Penne pasta with ham, orange, grapes and pecans

Ordinary pecans completely different from gigantic pecans.

penne pasta
sandwich honey ham
canned tuna
grated Parmigiano Reggiano
pickle relish
home-made (cooked) aioli and ginger mayonnaise.
AeroGarden™ basil.

De Cecco no. 12 spaghetti

Did you know pasta has numbers? Well it does. You might think the number refers to the thickness of the pasta, like the gauge of wires, but you'd be wrong. It's purely a number assigned by the manufacturer with no corresponding industry standard. It's as meaningless or as meaningful as a model name. Then why bring it up? Because I wanted to!

What's more meaningful to you, the cherished consumer, is whether or not the manufacturer uses a bronze die on their extrusion machines. Lately they've been traded out with silicone dies because they're less expensive and more easily replaced. But they produce a smoother pasta, which is undesirable because sauce slips off the cooked noodle more easily, and that's a bummer.

Look for "bronze dies" on the package for guaranteed premium pasta. de Cecco is such a manufacturer. So am I. My Bosch machine pushes pasta dough through bronze dies, and boy, are they ever rough. It's fun as heck, but makes a huge mess. The Atlas is easier, but those aren't extruded. Another method is to use a chitarra (guitar), so called because it's a string instrument. A rolled sheet of dough is pressed through taught wires.


That is so sad looking. It's been marinating for hours. The marinade of soy, honey, ginger and garlic, discolored the salmon.

Rum dinger

Sourdough bread, volunteer

This is the volunteer starter collected  and cultivated from grain in the Whole Foods bins.  Its origin is unknown exactly. 

the starter culture is straight out of the refrigerator.

How it became this little dough ball is another story that tends to complicate the story about a loaf of bread, so let this be the starting point.  This is going to take a few days so best to keep a vague plan in mind, although there's a wide margin for variation, once started it's best to keep a general schedule since yeast cultures work best with some regularity, wouldn't want to rush the feedings, nor neglect them.

It weighs about 6 1/4 oz.

Wednesday 10:40 p.m.  Evening.  Bubbles appeared and the mass has grown.  That's a good sign that the culture is already quite active.  There'll be no limping start.  This isn't always true for a culture that has languished in hibernation for long.  

Fed 1 Cup water and 2 Cups flour 10:40 p.m. Wednesday Evening, formed into lose dough ball.  9 hours 25 minutes has elapsed since this bread was started.

Thursday 8:40 am, the next morning. This is what the risen dough looks like.  It's not particularly impressive.

The inflated dough picture above was knocked back, at that time, The next morning Thursday morning at  8:40 a.m. and  fed 2 Cups water and 5 Cups flour. It has been 10 hours from the last feeding and 19 hours, 25 minutes from the starting time. 

The dough was lightly kneaded after allowing 20 minutes for autolysis, then formed into loaves and chilled for a cold proofing period intended to be at least one day, possibly more.  So after all the excitement of building up a live culture, we suddenly arrest the yeast activity.  This gives the bacterial portion of the culture time to catch up and develop an acid tang along with depth of flavor and texture.   A portion was reserved as starter for the next batch.  The reserved starter portion is flour and water only, it contains no lecithin, flax oil, olive oil, additional wheat germ, nor any salt. 

After two days in the refrigerator and four hours in a proof box on the counter.  Removed Saturday at 12:00 noon.  Can't be arsked to calculate the hours.  It's been a long time.  I could have protected them better while they cold proofed and provided moisture after their hibernation and warmed proofed immediately prior to baking, but I forgot. Plus I was being interrupted and somewhat hassled by outside forces that tended to throw me off my game.  So there's that.  You can see the rolls didn't slice all that well.

Baked at 500℉ for 45 minutes

Baked at 500℉ for 25 minutes.

This bread has an intriguing mild tang and classic toothsome naturally proofed texture with irregular air holes.


Made with canned tuna, corn meal and masa.

Aioli was cooked. Fresh ginger added to both.

Ziti with snow peas and pine nuts sausage

With snow peas and pine nuts plus the usual suspects along with herbs clipped from the AeroGarden®.

Crêpes, banana and strawberry

The idea of crêpes has never really appealed to me. What's the big deal anyway? Wouldn't you just rather have straight up pancakes? Plus, I always thought they should be rolled like little tamales.

