Ravioli Rumble

After the euphoria of my first pasta making success I experimented with making ravioli. Now, because of my out-of-wack digestive system, I had to begin by exercising some google-fu in order to find a ravioli filling I could eat. After rooting around I found this recipe from which I was able to canabalise the following filling.

1.5 cups roasted pumpkin, (I had these in the freezer from last summer’s CSA)
2 small heads of garlic, roasted
3-4 dashes turmeric
Salt and pepper

Using eggs, semolina and a splash of olive oil, I made a batch of dough which I had to bin due to its awfulness (way to much semolina somehow) and begin again. (Same recipe but more attention to consistency.)

After rolling each sheet of pasta, laying out the filling and covering with a second sheet of pasta, I used my handy dandy square cutter (available here) to shape the ravioli. This was a little messy at first because I began with too much filling. By the end I managed to achieve enough filling and a balance of pasta covering to make some very happy ravioli squares.

The ravioli was left to dry for 15 minutes, but could have done with longer as the underside wasn’t as dry as the top side, before dropping in boiling water for 4 minutes to cook.

As a sauce we smothered the ravioli with pesto paste from a tube. A short cut, I know, but it was still delish. Now I just need to find alternate fillings as there’s only so much pumpkin I want to eat in a winter.

Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 1C/34F

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Administrivia:Comment Annihilation

So it looks like comments have not been working here for a while. (Understatement of the year!!!!!) My techmonkey, aka Phi, assures me it’s all fixed. If you are the wonderful person whose comment/s were so ingloriously squished, my humble apologies.

If anyone runs into commenting problems here please feel free to tweet me @weathergrrrl and I’ll ask my tame* code hacker to check into it.

Also on the horizon is the possibility of my very own art web page, where I can show case all the amazing pieces I’ve been generating recently and talk about some of the numerous ideas I’ve been exploring with tea stains, human hair, ort manipulation and baldheadedness. (Be still my beating heart!!!) Techmonkey is working on it in his spare time, which given the demands on an academic comp sci nerd is not as often as he, or I, would like.

Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 3/37

*Top Gear reference if you didn’t spot it.

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I participated in a postcard exhibit last month at Colorado Mesa University which you can read about here. They were using it as a fund raiser for a variety of art department programmes. I used this as an opportunity to experiment a little with the tea stains I am creating as part of my, “MyTeaObsession” project. The tea stains I create are 3in by 4in and are made every time I consume a cup of tea. Participating in this exhibit meant doubling the size of the image generated and considering the finished product, or stain, as an image in it’s own right able to stand up to consideration as a work of art rather than as a quantification of a momentary act.

As part of this exhibit a catalog has been created of all the submissions and it is available for purchase. (You can thumb through it here on Blurb.) The variety of images/media is quite impressive. You can find the first of my images eight clicks in and the other three on the following page. Below is one of the stains I created.

This was a great opportunity to experiment with an ongoing process and benefit future artists is their development.

ETA:Current temperature: here 19F/-7C, there 3/37

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Kidlet as Monkey

The play is Words, Words, Words by David Ives, directed by Mike Lion, a fellow Hampshire student. Kidlet is way cool!!!!! Great monkey body posture. Very effective location. Definitely earned the requisite number of laughs to be considered successful.

Current temperature: here 7F/-14C, there 6C/43F

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Oz The Great and Powerful

Okayish. Yeah, there were problems but there were also highlights too. My two favourite characters were Finley (Zach Braff) and China Girl (Joey King). I’ve got to say I thought Zach Braff was great and I can’t say I’ve liked much else he’s done but he was perfect as the the winged monkey, Finley. Just the right mixture of humour and humanity. Joey King was a wonderful mix of bravery and sweetness.

The print I saw was 2D but it was really marred by the 3Dness of the production. Special effects became more obvious and less immersive, and it was definitely irritating when you could tell some, so called, 3D ‘magic’ was happening but the image became flatter and less interesting. For example, when Oz danced with Theodora, it was really obvious when they were actually dancing versus being swung round and around. The Wicked Witch of the West’s make up was pretty plastic, as were many of the townfolks, which was not bewitching but rather irritating.

Definitely would no pay to see it again but might watch as sequel entitled Finley and China Girl’s Adventures in Oz.

Current Temperature: here 21F/-6, there 4C/39F

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Adventures in Weather

Weather has definitely been happening in this part of the world. Even after living out on the prairie for more than 20 years it is still possible to see something new. Morris covered in a sheet of ice rubble is definitely a new one for me. Driving in town feels like off-roading in a 4 wheel drive vehicle, even in our tiny Honda Fit. Walking on the pavement is a nightmare for staying vertical. Our penguin shuffles are well developed at this point. This morning I drove Nic to work to ensure a broken boneless arrival on campus.

