grease. Set this remaining grease aside in the mason jar. It will keep in the fridge for upto a week.

Take 9 tablespoons of this grease, 9 tablespoons of flour, 3 cups of half and half, and 1 pound crumbled breakfest sausage. Sift the flour into this remaining grease in the same pan you fried the cube steak. Stir it until it gets brown, I like a straw brown color. Pour in the half and half slowly while stirring constantly. Add in crumbled breakfest sausage, and stir until it’s thickened. At this point I add black pepper, about 3 tablespoons.  The breakfest sausage can be anything. Jimmy dean is good, or what ever you happen to have.

Serve with a side of mashed potatoes.

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Kulebyaka with meat


What is Kulebyaka? It is a russian tradition among the yamal. It is also called Kulebiaka. Kulebiaka is a rich flaky pastry usually filled with a mixture of salmon, cabbage, and mushrooms, but many other fillings are possible, then rolled up and baked. It is served hot or cold in thick slices, with the addition of extra butter and the inevitable sour cream. My recipe here uses musk ox tendon, mushrooms, cabbage, onions and of course musk ox meat.

Why am I tossing this recipe out? Someone searched for a pastry shaped like a pig with meat. I make my kulebyaka shaped like a pig and it is sometimes done by others. Where this came from I have no idea, probably the French.

Well here we go. Many people have never cooked tendon. Tendon is very tough. Expecially musk ox tendon and or beef tendon. Tendon has a unique flavor all it’s own. I cook my tendons with onions, garlic, and apple juice.

To do this one needs a pressure cooker.

2 lb tendon (beef or musk ox tendon visit your local butcher/slaughter house)
1/2 cup apple juice
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
10 cups waters
1/4 cup apple vinegar

Mix all ingredients in a pressure cooker, bring to high pressure (15 pound psi) and cook for 2 hours! (make sure there’s enough water to prevent the bottom of the pan from drying out. They will be tender rather then tough and easy to chop when done.

Now we make the kulebyaka.

2 lb tendon
2 lb ground musk ox (or beef)
4 onions
1 cup chopped mushroom
1 cup chopped cabbage
4 lbs flour (white)

Roll and shape the dough into an oval piece 1/4-inch thick. Brown the beef and crumble, slice tendon into thin slivers, cool and add cabbage, slightly browned onions, salt, pepper and minced parsley. Pour melted butter and meat broth into the filling. Then pile it up on each piece, pinch the opposite edges of the dough and place on the buttered baking sheet, with its seam down, shaping it as a suckling-pig. To make the kulebyaka keep its shape, thicken the dough with flour on the table. To give a natural look to the pig’s ears, nose and tail and to make them safely pass through a baking process, rub flour on the table into a lump of dough intended for these purposes. Attach all details made of dough to the pie by egg, and brush the surface with egg yolk – this helps get the deep amber color. Use large black raisins or large peppercorns to imitate the pig’s eyes. I’m sorry I don’t know how much liquid to make the dough, I never measure it’s all done by feel. The dough is ready when it won’t stick to your fingers like a bread dough.

Prick the surface and sides with a fork and brush them up with the beaten yolk of egg. Bake at 410° to 426° F until it has the deep amber color.

Don’t knock it till you try it.

Razor clam digging from ocean to table


Sorry I haven’t been about in ages. I’ve been hard at work on the book. Unfortunately I will not be able to sell them due to being disabled. So I might just give a few away once their finished. I noticed I had a few searches on razor clamswhile I was away. Specifically how to gather razor clams. There is three types of razor clams and I will discuss both in depth along with how to catch them.

I am most familiar with the first one the atlantic jackknife clam. The jack knife is called the bamboo clam, american jackknife clam and of course the razor clam. You can find them from south carolina all the way up to canada and even in europe.  These clams live in sand and mud.  You have to look at intertidal and subtidal zones in bays and estuaries. Here in Rhode Island you can find them in the salt water ponds. They can burrow in wet sand very quickly, and is also able to swim. It gets its name from the rim of the shell being extremely sharp (stepping on one causes extreme pain and a trip to the doctor) and the shape of the clam overall has a strong resemblance to an old fashioned straight razor. These clams can and will out dig you. Harvesting methods can be limited, specifically here in rhode island your not allowed to use a dredge of any kind to collect them. Their location is revealed by a keyhole-shaped opening in the sand and when the clam is disturbed, a small jet of water squirts from this opening similar to steamer clams as the clam starts to dig. They are not really commercially fished because of the speed and the limited harvesting methods.  The best and easiest way to catch the atlantic jackknife is a method called scaring. This is done by pouring salt on the breathing hole and a little water, the clam will try to escape this extremely salt water coming to the surface and all you must do is grab the shell. Very simple method, though some people are confused as to what is poured on the breathing hole. You now know it’s salt. The same method of razor shells works, however they live only in sand. They are found eastern canada to northern europe. The pacific razor clam is a bit different still. They are larger, and can be 30 feet down in sandy beaches.  They can be found from Pismo beach in California, all the way up into the Aleutian islands in Alaska.  They can be almost 11 inches long in Alaska! Generally they are 3-6 inches in their southern range though.  Always check the public health regulations in your area, as clams of any type may be subject to pollution or toxins in the water.  These clams are commercially harvested. I have never dug for pacific razor clams, so I’m not sure how it’s done. I did find a website in Oregon with pictures that can help those on the pacific coast. http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/razorclams/digging_razor_clams.asp http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/razorclams/index.asp