I didn't use a recipe. I just tossed together ingredients I thought would be good, making sure to use an egg, milk, flour. By whim, I added a spot of clove and cinnamon, melted butter, vanilla, sugar, salt. 

For the fruit sauces, I just added a little sugar to the strawberries and let them form their own sauce. For the bananas, I used orange juice with corn starch heated in the microwave, more of the same spices in tiny dashes, and a few drops of Grand Marnier®, which I think means "big sailor" in French. Ha ha ha ha.

It took me about five seconds to eat all that. OK, ten seconds. OK, FINE! ten minutes.

Sandwich, sourdough, ham, lettuce tomato, olives, macaroni and cheese

This proves I'm sick.

Denver sourdough sufficiently delicious to momentarily make me feel all better inside.

Salad, small but lots of interesting stuff

*chunks of cream cheese
*steamed purple broccoli
*snow peas
*shredded honey ham
*romaine lettuce

*olive oil
*rice vinegar
*Dejon style mustard
*Colorado clover honey


This is but one of the hundred million ways to toss together an interesting and attractive and delicious salad. Must I go down to Racine's and show them how it's done? I'm disappointed they get something so simple so predictably reliably wrong.

At Racine's my salad came perfectly flattened as if someone had made fifty of them and wrapped them with plastic then stored them that day stacked in a refrigerator ready to grab. The server didn't even bother to fake me out by fluffing it up.

And I'm sitting there thinking, man, you guys are bums.

Dressing = oil/lemon juice with grated rind, ginger, a tad of mustard, salt and pepper.

Denver sourdough muffins

I am so well pleased with this culture, collected over a period of a few Winter days out on the balcony. It was very cold. Naturally, the organisms that survived and thrived once cultured were enured to the cold. This means it can be safely frozen without forfeiting any of its characteristics. As a culture unfazed by cold the dough that was made from it continued to rise during the period of cold proofing -- an extended period of two days intended to develop flavor. It has a pleasant, mild, intriguing tang.


Chocolate covered.

*oatmeal 2 Cups
*wheat germ ½ Cup
*pine nuts ⅓ Cup
*pecans ¾ Cup
*butter 1 Tablespoon
*palm sugar ¼
*brown sugar ¼
*molasses ¼
*salt ½ teaspoon
*water 2 Tablespoons

Bake in oven 350℉ for 45 minutes

*couverture chocolate to 120℉ to 84℉ to 89℉ add piece of seed chocolate.

Pappardelle with broccoli

Some would call it a kind of maltagliati (literally, poorly cut) because they're not so perfect. Hand cut, with a knife, and with my hands, and then unrolled individually. They have a tendency to stick while unrolling even though you take steps to prevent that. It still happens. Can you imagine unrolling your noodles one at a time? There has to be a better way, like vigorously toss them in a bowl with flour or something.

Broccolli chopped into little itty bitty bits. Sauteed in butter/olive oil with garlic and onion. Tossed with 1 metric ton of basil and an entire wheel of parmigiano reggiano. ← last sentence possible exaggeration beyond customary 12% for dramatic effect.

Fish and chips

1 egg
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 Tablespoon rice flour
2 Tablespoons ap flour
3/4 C milk
1/2 teaspoon Vindaloo curry
S & P

Vegetable oil steady at 350℉ (which means run it up to 375℉ before starting

Large potato microwaved to 95% done cut in broad wedges. Dropped in oil for dehydration frying.

Ziti pasta

Made these noodles with Bosch mixer.

Cooked chicken breast and broccoli in butter / olive oil sauce.

Sourdough sandwich

Sourdough bread. Yeast culture cultivated from the grain out of the bins at Whole Foods. And, boy, is it ever good.

Potato pancake

Here's what I did recipelessly.

Ran cooked potatoes through a ricer using the disc with BIG holes. --> into the same pot the potatoes were cooked in but presently holding:
* diced onion
* crushed garlic
* the riced (that means squished through a thing resembling a giant garlic press) potatoes back into that pot.
* grated cheese
* diced olives
* chopped sage and parsley
* couple of eggs

* heat a skillet and add some olive oil
* drop a large spoonful of potato/cheese/egg/everything else mixture into skillet
*smash into the shape of a hamburger patty.
* saute on both sides

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