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Best thing you've ever made?

This is my first post here as I've just started looking at this site but sounds like it's a great group of people to ask for some advice as follows... I'm embarking on a project to make 7 new recipes a week in an attempt to broaden my repertoire, learn new skills, gain confidence to cook and most importantly eat some great new dishes. Obviously there are soooo many recipes on this and other sites. But i'd like to shortlist some ideas by focusing on the real knockouts. Can you share your favourite all-time recipe - best thing you've ever made? Doesn't matter what it is, except nothing with peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pinenuts, pistachios (my husband is allergic). Thanks!

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  1. this recipe (with a 14 ounce can of san marzano tomatoes added) is one of my favorites:

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...

    2 Replies
    1. re: mattstolz

      that sounds awesome and my husband LOVES ribs. Thanks!

      1. re: aussieinsantamonica

        it was a immediate favorite in my house! they fell in love with it as the braising ribs came out of the oven, an hour before it was even done!!

    2. This pate:

      http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cu...

      Actually, it's the second best thing I've ever made. Best, by far, is a cheese and grated carrot sandwich.

      3 Replies
        1. re: Harters

          I'm interested in that cheese and carrot sandwich. What sort of cheese? Bread? Toasted? Buttered? Any condiments?

          1. re: Isolda

            Cheese - Red Leicester
            Bread - supermarket sliced white, untoasted, margarine
            Carrot - organic
            Condiments - no

        2. Curried butternut squash and apple soup. There are lots of recipes for this online. Mine is from the old Marcia Adams show, Amish Cooking from Quilt Country. It absolutely needs chicken broth, and real full fat cream at the end (more if light, less if heavy - that applies to both the type of cream, and your physique! ;-D). The first taste of this soup is a real, where have you been all my life? experience.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            Thank you, I'll look it up, sounds interesting!

          2. This is a Julia Child recipe, a beef and tomato stew with rice. I've made it at least once a year for 30 years.

            http://drhbar.com/2010/09/16/beef-a-l...

            2 Replies
              1. re: ChesterhillGirl

                I made this upon your suggestion yesterday and it is so good! I am having the leftovers now!

              2. I make this Beef Stroganoff for dinner sometimes, and it never fails to please: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...
                I am aware that this isn't the most traditional Stroganoff recipe (I believe there was a 200+ reply thread on the subject a few months back), but it hits all the right notes in my opinion. As an added plus, it also gives you some decent grounding in technique, which is probably even more important than a killer recipe.

                1 Reply
                1. Not necessarily the best things I've ever made but two things I wish I had learned to do earlier, when I started learning to cook are Zuni roast chicken (knowing how to make a good roast chicken is a basic skill, IMO, for anyone who cooks) and no knead bread.

                  1) Zuni roast chicken
                  http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4401342/

                  2) no knead bread (or some newer variation of it
                  )http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/din...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: chowser

                    i agree, these are two essential skills! especially a good bread. i am just getting my hands into freshly baked breads and i wish i had earlier!

                    1. re: chowser

                      sounds good, thanks, I've never done a roast chicken or made bread but agree they are good fundamentals to get to know...

                      1. re: chowser

                        chowser! I can't believe you left out the bread salad! I hope it's in the link. I think that the chicken is just great w/out it, but absolutely fantastic with.

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          I think the bread salad completely makes that dish. It is so incredibly delicious!

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            Ooh, yes, it's part of the link. I should have said it but they come together in my mind. Yeah, the bread salad is incredible (and also where the no knead bread comes in handy).

                        2. Hey, aussie, welcome to Chowhound. I know this isn't directly responsive to your question, but I thought I'd suggest it anyway. We have an ongoing user project here on home cooking called "Cookbook of the Month" where we vote on a book (or books) to cook from for a month and then anyone who is interested can cook along (anyone can vote, too, by the way). I've been participating in COTM off and on since 2008 and I've definitely been introduced to new cuisines and gained confidence in my cooking. Nov and Dec are among our lowest participation months because everyone gets distracted by the holidays, but it's still happening. Here's the current month's "Master thread" (the current month's is always stuck to the top of the home cooking board)

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7441...

                          and next month's "nominations thread.

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7453...

                          There's also a couple threads called "So good you've made it 3 times" you might like.
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6164...

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3903...

                          Good luck! I'm looking forward to reading about your cooking experiences.

                          ~TDQ

                          1 Reply
                          1. Have you ever made fresh pasta? I'm very proud that I taught myself to do this; there are several threads here on how to do this. Practice makes perfect!

                            I use Marcella Hazan's recipe in Essentials of Italian Cooking (Let it rest 1/2 hr - an hour, wrapped in saran wrap, on counter before you roll out -- I use the pasta attachment for kitchen aid mixer.)

                            I make her Bolognese meat sauce recipe. Make her recipe for lasagna Bolognese -- a lot of work but you can make a couple days ahead and on the day of dinner, just bake it off (takes more than the 20 minutes she states.) I like a deep pan for this, I use the Mario Batali lasanga pan.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: walker

                              ohhhh pasta is a great thing to have in your pocket to pull out.