Now you know how to catch them. How do you clean them? Well one can clean them a number of ways. I purge them by letting them sit in salt water over night with bread crumbs so that they can remove the sand and grit from their bellies.

Another way to do it is to put them in a colander, then pour boiling water over them and then cold water this causes them to pop open. Then you remove the meat from the shell it’s fully cooked and we process the meat. Snip off the tough part of the neck just below the valve. Getting as close to the end as you can. Put the edge of your scissors in under the zipper and snip upward toward the end of the neck. Make sure your scissors go into the lower chamber of the neck to save time. If you missed it, put the scissors back in and cut through the lower chamber. Continue all the way through the end of the neck. Use your fingers to grab the foot and gills. Squeeze gently and pull to separate the foot from the body. After rinsing, the body is ready to eat. Snip at an angle across the end of the foot. Insert the scissors into the middle part of the foot. Cut all the way through the end of the foot, keeping in the middle so that the foot will lay flat for cooking. Pull the foot apart so that it lays flat. Pull the dark material from the foot. Only remove the dark material. Gently pull the foot flat and rinse. There will be soft material that remains on the foot. The foot is now ready to eat. At this point you can batter them and fry them if you wish.

The’s king’s apple pie moonshine


Moonshine: People once believed (incorrectly) ...

Moonshine: People once believed (incorrectly) that a blue flame meant it was safe to drink. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is something I have come to enjoy. Apple pie flavored liquor…excellent for cooking even better for drinking.

 

20 gallons apple juice
20 gallons apple jack
10 cans thing of cinnamon stickes
Now start warming it up. When it reaches about 100 degrees add
20 cups dark brown sugar
20 cups palm sugar
Keep cooking and stiring every now and then.
Add a few dashes of cinnamon powder. Not alot.
Cook until it starts to boil, around 225 should be enough. Now let it cool.
One cooled to around 100 degrees you will now add the alcohol all 8.6 gallons of 190 proof appalachian moonshine (illegal, but can use a 50/50 mix of vodka and everclear)

Store in 50 1 gallon jugs.

Enjoy responsibly…

The art of pasta


Pasta

Pasta (Photo credit: HatM)

Durum Wheat crop

Durum Wheat crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE ART OF PASTA

I am in awe of people who think a box of pasta secca or factory made pasta serves as italian along with a jar of sauce.  I will share some of my knowledge on pasta with my readers.

Pasta fresca or fresh pasta is an art. Fresca doesn’t mean fresh usually, it signifies moist, or just made. This art begins with the flour used to make the pasta. There is 5 types of flour used for making pasta. They are:

1. Strong flour – a good strong white bread flour is the most commonly used flour for pasta making. The pasta can be made with or without eggs because there is enough strength in the gluten in a good flour to hold the pasta together. The eggs are not essential and merely make a richer pasta.

2. OO flour – this is the one that the purists use and is also the one I like and even make pizza from. A bag of OO flour usually says on it “di grano tenero” which means soft grain. OO signifies very fine so what we’ve actually got is a fine soft white flour. Because it is a soft white, it will be low in gluten and will therefore need something to hang it together and that means you have to use eggs as a binder. The “dentiness” of pasta meaning that pasta al dente should have some firmness, almost crunchiness, to it and should not be just pastey. A very high gluten flour can manage this on it’s own, but as OO is low gluten, the eggs provide that degree of firmness required as well as holding the pasta together.

3. O flour – is a halfway house between a strong flour and OO flour. It is usually a blend of a very strong flour such as durum flour and a softer white wheat flour. Because of the strong flour, it will contain more gluten than OO flour and will generally make pasta without the addition of eggs. However the pasta itself will be less firm if the eggs are left out. It will require less egg than OO because it already contains more gluten. The balancing act between eggs and gluten will determine the final texture and really it comes down to personal preference and how rich you want the pasta to be. In short, the more Os that there are in the name of the flour, the more eggs it will need. If you want to put lots of eggs in, go for a OO. If you only want a little egg in, go for the O or the strong flour. If you are not bothered about egg at all, then use the strong flour.

