8 posts tagged sunshine
Our winter garden is sparkling this morning in the November sunshine.
Enjoying late afternoon sunshine in our outdoor room
Delores is enjoying the morning sunshine on the window seat
“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” Aaron Rose
Sliced green tomatoes in the probably the last sunlight we’ll see of the year.
I would imagine we all have favorite foods that have nostalgic or sentimental appeal. They need not be complicated or difficult to prepare, but they make us feel good when we eat them. Baked macaroni and cheese, dressing with wild rice and sausage at Thanksgiving, and cheese enchiladas are favorites of mine, but hands down, nothing beats homemade noodles.
I’ve been lucky enough to have eaten homemade noodles my whole life. When my dad was a little boy he spent a great amount of time with his grandparents. His grandmother’s noodles were one of his favorite things to eat, and when he got married; his grandmother taught my mom how to make them. From stories told, my great grandmother’s noodles were impeccable – sheets rolled to the exact same thickness, noodles cut exactly the same size and any extra flour carefully brushed away. Evidently my mom didn’t quite have that same knack for precision, because hers were quite different. Sometime the edges were a little thicker when she rolled them out. Some noodles were cut thin, some cut thick, and the floury coating never got completely wiped away. These were the noodles I grew up with.
As it turns out, leaving some flour on your noodles creates wonderful gravy when you cook them with the stock, and the deckled and thicker edges give a nice chewy texture. I might be making this up, but I actually think I remember arguing with my brother Tom about who got some of those thicker, almost dumpling-type noodles. These are the types of noodles our three daughters are used to eating, too.
The homemade noodles’ silent partner is a beef roast. I thought seriously about naming this recipe “Homemade Beef and Noodles”, but decided against it because I wanted the noodles to be the star of the show. However, when I make noodles, I also have a chuck roast in the oven to provide the needed beef drippings/broth, and the protein. Brown a seasoned beef roast on all sides in hot oil in a dutch oven. Throw in a quartered onion and about a cup of water. Cover, and put in your oven at 325 degrees F for 3 hours, or until very tender and meat falls apart.
These noodles need sunshine to dry, so don’t consider making them on a rainy day. And because we live in Portland, Oregon, I am confined to summer for my noodle efforts.
I tried really hard to document this process, but it was tough. Here’s my best-account of how to make my family’s Homemade Noodles:
- Eggs (I usually use 4 or 5)
- Several cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
Set a table outside in the sun and cover with cotton dish towels or tablecloth.
Whisk eggs together with the salt in a large bowl. Whisk in about a cup of flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix in enough additional flour so that the dough is very stiff. Scrape dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead gently, adding additional flour as needed. (You will be adding flour frequently.) Continue to knead only until dough comes together and is homogenous, but not enough so that it becomes overly-elastic.
Cut dough into three portions. One at a time, roll dough into sheets on clean, floured surface. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and carry outside. Lay dough on table in the sun. Repeat the process until all noodle sheets are drying.
After one side has dried so that it is only a little damp, turn over and dry on the other side. You’re looking for a texture similar to soft leather for cutting, so that the noodles won’t stick together when you cut them. After the desired dryness has been achieved, loosely roll the noodles and slice them on a cutting board. Gently toss the noodles to separate, and leave them out in the sun until almost dry.
Remove the meat from the dutch oven with a slotted spoon and add just enough water to the pan to boil your noodles. (You can add more boiling water if needed, but the broth noodles cook in should be fairly thick.) They’ll have a slightly chewy texture when they’re done; it usually takes about 15 minutes. Serve the noodles with some of the beef roast. Your friends and family will love you for your efforts.
NOTE: The amount of flour used is totally determined by feel. The good news is eggs and flour are cheap, and you can make lots of batches of noodles until you find the type you like.
This morning as I was heading out the door for a walk, I decided to turn around and grab my camera. At the half-way point I saw these tall, dewy flowers in the early morning sunshine.
I am an avid aerobic walker. Several years ago I came up with three different, precise routes in my neighborhood. I don’t deviate from them, and I listen to same playlist on my iPod, regardless of the route. My timing is so consistent I know to the step exactly where I will be at the beginning and end of every song. The only variance in my routine walks is the time of day I take them.
Up until several months ago I walked rain or shine at 5:15am. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to walk during the daylight, when the world is up and moving. What a difference it has made! I enjoy seeing house colors, gardens, children playing, and people walking their dogs.
While walking in the golden light of late afternoon, I saw the corner of an amber agate glowing in the sun. At that particular moment it was so obvious I couldn’t believe I had not ever seen it before. Without missing more than a beat I bent over, picked it up and continued my walk with the warm rock in my hand.
Now I’m sharing it with you.