Homemade Porcini Flavored Pasta

Porcini Pasta with Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Porcini Pasta with Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

Growing up in Florida I didn’t quite get seasonal eating. Down there we only had two seasons: hurricane and tourist. It was always hot and sometimes wet. As I started to read food magazines waxing rhapsodic about summer berries and fall gourds I began to fetishize the concept of eating with the seasons. Even though it made no sense to do so where I lived. That didn’t matter to me. It was Fall in Florida and I was going to do my damnedest to make it feel that way. Dried porcini mushrooms became an obsession but I was unable to locate them. Living in New York now I can find just about anything on any day of the week.

porcini pasta
Last winter some friends of mine and I headed to Arthur Ave. in the Bronx, the real Little Italy of NYC. I scooped up a bunch of “00” flour and dried porcinis, with no real idea of how to use either. This isn’t a rare thing for me to do. No less than 20% of my pantry is comprised of these “curiosity” items.

Earlier this week I cracked open Aliza Green’s Making Artisan Pasta. In it there is a recipe for dried porcini pasta. Fresh homemade pasta is far superior to the cheap packaged stuff from the supermarket, as long as you have the right ingredients. You’re going to need more than just all-purpose flour. Ideally you have some “00” or Italian style flour, and you will definitely need some semolina and durum. Ok, I’ll be honest I couldn’t get durum on the quick run to the store, so I doubled up on the semolina. The pasta has a nice bite to it and it worked in a pinch.

15g dried porcinis, powdered in a coffee or spice grinder

175g 00 flour

82g semolina

82g durum

3 eggs, at room temperature

3 TBL water, room temperature

1.With the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, or using your hands, mix together all of the ingredients. Once a dough has formed change the attachment to the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky.

2. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

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3. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Flatten each piece and keep them covered with plastic wrap when not in use. Shape the first piece into a square. Run it through the pasta roller on the widest setting. Fold it over and run it through on the next setting up. The actual numbers will depend on your pasta machine. With mine I run my pasta through the machine first one 1, then 2, then 4, 6, and lastly on 8. I fold and rotate my dough each time I run it through the machine (except for after the last time, the dough is ready then.) After running the dough through the machine on 6 I cut the resulting long sheet of dough in half, to make it more manageable.

4. Once the dough is rolled out to your desired thin-ness put it through the tagaliolini attachment to get broad, flat noodles. Hang the noodles on kitchen cord or lay them out flat on a tea towel lined baking tray to let the noodles dry.

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For bowties: Do not run the pasta through the tagaliolini attachment. Instead cut the long edges off of the dough using a decorative edge roller. Use this same roller to cut the long strip of dough in half length wise. Use a flat roller blade to cut the dough into small rectangles. Pinch each rectangle in the middle to create the bow tie shape. Allow to dry on a tea towel lined baking tray, flipping over once during the drying time.

 

porcinipasta-1-5I like to serve this pasta dressed in a drizzle of garlic infused olive oil, lemon zest, and juice topped with roasted chicken and chopped parsley.

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Horchata: Pumpkin Spice Edition

Pumpkin Spice Horchata: greater than the sum of its parts.

Pumpkin Spice Horchata: greater than the sum of its parts.

Pumpkin spice (known from here on out at “PS”) is a big deal. Sure the flavor has been grossly exploited and is found in everything from cat litter to chewing gum to Pringles. This disgusting excess does not make the idea behind PS any less delicious. At its most basic it’s a collection of spices (most heavily cinnamon and nutmeg) mixed with sugar and pumpkin. I can’t think of a bigger current American food trend, aside from bacon of course. It might surprise you to learn that cinnamon isn’t nearly as popular in desserts outside of North and Central America as it is right here at home. Cinnamon rolls are quintessential to our cuisine. And good ole’ PS is just the perfect concept of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. The containers of “pumpkin spice” have been around for ages, then people started to add pumpkin and sugar to it and threw the whole shebang into some coffee. If you hate all the PS that’s around these days I don’t blame you. The fact that most of what you find is sickeningly sweet and cloyingly heavy and artificial tasting aren’t PS’s fault. We just need to take a hand in our food’s preparation. Do so and you’ll find out why pumpkin spice is more popular than any of the presidential nominees. Few experiences sum up fall better than a warm drink with heady exotic spices enjoyed on a brisk day. Makes you wanna get all cozy with that special someone.

Delicious horchata takes no effort and keeps great in the fridge.

Delicious horchata takes no effort and keeps great in the fridge.

Now lets be honest, how many of you are going to wake up and make yourself a latte everyday? Yeah, thought so. But you’d probably make yourself some drip or instant coffee. So why not make your own pumpkin spice syrup and have easy rich creamy coffees with aromatic cinnamon and hearty pumpkin to help you face the fact that the days are getting shorter? The syrup serves as my sweetener and part of my milk in regular coffees.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:

Weight Watchers points: 1 for 2 TBL

1 1/2 cup water

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup real cinnamon in chip form or 4 sticks

1/2 tsp ginger powder

2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

2 big glopping TBL of sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

  1. Combing the water and sugar in a medium pot and bring to a hard boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Simmer for another 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain into a jar and add the sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin. Stir or shake well to combine. Keep in the refrigerator.
Horchata is as easy and blending and waiting.

Horchata is as easy and blending and waiting.