4. Durum flour – comes from durum wheat which is a very hard high gluten variety of grass/wheat. It is used commercially for blending with other flours and for the manufacture of dried pastas. Many varieties of dried pasta list their ingredients as durum flour or durum wheat semolina (in pasta terms it’s the same thing) and that is all. It is generally not used in a home cooking situtation many italians prefere to use a good strong bread flour for pasta and many can not recall ever seeing an Italian cook or housewife making her pasta with semolina. Having said that, it’s most common form is as durum wheat semolina and it can be added to any strong flour to bump up the strength.

5. Semolina – comes from the heart or endosperm of the wheat grain. Durum wheat semolina is used for dried pasta because it is very high in gluten and because as semolina it is ground fairly coarsely, rather like ground rice, so it absorbs less water. It therefore dries faster whilst maintaining it’s shape and will cook without falling apart. It needs no eggs and so from a commercial point of view is far easier to handle (in other words they break the italian cooking commandment, NO SHORT CUTS! My great grandma would rise from her grave an strangle me for short cuts, as would any italian’s grandma). In a home situation where the pasta is to be used fresh, it is not really suitable to be used on it’s own as it can be dreadfully difficult and a lot of work to handle. It can easily be added to another flour, as an experiment if for no other reason. If buying semolina for this purpose, confirm that it is durum wheat semolina. In a supermarket, it probably won’t be unless specified as such because most people are cooking things that don’t require a top grade wheat.

I recommend a beginner to use 1 part semolina to 3 parts of strong flour.

Now a key factor is the differences between the two types of pasta. A fresh pasta will absorb sauces, where a factory made pasta transports it. So think about what you want your pasta to do. In lighter sauces such as a clam sauce, I like my pasta to be fresh so it absorbs the light watery sauce flavoring the pasta. I like to make my own dried pastas for the heavier sauces. This way these heavier sauces make it to my mouth…though inevitably some makes it to my lap or in my case my shirt.

When aiming for authenticity or tradition. Most pastas from Emilia-Romagna and, to a lesser extent, Abruzzo, Lazio (my ancestral homeland), Marche, Tuscany, and Umbria, make their pastas with only eggs and flour and don’t use any salt or water at all. In other areas of the north, Liguria, Piedmont, and Veneto, fresh pasta is made with flour, water, and fewer eggs (one exception being Piedmont’s rich tajarin, which is made with a lot of egg yolks). In the south, (anything below lazio/latium is considered southern Italy.) fresh pasta is made from a dough of semola [semolina – ground durum wheat] and water, but no eggs. So keep in mind there is room to experiment with the dough.

There is many types of pasta you can make. The two main ones are pasta liscia or smooth pasta, and then there is pasta ripiena or stuffed pasta.

Pasta liscia like the name implies have a smooth surface. Examples are pappardellefettuccineorecchiettetrenettetagliatelle, and taglierini, the latter two derivatives of the Italian verb tagliare [to cut].  It is also cut into square shapes, like Liguria’s lasagne. Thats right, lasagne noodles are a type of Pasta Liscia. My favorite type of pasta is maccheroni alla chitarra. This involes cutting mixed dough, rolled out by hand, and it is cut by laying a sheet of dough over a device called a chitarra which means guitar and pressing it against those strings.

Now Pasta ripiena allows for a cook’s special creativity and there are multitudes of fillings for every shape imaginable of pasta. (lobster stuffed heart shaped ravioli for example, or crawfish or even catfish.)  Found throughout northern and central Italy, stuffed pasta is virtually unheard of in the South.  Pasta made for stuffing needs eggs for strength and structure.  Historically, there has never been a lot of eggs in the poorer southern regions of Italy, so pasta ripiena never caught on until recent times when the poor are able to get eggs.

Some good examples of Pasta ripiena include agnolotti from Piedmont – squares with ruffled edges, stuffed with meat and cabbage, agnolini from Emilia-Romagna are halfmoons stuffed with meat and vegetables, and Liguria’s pansoti, filled with wild greens and fresh sour cheeses.  Central Italy has tortelli – large squares filled with spinach and ricotta.  And, of course, Bologna has its cappelletti, small rings of pasta filled with a rich meat mixture, parmigiano-reggiano, and nutmeg.

So the recipe depends on what you want to do with your pasta.

