100 Day Project: Days 51-60
I'm chippin' away these blog posts one at a time and feeling great about it. kind of. So lets talk days 51-60. First, it feels like this was FOREVER ago. A lot of these were really delicious. I'm looking at my list and having a really hard time placing things, at least in terms of this first category, the biggest disappointment however, is as clear as day. As usual, I've included some of my favorite pictures at the bottom and let me tell you- these guys were a pretty good looking bunch.
There were some big developments during this time. The biggest being I got a pasta extruder! On a whim! An expensive whim! (I think its what the definition of an impulse buy is) I've been looking at different makes and models for a long time now and there aren't actually a ton of non commercial options. I happened to be admiring a kitchen aid mixer display at sur la table one afternoon and saw that they had made an extruder attachment. As luck would have it they had just gotten them in stock too. It was meant to be. How has it been working out you ask? Technically its great, but I do have mixed feelings about it; and could go on all day about the pros and cons, but I think I'll save that for another time.
The Tastiest: Corn and Crescenza Cappelletti
This was a recipe from my Flour and Water cookbook. I have yet to be disappointed in any of the food from this book, and I would make things from it more regularly if some the the ingredients weren't so hard to find. My only complaint is that it is arranged seasonally; which generally I think is fine, but for this project I'm more likely to remember and look for a particular shape rather than if its a summer or spring dish. This was surprisingly easy to make, cappelletti are "little hats" and are like simpler tortellini. The salty cheese + sweet corn combo was AMAZING, I've been thinking about it a lot, and recently tried it with a different cheese situation.
The Most Exotic: Bucatini with almond pesto and jalapenos
Nothing we made was that exotic; so this combination will have to do. I would have never thought to make an almond pesto and pair it with jalepenos so it counts in my book! The almond pesto was alright, it was basically almond butter (note: see if I could just use almond butter in the future). I would ahve changed a few things, more peppers, and I think I should have cooked the pasta longer. Extruded pasta is supposed to be kind of dry I guess? And the cooking times are kind of confusing... we're figuring it out as we go. So am I dying to make this again, no, but I will most likely give it another try, someday, maybe...
The Most Disappointing: Saffron Fusilli with fennel and orange zest
This was a complete disaster. It was one of those situations where rather than loosely following recipe directions I really should have followed them to a t. The first problem was that there was supposed to be bone marrow and bone marrow broth involved. Long story short, the bones and marrow had to be discarded and the broth was so pungent and off putting it got poured out down a storm drain. This pasta was BRIGHT. like really really bright. Velveeta cheese bright. It was awesome in a non food way and with the vaguely bitter sauce situation proved to be too hard to eat. And I tried. I ate it hot, luke warm, room temperature. It was one of those things where I'd look at it while cleaning up and think, its not that bad, and I'd grab some from the pan only to be disappointed again. I had to throw it out so I would stop eating it. I've also concluded that I don't like saffron; its not something I eat often, but I've had paia before and felt meh about that too, so I've decided saffron is the common enemy. All things considered, this was a lot of work for something I tried really hard to like. And you know what, I don't plan on trying it again, even with the right ingredients.
The Prettiest: Frutti Di Mare (sans tomatoes)
A lot of the pastas this time were gorgeous. At least I thought so. I was getting beautiful summer light, which meant that I could use a full range of backgrounds (both inside and outside). My go to favorite is the peeling blue painted wood, also known as the floor of our porch. I thought this was the prettiest though because it wasn't taken in my home, and therefore is the only picture that looks like it. The colorful plate, all the textures -especially the wicker- it just feels so happy and summery to me. I also really like it because much like this dish, its not too fussy. You really don't have to try to plate it to make it look pretty, and for some of these a LOT of effort goes into making them look like something other than piles of mush. (ps this tasted as good as it looked)
The one you could make tonight: Lemon Linguine with scallops
This. Was. Awesome. and relatively simple. You do not have to go to the trouble of making lemon linguine, honestly it didn't even taste that lemony to me; but if you wanted too you could just add some zest to your dough as you mix it. Scallops take next to no time to cook so this is a fast dinner to make too- here is the gist
Boil water- once its boiling salt liberally and begin these steps
Take out your scallops, pat them dry on paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Olive oil in a pan, when hot place your scallops in the pan and sear each side for 2-3 minutes (about 5 minutes total) try not to move them once they go in the pan; they'll brown better if they stick a little.
Put the pasta of your choice in now (if youre using boxed pasta, it typically takes 10 minutes to cook; if using fresh pasta wait) When the scallops are done before you take them out of the pan, squeeze half a lemon over the them, remove them from the pan and put on a plate.
At this point you will start making your sauce. You can add garlic, red pepper flakes, green vegetables, and after they begin to get color you want to deglaze your pan with white wine (I would use at least 1/3 a cup) and scrape all of the brown bits. If your cooking fresh pasta I would add start cooking at after you add the white wine to your pan.
Once the alcohol has cooked off, take your pasta directly from the water and put into the frying pan. Add pasta water, at least 1/4 of a cup, and some butter (at least a tablespoon) Swirl it around until it starts to become a thicker sauce. Stirring is actually important; it helps emulsify the starch from the water and the fat from the butter/olive oil. Add your scallops and any liquid thats leftover on the plate to the frying pan.
You're almost done. Taste, add more lemon juice, salt and pepper as you feel neccessary. Top it with chopped parsley. Tah-dah. dinner in less than 30 minutes.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from these 10 days, to see photos of all 10 finished dishes check out this link to my #100daysofpastafresca on instagram!