Kitchen Showdown

Yesterday I cooked dinner in the crock pot, so it is now in the kitchen sink filled with soapy water to soak off all of the food crusted to the inside.  Chances are it will still be there three or even four days from now.  My husband doesn’t want to clean it and neither do I, so this will result in a Kitchen Showdown.

A couple weeks ago, I made tacos for dinner.  When my husband was cleaning up, he put a lid on the dish of refried beans and stuck them in the fridge.  We were never going to use up the leftover beans and both of us knew that.  But as B slid them into the refrigerator, this was the conversation:

B:  I’m just going to save these because I hate cleaning up refried beans.
Me:  Wait.  So you’re putting them in the fridge so I eventually get annoyed by them and clean them up myself?
B:  Yes.

A week after that, we were putting away groceries after a shopping trip.  B always puts away dry goods and I take care of the refrigerated and frozen items.  Of course, as I was clearing out room in the fridge, those DAMN BEANS were still sitting there.  I removed the dish and placed it on the kitchen counter next to the sink.  And I left it there.  As B was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner that evening, he picked up the dish and said, “You left this here for me, didn’t you?”  And then he threatened to just throw the dish away.  After I threatened to throw him away if he didn’t just clean it up, he finally did it, grumbling through the whole process.

Well, it’s a similar story with the crock pot.  It’s always a hassle to clean and neither of us wants to do it.  One of us will at least fill it with water to let it soak, but after that it’s a game to see who gets annoyed enough with it to finally finish cleaning it.

It’s going to be a problem once my maternity leave ends at the end of the month.  I won’t have much time to cook during the week, so the plan is to do freezer dump meals every night—which means the crock pot must be cleaned immediately after each use.  It’s probably time to invest in the crock pot liners I’ve seen or we’re in a lot of trouble.


Handmade pasta, take one: bowties

As much as I’ve grown to love cooking, I didn’t miss it one bit while I was on my–wait for it–HONEYMOON!  After the most incredible week in San Diego with my husband, I half-assedly opened the bridal edition of my BH&G cookbook and struggled to find motivation to cook anything.  Following the excitement of our honeymoon–Seaworld, the San Diego Zoo, Mission Beach, zip lining over the Safari Park, and surviving rush hour traffic in a city three times the size of my own–standing over the stove felt like the equivalent of watching paint dry.

I’d flipped through half the cookbook with a peculiar absence of interest when I stumbled upon the chapter about handmade pasta.  Suddenly, my mojo was back.  Time for Two Week Technique:  Handmade Pasta Edition!

The biggest reserve I had about attempting handmade pasta was that I’d be doing it without a pasta press.  But hell, what would I be learning if I did things the easy way?

Surprisingly, rolling out the dough wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d thought it would be.  Back in the day when I didn’t know a cheese grater from a garlic press, I couldn’t properly operate my rolling pin to save my life.  I’d primarily used it while trying to roll out sugar cookie dough, which resulted in a trip to the grocery store to purchase a tube of Pillsbury cookie dough because my own batch had stuck to the rolling pin like paste.

After I rolled out the dough, I cut it into a rectangle and then cut that rectangle into many rectangles.

At that point, I took each rectangle and squeezed together the top and the bottom to make bowtie shapes.  After the first of four batches, my stepson wanted to help and we busted out a whole tuxedo shop’s worth of pasta bowties.

The recipe stated the bowties could be dried for up to two hours.  At the two-hour mark, many of them were still pretty doughy and flexible, but I really wanted to follow the rules on this one.  I transferred them to a Pyrex container and crossed my fingers.

The bowties sat in my fridge for a night and tonight, I whipped up some turkey meatballs with spaghetti sauce to serve with the pasta.

Although I do feel I made the bowties just a smidge too big, the taste and texture were just what I had hoped for!  I’m definitely ready to take on more handmade pasta–next time, with a little bit of pizazz.  🙂