These are the sleepers, the overlooked, the undervalued. They are, like so many of us, the ones who work hard and are most productive, yet don’t get the recognition they deserve.
The following recipes may not have made the Top Five Most Visited Hot, Cheap & Easy Recipes 2013 List, but these are the new recipes that changed MY life in 2013, the recipes I worked on and modified and perfected and which are now an integral part of my family’s menu. They are all fairly easy and all good enough for everyday or to serve to guests. I post them here because I love and appreciate them and I want to give everyone a second chance to notice them and perhaps give them a try in 2014!
Holy Mother of Pearl. All thanks to Vinny and Carolyn Macchirole for turning me on to this one over the summer. Vinny and I made some modifications to a different recipe whose origins are hazy and I have made it a number of times since. A spicy, complex crowd-pleaser that is so easy (and feeds a crowd and freezes well)…as Carolyn says of the slow cooker, “Set it and forget it.”
2. Vegetable Tian: incredible late summer dish inspired by none other than Martha Stewart and also by beautiful and bountiful vegetables from Restoration Farm and our own tomatoes! Slice them, stack them and pop them in the oven.
This was one of the revelations of Marianne and my Sunday cooking sessions. The stock is everything, so please make an effort to make stock every time you roast a bird or beef with bones…
4. Fish Tacos and Tostadas
Inspired by a dinner out during our yearly camping trip to Montauk Point, these days I often do the fish without the tacos. It’s that tasty and fun!
I am highlighting the zucchini corn fritters here, but it is really fritters in general that have transformed my life this year. I really like taking leftovers, making a light batter and frying them up for dinner. A recent foray into cod fritters reminded me to try a bit of baking powder more often. Expect to see more of these in 2014!
6. Berry Crisp
Light and beautiful, if you have a good berry source, this is what to do with your abundance.
7. Zippy Passionfruit Chipotle Grilled Shrimp (can be made in a stovetop grillpan)
Chipotle in Adobo was definitely one of my go-to condiments in 2013 and that is set to continue in 2014. Smoky, deep and spicy, you can add a little or a lot and jazz up your life.
Half the excitement of this one is that my dad and I taught ourselves how to shuck oysters (without proper oyster shucking knives which we have since acquired). So we would have been happy regardless of the recipe outcome, but this batter was easy, light and perfect and the whole family knocked them back with gusto.
9. White Rice
White rice is a staple of the Caribbean kitchen. My rice was always perfectly cooked, but my dad’s is beyond perfect. You can eat it on its own right out of the pot. So I loomed behind him until I got it.
10. Sweet and Savory Churrasco (Grilled Skirt Steak)
Admittedly, I had this recipe before, but again, my dad’s recipe is just so good that I had to pester and hound him until I got it. And those of you who have tried it can attest that it is out of this world. Truly.