Help me find the kind of recipe that sticks in your memory for decades.
October 2, 2013 5:12 AM   Subscribe

What are your favourite simple recipes that make "guests plead for the secret"?

I was recently inspired to go on a cooking kick after reading about Marcella Hazan and discovering her amazing tomato sauce and bolognese sauce recipes. After I tried them both and subsequently recovered from the shock of eating the most delicious dishes ever, I realised I needed more recipes of this type in my arsenal.

What I'm looking for are your simple, ultra pleasing recipes. The kind that you remember eating for years and years after.
(Bonus points if they're the heirloom, passed down through generations type.)

Basically I'd like the type of recipe that could make a beau propose after one taste.
posted by Vrai to Food & Drink (61 answers total) 472 users marked this as a favorite
Search engagement chicken.

Also, I have been asked twice in the last 6 months for my lavender muffin recipe. It's been more than a year since I've made a batch (the secret is follow the Basic Muffin from The Best Recipe and add a teaspoon of culinary grade dried lavender flowers to your first batch. You may decide to increase for your second batch, but you probably won't!)
posted by bilabial at 5:20 AM on October 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

This is the famous story: Engagement Chicken and a recipe. I use the America's Test Kitchen's lemon roast chicken recipe - everything I've made from their Family Cookbook has gotten praise.
posted by belau at 5:23 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Caramel Matzo Crunch, courtesy of Marcy Goldman: Few ingredients, simple prep, mind-blowingly delicious.

"Queso": Literally just a can of Ro-Tel and a hunk of Velveeta, embarrassingly good. (Not real queso, obvs.)

Fruit Dip: Essentially equal parts cream cheese, Fluff, and Cool Whip. I've seen people eat this with a spoon.

Sorry for the trashy bend on the latter two, but really- they're great.
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:27 AM on October 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

Oh, and one more. Crash Hot Potatoes. They're the perfect marriage of a crispy home fry and a baked potato.
posted by rachaelfaith at 5:32 AM on October 2, 2013 [25 favorites]

I know the caramel matzo crunch as saltine toffee. People ask for the recipe and do a double-take when they find out it's made with matzo/saltines.

Oreo truffles are similarly amazing and simple, and you can substitute nearly any cookie with a similar texture: Nutter Butters, Thin Mints, Biscoffs, frosted animal crackers, etc. etc.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:54 AM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's a dip I've brought to a few pot lucks that has made people hunt me down and ask the recipe. All it is is about a half-pound of sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted by microwaving them with water and a couple cloves of garlic, and then microwaving them again with about a glug of olive oil and oregano, and then pureed.

People have also raved about my jambalaya, but I operate more by theory than recipe and y'all don't get to hear that particular secret.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:56 AM on October 2, 2013 [11 favorites]

Really good french onion soup can be legendary. My husband makes the absolute best french onion soup and everyone that has had it goes on and on and on about it. It isn't hard to make, just time consuming. It is a bit of a variation of this recipe, only rather than brandy he uses red wine (usually a shiraz). The onion caramelization part takes him usually an hour because he does it slowly but thoroughly. It is a pot full of perfectly brown onion sludge, all fragrant and never burned. Then he adds the broth (just beef, no chicken) and red wine. He simmers it slowly but all day so when it comes time to eat it the soup is a thick bowl of oniony deliciousness. Never watery or thin, it is almost more of an onion stew or something. Absolutely incredible.

So easy, simple ingredients, but epic in its deliciousness. You just have to take the time. And then wait for your guests to go nuts.

It reheats well the next day too, you just have to add a bit more broth (or wine) to thin it out a bit.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:01 AM on October 2, 2013 [15 favorites]

This haupia recipe (which is a traditional coconut milk pudding from Hawaii on which you can ring many, many changes - in its original form, it is sweet and plain, very much in the tradition of Chinese almond milk desserts.

These two altered versions have gotten me many, many requests for the recipe:

1. Cardamom: make the regular pudding but stir in 1 - 1.5T cardamom extract (you'll need to get that at a fancy co-op or baking supply place; I get mine from a friend who makes it) and maybe 1/2 C plain dried coconut (not the really sweet kind that comes in the big bags).

1. Brown sugar molasses: use dark brown sugar instead of the white sugar and add about 1 T molasses. It won't be nearly as sweet, but I had two older ladies (the kind of "radical nun" older ladies, the ones who would totally pour blood on a nuclear installation and perhaps did back in the eighties) with impeccable cooking credentials ask me to write down the recipe for them.

