Everything Eater Editors Have Cooked in 2021

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Bao Ong All the recipes, from simple dinners to baking projects, that we’ve
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Overhead picture of a bowl of jjigae.Bao Ong

All the recipes, from simple dinners to baking projects, that we’ve loved so far this year

To sort through the noise of TikTok tortilla wraps and feta pastas, Eater has compiled a handful of the recipes — from blogs, magazines, publications, and cookbooks — that put the pep back in our pans this week, and which we hope will do the same for you. These are the dishes that Eater editors from across the country actually made recently, and we’re passing along any first-hand tips, hacks, or dietary substitutions that, hey, worked for us. Here, then, are this week’s must-try recipes from Eater’s very-much-average but highly enthusiastic home cooks.

March 19, 2021

 Brooke Jackson-Glidden

Orecchiette With Sausage and Chicory Michael White/Food & Wine

I am such a sucker for bitter vegetables, likely because I am a touch bitter and I like surrounding myself with other bitter things. Here in Oregon, things like dandelion greens and radicchio are in their prime, so I’ve been making a ton of chicory salads, braises, and roasts, usually just on a whim, recipeless. However, I’m currently in a chicory war with a friend, which means we’re trying to out-cook each other with more and more elaborate chicory recipes. I went for this Food & Wine oldie-but-goodie, which tempers the bitterness of chicory with sausage and pecorino. I decided to add dandelion greens for a little contrast, but otherwise, I didn’t adjust much. I just love the way the chicken stock turns silken when it reduces with the cheese; that’s a pretty simple pasta sauce on its own for a midweek dinner. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden, editor, Eater Portland

Lemony Salmon With Fennel and Orange Salad Adeena Sussman/Adeenasussman.com

Adeena Sussman’s lemony salmon has been swimming through my memory ever since I had it during a Sunday-night dinner at my cousin’s apartment, months before “house hangs,” as we call them, became an anomaly. As Sussman says elsewhere in her wonderful book Sababa, lemon adds a lot; in this recipe, it’s more of a co-star than a supporting player, thickly coating the fish and turning roasty-colored in the oven. Instead of salmon, I used red snapper, which has a sweet flavor that the paprika brings out even more. And I added just a little yuzu kosho to the preserved lemon paste, imparting a bit of spice to the picture. I ignored the fennel and orange salad completely in favor of Smitten Kitchen’s crisped chickpeas with herbs and garlic yogurt, a minty, earthy counterpart. — Emma Alpern, Eater senior copy editor

Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Shrimp Grits Food52

Last Friday night I had promised my partner a seafood dinner in honor of our Discord group’s 10,000th bad movie screening of the pandemic: Waterworld. Of course, the idea of making seafood on a Friday night after a long day of work was extremely optimistic on my part. Fortunately, we happened to have all the ingredients (including a few nearing their expiration date) we needed for shrimp and grits, something I’ve never made before. I was enticed by this particular recipe’s Edna Lewis endorsement, and it turned out to be really simple and very creamy. The recipe calls for blending the shrimp into a paste and mixing it in, something I only learned after I started cooking. Because I wanted to preserve some whole shrimp, I ended up only pureeing half the buttery shrimp in my food processor and left a few more whole to dress the top of the bowl. In the end, we never even watched Waterworld, but dinner was better anyway. — Brenna Houck, cities manager

chopsticks hold a bitten-into dumpling.Alyssa Nassner The inside of a breakfast dumplingBreakfast Dumplings Lori Yates/Foxes Love Lemons

I have an excess of frozen meat accumulating in my freezer, particularly ground breakfast sausage, so I’ve been trying to find fun ways to use up the surplus. I love sausage dumplings, and had a batch of readymade wrappers on hand from the Asian market up the street, so breakfast dumplings it was! Egg, sausage, and hash brown breakfast dumplings, to be exact. Was this something I made up? Are there recipes for this kind of thing? Yes, it turns out, there are, and this one by Foxes Love Lemons was the ideal template. I decided to pre-cook the individual components prior to assembly, undercooking the sausage just a bit to allow it to finish cooking inside the dumpling. I also opted for thicker wrappers because they’re easier to pleat and hold up better to pan-frying. Pro-tip: Keep your wrappers and assembled dumplings covered with damp paper towels while you work so that they don’t dry out! I pan-fried them for about five minutes and then dropped a few tablespoons of water into the pan and covered it for a quick steam. They turned out way better than I expected, and I would 10/10 recommend everyone go on a breakfast-for-dinner dumpling journey of their own. — Alyssa Nassner, art director, Vox Media Editorial Networks

