Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oodles of Noodles

Oodles of noodles, that's what I made. I'm craving noodles and so the day before yesterday, I made a batch of spaghetti noodles. Today, I pulled out my new fangled noodle maker that has been sitting in the cupboard for months and mustered up the courage to give it a try. Your right, I've made tortellinis, wide noodles, lasagna noodles, spaghetti noodles, why would I be afraid of this simple little machine? I'm here to tell you, research can back fire on you. I saw this machine in one of my cooking catalogs and went snooping to see what people had to say about it on the Internet. Several said you had to crank really slow to get it to work and others said it took forever to make noodles. A few really liked it.
The nays didn't know what they were doing. I cranked as fast as I could coordinate its use and mine turned out great. I'm must tell you that if you want zippety doo daw noodles, go and buy them at the store. This is not a fast project. You have to crank a little bit and then cut the noodles off to the lengths you want, arrange them on a cookies sheet, crank again, cut, arrange, over and over. Then you let them dry for ten minutes before boiling them or space them out on cookie sheets to freeze before putting in freezer bags which is what I do.
I'm not doing this plus fix supper and finish off making the extra noodles too. The frozen noodles I just pop into the boiling water and in two minutes the spaghetti noodles are done. The thicker ones take a minute or two longer. Yes, much much shorter time than the rubbery noodles from the store.
Then again I think if you tried home-made semolina noodles that absorbed the sauces flavor versus just letting it slide around on top like the store ones, you might decide to work on you patience level. My oldest sister after tasting my noodles ate them plain for a snack. Yes, they are that good all on their own.
So determined to expand my noodle choices, I took the plunge. I bought the machine on faith since it was made by the same company that my other noodle maker was made by. I've used it for years. As for the people talking on the Internet --well, I'm here to tell you they were wrong -- kind of. You see I didn't follow the recipe in the pamphlet that went with the machine.
Shocked? You haven't read this blog very long have you? The rest of you are probably giggling, saying yup, that's her. I looked at the one they sent and said yuck and decided to try my own tried and true one.
So instead of the flour and egg concoction they recommended, I used half white flour and half semolina flour and four eggs. Plus an addition of a little more white flour until the dough felt just right, something I've learned from years of making noodles. Why change something that works so well?
I'll admit, I'm a boring noodle maker adding only spices now and then to my noodles. But once I did add pureed beets to a batch and carrots to another. They didn't turn out though Martha Stewart promised they would. Can't remember if I followed her recipe and instructions to the letter or not though. Could of been the problem that time. And though I'm in to nutrition, I haven't used wheat flour because I found out my biscuits don't freeze for very long if I use wheat flour instead of white flour. Watch out though, I'm feeling brave now, I've tasted success with this machine and I'm going to explore oodles of kinds of noodles this year. Nope, I'm not going to be boring any more.
But today since I was already adventuring into new territory, I stuck with my basic recipe KIND OF. Instead of using two cups of semolina flour, I used one cup of semolina and one cup of white flour since the white flour would make the dough a bit stiffer. Of course I added my four eggs and a drizzle of olive oil. The oil adds suppleness to the dough. A must as far as I'm concerned.
And am I glad I used my own recipe because I could crank however I liked. Nanner, nanner nanner!!! LOL
That is I cranked however I liked when I could sneak in a quick turn because my grand daughters thought the machines were pretty cool too. Sinbad, the cartoon DVD from the library did lure our middle grand daughter away after a short time but the youngest hung in their through two batches of dough.
First she worked the older machine that was a bit easier to crank. I used it to work the dough making it just right. I dipped the slightly sticky dough in flour and ran it through the machine on 1. Then I folded it in thirds ran it through again two more times. This saves me five minutes of kneading time with the dough. Okay, yes I'm lazy. I kept our youngest going while the oldest cranked slowly on the other machine and I cut the pieces to lengths as it came out. They kept me hopping.
Then our youngest took over her sister's job and... made noodles...
and made noodles, two hours of making noodles. Granted, if I would not of had quite so much help, the task would have been shortened greatly but how could I deny this cute little tyke? She turned two in January and if this could keep her attention for that long, she was really enjoying herself. I may have a chef in the making here.
Needless to say, I'm thrilled with the new noodle maker. I now have three gadgets that make noodles. One is a simple ice cube tray looking thing that makes tortellinis. I've not quite got those down yet. I think I'm making my dough too thin and cooking the noodles too long. I'll get it though. I'm stubborn.
In case you are wondering since I have so many noodle machines. No, I'm not Italian, though I am in love with tomatoes. My only disappointment today was the above noodles. As I've pondered the problem why they didn't spiral, I'm sure the dough needed to be stiffer.
And so now I've enough noodles for a few months, all but tortellini that is. You may see them pop up on the blog, who knows. I'm a determined soul and I'll get them figured out one of these days. Besides, I'm itching to try making wheat noodles. I know you don't have to freeze them, you can dry them. But I've not a good place to store them, just too much stuff, and my dried ones end up badly broken. That doesn't happen with frozen ones. So the freezer it is.
Next time, I'll tell you about what kind of noodles to use with what kind of sauce. I just learned this and I'm anxious to try it. Plus, I won an blogger award but as I except it I'm to think of seven things I haven't already told you. Seven things I should tell you and shouldn't keep to myself. Hmmm....I'm stuck so I'll think about it over the weekend and tell you next week.
I did confirm a date to go and visit the yak ranch. We are excited to say the least. Oh yeah, I just finished the last of my home-made baking powder. I've still got to try freezing doughs with it in it but so far I'm very pleased with its performance.
How come the more I try the longer my list of want to try gets?

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