Making pasta at home is quick and easy, once you start you’ll never go back to the dry stuff in a box from the grocery store. You can make it without a pasta roller, but I’d recommend investing in one. It makes the job much easier and it comes in handy for making homemade flat breads and other things. Mine is a cheap $20 pasta maker like this one that I purchased 10 years ago. I’m actually hoping it will die someday because I want to purchase the Marcato Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker, Stainless Steel. But alas, mine refuses to die. I’d recommend investing a heavier duty model, mine’s not super great quality often pulls the dough in crooked, which is frustrating. Of course you don’t need a machine, plenty of people choose to do all the rolling by hand. I like using a machine.
Making pasta is not difficult, but it does take a few tries to master it, rolling the dough can be a bit of a challenge until you get the hang of it. Don’t give up after your first attempt, it does get easier. It’s like anything else, it can be a bit awkward at first, keep practicing. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to whip up a batch very quickly. It’s always my go-to recipe when I’m busy and I have company coming for dinner. People are always very impressed with homemade pasta. The the other great thing about fresh pasta is that it doesn’t need a lot of dressing up, a simple toss with good olive oil and some parmesan or romano cheese will make a stunning meal. By all means, please don’t toss it with that cheese that comes in the green plastic can – go for some real cheese and grate it fresh!
Pasta is generally made from 2-4 ingredients. I’d recommend starting with basic egg and white flour pasta (some recipes also call for salt and olive oil, I use olive oil in mine). You can use whole grain flour, but it makes the process a little more difficult and the end product different. I’d definitely recommend starting with white flour pasta until you’ve mastered pasta making and then move on to other flours and flavors. Paul Bertolli has a bunch of great ideas for using different kinds of flour (even chestnut flour) in his book Cooking by Hand. I really like making spinach pasta (as you can see by the photos) and cracked peppercorn pasta. I just purchased some of the special pasta blend flour from King Arthur to try, it contains durum and semolina flours.
Pasta dough isn’t difficult to make, but there’s definitely a learning curve. You don’t want to add all the flour called for in the recipe or your dough might be too stiff, which makes it frustrating to work while rolling. I usually save out at least 1/4 cup of flour and often more when mixing up the initial dough. You want the dough to be smooth and slightly tacky, not tough and dry. I like to lightly dust my work surface while rolling it out, this helps incorporate the final flour into the dough, but keeps the dough smooth for easy rolling. You also don’t want your dough to be too soft, or it will be difficult to roll and cut in the machine. After making it too dry once and too wet once, you’ll figure out what the perfect balance is.
2 1/4 cups (11.5 oz) organic all purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon good olive oil
flour for dusting
Place 2 cups of the flour on work surface or in mixer bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs. Using a fork or fingers, start mixing eggs into the flour slowly. Gradually mix in more and more of the flour from the sides until dough is soft and no longer wet.
Knead dough by hand, adding in additional flour as needed to make dough smooth and soft but not sticky or overly stiff. Keeping the dough slightly soft will aid in the next steps. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Place bowl over dough and allow to rest for 30 minutes, this resting period will make the dough easier to roll out. Now is a good time to put your salted water on to boil for cooking the pasta.
Divide the dough in half and roll it out into an oval that’s about 1/2-1/4 inch thick. Then feed put it through the rollers on the widest setting. Do this with each piece. Fold dough into thirds like a letter, dust with flour, roll to thin oval again and put through the machine at the widest setting again. Do this 8-10 times until the dough is smooth and not too soft & tacky. After making pasta a few times you’ll get a feel for what’s the right texture for the dough. Dust dough with flour as needed during rolling.
After you’ve run the dough through the machine 8-10 times at the widest setting you’re ready to start thinning the dough. I usually roll all the pieces through then adjust the rollers. Dust each piece with flour after each pass through the rollers. As the piece gets thinner it will get longer and longer and can become a bit unruly. Feel free to cut down to a more manageable size. I generally cut mine into three pieces once it’s gets too long to handle easily. It’s a personal preference thing really, whatever you feel comfortable doing. It may be easier at first cutting it into shorter pieces, then as you get more comfortable with the rolling process you can keep the pieces long. Roll them to the desired thinness, I generally roll mine down to the thinnest or the second thinnest setting. I have found it handy to keep a damp towel around to drape over the dough. My house is pretty dry though. Always dust the dough lightly with flour, never stack dough or it will stick together. Try to keep the sheets separate, stacking the dough will often result in the pieces sticking together. If this happens, simply start at the thickest setting and start over.
