What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

My answer’s easy: we had leftover basil from a soup I made on Friday night (a Tuscan bean soup that I’ll tell you about later in the week). I whipped up a quick pesto–garlic, pine nuts, and salt zapped with the basil and then olive oil streamed in through the tube, grated Parmesan added at the end–and, instead of using dried spaghetti as I normally might, I made linguini from scratch:

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That might sound incredibly audacious, but it really wasn’t. I used a Lydia Bastianich recipe and it was this simple: put two cups of flour into a bowl, add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 Tbs of cold water. That’s it. Stir together with a fork until it comes together into a ball and then knead it in the bowl. Once it’s really together, put on a floured board and need for another few minutes. Wrap in plastic, let rest 30 minutes, and then put through your pasta machine.

Now I won’t lie, my machine was causing me some frustration. Craig heard me yelling a certain word that starts with “F” from the other room, and that’s because: (1) the machine kept hopping around, the clamp that’s supposed to stick it to the table wasn’t working; and (2) mysteriously, the first setting wasn’t flattening the pasta the way it should have, it was making it all dimpled and weird. I resolved this by rolling it out a lot by hand and then feeding it through the machine: once I did that, it was a cinch. I got a big pot of water boiling, cooked the pasta for less than a minute, and then tossed with the pesto. It was fantastic.

But enough about me…what was the best thing you ate this weekend??

P.S. My Next Iron Chef post is up on The Food Network site, check it out here.

P.P.S. Last week I did an interview with Jewcy, a Jewish website, and if you want to read all about my bris and how the mohel botched it, you can click here.

P.P.P.S. You may have noticed my picture quality looks a little funky: that’s because my real camera’s in the shop, so I’ve been using my cellphone camera. Hopefully my camera will be repaired and ready this week. Thank you.

46 comments

  1. Homemade Jalapeno Poppers!!!

    Very easy, but sooooo good:

    Fresh jalapeno peppers (cut in half lengthwise with the seeds and veins taken out)

    Fill each half with cream cheese, sprinke on a little cheddar cheese and wrap with 1/2 slice of bacon.

    Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes

    You cannot eat just one!!!

    keri

  2. Pork shoulder roasted with hard cider and red onions. The recipe is from the Winter ’07 issue of Donna Hay Magazine. I was feeling the need for something that took a long time to make, but required no actual monitoring. This was perfect. The meat was so tender you didn’t even need a knife, and the flavor of the hard cider was fantastic with the red onions. The only caveat is that the dish itself is pretty sweet, so it really needs something bitter to offset it–Brussels sprouts or something. Not realizing how sweet it was going to be, we had the fennel gratin from Alice Waters’ latest cookbook. It wasn’t my finest pairing, but both were incredible.

  3. Thinly sliced hamachi drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, topped with wild arugula. Yum! I can’t even imagine what 8 oz of top-quality hamachi would have cost at a sushi place, but for well under $20, my boyfriend and I shared a really blissful dish at home.

  4. I experimented with some stuffed pork chops and garlic/mushroom gravy this weekend, and I must say that although I was scared as hell to try it, it actually came out better than the chops I had at a restaurant a while back.

  5. yes, that pasta definitely looks wonderful. it has never once occurred to me to make my own. yum!

    I had a great emeril recipe this weekend (and I normally don’t like his stuff). it was kicked up breaded pork chops. they were the most flavorful chops I think I have ever had.

  6. I am greedy and made cakes for my birthday! A pumpkin cheese cake, an apple walnut, and a three layered chocolate with chocolate icing! The very best though was smooshing a bite of the chocolate-chocolate with a bite of the pumpkin cheesecake….mmmm…

  7. A crisp, fire-pit cooked flatbread topped with white bean hummus, carmelized leeks and grilled shrimp plus a toasted almond cake with a prune and armagnac ice cream (holy heaven) at Ford’s Filling Station. I literally had to keep myself from licking the plate clean.

  8. Saturday morning I shredded left over fried chicken, cooked up some bacon, shredded Gruyère, shredded [mystery cheese in fridge] and threw it in an omelet for Boy and myself. Tasted excellent and it was a wonder accompaniment to watching America’s Test Kitchen that morning … (ok – I thought it was – Boy wanted to watch Transformers again)

  9. Went to PF Chang’s this weekend and half orange peel beef. I know it’s a chain but thought it was awesome!

  10. Fairly simple: a double gelato at the National Gallery café, chocolate-pistachio plus raspberry-banana (the latter was sort of like bubble gum).

  11. Last night, I treated Colin to one of my favorite dishes from my trip to Italy (I just got back Saturday night):

    Crostini with fresh pecorino cheese drizzled with truffle honey. Unbelievable.

  12. my hubby surprised me with a Top-Chef style challenge: 7 minutes to plan and 70 minutes to execute a meal with him as my soux chef. the best dish was shiitake, wilted spinach and chevre phyllo purses. so fun. and yummy.

  13. A heady bowl of duck noodle soup from Nonya on Grand Street in Chinatown. Generous portions of duck meat and strand after strand of egg noodles — this was comfort food at its finest!!

  14. I went to a superb little restaurant called Canele in LA’s Atwater Village, where I had a whole roasted branzino with parsley, lemon, and cous cous. Wonderfully tender and flavorful fish and the aroma of the whole meal took me straight to the Mediterranean. That linguine pesto recipe is great though, I’ll be sure to use it (once I get a pasta maker)

  15. Thanks for this post. I needed some inspiration to drag out the pasta machine my sweet roommate got me for a holiday present last year! Perhaps I’ll try making pasta tomorrow……as for this weekend, I made a delicious kale and cheddar frittata for my birthday breakfast with friends. And we also had an awesome Sunday night meal of Cheetos, Bryers Cookies & Cream ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, Baked Lays, and Coca Cola. And I didn’t even feel terrible when I woke up this morning!

