Lola's Victory Garden

Monday, January 18, 2010

Depression Era Cooking/Homemade Pasta...

This Homemade Pasta recipe in this post is from "Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes From The Great Depression - Clara's Kitchen" by Clara Cannucciari and her Grandson, Christopher Cannucciari. The name may look familiar if you've checked out her depression cooking videos on youtube.

A little book review before the recipe...I was a bit disappointed with the book. I was hoping for lots of depression era recipes, ways to stretch staples. Instead of that, there were colorful stories from Clara's past and not very many recipes. Of course she did include her Poorman's Dinner, which is a big hit with my kids. I also may try the Lentils with Rice. Many of the recipes I wouldn't even consider inexpensive. Meatballs, eggplant, caprese salad all call for expensive ingredients - beef, eggplant (unless you grow your own) and mozzarella balls (unless you make your own).

Homemade Pasta
1 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Large Eggs
Pinch of Salt

1. Add the ingredients to a food processor, or make the dough by hand, first pouring the flour into a mound on a clean surface. Break the eggs into the well and add the salt. With a fork, start working the rest of the flour into the eggs in the center. When the dough becomes difficult to work with a fork, use your hands to work the rest of the flour into the eggs. Knead the dough for several minutes, until it has a nice, squishy texture. You may need to add more flour as you go.

2. Cut the dough into six equal pieces and flatten each piece with a rolling pin. Pre the dough through your pasta machine, folding each piece in thirds as you roll it through. Keep pressing the dough through the machine until you achieve the desired thickness. After each rolling, lay out the dough on clean towels, making sure the edges don't touch. Rest them on the towels for about 10 minutes, giving them some time to dry out.

3. Pass the dough through the cutter of your pasta machine or cut by hand. Cook the pasta to the desired doneness and toss it with your favorite pasta topping. Just be careful, homemade pasta cooks much faster than dry. You really only need to warm it---probably not more than 3 or 4 minutes at most, depending on the thickness and shape.

I've been wanting to make homemade pasta for awhile now. This past weekend I snagged a Popeil Automatic Pasta Machine from my local for just $15. That's less than 1 meal out. I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for those infomercials and I'm amazed that I never did buy one when the infomercials first came out. According to those original infomercials (1990's), homemade pasta costs 25-30 cents per pound, a bit more now, but still a bargain, you can't beat the taste, and it's fun too!
Sunday night I made Chicken Parmigiana with homemade Vermicelli. The reviews were rave! We haven't had homemade pasta since going to a local (very pricey) italian restaurant. The meal at a restaurant would have easily cost $18.95 per person. Everyone in my family is now offering suggestions on what kind of pasta to make next.

Lola's Victory Garden

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What's for dinner when I don't feel like cooking?

Check my home canned stash.

BBQ'd Pork (also called Pulled Pork)
I got the recipe from Mom's Cafe Home Cooking - Homecanned Barbeque Pork. I did make one modification though. After the meat was done, I removed the cooked roast from the cooking liquid, pressing out as much liquid as possible, removed visible fat and then refrigerated the roast separate from the cooking liquid. This allowed me to remove the excess fat from the cooking liquid/sauce and remove any fat I missed on the roast. Then I shredded the roast with 2 forks, added the de-fatted cooking liquid/sauce, heated it to a boil, stirring to insure consistent temperature, and then canned per Garden Gnome's instructions. As you can see from my jar, very little fat.

When we opened the jar we spooned it into a saucepan, heated to a boil and served on white bread. (That's what we had, and since this was a last second meal, there was no time to make rolls with the bread machine.) This was just as delicious as if I had made the roast the very same day. Nice and moist and flavorful. I actually canned it last summer. Delish!

Lola's Victory Garden

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eats

Some foods that are traditionally eaten on New Year's Day are Hoppin John and Smothered Collard Greens. Both are supposed to bring prosperity and good luck. I started making Hoppin John a couple of years ago. This year was my first attempt at Smothered Collard Greens.

I use Emeril Lagasse's recipe for Hoppin' John. Our son was a bit upset with me for not adding smoked sausage like I did last year. Oh well, you go with what you have and what you can afford, right? For the Smothered Collard Greens I kind of combined parts of 2 recipes I saw online. I made a lot so that I can serve the leftovers with ham on Saturday.

Lola's Smothered Collard Greens
3 bags of Pre-washed Collard Greens
1 Ham Hock
8 ounces of Bacon cut into small slices
Kosher Salt (a good amount, about a tablespoon, more or less to taste)
Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning (to taste, I used about a teaspoon) (You can substitute any hot sauce.)
Medium Size Red Onion Sliced

I started with the Ham Hock in about 3 cups of water and added in Collard Greens as they wilted and continued to add more as there was room in the pot.

In a frying pan I cooked the bacon until crisp, then removed and reserved. In the bacon drippings, I sauteed the sliced Red Onion until transluscent, but not yet browned.

I then added in some of the Collard Greens and cooked them in with the onions and bacon drippings. I then added the bacon.

Then I removed the Ham Hock (I added that to the Hoppin John) and poured the contents of the frying pan into the pot of Collard Greens and let it simmer. It's done when the Collard Greens are a deep green in color and are soft.

The Hoppin John is always a hit because my kids love all kinds of soups and beans. The Smothered Collard Greens I wasn't too sure of, however, our son went back to refill his plate with the Smothered Collard Greens 4 times! I'm hoping he doesn't eat the leftovers for breakfast!

Lola's Victory Garden