Actually, I make this pudding vegan by using unsweetened almond milk - it's a great recipe because it is both vegan and gluten-free.
posted by Frowner at 6:02 AM on October 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

Egg Puff. It is so cheap and easy and it's so delicious! I believe this is out of Sunset Magazine from the seventies. There are other versions, but this one is the best.

Oblong, Pyrex baking dish

7 eggs
2.5 cups milk
Dried Mustard
Optional: dash worchestershire sauce, dash hot sauce

1 can chopped, roasted green chiles
1 lb shredded mild cheese (colby, jack)
Bread enough to line the baking pan
Cooking spray

Spray the pan, cut the crusts off the bread and line the bottom of the backing dish. You can use any kind of bread, wheat, gluten-free or skip it if you like.

Beat the eggs, milk and seasoning together until well mixed. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the bread. Sprinkle the chiles over the cheese. Then put the rest of the cheese over the chiles. Pour the egg mixture into the dish.

You can let it sit overnight, or cook right away. Cook for about an hour at 350 degrees.

The top will be crunchy and brown, it will puff up, and then collapse gently. Dish it up and serve with green salad and fruit for a light meal. It's great for brunch.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:11 AM on October 2, 2013 [17 favorites]

You have to like dense, fudge-y brownies, but if you do, Gourmet's Triple-Fudge Brownie Recipe is killer. Everyone that has them raves about them and begs for the recipe. People from jobs I no longer work at have been known to email me wistfully about The Brownies, and when I quit my last job one of the first things people said was "But who will bring us The Brownies now?"

The Brownies, they are legendary. Also easy. If you want to go overboard you can swap half the chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips and make them quadruple-fudge, but come on, that would just be unnecessarily indulgent.
posted by Stacey at 6:24 AM on October 2, 2013 [11 favorites]

This fruit salad sauce, pulled from a Cooking Light recipe, is always a big hit although it has only three ingredients. Here they are: 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1 tablespoon honey, 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime rind. Mix everything together and serve over fruit salad (or just eat it with a spoon).
posted by DrGail at 6:26 AM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Cornell Barbecue Chicken is the best grilled chicken you will EVER eat. Marinate in that liquid for an hour or two (but not too much longer than that, as the chicken texture will change from the vinegar), then use the liquid to baste the chicken periodically over indirect heat on a grill. Good lord, don't put the chicken over a live flame, as the resulting flare up from the oil in the marinade will burn the crap out of the skin before it's even remotely cooked through. Oh, and on that note, use bone in skin on dark meat for best results.

If you're squeamish about re-using the marinade as basting liquid, just make a fresh batch to baste with.
posted by Gonestarfishing at 6:30 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

My panko mixture is simple but delicious and I usually get asked "what's in this?" whenever I serve it.

No measurements, I just estimate/eyeball. I use it when cooking pork medallions or slices of chicken breast.

Plain panko
Montreal seasoning salt
Finely grated cheddar cheese
Chopped almonds

Mix it all together in a bowl (a pinching action helps to get the cheese distributed without clumping). Soak your meat in an egg yolk and milk mixture, dredge in the panko mix and fry in vegetable oil.

Alternative: if you don't want to fry, add some olive oil to the panko mix and bake on a cookie sheet with a wire rack. Broil for a minute or two at the end to crisp the coating.
posted by The Deej at 6:41 AM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Every time I take David Lebovitz's sweet and salty nut mix to a party, I get tons of requests for the recipe.
posted by neushoorn at 6:45 AM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I make ridiculous cheese biscuits. I take one 8 oz package of shredded cheese (cheddar is what I normally use but you can use any type you like) and mix it with two cups or so of self rising flour. Then I melt half a stick of butter, add that plus about 3/4 cup of milk. I mix that with my hands-adding a bit more flour only if I have to-and shape them with my hands and place on a cookie sheet. (If you have parchment paper, go ahead and line the pan with it-but you don't have to. Just makes it easier.) Then bake at 425 degrees for about 15 or 20 minutes. (I let mine get pretty dark but, ymmv.)

