I did it — I finished Eamon’s (pretty small) quilt in time for the baptism. Not that he needed it for that, but just, it’s a deadline. The deadline figures pretty significantly in the slow crafter’s ability to get anything done.
Lately I’ve had terminal indecision issues, so it’s really a miracle at all that it got done. Somehow, herringbone design, fabric choices, even quilt thread decisions just got made, but not without frustrating lack of commitment on my part, necessitating multiple trips to the fabric store.
Why. Why does it have to be this way.
The blue thread is in honor of him being a boy, but I do think it pops nicely.
I just free-hand the quilting, and it goes very quickly. I guess green does end up being very boy-ish after all.
The binding came about as a sort of patchwork of the print and the green because originally I eyeballed the backing, sewed up some large strips, and found that it was about 3/4 of an inch too small all the way around.
This is my MO. I am so hasty.
Even the backing that I ultimately cut was only just the right size. Only just.
In my defense, yes, I’m precipitous. I’m also trying not to waste fabric on a too-large backing that will have to be cut down, but obviously that’s a case of penny-wise and pound foolish. But there’s also this: If you use this method for the half-square triangles, it will be very easy to cut them out, but your squares will end up on the bias. That means that the fabric of the quilt top will be stretchy. Just a heads up. Cut your backing way bigger than you think you need.
Later you’ll understand what I mean if you don’t now.
In other news, the Chief gave me a pasta-making attachment for my KitchenAid: KitchenAid KPRA Pasta Roller & Cutter Set – Spaghetti & Fettuccine Attachment (it fits on any of their mixers). Rosie has one that a friend passed along to her (wowsahs, nice hand-me-down!) and I was making ravioli at her house as she instructed me through the steps with a new Nora in arms.
He watched every step and I could tell I was in for a nice surprise! Because it was amazing.
Pasta-making is something I’ve done once in a while by hand, but the results (for me) are very rough, although very good. And took a long time. With this machine, you can make awesome, toothsome, and easy pasta very quickly! Using the book Making Artisan Pasta that Rosie gave me, I whipped up this semolina fettuccini the other night.
Oh my! All I have is this cell-phone pic to prove it, but I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about this adventure from me in the future!
Fettuccini Pasta with Roasted Vegetables, Parmesan, and Anchovy, Like Mother, Like Daughter
Make the roasted vegetable sauce (see note below):
1 or 2 eggplants, cut in medium cubes
2 zucchini, cut in large cubes
1 large onion, sliced
2 or more cloves of garlic, chopped
Olive oil to coat well
1 cup diced or crushed tomatoes
Roast the vegetables, tossed in the olive oil, in a 425 degree oven on a shallow pan until nicely browned. Towards the end, add the tomato. Salt well.
Make the pasta:
1/4 pound (115g) semolina (you can buy this in the Italian section of your grocery store if it has one – it comes in a vacuum-packed sort of brick — or loose in a barrel in a nice market if your nearby city has one of those… I dunno. Good luck!)
1/2 pound (225g) durum flour (all-purpose — I use unbleached)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons water or enough to make an elastic dough
Mound the dry ingredients on your counter and make a well in the center, adding the eggs and water, stirring with a fork until all the flour is incorporated. Or mix it all in your food processor, dry ingredients first. Knead well. The dough should be firm but elastic, pulling well away from the counter. Don’t add much extra flour at all, but just keep kneading it.
Cover with a damp towel and let it rest for at least an hour. If it will be longer than that, put it in the refrigerator.
Use the machine to roll it out according to the instructions.
Boil in plenty of salted water for a scant 4 minutes and drain well — but save a cup of the pasta water for your sauce!
For the sauce:
Toss the pasta in a cup of ricotta cheese, coating it all well.
Add the vegetables with extra tomato sauce if you like.
Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Serve with extra cheese and a plate of anchovies for people to add their own.
Serves 4 or 5. Definitely double or more for your larger family!
- I actually made the pasta using equal amounts (1/2 lb) of the flours, because I can’t read properly. I just used more water and never noticed until today that I had made that mistake, although I was wondering why it was so crumbly at first!
- A little kitchen scale is a very handy object. I have this one: Salter 3003 Aquatronic Glass Electronic Kitchen Scale
- Really do give the dough a rest. Really.
- Rosie makes her own ricotta cheese. I did it when I was there with her — I had done it before, and then had failed. She actually uses the recipe I sent her (and maybe posted about here?). It’s tricky. Maybe it helps to follow the directions?
- Don’t roast the vegetables for this recipe. Roast more than you need a previous day, when you are grilling chicken or something easy. Scoot about two cups into a container and pull it out to toss on this pasta.
- Just open a tin of anchovies and put it on a plate with a little pickle fork. It’s nice to cut your own up into the pasta. And some crazy-heads don’t like it.
- If you have to double (or more) the pasta, then you need to enlist your minions into the mysteries of using this machine. Seriously, they will love it and you won’t lift a finger.
- Don’t have the very first thing you do to your pasta maker be to get a kitchen towel caught in the works because you were wiping it out and turned it on. The rollers don’t go backwards, apparently. Who knew. Which means, please, please keep your hair and that of your helpful daughters pulled way back!
Do you make your own pasta? What are you up to these days?