Vegan Coconut-Ginger Black Beans Ali Slagle/NYT Cooking

A couple weeks ago, I did something I hadn’t done in several years: clipped a recipe out of a newspaper, the kind with pages you can turn with your hands. The newspaper in question was the Sunday New York Times, and the recipe was Ali Slagle’s vegan coconut-ginger black beans. Slagle had already earned my trust and admiration with her one-pot beans and rice recipe, so I decided to follow her into yet another can of black beans. It helped that I had every single one of the ingredients at home already (a rare occurrence) and that I was in the mood for something vegan after having spent the previous days eating almost nothing but cake. This is a very easy recipe, and also adaptable — though it calls for two cans of beans and a can of coconut milk, I had only one can of beans, so I just halved the coconut milk and all of the other ingredients, and it turned out fine. The most strenuous thing about the recipe — and by “strenuous” I mean mildly time-consuming — was peeling and microplaning fresh ginger, because I am a ginger freak and thus always use at least twice the amount called for. The result, which I served over rice, was highly satisfying, and I’ll definitely be making it again. — Rebecca Marx, Eater senior editor

Bouchon Chocolate Chip Cookies Thomas Keller/Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

I made actual cookies for the first time in my life last weekend. Although I cook a lot, I rarely bake. But whether because of lockdown, a nascent fascination with breadmaking, a reduction in alcohol intake necessitating a greater need for sugar, or because I have a 2-year-old daughter, cookies have been on my kitchen to-do list for months. I first tried a variation on this recipe at the Quality Chop House (yes, those guys) shop about four years ago, when chef-butcher-baker-candlestick-maker Rich Bowman told me he’d adapted the recipe to include demerara sugar, which lent the cookie a very pleasing grainy crunch. I followed Bowman’s advice and substituted molasses for malt and upped the amount of dark brown muscovado sugar in the mix. To freestyle yet further, and to give myself a purer cookie result, I added chocolate chips to just half of the mixture. My first foray into baking cookies — I have to be blunt — was an unqualified success. The result was crisp edged; chewy, toffee-like in the centers; buttery, biscuity; not too sweet: quite what I’ve always wanted from a cookie. The pinch of salt helped. So too did the ability to eschew precision, give in to uncertainty, and to adapt to improve. — Adam Coghlan, editor, Eater London

March 12, 2021

a slice of purple cheesecake.James Park

Easy Air-Fryer Durian Basque Cheesecake What to Cook Today

Basque cheesecake, known for its nearly burnt top from baking at high temperatures, has that perfect balance of creamy texture, cheesy tang, and caramel-like, dulce de leche-like flavors that I love. I never thought I could pull it off myself, but then came the air fryer. For those who think that an air fryer is just for reheating soggy fries, think again. This easy-to-follow, versatile recipe makes the most incredible, foolproof Basque cheesecake — I even subbed ube for the durian here and it came out perfect. (Or if you just want to enjoy a classic basque cheesecake, you don’t have to add any additional flavors.) There are just three extremely straightforward steps: blend all the ingredients, cook the batter in the oven-safe cheesecake pan, and chill in the fridge, preferably overnight. That’s it. Because of the air fryer’s consistent temperature control, the cake’s top always comes out deliciously deep, creme brulee brown. After chilling in the fridge for hours, the center is still ooey, gooey, slightly melty, resulting in the most satisfying cheesecake bite. No dessert has ever brought me this level of satisfaction and achievement; you deserve to feel the same. — James Park, Eater social media manager

Red Lentil Soup, Barrett Prendergast Barrett and the Boys

To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of lentil soup. I’d only ever cooked it with green lentils, which I find a bit too, well, lentily — full of grainy, bitter health pebbles reduced to mush. But then this version popped up in my feed, from the effortlessly chic LA businesswoman/chef/influencer/mom Barrett Prendergast, and I decided to give it a try. It’s magnificent. The secret is the concentrated mixture of crushed plum tomatoes, onions, and carrots that you saute for a while to make a sort of sofrito that gives the soup loads of sweetness and depth. Then you add tiny red lentils (so much better!) and stock — in my case, this amazing fermented-vegetable stock I get from the farmers market — and finish with parmesan. The resulting soup is the kind of rich, satisfying but also light and bright thing you want to eat for lunch all week, which I’ve been doing. And I’ll probably make a pot for next week, too. — Lesley Suter, Eater travel editor