People really like them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:10 AM on October 2, 2013 [27 favorites]

I made this Shrimp Scampi recipe last week and it was mind-blowing. Seriously! My boyfriend took one bite and went nuts. It's a great dish you can prepare in advance and believe me, people will LOVE it :)

(Unfortunately, it didn't make the beau propose... but I think he was considering marrying the shrimp at the end of the night)
posted by JenThePro at 7:28 AM on October 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

I pride myself on my cooking but most if my "You must tell me..." responses come from kind of junky food. For example, when making nachos put down one layer of chips then top wih cheese, beans, onions, etc. THEN top with another layer of chips and toppings. It's (sob) my most requested dish. Also bacon-wrapped water chestnuts (the secret is to roll the chestnuts in brown sugar before wrapping). And this is the most embarrassing 'recipe' people rave about: unwrap a block of cream cheese, cover with a bottle of Pickapepper sauce, serve with crackers. It doesn't look pretty but people turn back midway through their first bite in order to get more.

I'm really sorry. I made that tomato sauce you mention and the engagement chicken. While I liked them, I have never gotten raves like I do for the above.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:29 AM on October 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

I have two things. One is an unbelievably simple bean salad: butter beans (rinsed and drained), crumbled feta, capers, and, if desired, chopped cucumber or roasted red pepper. Dress this with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and sumac. People go insane for it, even people you wouldn't expect to (my ten year old, a vegetable-hating cousin).

The other thing is caramel slice. I basically use this recipe, but use slightly less butter and ground walnuts and almonds instead of dessicated coconut, because I rarely have coconut on hand and I always have walnuts and almonds. To serve, cut it into tiny squares and set out on a pretty tray. I have yet to meet anyone who can resist this.
posted by MeghanC at 7:40 AM on October 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

Jacquilynne sent me a recipe for Mushroom Lasagna from Cook's Illustrated. Not re-posting due to copyright, but easy to find. basically, lasagne with mushroom filling instead of tomato sauce. I added a layer of butternut squash filling. It was a lot of work, and I made a wreck of my kitchen, but it was really delicious. I'd be happy to email the recipe. The ones I found online didn't sound as tasty.
posted by theora55 at 7:42 AM on October 2, 2013

Smitten Kitchen's blondies - super simple recipe and you can throw in all sorts of different things, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit, etc.

The Orange Chocolate Chippers from the Sea of Shoes blog. Rich and delicious and very easy to make.
posted by citron at 7:46 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

The smitten kitchen spicy brownies won me an office bake-off and the recipe is always requested.
These. I'm noting a theme in these responses-people really want the junky crap recipes. Makes me giggle.
Also, I make this Zucchini, Carrot, Leek Casserole thing to bring to potlucks a lot. I made it up. People love it. LOVE it.

4ish zucchinis, grated
4-5 carrots, grated
2-3 large leeks, sliced in ½ moons (more if smaller)
4-5 garlic cloves diced
4-5 eggs [can do half whole, half just whites]
8-12oz strong semi-soft cheese, grated (like emmentaler)
1 cup flour (+/-)
Spices to taste [garlic, salt, pepper usually]

Mix all together in 9×13 pan (greased or lined w/ parchment)

Bake at 350 for ½ hour or until cooked through and browned on top. Usually takes longer.
posted by atomicstone at 7:59 AM on October 2, 2013 [14 favorites]

Raw kale salad:

Remove the kale leaves carefully from the spine, trying to keep them in one piece (just because they are easier to chop this way). Roll the leaves up in a cone, then chiffonade.

Chop up a decent crisp apple into smallish cubes.

Mix up a nice vinagrette. I use olive oil, red wine vinegar, prepared mustard, fresh garlic squished out of the squisher (2-3 cloves), fresh ground pepper.

Toss the kale strips with the apple and the dressing and cover with grated parmesan or romano.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:14 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh, and sometimes I chiffonade some spinach to toss with the kale. I suppose any sturdy green with work...
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:15 AM on October 2, 2013

If you want delicious pulled pork for carnitas, this is how I do it, and every time someone asks me for the recipe:

Take 4-6 pounds of pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes. Cover with water and add in 2-3 whole chipotle peppers. Simmer for 2 hours covered. After 2 hours, remove the lid and peppers, and increase to a boil. Boil until the water is all gone, and the pieces are cooking in a puddle of rendered fat. Turn once to avoid burning the bottom, and to brown more of the meat in the fat. Remove, add a sprinkle of salt and cumin, then either shred or eat in chunks. Perfect for taco's, works well for sandwiches as well. It takes a little while, but most of that time is just waiting, there is very little prep time or involvement.
posted by markblasco at 8:30 AM on October 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

Chocolate peanut butter cookies (flourless and gluten free!)

