This summer, we grew gourds for the first time! We went with Baby Butternut, Jack O' Lantern Pumpkins and Cucumbers. The cucumbers were prolific and we had lots of fun with them (Spicy IPA Pickles). The Pumpkins were a bit harder. They got a bad case of Powdery Mildew, we did however get 2 or 3 pretty nice ones. Now, the Baby Butternut... it was wonderful. Or is! We should still get a few off of it this year. I really wanted to utilize the squash in a few different ways and with the help of some recipes from good old Martha, I have. I learned some new techniques and practiced some I already knew how to do. I roasted squash for the first time and made fresh lasagna noodles from scratch! I also made a Bechamel, which I was pretty sure I knew how to do, but not really and I surprised myself in the end, because it was amazing!
A few things made these recipes so much easier to accomplish than they could have been. The invaluable tool is my Kitchen Aide!!! I can't imagine my kitchen arsenal not including one of these. I have this one. This was one of the first nice kitchen appliances Hubby & I bought together. Excellent investment.
The next tool is the Pasta Attachment for the Kitchen Aide. I got one in December and I finally used it (definitely not for the last time)! I remember helping my Mama make noodles from scratch when I was a kid. She had a hand crank pasta machine. It definitely did the job, but boy oh boy, just flipping a switch is soooo much better.
One tool that I would like to add to my bag of tricks is a Pasta Drying Rack. I love remembering my family's entire kitchen and dining room covered in drying pasta. I would help Mama lay out all of the pasta, making sure they weren't sticking to the surfaces. I don't remember the clean up though (thanks Mama). And so, a few weeks ago Mama told me about this pasta rack and alas, she was so right. I should have gotten one before. Live and learn.