porcini pasta

Ingredients tossed together, mixed, rested and rolled.  That's my quick fix for fresh pasta.  It's not quite as fine as that derived from machine rolling, but it's pretty good for a weeknight and a few servings barely takes an hour.

The other night @ChefBillGlover gifted me a sample of porcini powder and suggested one good use for it was as a partial replacement for flour in pasta!  

Here's my version:
 The powder, WOW!  After I broked the vacuum seal what an earthy strong smell!

This is the dough after some mixing in the bread machine: eggs (3, 160 g), olive oil (10 g), salt (3 g), porcini powder (20 g), unbleached white flour (290), whole wheat coarse ground flour (10 g).  I like a bit of whole wheat to tighten up the dough.  Look at that color!

After a few minutes kneading in the bread machine, I cut it into 3 balls, wrapped and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

 Using some whole wheat flour to keep from sticking, the first blob of dough was rolled to about 18" x 12" and kind of thin.  It got tough at the end and I was too impatient to wait for it to relax to get it thinner.

 To cut noodles, I laid out the pasta and let it dry out about 5 minutes.  This prevents the noodles from sticking to each other later.  Then I just cut lines with a pizza roller.  This is different than many cut pasta, but I like it, it's faster than it looks.

 Scooped the noodles from the center into a bunch.

 I let these rest on a wooden peel for about an hour while I went out for a quick wine tasting.

  Tossed in boiling salted water for about 5 minutes, strained and tossed with blanched/sauteed asparagus and peas, and topped with reggiano.


poached, a validation

Validation has many meanings.  The most interesting context for this word from my experience was in big pharma.  When scaling up a process, bringing a chemical reaction from research to manufacturing, a reaction procedure goes through a process of being tried by many others to see if it  works as described.  If you're the first chemist in line, the innovator, it is a humiliating process.  You see your personal touch get shredded with vigor by others until it becomes reproducible.  It's one of the fastest ways an experimental chemist matures.

This is what I think about when @TestKitchen or the ilk call something "Master Recipe."  It rarely is.  But this poached egg method, it's perfect.

So, this post is only my experience with someone else's method, a validation of sorts.  The only thing - I don't know where ground zero is, feel free to chime in via comments.  I don't know who created this method.  I'd like to have a beer with whoever it is.

 Crack open and egg and swirl on a fine screen for a minute or so.  A small but crucial amount of white, will come through the screen, discard it.  Then place the egg in a cup or ramekin for dropping in the water.  Repeat with as many eggs that you want or will fit in the pan.

 Gently spill the egg into simmering water (no vinegar needed).  Let sit 3 minutes.  Use screen to remove them.  As they cook, they'll lift off the bottom of the pan of boiling water.  The eggs will stay separated!

 To serve, bake a baguette, slice in half, toast and butter.

Grab your egg out of the water with that same screen, swirl to remove excess water and plop on baguette.  Enjoy.  It always works.  Always.


biryani (or something like it)

Inspired by the little industrious guy at Curry and Hurry who makes a killer chicken tikka biryani that we all love, I tried a few recipes to make something similar, failing miserably each time.  I thought about the flavors I liked and took a stab at creating it from scratch.  It didn't come out like Curry and Hurry's but I found a general prep for veggies and Indian spiced chicken and rice.  What I like is the rice is cooked well, not mush, like what happened with oven versions.  It's flexible and the "recipe" below is just an illustration of a general scheme - have fun with it.

my mise, click to embiggen

This is what I envision about 3 pm everyday before dinner.  I find a recipe, memorize it, shop for the ingredients and walk through it driving home.   
1. closest to the stove (right) are the whole spices (cumin, mustard, black cardamom, coriander, fenugreek) that'll hit the hot dry pan, ca 2t - 1T each, until the seeds start to pop.
2. moving left, ghee, 3-4T, added after the whole spices are popping
3. the holy trinity of Indian: chopped serrano, grated ginger and garlic all chopped to a paste, added on top of the ghee
4. the brined, chopped chicken breast sauteed next in small batches, reserved.
5. the powdered spices: mustard, thyme, paprika, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, ca 1T each.
6. veggies: cabbage and carrots this time, tossed in to steam/sautee to soften.
7.tomato paste, 2T
8. precooked basmati (2/3 C dry), peas and toss until all hot.

Final dish.  Indian chicken and rice, biryani, casserole, whatever.  Veggies and rice done nicely and well spiced and lots of veggie options.

Served with raita (yogurt, green onion,cumin seed and salt) on the side.