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar (most recipes call for 1 cup but I think that's too much)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine ingredients in a bowl and then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

So simple and delicious!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:31 AM on October 2, 2013 [10 favorites]

I had a woman who wins multiple awards for her food and ice cream at the state fair every year strongly encourage I enter after she tried the goat cheese ice cream I made from David Leibowitz's recipe. (I declined, as it's not my recipe!)
posted by telophase at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I get asked repeatedly for the recipes for my chicken wings and my artichoke dip. (Junk food strikes again.)

Put frozen chicken wings on a lipped tray and pop in the oven at 425°. Bake until brown and crispy, about 75 mins. Liberally salt and pepper halfway through baking. Mix equal parts soy sauce and sriracha sauce in a large bowl, toss wings in sauce immediately before serving.

(A couple of my friends got into an argument at one of my cocktail parties because they didn't agree on who was to get the last wing.)

Artichoke dip:
Drain and dice two cans of artichoke hearts in water. Dice 1/2 a large yellow onion. Grate a huge handful of Parmesan cheese. Mix in a large bowl and add a few tablespoons of mayo, garlic powder, salt, lots of pepper, and cayenne. Mixture should be gloppy and fragrant. Transfer to a Pyrex bowl and bake at 425° for about an hour, until the top is brown and getting crispy around the edges. Serve with a crunchy baguette or two sliced thinly.

(More than once I have put this dish out, gone to freshen my drink and have a wee, only to find it all gone, the bowl wiped clean with the last of the baguette.)
posted by Specklet at 8:51 AM on October 2, 2013 [13 favorites]

I cook a lot, and this is requested of me more than any other dish. My wife's aunt had the most amazing (but decidedly simple) recipe for Italian Beef. Everything is off the shelf and it's easy to remember:

One 5lbs rump roast
Two packets of McCormick Au Jus Gravy Mix
Three cups water

Cook in a crock pot until tender and the meat pulls a part with little effort, serve the beef on Ciabatta rolls with Provolone cheese and banana pepper rings.
posted by lstanley at 9:00 AM on October 2, 2013 [9 favorites]

Like hydrobatidae and others, I've always been surprised when the easiest (and yes, junkiest) stuff gets the most raves. For me, that most surprising dish is these s'mores bars that are super easy. I only made them the first time because we had just gone camping and I had a bunch of leftover s'mores ingredients that I wanted to get rid of, but after I made them once, they've been requested again and again.

This one isn't junky, but it's the mainstay salad dressing in our house, and I get requests for the recipe from salad lovers all the time: mash 2 cloves of garlic with 3/4 teaspoon salt, add 1.5 tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice and a 1/4 cup of olive oil, and whisk or shake.
posted by sa3z at 9:21 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Paula Deen's banana pudding. It's super easy, and people love it. It doesn't require heat, timers, sharp knives, or fancy equipment (hand blender recommended but not required), and has hardly any measuring. And it's freaking amazing.

(FYI you can lighten this up a bit with reduced-fat/low-fat products and it still tastes great)
posted by radioamy at 9:58 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

This Marian Morash Victory Garden recipe is always a big hit for company:

Marinated Shrimp with Onions and Cilantro

2 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp (original calls for extra jumbo shrimp, but any size will do)
3/4-1 cup fresh lime juice (4 limes or so)
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 halved and very thinly sliced large red onion
1 thinly sliced lime (slice very thin)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (if you hate cilantro use fresh parsley)
1 Tbl fresh minced oregano or 1 tsp dried (I usually use dried)
salt and freshly ground pepper

To poach the shrimp:
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, using enough water to cover the shrimp by at least 1 inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt for each 2 quarts water. Prepare a large bowl of ice water to one side. Drop the shrimp into the boiling water. The cold shrimp will cool the water slightly, allowing the shrimp to poach. Let the water return to a simmer, but reduce the heat, if necessary, to keep the water from boiling again. Poach the shrimp until they turn pink on the outside and the tails just curl, about 1-2 minutes (To test, cut into 1 shrimp. The flesh of raw shrimp is gray and translucent; that of cooked shrimp is white and opaque.) Lift the shrimp from the pot and immediately plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking action, then drain.

Put the shrimp in a bowl, pour the lime juice over them, toss, cover, and let them marinate for at least 1 hour, tossing occasionally. then drain the shrimp, drizzle the olive oil over them, and add the onion, sliced lime, cilantro, and oregano. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and toss to combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours. Serve with toothpicks.