Sesame Tofu with Broccoli Hetty McKinnon, Bon Appétit

Tofu is such a great protein: It’s cheap, lasts a long time in the fridge, has a luscious texture, and did I mention it’s cheap? This Bon App recipe by Hetty McKinnon caught my eye when she started sharing other folks cooking it to her Instagram Stories. Her idea to use tahini when building a sesame sauce is genius. The final result has a delicious oomph, even if it’s not as crispy as the recipe promises — I’ve never really understood how this works when you plop lightly fried tofu into a sauce? — but I do think the cornstarch coating gives the sauce something to stick to so it doesn’t feel needlessly time-consuming and messy to do that step. (Sidebar: I love when recipes include step-by-step videos like this one does!) — Hillary Dixler Canavan, Eater restaurants editor

Meat Loaf Ina Garten/Food Network

My grocery store put the fancy grass-fed ground beef on sale, so I bought some without much idea what to do with it. Unfortunately, bringing it home didn’t give me any more ideas, which felt embarrassing because ground beef is so versatile. But then I remembered: meatloaf. I used Ina Garten’s recipe, which hits the sweet spot between being traditional but not too much work; it has you toss the sauteed onions with worcestershire and tomato paste before folding them into the ground beef, which I thought worked especially well. Meatloaf is not a beautiful dish, and it looked especially unbeautiful mounded on a sheet pan coming out of my oven glazed with a thick layer of ketchup. But it was delicious, and no matter how many meals we ate the leftovers with, we were always excited to have it again. — Meghan McCarron, Eater special correspondent

Overhead picture of a bowl of jjigae.Bao Ong Kimchii jjigae

Kimchi Jjigae Sohui Kim, Bon Appétit

I, like many others, am still working from home, which means I’m still on the lookout for quick, no-fuss recipes I can whip up on a Sunday night and reheat for lunch throughout the week. Chef Sohui Kim’s kimchi jjigae recipe had gotten lost in my rotation of go-to dishes this winter, so last week I was ready to revive the fiery Korean stew. Many of the ingredients are among my pantry staples — an onion, gochujang, that jar of kimchi sitting in the back of my fridge — so cooking this on a weeknight is perfectly manageable. Just be sure to add the tofu at the end so it doesn’t get too soggy, and gently reheat for lunch all week long. — Bao Ong, Eater New York editor

Vegan Chocolate Cake Bea Vo, Leite’s Culinaria

I first stumbled upon Bea Vo’s vegan chocolate cake several years ago, when I was doing some recipe testing for Leite’s Culinaria. I feel like successful vegan baked goods always make people do the I-can’t-believe-it’s-vegan thing, but this really is one of those cakes, richer and more tender and moist than the majority of non-vegan chocolate cakes I’ve had the pleasure of eating. It is my go-to cake for birthdays, as well as any occasion that demands a chocolate cake; in addition to being exceptionally good, it is exceptionally easy, a two-bowl dump-and-stir that does not require a stand mixer. I made it last weekend for a couple of eight-year-olds who were demanding a “superhero” cake, which basically meant covering it in a ton of rainbow-colored buttercream and sprinkles. It was kind of a psychedelic mess, but beneath it all, the cake stood tall, trustworthy as ever. — Rebecca Marx, Eater senior editor

March 5, 2021 Pork Ribs with Black Bean Sauce The Woks of Life

I desperately miss going out for dim sum, but this plate of delicious pork ribs with black bean sauce brought back the feeling of sitting around a big dim sum table with friends. The ribs simmer for a full 40 minutes, which leaves you with falling-off-the-bone meat, and the cooking liquid becomes a delicious, creamy pork broth and base for the savory black bean sauce. Other hearty vegetables, such as onions and bell peppers, round out the dish, and I added radish and potatoes, which went well with the sauce. Serve it with rice to soak up every drop. — James Park, Eater social media manager

