It seems I owe an apology to my pasta machine for my previous blog Pasta Masochist. It seems that one of the many lessons I have learned during our new quarantine life is that the machine is very helpful if I am humble enough to accept that I often need assistance when using it. This was tough for me. Cooking for me is generally a solo activity. Or it used to be. Or is usually is. I am not sure what the correct answer is currently. I also let my husband shred any cheese or dice any onions, as I hate those activities most days.
However, onto the story of mending my relationship with the pasta machine. This all started because my middle child wanted to make homemade pasta during one of her visits home. I had actually purchased some semolina flour, so why not? I warned her the machine could be a challenge and that I usually end up a swearing, blubbering mess by the time I get pasta made. But she wanted to do it. We did have an issue with some of the pasta getting stuck in the cutting wheel, but between her, myself, my spouse and her boyfriend, the pasta came out pretty nice. And I’ll give her a shout out because the sauce she made was excellent.
Then I decided to make Alton Brown’s sourdough cheese crackers. He calls for the pasta machine to roll the dough. The first time I tried them, I did my usual thing of trying to do it alone, swearing a lot, and then my husband hearing all this and coming to try to help. But I made them again a couple of weeks ago. This time, I planned it as an activity with our youngest. This came out so much better. It took us a minute to get a rhythm and figure things out. And the kid talked incessantly throughout the process. But, we got some excellent crackers, and there was no swearing or throwing of anything!
Most recently, I decided to make phyllo dough from scratch. This was not me being overly ambitious and crazy. I had ordered it in my grocery order, and it didn’t come. But I had planned an entire dish around it and was gonna have a lot of feta on my hands if I didn’t make it. So I made up the dough and asked the youngest to be my assistant again. If you aren’t aware, rolling phyllo dough to a paper thin consistency creates a pretty long sheet, and a very tender one at that. So, we enlisted my husband to help as well. We declared that no less than 5 hands is necessary for this to work. We did it, and no one cried or even got frustrated or upset. It actually turned into a fun family evening.
Here’s a small hint. You still get to take credit for the great flavor if you have an assist or two with the meal. Ask any head chef.