We are a country that loves kitchen gadgets. Sometimes it's outright silly. There are probably enough blogs out there face-palming about the banana slicer (Google it) so I don't need to get into that here.
I've gone back and forth on gadgetry. Sometimes I insist that I can get the job done with some ingenuity, repurposing and elbow grease. Sometimes I cave.
My journey into the world of pasta making probably captured the worst of all worlds. I started out buying one of those kitchen-aid attachments which rolls out the pasta. (BTW, did I mention that I hate my kitchen aid?) It was expensive as all get out, so I couldn't bring myself to also buy the slicer attachment -- thinking, I can cut pasta with a knife, or a pizza roller and it will be 'rustic.' I also cheaped out in that I didn't buy a that hanging rack to hang pasta to dry (or rather, to keep it from sticking while rolling out more pasta. 'Oh, I can just spread the pasta out on cutting boards or plates, as an alternative.' It's not all about cheapness, though, it was also about conserving space.
Well, after 5-6 uses, that super expensive attachment never worked right again. It would tear the sheets of pasta into something unusable. I also got seduced into some fancy hand roller pasta slicer thing -- which never worked right -- though it's still taking up space in my drawer. Why?? The result is that I haven't bothered to make pasta in probably 3 years. It also doesn't help that my kids are the only children in America that don't like pasta. It seemed like a lot of effort to go through for just J. and I... and while I didn't have confidence in my equipment, it was too high risk of an endeavor to invite friends over to have pasta confetti.
Despite my better judgement, however, I've decided to emerge from pasta purgatory. While on vacation last week, I lamented the fact that our booming tomato crop was begging for a nice homemade pasta dish.
Before I knew it, we were in one of our favorite stores. I bought:
- the hand crank old fashion pasta maker with the slicing attachment.
- the wooden hanging rack
- a ravioli making tray
- and basic rolling pin (which I needed anyway).
Yup. quite a bender. But it inspired a great dinner tonight. I made a tomato sauce with our
- chicken stock.
Another example of right tool for the job: I bought a gallon sized apothecary jar to ferment cucumbers. I've never done this process before, and I get the sense that the larger the jar the easier it is. I'll keep my eye out for larger crocks for future years. It may not look appetizing yet, but when I open the jar it smells like pickled goodness! And fermented foods are supposed to have lots of great probiotic what-nots in them. Another bonus is that this late into the season, I have so many pickles and cucumbers already that I don't mind waiting the month or two till these are ready for prime time. This is what they look like about a week in.