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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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