Horchata basic recipe:

1 cup raw long grain brown rice

5 cups warm water

pinch salt

1/2 cup milk (optional)

2 tablespoons simple syrup (optional)

fresh ground cinnamon to serve

  1. In a blender combine the rice, water, and salt. Blend for about 30-60 seconds depending on the strength of your blender. You want the rice ground up.
  2. Let this mixture sit at room temp for about 4 hours. Strain, add the milk and simple syrup if using, and chill in the refrigerator.
  3. Sweeten if desired, serve chilled or over ice sprinkled with cinnamon
This recipe moves quick.

This recipe moves quick.

Pumpkin Spice Horchata varation:

Add 1-2 tablespoons of PS syrup to taste to each cup of horchata. Stir well and enjoy chilled topped with cinnamon.

Like buttah(scotch.)

Butterscotch is my errything, and you can expect to see it’s delightfully burnt sienna self popping up from time to time as the mercury begins to dip. But what is butterscotch exactly? And what makes it different from caramel and toffee, you ask? According to Sweet Manufacture a British handbook and recipe collection printed back in the 30’s for professional candy companies butterscotch is a caramel with 3-5% of it’s weight being made up of butter. The same chapter also states however that “there is no definite dividing line between toffees and caramels, and in what may be termed borderline cases it is quite impossible to say which class a particular sample belongs.” I love that quote as I always read it in my head as being said by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. It’s the most Britishly formally way of saying “ehh, no one knows for sure.”

Butterscotch and cashews are bff's, and there is no better time to celebrate this combination that the beginning of fall.

Butterscotch and cashews are bff’s, and there is no better time to celebrate this combination that the beginning of fall.

Nowadays butterscotch is known mainly as a sauce or in it’s chip form. It’s in the caramel family but it’s made with brown sugar instead of white which makes it sweeter than caramel while giving it greater depth of flavor. For me butterscotch creates memories of childhood and haystacks made with shoestring potatoes and peanuts. The flavor is American as Jell-O watergate salad and I unashamedly love it, even though every part of me knows I shouldn’t. If you don’t know what either of those “classic” recipes are, they’re the kind of things you usually have to grow up with to love, and even then they are as controversial as candy corn or licorice.

But I’m not here to rock the boat. I’ll not proselytize the wonders of licorice (and there are many) or sweet candy coated fried potato strips. I’m here today to give you the best possible introduction to this butter laden member of the caramel family: butterscotch cashew chews. The salted cashews round out the whole thing and provide the yang to the golden chip’s yin.

The world needs more butterscotch. Help make the world a better place.

The world needs more butterscotch. Help make the world a better place.

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Peach Pie (filling), Oh my

Everyone likes pie. Custard pies, French style tarts, diner style meringue topped ones, pumpkin, the variety goes on and on. The number one type of pie for me is fruit pie. Aside from ice cream I can think of no better summer time indulgence. The main reason that I don’t make pies more often is because of how many steps that are required. Preparing the crust, preparing the filling. These each often take overnight, minimum since I chill my crust for at least 8 hours prior to using. Then you have to roll out the dough, chill the pie, bake the pie, cool the pie. It’s kind of a hassle to be honest. The amount of work is easy, it’s the forethought that’s a pain in the ass. Despite my hyper tendency to prepare things and store them I like to have the freedom to just “whip up” something from time to time. Maybe I’m lazy, sick, or have unexpected guests coming by. Thats where home canned pie filling comes in. There will be an upcoming post on safe canning procedures in the upcoming couple of weeks. What I really want to focus on today however is the peach pie filling.

Here's looking at you, kid.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

As I mentioned before I almost always have a double batch of pie dough in my freezer. This can thaw on the counter in 20 minutes. Whenever I am making cookies, pizza dough, or the like in my food processor I quickly throw in a batch of pie dough, saving me from having to pull out and clean the food processor on a separate occasion.  I will be posting about pie dough most likely sometime next week, as I used my last batch for this pie.

This was less than a third of the peaches bought this year. Not nearly enough if you ask me.

This was less than a third of the peaches bought this year. Not nearly enough if you ask me.

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Baby steps towards Fall Baking Season.

This would be fat free if it weren't for the whipped cream, but I'd say its worth it.

This would be fat free if it weren’t for the whipped cream, but I’d say its worth it.

Summer continues to hold on. The upcoming week holds highs in the 90’s until Friday arrives to free us all from the heat and work week responsibilities. Growing up in Southwest Florida summer was always my least favorite season, made only worse by the un-ignorable climate change. There is no such thing as eating with the seasons in The Sunshine State. Having spent the last five and a half years living in New York City however my views are beginning to change. Summer is now a scoch above winter. By no means my favourite season (that honor goes to Fall, who is hiding somewhere, ready to appear next week I hope) summer in the city has been pretty great to me. As a teacher I did not have to work so I took a huge two month long trip to Europe and Israel that I will post about at another time.

Yeah, it was so good that we couldn't wait to have some before photos took place.

Yeah, it was so good that we couldn’t wait to have some before photos took place.

Still despite the fact that feel ready for words like “crisp,” “cozy,” “spiced,” and “ooey gooey,” the world around me is not on the same page. But I wanna start fall baking right meow! The solution? Angel food cake. It’s light, airy, and pairs with the end of summer fruits and berries that can still be snapped up at the farmers market. If the berries are gone from your market fret not! This cake goes incredibly well with any citrus curd, canned fruit, or jam. Heck, you could even throw some frozen peaches or strawberries in a small pot with a sprinkling of sugar and some lemon zest and cook it until the juices release and the fruit softens. Just spoon that over a nice slice of this pillowy wonder cake. Whatever you do don’t forget the whipped cream, unsweetened of course (unless you have a couple pinches of vanilla sugar sitting around.)

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