Smoked Salmon Spaghetti Carbonara & a Really Long Podcast (if you know what I’m saying)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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First of all – I did a comprehensive interview a few months ago that was recently posted.  I talk about just about everything important over the course of my entire life.  If the minutiae of my existence intrigue you – HERE is the i-tunes link.  I talk about the old 90210 & being on set with Chucky & this blog & film festivals & what scandalous whores TV characters are these days.  Plus more!  And more.  And more.  That said –

This might be my favorite friggin’ pasta dish I have ever made!  Insanely easy & outrageously delicious.  Looking back over my past recipes I couldn’t help but notice that I seem to rave about most anything I put salmon in.  Like these:

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Capers, Cream Cheese & Dill

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Potato, Salmon & Asparagus Tall Tart (Pie) with Fresh Dill

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Spicy Hoisin BBQ Salmon Tacos with Asian Slaw & Micro Cilantro

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Roasted Salmon & Potato Hash with Hominy & Poached Egg (AWESOME!!)

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Easiest Spicy Thai Coconut Salmon Soup for the Slow Cooker (with a Vegan option!)

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But this smoked salmon carbonara is just something you must try if you like smoked salmon.  If you do not, make this with the traditional bacon (or the more authentic guanciale).  But try this.  Contrary to many folks’ idea of carbonara – true carbonara has no heavy cream.  It is simply whatever meat you use, eggs & Parmesan.  And pasta.  I made homemade spaghetti and that takes this dish to another level entirely but that is completely unnecessary.

This attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer is so awesome – I might marry it.  I make the pasta dough in my bread machine & then this thing turns that into spaghetti.  It is virtually effortless.   If you have a stand mixer – this attachment is worth its cost – assuming you eat lots of pasta.  And it makes several kinds of pasta – including tube pastas.  Think about it!  HERE is my original recipe for making homemade pasta.  And below is an image of the spaghetti I made.

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So – this carbonara requires these items:

Spaghetti

Eggs

Parmesan cheese

Pepper

Smoked salmon

Garlic

Olive oil

I am going to let you decide whether or not to use homemade (or store-bought fresh pasta) or dry pasta but spaghetti is the traditional noodle used.  Check out how easy this is.  I am going to list the ingredients in a “per serving” way & you can just figure out how much of each you need to feed your headcount.

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Smoked Salmon Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients

Spaghetti (1/4 lb dry per serving)

Eggs (one per serving)

Parmesan cheese – grated fine (1/4 cup per serving)

Pepper – to taste

Smoked salmon – roughly chopped – this is to taste, too.  You don’t need that much.  Think of it like bacon & allot an amount similar – per serving

Garlic – cut very thin (I used 2 cloves per serving)

Olive oil – a glug per serving

Parsley (Important!  Parsley is more than a garnish & really improves this dish.) – chopped – to taste

Extra cheese & pepper as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta.

While that is going on, saute the garlic & salmon in the olive oil over medium heat.  You do not want to brown the garlic & you are really only trying to heat the salmon through.

Whisk the egg & cheese & some pepper in a bowl & set aside.

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When the pasta is done – reserve about a cup of the hot pasta water & drain the rest.  Add the pasta to the pan with the garlic & salmon.  Toss & combine well.

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Transfer to a large bowl & then add the cheese & egg mixture.  The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs.  TRUST ME.  Add a bit of the hot pasta water (not all of it – GO SLOW) and mix it in.  Once you have a nice creamy texture (and you might not use much pasta water at all), serve it up on plates & be sure to top with lots of freshly chopped parsley.  Add more cheese & pepper if you like.  Shove it in your pie hole & wash it down with copious quantities of wine.  Fuck that whole “white wine goes with fish” thing, too.  If you want white – go for it but this dish holds its own against a big red, too.  Eat your carbonara!  Drink your Cabernet!  Think, “I am one badass son-of-a-bitch!”  Because you are!  AAAAAAARRRGGGGH!

I said badass – not pirate.  It’s a thin line.

