Robert Narracci's blog

Bowl Carving

So today I departed from my neoprimitivism to see just how quickly I could bang out a bowl. I produced the a similarly goofy looking bowl as I did last time (this one has a sort of scandinavian boat motif) but this time I did it in 5 hours. Word of caution....the circular chainsaw grinder attachment I use for the fast rough-out behaves similarly to a chainsaw in that its very agressive and can pull one into a cut. This is not to be used in a careless way and should only be used with safety gear (face protection, hand protection and thick clothing.)

Sous Vide Hack

Sous Vide is a cooking method with which you immerse vacuum sealed food in a hot water bath and cook it slow and low. The hot water bath is controlled by a water heater/recirculator with a very tight range of temperature control (to one degree F). Since proteins in particular are more temperature sensitive than time sensitive, sous vide allows one to cook and hold food for long periods of time without degradation or loss of moisture. These temperature ranges for various states of doneness are often from about 120F - 160F.

Porchetta Ravioli in Brodo

Not too long ago I ate at a small family run Italian restaurant in Dallas. Their claim to fame is handmade pasta and they have one of those $15K bronze die pasta extruders that leaves proper tooth on the surface of the pasta in order to better hold sauce. We tried many of their wares and the the standout dish was not an extruded noodle but a fresh egg noodle made for ravioli. The dish is called Pasta in Brodo (pasta in broth). More specifically it was a porchetta ravioli served in a chicken broth with a full sprig of rosemary dunked into the broth.

Gnocchi Paddle

Like Aziz Ansari, I dedicate a substantial portion of my life to  making and consuming pasta. This little device allows you to make ridged dumplings like gnocchi, capunti and cavatelli. It’s also very easy to make and is a great holiday gift. 

Coffee

On weekend mornings, I like to treat myself to home brewed coffee; high quality, whole bean, ground on the spot and french pressed. Takes about 20 minutes but well worth it. I’m lucky enough to own an antique coffee grinder that has an interesting story. In the early 20th century, my Irish grandparents were servants at the Brewster Estate (now Edgerton Park) in New Haven. Frederick Brewster was the equivalent of New Haven's John Rockefeller. When he wasn't off on safari, he was making phat stacks of Benjamin’s with a life size train set that covered most of New England. Mr.

Making an Elliptical Storm Window

So I had spent a long cold winter fabricating around forty-or-so old tymee tilt out storm windows for our 1895 house. That was tough but I was left with an even more vexing problem of how to protect an elliptical leaded glass window high up on the facade. First was getting on a  high ladder and taking measurements and then reproducing it in drawing. Suffice to say, the ancient Greeks figured out how to easily draw an ellipse with two sticks and a piece of string, but I cheated with digital drawing software and made a print out as a template.

Bike Hacks

So I ride my bike to and from work almost every day and given NHV's slow but methodical march towards normalization of bicycles on roadways, I decided it would be safe and proper to get a bike light. The bicycle accessory industry has a dazzling array of options with equally dazzling expense. Because my priorities are focused less upon lighting the roadway and more upon making my presence evident to motorists, I opted out of spending hundreds of dollars on a high tech “bike light”.

T-Shirt Silkscreening

A long time ago I saw a funny logo about bike riding in San Fran and, given the rustic state of our own city's road infrastructure, it inspired me to rework the logo for New Haven. I've always been fond of the New Haven Railroad logo designed by Herbert Matter and used that as the basis of the design. I then merged in a human figure ala Saul Bass (Hitchcock's "Vertigo" logo) and a touch of Milton Glasier's "I Love New York" logo.

Cremona Bread

So on July 4th I did an epic barbecue involving dry rubbed, apple smoked pulled pork served on Hawaiian Malasadas (Portuguese deep fried donuts) with fresh cabbage slaw and mango/jalapeno sauce...but that’s not what this blog entry is about. A byproduct of that effort was me not wanting to waste the half inch of fatback (skin and fat layer) that I cut off of the two pork shoulders.