We love poking around thrift stores. It’s usually a contest to see who can find the best treasure that has been cast off by its previous owner.
I’ve learned over years of our competitive treasure hunting that if you find something fantastic and leave it on the shelf to show your significant other, it’s fair game to be snatched up by some hapless stranger, or by your significant other, who can then claim it as their own treasure find. Don’t take your hand off of it if you want it.
If we spot an estate sale sign when we’re out around town, we usually stop to check it out. You never know what you’ll find… one man’s trash truly can be another man’s treasure. We love treasure hunting.
There’s currently a popular show on Netflix that my sister and plenty of other folks are watching, reading and living by. It’s based on books written by a Japanese de-cluttering guru/organizing consultant that teaches methods for letting go of things in your home that don’t bring you “joy.”
I’ve not read any of the books, and I’ve not watched the show. I’m probably not going to, either. Something tells me that it would be very anti-treasure hunts, which to me, is a joy-killer.
Recently at our fantastic Grand Companions Thrift Store in Fort Davis, my husband spotted a boxed kitchen contraption on a bottom shelf, somewhat hidden from view. The handwritten tag proclaimed that it was, “brand new and a perfect gift.” And, it was made in Italy, which immediately caught his attention.
It was heavy, which was likely a reason it was still there, and it was a little over $30… another reason for its presence. My husband wrote down the information on it and went home to research it. He decided that if it was still there on Discount Tuesday, he’d buy it. Anything “Made in Italy” deserves some consideration.
Several days passed, and on Discount Tuesday, we became the proud owners of a new-ish in the box pasta maker. My guess is that the previous owners tried it once (there was a little dough residue on it), decided it didn’t bring them joy (there are lots of pieces and parts) and donated it.
This treasure, I let him claim as his own. We really didn’t need it – we have the pasta attachments for the KitchenAid stand mixer. But this treasure was different from the KitchenAid attachment that you work your pre-mixed dough through… this contraption was a do-it-all pasta maker.
This machine gives us homemade, fresh pasta on the table in as little as 20 minutes. You simply add your flour and water or egg to the machine and it mixes and kneads everything to the perfect consistency.
Once the dough is the proper consistency, you remove a plastic piece that keeps it from extruding while mixing, and like magic, the dough is pushed through the disc and ready to be cut into the desired length. Cooked for one to two minutes, dressed how you like it, and a quick meal is on the table. We might never buy store-bought pasta again.
With 24 different well-made pasta discs, the hardest part is choosing what shape pasta to make. Macaroni? Angel Hair? Gnocchi?
We made bucato (hollow large spaghetti), regular spaghetti, pasta del Contandino (comes out of an “s” shaped disc) and fettucine. I felt tremendous joy watching the fresh, homemade pasta materialize in mere moments.
Of course, you don’t need a machine to make homemade pasta. Archaeologists have found evidence of noodle production in Asia thousands of years ago… long before the Italians discovered it and named it “pasta,” yet we typically give credit to Italy for pasta.
Here’s one method for homemade pasta, made without a machine. Buon Appetito.
1 egg, beaten
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a “well” in the center of the flour, add the slightly beaten egg, and mix. Mixture should for a stiff dough. If needed, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of water.
On a slightly floured surface, knead dough for about 3-4 minutes. Use a pasta machine or hand roll the dough to desired thickness (it gets bigger when you boil it, so try to get it thin). Run it through the pasta machine or cut it into strips of desired width. Boil for approximately 2 minutes in salted water. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce, or tossed with olive oil and herbs. Double or triple the recipe to suit your needs.