Next cut the pasta into desired shape. Lightly flour sheets of pasta before cutting so the noodles don’t stick together after cutting. It can also be beneficial to toss the cut noodles with a bit of flour to avoid a big sticky mass of noodles. Don’t let them sit too long on the counter or pile them in too big of a pile either. Drop noodles into boiling water and cook until desired doneness. I generally cook mine for 5-7 minutes. If desired, dry the noodle by hanging on racks (I admit, I’ve never been able to wait to dry them, they’re always cooked fresh here).
Some cookbooks will tell you hang the pasta to dry on a rack, I never do. I usually toss mine with a little flour to keep it from sticking together if the water isn’t ready yet. Check it every so often, by tossing a bit to make sure it’s not sticking together. Feel free to dry it a little if you want, I just never wanted to buy a drying rack and I don’t really have room in the kitchen for it.
My go-to way to dress pasta is as follows: break 3 eggs into a large bowl, add freshly grated sea salt and pepper, grate about a cup of good hard cheese over top, add a couple glugs of really good olive oil, mix thoroughly with a fork. Set aside until pasta is finished. After draining freshly made pasta, pour in bowl on top and toss. The hot pasta will cook the eggs and cheese into a wonderfully creamy sauce. It really is that simple, no need to cook an alfredo sauce or dirty up any more pans.
What’s your favorite way to top pasta?
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I made my first batch of kimchi two years ago after reading about it’s incredible health benefits. Not only is it full of goodness derived from garlic, ginger, chili, cabbage, and onions, but it’s also fermented. Fermenting foods infuses them with powerful immune boosting probiotics and makes them more digestible which allows our bodies to derive more nutrition from the ingredients included, along with other foods consumed with them.
From what I’ve read, making Kimchi is a BIG deal in Korea. Every fall the women gather to make big batches which were traditionally stored in buried earthenware jars. There are also over a hundred different varieties of kimchi, featuring everything from daikon radishes to cabbage. I’ve only made this type of basic kimchi, but look forward to trying more recipes when I can get enough of the ingredients to make them. This year I even grew my own Korean peppers just for kimchi, perhaps I’ll add daikon radishes to the garden next year so I can make that type of kimchi.
BASIC CABBAGE KIMCHI
(recipe adapted from The The Joy of Pickling)
I always double or triple this recipe when I’m making it.
3 Tablespoons of sea salt
6 cups filtered water
2 pounds of organic napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch strips or squares
6 green onions, cut into 4 inch long strips and thinly sliced lengthwise
(you can substitute regular onions if you don’t have green onions)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tablespoons of minced fresh garlic
2 Tablespoons ground Korean pepper or lesser amount of other pepper
1 teaspoon of organic sugar or rapadura
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Dissolve 3 Tablespoons of sea salt in 6 cups of water in a large bowl or glass container. Put the cut cabbage in bowl and submerge, weigh down with plate if needed. Let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
Scoop cabbage out of brine with slotted spoon and transfer large bowl, reserve brine. Mix in remaining ingredients (onion, ginger, garlic). Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar on top and mix thoroughly.
Transfer to half gallon canning jar (or other jar of appropriate size). Pour enough reserved brine to cover cabbage in jar. Place smaller glass jar in opening of large jar to keep cabbage submerged. Let kimchi ferment in a cool place, around 60-65 degrees, for 3-6 days or until it’s as sour as you like. Seal jar with lid and store in refrigerator, it will keep for many months.
Essentially, making kimchi is a lot like making sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. Once you start you’ll be looking for ways to ferment everything!
What’s your favorite fermented food?
If you follow my daily blog Chiot’s Run you know that we’ve been moving from Ohio to Maine. That explains the crickets that you’ve been hearing here at EOtB. Well, my computer is all set up and I’m ready to roll, kind of. I’m still short on time since I have to catch up on all my work, but I am going to be posting here again regularly. I have so many requested recipes that I’ve promised to post for people that I really need to get those up. While I work on those, I figured I’d break the posting fast with the quick dinner we had this evening. It’s my local seasonal take on the Caprese salad.
Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, seasoned with salt, and olive oil. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish).
I used these beautiful small orange tomatoes and basil from the garden, goat milk feta, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper and a few toasted pine nuts. Instead of having it as an appetizer, it comprised our main evening meal. I had spent the day working in the garden looking at these tomatoes and basil, dreaming of using them for dinner. “Too bad I don’t have any mozzarella” I thought to myself. Then I realized feta cheese would do.
