… I am not one of them. By “them” I mean the real foodies. The ones that attend the big-city-downtown-ten-course-wine-paired-fancy-pants events. They know (and are at) the opening of every new restaurant/food cart/underground super-secret supper club. They know where the “best and ONLY place” to get <insert any and every type of food or drink here> is. And they know (and share with outside voices) when they eat something and it's really not how they actually make it in its country of origin. They sense when something needs juuuusssst a hint of cumin. They are cultured and worldly, with admirable sophisticated palates. And I LOVE them.
I’m just not one of them.
But I do love them. I love having friends like them. But I am not one of them. Not even close. Of course, I’m certainly never going to turn down an invitation to a big-city--fancy-pants event, but I just wouldn’t seek it out. Rather, I like to think of myself as more of a suburban foodie. (Fun Fact: that was a name I considered for the blog but I don’t really like the word “sub”, feels inferior)
But yes, suburban foodie.
A foodie night for me is having friends over, twist open (yes, we like our wine like we like our beer, mostly twist) cheerful new wines, and cook interesting, thoughtful food for them. Not fancy. Not refined. But something that was made with love, for them. Something I chose to put time into instead of the hundred other things that could use my time (ask any mom, she knows what I mean) because its what makes me super happy these days. Something that was just as fun to prepare as it is to watch other enjoy.
A foodie night for me is meeting friends at the quintessential “hole in the wall” sushi restaurant or (gasp) my 'burbs local “Prickly Plant Club” type of place where I don’t have to think of something to cook or eat. Rather I get to pour over a familiar menu, eat good familiar food, get inspired by how restaurateurs are combining different flavours and ingredients and TALK about all the awesome new foods we have been experiencing or cooking or reading about.
A foodie night for me is at mom and dad’s sipping homemade wine & nibbling any old cracker topped with a sliver of trout. Fresh rainbow trout. Trout we smoked, after we brined it, after we prepped it, after we cleaned it, after we caught it, after we dug the worms to catch it earlier that same morning. (and for most of that 'we' means dad) All from their picture perfect rural lake setting of an abode.
A foodie night for me is after Little goes to bed. Mr. and I pour bevy’s and destroy the kitchen cooking dinner that we take out to the pub (aka...our garage) to watch a little foot/baseball. (please, please NHL settle the strike.)
A foodie night for me was, after using up the zucchini, trying to use up the kale.
I know, I know...kale. More kale. Total show-off veggie. We get it. It will save your life. There is nothing better on earth for you. If you are not eating it right now you are taking years off your life. Truthfully, I think everyone is pretty much sick of the kale chips. No question, they are good but they are certainly no deep fried potato slice. (poor white potato…first sweet ones, now kale)
I still had some leftover fresh pasta dough from a flop of a ravioli attempt the day before that will never see the light of these pages. And in my constant quest to inject more green goodness into Little, I decided to cook the kale, puree it in the processor and work it into the pasta dough.
It tasted great. And by that I mean, you couldn’t taste the kale. Just well-cooked fresh pasta dressed in butter and parm. Now that’s suburban foodie magic if you ask me. And the tablespoon of kale he got will certainly give him a leg up in music class on Monday.
Foodies. (the real ones) I love them. And I hope to meet more of them along this food-inspired journey. But I also love being a suburban foodie. I'd like to meet more of those too. I think we'd be a fun group.
…and there is nothing sub about it.
Home Made Kale Fettuccini
Note: If you can find Tipo “00” flour, this works best. It’s very finely sifted flour which in Italy is called farina do grano tenero. (tender or soft flour) You should be able to find it at any Italian/European market.
2 cups of kale, roughly chopped. Stems removed. 4 cups of flour (see note above) plus an extra ¼ cup set aside. 1 T of finely ground pepper 5 eggs 1 T plus 1 tsp olive oil Salt for the pasta water 2 T unsalted butter ¼ cup fresh parmesan, grated Parsley for garnish.
1. In a frying pan on the stove, heat one tablespoon of oil to medium-high heat. Toss in the chopped kale and sauté until wilted and soft in texture. Transfer to a food processor and puree as fine as possible. Let cool.
2. On a large flat surface, measure out four cups of flour. Make a well in the middle and add the 5 eggs. Add the cracked pepper on top of the eggs. Using a fork, whisk the eggs gently to break them up. Then using your fingers, start to incorporate the flour into the well by pulling flour from the edges into the centre and stirring with your hands. The dough will start off dry but should be workable. The kale will add some liquid so don’t worry if the mixture feels dry.
3. When its fairly combined form it into a rough looking thick disc. Take the kale and give it a solid squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Add the kale on top of the dough disc and begin working the kale through the pasta. At this point you may need to add more flour. Keep working (could take up to 15 minutes) the dough until its smooth and the kale is well incorporated. Flatten into a disc again, wrap in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight.
4. When the dough is ready, set up the pasta maker, following manufacturer's instructions. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and flatten them into thin rectangles about 6 - 8-inches in length and 2 to 3-inches wide. Begin by feeding the pasta through the flat roller on the thickest setting (#1) Keep feeding it through the machine, moving up a level (i.e. next to setting #2) until you have the desired thickness. I prefer mine a little thicker so I stopped at 7 on a 9 point scale. You may have to sprinkle with flour in between each setting to keep from sticking or from the dough getting holes in it and coming apart. Finally run the pasta sheets through the fettuccini cutter and hang to dry on a pasta rack. (or in my case, the back of a kitchen chair)
5. To Cook: Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta. Cook until the pasta floats to the top, 3 minutes or so. It should be al dente, cooked through but still chewy.
6. Drain the pasta, return to the pot. Toss immediately with parsley and parm. Enjoy!