Note, you can substitute lemon juice and sliced lemon for the lime, if you prefer.


This potato side dish is something my Mom got somewhere, and has made it's way through the family and extended family and friends, especially for holiday meals. It is not low calorie, but is so so tasty.

Mom's potato dish

Cook (boil) 6 large or 8 medium red potatoes about 15 minutes or till done. Should be cooked through but not falling apart. Let cool enough to handle easily. (We never bother to peel them, though you could if you want.) Dice potatoes into fairly large chunks, about 1/2 inch or more.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and preheat oven to 350 F.

Add to potatoes, mixing well but carefully so you don't break up the potatoes (we usually premix all this in a bowl and then add to potatoes):
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 can condensed soup - either cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, or cream of chicken and mushroom (use the undiluted soup, right out of the can - trust me, it works)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (white cheddar, preferably)
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded or very finely diced onion

Spread potato mixture into pan and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.

Pull out of oven, and top with a bit more grated cheese to taste (maybe 1/4 -1/3 cup?) and sprinkle with a few breadcrumbs, and run then under broiler till browned to your taste.
posted by gudrun at 10:01 AM on October 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

White Chocolate Citrus Mousse
~10 portions

- 5 dl (2 cups) double cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 dl (0.4 cups) sugar
- 250 grams (9 ounces) of good white chocolate
- Juice from half a lemon
- Juice from an orange
- Three sheets of gelatin

1) Whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks
2) In another bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes light in colour

3) Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes; remove and squeeze off excess water
4) Put the lemon & orange juice in a small kettle and bring to simmer. Remove from the stove and stir in the softened gelatin sheets and the white chocolate.

5) Mix the juice/gelatin/chocolate mixture with the egg/sugar mixture
6) Gently fold in the whipped cream

7) Pour in small serving ramekins; keep in the fridge for about 3 hours

8) Witness your significant other throwing an impromptu somersault on the kitchen floor after the first spoonful.
posted by honeyacid at 10:39 AM on October 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

Everyone I know who has come to an event where this is served has asked for the recipe:


1 can Butter beans (drained) (15 oz)
1 can Lima Beans (drained) (15 oz)
1 can Kidney Beans (drained) (15 oz
2 large cans B&M baked beans (28 oz ea)
1 cup brown sugar
1 pound bacon
4 medium onions, chopped
½ cup vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard.

In a skillet, simmer the following for 20 minutes: brown sugar, bacon, chopped onions, vinegar, garlic powder, dry mustard. Note that the bacon is not fried or sautéed .
Add the above mixture to the beans.
Bake in 350 F oven for 1 ½ hours or cook overnight in crock pot.
posted by brownrd at 2:01 PM on October 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

David Lebovitz's gougères and Smitten Kitchen's cheese straws.

Neither recipe is hard, and both are open to lots of experimentation. I actually used the gougère recipe a few nights ago to make a sort of Parisian gnocchi so...pâte à choux can take you places, is what I'm getting at.
posted by punchtothehead at 2:23 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Here's my husband's Aunt Moria's Almond Cookies

150 g almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white

Beat egg white and sugar until frothy. Add almonds. Drop tablespoons or clumps onto cookie sheet. If desired, dust with cinnamon. Bake at 350 for ˜20 minutes or until crispy on the edges.

(Gluten free, and kosher for passover too!)
posted by Mchelly at 2:54 PM on October 2, 2013 [10 favorites]

Salsa di Parmigiano, or as we call it around here, "CHEESE CRACK"
posted by rmd1023 at 3:06 PM on October 2, 2013 [11 favorites]

I heartily second the Salsa di Parmigiano. Made it for my girlfriend's birthday party and literally had four people (who I all met for the first time at the party) corner me and beg for the recipe.
posted by Twicketface at 3:53 PM on October 2, 2013

From the Augusta Junior League's Tea Time at The Master's cookbook, this gets devoured so fast I usually double the recipe.

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup regular or lowfat mayonnaise (I use Duke's low fat)
6 to 8 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff is ok as is the Green Can Stuff in a pinch)
Dash Tabasco sauce
(I sprinkle top with a little paprika too)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and place into a small baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve with plain crackers.
posted by pointystick at 4:01 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

The choco taco recipe from Serious Eats (found via this post) are both a crowd pleaser and a fun group activity. Also, books in your freezer!
posted by Turkey Glue at 4:54 PM on October 2, 2013

A peach puzzle is delicious and pretty fun. It was on America's Test Kitchen's lost recipes edition. Someone on Metafilter mentioned it one time and I tried it.

