Christmas festival, Baylor football, and homemade pasta

Last night, we went to Flagler Beach’s Christmas Festival. It’s great fun living in an old-school beach town that is small enough to still have the feeling of a real community. There were a series of children’s choirs singing carols, the high school bands, food trucks from local restaurants, and tons of games and face painting for the kids.

We each got slices of New York-style pizza from a local vendor and ice cream, which we ate on the beach. I made a remark to someone who stopped to talk to us about how fortunate we were to be eating ice cream on the beach in December.

Santa has a very beachy way of visiting Flagler for the holidays (which we skipped this year, but here you go for a chuckle).

I’ve spent today in the kitchen making oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, and fudge. And watching our alma mater, Baylor University, lose to Oklahoma in overtime (sad face) and Georgia – LSU. Baking and some good Southern football, yes please.

I am moving on to homemade pasta. I have a years-long obsession with making pasta. Rodney gave me pasta cutting attachments for my Kitchen-Aid mixer for Christmas a few years ago. The first pasta I ever made was a batch of ravioli with my brother. I became very good at it, and it turned out to be something Elise loved to do with me. Kids are naturals at playing with dough, you know.

Elise helping make pasta in our first experiments.

Homemade pasta is quite different from the dried pasta that you can purchase in stores. After making it for a while, I came to see restaurants in a different way. I could tell how much effort they were putting into their food by the taste of their pasta. Homemade pasta has texture and a creaminess to it. It’s substantial, something you have to chew, but silky at the same time.

Anyway, the only downside to having mechanical pasta cutters (in my opinion) is cleaning them. You can’t submerge them in water and clean them like you would any other kitchen equipment. They include a little brush with the cutters, but it really does not help to clean out the inside of the machine. So flour builds up in there. I am going to have to take mine apart to fix them.

I went to the website for FG Pizza and Italian, which I highly, highly recommend for pasta equipment. FG’s is a family-owned company, and they are of the little old Italian grandmother culinary persuasion. They sell rolling pins for cutting pasta, which works for things like fettuccine and pappardelle. (You need an extruder for things like spaghetti and penne.) They also do a lot of tutorials on making Italian dishes. I will report back on whether the roller works well. With the machines, you can make pasta that melts in your mouth. This is going to be a test of my real skills, lol.

Elise’s riding instructor let her gather fresh eggs from the chickens on the horse farm. She put them in her helmet. It reminded me of when she was a toddler and we gave her mussels for the first time. She thought they were such treasures that she put the empty shells in my handbag when I wasn’t looking so she could take them home. Before bedtime, she remembered her shells and came running down to search through my bag. I had shellfish sitting in my bag the whole day! Now she’s older and I have eggs rolling around in the backseat of my SUV.

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