There is glitter on the bottom of my shoes. Perhaps that is the sign of a good New Year’s Eve. Ahoy mates! Are you ready for 2011? 2010 was a good year for me. For us. There have certainly been years past when the approaching New Year felt like a good riddance to the old. There was drinking and dancing and rejoicing and kissing at midnight and lots of text messages and voicemails. There was a sense of freedom, possibility…on the dance floor and beyond.
We had a nice dinner with a couple of close friends this time (sadly, half of our group was unable to make it due to flight delays). We drank a lot of French cocktails and a bottle of red wine and finished our last meal with a chocolate pudding at Chez Spencer (the meal was heavenly and the tucked away location was brilliantly celebratory). Afterward, we met up with a few other friends at a bar that provided endless bowls of punch, live entertainment and festive, glittery hats and noisemakers. I wore all black, save for my leopard heels and sparkling chunky gold necklace. A friend spilled punch on me, but it didn’t matter (the beauty of wearing all black). We ducked out when all of us had decided that we rang in the New Year proper and got a little wet walking to the train. Downtown San Francisco was filled with people – everyone dressed up and anticipatory. There was this energy streaming down the streets, despite the rain.
I wonder sometimes–as I’m lugging my work bag, gym bag and grocery bag (s) home from work on the train –what is it that makes me put up with the inconveniences of city living? Flights of stairs, crooked streets, smelly bus seats, wind-swept skyscrapers, lack of street parking, fog-filled summers. This past summer, I told many friends resolutely that it would be my last summer in the city. I was tired. I longed for sunshine and a fruit tree in my backyard. A dog. A bigger kitchen where Matt and I wouldn’t elbow each other on our way into the fridge. But somewhere along the line, the city won me back. We have a torrid love affair. Sometimes, we don’t have a healthy relationship, but I think, long-term, it’s good for my soul. Because, rain, shine or fog, it always knows how to remind me why it was I fell in love with it. This New Year’s, I celebrated my city. The eclectic cab drivers, the gems inside the nooks and crannies, the fashion-forward hipsters, prepsters and start-up nerds (I’m one of each and every one of them!). At some point, it’s possible that the city and I will grow apart, but it’s taught me a lot about relationships: accept eccentricities, be more flexible, give back, take a break (if you need it), and never take it for granted.
More than anything, the city has taught me that wherever in life you might be, a city gives you a great canvas. So I’m kicking off 2011 by sharing a recipe for a very basic, homemade pasta dough that is a great canvas. For earthy mushrooms, vegetables, cheese and butter (however you like it). It’s a lovely speckled brown, nutritious and deliciously nutty. You’ll need a pasta machine or attachment to make the dough thin enough to form pappardelle or fettuccine. No matter what 2010 dealt you, here’s to the blank canvas of 2011. Happy New Year!
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater attachment. Mix for about 30 seconds on low speed (Speed 2 on a KitchenAid).
2. Swap out the flat beater for a dough hook and knead for about 2 minutes on low speed (Speed 2). Put your hand in the dough and try to lump together any stray bits. If the dough is super crumbly and not sticking together at all, add another teaspoon of water and knead a bit longer. Be careful to not add too much water too soon as you definitely don’t want sticky dough. It should just come together.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands until it starts to feel smooth. Allow the dough to rest for 20 – 30 minutes before rolling it out or processing through a pasta machine (or a roller attachment). You can do this by hand, too, but your pasta will be pretty thick. I like to make pappardelle (wide, flat noodles) or fettuccine with this dough. For pappardelle, slice the dough using a pizza slicer.
4. Boil the pasta for about 2-5 minutes to cook, or freeze it. Serve with wild mushroom ragu, or cheese, butter, and a little bit of fresh herbs.
Musical Pairings: Case Conrad – Dew Point + Buckwheat Pasta
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