Convection inside the puzzle forces the peach juice into the upside down ramekin so that when you turn it over, you have a full cup of peach sauce to spoon over the slices.
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

family recipes!

this cardamom sauce is AMAZING. it's refreshing and creamy and interesting and delicious. I LOVE it. it won a honey recipe contest once.

Fruit Salad Sauce

*pour pineapple juice on fruit to stop browning*

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c orange juice
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cardamom

cook over medium heat until thickened into custard, then cover and cool. (can keep in fridge but take out about 20 minutes before adding cream)

whip 1 cup whipping cream to soft peaks, then fold into custard.

hot out? put bowl and beaters in freezer first.


these little cookies are cheesy and flaky like a pie crust, and filled with marmalade, and aren't sweet, and seem a little gross the first time you eat one, but then.. you can't get them off your mind. forever. for the rest of your life. Every christmas you'll be begging me for cheese moons.

Cheese Moons

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup finely grated cheddar
2/3 cup shortening
2-3 tablespoons ice water
Pinch salt

Oven to 450°. Stir flour and salt and cheddar, cut in fats. Roll quite thin, cut 3" diameter circles. Place small tsp of marmalade (not too skimpy), moisten edges, fold over, shape into crescents, poke with fork and bake. Careful! Hot jam!

(ps: I drop the salt and replace the shortening with butter when I make them, because shortening is gross, but that's the original recipe.)
posted by euphoria066 at 9:18 PM on October 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

Fruit crumble: Combine a stick of butter, a cup of flour, and a half cup of sugar with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. in a bowl by pinching them together until the mixture resembles pebbles. This happens almost instantly if you partially melt the butter in the microwave. Sprinkle over a baking pan filled with frozen fruit, and cook at 350 for half an hour. Better than pie. A little iced or whipped cream never hurts.

Roast Chicken: Insert a lemon into the cavity, pad with salt and pepper, surround with cut up root veggies and roast at 450 for about an hour. The secret here is that the high temperature and low cooking time always end with fantastic results and make the dish easy.

In a Bag/ En Papilliote: Wrap chicken or fish with veggies and a glug or two of vinegar and oil in a tinfoil bag and cook at 350 for half an hour. This steams everything perfectly, and all the flavors get intermingled. An example would be chicken breasts with potato wedges, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes with a glug of white wine and olive oil.

Lasagna: My secret is knead 2 cups of flour and 2 eggs, roll, and cut into strips. In other words, use fresh pasta, since it's little to no work to cut out the big strips. I will never cease to be amazed at how much transformatively better fresh pasta is to dry.

Mayo: Beat an egg with a little bit of olive oil and salt with, ideally, a hand blender in a mason jar, though a regular blender will do. Slowly add more and more oil while maintaining the mayo-y consistency. You can add herbs or a little lemon or chipotle or what-have-you, but this will be miles better than regular mayo.
posted by xammerboy at 10:51 PM on October 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

Marc's Cashew Chicken. It's what convinced my BF that taking recipes from the internet is not bad at all. He literally begged me to make it again.
posted by gakiko at 10:56 PM on October 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've posted this before, but since Thanksgiving is coming up in the US, and there will be leftover turkey across the land, this seems like a good time to repost. My brother invented this around 1989:

Turkey Too Much

1. Make a turkey that's too big for your family.

2. Next day, put the shredded leftovers in a frying pan with Too Much Melted Butter, and start heating it up.

3. Add Too Much Garlic, and Too Much Soy Sauce.

4. After it's cooked for a while and everything is browned up and heated through, serve it over Too Much Rice. It's actually better if you cook it Too Long, and it starts to get browny bits on the edges.

I imagine this would work just fine with Too Much Chicken, also.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:04 AM on October 3, 2013 [11 favorites]

this will change how you eat broccoli for ever. I think i read about it here first, it's now one of my go to dishes to easily wow guests.
posted by kev23f at 11:22 AM on October 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

It's no accident that several of these are from Simply Recipes - I've never had one of hers go wrong. Specifically, a roommate used to beg me to make this chili. It's also a very forgiving recipe - stick with the basic steps and you'll be fine, even if you use ground beef or realize too late you have no onions in the house!

This pernil (plus black beans and rice!) recipe is also a perrenial favorite, though it does stick with the trend of somewhat "junky" ingredients (in this case, goya sazon powder, which is basically just Latin-flavored MSG).