Pizza Babka Bill Clark, A Piece of Cake

You may have read on Eater that everyone and their mother (or maybe just a selection of his thousands of subscribers) were making pizza babka last month after reading Bill Clark’s recipe in his lovely newsletter A Piece of Cake. It’s a wildly tempting proposition — a chewy, rich, decadent babka but with cheese and pepperoni instead of chocolate or cinnamon. But the first time I made it, I completely failed (as did others in my group texts). When Clark suggested it would take around 30 minutes for the first dough rise, I followed his direction way too literally, even though my ball of oregano-studded dough had barely changed shape. Any experienced baker knows the rising time varies depending on your yeast, your climate, etc., and a recipe’s timing is just a suggestion. My first pizza babka was a dense, oily mess. The second time around, I left the dough out all afternoon and then put it in the fridge to rise overnight. For the second rise, I gave it over an hour, following the shape of the bread instead of my timer. I also skipped making my own dipping sauce the second time, using an opened jar of marinara, because making your own pizza babka is impressive enough. I love the end result, maybe because I had to earn it, and plan on gifting more loaves over the next few months. — Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief

a salad topped with chickpeas.Esra Erol Up any lunch bowl with chewy roasted chickpeas

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas Emma Christensen, The Kitchn

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I use all my energy to prepare elaborate plates in the morning. Unfortunately, by lunchtime, I have no desire to be in the kitchen again. To combat this self-inflicted cooking fatigue, I’ve been pushing myself to make bowls of things: salad, grains, and grains over greens. And to keep that from getting boring, I’ve been having fun making the toppings from scratch. Crispy roasted chickpeas are my favorite new trick because they add a satisfying crunch to all of the above and, because the Kitchn’s recipe yields a heaping serving, I can eat them later as a snack with a glass of wine. While the chickpeas are crunchier fresh out of the oven (I recommend tossing them with za’atar), that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better. As they cool down, they become chewy and nutty, exactly what you want out of a snack. — Esra Erol, Eater senior social media manager

Homemade Labneh (with Everything) Rivka, Food52

Currently stuck in a very boring dining routine, I’ve been trying to think of low-lift ways to elevate my meal options. Enter labneh, an all-occasions spread that makes for a seriously luxurious snack. To make it, you mix a cup or two of Greek yogurt with a pinch of salt and some lemon juice — I used the proportions outlined in this Food52 recipe — and place it in a cheesecloth-lined strainer in the fridge. After about 24 hours, you’ll end up with a rich, creamy spread that can serve as a pretty universal canvas — dress it up with za’atar (I like the sumac-heavy Spicewalla blend), some fancy olive oil, and crudites, or just sprinkle on a little Everything but the Bagel Seasoning from Trader Joe’s after slathering it on toast. No one here will judge you for eating it straight out of the container, either. — Amy McCarthy, Eater Dallas + Houston editor

Spiced Coconut Chicken Rice Shayma Owaise Saadat, Bon Appétit

This recipe has two important selling points: It promises to be a one-pot meal and it includes a lot of ingredients you probably already have on hand. Less mess and less grocery shopping? Yes please. After adding most of the ingredients into the pot, including the rice, it looks like a big curry. But then you layer a kitchen towel between the pot and the lid and tie the ends with a rubber band. I was tempted to crack it open and take a peek as I watched the steam rise (my boyfriend also looked a little worried), but we resisted, and our patience and trust were rewarded with perfectly fluffy basmati rice, tender chicken, and an overall very pretty meal thanks to the turmeric and bright green kale mixed in at the end. — Milly McGuinness, Eater director of audience development

A slice of layered lemon cake. Adam Moussa Do not skip the meringue on this lemon cake.

Preserved Lemon Meringue Cake Claire Saffitz, Food52

When the craving for a lemony dessert hits me, it hits hard. That’s how I ended up assembling the layers of this stunner from Dessert Person, Claire Saffitz’s book that seemingly everyone I know is baking from at the moment. The cake batter contains lemon zest, lemon juice, and preserved lemon rind blended into yogurt. There’s lemon curd between the layers and a touch of lemon juice in the Italian meringue. It’s a lemon quintuple-threat. I skimped a little when layering the curd, worrying it would drip out the sides — a mistake since it was being covered up with the meringue anyway. Do not skip the meringue, even if — like me — you worry it’ll make the whole cake too sweet; it provides necessary balance. I initially planned to scale down the recipe, since it only needed to feed four (the recipe says it serves 10), but overcame that impulse. The joy of bringing a decadent cake with slices for days into the world is its own reward in this dire winter. Well, that and enjoying a daily slice of six-layer cake for the better part of a week. — Adam Moussa, Eater lead social media manager

February 26, 2021 Buttered Popcorn Cookies The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

“It follows basic snack math, which is that two forms of junk food together always exceed the greatness of them separately,” writes Deb Perelman in her masterwork, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. She is, of course, correct. Popcorn cookies are excellent. The simple brown sugar-vanilla cookie dough provides just enough..

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