Homemade Pasta is Always Best!

11042282043_3c26c6e091_oBy Tiffany Young

After Bird’s Barbershop’s Besties Party, my friends and I weren’t ready to say goodbye, so Eric & Lisa invited Christine and I over to make handmade pasta at their place with their little one, Bea. To be honest Baby Bea did not make a lot of pasta, but she was a fun addition to the night of playing games, eating and enjoying each others’ company.

Lisa had already made the dough, so the hard part was over. We used her new pasta maker for the first time, via trial and error. Lisa gave us the challenge: We could either watch Baby Bea or we could figure out how to use the pasta machine. Not feeling up to the challenge of caring for a small child, we decided using the pasta maker would be our challenge for the night. I don’t think either one would have been that challenging, but I tend to feel more comfortable in the kitchen than with bodily functions.

We immediately took to YouTube to get things started. This was the best one we found:

It was a little challenging not getting the pasta to stick together at first, but then we learned to add more flour than we thought to keep it from sticking. It turned out beautifully! Eric did the actual cooking part, chopping up mushrooms and sauteing garlic to make a traditional alfredo sauce:


He made two batches–one without mushrooms and one with. They were both delicious.

Ringing in the New Year

For New Year’s Eve, Antonio was sick with allergies and we ended up deciding to stay in, so I decided to make a big dinner.

I had already copied several recipes I wanted to try out, using the “Cook This” notepad made by Knock Knock. I decided to make Cream of Mushroom Soup, which I found over at YumSugar, Mushroom and Potato Gratin from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma, Not Real Macaroni and Cheese (unfortunately I don’t have the original source on this as I just copied it into Evernote sometime ago) and a salad of mixed greens, avocado and a homemade vinaigrette.

Basically if you weren’t a fan of mushrooms or cheese, you would hate this meal. As it turns out, that was not the case, for Antonio, myself, or his roommate Rolando.

The whole project took me several hours and dirtying almost all of the dishes at the Baylor House. Everything smelled so good and it was pretty much the first time I had cooked for Antonio, so I knew it was a waste when he said his nose was so stuffed up he couldn’t smell anything.

We finally sat down and toasted to the good life and the new year and being thankful to friends and all the things we have. We all realize we have little to complain about compared to many, many others.

I was pretty happy with how the meal came out, even if we had to start on the soup and salad while the gratin continued to bake.

The salad and dressing was good. My secret recipe consists of half balsamic vinegar, half olive oil, a splash of honey—and this time I added some fresh thyme since it was on hand.

The mushroom soup was wonderfully aromatic and the splash of truffle oil divine! I can’t wait to pour truffle oil into many future dishes.

The gratin proved to be a lot of trouble for how it came out—I don’t think I got enough salt and pepper in the layers to make it worth its while. I also would have loved for the potatoes to get crispier, but we were all hungry by the time the buzzer went off. However, I got to use the mandoline Antonio bought me for Christmas, so it was worth it.

The mac and cheese was Antonio’s favorite. I liked how creamy it came out.

The next night ate in again and made grilled cheese and tomato soup. It took all of 15 minutes to make. Antonio said, “This is the best meal we’ve had in a long time!”

It’s the simple things in life, spoons!

Here’s to a yummy year!