Nudi Pasta.The start-up of a fresh pasta business.

Any person that knows me well, knows I'm always thinking of new business ideas. I could probably say I've been doing businesses (or at least researching about them) all my life. It started in kinder garden with silk worms, $1 each, 2nd grade handmade hair pins, 3rd grade a small bank where my parents would "deposit" pennies, a monthly newspaper that covered 4th grader things like school crushes, then I got more fancy with holiday presents like brownies and cookies all nicely packed and everything.

Sharing some home-made brownies in Kinder garden.

My mom was always very supportive, and I thank her for taking me to buy ingredients, bulk colorful necklace beads, and waking up with me at 5 am to pack cookies in nice little bags to sell that morning in school.

My dad, even though he never woke up at 5, he always listened to my ideas and inspired me in a way that felt like I could do anything I wanted.

Now I'm grown up and it's time to start new adventures. But this time, with a bigger market than 5th graders. So through this blog I'll share with you my story, of the start-up of a small artisan pasta business, everything from ups and downs, and maybe you can one day become part of my adventure too.



From a laundry room to ... Nudi Pasta!

After months of testing flour, construction, working with distributors and dreaming of pasta... I'm proud to say that Nudi Pasta is ready to be launched!

Obviously I'm still under a learning process, and the following months will introduce me to new challenges. Nudi Pasta has already 4 scheduled route stops(check site for details), several types of pasta chosen as our initial offering (much more on the experimental station), an informational and hopefully fun website, an ecofriendly packaging and some great pasta add-ons like The Suegra's Pesto that might even steal the show.

In the future I expect to keep adding more creative confections, like raviolis and sauces and flavored pastas like the Bad Banana Ranch's Pepper pasta (a pasta with a good kick of spice, but not disabling!). We are also extending our garden, to provide us with herbs and hopefully one day with everything "veggie or herby" that we use.

I need to thank my family (mom dad and abuela) for all their help and specially for offering me their laundry room to be converted into a commercial kitchen and enduring the days of destruction and construction of the backyard! I need to thank Phil for all his unconditional love and help (which takes shape in many ways) and also my friends for being my guinea pigs!


Pasta tasting and waiting

At home, we have been in a gluttonous streak of eating this insane amount of luscious, delicate, tasty pasta still steaming from being boiled and drizzled with a little of creamy decadent butter and sprinkled with some light and airy parmigiano reggiano cheese snowflakes... ok, ok I'll stop; my marketing degree b.s#!$ was trying to speak out for me. But definitely, the way we have enjoyed this has been so much, that it should be considered a crime.

Some of you got little bites sneaked out of my front door, and some of you have only heard from the "lucky" ones about the bites. But do not worry my friends; in about 2 weeks my pasta tasting party will be on.

Now I'm just waiting for my first order of the finalist ingredients and other stuff to arrive. Labels, containers, eggs, flour, etc are all in their way! So hold on, because Nudi Pasta's real beginning is about to start!


Here comes "la huevona"

Tomatoes are ripening, ingredients have arrived, notes are being taken, the extruding pasta machine is finally doing what it knows best... pasta.

After month's of reconstruction, the pasta room is basically ready. I'm now in the quest for perfect pasta.

The week started with the arrival of my eggs; cage-free eggs from vegetarian fed chickens. This turned out to be a very funny moment for me, which I still can't believe I did not photograph.
Since I'm still on a test period, I still don't need 30 dozen eggs in a week (which is the minimum amount of eggs required to be able to buy at a good price from the distributor). So, some of you had the pleasure of buying from me, while I went up and down in my building, with a cooler full of eggs cartons and ice.

----Knock, Knock, on my friend Chendy's door.

----"Here's la huevona!!!".

---- Great... the new nickname I just needed.


I have a favorite local farmer... do you?

A dream of mine. As expressed in Bon Appetit Magazine: "... a place where foodies not only have a favorite chef, but a favorite farmer; a place where the distance between the organic farm and the award-winning restaurant is mere miles; a place where a sustainable future is foreseeable".

I was really impressed with last weekend's organic market in Hato Rey. Beyond the typical plantains, yuca, batatas etc that you might find at la Plaza del Mercado for example, there were others types of vegetables like radishes, japanese greens, red romaine, fresh yogurt, carrots and herbs; and all local and organically grown! As seen in some pics below.

So what did I make? Here I share with you a recipe:

Caramelized Carrots with Green Peas:

I took the bunch of carrots from the market and peeled them. (If making at home, and you don't have these carrots, you might want to use about 1 medium carrot per person). These little babies were like two carrots attached on the top, very strange and hard to peel but totally worth it! Later, cut in 1/2 inch chunks. Warm at medium heat a dash of butter and olive oil, add half of a diced small onion and carrots. Cook for about 35 minutes in medium-low, until browned and caramelized. Then add some thawed frozen peas from bag, a sprig of thyme, sprinkle fresh pepper and kosher salt. Voila! Easy fresh side for your next dinner.


I found my flour! 10,000 years in the making

In the morning, when we pleasurably bite into a chewy piece of "pan sobao" or maybe into a buttery croissant, we could easily forget that what we are eating took thousands of years to be developed. Yes, I'm talking about the flour. It all started 10,000 years ago, when man learned how to breed new grasses from the seeds of a wild plant. It later took 4,000 more years for our ancestors to discover that these seeds can be crushed between simple grindstones.

Today, after a long time of searching I found the flours I will try to use for my pasta; 6 to be exact. I still think I might even order some other kinds, to try the infinite combinations that might result in what I believe is perfect pasta. I will be part of an organic coop, which gives the opportunity to bakers, caterers, and other small businesses alike to buy together from several distributors.

I'm overjoyed of being able to find organic flours and cage free organic eggs. It's all coming together!


Thinking about cucumbers makes me smile

What about the garden?

Since Phil and I are still learning about this whole hydroponic garden thing, we've had to let go of several plants, and replaced them with other types. The squash has been flowering, and it seems like 2 small squashes are on the way, as seen below.

Our tomato plants are now taking the prize for speedy growth, and we have 3 types of them growing; Israeli tomatoes(A.K.A. Money Makers), Japanese tomatoes (A.K.A. Golden Gems), and the other ones .... I can't remember.

We have also an experimental honeydew (seeds from a melon I bought in the supermarket) which is growing really well. Cucumber with its yellow flowers and Yard Long Green Beans, which are already half way up in the trellis.

What the 3 kings brought me

Wow, it's been a while since I wrote last in the blog. Mostly, I've been on vacation celebrating the holidays with my family, which I love, but that without a choice you are almost forced to do, since Puerto Rico goes into a commercial "cease-fire" period during the holidays. (That excludes Plaza Las Americas Mall, of course).

Santa somehow knew I really needed a camera for the blog, and got me a new Nikon SLR. Sweeeeet!!! Even though in the states the holidays are over when you realize it's that unfortunate 1st day of the year, where you were supposed to start that diet you promised yourself about; in Puerto Rico holidays keep on going for a few days more after the 3 Kings (Jan 6th).

Even though gold, incense and "mirra" (whatever that is), sound like cool gifts, the 3 Kings decided to bring me some more practical gifts for Nudi Pasta... like a stove, fridge and sink.

As you can see, the Puerto Rican extended holidays have it's perks; unless you are trying to get something done, which in that case you will have to wait until about Valentine's day. ;)