Now I wanna talk about the eggs. First and foremost, WASH YOUR EGGS EVEN IF YOU GET THEM FROM THE STORE. The shell is where salmonella resides, and cross contamination is your biggest threat. You can get salmonella in the egg it’s self but by boiling the pasta past al dente you remove the risk in my opinion. If your using eggs there is many types of eggs you can use. Yes there is more then 1 type of hen egg. There are many varieties of chicken, some are rare breeds. The eggs differ from one another like people do. Hen eggs your best bet is to get what ever is local. The best-tasting eggs are those that are the most nutritious!  Whenever possible, use organic, free-range eggs.  “Cage-free” can mean a lot of things, but don’t necessarily mean the chickens are ever let out of the barn.  Also beware of vegetarian-fed eggs; chickens are natural omnivores, meaning they need protein in their diet, like bugs and worms, which they can only get as they happily run around clucking and scratching and pecking at the ground during the day, in the sunlight (which gives them a natural rhythm that is necessary for egg-laying).  These types of eggs are the most nutritious and will produce excellent pasta! Another is the yolk. The larger the yolk the richer the pasta. There is a breed in Italy that is rare and by rare I mean nearly none existant, while I forget the name it has a pink shell and a large rich yolk. The species was all but wiped out because of the modern commercial chickens who laid eggs at a faster rate. They are now making a come back in artisanal pasta.

Though play around with the eggs you got locally see what works for you. I like duck, goose, or even emu eggs. I think my favorite eggs are duck eggs. They are richer then hen eggs. Bigger, oiler, larger yolk, make for a very good pasta. You need 1 duck egg for every 2 hen eggs. I can find many duck eggs, and there are many local duck farms. We also have a guy who raises emus, and geese. A emu egg is worth 10 normal chicken eggs. Emu eggs are 10 times thicker then your chicken eggs. I tend to use the back of my butcher knife to crack them open. There really isn’t much difference between emu and chicken eggs from the store.  Goose eggs are worth 3 eggs and again absolutely delicious. The yolk of a goose egg is more like a custard or crisco when raw. They will really make your pasta yummy. Just try not to over cook the pasta with goose eggs. You’ll get a strong sulphur taste if you do. Last but not least, Ostrich eggs. They are 24 eggs that’s right 2 dozen eggs if your making pasta with them. They are very artisanal and very rare to come by. I highly recommend them if your going to make a load of pasta for a family event. They are just so wonderful. It’s like heaven in your mouth. Now you know how to substitute eggs which will come in handy when I give a few basic recipes later on.

One thing many people say to me is making pasta at home is hard. No it’s not, it’s terms are complex, but if you understand everything so far, you will find it is really easy. Some say it’s expensive, flour and eggs not very expensive at all. It lasts longer if you make it at home. Thats right, I will tell you how to make homemade pasta last for several months! The best thing is, fresh pasta taste so much better, face it everything done at home tastes better. It’s the love and joy that make it so much better.

Now you get this big lump of dough. You need to flatten it out. There’s 2 ways to do this. One is by hand with a rolling pin and the other is a pasta rolling machine. For beginners I recommend investing in the pasta rolling machine. Having mastered the rolling pin, I can say from experiance it can drive a saint stock raving mad. It takes a long time to master. If you don’t roll your pasta out to an even thickness it can cook unevenly leaving a bad taste in your mouth so to speak. Sorry little pasta humor. Mastering the rolling pin results in a higher quality pasta. It is common place to find a 3 foot long wooden rolling pin in an Italian kitchen. The trick other then quickness is speed. You need quick motions with a rolling pin which stretches the dough. The grain from the wood also leaves a series of small ridges in the pasta which really adds to the texture.

Now here’s where things get debatable and often in Italian families become bitter enemies. The ingrediants. Salt, olive oil, water, and eggs are all argued over. One thing is certain and we Italians all agree, flour is used in making pasta.

Many don’t believe salt is to be used, since many Italians boil their pasta in salted water. Many agree lightly salted water is best vrs unsalted water with salt added to the pasta. Now here’s where the debate really gets heated. Water, some believe adding water results in a pasta that is more gummier. I’ve added water and enjoyed the results myself. Now here’s where Italians come to blows. Olive oil, it is believed olive oil ruins the texture of the pasta and this makes it impossible for the sauce to be absorbed. I think there is room for you to play around with these ingredients and find what you like. Me, it depends on what I’m doing. I like olive oil if I’m making a rich, thick hearty sauce. I never add salt and occationally I will use water. Experiment find what works transporting you to pasta zen.

Now back to the flours. They are very important.

