Friday, February 10, 2012

A Special Valentine's Day Feast

With Valentine's Day coming up next week, you may be fretting over what to get that special someone in your life. If you're like me, you want your gift to be unique and you need to find a way to do it without breaking the bank. Flipping through the pages of Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living, I found numerous inexpensive ideas for handcrafted gifts to give to anyone from your husband or wife to your next-door neighbor. What caught my eye time and time again were the recipes for sauces, vegetable dishes, and, let's be honest, every other food in her 900 plus page book.

Knowing that my fiancé loves a home-cooked meal, I decided to treat him to a Valentine's Day feast complete with appetizers, a tasty cheese plate, and his favorite Spanish wine. The star of this spread will be pasta made from scratch. After hearing about their delicious eggy flavor from friends, homemade noodles are a dish that I've always wanted to try and why not surprise my beau with something out of the ordinary?

Carla provides several pasta recipes, but these are the two that I'm most likely to attempt. She suggests rolling the dough without kneading and advises that once cut, the pasta can be put directly into a pot of boiling water or dried and frozen for up to a year and half.

With a dash of olive oil and some Parmesan, I'm hoping this pasta dinner will become my new family's February 14th tradition. See the recipes below to try making pasta on your own or peruse the pages of Carla's book for more gift inspiration.

Basic Noodles This makes more than enough to thoroughly noodle up a stew: 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, and all the flour the eggs can absorb.

Green Noodles Cook a small batch of your garden spinach or other greens. Drain and put through a sieve. Drain again. Combine 3 eggs, 1⁄2 c. of the spinach, 2 t. butter, and enough flour to make the dough.

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