Sunday, October 13, 2013

P. P. P. Puzzlement.


There seems to be a bit of confusion when it comes to the definition of the word Pasta. Lacking essence, Pasta is a generic term for floured grains blended together with water and sometimes eggs. Pasta can mean a whole slew of things. It is not simply a fancy word for Spaghetti. Because Pasta is an Italian word derived from the word "paste," one might think that the realm of pasta dishes are distinctly Italian. Such is not the case. Pasta can also be noodles. In fact, "pasta" describes all types of noodles; fresh or dry. They can be made from wheat, rice, buckwheat, and other grains.

Funny thing about my recollection of Sunday dinners. To my mind's eye, they never included pasta, per se...Yes, there was Spaghetti & Meatballs and Baked Macaroni, which by the way was completely different than Baked Ziti:) We might dine on Fettucini Alfredo if "company" was coming and more than likely Lasagna or Manicotti on any given holiday. But, none of these dishes, to my recollection, included the word Pasta. In other words, my father never said, "let's have some pasta for dinner, how about spaghetti & meatballs?" He would say, "stir the sauce" we're having Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner! As a matter of fact, the word pasta didn't enter my vocabulary on a regular basis until maybe 10 years ago.

On the other hand, the word noodles has been a part of my everyday parlance for as long as I can remember, and probably longer. One of my all time favorites "snacks" is noodles with butter and plenty of black pepper. Comfort food in my book!

I don't want to attempt to untangle the old aged discussion as to which came first Noodles or Pasta. Does it really matter? By all accounts, noodles are pasta and today I would like to share a couple of Asian noodle recipes that we would surely miss if we were to ignore Asian style pastas in our recipe reportoire. Each recipe comes from a book titled Chinese Cooking and More.

As one who can never have enough recipes which include Tofu, I can personally attest to the goodness of this recipe for Bean Threads with Tofu and Vegetables. Marion and I love it. It's easy to "throw" together and certainly beats "running" down to the "local" Chinese Restaurant which is about 20 miles away!

As I was gathering information for today's post, I stumbled upon a recipe for Pulled Noodles in Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings and Breads.

There it was on page 41, a recipe for Dragon's Beard Noodles or Pulled Noodles. Have you ever heard of pulled noodles? It seems, The Art of Hand Pulled Noodles is "arguably becoming a lost art." I just had to share this bit of information.

Published in 1986, Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings and Breads, gives step by step instructions for the mixing, pulling, cutting and deep frying of the noodles. She includes illustrations and even a recipe and tips for making the dough in a food processor. I haven't included the recipe here but if you would like it, just let me know. Unfortunately, this book is long out of print but you may be able to find it online. Since it is still considered the definitive guide on the subject of Chinese Noodles and Dumplings, it is difficult to find.

Ms. Lin recently did an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. At the age of 93, she is apparently still going strong!

"Earlier this summer, The Chronicle brought together two matriarchs of Chinese cooking: Cecilia Chiang, whose restaurant, The Mandarin, raised the bar for San Francisco dining; and cookbook author Florence Lin, who taught cooking classes in New York for three decades."

Thank you to Tina @ Squirrel Head Manor for sharing this charming quote by Federico Fellini. Tina is also a huge pasta fan so it shouldn't be too surprising that she also selected a recipe for Spaghetti Alla Carbonara to share on her post.


As I mentioned at the beginning of Pasta Month, I've started a community pinboard devoted to all things pasta. So far, we have four contributors forty-one pins and about 731 followers on that board. I am quite pleased:)

Since many of you are contemplating joining Pinterest, or are hesitant to actively participate in the online "curating machine", I thought I would offer a few tips. Mind you, I am no pro. Yes, I have been pinning for a while and yes, I have certainly seen and "felt" the increased traffic in this blog since joining Pinterest, however, unlike Cooking Light who has 125,677 followers on their Pinterest Boards, I really "fly by the seat of my pants" when it comes to all things Pinterest:)

Let's start with a few Pinterest Basics.
1. "A pin is an image (or video) you add to Pinterest that links back to the website it came from..."
The easiest way for me to accomplish this important step is to make sure I click on the title of the post or article that I want to pin. For example, If you were totally dazzled by the image of Giada's Top 10 Pasta Cooking Tips that I posted for the Pasta Month's Party post I did at the beginning of the month, then what you would do is go to that page, click on the title, in this case it would look like this:


And Pin It! At first glance, you might think to yourself, "well, that's what I have been doing." Great! However, did yo notice how the complete URL includes not only my blog's address, {http://monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com} it also includes the date of the post and the title of the post too. It is most frustrating to see a Pin you like, perhaps even want to repin it but when you click the link you land on the top URL which in this case would be {http://monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com}. Uh Oh, no tips! You might even wind up on this post which would really be a maize of a go around:)

2. Pin It, you say! What? How? Where? There are basically three ways to add pins to Pinterest. We will only discuss one today. It uses the Pin It bookmarklet button which you can find in the goodies section of Pinterest. Look under "Looking for the Pinterest Bookmarklet?" Once you have dragged the bookmarklet to your browsers tool bar, you can easily Pin from any page that you land on. (as long as you check to make sure you have clicked the tile of that page as mentioned in #1.

Here's what it looks like in my Safari Toolbar. It also works in Chrome because I have that on my Mac Air:)

There are links to other Pinterest widgets on the Goodies page but you may want to revisit those when you are feeling more adventurous, like me! Since National Candy Corn Day is celebrated on October 30, I just this minute decided to make this board widget just for you today:) Once I figure out how to trim it down a bit, I'll add it to by sidebar:)

It would take an entire post to delve into the ins and outs of Pinterest. One this gal is not up to today. According to Mashable, "Pinterest has roughly 70 million registered users." That's a whole lotta new and intriguing recipes to discover you "guys." I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon:)

Pasta Party

As World Pasta Day approaches, I'm delighted to say we have quite an array of dishes to enhance our celebration. No, no, no, I'm not telling you what they are yet. You'll have to tune in on World Pasta Day for the round-up. If you missed the invitation to the Pasta Party and the Give-Away, it isn't to late. You can find all the "pertinent" information right here.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Columbus Day. With the essence of that in mind, I would like to share a recipe for Tagliatelle agli Zucchini e Acciuga; Noodles with Zucchini and Anchovies from a book book titled Columbus Menu: Italian Cuisine after the First Voyage of Christopher Columbus by Stefano Milioni which was published by the Italian Trade Commission in 1992 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's first voyage.

"See Ya" Wednesday. It's Noah Webster's birthday and Dictionary Day!