It was quite tasty, definitely worthy to grace our plates again. When I get some extra raw milk I plan on making some mozarella, hopefully we’ll still have a few tomatoes left. Then we can have an official Caprese salad. This would be the perfect evening meal on a hot summer day, but it was equally great on a warm fall day. No need to heat up the kitchen
Have you enjoyed any impromptu garden fresh dinners recently?
It’s summer, that means I have a wide variety of homegrown veggies to use as sides for every meal. I’ve been keeping a keen eye on my jalapeño plants waiting for them to come ripe. I spotted this recipe a long time ago and have been waiting for these peppers for months just to make it.
fresh organic jalapeõ peppers
nitrate free organic pastured bacon
organic cheddar cheese
Cut jalapeños in half and scrape out seeds. Be careful not to splatter any juice in your eye – wash hands well afterwards. Cut cheese into rectangular cubes small enough to fit inside each pepper half. Make sure they’re not too small, don’t be stingy with the cheese! Warp each cheese stuffed pepper half with bacon with ends meeting up on the bottom side.
Place seam side down in cast iron skillet. Try to use a skillet where they fit snugly. Cook on stovetop for 7-19 minutes. Turn on oven broiler. Brush bacon with maple syrup and put under broiler until syrup caramelizes on bacon. Cool a few minutes and enjoy.
These are great for an appetizer, dinner side, or even with some scrambeled eggs for breakfast, which is how we enjoyed them. Once you make them once, you’ll be making them all the time. They’re so quick to make and are not bad when they cool down. They would be perfect to take to a party!
Have you been waiting for any fruit/vegetable to come into season so you can finally make a recipe?
I’ve been making this recipe here at Chiot’s Run years, tweaking it here and there. I’m not sure where it came from originally, but it’s always a hit. Around the holidays I make up 5 or 6 batches to distribute to all the friendly folks that make our lives easier throughout the year; bank tellers, librarians, Post Office workers, UPS man, etc. Every year they’re super excited when Mr Chiots shows up with his basket. In fact, when we told them we were moving, every single one of them said, “Oh, we’re really going to miss your caramel corn at Christmas”. Perhaps some packages will be order.
MOLASSES CARAMEL CORN
1 cup packed organic dark brown sugar (make your own, here’s how)
1/2 cup organic corn syrup
1/3 cup organic pastured butter
1 tablespoon organic blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
12 cups organic popcorn (preferably heirloom popcorn popped on the stove with ghee or coconut oil, but air popped will work)
Preheat oven to 250°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, not necessary but it sure makes cleanup easier.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter, and molasses in a medium saucepan (don’t go small on this, the mixture foams up a bit when you mix in the baking soda/salt); bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Place popcorn in a large bowl; pour sugar mixture over popcorn in a steady stream, stirring to coat. If you don’t want the caramel topping to stick to the sides of the large bowl you can rub it with a little oil before adding the popcorn. I don’t because then I get to scrape out the caramel & eat it! Also when you stir to coat the caramel won’t cover the popcorn fully, this will happen during the baking/stirring time.
Spread popcorn mixture into prepared pan. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven; stir to break up any large clumps. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
*for additional flavors substitute rum flavoring, almond extract, or other extract in place of vanilla. Add nuts & other additions at 30 min of baking. Drizzle with chocolate after completely cooled.
I’ve often thought about swapping out the corn syrup in this recipe with maple syrup or honey, but I think the end result would suffer. From what I’ve read, the corn syrup keeps the caramel from crystallizing.
Molasses – love it or leave it?
Whenever I can grow or find fresh cabbage locally we will have a batch of sauerkraut or kimchi fermenting on the counter or ready and waiting in the fridge. Since fermented foods are so healthy and great at boosting nutrient absorption from food, we include a serving of it at every meal, including breakfast. When I mention this to people they kind of look at me sideways. Not many people think of including sauerkraut for breakfast. I can’t think of a better way to start you day off the right way than with some fermented goodness.
Growing up, I always hated sauerkraut, but then my grandma always served the stuff that came in bags. As with most foods, the difference between what you buy at the grocery store and the freshly made from scratch version is like night and day. If you’ve never had homemade kraut teeming with probiotics, make up a batch, you’ll be amazed. You can find my recipe for Making Sauerkraut here, along with this post on How to Tell if you Sauerkraut is Finished.
