Popovers

Popovers stuffed with ice cream and drizzled with chocolate
Popovers with ice cream and choclate sauce
Popovers make a perfect dessert with just a bit of ice cream and chocolate sauce.

These seem quite fancy, yet they are one of the fastest and simplest desserts. And even with a little ice cream and chocolate sauce, they are still light enough that you can eat several without feeling overwhelmed. Even though they are fast, popovers can be a bit finicky; we’ll have a few tips as we go along, but the first couple of times you make them, they might not pop.

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Worth the trouble?

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Vinaigrette dressings are really simple to put together. Just remember this: 1 part vinegar, 2 parts oil; you can’t go wrong. Continue reading “Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing”

Worth the trouble?

Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce

Based on a recipe I found in Rustic Italian Food by Marc Verti and David Joachim. The original called for far more oil and way too much salt; I backed off on these ingredients and added fresh basil to make what I think is a much nicer-tasting sauce. Continue reading “Hand-crushed Marinara Sauce”

Worth the trouble?

Basic Pasta Dough

Cutting the pasta

Does home-made pasta seem difficult? We thought so too, but once we tried it we found out that, not only is it really easy, but it makes your pasta-based dinners even better. Now we make fresh pasta about once a week.

UPDATE (5/21/2017): We’ve learned a lot about making pasta over the years, including the exact ratio of flour to liquid: 5 parts flour (by weight) to 3 parts liquid (also by weight), plus a pinch of salt. So to make 8 ounces of perfect pasta dough you need 5 ounces flour (pretty much any kind) and 3 ounces of liquid (pretty much any kind). Now you might find some people who claim the ratio is 3 parts flour to 2 parts liquid. This ratio will result in a dough that is too soft and a bit sticky. Do not be fooled, we make pasta dough weekly and have tried many ratios before settling on the 5 to 3 ratio.

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Dinner for Italians

Finished dinner
Finished dinner
Wow! That looks pretty good, doesn’t it? You, too can maek meals like this!

I bet that you know an Italian or two. I do. And if they’re like the Italians I know, they’re warm and friendly, but they are particular about their food. After all, the Italians have a long history of great food, so who can blame them for wanting food that stands out from the rest.

So over the next couple of days, we’ll put together a great meal that any Italian would be happy with. A meal that you’ll be happy with, too. Because it’ll come together so easy, and yet, you and I, will have scratched almost every part of the meal.

Our menu will probably look like this:

Not too elaborate, but certainly impressive.

Q: So how did it turn out? A: Great! We had to quick switch to a Balsamic-based dressing at the last minute when we realized that we had only one egg left in the house. The other choice would have been to give up on the popovers.

 

Q: What was the timeline like to get this all together for dinner? A: We put together the pasta dough around 8:30am, so it could rest in the fridge, brought it out around noon, and rolled and cut it around 2pm. Around 4:30pm, we crushed up the tomato sauce, took the dinner rolls out of the freezer (had them from this week’s baking). Around 5:30 it was time to wash the lettuce, make the vinaigrette, and plate the salad. 5:45 water went on for boiling the pasta, and the sauce went in the microwave. Just a little after 6, drained and plated the pasta and we sat down to dinner. Around 7:45pm started the popovers, just in time for dessert at 8:30pm. I know it sounds like we were busy all day, but not so! Most steps only took a few minutes and the timing was all adjusted to fit our schedule.

 

Q: Anything you’d do different next time? No, not really. It made a really good meal.