I am not by nature a frugal person. In fact I'm a bit of a spendthrift, inasmuch as someone on my budget can be. However, in one area I am pretty cheap, and that area (naturally) is cooking. I don't buy brand name olive oil, I eat canned tomatoes 9 months of the year, and I don't remember the last time I cooked a meat like steak at home (and since steak at home would be a serious event, you better believe I remember it most of the time). I save that extravagant eating for when I'm not home (even though, reasonably, that's much less cost-effective). I am the past master at substitution, I hate doing a shopping trip specifically to try a recipe and will avoid for ages cooking something that I can't make from the typical contents of my pantry.
All this being the case, it will not surprise you to hear that separating eggs makes me crazy. Yes, there are many things that one can do to use up egg whites or egg yolks, but frankly in the moment I rarely have the time or inclination to do these. Who wants to make meringues on top of whatever it was you used five egg yolks for? And egg yolks are even worse: I do like custard, but there are seasons in which it just isn't appropriate. Plus yolks don't freeze like whites do, and I have all these icing recipes that ask for one
egg white. It makes me go a little wild-eyed (OK, not an unusual expression for me.) So one of my ongoing life quests is to find many recipes that pair well with each other, in glorious culinary polyphony. Here's a pairing I came up with this weekend that's going straight into my repertoire.Summer Pasta & Chocolate Meringue Melts
I think these recipes go with each other rather nicely as a summer menu, although admittedly I think pretty much anything goes with these biscuits. It'd be a nice date meal (I think. What's dating like? It's been so long I barely remember.)
These two recipes are what I made for dinner today. I made the biscuits and then decided to do something with the yolks, which I think is a pretty convenient order. I very slightly adapted the biscuits from Brownie Points
, who originally got it from Alice Medrich.( guh-orgeous )
The pasta I MacGuyvered a bit. Yesterday I made fresh pasta for the first time in my life, inspired by these really good videos
, and I pretty much made it to that recipe. I liked it because it's not focused on specific quantities, but on the right textures; use one egg for every person you're serving, salt in proportion to the eggs, and play the flour by ear. I'm guessing that, like bread, this method means that different humidity levels are easily accommodated. I also really liked that it didn't call for a pasta machine - as it happens we do have one, but I dislike the concept of requiring a machine for something people have been doing by hand for a very long time. Apart from anything, I don't have the cupboard space for a pasta machine, an icecream machine, a pastry blender, a food processor, a Kitchenaid, etc etc. Anyway, so this is what I made yesterday, and it was very very tasty, although slightly thick.
Today I was looking at my two left-over egg yolks and I thought, I wonder if you can do pasta with just yolks. I googled and hit Seven-Yolk Pasta Dough
at the Smitten Kitchen (I love Deb, so should you), which seemed pretty promising. So I went ahead and made pasta with two egg yolks and two eggs. I can't give you exact quantities, but I probably started with a mound of about a cup and a half of flour? Maybe two cups? I did use the pasta roller for this lot, although I actually found that I didn't like the end result so much - I think I went a little too thin for my taste, and the pasta ended up kind of unforgivingly thin, meaning it cooked really REALLY rapidly. This was a big pain. However, the pasta itself was still delicious and totally worth the effort, and it was faster than rolling by hand. I urge you guys to watch the videos, read the recipes, and have a play; it's no more time-consuming than making bread and just as fun. I started making the pasta after 7:30, and was eating by ten to nine.
I made farfalle (bow tie) pasta, which is really super easy and looks cute, as well as some fettucine that is sitting in my fridge.
Bizarrely, I got my sauce recipe from some weight-loss forum
, I guess because cottage cheese is a diet food? Apparently? (Really? IDK. It is delicious, though.)
- Side anecdote: after reading a series of posts at THM by Maia
(and one or two by Anne Else, a food blogger I also love) on "Good" Food "Bad" Food
(start 28 August) in which she makes the salutory point that a food by itself doesn't count as good or bad, I felt pretty weird reading a bunch of posters sent to a Labour party electoral office made by primary school students in which they thanked the LP for fruit in schools, saying things like "fruit is good because eating it makes you skinny." And not once or twice: three or four times on each of three posters, made by three different rooms - Room 2, Room 4 and Room 5. Really? This is what we want to teach our seven year olds - that "fruit makes you skinny"? That that's what important about a balanced diet? I found it pretty sickening. I am a fan of fruit generally and like every good freedom-hating liberal I'm a fan of educating people about the relative merits of different foods, but I'm not sure "it's good cos it makes you skinny" is the right message - in fact, I know it's not. The word "skinny" was specifically used more often than the word "nutrition"
and about as often as the word "health". This is a bit of a problem (apart from anything else, eating fruit is not going to magically make you skinny! At all! That's just not true!) Oh well, another generation with a dysfunctional relationship to food, par for the course, I suppose. (Note: I feel like as a fat feminist I need to disclaimer this stuff: I don't think that people who are slim have a dysfunctional relationship to food and I don't partake in that "real women" bullshit. I have a dysfunctional relationship to food all on my lonesome (not the kind that makes you slim).)
SO ANYWAY. I did find this recipe on a diet site but it is a pretty delicious summer recipe and since fresh tomatoes are finally a) a decent price b) ripe in the supermarkets, I absolutely had to make it. With some variations.Summer Pasta
Serves a very hungry 1, moderately hungry 2, 3 or 4 as a side, I suppose.
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cottage cheese
salt & pepa
pasta( method )