Monthly Archives: February 2014

Handmade Pesto Pasta

I’m calling this pasta handmade instead of homemade for a couple of reasons, which I’ll spell out for ya.PestoPasta1. The last recipe I posted for corn bagels had “homemade” right in the title. I feel like it’d be a bit boring to use the same word here even though it would technically apply.

2. Since this from-scratch pasta doesn’t any fancy-schmancy kitchen tools or tough-to-do techniques, all we truly need are our two hands. Sure, a rolling pin and pizza cutter could come in handy, but if the craving for pasta is so strong and you find yourself without these two items, go ahead and MacGyver it.

Did anyone else have the hots for Richard Dean Anderson or was it just me and my oldest sister?

Just us? Okay. Good thing I no longer own those shoes I scribbled I ❤ Richard Dean Anderson on.

IngredientsLet’s put the past behind us and look ahead – to pasta! I’m going to level with you guys right now and let you know I’m not really a pasta person.

I’ve actually been known to say that I’d happily go without pasta for the rest of my life.

If I listen closely enough, I can actually hear you gasping. At the risk of sounding like those stupid posters you see everywhere online – and no where in real life – keep calm and continue reading.

I’ve officially changed my stance on pasta now that I’ve had handmade.

DoughNot to knock store bought pasta, but this stuff’s got it beat. Big time.

In fact, I’m not even sure it falls in the same category. The texture is unlike anything I’ve ever boiled up from a box. Fresh and fluffy is how it was described on the website where I found this recipe – and it was indeed both fresh and fluffy.

Dana – the major babe behind Minimalist Baker – delivered.

CutPasta

Coolest thing about this recipe? It’s completely customizable. No pesto in your pantry? You could use pureed pumpkin, or for plain pasta – add in an extra egg and another yolk instead.

Easy peasy pasta.

Um, I just typed “panty” instead of “pantry” up there. Here’s to proofreading and picking up what even spell check won’t catch before I published this post.

BoilCrisis averted and sticking to the theme of customize-ability, toppings and sauce are entirely up to you, too. Marinara, more pesto or even alfredo – the options are endless.

Wanna know what’s not endless? This recipe’s ridiculously quick cooking time.

All it takes is a minute or two and you’ve got yourself a meal.

SteamyPastaI’m not talking about the “minute or two” I tell Eric I need to get ready that in reality translates to fifteen or twenty.

The time frame we’re working within here is a minute minimum to two minute maximum. #miracle

SpinachWith all the possible combos one could come up with, I bet you’re wondering how I rounded out my plate full of pasta. At least, I hope you are because I’m about to tell you about it.

As soon as it went into the strainer, I tossed some spinach in the hot pot where the pasta once was.

Brie tested, Popeye approved.

Lemons

Then, I got a little crazy with some sweet lemon butter sauce. Crazy in the same sense that going to Bed, Bath and Beyond constitutes a big day, but come on. It’s me we’re talking about here.

I may be boring, but I’ll give you bonus points if you name the movie I so subtly referenced right there.

Handmade Pesto Pasta

slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes (active), 30 minutes (inactive)
Cook Time: 1-2 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons prepared pesto
1/4 cup water

Directions:
Add flour and salt to a food processor and pulse. Then add in two egg yolks and 1 whole egg, and the pumpkin puree. Pulse until well combined. Then drizzle in water until a dough forms.
Transfer to a very lightly floured surface, sprinkle top with a little flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.

While it’s resting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.

Roll dough out into a loose rectangle, sprinkling on only as much flour as it takes to keep it from sticking. More flour = a less flavorful, tender pasta. Also, the pasta will want to stick to the rolling pin – simply use one hand to hold it down while you use the other to roll.

Once the dough is nearly paper thin, cut it into any shape you want. You can even leave it in a solid sheet if you’d like. I used a pizza cutter to cut mine into fettuccini-sized strips.

Cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook. Add pasta to boiling water and stir just to make sure they don’t stick together. It should only take 1-2 minutes to cook.

Drain and transfer either back to your pot or directly to serving plate. Top with more pesto and parmesan cheese, toss with your favorite tomato sauce, or try this sweet lemon butter sauce.

Mangia

So, yeah. I’ve ended my embargo against pasta.

Introduction to Anosmia: A Tale of Love & Loss

I didn’t realize that my first date with Eric was just that: a date. For all I knew, we were just old friends falling back in touch. Falling in love was a far reach.

Yes, I had had a crush on him from age fourteen on, but I would not allow that to affect my twenty-five year old, single self.

Keep it cool, Brie. You’re an adult now. You no longer own overalls.

Brie1

I distinctly remember…it was after our first round of drinks that I found out Eric can’t smell or taste anything. Anosmia, it’s called. Eric’s came at the onset of injuries sustained from a serious car accident that occurred only eight months prior.

Eric1

Eric2

To say I was taken aback would be the understatement of the century. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t eat to live. I live to eat.

Since I suffer from perpetual foot-in-mouth disease mixed with the lack of being able to leave an awkward silence alone, I simply blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

“Well, you’ll make a lousy cook a very happy wife one day!”

