Saturday, March 8, 2014

LAPSHA (Egg Noodles) made with love


Happy International Women's Day to all the women out there.  This is a post that I thought would be appropriate for today as it requires strength, determination and Women working together and teaching the next generation of Beautiful Women.

Making Lapsha is a day long affair and if you are lucky you will have family around to come over and help you.  I have so many good memories of making Lapsha, I can still hear the laughter, feel the heat of the stove and ovens and feel the workout that my muscles got from turning the handle of the pasta maker. (yes it was all done by hand with a 'manual pasta machine') a great upper body workout that is for sure!  I remember my Grandmother Polly, my Mother Vera and my sisters Wendy and Holly being a big part of making enough Lapsha to last for months (my brother Lawrence always seemed to be busy on these days) hmmm.  Mom first mixed up the dough with flour, fresh eggs from our chickens and butter from our cows and unbleached flour from the Doukhobor Flour Mill in Grand Forks, BC.   When we were young girls my Mom and Grandmother mixed the dough and cut it into pieces then one of my sisters was nominated to press each piece into flour and pass it to my other sister who would roll it through the pasta machine on the required 'first' setting.  She would then pass the pieces of dough to myself who would then press it into flour once again (this prevent the flour from sticking to the rollers/cutters of the pasta machine). (My sisters and I would change 'Lapsha' jobs' during the day long process so we did not get too tired during each step, this also taught us each step along the way).  Once the pieces were all 'floured' we moved on to the first setting (1) on the pasta rolling machine.  Once all the dough was put this this we moved onto 'second' setting (3) on the machine, which rolled the pasta a bit thinner and finally onto the 'third' step (the last point on the machine) of very thin sheets of pasta which we would hang on pieces of wood or wooden chairs covered in tea towels.  These sheets would then be taken by my Mother and she would 'cook' them on the surface of our wood stove until bubbles formed on one side and then they are turned and cooked until this side starts to bubble.  Then these are taken off the cooking surface and placed onto clean tea towels and covered until there is enough 'cooked' pasta sheets to begin the next step - this step is critical, the cooked sheets cannot cool down or they will be difficult to cut on the cutters of the pasta machine.  So while they are still warm from the stove top they are put into the pasta machine and cut and laid out onto baking sheets.  The final step is to bake these cut pasta sheets until they start to brown. This is where my Grandmother sat on a wooden chair near the oven watching so the pasta did not over bake.  I can still see her sitting on the chair in her homemade apron with a kerchief on her hair watching the cut noodles (and making sure we were all doing our jobs, nothing went passed her 'experienced eye'.  They are then taken out of the oven and left to cool and then finally put into bags for storage.  This all happens like a 'graceful dance' each step flows into another and before we know it - it's time for a break and lunch!  There is nothing like eating a piece of freshly baked pasta 'sheets' straight from the stove top and then dipped into melted butter................oh my mouth is watering as I write this.  So good.  After a break and lunch it was time to get back to the pasta dough and continue this process until it was all baked, cut and toasted.  Of course there was more sampling to be done and homemade jam was added to the freshly baked pasta sheets and then rolled up like a 'cigar' and quickly devoured and onto another.  It was always a full day, a lot of standing and walking and turning the handle of the pasta machine; but so worth the effort.  What a great way to spend time with Mother and Grandmother - we sang while we worked, we reminisced about the memories from previous days/months/years and we planned.
  We live away from immediate family and have for many years but when we crave  Lapsha I make up a batch all by myself but also 'with my Grandmother and Mother' by my side directing from her home if only in spirit.  Grandmother passed away many years ago but Mom is always there when I have a question about cooking and for that I am so very thankful,  she taught us so much.

Making Lapsha is a lot of work but you will be set for months, it makes a perfect meal if you are short on time and fills your stomach with such warmth and goodness.
I hope you try make a batch with family or friends.


Lapsha ready for any meal you choose. A labor of love.

The Lapsha dough has rested for about 20 minutes and is now ready to work with.


My 'work station' with the dough, flour, the pasta machine along
with a griddle for 'toasting' the pasta sheets and cookie sheets for the cut pasta
sheets that will go straight into the oven.

 

 All the Lapsha dough is cut, floured and now ready for the second setting
on the pasta machine.

Here is the Lapsha dough all set to be rolled on the second setting. 

Lapsha dough is now ready to be put through the third and final
rolling which will make it into the thin sheets of Lapsha ready for cutting.