It’s hard to guess how long the ice rubble will remain. Temperatures don’t look like they are going to warm that much, though if it’s sunny during the day slush may ensue.

Fingers crossed for remaining upright.

Current temperature: here 16F/-9C, there 12/28F

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Tomato Sauce for Pasta

This is the first of a number of tomato sauce recipes I want to share with my mum so I thought I’d post it here for posterity.

This is a pretty intense sauce and surprisingly made with tinned toms. It’s adapted from a recipe in The Geometry of Pasta by Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy, a brilliant book Nic bought me because of the cool illustrations. You should definitely check out the geometry web page plus look for manskills on YouTube with their groovy vids to cook food to. For example Farfalle Pasta With Broccoli, Anchovy & Cream (Not that I can eat it, but it still looks delish.)

4 cloves of garlic, sliced
7.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
2.25lbs of chopped canned toms
0.75 teaspoons salt

Gently fry garlic until it begins to brown. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently, stirring frequently, until the sauce is nice and thick. This cooks for a good while and tastes better the more time you take, IMHO.

This recipe produces enough sauce to go with a pound of pasta so I’d recommend, after cooling, putting whatever sauce is leftover in ice-cube trays and freezing. Once the cubes are solid, remove them from the trays and store in the freezer in freezer bags. Next time you want sauce all you need to do is pull out a number of cubes and warm them in a saucepan as you cook your pasta.

Current temperature: here 21F/-6C, there 3C/37F

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Adventures in Pasta

Inspired by my latest favouritist blog, The Art of Doing Stuff, I made pasta for the first time today. And, oh yay, it was spectacularly great tasting despite the ineptness of the pasta maker.

Beginning with, How to make pasta dough, I made one substitution and used semolina instead of regular flour. Working with two eggs, it did not take long to mix and kneading was a breeze. I even made use of a wood board we’d been given by Mutti many moons ago. The final dough ball just looked just like the piture at the bottom of the instructions.

While the dough rested, I set up my pasta machine. I purchased the machine a while ago at a local garage sale for a couple of dollars and this was its first outing in this house. I had to set up on the dining table as the counter top in our decrepit kitchen was too wide to clamp the machine to. I laid down some parchment paper to protect both the wood table top and the pasta.

The instructions, How to use a pasta machine, were easy to follow, though it turns out my machine counts from 8 down and I found levels 2 and 1 so super fine it was impossible to stop the pasta ribbon from tearing. The cutting rollers worked a treat and I used the wide setting since this was my first attempt and that seemed easier to deal with.

Fresh pasta, it turns out, really likes to stick to itself so my ribbons of pasta began to clump up before I realised what was happening. (So next time I’ll spread the lengths out after I’ve cut them.) Nevertheless I dumped my pile of pasta into some boiling water for about 4 minutes.

For sauce we winged it. We both used a little extra virgin olive oil. Nic then added some fresh parmesan while I added a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

It was way delish!

I will definitely do this again plus I’m now super keen to put my ravioli cutters to good use.

Current temperature: here 34F/1C, there 2C/36F

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Popcornalicious. This was an absolute hoot and exactly what was needed from a summer blockbuster: lots of energy, explody things, overthetopness, hot guys, and a complete lack of stick-up-arse, as they say in the vernacular. It made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion and permitted the consumption of butter drenched popcorn and high fructose corn syrup. What more could a gal want? Hell, there was even an interesting female character who was more than eye candy and actually talked to another female character about something other than getting a date with some hot guy. Wow, my cup runneth over!

Current temperature: here 64F/18C, there 12C/54F

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Spring has Sprung

You can tell that spring has hit hard in Minnesota when the quiet sunday afternoon idyl is disturbed by the mechanised sound of mowers mowing.

Spring is definitely here and the grass has become rampant. As have all the weeds that thrive therein. We’ve been trying to mow for a few weeks but it wasn’t until yesterday that dry weather and free time coincided appropriately for the rampaging plant life to be mown down. And boy was it rampageous! Took me forever, with my handy dandy electric mower, to make it all the way around our corner lot. It doesn’t exactly look like a beautifully manicured English lawn but at least the city won’t come round and complain.

Afterwards I sat and watched the local wildlife indulge in a feeding frenzy of bug consumption. There were a pair of robins hopping across the lawn looking for worms who were particularly interesting.

Current temperature: here 64F/18C, there 12C/54F

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