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Homemade Pasta WITHOUT a rolling machine?? Is it possible?

Marcella Hazan has a long description of how to do it, along with disparaging remarks about the texture obtained by machine. So yes, definitely possible. It's probably the kind of thing that's painful the first time you do it and gets simple with practice.

Jan 05, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

making pasta con fagioli ahead

actually, that might be a blessing: I could use some kind of macaroni pasta for the vegans, so their dish will look different from everyone else's. less chance of accidental cheese-eating panic.

Jan 04, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

making pasta con fagioli ahead

the vegetarians and vegans would be sad about that, and italian wedding soup without meatballs is a sad sad thing.

Jan 04, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

What cream to use to make homemade cultured butter?

I drank raw milk when I lived somewhere with a good supply (Philadelphia, I miss your dairy farmers). my concerns about raw cream (which is illegal in PA but appears to be available in CA) are about my own handling of the butter. I've generally had issues with the keeping quality of my homemade butter, and my experience is that raw milk spoils quite a bit faster than pasteurized, so I'd worry that raw butter would turn faster as well. nothing against raw milk.

Jan 04, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

What cream to use to make homemade cultured butter?

No idea what they have in Quebec, but my advice is twofold:

1. nothing with additives. they stabilize the cream, making it more difficult to get it to separate into butter.

2. get the highest fat cream you can fine. I used to be able to get double cream (55% butterfat) and had much better results than with normal heavy cream.

I probably wouldn't use raw cream, because I don't trust my own hygiene standards enough.

Jan 04, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

making pasta con fagioli ahead

that's exactly my concern. but the pasta con fagioli would actually be the entree, and it seems festive enough for a wedding, simple enough for me to pull off, and hearty enough to make a main course. I've thought of a couple of other options that fit those requirements (chili with cornbread, enchiladas) but my friend doesn't like them as much. It also turns out that anything that needs to be reheated in the oven is out, because we won't have enough oven space to reheat all the food at once. I'm open to other ideas, I just don't have them myself.

Jan 04, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

making pasta con fagioli ahead

thanks for the suggestions so far. I'd forgotten to worry about the beans splitting, but I'll start now. I can't use a microwave - don't think the kitchen will have one, plus I've never seen a microwave that'd fit dinner for 160. cooking it ahead and only bringing it to room temperature sounds the most foolproof, but would it bring down the temperature of the final dish too much?

normally, I'd just cook the beans with bacon fat to start with as well as serving some crispy bacon on top. unfortunately, there are going to be vegans and vegetarians and probably some folks who keep kosher (at least enough to avoid pork), so vegetarian beans are probably a better option, and I really don't have the energy to keep track of two entirely separate entrees. I've had fair luck with vegan beans when I've been aggressive about the herbs and the stock base. Never heard of seafood in pasta con fagioli.

I've used fresh pasta with pasta con fagioli before, and so has my family - I've always assumed my mom picked it up in northern Italy. but it could have been her own idea.

Jan 03, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

Need To Make Creme Fraiche...

is there a difference between homemade sour cream and creme fraiche? I've made what I'd call sour cream with 1 T buttermilk (or yogurt) per cup of heavy cream; how much it set up depended primarily on how much fat was in the cream (this was back when I could get double cream) and how long I let it sit.

Jan 03, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

what recipes would you include in a cookbook for a child going off to college.

I agree about roast chicken, bean soup, brownies.

Things I ate a lot of in college:
peanut sauce
egg drop soup
gussied up mac and cheese from a box (yogurt instead of milk, fresh pepper, arugula stirred in at the last minute, maybe nutritional yeast, parsley)
bean soup
brownies

things I'm incredibly glad I know how to make now:
spicy greens
pasta with greens
eggs with greens
pasta with mushroom cream sauce
roast chicken
simple spicy tomato sauce (a little oil in a pan, garlic and hot pepper, a can of tomatoes, herbs if you have them)
mashed potatoes
mashed potato pancakes
biscuits
roasted root vegetables
big pot o' beans
tacos from those beans
easy salsa
bread (I started with baguette, would now use the no-knead bread recipe)

desserts:
caramel sauce
butterscotch sauce
simple chocolate sauce (heavy cream; chocolate chips; heat, stir)
pie crust
chocolate cake and frosting
gingerbread
cookies for Christmas, because it's part of my family's tradition

Jan 03, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

making pasta con fagioli ahead

I'm making the food for a friend's wedding (160 people), and everything's going to need to be done the day before, and just reheated and put onto serving platters that day. I was thinking I would make pasta con fagioli: the ingredients aren't too expensive, it'll dress it up if I add good parmesan and cook parmesan rinds into the beans, I can easily make a pot of it for the vegans with no parmesan, and serve some bacon on the side for those who like it.

the only tricky part is that everything needs to be made the day before. Someone else will be in charge of reheating, portioning, and serving, but I can't rely on them to do any cooking. So the pasta has to be cooked in advance. I've thought of a few options, among them

- cooking the pasta to within about 2 minutes of being ready, then shocking and refrigerating it, and reheating with the beans.

- I think I could probably ask the people doing the reheating/serving to add a specified amount of pasta to each pot, then boil until it's cooked (where it would be too much to ask them to make a separate pot of pasta, then combine). I don't know why this seems more realistic (maybe because each pot would be labeled and they don't have to track which pot of pasta goes with which pot of beans?), but it does. the only issue is I'd have to track very carefully how much pasta needed to go in each pot, and make sure everything gets labeled correctly.

- if the budget permits, using fresh pasta, which only needs to cook for a minute or two right before the food gets served. otherwise, I'd probably use dried egg fettucine or tagliatelle.

any advice? this event isn't for a while, but it's the first event like this I've ever done.

Jan 03, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking

Question on homemade bread.....

what about Mark Bittman/Jim Lahey's no-knead bread? it's delicious and incredibly simple. recipe here:

<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/din...>

I started out with a baguette-style loaf like the one Caroline1 posted, which has the advantage of really giving you a sense of how bread-making works, where the Bittman/Lahey recipe is vaguely magical in its ease.

I also really like Mollie Katzen's description in (I think) Enchanted Broccoli Forest of a general method to make bread.

the recipe you have looks like more of a soft sandwich bread, though, so if that's what you're looking for, bake that one!

Jan 03, 2010
NomadHomebody in Home Cooking