Oh, and this chicken adobo recipe has won over several dinner parties. It is super, super easy and delicious.

My mom makes this cranberry mold every Thanksgiving. People start asking about it weeks ahead of time. This recipe is powerful - only use it for good:

Cranberry Mold:

One 3 oz box of raspberry, blackberry or cherry Jello
Dissolved in 1 cup of very hot water
Stir in ½ large can of whole cranberry sauce
And ½ large can of crushed pineapple, drained
Add chopped walnuts

And mix all thoroughly
Pour into oiled mold pan
Refrigerate overnight
posted by lunasol at 1:15 PM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is the easiest thing ever, so easy I don't even consider it a recipe and was extremely surprised when several people asked for the recipe at a party I brought it to:

fresh peaches
fresh bananas
fresh strawberries
lemon juice

Slice the fruit. Try to have roughly equal amounts of each.

Add lemon juice. (The juice of one lemon for 1-2 peaches seems about right.)

Let it sit for at least an hour or two. (The lemon juice helps keep the banana and peach from browning too much.)


posted by kristi at 10:15 AM on October 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

1. Take a large (>4 pounds) upper leg ("shoulder") cut from your favorite animal. (Oink! Moo! Baah!)
2. Rub with a simple spice blend of your choice. (o! m! b!)
3. Smoke over indirect heat, or roast in the oven, at 225F (107C) - 250F (121C). Wait for many hours.
4. Remove when a thermometer inserted into middle-mass reaches 203F (95C).
5. Slice or shred with a couple of forks. Serve with some, just the right amount, of sauce, over your favorite breadstuff.
posted by tryscer at 2:02 AM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Fruit dip:

Jar of marshmallow Fluff
1 brick of regular cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons orange juice
orange zest

Blend together with a hand blender or mixer. Serve with strawberries, melons, and slices of crisp apples and pears.
posted by LynnDee at 11:01 AM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

My family's french toast recipe. I've made it for my friends for brunch, they ask for it every time.

1 loaf of challah or brioche if you can't find challah.
1/2 - 1 egg per slice of bread (I cut mine about 3/4 of an inch thick; about 8 big slices per loaf)
milk (skim or almond milk)
brown sugar

Slice challah and either leave it out to stale slightly overnight or put it in the oven on warm for about 15 minutes so they dry out most of the way. You don't want them brittle, just dry enough that they can absorb the mixture
Mix cinnamon, brown sugar and milk. I do about 2 parts milk for every egg. The brown sugar and cinnamon are really to taste - more the better I say.
One-by-one put dry-ish challah slices into the mixture, and then into a container to hold all of the slices plus the mixture.
Make sure that every slice is well soaked. I often have to add a bit more milk at the end to cover the entire batch.
Let soak in the fridge overnight.
Cook on medium-low heat so the french toast browns and cooks through. You can also finish them in the oven.

Serve with real maple syrup and fruit.
posted by Political Funny Man at 9:23 PM on October 5, 2013 [10 favorites]

On food days at work, I get greeted at the door by co-workers who are hoping to get Meat Candy before everyone else eats it all. To make it, start an episode of Doctor Who. Cut bacon slices in thirds or quarters. Wrap bacon around a little smokie and secure with a toothpick. Continue until you run out of smokies, bacon, toothpicks or Doctor Who. Place on a cookie sheet and cover in brown sugar and put in the oven at 300 degrees. Watch another episode of Doctor Who. Pull out of the oven and contemplate not sharing. Sigh. Share.
posted by angelchrys at 9:49 PM on October 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

angelchrys, is this the smokie you you are talking about?
I have a few unwatched episodes, and bacon; the third ingredient is the tricky one...
posted by froghopper at 5:41 AM on October 6, 2013

Ha! Nope, they're little sausages:
posted by angelchrys at 11:27 AM on October 6, 2013

Amazing lump crab meat dip.