  • Protein content. Egg pasta in the style of Emilia-Romagna requires low-gluten (and thus low protein) flour in order to achieve its soft, tender, and absorbent quality.  High protein flours are better used for breads, which give them a strong gluten web structure that withstands the powerful yeast gases that produce a good rise.  These would include bread flour, durham flour (semolina [semola di grano duro]), and whole wheat flour.
  • Consistency.  The protein content of wheat varies from harvest to harvest. Only the national brands have successfully achieved consistent protein content year after year, with King Arthur having the best reputation among commercial bakers.  Regional brands can also work well and many times have lower protein contents.
  • Texture. For egg pasta, the finer the grind the better.  Grainy flour, such as semolina, is difficult to work with and nearly impossible to roll out with a rolling pin.  Semolina is used in factory-made pasta, where powerful machinery works the dough into beautifully-shaped varieties.
  • Ash content. Ash content (sometimes called “mineral content” on the package) refers the outer layers of the wheat berry, where the minerals are concentrated.  Flours that are processed closest to the bran will have higher ash content and are darker in color due to particles of bran.  A high mineral content will develop more intense fermentation and flavor, which is wonderful for bread, but not for egg pasta.  Flour from France typically has higher ash content than Italian or American flour, which gives French breads their distinctive flavor.
  • Extraction rate. This refers to the flour obtained from the milling process and is related to ash content.  A 100% extraction (or straight-run) is wholemeal flour that contains the entire wheat berry grain.  Lower extraction rates render whiter flours from which progressively more of the bran and germ (and thus B vitamins and iron) are excluded, down to a 72% extraction, which is typical American white flour.

There is no magic ratio. It is ready when it comes together to form a dough. Play around with it in order to develop a sense of the dough’s optimal consistency to ensure successful pasta. The ratio will depend upon upon the size of the eggs, how much moisture the flour will absorb, which in turn is dependent upon the kitchen environment, such as temperature and humidity level.

Now pastas go by many names, but the dough is different. For example if your making strangozzi then your going to start with a 4 egg dough as an example.

Now we got the ingredients out of the way, let’s get the techniques down.

The technique is quite simple. Measure out your flour onto a clean dry work space. Like a pizza stone or a cutting board. Make a depression in your flour and make sure the walls are thick. Crack into this well in the flour your eggs. Depending how many eggs your using, the well will need to be brought to size to hold them. I like to use my hands but break the yolk and mix it together so that the yolk and the whites are blended together. When I was young my great grandma gave me this job and I excelled at gushing the eggs together with my hands. Once your eggs are mixed slowly begin to bring in the flour into the eggs. Keep slowly taking more and more flour into the eggs while you mix them. I am however getting ahead of myself. While regular pasta is great, who wants just regular pasta all the time? You can add things to your pasta. Flavorings, herbs, color.  Here’s just some ideas that I use.

Green Pasta with Spinach Puree – Steam or blanch about 1/2 pound of spinach or swiss chard leaves (stems removed) until they are soft and bright green. Puree in a food processor until smooth and press out as much extra liquid as possible before mixing with the eggs. I also like to go further by adding roasted garlic into the food processor.

Red Pasta with Beet Puree – Roast two small or one large beet in aluminum foil in a 375° oven until very soft. Peel and puree in a food processor. After you can pickle the beets. Nothing should go to waste.

Black Pasta with Squid Ink – Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of squid ink to the eggs before mixing. Squid ink is available online and in many gourmet food stores. Be prepaired to pay a pretty penny for spanish inks.

Yellow Pasta with Saffron – Add a 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of ground saffron or ground turmeric to the eggs before mixing. (prefere the turmeric it’s much cheaper! This adds a spicy semi bitter flavor excellent paired off with a sweet sauce.)

Speckled Green Pasta with Fresh Herbs – Finely chop about enough fresh green herbs to equal about six tablespoons and mix them with the eggs before mixing. There’s no need to blanch or puree fresh herbs. Any fresh herbs can be used, either singly or in combinations, but think about which sauce you’ll be pairing with the herb pasta to make sure they work well together. I love a little dill in my rich hearty meat sauce.

Brown pasta-cuddle fish or octopus ink.

The inks (squid, cuttle fish, octopus) are ment for a number of things. They add a flavor of the sea, they add a nice saltyness, just use a little. It goes a long way. To make your own, you just need to catch them clean them and remove the ink from their sacks. This ink must be used within 30 days and has to be refrigerated. They also add color. A little goes a long way. You can find ink usually squid ink in well stocked cool super markets.

Now after adding our flavorings or colors we bring the flour slowly into the eggs mixing it together to form the dough. Once this is done move it to a clean spot and wash your board while leaving the dough covered by a towel. Now many people over look this, but you must knead the pasta. It makes it very cloud like. Pressing, folding, turning:  this is kneading.  With the heel of your hand, firmly press into the center of the dough ball.  Grab the far end with your fingers and fold it toward you, as if folding the dough in half.  Then give it a quarter turn.  Repeat  – over and over – and always in the same direction.  Use one hand, both hands, or alternate hands.  This may take 7-10 minutes depending on the flour. Now we must let it rest. Wrap the dough ball in foil or plastic film and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes or up to two hours.   This resting period will allow the gluten to relax and ensure thorough and even absorption of the egg’s moisture into the flour.

