Cooking ideas while housebound

As we adjust to our “new normal” of spending lots and lots of time in our homes, cooking can be a great distraction.  I did so much cooking last weekend that our freezer is quite well-stocked and Keith told me that I needed to stop.  So the new idea is to use this as an opportunity to pull out some gadgets or cooking tools that you don’t use often.

To that end, we had fondue for dinner tonight.  Our fondue pot spends most of its life in the basement.  It has emerged a few times and we have made cheese fondue as well as beef.  Samantha was disappointed – she thought when we said fondue, we meant the cheese.  That is just too many calories for 3 people and of course, we can’t very well invite anyone to help us eat it.  So we got 2 small filet mignons and 8 medium shrimp.  We heated the oil over the stove (in the fondue pot) and then moved it so it was over the fondue heat source.  Everyone can cook their protein to their liking and we had a variety of sauces from the refrigerator (jarred Bearnaise, pub sauce, horseradish, etc.)  I roasted asparagus so we had something healthy.  It was fun and delicious.

This got me thinking about other projects.  I’m thinking I may pull the pasta roller out of the basement and make some raviolis next weekend.  (they won’t take up that much space in the freezer.)  Samantha is going to make madeleines tomorrow (yes, we have a madeleine pan).  She already made macarons so we have checked that box.

Think about a kitchen project you have always wanted to tackle or a specialty appliance that is rarely used (homemade waffles anyone?)   This is the perfect opportunity to wipe off the dust!  Add a comment with what you made.

Pasta party!

Christy and I had a great time learning to make pasta last fall.  I got email from the woman who taught it, Chrissa Carlson of Urban Landscapes, that she is teaching the program again this spring.  Baltimore friends, if you have always wanted to learn to make pasta, here is your chance.  Chrissa leads a really good session and has excellent recipes.  It is a great thing to add to your repertoire and if you follow blog, you saw the pictures of Samantha and Jack helping us – once you learn the basics, making pasta is a family friendly activity.

You can register at Kaleidoscope – that’s me in the green and white striped apron (right behind the wine bottle!)


Pasta party!

Christie and I really enjoyed our pasta making class and decided to try it on our own last night.  Well, on our own but with our husbands and kids.  It turned into a really fun group activity.  You need a pasta machine but other than that, it is pretty straightforward.  Per serving, you combine 1/2 cup flour and an egg.  Everyone got their own bowl to mix their pasta dough with a fork.  After it’s well mixed, you knead it into a ball and then start feeding it through the rollers getting progressively thinner and dipping in flour until it is no longer sticky.  You then lay out the sheets to dry and roll them through the cutters or rough cut them.  I made my mushroom sauce which was well received.  I also found some lemon pesto in the freezer so we tossed some of the pasta with that also.  Here is the mushroom pasta recipe and some pictures.

Pasta with Mushrooms

  • 1 shallot minced 1 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 12 oz assorted mushrooms (I used oyster, white mushrooms and shiitake last night)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB butter
  • pasta of your choice (we used fettucini)
  • grated Parmesan cheese
Combine chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil.  Add dried porcini mushrooms and cook for 4 -5 minutes.  Pour through a coffee filter or cheesecloth to remove grit, reserving liquid.  Rinse porcini mushrooms and chop.
Clean mushrooms and chop.  Melt 1 TB butter with olive oil and saute shallots until soft.  Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes.  Add chopped porcini mushrooms and saute about 3 minutes.  Add reserved cooking liquid and heat about 3 minutes.  Turn off heat and add remaining TB butter.
Cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and combine with sauce and a little of the cooking water.  Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.