An Afternoon with Carrie & David of Crumb Bakery

What do think you would find on a Tuesday afternoon at the home of Carrie, one half of the Crumb Bakery team?  Three guests, good wine, beer, homemade pasta….and of course dessert.  This is how we roll in the independent consultant world we live in.  It’s where working on a client proposal, or baking a cake at midnight is as normal as sipping drinks at 2pm on a weekday afternoon.

Aside from purchasing the fresh pasta available in my local supermarket, I had not had the opportunity to sample the real deal.  David takes what’s in season and available at the Farmers Market and transforms it into the perfect light lunch for a Tuesday afternoon.  Of course when I say “light” you don’t sit back and consume 3 or 4 helpings…but who’s counting!

The Menu

Lemon Chive, Thyme, Basil Pasta with Big Boss Hell’s Belle served with an Asparagus Pesto and Parmesan.

Spinach, Parsley, Basil Pasta served with Garlic, Olives and Feta.

Fresh Green Salad with large shaved pieces of Parmesan drizzled with a Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette.

Lemon Curd Olive Oil Tart drizzled with Strawberry Vodka Coulis.

The spinach, herbs came from David’s garden and the asparagus and lettuce came from the local Farmers Market.

The wine included a Gine Priorat, A Varga Italian, and a Rose we can’t remember the name of..wonder why that is!! Beer included Bell’s Oberon and a good cider…oops forgot the name of that too! Wine came from the Seaboard Wine Warehouse and Beer and Cider from Hope Valley Bottle Shop, two of my favorite shops in the Triangle.

After talking with David and Carrie about making homemade pasta, and how easy they say it is, I am taking myself to the market this weekend to pick up some fresh ingredients and get rolling with my pasta machine (which I purchased last year and have never used).




Tender Dough

Don’t overprocess: If mixing dough in the food processor, pulse just until you get moist clumps – not until an entire ball of dough forms.

Knead just until smooth: The dough should feel supple and just a little bit elastic. When kneading, sprinkle with as little flour as possible if the dough is sticking.

Give it a rest: The pasta dough will be easier to roll out and cut if the gluten relaxes for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, or up to two hours.

Perfect Cooking

Salt the water abundantly: Use a handful so the water tastes like the se. In the BA Test Kitchen, (they) use about three tablespoons of salt for every five quarts of water.

Make sure the water is really boiling: This helps cook the pasta evenly and keeps it from sticking together.

Stir gently and occasionally: This also helps keep the pasta from sticking.

Don’t walk away: Fresh pasta cooks much more than dried – in just a couple of minutes. Stand by the pot and taste for doneness.  When done, fresh pasta will rise to the water’s surface. It should also be al dente, which is Italian for “to the tooth” or “to the bite,” meaning that the pasta should be cooked through but still firm enough that it is a little chewy. Cooking pasta al dente requires some practice to recognize the brief stage between under – and overcooked.

Drain gently: This is especially important with filled pasta, like ravioli. Rather than dumping filled pasta into a colander, lift it out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon or a skimmer (the wire version with a bamboo handle is also sometimes called a spider)

Save the cooking water: To keeping pasta from clinging to itself, add a little cooking water – a lighter and better solution than adding oil (which the pasta will just keep soaking up). As little as a quarter-cup cooking water can help loosen sauces and pesto too.

If you are not cooking your fresh pasta right away, It can sit at room temperature, covered lightly with a towel, for up to six hours. Or store it airtight in the refrigerator up to four days, or in the freezer up to a month.

Happy Pasta Eating!!

Stay tuned for the Tri Foodie Tweet-up Event.


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