Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Messisbugo's maccheroni alla Napoletana

This is a seriously strange noodle, with breadcrumbs, flour, rosewater, eggs and sugar. It dates to 1549. Very easy to roll out without gluten development, but also quite soft when cooked. Not al dente in the least. But its really the sugar that throws you off. Especially cooked in a rich duck broth, as I did. I'm cooking this dish at the NY Academy of Medicine for a festival October 17th. I hope people like it. I'm not so sure myself!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Peanut Noodle

After several botched attempts to use peanut butter or peanut flour, which I think overpowers all other flavors, I settled on dehydrated raw peanuts, ground and mixed with 50% wheat flour. Then made into a dough, pushed through a grater and dehydrated again.

Here they are in beef broth with shiitake browned in butter and spinach. Really a delicious combination and the peanut comes through very subtly. I would call the flavor leguminous.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The quality of flour is not strained, but extruded. Grist and Toll Charcoal Wheat.

I have been tasting a lot of flour in the past year as part of my noodle soup quest. Some of it was difficult to find, some rather common. There is really no connection between cost and quality. I have also noticed that a lot of flour sold in supermarkets has gone stale, or never tasted like much of anything in the first place. Whole wheat in particular can be really nasty when stale. The best way to taste wheat is not in bread or pancakes because there are so many other ingredients. Try a noodle first and you will get what I'm talking about immediately.

This week's research involved side by side tastings. Mass produced wheat consistently rated lowest, no surprise. Once in a while there was a gorgeous batch I found somewhere odd. But if you want to taste really fresh whole wheat, very interesting strains, try Grist and Toll based in L.A. This charcoal wheat, I was told, will float my boat. And it sure did. This was extruded from the Italian hand powered bronze torchio into spaghetti about 6 or 7 feet in length. I tried it with nothing on it whatsoever, not even salt, lifted by hand and lowered into my mouth. This is pasta. But the rest awaits a really serious soup base, I'm thinking of the goat meat I have simmering on the stove now.

Goat Goulash with Home Made Paprika. Isn't the color gorgeous. Smells and tastes divine too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Bronze Beast or Troccolaturo

I really adore this new device, but I will admit it scares the crap out of me too. It weighs a ton and the ridges are quite sharp. I would definitely not use it without shoes.

Nonetheless, it works much better than the wooden versions. Simply roll with pressure over a sheet of dough and it cuts beautiful even noodles. They might need to be separated by hand, but otherwise very efficient.

I have made two noodle types with it. Here is a classic durum and white flour in 50/50 proportion, one cup worth and one egg. It makes a perfect large serving for one (my breakfast). I also made another with oat, rye, chestnut, buckweat (all 10%) and 50% all purpose flour. Rolled and cut the same way, also with excellent effect. I think it may be the easiest way to cut noodles quickly, without needing to set up a crack or machine. At 4 AM I did the latter batch this morning in about 10 minutes start to finish, in a state of zen concentration. (And half asleep!)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Noodle Trio: Potato, Bacon, Onion

A day playing with the dehydrator yielded these results. One is a purely potato noodle (rather than potato starch). THe potato just shaved with a peeler, sprinkled with lemon to prevent discoloration, dehydrated, ground and mixed with slightly less than one egg. Tastes great and very easy to roll. I was thinking it wouldn't be for some reason.

The other is 2 slices of bacon pulverized and mixed with flour and egg, hand rolled and cut.

The last is a red torpedo onion sliced, dehydrated, ground and mixed into a flour noodle. The idea was the complement of the three in tandem. I could have used sour cream I suppose, but I wanted a nice soy-dashi based dipping soup since it's been so hot lately. Everything is nicely chilled.

And the photo was totally random and unplanned!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Smoked Noodle Soup

I think a few people have experimented with a smoked noodle. Normally that means taking a pre-made cooked noodle and cold smoking it or using a smoke gun. I wanted the depth of flavor that comes from prolonged exposure to wood smoke. So these are fresh raw whole wheat grains smoked for a few hours over grape vine cuttings. I just used a standard red backyard smoker. I think the temperature got to about 200 degrees, not enough to burn them, though I was originally thinking of a farina di grano arso. This is just toasty and smokey. But not burnt.
 The flour is SO deeply malty and smokey, but nothing acrid or burned. I'm surprised actually. I used a spice grinder, since this is a small test batch. Enough for a single serving. Mixed in a malted milk shake, I would swear it was just that. With smoke.
 Easy to roll out and cut by hand. They behave like any whole wheat noodle. No egg, just water. Held together very nicely.
Finally some really smokey noodles. They were served cold like soba. With a soy and dashi stock mixture on the side for dipping. The umami is just intense.

If it weren't so hot out, I think a meat broth and some vegetables would round it out nicely. Maybe mushrooms too.