Greatest Hits

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It was easy to pick out my biggest disasters–they sort of speak for themselves–but how to narrow down five years of food blogging to just a few favorite recipes?

The truth is that I can narrow it down pretty easily because there are two specific recipes that are all-time greats; so great, I make them at least once a month. The first is the picture you see above: Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I gleaned the recipe from my favorite TV Chef, Lydia Bastianich, and it’s just one of those recipes with singular ingredients–sun-dried tomatoes, red chile flakes, garlic, cannellini beans–that, through the process of being cooked together, become a beautiful whole. Added to cavatappi noodles, which look like Slinkies made of eggs and flour, it’s a squiggly, scrumptious feast. Topped with cheese, it gets even better.

My other all-time favorite is such a classic I made it for dinner tonight and last week and the week before that, and that’s my take on Chez Panisse’s roast chicken. Here’s the video I made to teach you how easy a roast chicken dinner can be:

Essentially, for those who’ve made a roast chicken before, you just coat the chicken with fennel seeds, cayenne pepper, kosher salt and pepper, stuff with thyme and place in a roasting pan with red potatoes sliced in half, tossed with a tiny drizzle of olive oil, more salt and pepper, and some whole cloves of garlic. Tonight, though, I changed things up and made it with root vegetables instead: I sliced parsnips and yams into big cubes and drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and scattered them around the Chez Panisse chicken. Not surprisingly, it was another triumph. This is the chicken that can do no wrong.

So those are my all-time, classic greatest hits–the ones that’ll never die.

One tier below, but not much further below, is my favorite dessert of all-time: The Almond Cake That’ll Save Your Soul from “Cooking For Mr. Latte.”

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This is an all-time great because I love to bake it, I love to eat it and I love to serve it to other people who, in turn, love it too. For some reason almond paste beaten with lots of egg yolks and sugar creates a batter of such soothing goodness, it makes me think that almonds and egg yolks and sugar could solve all the world’s problems. Take note of that, Mr. Obama.

Now then, there are the recipes I have written out by hand and stuck to my refrigerator. Those are:

* These biscuits from Cook’s Illustrated:

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* Elise’s chocolate pudding. (I’ve never done a post about it, but it’s definitely one of my favorite throw-together desserts. You throw it together before you start cooking the meal, stash it in the fridge, and several hours later you have dessert.)

* Cream Scones, 1 2 3.

IMG_915.JPGThe Best Broccoli of Your Life:

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And the no-knead bread, which I made again last night:

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Some other favorites include:

* Pasta, Pesto & Peas

* David’s toffee

* Penne Carbonara

* Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Gremolata and Pumpkin Orzo

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* Duck Ragu

* The Salad in Winter

* Braised Pork Shoulder (the one without plastic in it.)

* Fried Chicken & Collard Greens

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And, unless something’s slipped my mind, those are my greatest hits. What do you think, loyal readers? Did I miss anything? What’s your favorite recipe you’ve tried from the blog? Any doozies? Do tell!

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