Home Made Pasta, Take 1 手工義大利麵 Take 1

Making fresh pasta is something I've talked about for a long time. From watching the cooking shows, fresh pasta doesn't look all that hard -- looks like egg plus flour. Jon and Sayami have a KitchenAid mixer with pasta attachments. Since they were doing minor house renovation and also wanted to make pasta, they brought the machine over to our house and here went my first time making fresh pasta.

I went on the net and found the pasta mix ratio from Jamie Oliver's recipe: 1 egg to 100g of flour. Working with the dough for the first time is not too challenging, but we did run into issues where the dough was too moist. Adding more flour did the magic. Processing the dough with KitchenAid mixer made pasta-making so much easier. Honestly, I don't know how the Italians do the hand-crank gig...I couldn't even hold the pasta sheet properly with two hands! To thin the dough down, you'd start at dial setting #1, and gradually work down to thickness #8. This was actually tons of fun to do!

Voila - here's the finished product. At this stage, we also had to put a lot of flour on the pasta to prevent it from sticking to each other. The KitchenAid pasta kit came with a flat flour sheet attachment, and two attachments for pasta with different width. We went with fettuccine tonight.

Jon and Sayami's daughter  insisted on helping :-) After making the fettuccine, we had to push ourselves to make fresh ravioli. I threw a simple sauteed mushroom mix together for the filling. AND, I actually bought a pasta cutter from Williams Sonoma on one of the many business trips to California. That's how we got the very professional looking edges. The assembly was pretty straight forward: pasta sheet -> filling -> egg wash -> another layer of pasta -> seal -> cut.

I don't think the ravioli turned out too bad for making this the first time. I think we did mess up the thickness in some of the sheets, though. It's all good learning.

Fresh Home Made Fettuccine with White Cream Sauce and Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms, drizzled with truffle oil

 Some roast chicken is always good for dinner...

Here's the ravioli, with garlic marinara sauce. Of course we needed fresh parmigiano on top.

Dessert: Mango Puree & Fresh Mango with Vanilla Ice Cream

Date: 2011.8.6


Summer Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Salad 夏日照燒燒烤雞肉沙拉

Rena and I love salads, especially in the hot steamy summers. Growing up in Taiwan, there were only cabbage chiffonade (thinly shredded) and sliced cucumber paired with thousand island. It wasn't bad, but got pretty boring. When the burger joints came to Taiwan in the 80s, in came the iceberg lettuce (I think?). Of course it was much later when I found out in the U.S. how many different types of salad greens there are, each with its own distinct flavor and texture. Frisee, arugula, beet root leaves, radicchio, bib...just to name a few.

On this Friday night, I headed down to a pretty local supermarket (全聯) to see if I can whip up a good salad using super basic ingredients, you know, without any exotic European veggies and herbs -- yup I bought the good old iceberg lettuce. The key to making the salad greens good is to make sure you chill the leaves in ice bath then spin dry. This method makes even the most ordinary iceberg taste better. Crunchy icy cold iceberg will beat soggy warm iceberg any day. For the chicken breast, I used a simple teriyaki mixture of 1:1 soy to mirin, along with some fresh ground black pepper. Cooking chicken breast is a bit tricky, but if timed properly, you'll get a juicy and lean piece of protein. I used my Le Creuset grill pan, grilling about 3 to 4 minutes each side. The dressing was a simple balsamic Dijon vinaigrette.

Date: 2011.7.1