A bowl of fresh linguine

January 13, 2013 § 1 Comment


It seems like just yesterday that I was standing in the kitchen, drinking red wine, with my camera in the other hand, documenting my little brother making fresh linguine using the pasta machine. I was called into the kitchen initially to knead the dough, but I ended up just photographing. And then eating, a bowl of pillowy curls of pasta, glossy from a coating of homemade pesto. We used the mortar and pestle I gave him for his birthday for the first time, ending up with a somewhat rustic pesto and a smattering of overflow garlic and oil on the countertop. The final plating was impressive, even more so because my brother is only sixteen and is more at home making pasta than, I’d venture, almost any adult.

Coming back to school, I miss the food and the kitchen more than anything. I know I complain about this a lot, and my pickiness likely doesn’t gain a lot of sympathy — especially when I run off on a rant that the reason I don’t eat vegetables at school is because they’re just not California vegetables — but there it is. We’re in the midst of reading week and finals, the cafés and libraries are packed, and I’m craving some good downtime standing by the kitchen counter.

I’m going to go ahead and say, I don’t have much knowledge about making pasta (perhaps I should solicit a guest post from my brother) but it seems to me that a lot of it is about touch and feel. So start with a basic pasta dough, and there are a variety of pasta cutters and pasta machines out there to urge on your creativity. Our household now has quite a few interesting contraptions (a ravioli-cutting rolling pin, a hand-held spaghetti cutter) for shaping pasta.

Vineyards, Desserts, and the Ocean

November 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

I was running along Ocean Beach in the late afternoon on Sunday. The sun was starting to set, disappearing under the water line, casting a foggy pink haze over the waves. The air smelled like weed, salt, and kelp, and along the shoreline, trails of smoke drifted up from the bonfires. Couples held hands walking up to the cliff house, volleyball nets were set up in the sand, and every ten feet, a child ran across the path or a group of early-twenties started lighting up. It struck me then how quintessentially home I was.

We managed to pack a lot into a short week: a visit to one of the first bakeries I ever truly loved, and one epic meal after another — an evening at Cotogna with warm ricotta on toasts, pizza of fior di latte, brussel sprouts, and prosciutto; Thanksgiving of course, which for me consisted of a plate of scalloped potatoes, a yam, half a tray of lemon bars, and a slice of gingerbread cake (with browned butter frosting!); a take-out menu of spice, pumpkin curry, crab pad thai, and red curry with bamboo shoots and prawns; a carb fest at Dosa of South Indian crepe-like pancakes stuffed with lentils, potatoes and broccoli rabe, served with dipping sauces. My brother’s 16th birthday, a visit to Japantown with my grandparents.

And finally, a day of wine tasting in Napa Valley with my oldest best-friend. A couple of wrong turns, turning into random vineyard driveways, a couple of tasting sessions, and about 10 wines later, we successfully pulled off probably our most spontaneous day to date. We may have managed to pay bridge tolls going both into and out of the city (that’s what happens when you leave by the Bay Bridge and return by the Golden Gate), but we made it back in one piece, though exhausted. Not to mention, it never occurred to me that in California, where few trees have leaves that change color, grape leaves become brilliant shades of red and orange.

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