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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Perfect Pasta and Pasta with Cod, Lemon & Herbs Recipe

It has been a pretty soggy spring in the Seattle area. I keep telling myself that the dripage will bring an extra beautiful summer but since my seeds keep getting moldy before they have a chance to sprout, maybe not. I can always be thankful for the evergreen trees, fish and cute rain boots… minus the time that group of senior citizens made fun of them.

I keep wanting to make summer dishes but instead find myself drowning in pots of homemade chicken noodle soup in May and the giggles of senior citizens making fun of my fashionable rain boots in June. I forgive them because they just don’t understand how desperate we are to have fashion while we puddle walk…. that, and they were the cutest group of people I have ever seen.

Desperate for newness, I made this pasta dish the other night. It was delightfully fresh yet still cozy. It sparked a memory in me that I’m going to admit to you now. This is just between you and I so don’t go laughing all the way to Twitter with this or anything, okay? I could lose followers if this gets out. I learned how to properly cook noodles in my thirties. Yep, it’s true.

Okay, you back now? “Human salvation demands the divine disclosure of truths surpassing reason.” – Saint Thomas Aquinas. Yep, pretty sure I have surpassed reason with many things that I have disclosed in my life. I am now healing from the healing process. Anyhow, back to the noodles.

Just in case anyone else is still suffering from the same newlywed wife brain dysfunction that I had, I am about to teach you how to cook noodles.

Gladys, I do believe she must be knee-deep in those ding-dang boots again. She ain’t thinkin’ straight.

Ignore the voices. I understand your dilemma. You are ready for adulthood but you watch as others are trying to smile as they suffer through your first homemade meal but they cannot smile because their teeth are sticking together from your half crunchy, half mushy pasta.

You watched your mom cook all those years. How could you not know how to cook? Girls, it’s because we were teenagers and we thought we knew everything so we only half paid attention. Please allow me to spare you any future embarrassment and allow you to shine at the dinner table!

Using your noodle to cook perfect pasta

1. Put 16-20 cups* of water in a large pot.*

2. Wait for water to boil.*

3. Add 16 ounces of pasta to boiling water.

4. Stir the pasta right after you put it in the water & stir occasionally during cooking.*

5. Follow the package directions for cooking times.* If the pasta is to be used as part of a dish that requires further cooking, under cook the pasta by 1/3 of the cooking time on the package.

6. Taste the pasta to determine if it is done.” Pasta should be “al dente,” or firm to the bite, yet cooked through. Drain pasta immediately* and stir in about a tablespoon of olive oil for added flavor & to help prevent stickiness.

*These items are the most common pasta cooking mistakes. Change your heedless ways and you too can make perfect pasta every time! For example, if you do not drain the pasta immediately, the pasta will keep cooking while sitting in the water even if it’s off the burner since the water is very hot.

Okay, back to our recipe. Cook one pound of perfect pasta and come along with me… the benefit from coming along with me is that you will never have to live with someone else taking credit for every good recipe you ever made just because someone taught you late in life how to cook a noodle. Girl power!

Place a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan and turn to medium heat.

Add about 6-8 ounces of cod (more or less is fine) and a dash of salt & pepper & fry about 10 minutes on each side.

As the noodle instructions say above, stir a tablespoon or two of olive oil into your perfect noodles.

Add the zest and juice of one lemon (watch for seeds). I can smell summer already, California summer, that is.

Now comes the fun part. Seasonings! First, grate a couple (or more, if you like) cloves of garlic. I bought this handy set and love it. It makes a very fine grated garlic which I adore. It blends into my recipes so nicely.

Flake cod into bite size pieces. Add cod & garlic to pasta.

Chop a few tablespoons each of fresh flat leaf parsley, chervil, and oregano. Cool thing is that you can play with various herbs like thyme, sage, dill or cilantro. Add what you like! In fact, if you can cook perfect pasta, you can grow your own herb garden. Best part is, herbs love cruddy, sandy soil and they come back year after year! They are the perfect garden for a girl who has the boots for gardening but no patience for it. Add salt & pepper to taste and stir.

Ahhhhh… “Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” – Federico Fellini

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