Each year our Food Channel editorial and culinary staff take a look back at the recipes we’ve featured from our own kitchens. While we love all our children, so to speak, we do tend to have some favorites—recipes that come back to us in our dreams, or that we beg the chefs to make again for special occasions. So, in case you missed any of these, here are our staff Top Ten Favorite Recipes of 2011.
#1: Eat dessert first, right? Well, we did a year long feature on cheesecake that had us eating out of our Chief Culinary Officer’s hand. Well, not literally—she was nice enough to cut us all slices. But we eagerly looked forward to the new creations, most of which came from Judy Sipe. Out of the many choices, the Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake took top honors, but the Double Chocolate and the Italian Ricotta Cheesecake weren’t far behind . . . neither was the New York-style citrusy cheesecake with an orange and grapefruit syrup. So, you can check them ALL out and do your own year-long cheesecake fest in 2012!
#2: Our recipe for Pan-Seared Greek Cheese is a recipe to handle with care—but it certainly says, “Come try me.” We show you how to create the flaming cheese that might otherwise be confined to a Greek restaurant. And that would be a shame, because the flavor of the feta really comes to life with this menu preparation.
#3: We love it when a whole culture grows up around a menu item, so when we first read a column in the New York Times about Springfield-Style cashew chicken, we knew we had to start paying more attention. It’s not what you expect from a typical Chinese restaurant—in fact, it’s sort of southern-fried Chinese. Intrigued? Check out the recipe and make your own.
#4: Here’s a recipe that meets every definition of crave-able. Here it is winter, and just the mention of watermelon and avocado brings this scrumptious Watermelon, Berry & Avocado salad to mind. You might not think about these combinations going so well together, but our chefs did, and we loved it!
#5: Collard greens, you say? Really? Yes, really. You may never have tried them—and certainly not like you find them in this Glazed Pork and Collard Greens Roll. The combination of glazed pork and old-fashioned greens is enhanced by the perennial favorite: bacon. So, what isn’t to like? You can, of course, substitute spinach or kale for the collard greens, but don’t pass on the idea of the sandwich. We were hanging around the counter just waiting for more bites. You will, too.
#6: We like this recipe for Moo Goo Gai Pan, brought to us by Jackie Fu, because it was tested outside of our professional kitchens numerous times—it’s that easy to make! All of the ingredients for this Chinese traditional dish are readily available in grocery stores these days, and you can choose the vegetables you and your family like.
#7: We called “pops” out as an emerging trend years ago so it’s with great delight that we now see them at everything from the neighborhood potluck to Starbucks. And, it was fabulous seeing them—and eating them—in our own kitchens. These are great for any special event, but if 2012 is your year for a wedding, you’ll especially want to take a look at these Wedding Cake Pops, one of our definite favorites for both flavor and fun, plus a pretty big “ooh and ah” factor!
#8: Breakfast has gained new popularity in recent years, and if you are looking to step it up a notch this year try these marvelous Baked Eggs. There’s no turning back!
#9: We’re all trying to drink more water these days—and there’s not a more delicious way than this Watermelon-Infused Water. It was a little surprising to see this float into the Top Ten, but we think it’s because it was so wonderfully thirst-quenching and is the sort of drink you just don’t forget.
#10: When it comes right down to it, there is nothing like a sandwich to call out as the perfect recipe. It has all the right components, and this Grilled Autumn Harvest Sandwich has them in spades. Crisp apples, multigrain bread, smoked turkey breast, smoked Cheddar cheese, and a great Apple Butter Mustard spread that you, too, can make at home. It conjures up memories of Fall as we look back on 2011, and some of the work that took place in our Test Kitchens.
If you didn’t try making them when they first came out, we encourage you to try them now. Each one of these recipes found a place in our memories of 2011. Now, let’s see what the chefs can cook up for 2012!