Sauerkraut is considered a SUPERFOOD. What does that mean? We’ve all heard about the health benefit of cruciferous vegetables, it’s ability to fight cancer, provide tons of vitamins, antioxidants and other goodness. When cabbage is fermented into sauerkraut or kimchi, it unlocks all of these nutrients making them more available to our bodies. In addition to increasing the availability of these antioxidants, fermentation adds probiotics to the mix. These probiotics allow our bodies to absorb even more of the healthy goodness from the cabbage. Probiotics also boost your immune system by increasing your body’s ability to fight off baddies like e-coli, salmonella, and candida. I won’t reinvent the wheel here by going into all the health benefits of sauerkraut, for more reading see the links below. I’ve also been reading recently about how probiotics and fermented foods help curb sugar and carb cravings!
There’s nothing quite like starting your day off on the right foot. We always eat a big healthy breakfast here at Chiot’s Run that includes healthy pastured eggs, vegetables, fermented foods and raw milk. It makes a huge difference in our energy level and allows us to accomplish much more each day.
Do you incorporate any fermented foods in your diet? Which are you favorites?
When the garden starts to produce lots of fresh vegetables, you’ll often find vegetable hash on our plates for breakfast or dinner. Once you learn how to make hash, you can swap in any vegetables, spices, and protein to keep things from getting monotonous. It’s also great because it’s one skillet meal, making it great for traveling as well. If you wanted to you could even eat it right out of the pan!
Lately we’ve been especially loving potato, onion, garlic, and zucchini hash for breakfast with eggs poached on top. Every now and then I’ll also add cheese, bacon or sausage if I have them in the fridge. The beauty of hash is that it’s a one pot meal, it’s quick, you can use whatever vegetables & protein you have on hand. It’s also great because you don’t need loads of each ingredient, making it perfect if you have a small edible garden.
The key to making a good hash is to figure out which order the vegetables need to go into the pan for proper cooking times. I usually start with potatoes, then a few minutes later onions, peppers, zucchini. The garlic is added a minute or two before serving and the freshly chopped herbs are sprinkled on at the last minute. I also add some kind of seaweed to mine, dulse, nori flakes, or sometimes spirulina or chlorella for added health benefits (all sourced from Mountain Rose Herbs).
2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil (or drippings from meat if using)
2 cups of cubed garden fresh vegetables (keep separated by type)
freshly diced garlic
freshly chopped herbs (try different ones to see what you like, I especially love: rosemary, thyme, chives, cilantro and red pepper flakes)
freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
protein (sausage, hamburger, strips of steak, bacon, etc)
If you plan on using sausage, meat, or bacon, cook over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Remove from pan when cooked.
Add the vegetables in order of cooking time: potatoes, carrots, beets or other longer cooking root vegetables first, a few minutes later zucchini, peppers, onions, etc. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to brown and soften (usually total cooking time for me is about 10-15 minutes).
When vegetables are almost done, add diced garlic and stir. If you plan on adding sausage, bacon or other meat, return cooked meat to the pan at this time. Also add cheese at this time and cover with a lid. After a minute or two, depending on how cooked you like your garlic, turn off heat, sprinkle with diced fresh herbs and freshly ground salt & pepper.
Our preferred way of enjoying hash with with eggs poached on top. To do this: add them when you add the garlic, cheese & meat. I like to mix in the sausage & garlic, then crack eggs on top of the hash and cover with grated cheese. Place lid on pan and cook over low heat until eggs are desired consistency (for me that means barely cooked with a runny yolk). Season with freshly chopped hers and salt/pepper. Enjoy!
We enjoy hash all year long some of my favorite combinations are:
- Hot Italian sausage with onions, zucchini, eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olives and roasted red peppers topped with romano cheese.
- Potato, zucchini, onion, garlic, rosemary, and thyme with eggs poached on top.
- Beets, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, rosemary, and thyme with beef.
- Onions, zucchini, garlic, fresh tomatoes, oregano, garlic, olive oil, mozzarella cheese with eggs poached on top.
- Spinach, leeks, garlic, thyme, white wine, and cream with eggs poached on top.
- Brussels sprouts, bacon, onions, and parmesan or romano cheese.
Do you ever eat hash? What’s your favorite flavor combo?
My plate, a simple series where I show you what was on my plate, or maybe in the pan right before it goes on my plate.
