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Cold and "Cooking" - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Cold and "Cooking"
The weather felt extra cold this evening as I left work, or maybe I was just grumpy. It was 19 degrees, which is double-digits, but it very windy. I know this because of how much the traffic lights were swinging around on their wires.

Anyway I walked from my office to my car, and the wind blew my hair in my face. It cut right into my leather jacket. I felt soooooo cold! I got in the car, started it up, and got going, but my hair was still all over my face. I was cold and grumpy, and debated internally which was worse -- taking off my glove and being colder, or leaving my hair in my face? I couldn't try to fix my hair with my glove on, because it would just get all staticy instead of moving. Then it would be not just in part of my face, but all over everywhere.

Finally I convinced myself to briefly take off my glove, run one hand through my hair, then quickly put the glove back on. My hair was still messy but mostly out of my face, and my hand didn't get too cold. I then sat at every traffic light and shivered grumpily. Stupid red lights, stupid winter! Then my car warmed up, and everything got better. I love being warm.

Speaking of internal monologues, the following represents my attempt to "cook" for myself this evening.

"What to eat for dinner? Trying to eat healthy, keep to my weight watchers. Hm, I bought this fresh pasta, I'd better eat it before it goes bad. Okay, let's see. Boil four quarts of water. How much is a quart? Why don't they measure these things in cups? My measuring cup doesn't have quarts on it. It has 16 ounces. How many ounces in a quart?"

Pause for quick computer trip to google ounces in quarts.

"Thirty-two ounces? So I need eight of these measuring cups full of water?? That's ridiculous, I'll just fill the pot up two-thirds. That should be about right. Okay, now boil it. I learned in tenth-grade chemistry that salt is a catalyst, so I'll put in a pinch of salt. It says a teaspoon of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. I wonder if olive oil is a catalyst? Hm, this lid looks like a teaspoon. That's close enough, these are guidelines not rules. And I need to cover it, to keep the steam in. No lid... I'll just use this plate. Okay, water's on. Set the timer for 10 minutes, and I'll go play."

Ten minutes of web-surfing go by. The timer beeps.

"The water's still not boiling? What's up with that? Well, I was going to heat up some veggies. Let's see, toss these things in the microwave. But I won't cook it until the pasta's cooking. This water's still not boiling? Well I can't wait any longer. It must be close enough."

Pasta goes into water.

"Okay, both the veggies and the pasta say to cook around seven minutes. That's good, I can use just one timer."

Wander off for more web-surfing.

....eventually I managed to put some Ragu over the pasta, put everything on a plate, and eat it. Not bad, even with all the guestimating involved! I have a leftover serving for tomorrow too. Go me.

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Comments
From: nicegeek Date: February 20th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Pasta tips

Congrats on the culinary foray!

Tips for good pasta (from Cooks' Illustrated):
* Lots of water, boiling as vigorously as your stove can manage.
* A fair amount of salt (I think a tablespoon per gallon of water?)
* No need to cover it.
* Usually, you don't want to add oil, because it will keep the sauce from coating the pasta.
From: nicegeek Date: February 20th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Pasta tips

Here's a pretty good article for future reference.
encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: February 20th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Measurement, other comments

I learned 4 cups = 1 quart when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade.

I only add salt to the water just before adding the pasta for adding flavor, I never add oil to the water, I do cover the water while bringing it to a boil (that does speed up the process) and yes, it does take a long time to get the water to boil when starting with cold water.

By the way, I thinking of making capellini with a black truffle snd anchovy sauce this weekend, need to pick up some fresh garlic.
javenallese From: javenallese Date: February 20th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Measurement, other comments

Waiting to add the salt also speeds up the process. Adding salt lowers the freezing temperature and raises the boiling temperature of water.
greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: February 20th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Pasta is nice in that it allows for a few shortcuts. You don't need the exact amount of water listed. It is more of a guide. More water is better to give the pasta more room and make sure the hot water can get to the pasta, but it takes longer to bring to a boil. You can use less water so it will boil faster, but you will need to stir it much more often to keep the pasta from sticking together.

The oil could add some flavor but is mainly there to keep the water from boiling over. If you are there and stirring the pot often it can be skipped.

Cooking is fun. I'm glad your efforts went well!
pstscrpt From: pstscrpt Date: February 20th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)
The sauce doesn't stick to the pasta as well if you oil it. On the other hand, it can get torn into little bits by sticking to itself if you don't. If I'm not cooking for my son (who only eats it with butter and parmesan cheese), pouring the sauce into the pot and stirring as soon as I drain it seems to be a good compromise.
nishar From: nishar Date: February 20th, 2009 07:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I like to make noodles, garlic and some cheese for quick and easy pasta. Maybe have my veggies on the side. Your dish sounds good too.
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