To dry your pasta you will need a large surface area to dry the pasta.  If you have a large counter space, that works, as does your kitchen or dining room table, or as my great grandma did, use your bed!  Spread several thin towels or even an old sheet over the area. Roll the pasta out. If you got a pasta rolling machine, this is where you need to consult the instructions for attatching it to your work surface. (sorry but I have never used one, just my trusty rolling pin. So read the insturctions from cover to cover.)

I tend to divide my dough based on the number of eggs. If I used 5 eggs I divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Using a quick back and forth motion to get the pasta rolled out. (sorry I can’t be any more descriptive, it’s extremely hard to put into words.) If you were using a pasta roller, you’d set it to the desired thickness and run each dough section through your roller as you turn the handle. You might do this once or twice or even three times on different settings. Be ready to catch the dough comming out from the back of the machine. Once we got it flat we must let it rest 10 to 15 minutes under a dry towel. Resting time varies depending on the kitchen’s heat, humidity, and ventilation. Don’t be afraid to turn it over to help it dry evenly. DON’T OVER DRY them, as they will become too dry and crack when you cut them. There are many machine cutters. I never have used them. It’ll be like your pasta machine though.

Some examples of machine cuts are Fettuccine and tonnarelli.  Fettuccine [Little ribbons] – Use the broader set of cutters for fettuccine; the pasta can initially be rolled as thick or thin as you’d like. Tonnarelli is from lazio and is a  versatile style is square; i.e., the depth and width are equal.  Therefore, when running the dough through the rollers, continue doing so until the width matches that of the cutter’s depth, so the end result will be square.  You may need to experiment with your machine to determine which setting is ideal.

I tend to make hand made pastas using any none serrated knife. Typically my butcher knife. A few of the ones I make are:

  • Pappardelle – This noodle originated in Bologna and is typically ¾” to 1” wide.  Lay a sheet of pasta on your work space and cut with a fluted pastry wheel.
  • Tagliatelle – Also originated in Bologna, this noodle is typically wider and perhaps thinner than fettuccine, say ½” wide (fettuccine is ¼”).  The easiest way to cut this pasta is to loosely roll a pasta sheet lengthwise, then cut crosswise every quarter inch.
  • Maltagliati [Badly cut] – This small, random-shaped pasta is great for soups, especially pasta e fogioli [pasta and beans].  It is usually a mixture of various triangles, squares, and trapezoids.  The only important thing here is that the shapes are roughly the same size so they will cook to the same consistency.  Roll a pasta sheet lengthwise like tagliatelle.  Using your sharp knife, make a point on one of the ends by cutting each corner.  Then cut crosswise to make a small triangle.  Continue doing so until the whole roll is cut.

If you look around online you can find tons of machines and cutters that will allow you to make all sorts of shapes. The type of pasta sometimes requires you to take and cut the pasta as it’s comming out of the machine. Like elbow maccaroni they are extruded from the machine and sliced to size as they are comming out.

http://www.consiglioskitchenware.com/store/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=384 Has pasta machines starting at 20 dollars. They also got a few types of rolling pins, chittaras, peirogi and dumpling makers.  You may have to stop around for other types of attatchments. Again I don’t got a machine so not sure where to source them.

To me the best way to dry your pasta is in nests grab several ribbons of pasta and form into a small nest.  Dry them overnight (in dry climates) or for a full 24 hours (in more humid climates).  Any less drying time will result in mold forming on the pasta.  Once completely dried, the nests can be placed in shoe boxes (with a few ventilation holes cut in them) layered with a paper towel in between.  Maltagliati can be stored in a sealed plastic bag after it has been completely dried in my experiance.

There is no need to refrigerate completely dried pasta – keep in a dry cupboard or pantry.  The pasta, when boiled, will produce the same luscious result as if cooked immediately after it was made!

Now for what you’ve been hankering for. The recipes!

Beginners doughs
Basic northern 5 egg dough

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 5 large eggs

Emu egg dough

  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 emu egg

Intermediate doughs
Goose egg dough

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of semolina flour
  • 1 goose eggs
  • 1 hen egg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm water

Duck egg dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 duck egg
  • ¼ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water

Expert doughs-Lots of ingredients and can be overwhelming and need a very large surface

Ostrich dough for a wedding

  • 15 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/4 cups semolina
  • 1 ostrich egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Ostrich dough# 2

  • 5 1/2 pounds type ’00’ flour (about 20 cups!)
  • 1 ostrich egg

Now you’ve made your dough. Time to cook it…I got some tips for how to do it the right way. These are the Pasta commanments.

