What do I do when I'm on vacation, and bored out of my bleeding mind? I make pasta. From scratch, without a pasta machine (i'm not even sure what a pasta machine is, or does).
For approximately 1 pound of pasta, blend the following in a bowl:
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
when your mixture is smooth and mixed well, and has become a dough, divide it into 4 dough balls, put them back into the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. On a floured surface, roll out one ball at a time into a very, very flat rectangle. This stuff is not going to want to roll. Nope, it's elastic, and doesn't like stretching. And you want to stretch it and roll it, not crush it under the rolling pin. So, every few rolls, pick it up off the table, gently stretching it, and flip it over. Gravity will do most of the hard work for you. Get it as thin as possible (can you see the fake wood grain of your laminate kitchen table through the dough? It's thin enough), and cut into long strips with a pizza cutter.
The strips have got to dry. I dry them on my folding clothes drying rack, but you can use the backs of chairs, or lay a broomstick across two chairs and use that. Roll out at cut the rest of your dough. It's more tedious than difficult.
After your pasta has dried for about two hours (or whenever you want to eat it later), start a big pot of water boiling on the stove. Get out a big skillet, and chop up the following to go in the skillet with some olive oil or butter:
1 zucchini, cut in quarters and sliced
1 sweet pepper, diced
8 oz mushroom, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt & pepper
saute all that up as your water is boiling. Put the pasta in the water and boil for about 5 minutes, or until it's “al dente” (flexible, but still has a little bite to it). Because I used plain old regular flour, and not that traditional semolina stuff, this pasta won't be anywhere near as starchy or sticky as store bought pasta. It also cooks much faster, because it isn't industrially dried.
Pasta done? Good. Drain it and pop it back into the empty pot. Dump in sauteed veggies. Now, here's the cheating part. Dump in one jar of your favorite store bought alfredo sauce. Stir, enjoy.
What's with the store bought sauce? I suck at making white sauces, and I made the flippin' pasta from scratch, so i'm going to use a store bought white sauce. Deal with it.
Now, wasn't that tasty? Yes, it was!
I'm about half way through Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt's memoir of growing up poor and starving in Ireland. This book is hard to read, because it's damn depressing. Frankie's dad is a drunk, and his mother is simply powerless. I'm kind of surprised there isn't more suicide. Oh yeah, they're all Catholics. But if i'm going to finish this book, I better finish it soon, because it's on loan from a friend.
For something happier, i've gotten sucked into the warped singularity of insanity that is Tim Powers Last Call. Powers has that ability to write up rediculous magical happenings that are just wrong, and it works, and the only thing you want is more. The man writes literary heroin. This book is mostly poker and tarot card stuff, which I have just about zero knowledge off, but it's still really good, and no one does body swapping like Powers. Oh, it's good stuff.
Oh yeah, happy new year! We're making cookies and chili for the party tonight. I'll only give you the cookie recipe if they come out tasty, and I can't give you the chili recipe, because it's a secret.