It may not look smoked but you can't miss the flavor exploding on your tongue. We recently received some hickory smoke powder from the Terra Spice Company, one of our favorite purveyors of spices and seasonings. They carry high quality ingredients and this powder was a gorgeous toasty golden color with a smoky, fruity aroma and bitter, smoked flavor. After the initial taste I don't recommend eating the powder straight from the bag, as with many other foods the scent is much more alluring than the actual taste on your palate. On the other hand, its smoldering flavor and slightly edgy bitterness is perfect for blending with other ingredients. Our first creation was this smoked pasta dough.
Easter dinner at our house is always a blend of traditional ingredients and current innovations. This year we were a small group and so we decided to keep things simple. The first course was the smoked pasta paired with buttery, garlic-y shrimp which were splashed with key lime juice and generously showered with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. This was followed by thick lamb T-bones marinated in garlic, tea tree, rosemary, and the crumbling Meyer lemon blossoms from our window sill with a splash of Banyuls vinegar and soy sauce. We broiled these and served them with a salad of papaya, endive, onion and green olives. This was followed by three pies from Briermere Farm out on Long Island, because we're an indecisive lot, and whipped organic cream that was so silky and creamy that it could have been served by itself.
The wine was a Patton Valley Rose, from Oregon. It is the quintessential Easter/spring wine. It has a gorgeous pink color and an aroma that reminds me of cotton candy. The nose was fruity and floral, reminiscent of what we imagine a field of strawberries, raspberries and violets in bloom would smell like. It tasted as good as it smelled. The rose was dry and surprisingly crisp which balanced out it's more delicate flavor characteristics. To me it actually tastes like spring time in a glass. It's what we refer to as a quaffing wine perfect for sipping on it's own or pairing with food as the mood strikes you.
We hope everyone had a great weekend. We're off to Montana for a very brief couple of days. This means dinner in the Denver airport tonight on our way to Bozeman. That means we'll be treated to a dinner theater of sorts, people watching in the terminal. You never know who or what you'll see. It must be throwback to high school when my friends and I would hang out on walls and park benches picking out the tourists in Manhattan. It's an inexpensive way to entertain yourself, making up background stories about the passers-by. For those of you who will be in your kitchens, here's the pasta recipe to play with.
Smoked Pasta Dough
3 tablespoons hickory smoke powder
1 cup of AP flour
2 cups of semolina flour
10-12 turns of a pepper mill
4 large eggs
Combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process briefly to blend. Add the four eggs and pulse till the mixture comes together as a cohesive dough. You may need to add a bit of extra flour or water depending upon the size of your eggs. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead without any additional flour until the dough becomes smooth and silky. Wrap with plastic and let it rest, at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes before rolling out the dough.