                              few things impress people more than being told that the pasta theyre eating was made from scratch.

                              not only that, but then you can make it any flavor you want!

                              1. re: walker

                                I haven't but that's a good idea, thanks. Freshly made pasta tastes much better too

                                1. re: aussieinsantamonica

                                  If the rolling part of fresh pasta is daunting or you don't want to invest in the equipment, make spaetzle, which is amorphous little dumplings. Threads on the spaetzle maker on the cookware board explain several alternatives for devising your own spaetzle maker from stuff that's already in your kitchen.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    i just put the dough/batter in my ricer and push it through right into the boiling water. once they float i saute them and theyre done! its super easy!

                                    also, if the cost is whats keeping you from rolling pasta, i suggest checking craigslist occasionally for a pasta roller. i got mine for 5 bucks from someone who didnt use theirs. best deal ever!!

                              2. a new Hound from my favorite country in the world who now lives in my 'hood here in SoCal? a great big welcome to you! :)

                                here are some of my favorites and general crowd-pleasers...

                                black bean dip (it's become something of a CH favorite):
                                http://www.chow.com/recipes/24426-ghg...

                                roasted carrot dip - i've made some changes to it, but this recipe is a terrific starting point:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6793...

                                wasabi-sesame crusted tuna:
                                http://www.chow.com/recipes/11527-was...

                                mushroom ragout (it's *wonderful* served over polenta or mashed potatoes):
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/648921

                                brussels sprouts w/anchovy, capers & lemon:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576137

                                chana masala:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/579006

                                triple ginger molasses cake:
                                http://www.chow.com/recipes/14059-ghg...

                                dark chocolate cranberry tart:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/576134

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  wow, great and varied selection, thanks a lot!

                                2. I've fallen in love with this cracker recipe from another chowhound: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2787... These are super useful, super easy, inexpensive, yummy. "Best" has so many meanings...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: THewat

                                    The best meal we had this evening.. I made Chicken Marbella and for a side dish I made basmanti rice with vegetables. I added a teaspoon each of low sodium soy sauce and a teaspoon fish sauce. Did not have prunes or green olives, so I used cooked dried apricots with black olives.

                                    1. re: classylady

                                      sounds great, thanks - I've seen chicken Marbella mentioned on a few threads as being a beautiful dish, will add to my to-do list

                                    2. re: THewat

                                      Thanks, I eat a lot of cheese and crackers so why not try making them? Yes "best" could mean many things, but I figure if something is the first thing to pop into your head, it must be good..

                                    3. i would say the best thing I have made so far is my Bacon Risotto topped with seared Scallops in a brown butter sauce. Made it for my husband's brithday...needless to say he loved it ;)

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                        I wouldn't mind having a recipe for that risotto, bmg. I'd appreciate it a whole lot!

                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                          wow, can you share actual recipe? scallops are one of my favourite foods... with bacon and brown butter sauce I can imagine it would be awesome... thanks

                                          1. re: aussieinsantamonica

                                            Of course i will share!!

                                            Make the risotto according to package directions with the exception of replacing the last cup of (seafood) stock with white wine and then hit it with a ΒΌ cup of parmesan cheese and 1 cup of diced scallops. Do not grip about cheese and seafood, this works!

                                            In a non stick skillet over medium heat cook off 6 slices of bacon until crispy and set aside and in the same pan turn the heat to med-high and sear the (blackended seasoned) scallops about 5 to 7 minutes depending on thickness and set aside. Remove pan from heat and wipe out, place 1 stick of REAL butter and let cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, just until it starts to get a pale brown, remove from heat, do not let the butter burn!... Mix the bacon with the scallop risotto and place on a serving dish and top with the seared scallops, to finish spoon brown butter sauce all over and serve

                                        2. Asparagus Risotto w/ wine, lemon and parmesan, topped w/ seared panko-crusted(gremolata in the panko) scallops. Mmmmmmmmmm.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. From Cooking Light, this Island Beef Stew.

                                            http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                                            Also, Nigella Lawson's cheddar cheese risotto using Magic Hat #9 "not quite pale" ale instead of the wine and chicken stock instead of vegetable stock. It's magic, and you can wrap the leftovers up in little proscuitto pockets and heat in a skillet the next day, which is possibly even better.

                                            http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/c...

                                            This bolognese - I'm going to try it in a lasagna for the first time next week:

                                            http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                                            And really, anything that involves a slow cooker and a pork shoulder. Carnitas, Char Siu Biao, the recipe for Hawaiian pineapple pork sandwiches on this website - you can't go wrong.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. So far, it's Jo Goldenberg's Parisian bagels:

                                              http://www.melindalee.com/index.php?o...

                                              So simple, and I really do need to make another batch this autumn...

                                              1 Reply