10 Recipes I Overused in 2010

Like most people who love food, writing, and reading enough to keep a food blog, I read– and cook– from many, many different food blogs. Here are 10 blog-sourced recipes that I make so often that I can make them without so much as glancing at the original post.

1) Margarita Cookies: My number one most requested recipe. I showed up at a potluck today with parmesan-cracked pepper crackers (recipe to be posted soon) and gingersnaps, and the reaction from my host was “Oh my goodness, these are amazing! But the margarita cookies are my favorite thing you make.” Everyone’s always happy to receive one, they’re a hit at parties, and they’ve proven successful at luring even avowed Manhattanites to Brooklyn. Success!  ( I’ve made some modifications to this one over time– I use 4 T of tequila, half the orange zest, and an extra egg yolk– but it’s good as written, too.)

2) Spicy Chicken Bites— If chickens go extinct in 2011, it’s probably our fault. I discovered this recipe a month ago, and my husband has requested it 6(!) times since. I left it off the menu one week because we were out of chicken, and he sulked at dinner time every day that week. Great served over brown rice with a cucumber salad on the side.

3) Almond Raspberry Cake with Swiss Buttercream: I first made this recipe for my friends’ wedding cake over a year ago, and it’s been requested steadily ever since. Light, nutty not-too-sweet 3-layer cake filled with raspberry jam and topped with the most delicious, fluffy temperature-stable buttercream ever. This frosting has been my default anyplace buttercream is called for. Please make it even if you don’t make the cake– trust me.

4) Beef with Snow Peas: A Pioneer Woman Classic, this one’s an easy sell to pickier eaters. You can add lots of stuff to the base– I always add ginger, garlic, scallion, and red pepper flakes– but it’s fundamental appeal is that it’s easy, fast, and super-basic. It works with other meats and vegetables too, using the same method.

5) Lemon Sorrel Soup: I should probably start out by admitting that in the 8 years I’ve known my husband, this is the only thing he’s refused to eat after taking the first bite. Ever. He mocks me terribly every time lemon or sorrel enter the house because in his eyes, this is my only culinary failure ever. That being said, he’s wrong. It’s delicious, easy, fast, and gives me a reason to motivate myself to go to the farmers market even when there are 2′ of snow on the ground. Sour, savory, rich, and light, all at the same time. I don’t mind that he hates it– more for me. I usually add in a little rice and omit the mushrooms, but that’s a matter of personal preference.

6) Green Bean Stew with Meat: Another easy, healthy one-pot meal, this is the first recipe I made from Almost Turkish, and like everything else on there, it’s a winner. Unlike everything else, everything in it has a permanent home in my pantry/ freezer, and it’s so stupidly simple that I can make it in my sleep. It also freezes well and the leftovers are fabulous to take to work for lunch.

7) Camarones al Ajillo: I love garlic… a lot. Probably more than is healthy. I even occasionally threaten to marry it when I grow up– so when I resolved in 2010 to eat more seafood, a food group I historically have tolerated at best, garlic was the obvious security blanket. This recipe is delicious enough that noone minds repeats, goes from unprepped ingredients to table in less than 10 minutes, and goes great with just about anything– my favorite is couscous and asparagus.

8 ) Brown Butter Spoon Cookies: These were bookmarked for about two years before I finally got around to making them for two reasons: 1) making brown butter sounded like an enormous pain in the butt and easy to screw up (not true!) and 2) they’re supposed to age for 2 days before you eat them (!). I finally gave up and made them when I was looking for good Christmas cookies to ship (always nice when aging is a plus for those.) I tried one unaged and it was fantastic– so much so that I promptly made another batch to try them aged. And another. And another. So good. Not hard, only one pot to clean, and the only part that’s at all annoying is shaping them. Worth it!

9) Easy Sesame Noodles: I make this all the time– it’s my default lazy and starving dish, to be made when the cupboards feel bare, I’m uninspired, and too hungry to fuss. I usually make it with soba or rice noodles instead of spaghetti, and often add some fresh ginger to it. It’s infinitely variable, as any number of raw or stir-fried vegetables taste good tossed in, and you can top with any meat / fish/ tofu you’d like for a little more substance.

10) Skillet Sizzled Buttermilk Cornbread: The only cornbread I will willingly eat– and if you don’t have a skillet that’s oven-safe, you can melt the butter in a pie plate in the oven while it’s preheating and it comes out just fine. Enough said!

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