Tips & Techniques

The 10 Least Popular Genius Recipes of 2016

January 11, 2017

You might have seen us trumpeting the most popular Genius Recipes of 2016—if you like boring stuff like crisp, oven-fried chicken and unearthly chocolate cake, that's the article for you.

But if you're into the occasional surprising, challenging, and/or lovable oddball recipe, you're in the right place. In what is now an annual tradition, I've resurrected the ten least popular Genius Recipes of last year below, analyzed my poor headline choices and other ways I may have steered you wrong, and made one last case for why they deserve another look.

Why you didn’t care: You must not like infamy—because I know you like caramel.

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Top Comment:
“In the case of the caramel almond tart, it looked slightly burnt in the picture and despite the raves in the description, other details made it sound hard, stiff, and chewy; the crust sounded fiddly and I was left with an overall sense that it was a difficult recipe. When I saw the pumpkin pie photograph, I was shocked: it was (and still is) clearly burnt. I wondered at the time how that photo got past Editorial, and yet there it is, still there, still burnt! Finally, the fromage fort just sounded disgusting to me: I have too much respect for good cheese to munge it all together into an undifferentiated mass. Yuk.”
— Iolanthe
Comment

Why you should: This is my new favorite dessert, despite (and a little because of) its prickly reputation. Also: You have to eat it with your hands.

Why you didn’t care: I showed my hand in the headline … and it was full of sunflower seeds (which means I didn’t get a chance to slowly seduce you with my arguments and James Ransom’s photography).

Why you should: Sunflower seeds may not be risotto, but they can do creamy, magical things when you soak and blend them (and pile them up with rainbow-colored vegetables).

Why you didn’t care: Did I mention that there was a delicious pork and eggplant stir-fry recipe in here? No? Oh!

Why you should: It does contain a delicious recipe—but those tricks! If nothing else, do this: Drop a squashed garlic clove, whole, in at the end of your next stir-fry and cover it, so it just barely wafts through. (Then take out the garlic.) You will feel like a genius.

Why you didn’t care: You weren’t looking for ways to make time hurtle faster than it already is? My mistake.

Why you should: I mad scientist-A/B/C/D tested this hack to prove that, yes, the extra ingredient (port) is worth it. (And that faux fancy balsamic is a valid ice cream topping.)

Why you didn’t care: Crowd the pan isn’t as provocative a statement as I thought. Or maybe it was all the olive oil.

Why you should: Last year, pickle brine-sautéed mushrooms were in your top 10—you should be all over this. And all that garlicky, mushroom-infused olive oil is one hell of a byproduct (for fried eggs, and salad dressings, and steak and and and).

Why you didn’t care: Beats me. This is fast, fancy, and full of cheese (and national treasure Jacques Pépin). Maybe you already had the recipe memorized?

Why you should: Let's try this again: Fast, fancy, full of cheese.

Why you didn’t care: You were unclear on where this falls on the sweet-savory spectrum.

Why you should: It’s sweet and savory, and the question is almost irrelevant—you should see what happens every time I put a plate of this out.

Why you didn’t care: This went up the morning after the presidential election. We were preoccupied.

Why you should: I thought this would all be too over-the-top until I tasted it, and realized pumpkin and pecan pies bring out the best in each other. Like Democrats and Republicans, just kidding.

Why you didn’t care: Not into nepotism.

Why you should: If you are a biscuits and gravy person, you need to try my grandmother’s. And then lay down for awhile.

Why you didn’t care: Don’t have a juicer, thanks. (Or, my juices are perfect, thanks!)

Why you should: This is pure watermelon, just a little layered and nuanced with lime, bitters, and fizzy seltzer in the blender (not juicer).

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The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.

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13 Comments

tnypow January 15, 2017
Oh, make "least popular" a tradition! As in, diamonds in the rough.
 
Mike S. January 15, 2017
Just happened to have made the skillet shortbread last night. It is more than good enough to eat. Served it with with some smoked tomato jam that I also made.<br />
 
Lazyretirementgirl January 15, 2017
Okay, guilty as charged. I have now scrutinized both the Agua Fresca with bitters and the oil poached mushrooms and pinned them. In light of my random purchase of mushrooms on Friday, those bad boys will get poached today.
 
mcs3000 January 12, 2017
Well played!
 
Patricia H. January 12, 2017
How about: lay down the biscuit and lie down? Check grammar as well as recipe directions, svp.
 
foofaraw January 12, 2017
I checked Food52 daily, sometimes several times a day. Maybe it is only me, but I didn't realize that these are Genius Recipes when I saw their icons on the front page when they were published until you list it here. I thought it was only normal recipe (I would have clicked if it is Genius Recipe). So could it be that because the Genius Recipe is not obvious? Is there a way to make it more visually obvious, like put [GR] on the front of the title or has (different) frames on the icon or something?
 
Iolanthe January 11, 2017
I'm a HUGE fan of Genius Recipes (the cookbook was my go-to gift this Christmas), so I say all the following with love: I did have strong negative reactions to some of these items when they ran. In the case of the caramel almond tart, it looked slightly burnt in the picture and despite the raves in the description, other details made it sound hard, stiff, and chewy; the crust sounded fiddly and I was left with an overall sense that it was a difficult recipe. When I saw the pumpkin pie photograph, I was shocked: it was (and still is) clearly burnt. I wondered at the time how that photo got past Editorial, and yet there it is, still there, still burnt! Finally, the fromage fort just sounded disgusting to me: I have too much respect for good cheese to munge it all together into an undifferentiated mass. Yuk.
 
wendyg January 11, 2017
I hope this convinces more people to check out the biscuits and gravy article. It's so beautifully written, like a little heart hug. Made me remember/miss my own grandmother.
 
Olivia B. January 11, 2017
Everyone needs to make the cheesy skillet cornbread. It's delightful.
 
Olivia B. January 12, 2017
SHORTbread
 
Greenstuff January 11, 2017
I cannot believe that Lindsay Shere's almond tart, from Chez Panisse Desserts and further popularized by David Lebovitz, could possibly be on this list. I know people who have brought it to every potluck for decades. You can cut it into bars and feed a crowd. My goodness, people! Take another look.
 
Connor B. January 11, 2017
I'm SHOCKED about Jacques Pépin, I thought that would be a home run when I saw it published.
 
Amanda S. January 11, 2017
This roundup is, now regularly, the bright spot in my post-holiday winter blues.