Monday, July 02, 2007

pasta di yardo


e v e r y t h i n g i s n i c e a n d q u i e t a r o u n d h e r e .

Both of the monkeys are asleep. I should be too.

An hour ago my wife gave me the T symbol (like for time out) indicating she was heading to Tar-zhay. If I wanted to get in an extra hour or two of sleep, now would be the time. But I'm torn you see. Between a blog and a hard space if you will. The purpose of this blog is really for me to document the grub we eat and all that entails, so at times like this I should sit down and bust out something. Don't take forever editing and rechecking. Just write it and let it be.

Today was our first real tomato harvest of the season. I had been eyeing the big one for a few days, so this meal was not a big suprise. What was is the fresh pasta we cranked out to go with it. Monkey 1 helped me assemble the gadgetry. Then after seeing the process was ready to crank and dust with flour all by her big-girl self. We worked on some whole wheat dough this time, and for me, the combination of this and using the pasta roller was taking it into uncharted territory. We brought it back to the familiar by going out back and picking our pasta garnish, with the monkey throwing in a few "extras" for her amusement and sense of further contibution to the meal.
"Oh yeah, we should put some parsley in our salad daddy!"
"Parsley is great honey, but it's really for our pasta."
"And some tomatoes too!"
"That's right sweetie. Wait, what are you picking there hon?"
"Oh.....some cilantro. That goes really well with salad."
"Yes honey, but this is for our pasta remember?"
"Yeah! And some mint too!"

You learn to edit from the ingredients so lovingly harvested by enthusiatic little paws. We don't really need 2 tablespoons of rosemary in this one. But the others........I'll give it a try and add the itsy-bitsy bit of cilantro and the two mint leaves she included.

To really impress the monkey, and try and have her first real experience with the hand crank pasta machine be guaranteed fun, I got out our pasta drying rack. I had a hunch her hands would just love the tedium of repetetive pasta placement. It's times like this that I really begin to think, hey, maybe I've learned a little something at this parenting thing, because she just ate it up. Well, almost, she wanted too, but I told her we'd have it soon enough. With the pasta on the rack, I minced our herbs and gave it a toss with olive oil and a few pinches of salt. It smelled fantastic, and the tomato fumes were just killing me. I snuck a few bites in and the prognosis for the garden this year is good. So far, the bigun 'maters are sweet and heady with tang, and the littles are just plain sweet. Yep, shaping up just fine. Well, in the flavor category at least.

With the pasta cooked and drained, tossed and served, we were in for another night of tasting our backyard, and this made me very happy. It seems that even if the stuff you can grow at home isn't all that big of pretty for that matter, diced and minced, served within an hour of being picked and it's hard to go wrong. It's gonna taste good. Then again, I'm also beginning to think that even bad produce served super fresh is better than really fantastic stuff served weeks later. My brain thinks these things late at night. Like especially when we've just had nine different species of plants plucked and tossed with homemade pasta and I'm feeling proud of our little garden that could.

This went well with a dark porter from homebrew batch 2. Oh, and you just gotta have cheese, so some fresh grated dry jack was heaped on before eating. This meal is a knockout on a warm summer evening. The pasta is a bit of work, but it cooks in about a minute and there is plenty to put in the fridge for another day. And fresh pasta is always nice. But the star of this is the fresh herbs. Because none of them are cooked, they still have all their zing and volatile compounds that release directly into your mouth and not into the air for the hour before.

If you have little ones around, and a few herbs in the yard that they can pick, bring them out back and try something like this. Involving them in the preparation of a meal is a huge bonus. Monkey always seems more interested in eating something she helped make (don't you?). If you don't have time to make the pasta, go buy some. Toss it all together with some olive oil and the minced herbs with tomato and onion and it will taste like summer in your mouth.

It's really late......goodnight.


cookiecrumb said...

Oh, you're harvesting your tomatoes already!
The Roma you gave me is *thisclose* to picking, but the Brandywine has been having problems. I think we're on our way, though. Not every blossom is dropping off anymore.

What a great meal. Seriously, though, mint?
Yes, well. I'll have to make some whole wheat pasta. Darn, now where's that drying rack?

K & S said...

what a great post! loved all the fresh herbs and pasta :) i think it is true about children helping make their food and enjoying their food more.

El said...

SO jealous of your edible tomatoes.

I solicit the help of my 3.5 year old with the pasta crank QUITE often. She feels very...entitled? Authorial? of pasta she "makes" her chickens' eggs, some hand-harvested herbs, and me. And believe me, I can get her to eat it all because of that little hook (but you MADE it).

Great work. I love reading 'bout your culinarial journeys, tired or no.

chilebrown said...

Pasta with fresh eggs cannot be beat. I lost my fresh egg connection but I still have your starter. I got a couple of tomatoes ripe so I am living large. Peace, Paul



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Rev. Biggles said...

Muh tomatoes are still green! If it's anything like my lemon tree, it'll be another few years before they're ready.

I like how Jamie Oliver says pasta.


Monkey Wrangler said...

CC: We should get together when the tomatoes are nice and red for a little side by side tasting, no?

And I think the drying rack is somewhere in the garage still.....

K&S: Thanks for coming by so often. Getting kids into cooking is certainly a win-win situation. I can't wait for breakfast in bed. (Some day, in the distant future.)

El: Authorial/entitled. Yes. I just love it!

CB: Living large indeed. Them red ones probably roast up nice in the beehive atop a sourdough pizza.

Circuito: Thanks for dropping by and saying hi. I'll try and do the same sometime.

Anon: (Vera?) No thanks. And please pull your head out of your as_ and refrain from such blatant advertising on a site that showcases my kids would you?

Irreverend: Your tomatoes will turn red, don't worry. It will even happen this year. Really.

I love paster too.

Stacie said...

you really should be asleep... shhhhhhhhhhh.........