Weeknight Cooking

40 Recipes We Learned By Heart in 2016

December 23, 2016

There's always going to be a cool new recipe you've got to try. Have you hasselbacked a squash or replaced the peanut butter in your cookies with tahini yet? We can stop neither time nor "progress."

But the mark of a good recipe—an old faithful—is that you can make it without glancing at your phone (or, for ye old-schoolers, referencing a book). A good recipe is one you're comfortable zhuzhing based on what you want (more spice, more cream) and what you have (no chickpeas, only white beans). Of course it helps if that recipe is fairly simple—all the easier to hold in your head, and all the more likely you'll make it any day of the week.

Here are the recipes we made so many times in 2016, we (nearly) memorized them. The list starts with cake. Not all on the list were new this year, but all either earned or maintained a spot on our starting line-ups. Add your own memorized-in-2016 recipes to the comments below.

'Twas a year we made flourless chocolate cake every Saturday night...

...and silly-easy sandwiches, courtesy of Ruth Reichl, all days of the summer:

We skipped Pinkberry and made a lot of frozen yogurt at home...

...and started doing all sorts of crazy things to our morning (and noon, and night) eggs.

We couldn't stop—we wouldn't stop!—braising and currying and deifying chickpeas.

Steak salad that gets better the longer it sits? We're in!

Kale's still cool around these parts.

Farro salad accepted its award for Make-Ahead Lunch of the Year. (Well, it actually asked Patti Smith to accept on its behalf.)

We made Saltie's focaccia so many times, it became a part of us (and sometimes we even planned enough ahead to give it a proper two-day rise).

Here's how we went through an entire jar of tamarind paste...

...and here's approximately how many babkas you have to bake before you can remember the formula (go ahead and quiz us):

We left work early for the sole purpose of getting pork shoulder in the oven (don't tell Amanda and Merrill)...

...and we made Chicken Piccata and, when we felt like using our folding skills, rolled it up into Chicken Kiev.

Five years later and we're still starstruck by this world-famous squash toast.

Good guac never gets old (figuratively, not literally). Hummus, too.

We'll curry lentils till the cows come home (or until dinner is ready—only 30 minutes!).

Alternate name for this recipe: How An Individual Can Easily Consume an Entire Bunch of Chard in One Sitting.

P.S.A.: Creamed greens and ricotta go very well together (and are standout stand-alones, too).

Shrimp bathed in butter (luxury!), spritzed with lemon (refreshment!).

Merrill makes these six-ingredient thighs once a week, and we've followed suit.

Because when we don't have the ingredients for a fancy pasta dinner, we've got a couple onions and a tub of yogurt.

These cookies couldn't fix 2016, but we had to bake them every weekend to find that out.

And when we don't have tortillas, we eat the pork straight out of the pan.

Now it's your turn. What recipes did you memorize in 2016? Tell us in the comments.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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1 Comment

AntoniaJames December 23, 2016
This: https://food52.com/recipes/35952-tomato-curry-sauce (see comments to the recipe and the many NotRecipes I've posted that incorporate it); and<br /> <br />the ratios (100% hydration) and method for Saltie's focaccia, though I dial back the salt, given that we typically eat with other salty items (stay tuned in 2017 for a recipe with more details);<br />and a few other recipes not from Food52.<br />I highly recommend Basu's curry sauce to anyone wishing to simply weeknight meals by periodically cooking big batches of versatile component ingredients to freeze in 1 and 2 cup containers. Basic and already-known-by-millions-of-everyday-cooks as it is, this one garners top marks in my kitchen in 2016. I'm always on the lookout for workhorses like this. ;o)