Thursday, December 29, 2011

(fried) rice, (ginger) bread, (ravioli) pasta

All carbs. All delightful comfort food one might enjoy while deprived of the presence of one’s loved one.

Stupid Steve had to go be with his stupid family in stupid Chicago so we celebrated Christmas early.

(He’s coming back tonight YAY!)

To mark the Christmas holiday, as he marks all days ending in y, Steve made fried rice.


Were you curious what we had eaten two days previously, when last I'd dined at his apartment?

That would be fried rice.


Components to Steve’s fried rice:

-short grain brown sushi rice (yum!)
-a variety of fresh and/or frozen vegetables cut in the way very particular to him (carrots in sort of extra large matchsticks, mushrooms in extremely thick slices, etc. etc.) Different things are cooked in different pans and I don’t totally get the rhyme or reason of it but I’m certainly not going to mess with a very delicious system
-eggs made into a proper omelet
-if he has it, FRESH tofu from the Asian market (mm)
-buckets of oil
-every Asian seasoning under the sun
-the occasional totally whacky addition: cheese and/or cilantro and/or something totally random but... sure why not


I was director of the salad department. Steve likes salad now, which he attributes to me.

By “salad” he means, “Salad with cheese and apples and nuts on top.”

Fair enough!


The evening’s entertainment:


Gingerbread was homemade by Steve (and he created, and bequeathed unto me, enough leftover dough for me to make an entire city of gingerbread people for my family for Christmas!)

Icing was canned cream cheese frosting. Should be delicious, right?

Cream cheese frosting- DELICIOUS (I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I really don't like buttercream frosting. 7 minute, marshmallow, whipped cream, ganache, sign me up! Buttercream? Eh)

Canned frosting- DELICIOUS. Like you don’t love every trans-fat-laden bite. In high school my best friend and I devoured an entire can of fourth of July red and blue confetti icing.

But cream cheese canned frosting? Kind of gross. Achieved neither the deliciousness of canned nor cream cheese’d. Sad. But also kind of a relief, since I ate less.

Initial progress was, if I do say so myself, extremely impressive. Especially given that the house’s structure was a bit… warped.


Yeah, it collapsed shortly after these pictures were taken. Too bad so sad chomp chomp!

And, continuing with the holiday festivities, if you squint, you can kinda tell that that laptop is airing the EXCELLENT film National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

So we were great.

And Steve had his “delicious” PBR, so he was extra great (rolls eyes)


On the subject of Steve’s cooking, he really is extremely impressive.

We’d tried homemade pasta before but it had sort of dissolved into vindictive words. (Hahaha not really but man you put two oldest children in a room to accomplish a task and it’s gonna get a little competitive!)

Steve was ready to do it all over again, in a positive and nurturing way. Sure.

I stood back and watched, calmly and not alpha and oldest child-y.

It meant watching him crack those eggs into that well of flour…


Get his hands up and ready to start kneading…


… getting raw egg all over my kitchen table!


He persevered. Sure enough, the dough came together enchantingly (and half whole wheat, I might add).


I needed my own project- bread and ricotta dumplings in my beloved How to Cook Everything Vegetarian? YES PLEASE!

You basically mix up torn up stale-ish bread (or if you’re me, Sandwich Thins!), herbs, sun dried tomatoes, ‘n cheese of the ricotta and parmesan types.


Combined it makes a REAL thin dough. You are supposed to add it to boiling water to cook IMMEDIATELY… which I did not.


Er.. anyway. Thickening it with flour fixed everything! You’ll see the finished product later.

In the meantime, my help was required in coordinating the pasta machine. Man cannot roll pasta alone.


(Yes, I wear scarves inside. I am always cold).

It was then fillin’ time. (Just to mention, when Steve plans cooking projects he’s like “Oh, I’ll come over at 6:45 and we’ll eat at 7!” Well okay that is a slight exaggeration but suffice it to say that Steve is OPTIMISTIC about timing! This, like many other adorably enthusiastic Steve meal plans, ended up coming to fruition at more like 9:30.

Fillin’ #1 was butternut squash and onions (ultimately what Steve deemed to be too many onions, so he didn’t eat many. I didn’t either, because I was snottily and whinily protesting that Steve had DOUBLED the butter in an already decidedly decadent recipe).

Fillin #2 was the bee’s knees and entirely Steve’s invention:


It was awhile ago that we made this but I can fairly confidently say that it contained mushrooms, garlic, grapes, walnuts, and basil. Then he mixed it with ricotta to stuff the ravioli:


(positively regimental in its straightness, no?)

Beautifully formed, ready for their boiling water bath:


To give you the scale, quite LARGE ravioli (and a peek at the butternut filling)


Fact: it takes an EXTREMELY long time to make pasta. Then make filling. Then fill pasta. Then boil pasta.

But at long last, dinner was served!

Two megabowls of mega ravioli, and Ileana’s bratty concessions to health in the form of a salad and sort of forgettable thawed frozen vegetables stir fry.


My successful but not especially healthy contribution: the little ricotta gnudi! Seeing this is actually reminding me of how good they are and makes me want to take them again.

DSC08087 DSC08090

Before putting food on his plate, Steve took care of the all important “cheese pile”


I focused on emphasizing veggies (though you know I ate way more pasta than that :D)


My favorite was the awkward wizard-hat shaped ravioli. So dear!



All Things Yummy said...

I've never tried to make my own pasta, but it looks like fun.

marie said...

Very impressive. We made gingerbread men but I am not brave enough to try the house yet. Haha, maybe next year.

MelindaRD said...

Homemade pasta is awesome, but yes, very time consuming. When we made a lasagna from scratch I think it took like 6+ hours. It was insane and the pasta extruder on the kitchenaid started smoking. Everything looks great. Now I have a craving for fried rice and everything around here is closed, including locally because NYE is huge for the Japanese apparently. Happy New Year!

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

Buckets of oil...cheese piles...these are the kind of things that makes being a human even better than being a flying squirrel, a kangaroo, or even a chameleon. Well on second thought, maybe not a chameleon.

Anyway, great post! You took me to glorious ravioli reverie.