Friday, February 7, 2014

Getting Started

For some reason, I have 2 complete mental blocks in the French Laundry cookbook.  They are 1) making puff pastry, and 2) making pasta.  The only thing I can think of, is that these were two of my first attempts at really making something from scratch, back before I really knew how to cook, and they were so arduous at the time that this has been forever etched into my memory.   The last couple of times I've made either of them, once finished, I have this thought of "Oh, that wasn't so hard, why did I have such angst about starting that?"  But then when it comes time to make it again, I put it off and put it off and just put it OFF until I either have to make it or remove it from the menu.  So this year, I tried to be a little more proactive and make both of these very freezable dishes the week before so that I could be less stressed out about the entire event.  I started with puff pastry, because that is #1 in the "I wish I could just buy this from the store" column. 

Ever wonder why puff pastry tastes so good?  You see that glob of yellow stuff in the middle of the dough?  That's a pound of butter.  Not to mention the other 8 tablespoons in the dough itself.    

Here's my conclusion.  Puff pastry is NOT hard.  Why can't this piece of information get re-etched over the old one?  The only time consuming part is waiting for the butter to get hard in fridge so you can do the double-turns. 

 Last time I checked, putting something in the fridge wasn't that complicated.  

 On to the pasta.  This year, I am making an artichoke filled raviola.  I learned on our recent trip to Italy that raviola is singular, ravioli is plural.  So I guess technically I am making ravioli, 6 of them.  Each person will be blessed with a single raviola.  So, I got started with the artichokes.  I love artichokes.  It just happened to be artichoke season a few weeks ago and we ate them at least once a day and prepared in a different way every time.  Never in pasta though.  It seemed fitting.  Aren't they pretty?  

And that's where we stand.  No more pictures, no pasta.  The artichokes can last a whole week in my fridge before I actually have to do something with them. This isn't helping my cause.  I can't get over this hurdle.  Instead of making pasta dough yesterday, I shoveled up my compost pile that was covering about 1/4 of my back yard, seemingly, because my chickens had gotten into it.  So I got the post hole digger out, a random 4X4 scrap, and some chicken wire and shoveled for over an hour cleaning up and containing a compost pile all to AVOID MAKING PASTA. I keep thinking I need to just go DO it.   Laundry has never looked so appealing.  

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