Category Archives: Cook

Pasta/Noodle Roller

This is how egg noodles were made “back in the day” before they were mass produced and available on your grocer’s shelf.  By varying the distance between the cutting ribs you could make anything from spaghetti to fettuccine to wide egg noodles.  Depending on the recipe for the dough you used you made pasta or egg noodles.

Starting with a glued up, laminated, turning blank of hard maple (Cherry, Walnut, etc.) it isn’t a hard project, but does require some precise turning to make it work.  I took the corners off on the table saw to save some time on the lathe.  I wanted the finished piece to be about 19″ long with the handles so I made the blank a couple inches longer than that.


The first step is to just make the whole thing round  with a roughing gouge, which doesn’t take too long.  You want to get it close to the same diameter the full length of the piece.

Next I did the a handle on each end using whatever tools I found necessary.  A large skew, a small skew, spindle gouge, and parting tool.  Then took my time sizing the main barrel of the roller to make it precisely the same size from one end to the other.  This is necessary to have the “cutting blades” all contact the work surface at the same time.  The final touch was to use sand paper on a wood block to get it exact.

The last turning step was to lay out the cut outs for the noodles and remove the material between the cutting blades.  I made this one to make 1/2″ egg noodles, with each blade being 1/8″ wide at the base, tapered to almost a point where the roller meets the work surface.

The tapering to almost a point is precise turning with a small, sharp skew.

Final sanding and the turning is done.  Removed from the lathe and checked on the top of the table saw shows the “blades” all meet the work surface at the same time.

The handles are accented with five shallow turns accented by holding a steel wire against the wood turning on the lathe which burns the accent into the wood.  Simple but elegant addition to a wood turning like this.

Finally the excess material is cut off with the chop saw.  I know some people just use a parting tool to do this but I’ve had things go flying doing it that way.  A little hand sanding finishes the handles.

The finished raw wood is nice looking and then doing three coats of walnut oil really makes it look great.

Now where did I see that recipe for the perfect egg noodles?

New York Cheesecake

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If a person wants to really take in a lot of calories in one sitting, without having to expend much energy, try a piece of New York Cheesecake.  It always tastes rich, mainly because it is!

First, the crust I like is just pounded to crumbs graham crackers mixed with some melted butter and a little sugar, then baked for about 12 minutes to firm it all up.  Real simple to make the “classic” cheesecake base. IMG_0012

One note here about the pan I use.  Most people use a spring form pan, wrapped in foil to try to make it water proof.  I never had much luck with that set up.  Finally I invested in a “push through” pan that has a silicone gasket that seals perfectly and does away with the need for the foil wrapping process.

Ingredients

This shows all the ingredients used for this cheesecake.  How do these few ingredients turn into such a decadent dessert?

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Mixed together in the right order, for the right amount of time, that’s how.

Water Pan

The reason you need a waterproof pan is because it bakes inside another pan with about an inch of hot water in the bottom, surrounding the cake pan.  This insures the top of the cheesecake doesn’t crack during the last few minutes of baking.  I have no idea why this works, or how somebody thought of doing this, but it works.

Cooling Rack Shrinkage

When it’s done just put it on a cooling rack and forget about it for a couple hours.  When it comes out of the oven it’s really puffed, but it shrinks back into the pan when it’s cool.  Then put it into the refrigerator for a number of hours, even overnight if can.

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Run a thin knife around the outside of the cake, then push the bottom out with the cake on it.  No real need for a spring form pan and the bottom isn’t soggy.

Half

This shows the base of the push through pan with half the cheesecake having been transferred to a plate.  The crust is firm enough and the nonstick coating on the pan works well so you can take the whole cake off the pan without it falling apart.

Slice

Even a small piece of this cheesecake can fulfill the desire for dessert.  Top it with some fruit, or have it plain.  Yum!

 

Glazed Donuts

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Time to get creative in the kitchen again.  We haven’t found any really down home style donuts since we moved south, so I’m experimenting to find out how to make them myself.  Nothing against Krispy Kreme, which is a southern based outfit, but they just don’t have what I’m looking for in a donut.

So I looked online to find a basic yeast raised dough, and researched the best way to make it.  My biggest surprise is that the dough should be mixed, kneaded, and then let rise overnight in the refrigerator overnight to do it right.  This means my afternoon project turned into a two day affair.

The rolling out of the dough the next day and cutting out the donuts is just basic.  Roll it out to about 3/8″ and cut them out with anything round that’s about 3 inches in diameter, then take the center out with a 1″ round.  I put them on lightly floured parchment paper on baking trays, covered them with a towel, then into the oven which I preheated to 100 degrees, checked with the thermometer so it isn’t too hot or too cool.  This is to make sure it’s warm and draft free while they raise.

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That’s what they look like when they are ready to cook, about an hour later.

Next detail is to make sure the oil you cook them in is the right temperature.  I found that peanut oil does well for these, heated to between 340 and 350 degrees.  Some recipes tell you to cook at 360 and even higher, but I found the donuts get too dark at those temperatures.

IMG_0030 Post I start cooking around 350 degrees.

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The oil needs to stay hot, so cooking 3 or 4 at a time works out well.  This also gives you room to turn them after the first side browns, a minute or two on each side works out well.

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Out of the hot oil and onto a rack so any excess oil drips off.

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After they cool for about 5 minutes you have to either coat them in sugar, shake the donuts in a bag with some sugar, or glaze them, which I prefer.  The glaze is some powdered sugar, a touch of pure vanilla, and some milk.  Experimenting with the thickness so the glaze coats the donuts just right.  A drop of water to thin it or some more powdered sugar to thicken it.

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The glaze firms up as the excess drips off on a cooling rack.  I put some foil under the rack to catch the drips.  If the consistency of the glaze is right, it coats and doesn’t drip all that much.

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I resisted trying one only until it was just cool enough to eat.  They taste best warm!

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Good, homemade donuts.  Yum, yum, yum!

 

 

French Onion Soup

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One of my favorite soups and so simple to make.

Start by slicing a couple large onions, the sweeter the better.  A mandolin slicer does a quick job and slices them nice and thin.  Then sautee them in a few tablespoons of butter until they are clear and soft.

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Add a few cans of your favorite beef beef broth, season with fresh ground black pepper and worcestershire sauce.  As much or as little of each to suit your taste.  Let it simmer for a few minutes.

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Next you’ll need a few slices of a good bread.  I like a French baguette bread, a little stale is just fine.  Some slices of swiss cheese and some grated mozarella cheese to top it with.

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The bowls you use have to be able to go into the oven and under the broiler.  Put some of the onion/broth mixture in each bowl, leave room for the bread and cheese.

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Put the bread on top of the soup, then top with the swiss cheese.

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Finally top with that with the mozarella cheese and put the bowls on a baking sheet, just in case you overfill the bowls like I some times do.  It’s important to use plenty of cheese.

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Next it’s into the oven at about 400 degrees until the cheese is completely melted, then turn it on to broil to get it nice an brown on top.

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Take it out when it’s just right and enjoy.  Be careful though, those bowls are going to be HOT.

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ENJOY!!