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Authentic Homemade Corn Tortillas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ok – again – this is not really a recipe. It is inspiration for you to try something that you might not have ever even considered.  Corn tortillas!  I have posted spinach tortillas & kale tortillas in the past.  Those were both flour tortillas – and they have their place.  But I really love corn tortillas, too, and I love tacos – so – I thought I’d give it a go!

There is no real recipe.  You simply go buy some masa harina.  It is ground hominy – or a product of corn & lime.  It is ground very fine.  You then make the dough according to the measurements on the bag.  Mine suggested 2 cups flour to 1 1/3 cups water.  Period.  The dough comes together in a bowl instantly.  You are, I discovered, meant to let the dough rest for 30 minutes or more before working with it but I was impatient.

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I happen to have invested about $10 in a tortilla press.  Totally unnecessary!  Not because it isn’t easy to use – it is.  But – because just getting a glass pie dish out or the bottom of a large pan – anything with a large, flat surface that can be used to apply pressure will work.  The dough is very soft & flattens far more easily than a flour dough would.  It also tears for more easily – so do not beat yourself up if it takes a bit to get the hang of these.  Know that these tortillas have a softer, breadier texture than the more coarse & grainy store-bought ones.

Definitely put either wax or parchment paper on either side of your dough – or use plastic wrap.  Others SWEAR by cutting a ziplock freezer bag in two & using two sheets of that.  Apparently – it is the least sticky option.  If your dough is REALLY sticky – try adding more masa.

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So – basically – you make little balls somewhere between the size of a golf ball & a pool ball.  Press it flat in between two pieces of some sort of wrap.  Then, peel it off one side, flip the bare side onto your palm & carefully peel off the other side.  I tore a lot of them & just balled them up & pressed them again.Heat a dry pan to very high heat then reduce it just a bit so the pan doesn’t smoke.  Carefully flop the tortilla into the pan.  Do not try to flip it until it moves around on the pan when you push it.  If it sticks still – let it cook more.  Once it slips around easily – flip it.  This should take between 30-60 seconds.  Do the same on the other side.  Then store in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a kitchen towel until you are ready to eat them up.

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Reheating?  From Epicurious:

There are several methods for reheating corn tortillas: dry heat (gas flame), moist heat (steamer and microwave) and oily heat (dry-frying).

Dry heat:
This method works only if your tortillas have been made that day. Heat the tortillas directly over the flame (or on a griddle or skillet), flipping them until toasty and pliable.

Moist heat of a steamer:
This is easier for larger quantities of corn tortillas, especially if you need to hold them hot for a little while. Pour 1/2 inch water into the bottom of the steamer, then line the steaming basket with a clean, heavy kitchen towel. Lay the tortillas in the basket in stacks of 12 (a small vegetable steamer will accommodate only one stack; a large Asian steamer will hold three or four stacks). Fold the edges of the towel over the tortillas to cover them, set the lid in place, bring the water to a boil and let boil only for 1 minute, then turn off the fire and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. If you wish to keep the tortillas hot for up to an hour, slip the steamer into a low oven or reheat the water periodically.

Moist heat of a microwave:
This easy method works best with no more than a dozen tortillas. Drizzle a clean kitchen towel with 3 tablespoons water and wring the towel to even distribute the moisture. Use the towel to line a microwave-safe casserole dish (8 or 9 inches in diameter is best). Lay in a dozen tortillas, cover with the towel and the lid, then microwave at 50 percent power for 4 minutes. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. The tortillas will stay warm for 20 minutes.

Oily heat:
Though it’s not much a part of home cooking, street vendors of seared-meat tacos reheat fresh tortillas with the heat of a slightly oily griddle — they’re not so much frying the tortillas (which would mean completely submerging the tortillas in oil) as griddle-heating them with a tiny bit of oil.

When just-baked tortillas come off the griddle or when they’ve been reheated, they’re traditionally kept warm in a tightly woven basket (chiquihuite) lined with a cloth; some have lids, others don’t. In the Yucatan, they use hollowed-out gourds. And in modern households, they use Styrofoam containers — which are so efficient that they now come in many decorated styles. If you’re having a party, hold hot tortillas in an insulated chest (like an ice chest) lined with a towel.

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