As you might imagine, we talk about favorites a lot around here: favorite food, favorite gadgets, favorite cheftestants (admittedly, a guilty pleasure). Recently, I asked some of the ladies at Fine Cooking a seemingly impossible question to answer: What’s your favorite FC recipe from 2009?
Check out their answers and share your own by commenting below. You can also check out our 2009 Annual Recipe Index for a complete list of every recipe FC published this year.
Lisa starts us off. . .
As I thought back over recipes from 2009, what immediately sprang to my mind was cheese and cake.
Cheese, because our Make Your Own Feta article from late summer was such an eye-opener. I had tasted really fresh mozzarella before, and knew how revelatory it could be, but the homemade feta turned out by our test kitchen was unlike any feta I had ever had. The flavor was so milky, so clean tasting, and the texture so smooth, I haven’t been able to go back to store-bought feta. The taste made the 12-day process of making, curing, and brining the cheese worth the wait.
The cake recipes from Rebecca Rather in our Dec/Jan issue were my second most memorable creations this year. In three amazing, decadent, over-the-top cakes, Rebecca demonstrated why she is known as The Pastry Queen. I adored all three cakes, but if forced to pick a favorite, I would choose the White Chocolate Macadamia Cake with Raspberries and White Chocolate Buttercream. The combination of buttery white chocolate, rich macadamia nuts, and fresh raspberries in the filling made this cake unlike any I had tasted. It’s a bit involved and really too decadent to make for anything but a special occasion (it will make an appearance at my New Year’s Eve dinner)—although it is one sure way to make any occasion memorable.
—Lisa Waddle, managing editor
|Homemade Feta||White Chocolate Macadamia Cake with Raspberries and White Chocolate Buttercream|
Really, I can only pick just one? The recipe I made again and again was the Summer Corn Soup with Crisp Prosciutto from the Aug/Sep issue. After making it the first time I actually started to crave it. It was a wonderful option for the abundance of sweet summer corn I was buying at my local farm stand. The first time I made it I served it as a first course to the Classic Maryland Crab Cakes (June/July issue), my new favorite recipe for crab cakes. (OK, I guess that actually makes two favorite recipes. I told you it was too difficult to pick just one!). The second time I made it, I served it as a light main course with a fresh mixed green salad, and the third time, I packed it in separate containers, shared some with friends and family, and kept the rest for lunch at work. My only regret: I never put any in the freezer to reheat on a cold winter day. I know I’m going to be thinking about that soup in February.
—Pam Winn, associate art director
I’m always cold. In the summer there’s too much air conditioning, and in the winter, there’s never enough heat. So soup is my friend—year-round. I have a standard chicken soup, and a couple of variations on lentil, and there’s a Carrot and Coriander Soup I like from FC #32. I had never, however, made a vegetable soup I really wanted to go back to until I tried Ellie Krieger’s Autumn Vegetable Soup in the Oct/Nov issue. For me, it hits all the right notes, and it comes together quickly; the hardest part is peeling the butternut squash and, really, that takes only three minutes. So thank you, Ellie. Your vegetable soup has become part of my repertoire.
—Enid Johnson, senior copy/production editor
|Summer Corn Soup with Crisp Prosciutto||Classic Maryland Crab Cakes||Autumn Vegetable Soup|
I made Tasha DeSerio’s “Housewife Pork” for my in-laws (how appropriate) after they helped us with a long grueling day of home renovations. It was the perfect meal: hearty and warming, plus it’s probably one of the few things FC has ever run that you can literally make while painting your dining room. And I had fun with the leftovers for weeks!
The chocolate-bourbon pops and lemon vodka cream pops were the hit of a mini-reunion weekend I had with my college friends last summer. They made us realize how far we’ve come since jell-o shots.
Anyone with divorced parents has probably faced the two-Thanksgiving dilemma: one night at mom’s, one night at dad’s. But who wants to make a full-on turkey dinner with all the trimmings two nights in a row? This year, at my mom’s house, we made the full menu from Denise’s The Wine Life article in the Oct/Nov issue: the Tuscan-Style Roast Pork was such a hit I think my mom is giving us all grill rotisserie attachments for Christmas.
Since we often end up testing recipes out of season, I tend to wait until an issue is in print before I actually cook anything from it at home. But I was so bowled over by the scrumtious Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Gorgonzola in the Dec/Jan issue that I promptly took home the recipe and made it that weekend, even though it was the height of spring.
—Sarah Breckenridge, Web producer
|Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Carrots, Onions, and Garlic||Bittersweet Chocolate-Bourbon Pops||Tuscan-Style Roast Pork with Rosemary, Sage, and Garlic|
I know I’m supposed to pick one favorite recipe from those we’ve published this year, but that’s simply impossible. So here are my favorites, and why:
Poached Shrimp with Spicy Mayo and Garlic Breadcrumbs: It’s crunchy, creamy, and spicy all at once, and a very clever update on shrimp cocktail. Plus, it’s party-friendly; I’m serving it at our Christmas Eve party!
Shochu Watermelon Lemonade: I’d never tried shochu before testing this recipe, and I was quickly hooked. It’s very versatile and can be paired with lots of flavors, so now it holds prime real estate in my liquor cabinet.
Sage and Red Wine Pork Sausage: Not only was Adam Kaye, the author of this story, such a pleasure to work with, I couldn’t believe how flavorful this sausage turned out to be. And since it freezes well, it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
Honey-Preserved Clementines: This idea never occurred to me until the authors suggested it, but it turned out to be a knockout recipe. The clementines are so sweet and tender, you can eat the entire fruit, rind and all! They make a great gift, too.
—Denise Mickelsen, associate editor
|Poached Shrimp wth Spicy Mayo and Garlic Breadcrumbs||Sage and Red Wine Pork Sausage||Honey-Preserved Clementines|
My favorite was Red-Wine-Braised Brisket with Cremini, Carrots, and Thyme from the April/May issue—and not just for its deliciousness, but for its amazing versatility. First, I used the leftovers to make Rigatoni with Brisket and Porcini Ragù (a strikingly impressive pasta dinner for company, given that’s it’s made from leftovers). The rest of the brisket became Brisket and Bean Chili, which froze beautifully—I had several containers onhand to pull out on busy weeknights.
—Rebecca Freedman, senior editor
|Red-Wine-Braised Brisket with Cremini, Carrots, and Thyme||Rigatoni with Brisket and Porcini Ragù||Brisket and Bean Chili|