Monday, May 7, 2007

Why I Didn't "Make Anything Yesterday" for a While

Actually, it was a combination of designing and crafting invitations for a friend's wedding and helping John make his Capstone Portfolio look pretty!

Our friends' June wedding will take place at Copia, a wine and food center in Napa Valley in California. I wanted to come up with a unique invitation design that spoke to the wineries of Napa without actually implementing illustrations of wine bottles, grapes, etc.. To accomplish this, I employed cork paper - wonderfully crafted sheets of actual thinly sliced cork - and burgundy velvet ribbon to hint at the hue of red wine. I was inspired by a potential flower arrangement (chosen by the bride) containing chartreuse hydrangeas, and found that this color complimented both the decorative cork and rich velvet perfectly.

Home-made, hand-made pasta!

I have wanted to make this Liguran pasta (called trofie) since I first saw it on Helen Rennie's blog. Soon after I read about her technique, I took her pasta class, in which I learned how to make pasta dough and how to shape these little twisty, tasty pastas.

That was exactly a month ago. So, I struggled a little bit when I made my first solo pasta dough yesterday. The end result was great, but the process was much more difficult because my dough was a little dry. This made it physically taxing to knead the dough and to roll the twisties. Still, fresh pasta doesn't even seem related to dry pasta - it has the most amazing density and texture...and it is SO much more filling, as the three of us eating it quickly discovered. I couldn't even finish my bowl!

The reason I wanted to make this specific pasta is that it requires absolutely no tools. No pasta machine, no ravioli cutter, no potato ricer (for gnocchi) - nothin'! (Um, OK, I used my food processor to make the dough, but I didn't have to.) Just hands and heart. : )

Ah, this was my first official basil pesto, too!

Sunday, May 6, 2007


I have been meaning to make my own pico de gallo and guacamole for years. I found myself eating both of the results with a spoon - so rewarding! Most of the condiments went atop a second attempt at carne asada. Still didn't come close to comparing with the carne azada from Mexico Lindo in Melrose. I might have to probe next time?

Can't Stand the Can

My husband enjoys a low-carb lunch of tuna salad on weekdays. This simple lunch consists of canned tuna, light mayo, salt and pepper. If he doesn't have the time in the morning (on the rare mornings when I do!), I offer to make this for him.

Although I've recently begin cooking, eating, and enjoying fish regularly, I barely remain conscious after a whif from a freshly opened can of tuna. Pure nastiness - especially in the morning. Having learned that over-cooked fish releases fishy oils that cause overly fishy taste and smell, I asked my fish teacher if this canned tuna smells because it is overcooked. She told me that anytime you cook tuna through, it will smell like, well...tuna. This is why it's so popular either in sushi (uncooked) or seared on all sides (but left rare in the center). She suggested I whip up a salmon salad, which I did, adding a little dill and lemon to my broiled salmon. So much better! Ah, the lack of smell of success!