  16. “Once it’s really together, put on a floured board and need for another few minutes.”

    Dude, I hope it wasn’t so hard on you needing for a few minutes! :) I kid. The noodles look so perfectly al dente. I’m not sure why the same rollers would make a dimpled result. Are they rotating smoothly at that setting?

    Best thing this weekend would be handmade ravioli!

  17. I unfortunately ate out for every meal this weekend, (although all of it was really good), except for my Saturday brunch at 2pm (I was out at a party the night before). I had fried mushrooms and two eggs over easy, with rye toast.

    Becaus there wasn’t quite enough cholesteral in all of that, I stirred a couple of spoonfuls of garden vegetable cream cheese into the mushrooms as they were cooking to make them all creamy and delicious. The toast was whole-grain rye, which sort of makes up for that though.

    It was the best breakfast ever. Me, my food and the newspaper.

  18. Hi there,

    Pumpkin Sage Pecan Chili ravioli from the Voluptuous Vegan except I put eggs in the dough. I didn’t have a pasta maker but I had the pumpkin from my garden all ready so I rolled out the pasta dough with a rolling pin. It didn’t take as long as I thought it would, you know, only an hour or so…

    I enjoy your blog and am looking forward to reading the book!

  19. My answer’s also easy–my boyfriend and I went to this restaurant (it’s called Bofinger and it’s in Montreal, if you want to look it up), which is basically a southern grill. We got made-to-order beef brisket sandwiches where we got to choose the type of bbq sauce, the type of side, and the toppings we wanted. PLUS unlimited fountain drinks! I’m glad you asked! ;)

  20. This week is midterms so I haven’t cooked in a while, but I did get to have my favorite green curry from my favorite hole in the wall thai place. It made studying infinitely better.

  21. The best thing I had this weekend was the jerk chicken salad at the Feeding Tree on Walton Avenue in The Bronx near Yankee Stadium. The meat was tender, moist and just spiced enough to be assertive but not overpoweringly hot. The greens were crisp and flavorful. Washed down with homemade ginger beer, it was a perfect light meal.

  22. Grilled halloumi-style cheddar cheese topped with crispy bits of prosciutto and served with a pomegranate/walnut remoulade on the side. Wrote about it on my blog. It was awesome.

  23. A soup concoction that I call chana masala soup—basically a tomato soup with Indian spices and chickpeas. I got bored with my usual vaguely Italian creamy tomato soup, so I made a very vaguely Indian one.

  24. Man, I wish I had a special meal to report but I was flying and it was that horrible prefab food on the plane. I had a good breakfast burrito at the Chili’s in the airport. Not gourmet but hard to beat eggs and cheese in a burrito when you are hungry.

  25. Man, I wish I had a special meal to report but I was flying and it was that horrible prefab food on the plane. I had a good breakfast burrito at the Chili’s in the airport. Not gourmet but hard to beat eggs and cheese in a burrito when you are hungry.

  26. Tofu Udon at Republic in Union Square on Sunday. I’ve had it plenty of times before, but this was just wonderful this time. Maybe it was because it was the first really cold-ish fall day of the year, but it was so satisfying. The tofu was perfectly cooked. The broth was also better than usual. Also satisfying is that it’s one of the cheapest things on the menu…

  27. Oh my Lord, reading everyone’s entries is making me hungry! I made caramel-chile pork with eggplant and seared rice noodles that rocked my world.

    Great question . . . and great blog!

  28. I just flew back from my best friend’s wedding in Argentina, so my best meal would be the last meal in Buenos Aires. Huge, tasty, practically-mooing steak, totally plain, with a massive side of chips topped with crispy onions and a tiny bit of tomato and spinach balsamic salad (to kid myself it was healthy). All rounded off with a gorgeous bottle of red. And it came in at £10. Bargain :o)

  29. We were invited to a private party at the modern, Danny Meyer’s restaurant in MOMA on Saturday night. I had some kind of delicious fresh rose-petal/berry cocktail, and then the servers started coming around with trays: tiny arugula gruyere quiche wedges, crunchy shrimp, all kinds of other good passed hors d’oeuvres. Then a salad of frisee and other greens and creamy, soft-aged goat cheese and roasted pear and caramelized onions. Then flounder in a creamy coriander seed sauce with fresh bok choy and green papaya. Next — perfectly roasted beef tenderloin with escarole, olive oil potato puree and arugula sauce. Finally an exquisite chocolate-pear birthday cake, and petite fours — a gorgeous fruit pound cake, very fudgy truffly raspberry brownie squares, and amazing raspberry tuiles. And great wines as well as Billecart Salmon champagne with everything. Yes, despite any and all of my own cooking efforts, that WAS the best meal we had this weekend.

  30. I don’t even bother with the machine for linguini. As long as you get the thickness roughly right, I really think the hand-rolled and hand-cut look suits it better. I use my machine for anything finicky like spaghetti, any filled pasta, or lasagna, but otherwise, yeah, lining it all up and rolling it through is more work than just taking a rolling pin to it against a countertop.

    For example…

  31. Oh, and as for this weekend, I was on vacation, and had dinner Saturday at the French Laundry. That was the best thing I ate. ;)

  32. Best meal this weekend was Monday night at Bohannan’s here in San Antonio. I had the Asian pear salad, which is accompanied by a bleu cheese and prosciutto-stuffed broiled fig, and then bluefin tuna, which came over risotto with a beef au jus and was topped by a bit of broiled foie gras. Truly excellent.

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