Here you can see the Lapsha 'sheet'  it is ready to be placed on
a hot griddle (pancake griddle works well set at 350 degrees).
Wait until you see bubbles forming in the dough then flip and watch for
more bubbles to form. You can then take it and put it through the
cutters on the pasta machine or collect a few by placing the sheets into a clean
towel to keep warm.

The Lapsha (pasta dough) fresh off the griddle and into the cutters.
Spread the 'unbaked' pasta noodles thinly on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 until slightly browned (5-8 minutes)

Lapsha nicely browned and smelling so good!

Here is some Lapsha that I cut into 'fettucini size' pieces.
The usually setting for the cutters is 'spaghetti sized'.

Finished Lapsha noodles ready to be put away for storage.
It feels so good to see all the work and effort sitting on the counter,
and knowing that this is the start to so many meals for my family.
 

Lapsha (Egg Noodles) stored in bags that I will keep
in a cool dry place.  You can also store it in jars too!


LAPSHA (EGG NOODLE) RECIPE

12 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon salt
 1/2 cup butter, melted
10 cups flour, approximate

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, water, salt and melted butter.
Whisk until well combined.  Add flour a few cups at a time.
You can also knead in the flour until the dough is smooth - about 10 or 15 minutes.
  Set aside and let rest for about 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, flour your counter and set aside some flour in a bowl.
Cut the dough into large 'golf ball' sized pieces and set aside.
Take each cut piece (both sides) and press firmly into a pile of flour, set aside.
Continue until all your dough is floured.
Repeat this step from step one through two on the pasta rollers.
Once all dough has been floured and rolled through the second setting on the pasta roller,
keep floured dough pieces covered with a tea towel so they do not dry up.
Set your pasta roller to the last mark/setting and continue to roll each piece into
thin sheets, you can stop after 4-5 sheets to start baking,
Set your griddle to 350 and bake each sheet until bubbles form then flip and do the same with
the other side.  DO NOT OVER BAKE as this will make it very difficult to cut.
 It's better to under bake the sheet of pasta dough as it will slide much easier through the cutters.
Working very quickly with the 'bubbled' sheets on the griddle, take each sheet and put
it through the cutters on the pasta machine. Place a cookie sheet under the cutters to collect the
cut pasta.  Once you have a thin layer of cut pasta, place into a 350 degree oven and bake for
5 - 10 minutes, until a light brown colour.  Remove from oven, let cool and store in a large container.
Lapsha is delicate so you do not want to overfill.
Once all your dough pieces are rolled, baked, cut and out of the oven you can then store your Lapsha
in plastic bags or jars.  Keep the Lapsha in a cool dark place and it will store for many months.
Enjoy!

My family's favorite way to eat Lapsha is to boil a few cups of water
add a teaspoon of salt and several tablespoons of butter, bring to a boil then
drop several 'handfuls' of the Lapsha noodles into the boiling water. 
Simmer for approximately 5 minutes.  (it will thicken up the longer it sits)
 Spoon into a bowl and simply enjoy!

Leftovers from this can then be made into Lapshevnik (Noodle 'Cake') - see recipe below.
which can be served with my Vegetarian Chili.


LAPSHEVNIK - Noodle Cake Recipe

2 cups homemade Lapsha Noodles (cooked)
6 eggs, beaten
4 cups sweet cream
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, cream, salt, butter and baking powder.
Mix in the Lapsha Noodles, breaking up any clumps (for leftover Lapsha).
Pour into a 8 x 8 inch 'greased' pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until nicely browned
and the center is set.  Serve hot with melted butter.  This will feed 4-6 people very nicely.

*If using dry Lapsha Noodles, cook the noodles in salted water for 5 minutes, drain and
pour cold water over them to ensure they do not stick together.  Drain well again.
  If using leftover cooked Lapsha take out of the fridge about 15 minutes so they can warm up some, this will make it easier to separate them.
I have also substituted half and half for the cream.

My Grandmother and Mother also had a 'medicinal' recipe for when we got sick,
  I make it for my family when they are feeling 'under the weather'.

Lapsha 'Soup'
Bring one cup of water to a boil, add a pinch or two of salt, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of butter.
Drop in 2-3 Tablespoons of finely diced potatoes and about 1/4 cup of Lapsha.
Simmer until potatoes are tender.  This sure works wonderfully if sick with the flu or cold
or if you don't have an appetite and need some nutrition.


'Your life is a message to the world.  Make sure it's inspiring.'