From playdough to pasta

July 11, 2012 § 13 Comments

Little m and I have a little time each day when it’s just us. With J at work, and O down for his nap, we sneak off to her room to hang before her quiet time. During one of these times, she wanted to play with playdough. I opened up this cool tool her auntie Jenn passed us. You squeeze the playdough through different dies to make noodles. So simple and so fun. To little m’s delight, we made noodles of all different shapes, widths, and colors, carefully chopped them, and put them on plastic plates to serve at our restaurant, which m named “Bun Mee.”

While we were playing, the wheels in my head were churning. Why make fake noodles, when we can be making dinner! Let’s put this effort to good use and make some real pasta! I found a demo on youtube for making homemade pasta, and m and I watched it together, fascinated. When J came home, I explained what we wanted to do. He got onto eBay and secured us a pasta machine of our very own.

Little m is hilarious – she remembers so many details from the youtube video. We made our first linguine noodles, and both of us had a grand old time. The only issue for us was having to take turns using the machine.

Cranking the dough through the pasta machine, changing the settings to make the dough thinner and thinner, and passing the dough through the cutter, are all fabulous 4-year-old activities.

We also made some green pasta noodles, using our garden’s spinach, kale, and chard, chopped super-fine and added to the dough. Thumbs way up.

It has been so fun watching little m learn and enjoy things like making pasta. She loves making real and meaningful contributions to our household. It’s super cool to see.

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Out of the garden and into the pesto!

June 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

I finished reading Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food. It has caused me to think more about the importance of whole foods and getting raw veggies into the family diet.

The kale plants with put in the ground in the fall have been our most steady producers. I needed to find more ways to get these super vegetables into our diets. We already were doing kale chips, and a kale leaf or two in smoothies.

I found this site after a quick search. A simple kale walnut pesto. Exactly what I was looking for! I already had toasted walnuts (little o loves to snack on them) and garlic.

Here’s the how-to.

Harvest enough leaves to get 3 cups of kale, chopped.

Break out the food processor. Toss in a single peeled garlic clove and mince it up. Add in 1/2 cup toasted walnuts and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Add in the kale. More blending.

3/4 c olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. More blending.

I also followed my friend Michelle’s advice and froze some into cubes for a future meal. 

Seriously delicious and super easy to make. It’s great tossed with pasta and sun-dried tomatoes, or spread on crackers or sourdough.

Let me know if you get a chance to make some yourself! Apparently you can make pesto out of any greens and any nuts. Looking forward to some different variations based on the season and the garden’s yield.

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