When we were on vacation last month, we planned part of it to allow us to stop in at Hell’s Backbone Grill (HBG) for lunch one day. This isn’t a place you think of 15 minutes or so before you want to eat, because it’s not just around the corner (well, for the people of Boulder, UT, population about 225, it might be, but, for pretty much everyone else, you really have to think about getting there). It’s pretty much out in the middle of nowhere in southern Utah, with only stunning landscapes nearby. We selected it as a stop because, the way they make and source their food is the way we believe everyone should try to do: local, sustainable, seasonably, and with care, thought, and passion. We weren’t disappointed. While waiting for our meal, we noticed HBG has a cookbook coming out, and, the card seemed to indicate that they’d published one prior. When we got home, we checked our library, and, sure enough, the book was in the collection! We checked it out immediately.
Week after week, we’ve been getting onions in our CSA shares. We know that’s how it works; we get an abundance when there’s an abundance at the farm. But, we still have to do something with all those onions. We thought about making up some Caramelized Onion Chutney — it surely is good, but we thought we might try something new.
Continue reading “Red Onion Jam”
We love filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini, but, to be honest, sometimes it just takes too much time to make dozens and dozens of them. If only there were a large filled-pasta shape that we could make, oh, perhaps, 15 to 20, and be done with it. Not surprisingly, there is such a pasta shape.
This might seem crazy, but, when we know we’ll be short of time for a meal, we make fresh pasta. It’s true. Fresh home-scratched pasta is faster than commercial dried pasta, provided you plan. We simply make the dough when we have 5 spare minutes in the day, let it rest for at least 30 minutes, then roll and cut it when we have another 15-20 minutes free. When it’s time to boil up the pasta, fresh takes only 2-5 minutes. And, it tastes so much better.
This week, we had a leftover lime sitting in the refrigerator without a use in the world. We’ve made lemon pepper pasta dough in the past, so we pondered about what would go well with lime in pasta. We didn’t think pepper. After some thought, we decided on rosemary, partly because we have it fresh, but also because we think those two flavors will work well together.
When we picked up our nopales (cactus pads) from the CSA we were surprised that they hadn’t been cleaned. This is the first time that’s been the case, and it seemed as though it scared people enough that the trading baskets were pretty much full of cactus paddles. Probably partly because nopales are a bit different, and, perhaps, because cleaning them seems daunting. Well, fear not, fellow scratcher, because we’re going to show you how easy it really is.
It’s been a while since we showed you how to shape a type of pasta, so we thought that we’d cover making scarpinocc. It’s a filled pasta — the original recipe we saw called for tallagio cheese and black pepper — similar to the caramelle we’ve made in the past, but a little easier. Our filling was a simple goat cheese and pumpkin filling that we mixed up quickly in a food processor: about a cup of drained pumpkin, 6 ounces of fresh goat cheese, a couple of eggs, basil, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to use a filling that you like.
Making dishes for other people isn’t quite like making them for yourself. When you make something for yourself, you just make it however you like it. No questions asked. But, when you make up a little something for others, you normally consider their tastes, and dietary needs. Even more so when you’re making food for a large group. This can be as simple as leaving nuts out of brownies so people with nut allergies can enjoy them freely, or not making your traditional five-alarm chili that would blast the socks off anyone under six, but making something more akin to a three-alarm version, so more people can eat some without jumping up and down, fanning their mouths, and looking around desperately for anything liquid. And, in the case of something we made for a church coffee hour, a bac’n-bit-like product that doesn’t contain any pork, yet still tastes great, was needed.