Quarantine Bake Along: Homemade Fresh Pasta

Making fresh pasta at home is a labor of love, especially if you don’t have a pasta roller (me). But machines didn’t exist from the beginning and I do love the art of slowing down and taking the time to make something in the kitchen, particularly now when we’re stuck at home. If you’re up for the task, the reward is a lovely fresh pasta noodle that need not be dressed with anything but some cheese, pepper, salt, and olive oil/butter.

Brief History of Pasta

It is believed that pasta as we know it made its way westward from Asia, perhaps by nomadic Arab traders. According to Culinary Lore, “There are written reports of ‘a food made from flour in the form of strings,’ in Sicily, described by an Arab trader named Idrisi in 1154. At the Spaghetti Museum in Pontedassio, Imperia, there are several documents from 1240, 1279, and 1284 which refer to pasta, maccheroni, and vermicelli as known foods.

Pasta Recipe

  • 200g 00 flour or all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Make a well with the flour on your countertop (it’ll look like a volcano).
  2. Crack the eggs into the hole and using a fork, gently beat the eggs until they start incorporating into the flour.
  3. Continue mixing until the dough comes together into a rough ball. Knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. If really dry, add a little bit of water; if too sticky, add some more flour. The dough ball should be pretty stiff but slightly tacky.
  4. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes).
  5. At this point, feel free to use the dough with a pasta roller. If rolling by hand, divide the ball into 4 pieces. Cover the pieces when not in use.
  6. Roll the dough ball in one direction until very long and thin (about 1/16th inch, the thickness of a dime).
  7. Dust the rolled dough with flour and fold into thirds. Cut the dough into desired thickness using a sharp knife.
  8. Gently unfurl your noodles and toss with some flour to make a pile of noodles. Continue with the rest of the dough balls.
  9. If cooking immediately, bring some salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Use as desired.
  10. To dry pasta, hang the pasta noodles on a drying rack until fully dry then package up as use as desired.

Quarantine Bake Along: Pie/Galette Crust

The next recipe in our Quarantine Bake Along lineup is another one with very minimal ingredients: pie/galette crust! All you need is flour, butter, water, salt, and sugar. It’s pretty amazing that just these ingredients can produce the beautifully flaky and buttery crust that we all associate with a good pie. Pie crust need not be limited to traditional pies, however. You can use pie crust to make sweet or savory galettes (rustic, free-form pies), as a base for fruit tarts, or as crackers.

I know that a lot of people are sometimes intimidated by pie crust, but it’s really not hard to make and most people have the ingredients on-hand. Once you have this crust down, you can use it as a base for any pie/galette recipe you’d like to make. If any of you have some canned pie filling sitting around or a bag of frozen berries, those would be perfect here. If not, make a galette with the fresh fruit you have or a savory one for dinner!

A Brief History of Pie Crust

Historians trace pie’s initial origins to the Greeks, who are thought to be the originators of the pastry shell, which they made by combining water and flour. Pies were originally meat-based in Europe, but once the Pilgrims settled in the colonies, the pie’s role as a means to showcase local ingredients took hold and with it came a proliferation of new, sweet pies.

Pie Crust Recipe

The recipe I use is from Stella Parks at Serious Eats. She does an amazing job explaining the whole process and I’d rather not reinvent the wheel. I do halve the recipe if I know I’m only going to make one pie or galette.

Savory Galette Recipe

  • 1 prepared pie crust (above), after its fridge rest
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 bar),
  • 1/4 teaspoon of all your favorite dried herbs and spices you can find in your pantry
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Odds and ends of hearty vegetables and meats, cut into 1/4in thickness if applicable (asparagus, potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, and chopped up bacon and ham work well)
  • Goat cheese, optional
  • Balsamic vinegar, optional
  • Honey, for drizzling
  • Maldon salt, for finishing
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix your spices, salt, and pepper into the cream cheese until well combined.
  3. Place your cold pie crust on the baking sheet. Spread the cream cheese mixture all over the crust, leaving a 1 inch border.
  4. Layer your veggies and meats on top of the cream cheese mixture, no need to be precise about how much, as long as the crust can fold over the center it will be fine.
  5. Fold the edges of the crust towards the center, going all around and gently pressing in place. It will look “rustic!”
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes in preheated oven until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  7. Let cool slightly and serve.

Beet and Sweet Potato Galette with Almond Crust

Galettes are just rustic one crust pies. Or at least that’s what I think. They’re my lazy, often savory, pies.

I’m a huge lover of buttery crust so I’m always on board when a dinner is tasty and has a ton of crust. It’s probably not the most healthful thing, but oh well, I’m eating all my veggies too in this one!

