Our food editors pick their favorite Test Kitchen dishes of the year
Written bySunsetNovember 13, 2013
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1 of 17Iain 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.
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.
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 fancy dinner or of elegant Christmas party food. And yet it’s easy to make.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.