You may be wondering, “Why no recipe photos?” Well, I must admit that the gingerbread stuck to my bundt pan and refused to come out in one piece. It was still completely delicious, but it didn’t look too pretty. (Next time, I plan to make it in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. If you read the recipe comments, you’ll find discussion of what other people did to prevent sticking. In spite of the sticking problem, this recipe is very much worth making!) As for the chili, I have horrible light for taking photos this time of year. If we have a sunny day, I can get good natural light at lunch time, but we’ve been plagued by overcast skies, alas.
With a stash of more than 200 cookbooks, at least that many back issues of Gourmet, Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, and a propensity to tear out “interesting” recipes from other magazines, I find that a lot of recipes I make don’t get repeated.
Some receive an immediate rating of “that was good, but I wouldn’t necessarily make it again.” A relative few are simply duds. Most are truly tasty and I would be happy to make them again…but I don’t, because there are so many yet-to-be tried recipes at my disposal.
So, within that context, when I designate a recipe as a “keeper” and start envisioning he next time I’ll make it, it has to be really, really good.
I tested two such recipes last week, which Jeff proclaimed “the best recipes EVER.” One was the Smokey Beef-and-Bacon Chili from Sunset magazine. I have this recipe in my gignormous The Sunset Cookbook, but it was its inclusion in the January issue’s “25 Best-Ever Recipes” from the Sunset test kitchen that prompted me to make it. It was divine the first night, and the leftovers were divine as they were portioned out over the next few days. Spicy, but not too spicy, and a real complexity of flavor that belies how easy the recipe is to make.
The second was the Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread, which ran in the now-defunct (sniff!) Gourmet magazine back in 2000, but I discovered recently by way of Epicurious (even though I’m sure I have that issue of Gourmet in my stash). I would not call this an everyday dessert, what with its two cups of sugar plus a cup of molasses, but it is everything a gingerbread should be: dark, moist and intensely gingery. This will have a permanent spot in my holiday recipe collection. I’m already looking forward to making it next December!