It's "Winter Weekend": a long standing family tradition. And, we actually have snow. Fresh snow. Amazing. This means: family; Christmas, part 2; snowshoeing in a beautiful wildlife reserve; food; food; a little more food. We always joke that the most important part of the weekend is food. But really, we mostly just say that because we "graze" between a large breakfast and a large dinner, then eat cake. So, we do eat quite often. But when you're out in the snow doing winter activities, there's a reason to be hungry.
The cake is for my grandmother's birthday and is non-negotiable: always carrot cake. I do not touch carrot cake. It is probably my favorite cake, but my dad is the master. Mom makes it for his birthday, but it is his realm for the rest of the year. Therefore, I do not even dare make it. But it's my favorite cake ever.
However, there was a request for some post-worthy food, so I decided it was time to find an exciting dinner. Based on the leftover Marsala wine in the fridge, we ended up with Chicken Marsala. In order to make it more exciting, while looking for the Marsala recipe, I found a homemade pasta recipe. My ridiculous idea: make homemade pasta. Not sound too crazy? What about without a pasta machine? I don't know if it's going to happen again.
So, on Wednesday, during the snowstorm, after making cupcakes, decorating cupcakes, and shoveling close to two feet of snow, I decided it was time to make pasta. I was exhausted. Bad idea.
Pasta really is only flour and eggs. Simple enough. Then came trying to combine them together. Did you know that wet flour is basically like glue?
Then came kneading. Exhausting.
Finally, I let it sit during dinner, and spent the next hour or more searching for how to roll out pasta, rolling pasta sheets to dime thickness (or less) and cutting it into thin strips. Why did I decide to do this by hand?
And roll, and cut. And roll, and cut. And roll, and cut. And roll . . .
and cut. And roll, and cut . . .
It was kind of cool watching it dry though. Once it was dry, it kind of popped up. It looked like pasta. Imagine that.
Thankfully, on Saturday night, when cooking for seven, Chicken Marsala did not disappoint and was much easier than making homemade pasta. Thank goodness. I don't think I could have dealt with that again. (I say that now, but next week, I'll be up for it again, you'll see.)
The only major problem was that the past took forever to cook. I guess because it was so thick.
I quadrupled the recipe for the chicken (except for the oil) and mom and I decided that two pounds of mushrooms would just be ridiculous. So I cut it down to one and a half. That was a good idea. Mushrooms cook down, but not that much.
I think the butter was really what made the sauce. It started smelling much better once I added the butter.
I also managed not to overcook the chicken, by some amazing happenstance. I am a little bit raw meat phobic . . . which is probably why I usually end up choosing vegetarian recipes. As a result, I always overcook everything (on accident) while trying to simply make sure it is not undercooked. I also order everything medium-well or well done. Yup. I don't do pink in meat. But, that is all to say, this wasn't pink! Thank goodness!
Anyway, the pasta recipe and the chicken recipe together made the perfect amount for seven (with a leftover serving or two). And that's probably the last meal I will get to cook before I go back to school. Sigh.
Today, we had really yummy Split Pea Soup that my aunt and uncle made. Yum. Apparently, this soup, when cold, congeals enough to be spread, and is wonderful on sandwiches. I believe it. They gave me the leftover to bring back to school. Along with more Big Sky bread and granola, grapefruits and garlic for Christmas. I am so excited. I think that was one of my favorite Christmas presents. And, it will keep me from having to go grocery shopping right away. Thanks, PM and MS! I also got a pretty cake stand from my grandmother. I can't wait to bake a cake for it! Thanks, NM!
Anyway, on to more "grazing". Winter Weekend usually ends Sunday at lunch, but this year, it's being extended. All the more time for me to forget that I'm basically starting a full time job on Tuesday. Yikes.