I hope you have a full cup of coffee before starting to read this monster post – although it will mostly be pictures!

I am glad everyone was so concerned over my not having pizza Friday night.  Don’t worry – I took care of that as soon as I woke up Saturday morning!

spinach, Italian sausage and egg pizza!

I love the yolk like that – not runny, but slightly tender – YUM!  Tony still doesn’t get my obsession with pizza, but that’s okay! šŸ˜€

Tony had heard about a chili cook-off at the high end mall that my step-son Joe works at.  It was a fundraiser – $10 per person to visit 7 establishments and try their chili.  You could order a beer if you wanted, or they just had water – there was no pressure to buy anything, which was nice!

It started at Cooper Hawk’s.  We have not eaten there, but they are known for their winery – and they ONLY sell their wine.  Their chili was a short rib with blue cheese corn bread on top.   They had a list of the descriptions of all the chili’s, but I left it on the counter after filling out my winner šŸ™

their chili was good – we loved the short ribs, slightly smokey flavor, but all in all, just okay

The best chili of all was at Joe’s theater!   There is no picture, because they had the tasting in one of the theaters, and had previews of movies going on.  Tony and I split a beer here – $4.00 for one.   Their chili was three bean with jalapenos – just on the upper level of Tony’s heat register – I absolutely loved it, and told Joe they should put it on the menu.

Joe hard at work – so professional! šŸ˜€

Next up, Nozumi – a sushi place.   We have always walked right past this place, thinking it would be really expensive – and we were surprised that it was quite reasonable.  Mara, you and your husband would love this place – during lunch hours they have bento boxes are between $10 and $13 and come with shrimp tempura, house salad, rice and miso soup!

Their chili was also a short rib with Asian flavors – they handed it to us and it was loaded with red onion on the top and after taking that off, it was pretty good.

Then we went to Ruth’s Chris.  Tony and I have had the best steaks there – although the place is REALLY expensive.  With drink I think we normally spend between $125 and $150 for two people! Their secret is that right before the steak gets sent to the table, they drizzle clarified butter on the steak.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  And this place was the only one that offered Tabasco! šŸ˜€

Their chili was not memorable, in fact I think Tony just took one bite and put it aside.

but we’ll go back for the steak!

The event turned out to be more popular than expected and places started to run out of chili.  Anyone who makes chili knows that you can’t really make chili on the fly – it takes time to develop the flavors.  So when we went to Froots – we both took one bite and threw it out – it tasted like tomato dish water with beans!  But Joe says they have great wraps!

Next up was L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie.  Mom, next time you come out by me I want to take you there!  This was our second favorite chili – mild heat but strong flavors.  And the guy serving it to us had a cool French accent! šŸ˜€

And what store happened to be right across the way??  Sur La Table!   A cooks heaven!

Actually, some of the stuff on sale was not that expensive – they had a whole wall full of wine glasses!

The store had really narrow aisles, and Tony wasn’t comfortable – next time I’ll take a longer look – I love touching everything when I shop!

Last stop – Pinstripes!  OMG, this place is huge!  Bocce courts, bowling alleys, restaurant and bar.  They even have an outdoor bocce court for the summer!  We didn’t even eat chili there, but filled out our ballot for Joe’s theater.  We then got reusable grocery bags and aprons for participating!  We sat down at the bar, I had a glass of wine and Tony had a beer.  The best part about this whole experience was that we went into places we never would have – and were mostly pleasantly surprised!

We were looking at the menu at Pinstripes, and I saw cream of tomato soup and had to get it!  I plan on making Noble Pig’s Bloody Mary tomato soup this week too!

leather couches and servers to bring drinks – score!

All in all it was a great time.  The weather, while cold, wasn’t too bad because the sun was shining and there was no wind.  It was nice to walk around and get some fresh air!

I had homemade spinach fettuccine on my menu last week, but quickly discovered since I am new at making pasta – it wouldn’t work for a week day meal.  I had to use up the spinach so last night was the night.  Hannah had to babysit, so it was a date night in for me and Tony!

Spinach Fettuccine

  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour

That’s it! I decided to make it in my food processor and it was so simple.  First you start out what seems like a ton of spinach:

I put about 1/2 cup of water in the bottom, put a lid on and in 10 minutes it was wilted
it reduced down to this! Run cold water over it to stop the cooking process, then put in paper towels and ring out all the water
I pureed the spinach with one egg at a time
I love the color!!
then I added 1 cup of flour at a time. And yes, I am using my steel blade in the food processor and it worked out just fine

Once the flour is combined, I just dumped it on my counter and kneaded it for all of about a minute.

So while the teacher at the pasta class I went to at Williams-Sonoma was on the annoying side – I learned what I was missing while making pasta.  The last time I tried, once I ran it through the pasta roller, it had holes all over it.  But you need to take that long holey sheet, fold it in thirds, then run it through again.  And again.  And again.  It takes about 10 times at the widest setting to get it to look good.

look at how pretty!!

The woman at the store had an attachment to her kitchen aid, so was able to make the pasta by herself.  I have the old fashioned crack version, so I needed Tony’s help – he cranked while I guided the pasta out.   The picture of him helping me was hilarious, but I had it on the wrong camera setting so it didn’t turn out – but thanks for your help Tony! šŸ˜€

I have three attachments to the roller – spaghetti, angel hair pasta and fettuccine.  I decided to make the fettuccine.

don’t worry if it is sticking together at this point – once you add it to the boiling water you can use your spaghetti spoon and separate the strands while they cook
don’t forget to add lots of salt to the water!
the color is just amazing – I thought maybe after it cooked it would change color, but it didn’t

I heated up some previously made pasta sauce and just added about 4 ounces of Italian sausage for me and Tony to split.  Then shaved good parm over the top.  After Tony finished eating he said “This is a keeper!”  Music to my ears! šŸ˜€

If you are still here, thanks for reading this giant post!   Off to go check the grill.  Yes, you read that right – we have a giant ham on the grill and it’s 20 degrees outside! šŸ˜€

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!