pasta, stat

The other night, the wife and I wanted to eat a special chili gifted to us by a friend, a special Indian vegetarian chili in limited supply.  Given the child's finicky nature when it comes to chili, we coveted it and gave her spaghetti.  Side dish of spaghetti coming up!

Rolling pasta by machine can take a lot of time if the initial hydration of dough isn't correct.  Too wet and the dough requires running it through rollers, dusting with flour, and repeating that until it absorbs enough flour to get to a fine texture and dry enough not to stick when the noodles get cut.  I also wanted to use a coarse wheat as part of the dough makeup.  Here's what I came up with: 1 yolk + 1 whole egg, 65 g, salt 2 g, olive oil 5 g, unbleached white 110 g, coarse whole wheat 20 g.  I mixed this quick by hand, dumped it on the counter and folded the stiff crumble a few times.  It eventually gathered into a ball after some work, but it was tough.  I resisted adding more water.  The rollers would finish the kneading.  I let it rest at room temp only about 10 minutes, passed it through coarse rollers and then down to 4 using a roller on a KitchenAid.  Then the strips were cut to fine noodles which turned out to be a nice looking spaghetti.  Because the dough was on the dry side, it flew through the process without too many passes and was silky smooth by the end.  We got our chili and the kid her spag.

The noodles were allowed to sit on the counter for 20 minutes while I prepped dinner.  These were boiled and tossed olive oil, butter, slivered garlic and hot pepper flakes.


oven fried (coconut shrimp)

"Oven fried" is an expression commonly seen in the doctor's office copy of Family Circle. Potatoes or chicken skimmed with oil (because low fat food makes us all thin) and baked will make food that tastes "just like it's deep fried" claim the recipes.

These methods are an  insult to the beauty of deep frying.  With one exception. Mayo. Frankie and I will take thin pieces of chicken breast, coat with mayo and cover with seasoned bread crumbs and bake in a 400F oven.  They're really great.  It's not deep frying, but it's really a great coating that doesn't flake off.  The mayo sticks to the flesh and holds the breading better cooking with just a skim of oil.  It's like oil fixation .. or something.

I used this the other night on some frozen, poor quality shrimp in an attempt to salvage them.  I thawed the shrimp, air dried them a while, plopped a bunch of mayo on the floor of the sink (I frequently use the floor of the sink as a workspace for messy jobs), dumped the shrimp and worked the mayo over the outside of the shrimp with my hands leaving as much on the surface as would stay on.  I took the coated shrimp and dropped them in a mixture of 1 C bread crumbs and 1C sweetened coconut (and about 5 g salt) to coat them.  I baked them in a 425F oven (a little too hot) on top of parchment.  Next time I'll cook them a little lighter in color.  Fun appetizer for the gang.


"natural" peanut butter

I'm a Jif super crunch guy. I lived on it during grad school. Almost everyday, lunch was a quick sandwich at my desk. When I'm not eating the maligned processed peanut butters, I love the peanut butters made before my eyes with peanuts ground in the hopper before my eyes. The style/peanut-crunching-machines are in most fancy supermarkets. The peanut butter has got great texture, doesn't separate for a long time, about a few weeks and tastes great.

Today's question: Why does each and every "natural," no additive peanut butter taste like shit and absolutely nothing like the stuff crushed just prior to eating? Sorry locals, even @KremaNutCompany. The pre-ground peanut butters have some texture, kind of runny, separated and above all, the deal breaker, with a bitter aftertaste?

Machine mashed before my eyes...yum.

Leading "natural" brand, runny, icky, bitter.