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The ultimate carbo-meltdown.. this was freaking de-lish! Every thing here was made from scratch… so that is probably why it was so good.

I decided to make the pesto because my basil plant needed to be trimmed back, so what better time?

The following recipes yield a good-sized dinner for two. You could probably feed 2 adults and one child on it, if you don’t want too much food.

Pesto

  • 1/2c Fresh Basil
  • 1/8c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/8c Pine Nuts
  • 1pinch Romano & Parmesan
  • 1 clove Garlic

In a mortar & pestle (or food processor if you got one) grind up basil into a pulp. Move most of it to another bowl and add pine nuts to mortar and grind them. Add some garlic and grind. Add oil to the other bowl and let stand for about an hour. Toss with cooked pasta and top with fresh tomato & some dry cheese.

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Pasta

  • 1c Semolina Flour
  • 1pinch Sea Salt
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 2tsp water
  • 1tsp Olive Oil

Mix everything together and form a ball. Cover ball and let rest for 20 minutes. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll with a rolling pin. If you have a pasta machine, follow the directions for the kind of pasta you want. If you do not have a pasta machine, roll out the dough very thin and cut noodles by hand. A note: the pasta, when boiled, puffs up a little, so don’t be afraid to go as thin as you can without breaking the noodle.

I let mine dry for about an hour before the boil.

Boil for 5-8 minutes.

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French Bread (this should make one good baguette or two small ones)

  • 3c flour
  • 2tsp salt
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1pk yeast (2.5 tsp)
  • 2/3c milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Corn Meal (opt)

In a large bowl mix 1c flour with yeast, sugar and salt. Heat milk on stove. What I like to do is to let it boil all the way so it foams up to the top of the pan, turn it off and let it sit for a minute and then temper with cool water to re-make 2/3c warm liquid. Add this to dry ingredients. To me, this stage kind of looks and smells like runny mashed potatoes. Incorporate enough flour to make a dough ball that is stiff enough turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 8-10 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and elastic. This might take a few tries, but it should feel pleasant and soft, like a warm day, or a lover’s back.

Put some olive oil in a smaller bowl and then put your kneaded dough ball (that feels like sunshine in the bowl), swish around and then turn over so the whole ball is coated with oil.

Place ball of sunshine and bowl in the oven. DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON. Boil a small pot of water and place in oven also, that way the water evaporates and steams up the inside of the oven making yer little yeasties go crazy!

When ball doubles in size, punch the dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a rectangle (or 2 smaller rectangles). Take the long edge and pull towards you and then roll away from you – like a jelly roll, constantly pulling towards you and rolling away. Use a little water on your hands to get the roll to stick together at the end. Pinch in the ends. Set into a baking sheet (or a bread form if you have it) that is lightly covered with cornmeal, seam side down and let rise again until doubled in size (use oven w/pot of water again).

When fat and juicy, remove dough and pre-heat oven to 375. Using a razor blade or a very (!!) sharp knife, make several short, quick slashes along the top of the loaf. This allows the bread to expand a little more once it starts baking. Place in heated oven.


Some people suggest using water in the bottom of the oven while the bread is baking. I think it’s a personal choice and you should try it both ways and see which you like best.

About halfway through the baking process, remove the loaf and brush a little bit of milk on the top. This gives the bread a nice, chewy crust and a pretty golden sheen. You can also use butter, olive oil or water. Each give a different kind of crust. You can also put seeds, vegetables or cheese on the top… Whatever floats yer boat.

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Cheese Toast

  • 1 clove Garlic, shredded
  • 1/2c cheese, your choice, shredded
  • 1 pinch Romano /Parmesan
  • 1tbs Mayonnaise
  • 5″ chunk of baguette sliced in half

Mix all of this together and spread on bread. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes and broil with an open door for, like maybe, 1 minute to brown up the top.