  1. Cooking time is about 3-4 minutes for fresh pasta.
  2. To stop cooking the pasta before draining, pour in a bit of Ice cold water (1 cup per pound of pasta).
  3. Egg pastas are porous and soak up water, so it will weigh a lot after cooking! Don’t throw your back out lift with your knees not your back!
  4. Use your biggest pan! It gives the pasta room to move and prevents sticking.
  5. Two thirds of the pan is water, don’t use less! Ostrich doughs you may need to cook in batches!
  6. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water unless the pasta has salt in it.
  7. The sauce must be made in a pan big enough to hold the sauce and the pasta. You add pasta to sauce, not sauce to pasta.
  8. Taste the pasta before the stated cooking time is up: it may be done sooner. Al dente means to the tooth.
  9. Drain the pasta fast. The longer it sits the more it absorbs and won’t absorb that yummy sauce you spent all day making….unless you got it from a jar.
  10. Never rinse cooked pasta – you’ll wash off all the starch which is essential for the texture of the sauce.
  11. Allow a gallon of water per pound of pasta. Even when boiling a small amount of pasta, use a minimum of three quarts water. Failure to do so will result in clumping and a gummy texture.
  12. Never add olive oil to the water to prevent clumping. (This is an american technique and a major no no for us italians.)
  13. It is an American practice to attempt to thicken the sauce with pasta water. This will render the sauce dull, starchy, and even alkaline. Don’t spoil the balance of your beautiful pasta and sauce with pasta water.
  14. If your sauce is butter or cream-based, add a pat of butter to the pasta while tossing.
  15. Serve and enjoy while it’s still hot.

There you have it. Homemade pasta….but wait more recipes!

How can you just have pasta without sauce. When making a tomato based sauce there is three types.

Long simmering sauces achieve a rich, complex flavor. Cooking time can range from two hours to all day, depending on how thick and caramelized you like your sauce.

Barely-cooked sauces have a lighter flavor more recognizable of fresh tomatoes, but a little bit of cooking softens the tomatoes and brings out their sweetness. Briefly cooking the sauce helps retain the tomatoes’ fresh, tart-sweet taste, but also heats them long enough to add depth of flavor. Caramelize some onions, sauté garlic, and simmer herbs long enough to infuse the sauce with their flavors.

Uncooked sauces are bright and refreshing, and are best made with thoroughly ripe summer tomatoes. o make it, use fresh tomatoes at their peak of ripeness, when they are sweet and juicy and bursting with flavor.

Long simmering
Sauce #1

  • 10 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Burgundy wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Ragu Bolognese

  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 pound guanciale or panchetta
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (secrete recipe but you can find out how to do your own here: http://www.pickyourown.org/canning_tomatopaste.htm I can tell you it uses roma tomatoes.)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine or chicken stock,plus extra
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • grated Parmesan for serving
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Place celery, carrot and onion in a food processor and pulse till finely chopped. Saute the vegetables in olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground meats. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, breaking up the meats as they cook.

When the meats become a light golden color (approximately 6-8 minutes), add the wine or chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan as it deglazes. Cook until the wine has almost reduced then add the tomato paste, tomatoes and more wine or stock if needed. Bring to a boil then simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the milk during the last half hour of cooking.

At this time the sauce will be a medium thick consistency. If it’s too dry, add more wine or stock. If it’s not thick enough, allow to simmer longer to reduce and thicken.

Barely cooked

Marinara

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Sautee onion and garlic 2-4 minutes in olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Tomato pepper

  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Peel and crush tomatoes, add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. (Boil tomatos till the skin splits to peel them, then cool under cold running water, and peel off the skin.)

Fresh sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 onions, minced
  • 2 green bell peppers, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together simmer for 30 minutes.

Uncooked sauces

Alla checca

  • 5 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and let sit for 2-10 hours covered in a bowl with plastic wrap. Add your pasta and toss.

Blender sauce

  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 small tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Take a head of garlic, slice off the tops of the garlic bulb drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil at 450 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool. Squeeze garlic out into blender. Add in remaining ingredients and puree till smooth.

Summer sauce

  • 2 pounds vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream sherry

Add all ingredients into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap after mixing together and let stand for 2 to 10 hours mixing every hour.

There you go pasta sauce. Now your ready to go out there and make your own pastas right down to a pasta sauce.

Taglia il pane, Apri il vino, Buon appetito.

Cut the bread, open the wine bottle, have a good meal.

my secret grilled lobsters


The mint makes them really good. Do not tell anyone! It’s our secret
Salt, to taste
8 live lobsters, each 1 1/2 to 2 lb
4 sticks unsalted butter
24 garlic cloves, minced
4 lemons cut into 1/4th slices
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
12 Tbs. minced fresh mint and parsley

 

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have ready a bowl of ice water large enough to fit the lobsters.

On a cutting board, use the point of a knife to cut an incision through each lobster head shell about 1 inch from the eyes, pushing down hard through the shell to instantly kill the lobster (yes it’s painless). Immediately plunge the lobsters into the pot and cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to the ice water. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, split them in half lengthwise. Remove the intestinal vein from the tails, the grain sacs from the heads and any green tomalley from the bodies; reserve any black egg sacs in a small bowl. (You can stuff the head if you’d like with broccoli and cheese after.)

Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over the egg sacs and, using a fork, gently break the membrane to release the roe; it will turn bright red in the hot water. Strain through a sieve and let dry on a paper towel.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the mint and parsley and 2 Tbs. of the reserved lobster eggs. Keep the garlic-mint butter warm.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Brush the cut side of each lobster half with some of the garlic-mint butter. Place the lobsters, cut side down, on the grill. Cover and grill until the flesh is opaque and firm to the touch, 5 to 6 minutes. Grill the lemon slices over the hottest part of the fire until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Brush the grilled lobsters with the remaining garlic-mint butter and transfer to a platter. Garnish with the grilled lemon slices and serve immediately.

New england shack-style fried razor clams


Fried clams, fries, and onion rings

Image via Wikipedia

I do this up for a crowd. Typically I do this for family events. Nothing like a new england clam bake with some clam shack new england fried razor clams. Absolutely delicious.

I make my own mix for frying.

10 cup corn flour
10 cup all-purpose flour
10 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Simple just mix it around by hand get it all evenly distributed.

15 pounds of shucked, razor clams, cut into 4ths.
60 cups vegtable oil or canola oil (3 1/3rd gallons see note)
10 cup buttermilk
frying mix (above)

You will be frying in batches to avoid the problems that can happen if you overcrowd your fryer. To avoid this, line a baking sheet with paper towels and preheat the oven to 250ºF.

Heat oil to the desired temperature in a 32-quart fryer or equivalent pot over medium heat or in a deep fryer.

While the oil is heating, pour the buttermilk into a large bowl, and put the fry mix in another. Drop the clams into the buttermilk and stir gently. Using a Chinese wire-mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, carefully lift up a small batch (in this case, about half of the clams you’re frying), allowing the excess buttermilk to drip back into bowl, then drop the clams into the fry mix and gently toss it to coat evenly with the mix. Quickly dry off the skimmer.

When the oil is hot, lift the food out of the fry mix with the skimmer, gently shake off the excess, and drop it carefully into the oil. Try to spread the food out in the pot so there is less chance of the pieces sticking to each other. The first few moments are crucial: let the seafood cook for 15 to 20 seconds without moving the clams (or the fryer basket)—if you do, some of the breading could fall off, making them extremely greasy. Then stir the clams so that it cooks evenly. This also helps to loosen any pieces that might have stuck together. If anything sticks to the bottom of the pot, loosen it with tongs. Stay right there at the fryer, moving the clams occasionally so it cooks evenly.

Transfer the first batch of clams from the hot oil to the paper towel lined baking sheet to drain. You can keep the clams warm in the oven while you fry the second batch, but with clams or oysters, you should consider serving them as soon as they have drained. Because they are whole creatures with wet innards, they tend to lose their crunch alot faster than shrimp, scallops, and other seafood. You want a crunchy fried clam not a soggy one. As I get batches done, I throw them on a plate or platter and send it to the table with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs and fries are never out of the question.  If you really want traditional rhode island/new england, Serve them in brown paper bags.

Notes, if you want to do clam cakes, mince the razor clams add into buttermilk then mix into the fry mix to make a batter (may need to raise the fry mix by 1/3rd) to make a crunch batter. Make sure the temprature remains at 360 degrees. Oil too hot or too cold results in burned or uncooked centers.

My favorite clam cake mix is below:

RI clamcake mix

20 cups bisquick mix
5 tsp. paprika
10 tsp. parsley, chopped
2 1/2 tsp. onion powder
5 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. white pepper
10 tbsp. white sugar
5 c. milk
5 c. clam juice
15 lb minced razor clams

Mix it all together and drop by the spoon full into the fryer.

I RECOMMEND HANGING ONTO THE GREASE. The reason I hang onto the left over grease from the fryer is it’s flavored now. I use this grease for gravies, or drizzling into clam soups, or even spraying onto bread to help the top get nice and golden brown. It’s not strongly flavored but it does have a bit of flavor from the spices. It’s very good. Just let the oil cool and all the junk sink to the bottom and slowly pour it off, being careful to not pour off the sediment into your oil. You can even use this for crab cakes. The uses are endless! Use in place of any oil or butter!

Just server with my tartar sauce (recipe from the slipper limpet cakes link in related articles)

My tartar sauce that is always on the table.

10 cup mayo
20 tablespoons onion
20 tablespoons relish (equal amounts of sweet pickle relish and hot pepper relish)
10 tablespoon oregano
10 tablespoon dijon mustard
10 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

place all ingredients into a bowl, and mix well. Put in fridge.