Fresh Egg Pasta with Sage Browned Butter

December 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Family Meal, Kids

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Fresh pasta – easier than expected.  Particularly when you have the kid make it.   Flour – two cups.  Eggs – two whole plus four yolks.  A good pinch of salt.   Make a well with the flour – eggs and salt in the middle. Beat with fork, slowly incorporate.  Knead a few times once it comes together.   Wrap it up and let rest in the fridge for a few hours.  

 

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Cut in quarters.  Roll out a bit, dusting with some flour.  Send through pasta machine’s thickest setting a couple times, then fold the ends into the middle and do it again.  This helps keep the shape right.  Now crank through the successively thinner settings.  Roll into a log and slice to desired thickness  —  see that happen in this video on my Instagram. Set on a cookie sheet and cover with damp towel while you do the other quarters.  

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This cooks really fast. Brown some butter in a pan, keep warm.  Pasta into boiling salted water for just a minute or so, drain and toss with the brown butter on the stovetop.  Add some chopped fresh sage, cracked pepper and some crushed red pepper.  Then a good handful of grated parm, which plays the salt role.  

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I serve this topped with some fried salted sage leaves, which I hide until service or they all disappear.  

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A fun dad/daughter kitchen project indeed.  

Torched Ruby Red Grapefruit with Mint

March 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Brunch, Kids

Knocking off dishes we’ve liked at restaurants is a fun little challenge.  Here’s a riff on a dish we had at Pulino’s on the Bowery.   Nothing too complicated, but oh so good…

The Goods:

  • Ruby Red Grapefruit
  • Unrefined Cane Sugar
  • Fresh Mint

The Execution:

Stack a few mint leaves on top of each other.  Roll up like a cigar, slice thinly across the roll into little ribbons — “chiffonade”.  Slice grapefruit in half, sprinkle liberally with the cane sugar.  Hit it with the kitchen torch to melt and caramelize the sugar into a crisp layer (think brûlée).   Top with chiffonade of mint.

The Takeaway:

This could just as easily be a dessert than a breakfast.  But as a brunch starter it’s a real winner.  Sweet, bitter, crunchy, juicy.  Lots of good tension in the contrasts.  The little one loves this dish, she can put away two grapefruit halves before you even know what happened.

p.s. –  If you don’t have the kitchen torch, you could do this under the broiler.  But get it real close to the heat so it melts the sugar quickly without cooking the grapefruit.

Kids and Food – Four Things I Believe

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Kids

When the little one presented herself, instructions weren’t included.  So we read a lot and spoke to relatives/friends/doctors.  And aside from some fairly basic (mostly safety-related) tenets, turns out nobody agrees on anything.   Let cry vs. don’t let cry.  Crib vs. your bed.  Antibiotics vs. no antibiotics.  So you take it all in, and just go with what seems right for your family.

There’s plenty of conflict and angst in the food/kid area too.  Here are four things I’ve come to believe about kids and food (complete with sepia-toned father-daughter hand shot with mirepoix):


  • That’s What’s For Dinner
Soon after she started solid foods, the little one ate what we ate. No special ‘kids meal’. We’ll separate a part of the dish for her before I add something spicy.  But if she doesn’t want it, tough luck.  That’s what’s for dinner. This exercise isn’t about eating or not eating, it’s about kids trying to preserve optionality for something fried. Shut it down.  There’s one choice, kid, unless you make something for yourself.  And in case you didn’t notice, you’re too short to reach anything.

  • Be the Change

Don’t expect the tot to eat healthy while you pack doughnuts down your neck.  Kids see, kids learn.  That’s how they roll.  Make the good habits by being the good example.  And if it’s anything in a box or a can, try for better.  Yes, it’s more expensive to eat fresh, local, non-processed.  But we all just get one body.  So open the wallet and take care of it. Also, everyone’s got to keep moving — particularly in this house of foodies.  The gym and SoulCycle for the grownups, jazz dance, ballet and swimming for the little one.

  • Train the Help

Good relationships with food are crafted by actually making and enjoying food.  Enlist the kid early. Between ages 2 and 5, that’s the investment period where the ‘help’ ain’t so helpful.  But around 6, it starts to turn, and by 7 you can really integrate them into productive prep.  Mine peels onions (she has goggles so she doesn’t cry), seeds and cuts cucumbers, mixes stuff, measures, whisks, etc.  Cooking develops planning and organizational skills, and provides tasty rewards.  Plus it’s good uninterrupted time together.

  • Don’t be a Militant Loser
The tot needs some wiggle room.  So there is a time a place for greasy fries and a burger, dessert before dinner, and those cinnamon buns in the tube.  Just not all the time.  “That’s What’s For Dinner” has its exceptions too.  Maybe she’ll have something different if she’s not feeling well, or if her little friends are over.  I don’t feel compelled to impose my benevolent food dictatorship on others’ offspring.  And if she’s busy and happy with a little art project, I can peel my own onions. All of this is really just an exercise in balance.

The Takeaway:

These are four things we do, and it all seems to be working so far.  But who really knows.

p.s. –  too much with the sepia?