because I am a joiner

it is finished

Stick my Fall 2007 semester with a fork. My grades are in. My desk is cleared -- well, cleared of class stuff, not the writing or knitting stuff. Now comes the great reorganizing, as I put my head down and get some work done on words front.

First, however, I gave myself an afternoon to watch a movie. It was interesting and all but I wanted it to be more visual somehow since the subject is one that lends itself to images rather than words. Still, if you like to think about why things look the way they do, there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes.

Now to get my writer's mojo (such as it is) back in gear. The holidays are putting are looking like they'll kill my mo' but I remain ever hopeful.

Speaking of -- would it be a bad idea to try to make my first batch of homemade pasta* ever on Christmas Eve when I'll have a houseful of the Featureless Saint's family? They're a pretty low-key bunch and I'll get some back-up boxes of pasta just in case. Or is this the path to madness?

Also - in college, one of my housemates and I used to wax rhapsodic about Brownberry bread, which is the bread of the gods. I just loved to stand by the toaster and listen to all of the seeds pop. No, we didn't have a tv. Because some corporate higher up must have been smoking a finer grade of crack one day, they decided to stop making it. The outrage was swift and severe. Finally, my beloved Brownberry is back. And there was much rejoicing.

* My paternal grandmother and grandfather recently moved to sunny California to live with my grandfather's daughter. Both grands are in failing health and are in Cali for the duration. They sold their house back in Pittsburgh, which meant there was a ritual distribution of family stuff. I would up with some handstitched linens, which won't come near an actual table until my kids are older, and my grandmother's pasta machine that might have been part of her wedding trousseau. It came complete with a wooden carrying case that was built by my dad's dad, who died when my dad was a teenager.

Follow that?

Anyway, one of the Italian traditions is to have seven kinds of fish on Xmas Eve. I generally make some sort of nod towards the fish -- last year there were seven kinds of crab dishes -- but my enthusiasm has always been low because I really don't like seafood all that much. So it might be time to make a general sort of nod toward the Italians with a batch of homemade pasta on the ancestral machine. I'll whip up a batch of red sauce with local Italian sausage and a carmalized onion sauce for the vegetarians. Little Miss Gluten Free can have some quinoa spaghetti, which is tasty. Those who hate either sauce can just have butter and cheese. Sounds like a reasonable plan, eh?


I'd say go for it--fresh pasta is fantastic! (I cheated and got the pasta roller attachments for my mixer. They will take away my kitchenaid when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands.)

From my mom's family (who were northern Italian) we had the tradition of eating homemade spinach ravioli with the family meat sauce for New Years.

Fresh pasta tossed with some of the boiling water, butter, a ton of grated pecorino, and lots of freshly ground pepper is excellent, btw.

Consider butter and olive oil with the cheese. If really pushed, nuke frozen peas or other veggies and add thems as well. We all have to work for world peas.

If you are using a hand-cranked pasta machine, be mindful that the pasta can dry out quickly. Don't fuss over tears in your dough.

I like fresh fetticini with a cream, ham, and asperagus tip (or pea) sauce.

Can you do a test run with the pasta before the kinfolk arrive? Like a day ahead with a smaller batch, or something?

Then again, I'm such a bad cook that I need trial runs with things like grilled cheese sandwiches.

In other news, I too have handed in all my grades for the semester, and therefore can turn in earnest to my other work. Woo-hoo!

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