Today marks two weeks since I’ve had any caffeinated coffee! This 30-Day Challenge has definitely made me realize one thing–30 days is a long time. When I first committed to this, I was worried that it wouldn’t really be enough time to break the habit. But let me tell you, these first two weeks have felt like an eternity! I no longer have any doubt that a whole month is enough to get me out of this caffeine routine. If I do choose to start drinking it occasionally after the 30-Day Challenge is over, at least I’ll know that it’s a conscious decision, not some automatic, impulsive drive over which I am powerless. How are the other 30-Day Challenges going? Anybody jump ship on us yet?
I got sort of pasta’d-out a few weeks ago, since it tends to be my fallback when I haven’t planned a meal and the sands in the hourglass are running out on Erin’s arrival home from work. Because if she gets home from a long day at the hospital and there’s no dinner on the table and I’m in my underwear watching Pardon the Interruption, believe me, it isn’t pretty.
But the other day I figured that two weeks is enough of a break, so I got out the apron and did the only thing I enjoy more than watching ESPN in my knickers–make fresh pasta! I almost always use King Arthur whole wheat flour when I make pasta, but this time I bought Hodgson Mill brand. We’ve been buying their dried pasta recently and I’ve enjoyed it, so I saved a couple bucks–King Arthur is almost five dollars a bag–and bought the Hodgson Mill.
After I mixed about 4 cups of the flour with five eggs, a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt, then kneaded for 15 minutes, the dough seemed a little coarse, but not alarmingly so:
After I let it rest for half an hour, we transported the dough and our Kitchen Aid over to my still-healing dad’s house to make dinner for him. But when Erin tried to roll the pasta, near-disaster struck. The dough was so coarse that it came out of the roller in crumbles! It turns out in my Hodgson Mill excitement, I had purchased stone ground whole wheat flour, and that was the cause of the coarseness. Don’t do this! Thankfully, Erin has become pretty adept at averting fresh-pasta emergencies, and she saved this one by adding a good bit of water to the dough and rolling it lots of extra times. Here it is on the road to improvement:
And finally, it was saved.
The pasta actually turned out to be pretty good. A little bit rustic, but not bad at all. Let’s leave it at “I’ll never buy stone ground flour for pasta again.”
My dad had found a recipe in Cooks Illustrated magazine for a tomato pesto. I love a nice pesto and I was curious to try one with tomatoes, so we figured it would make a good post-surgery treat for him. It turned out to be just ok. The others at the table seemed to enjoy it, but I wasn’t thrilled. For me it was just too liquidy. In the recipe I’m giving you, I first remove the liquid from the tomatoes, and then increase the amount of almonds, garlic, and cheese. If you make it, I’d love to hear how it is, so leave me a comment!
I have a few blog surprises in the works for the rest of the week; can’t wait to get them posted, so check back soon!
Tomato Pesto Recipe
- ⅓ cup almonds, blanched
- 5 plum tomatoes, halved, seeds and liquid removed and discarded
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1 small pepperoncini, seeded
- ⅓ cup canola or olive oil
- 2 oz grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano really would be best)
- 1 lb pasta, dried or fresh
- 1 tsp salt, more at table
- Lightly toast the almonds, then let them cool. In a food processor, process the almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, and salt, until it's combined but still has a little texture. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil. Toss with parmesan cheese.
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Cook fresh pasta the same as you would dried, but it only takes 2-4 minutes to cook. Toss with pesto and add salt as needed.