Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Noodles - Eventually

I know the last blog was rather cruel since the heading had a picture of an adorable kid goat and then I talked about butchering a wether. Sorry, my apologies to you softies to which I have a cute one in this family also, our middle grand daughter, but I'm bogged down at the moment and didn't have time to change the photo. Yesterday, I was in the middle of yakety yacking up a storm and felt good to get a blog up at all, let alone changing the heading picture. Yes, I'm in the the middle of researching and talking to seven breeders about yaks, trying to decide just what breed we want, how many, and what are our plans for the future for them.

At first I thought, oh how cute, I'd love to make my husband happy and get him something he wants. I usually have such a hard time finding him a gift. But now, we see this will be an investment, not just a gift and we'd better think hard and long about what our goals are. We've set up an appointment to see yaks this Saturday and I'm going to make another appointment to see another group hopefully on Friday. We are going to have a yackety yack weekend. That's why I was so late blogging yesterday. If we weren't talking to breeders we were talking amongst ourselves trying to decide. Seven ranches later we are a bit confused of what type of yak we want but we have leanings. We just want to see some different varieties up close and feel it will help us to make a decision. We'll talk later about all this when I have some pictures to share because I'm big on pictures as you know.

Now for an update, the tough goat loin cooked in the crock pot last night has fallen all apart and is now as tender as can be. It's lunch for Kirk today. And I want to pass along a tip I got from the local butcher who owns his own processing plant. Hanging your meat three days is all it takes to tenderize it. After that it is not tenderizing but adding a stronger flavor to the meat. Interesting!!

And... as to the home-made brown sugar, it made delicious chocolate chip cookies, so cooks forge ahead and make your own from white sugar. It's wonderful.

Yes, today is an update day and I've much more to tell you but I've got a promise to fulfill and that's part two of oodles of noodles.

So here we go let's get to talking about noodles

Factory dry noodles carry sauce. and I'm not talking about serving them hard and brittle. Is there a recipe for serving them hard and brittle? Anyway, I'm talking about what they do after being cooked. My personal take on this is that the factory noodles are rubbery and everyone knows liquids slide off of rubber. Why store noodles have this texture, I don't know. The label as far as I can tell isn't any hint to the reason why. I guess it must have to do with how they handle the dough.

Delicious home-made noodles absorb the sauce, enhancing the flavor. Besides the fact that home-made noodles have more flavor to start with.

Different shapes of noodles are used to help different kinds of sauces cling to the noodle.

This is the part that is new to me. I've always wondered what was the reason for all the different shapes? Was it a visual thing or what? It is the or what and my new Cuisine magazine has the scoop on it.

Thin-stranded pastas like spaghettini or angel hair are best for oil-based sauces. Angel hair pasta is one of my favorites because it means more sauce surrounding every noodle. I've not made any oil based sauces but you can bet I'm going to try some when I find them. Are they the ones that have butter and you put the raw egg in and the hot noodles cook the egg? Yes, my ignorance is quite substantial in this area. The more I learn the more dumb I know myself to be.

Thicker strands of spaghetti are better for tomato sauces and that would be Fettucine or lasagne noodles in lasagne.

Pasta that has wells, think shell pasta, or has twists and curls, think Cavatappi "corkscrew", and curves is meant for creamy sauces. Think macaroni and cheese or Alfredo. The twist and wells lends area for the sauce to pool in. I've got to try this as I've always served my Alfredo sauce with angel hair pasta but now I have a choice with the new noodle maker and I'm going to explore.

Tube-like pastas with hollow centers, think manicotti, are intended for meaty, chunky sauces. The sauces fill those hollows more evenly distributing the sauce into every bite. I make lasagne noodles and then roll them with the ricotta inside and meat sauce over the top instead of buying manicotti noodles.

Now you are just as smart as I am and probably smarter.

I'm going to go forth and take this new found knowledge and try some different noodles with different sauce along with making my very first oil based sauce. I always say there is no excused for being bored. You are must just be lazy because there is so many things to do and learn and you don't even have to leave you home. But then if you want you could go in search of a nearby yak ranch. I was so surprised at how many were near here. Of course that is if you live up North. Yaks need high elevation and cold winters and fairly cool summers.

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