GET YOUR PASTA ON WITH BOB'S RED MILL
There is a man who we all know – that is if you’ve paid attention while grocery shopping.
Founded over three decades ago, Bob Moore and his wife Charlee founded Bob’s Red Mill in order to provide people with the best quality foods. Bob had a passion for being healthy and taking care of people. This is where the mill came from and the best wholesome, natural foods including fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, we all know today which have his friendly face on the packaging.
Bob’s kind-hearted generosity is the beating heart of the company. The best example of this? On his 81st birthday he gave his employees the greatest gift — his business. What does this mean? Bob gave all of his employees total ownership of Bob's Red Mill through an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). If that doesn’t scream a passion for taking care of your people I don’t know what does.
"UNPROCESSED IS OUR PROCESS"
Part of the name of the company is how everything all began – the mill.
In the mid 1960s Bob set out on a search for his own set of usable millstones so he could make his vision of operating a flour mill a reality. It was this passion to provide healthy and nutritious food, sprinkled in with a little time and persistence, that he and his wife started their first mill in Redding, California. But now it is all Oregon based, and conveniently located very close to where I grew up!
One of the best things about Bob’s Red Mill is the fact that all of their grains are unprocessed. What does this mean exactly? That all of the most nutritious parts are still in the product! I know some people don’t care about this but I try to have the mentality that your body is a temple and you only live once so why not do it the healthiest way you can?
Trust, Honesty, Integrity – this is what Bob’s Red Mill is built on and they bring that philosophy all the way into their packaging.
GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY
Well maybe not actually dirty with dirt, but dirty with ingredients – because every good cook knows mixing with your hands is better than with a machine.
If you happen to make a visit to Portland head south to Milwaukie, Oregon so you can visit the 325,000 square foot headquarters, laboratory, and manufacturing plant – and their 127,000 square foot distribution center! This is where the magic happens and thousands of products are created each day — making it onto the shelves of your local grocery store.
Not only is it awesome to see where the magic happens you can also shop at the Whole Grain Store, which even includes a restaurant. What could be even better than this? They even offer a variety of cooking classes to learn how to use Bob’s Red Mill products in new and fun ways!
While on my visit home for the holidays I was able to take a gluten free pasta making class.
Many people turn up their noses at the words gluten free. Either they don’t fully understand it or they think it’s not a legit thing. I myself am not gluten free (hello, I was just in France eating all of the delicious gluten) but I do try to avoid it as much as I can because I can tell I feel better when I don’t consume huge amounts of it.
Bob’s Red Mill has a whole line of gluten free products and this is what we used to make our pasta. These products also have the same great taste as their other products.
The company knows it’s not a fad as they've been making gluten free flours, cereals, baking mixes and grains for over 30 years. Bob's definitely knows a thing or two.
My culinary adventure was taught by amazing food lover Corey Pressman (who teaches a variety of cooking classes at stores, wineries and farms around Portland). He even comes into people’s homes for a more personal evening. Corey is literally hilarious! I can honestly say I have not been taught by a more fun person – and I have taken a lot of cooking classes.
Corey has his own brand Fat.Salt.Love and refers to himself a Dean of Instruction and Viceroy. You can really see this through his classes. His dedication and passion for teaching people how to make good food is 100% apparent – teaching people how to make food that should be shared with the people in their lives. Cooking is for sharing.
And guess what, I’m here to tell you it’s way easier than you think it would be.
APRON ON, SENSE OF HUMOR OUT
Corey happens to be gluten free, so you know he is all about making the foods we love so everyone can enjoy them.
Personally, I think the best way to learn something new is by not taking yourself too seriously. Yes, you are learning a new skill, but you should also have fun doing it. You will probably retain more information if you're actually enjoying yourself. This is also Corey’s mantra.
We obviously had to make sauce for our pasta – so we made it like someone’s Nonna would make (or how I would imagine an Italian grandma would be making sauce in her kitchen).
But before we could even start making our pasta we got a little onion and knife lesson.
- There is a problem with onions – they have a little demon inside of them that makes you cry.
- How do you counteract the demon? Make sure you keep the onion together while you’re cutting! Damage it as little as possible.
- Cut off the stem side, but leave the root side (the demon door side) intact. This will also make your onion a little flatter and easier to cut.
- Cut through the root but don’t take it off! Then you can peel and not cry while peeling.
- In order to chop the best pieces, and still ward off the demon, cut through the onion (face/cut side first) but not all the way. Then cut the opposite way from the front (but also not all the way through).
- In the end you’ll have the perfect pieces of onion, with a still intact root, and a perfectly contained demon.
Four ingredients. That’s it.
Don’t believe me?
Our sauce was literally butter (here’s the fat), a sprinkling of salt ( don't forget to throw it in there like 'salt bae'), canned whole tomatoes, and a half an onion. Then we stirred and stirred and let it cook up for about 40 minutes (love and patience, people).
TIPS TO NOTE:
Do not use chopped, canned tomatoes.
These are actually the random bits that may not be the freshest.
And you won’t be able to tell when they are all chopped up.
Do not cut up your onion into little pieces!
Seriously just cut it in half, and put the whole half in the pan.
If you cut up your onion we can’t be cooking friends anymore.
The longer you cook the sauce the better it will be.
This is a FACT.
Don’t cook like a pro, cook like yourself
While our sauce was cooking up it was time to make the pasta!
Also a simple recipe of “three” ingredients: Bob's Red Mill One-to-One Gluten Free Flour, 12 egg yolks (yes, you read that right), and three whole eggs. And this is also where you need to get your hands involved!
Once the dough was made it was time to check on the sauce (it wasn’t done yet) and make a basic vinaigrette for our salads. It was also a simple recipe. This was a theme I was noticing….you do not need to get crazy with your ingredients to make good food.
What you should remember when making a vinaigrette is that you can stabilize your dressing “chemically” by adding a little mustard into it (plus mustard makes everything taste amazing). Also, your low note is your oil and you need to add a high note to balance it out (which is something acidic like lemon or vinegar).
By the time our vinaigrette was done it was time to turn down the heat on the sauce and pull the pasta dough out of the refrigerator and start rolling!
I had never made pasta by hand, let alone rolled it before, so this was very exciting. I can tell you this, it’s harder than it looks (especially with gluten free dough) but after you’ve got it thin enough and start seeing it roll out of the other end in pasta pieces you get a satisfaction like no other from cooking.
How do you cook it? Easy. In a pot of boiling, salted water. Salty like the sea people. It will only take a couple minutes (otherwise you end up with lumpy dough again, not pasta), and then you’re ready to plate and serve.
Cook for the people you love
This is Corey’s mantra. Cooking isn’t just for yourself. It's also a perfect way to spend more time with those closest to you when they come over. Get them involved in the cooking.
Have a dinner party, but only do the prep. Eat brunch in, but ask people what their favorite breakfast foods are and buy the ingredients. Only do half of Thanksgiving dinner and then have people start arriving.
This is how you make memories, how you infuse that love into your food, and how food ironically tastes even better.
BIG thank you to Sophia at Bob's Red Mill for setting me up with this class and to Corey for being one of the most hilarious instructors I've had! Initially I wanted to try to take their Thanksgiving pie class but this was so much better.
Don't forget to pin one of the images below. The next time you're in Portland this is something you cannot forget to do!