Tonight for dinner it was a latin themed affair, mostly because I had a batch of sourdough bread that did not like the cold weather that hit us earlier this week. It was taking too long to raise, so rolled it out and made flatbread instead. We stuffed them with venison seasoned with freshly ground spices, goat milk cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and garlic scapes, homemade salsa and had a big salad on the side.
I must admit, the sourdough flatbread take the place of a tortilla quite well. Mr Chiots give them two thumbs up (though he thought the jalapeños were a big too hot).
What have you been enjoying on your plate recently?
After a few requests, now I’ll be adding a resource section to list the ingredients I use and where I get them. I’m in the process of putting together a master list as well, that will become it’s own page.
Sourdough Flatbread – made from sourdough with King Arthur Sir Galahad flour and some freshly ground organic rye from Stutzman’s Farm in Millersburg, OH
Venison – procured from Mr Chiot’s hunting prowess, processed at Canaan Meats in Creston, OH
organic cumin seeds, smoked black pepper, and other spices – Mt Rose Herbs
Onions and garlic scapes – freshly harvested from our garden
Jalapeños and tomatoes – dried and canned last season
Cilantro – courtesy of Martha’s Farm, procured at Local Roots Market, Wooster, OH
Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese – from South View Farm, purchased at Local Roots Market, Wooster, OH
Lettuce – freshly harvested from our garden
Buttermilk Dressing – buttermilk from Robert’s Farm, herbs from our garden
Goat Milk Feta – from South View Farm, purchased at Local Roots Market, Wooster, OH
Organic Olives – cured by yours truly, purchased raw olives from Chaffin Family Orchard
Dulse Flakes (seaweed) - We try to include seaweed in our diets often – from Mt Rose Herbs
It’s salad season at Chiot’s Run, the garden is lush with greens of all kinds and thus salad has been on the menu every single night for the past few weeks. In order to avoid the salad doldrums, we’ve been topping them with a variety of delicious toppings and dressings. The first week, I made roasted red pepper dressing with leftover brine from my Fire Roasted Red Peppers. I hate wasting anything, especially when I go to all the trouble and expense to use organic and homegrown ingredients.
To make this dressing, I added an egg yolk (which I always add to my dressings to help with emulsification), salt, pepper to the brine in the jar, then I topped it off with olive oil. Then I shook it until it was combined; easy as that, seriously. We topped our salads with: home cured mission olives, goat milk feta cheese from a local farm, maple glazed walnuts, and some home canned pears. All the flavors were simply perfect together!
The following week I had a good batch of dill that needed used up and buttermilk was quickly overtaking our fridge. I decided to make a buttermilk herb dressing. In my blender I combined a handful of each: dill, parsley, a handful, chives, along with some freshly ground salt, pepper, 2 cups of buttermilk, a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar, a Tablespoon of honey, a couple cloves of garlic, two egg yolks and 2 cups of good of olive oil. I blended them until the herbs were finely chopped and everything was emulsified. I ended up with a quart of this herby dill buttermilk dressing. This dressing is so fresh and light, perfect for spring. It would also be really fantastic on fish or boiled new potatoes as well.
Next up, I’ll be making a balsamic vinaigrette because the strawberries are coming on in the garden. There’s nothing I love more than strawberries with balsamic vinegar. We’ll probably also add some sliced almonds as well.
Do you ever make your own salad dressing? What’s your favorite kind of dressing and salad topping combo?
I’m a big fan of vinegar, so much so that I’ve been known to eat it by the spoonful. I always have a wide variety of vinegars in the house, there’s quite a collection going in the pantry. Most of my vinegars are specialty ones that only get used on special occasions, like my 30 yr old balsamic, which usually gets eaten with a spoon every now and then. For daily use, I stock up once a year on vinegar from Napa Valley Naturals. I’ve looked for small farm balsamic and have yet to find it. Why do I purchase from them? Because they have organic, it comes in glass bottles, and it’s the best vinegars I’ve found in my search.
These aren’t the only vinegars used, I also use a ton of apple cider vinegar, which I make myself from local unpasteurized cider. I’ve also made my own wine vinegar, but I haven’t found the right kind of wine yet to make vinegar that I like, so I get my wine vinegar from Napa Valley Naturals. If I had to choose one kind of vinegar to use for the rest of my life it would be apple cider vinegar because I can make it myself from local ingredients, but I’d certainly miss a good balsamic!
What kind of vinegar do you use most often?