In order to make myself feel slightly better, I made the crust with mostly almond flour. You can let me know whether or not that’s actually “better.” 🙂

Ingredients

For the crust

  •  cups almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca or all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • tablespoons cold grass-fed butter, cubed
  • egg cold

For the filling

  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium beet, peeled
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper and thyme, for garnish
  • Feta or goat cheese, optional
  • Honey, for drizzling, optional

Instructions

  1. Combine the almond flour, flour, seasonings, salt and butter in a food processor, or use a pastry blender in a bowl. Pulse or blend until the texture of coarse meal.
  2. Add 1 egg and pulse/mix again until dough comes together. If you’re mixing in a bowl, you may want to use your hands to bring the dough together at the end. Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, paprika, thyme, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Thinly slice the sweet potato and beet in rounds.
  6. Roll out the dough into a rough circle about 1/4″ thick and place onto a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
  7. Spread the cream cheese filling on the bottom, leaving about 1″ of dough around the circle.
  8. Arrange and layer the sweet potato and beet slices over the filling, piling it up in the center. Sprinkle the sliced onions on top and the cheese if using.
  9. Gently fold the edges up, creasing the dough together as you go. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  10. Bake the galette in the oven for approximately 40-60 minutes until sweet potatoes and beets can be pierced with a knife. This largely depends on how thinly you sliced them and how full your galette is.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before digging in! Feel free to drizzle some honey if you like the flavor combo.

Smoked Salmon, Butternut Squash, and Feta Sandwiches

This sounds like a weird combination but I think it comes out really well. I like the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash mixed with the salty bite of the smoked salmon and briney feta. It’s very simple to put together once you have all the ingredients! It’s somewhat modeled after my favorite, but unfortunately discontinued, smoked salmon sandwich from Songbird Cafe.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread (I used my favorite homemade crusty bread)
  • 3 thinly sliced cucumber rounds
  • 2 pieces of smoked salmon
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1/2 inch)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon feta, crumbled
  • Mayo, pesto, or stoneground mustard, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a pan with parchment or silicone.
  2. Toss the butternut squash and garlic clove with some olive oil and salt and pepper and dump into single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Roast the squash for 20-25 minutes until tender and caramelized. Mash lightly with a fork.
  4. Layer the mashed squash, smoked salmon, feta, and cucumber on the slices of bread to make a sandwich. Add other condiments if desired.
  5. To warm, either toast the sandwich briefly in a toaster oven, grill lightly in a panini press, or add some butter to a skillet on medium heat and brown both sides of the sandwich for a few minutes on each side.

 

Banh Mi

I don’t know exactly what made me decide to make banh mi for dinner recently. I think I was craving them and knew that I had some carrots and cucumbers in the fridge. So I went on a Google quest to look for recipes on how to make banh mi at home. There is a surprisingly few amount of Vietnamese banh mi baguette recipes out there–I went for one that was detailed and reasonably easy to make. I’m not going for 100% authenticity here, mainly because I know it’s not possible to do at home. But the results of this baguette recipe were SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. Crispy on the outside with a nice and fluffy interior. Please ignore my total bread scoring fail; we don’t have any sharp cutters or razors to slash the dough well enough…

I whipped up the pork with some fail-proof Asian seasonings and it was the perfect pairing with the pickled carrots and onions. I also had some leftover roasted garlic aioli I made the day before and used that as the mayo-based sauce. It was honestly so delicious–I was incredibly pleased with this meal. I don’t often say that about my cooking but this is a definite winner in my book. J and I both had 1.5 sandwiches because we’re gluttons it was that good. Don’t let the daunting amount of components deter you!! I promise it’s worth it.

Ingredients

Roasted Garlic Aioli

  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Pickled Carrots/Onions

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 small daikon
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pure cane sugar

Seasoned Pork

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 pound pork loin, minced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon five spice seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Red chili flakes, optional

For Assembly

  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped

Instructions

Baguette

I followed Danang Cuisine’s recipe to a T. Her video is really helpful too.

Roasted Garlic Aioli

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Chop off the top of the garlic bulb just so the tops of the cloves are showing. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Carefully remove the cloves of garlic into a small bowl.
  5. Add the mayo and lemon juice and stir until all is incorporated and the garlic cloves are mashed. Season to your liking with salt and pepper.

Pickled Carrots/Onions

  1. Cut up carrot, onion, and daikon into small matchsticks and place in small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the veggies and massage for a few minutes until the salt starts to draw moisture out. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until liquid pools at the bottom.
  3. Strain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly with water.
  4. Return back to bowl and stir in vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Cover and let set for at least an hour before serving. Place into a jar and refrigerate for storage.

Seasoned Pork

  1. Heat oil in a skillet and add onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat until translucent and fragrant.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the pork and all the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Turn the heat high and add all of the pork mixture into the skillet. Let the pork cook and caramelize on the bottom before flipping. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the meat until brown and fully done.

Assembly

  1. Slice the baguettes in half, leaving a “hinge” to stuff the ingredients in.
  2. Add a layer of the roasted garlic mayo, then add the pork.
  3. Stuff the rest of the sandwich with your desired amount of the pickled veggies, cucumber, jalapeno, and cilantro. Enjoy!