Best recipes of 2013

Our food editors pick their favorite Test Kitchen dishes of the year

Red Quinoa Bowl with Swiss Chard and Poached Egg

Iain Bagwell

Red Quinoa Bowl with Swiss Chard and Poached Egg

With its layers of flavors and textures and its combination of vital, healthful ingredients, this recipe will reboot your system as it delights your palate. It was a memorable part of our January “Hitting Reset” healthy foods feature, and we still make it now, whenever we’re feeling a little wan.

Recipe: Red Quinoa Bowl with Swiss Chard and Poached Egg

Shaved Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad

Annabelle Breakey

Shaved Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad

This salad takes a mere 20 minutes to make, but packs an amazing amount of flavor and sophistication. We have served this at several office parties alongside more typical temptations like burgers and cheese, and it’s the first thing to disappear.

Recipe: Shaved Honeycrisp Apple and Kale Salad

 

Fennel-Crusted Grilled Rack of Lamb

Iain Bagwell

Fennel-Crusted Grilled Rack of Lamb

When you buy a pricey cut like rack of lamb, you want to make sure the recipe will not only work, but be delicious. This exquisite dish—which can be roasted if you’d rather not grill—is worthy of a holiday table, or a fancy dinner party. And yet it’s easy to make.

Recipe: Fennel-Crusted Grilled Rack of Lamb

Enchiladas Suizas

Alex Farnum

Enchiladas Suizas

These rich, suave enchiladas made us come running to the kitchen whenever they emerged. We practically licked our plates clean. In fact, we might just make them again tonight…

Recipe: Enchiladas Suizas

Indian Guacamole

Annabelle Breakey

Indian Guacamole

Just when we thought it was impossible to come up with a new twist on guacamole, we invented this one. The cuisines of India and Mexico have many seasonings in common—among them cumin and cilantro—and in this recipe, two cultures blend brilliantly.

Recipe: Indian Guacamole

Whole Orange Cake

Annabelle Breakey

Whole Orange Cake

What fun this cake is to make! It involves tossing whole oranges in a blender. It’s like a magic trick. The result: a moist, delectable cake that tastes like marmalade.

Recipe: Whole Orange Cake

Lemon-Lime Macaroon Bars

Annabelle Breakey

Lemon-Lime Macaroon Bars

Simply the best lemon bar ever—excitingly tart, not too sweet, velvety in the middle, and slightly crunchy on top. And then there’s the crust: a toasted, golden macaroon cookie, serving a higher purpose.

Recipe: Lemon-Lime Macaroon Bars

Asparagus Insalata Piadine

Thomas J. Story

Asparagus Insalata Piadine

Never mind the fancy name: This is a knockout pizza. A piadine is simply a thickish pizza crust topped with savory sauce and a cool salad. This one combines a perfect crisp crust with an unusual and delicious asparagus pesto; then it’s topped with a salad of arugula, very thin slices of Meyer lemon, cloves of roasted garlic, and shaved Parmesan cheese. Eating it brightens the whole day.

Recipe: Asparagus Insalata Piadine

Nectarine Creamsicles with Rose Water

Aya Brackett

Nectarine Creamsicles with Rose Water

We love nectarines for their dependable juicy sweetness. And this simple recipe, with a hint of rose water that’s barely noticeable, shows them off beautifully.

Recipe: Nectarine Creamsicles with Rose Water

Tomato, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Tart

Annabelle Breakey

Tomato, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Tart

We fell hard for this gorgeous mosaic of tomatoes, laid out on a crisp slab of puff pastry and layered with prosciutto. It makes a great summer lunch or dinner, especially when you’re having friends over—and it’s a showcase for your backyard tomatoes. Add a cool soup and you’re set.

Recipe: Tomato, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Tart

Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder

Thomas J. Story

Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder

The tart-sweet flavor of reduced apple cider transforms pork shoulder into sheer succulence. It’s not only delicious, it’s beautiful—a cool-weather pleasure to cook and eat.

Recipe: Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder

Roasted Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts

Annabelle Breakey

Roasted Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts 

Mushrooms are wonderful roasted—they take on a crisp, bacon-like quality. This salad pairs them with crunchy toasted hazelnuts, and is the perfect chance to try out those unusual mushrooms you may have been curious about. That said, ordinary button mushrooms work well here, too.

Recipe: Roasted Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts

 

Cheryl’s Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

Thomas J. Story

Cheryl’s Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

The crunchy bits of Asian pear are unexpectedly fabulous in this hearty, oozy sandwich. It was our favorite of several wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches given to us by Peggy Smith and Sue Conley, of Northern California’s Cowgirl Creamery.

Recipe: Cheryl's Grilled Cheese with Asian Pear

Spiced Persimmon Tart with Brandy Mascarpone

Alex Farnum

Spiced Persimmon Tart with Brandy Mascarpone

Beautiful, elegant, and unusual, this tart is surprisingly easy to make (the crust isn’t rolled, it’s simply pressed into the pan). It’s our new fall standby, especially for dinner parties.

Recipe: Spiced Persimmon Tart with Brandy Mascarpone

Crab and Tangerine Salad

Annabelle Breakey

Crab and Tangerine Salad

In just 20 minutes, you can make this restaurant-worthy dish. We like to serve it to company, but we also make it for ourselves, as a treat.

Recipe: Crab and Tangerine Salad

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce

Annabelle Breakey

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce

This rosy beef, flavored with mild, creamy gorgonzola and unctuous port syrup, made us sigh with delight. If that weren’t enough, it’s wrapped in bacon and grilled until crisp and golden. It’s one of the few recipes we know that could dislodge prime rib from its pedestal as king of the Christmas table.

Recipe: Gorgonzola-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce

Olives With Orange and Fennel

Annabelle Breakey

Olives With Orange and Fennel

These olives are gently heated, which makes them milder and meatier, and the seasonings give them a haunting, addictive flavor. During the holiday season, it’s our go-to nibble for guests. Plus, they make a nice gift.

Recipe: Olives With Orange and Fennel 

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