Way with words, right here.

As luck (and irony) would have it, I ended up being the girl Eric asked to marry him. No, not right then…the proposal took place about a year and a half later.

Fast forward another eight months after I said “yes.” It’s our wedding day and unbeknownst to me, Eric has woven my kitchen prowess right into his vows. I about laughed myself halfway back down the aisle when our Justice of Peace said – in all seriousness – that one of the reasons Eric loves me is the fact that I’m a “good cook.”

Ceremony1

Ceremony3

The kicker is that Eric wasn’t kidding. Truth be told – he thinks I’m a great cook.

When we started seeing each other, Eric was eating nothing but plain turkey burgers and baby spinach for breakfast, lunch and – yep, you guessed it – dinner.

I’d sooner starve than eat that for one meal a day, never mind all three.

I was determined to make eating enjoyable for him again and being a stubborn gal, I wanted to get to his heart the only way I knew how. You know what they say about men, hearts and stomachs? Same held true here, just minus the flavor factor.

In my kitchen, texture takes center stage and a little creativity goes a long way. Even though the way I cook has changed, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

After all, I get to share all my meals with this man. Fo’ life.

BrieEric

Yes, I was wrong about Eric marrying a lousy cook, but I could not have been more spot on about his ability to make a woman very happy as his wife.

Homemade Corn Bagels

I don’t mean to brag, but boom. I made bagels. Aren’t they a bunch of beauties?BagelsThese things are whole grain and you know what? They’re not half the hassle I imagined. In fact, making bagels was extremely easy. Just don’t tell anyone that. I’d rather they be impressed.

If you zip your lips, I’ll share all of my bagel making secrets with you so that you too can fake out all your friends and family.

No blood, sweat or tears went into anything you see here. No one has to know that though.

DryI’ve been wanting to make bagels for a while because, well, I’m weird. Eric always says one major difference between us is that when he eats something he really enjoys, he says to himself: “I have to go there/get that again.”

Me?

I take my eating experiences as challenges accepted in my own kitchen. I ask myself: “Can I recreate what I just ate?”

Even if the answer is no, it never stops me from making an honest attempt.

EggOil

That brings us to these bagels. Our local grocery store recently came out with corn bagels. Out of curiosity, we decided to give ’em a go and let me tell you. Game changers.

When we ate them, Eric and I would have full blown discussions about how/why we had never had corn bagels before.

The subtle sweetness!

The to-die-for texture!

The fact that we could get six of these bad boys for only a buck fifty!

Store brand stuff, for the win.

BeforeAfterRiseThen – just like that – they were gone. At first, we assumed everyone else all of a sudden got hip to our game and hopped on the corn bagel bandwagon. But, after a few weeks of searching multiple stores only to come up empty handed and broken hearted, our worst fears were confirmed.

Discontinued.

Houston, we have a problem.

More importantly – Market Basket, we have a bone to pick with you.

DoughDivideEric’s solution of buying Thomas’ corn bagels worked for a bit until I saw the price tag. They were – no word of a lie – three times as much and not nearly as good as my Market Basket bagels.

That was it.

Forget the scorned. Hell hath no fury like a woman hungry.

I was gonna make these myself since that is the aforementioned way I roll. PreBoilAt first, there seemed like there were so many steps. Rising, shaping and boiling, oh my!BagelBoil1At one point, they even looked like giant cheerios. Go ahead and try to tell me they don’t.PostBoil

Of course, there’s one more bit I’ve left out. Baking comes after boiling, but the quick dip in simmering water is where the majority of the magic happens. Besides puffing up big time, the boil gives the outside a chance to set up.

And don’t worry, it doesn’t make them soggy. I’d like to say it’s magic, but it’s actually science, which you can read more about here.

Homemade Corn Bagels

slightly adapted from food.com
Yield: 8 bagels
Prep Time: 30 minutes (active), 60 minutes (inactive)
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:
2 3/4 – 3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (or one packet)
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
In large mixer bowl, combine 1 cup flour, cornmeal, yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt: mix well. Add very warm water (120-130°), egg and oil to flour mixture.

Blend at low speed until moistened: beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough and keep kneading until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Note: I like to let mine rise in a warm oven with the light on. I’m talking, turn your oven on to the lowest setting, let it start preheating for a minute or so – then shut it off. It’ll hold some heat.

Punch down dough and divide into 4 parts. Divide each quarter into 2 pieces, so you end up with 8, fairly equally sized lumps of dough.

On lightly floured surface, shape each piece into a smooth ball. Poke a hole in the center with a finger and stretch slightly to make a 1 to 2-inch hole.

Cover your dough rings lightly with saran wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400° and heat 2 quarts of water, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a boil, but then back the heat off, so it stays at a simmer.

Place a few bagels at a time into the hot water. Simmer 3 minutes, turning once. Remove with slotted spoon. Place on greased cookie sheet and brush tops with 1 egg, slightly beaten.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets and cool.Bagels3

Before I knew it, I had a big batch of fresh, hot, slather-with-butter-and-burn-your-mouth bagels!

I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store bought. I just might let them cool more next time I make them.