Like the velvety cream that rises in a bucket of fresh milk, I only post the recipes that float to the top. For every dish that I post here, I make 2-3 that don't make the cut. But in the waning days of 2013, as I look back at my accomplishments from the past year, I thought it only appropriate to share with you the very best bites of food I made. Of the nearly 100 recipes I posted this year, here are my top 5 based on what I’d most like to eat again.
1. Smoked Pistachio Rack of Lamb
I tend to factor in bang for buck when ranking recipes, thats why most of the ones on this list take less than half an hour to make, using relatively inexpensive ingredients. But as with any rule, there are always the exceptions and this rack of lamb managed to creep to the top of my list despite being relatively expensive and involved. As I reflected back on the dishes I created this year, this is the one that I most want to eat again (though it would be nice if someone would make it for me).
2. Shrimp Avocado Pasta
This dish almost made it to the number one spot, but given how many times I’ve enjoyed it this year, it’s lost a bit of its initial luster. Balanced both in texture and flavor, with a blossoming bouquet of color, this dish is ridiculously easy and ludicrously good.
3. Berry Pudding
This was far and away the best dessert I made this year. Not only is it delicious, it looks gorgeous and doesn’t involve using an oven. Berries, bread and sugar may not sound like much, but it’s a shining example of how a little knowhow and time can turn ordinary ingredients into an extraordinary dish. It does require good berries and a little forethought, but it’s the perfect end to a mid-summer dinner party.
4. Lemon Chili Chicken
I don’t save all the best recipes for my website, and this Lemon Chili Chicken is one that I made for PBS Food this year. If you judge the value of a dish by how often you crave it, this certainly makes the cut into my top 5. Bracingly tart and sweat-inducingly spicy, it will lure you in and have you eating until you've tucked away every last morsel.
If you’re optimizing for cost, time and taste, hamburgers usually float to the top as an option but it’s usually not the kind of dish most people associate with eye-rolling gastronomic nirvana. But when made right, eating a hamburger can be a superlative experience on par with eating an A5 grade Matsuzaka ribeye grilled over Japanese charcoal or a Carbonara al Tartufo with fresh white truffles from Alba shaved on top.