Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Things They Don't Show You on TV Cooking Shows - Part 1

Fresh Pasta, Key Limes

First, when making fresh pasta, using the Mario Batali enforced well method, dig that well deep. I measured out my flour, 3 1/2 cups, formed my mountain, pressed down a crater and starting cracking the necessary five eggs. About at egg three, they were running down the sides, like a Hawaiian volcano. I had as much egg on the sides of my board as I had within the flour. I tried spreading the flour over that way to catch the stray egg. That did not work too well. Eventually, as the dough was hardly coming together, I I trenched a new hole and fitted a beaten egg in that. By a lot of folding from there, I managed to wet things up. Still, next time, I believe I will follow Lidia B's directions and make the pasta in a big bowl.

For a first attempt at fresh pasta, I was mostly pleased with my efforts. I'm a snob in these type of things, and every thing I have read about fresh pasta is that there is a significant better-ness to pasta rolled by hand on a wooden board than pasta rolled with a machine. So, I was gonna be a rollin' stone of a pasta maker. My wife warned me. "It's really hard", she said. She warned me off. We argued. We agreed that she could be brutally honest in her assessment of the pasta if she said it in a nice way. "Good first try."

Second, did you know how intense key limes could be? As I mentioned last week, we found these gloriously yellow key limes on Maxwell Street. We have been using them in our recipes but it's taken some adjusting. Last Friday, my wife needed some citrus for her carrot kugel (pudding). She used what she thought was the equivalent amount of these key limes. The color was carrot but the flavor was all Joe's Stone Crab. Deborah Madison has a recipe for asparagus with citrus butter. She notes the affinity between asparagus coming into season and citrus just ending its season. I squeezed three key limes for the recipe, much less juice that was called for, yet I still had to add an extra tablespoon of butter to achieve some type of balance.

Anyways, I am out here cooking, letting you know what they don't tell you on your TV.

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