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 lb. Lump or jumbo lump crabmeat (Do not used canned!!)
Dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and cream cheese over low heat, stirring until it is well blended. Add crab meat and seasonings. Transfer to chafing dish. Serve with French toast rounds, or the way we like best, with fried won tons. We get a local Chinese restaurant to fry up a bunch for us.
posted by cherrybounce at 1:28 PM on October 6, 2013

The famous recipes from my family that people ask for are:

• Mom's Corn Pudding
• Mom's Oxtail Stew
• Grandma's Chicken Salad
• Grandma's Moonshine Cake
• Mrs. Lackey's 100-Year Old Chocolate Cake Recipe
• (Great-) Aunt Jenet's Light Rolls

I have Mom's oxtail stew recipe with me at work ('cause with the cool weather here, I felt like making some, so as per my usual practice I put the recipe in my purse so I could take it with me to the grocery and make sure I didn't forget an ingredient). Trust me on this when I tell you, oxtail tew is the best beef stew you will ever have in your life. It's as easy to make as any traditional beef stew. The only arguably complicated part is getting your hands on oxtails:

Oxtail Stew

• 2 cups flour
• Salt and pepper
• 6 pounds oxtail (cut into chunks, obviously, if you have an actual ox's tail; otherwise, they should come cleaned and chopped from your butcher)
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 4 cloves garlic sliced then mashed in salt to puree consistency
• 1 red onion chopped
• 1 cup red wine (if you don't like to cook with alcohol, substitute a cup of good beef broth or a can of beef consomme here)
• 3 cups crushed tomatoes with juice (pro-tip: use fresh tomatoes if you have them, or your own canned tomatoes from your garden)
• Water, to cover
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 pounds carrots peeled and chopped into large chunks
• 6 pounds potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks

In a shallow bowl, add the flour. Season well with salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the flour, shaking off any excess.

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat, add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat, and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. When all of the meat is browned, remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a plate.

To the pot, add the garlic and red onion and sweat. Add the wine to the pot. Add the browned meat back into the pot and add the crushed tomatoes. Add enough water to cover the meat and add the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 hours.

Add the carrots and the potatoes and simmer for another 45 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Some people are all about removing the meat from the bones. Screw that

I discovered that Granny's Moonshine Cake recipe is the famous Kentucky Bourbon Cake recipe from Cissy Gregg, who for years was the food editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal. Granny simply replaced the bourbon with 'shine. I suggest that if you have access to a good quality 'shine, you do the same.

I'll have to track down the other recipes to post.
posted by magstheaxe at 9:01 AM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am reasonably notorious among friends for my apple butter and my lasagna.

The apple butter's secret weapon is Penzey's pumpkin pie spices and a local heirloom apple (Hauer pippin), and being willing to lose a full weekend making and canning it. I also use the whole apple, seeds, stems and all.

If you stop at the puree phase, it makes a damn good applesauce. I am reliably informed that the spouse of one of my coworkers eats it with a spoon out of the jar and now I give her two jars: one for her and one for him.

The lasagna combines Alton Brown's tomato sauce, various Penzeys weaponry, handmade noodles, bechamel sauce made with the heaviest possible cream and richest possible butter, and either grass-fed beef or Smart Ground, along with a metric fuckton of the best mozz and parmesan you can find, preferably sold by a patchouli-marinated hippie at the local farmer's market.

It tends to be artery-explodingly rich and if I make it on a weekend we can eat it for a week, if it lasts that long. With four of us, two being small boys, it generally doesn't.

This may also be because MORE LAYERS! MORE EVERYTHING! is my basic lasagna tenet. If the baking dish isn't creaking, it's not there yet. Also, I've never met a browned cheese topping I couldn't be close personal friends with.
posted by scrump at 9:10 AM on October 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Political Funny Man: "My family's french toast recipe. I've made it for my friends for brunch, they ask for it every time."


I cheat by using the Joy of Cooking recipe, but, yeah, brioche or challah takes it from "damn, that's good," to "I'm going to nail you in the wreckage of our breakfast, if that's okay with you".

Seriously, for single people this might as well be called Morning Sex Toast. If you only want a one-night stand, DO NOT serve this the next morning, or you'll wind up in a relationship, at least until brunch.

For marrieds and/or families, this is the single best way to gain instant forgiveness for fucking up. You could probably light one of your kids on fire and give them to this the next morning and they'd be like "no biggie, dude, it's only a third-degree burn, pass the bacon". And, because this is me writing this, I have to be honest and say that this has never happened, because I know you're all waiting for the story about how I lit my kid on fire.
posted by scrump at 9:19 AM on October 8, 2013 [9 favorites]

OK I'm not really into salads that much of the time, but this lentil salad is just so fucking good. My wife makes it for essentially every potluck occasion, gives it out to newly pregnant friends, etc, and it's a smash hit every time. They say you need these special fancy lentils but worry yourself not, any green lentil will do. It just has to be robust enough not to fall apart.
posted by ORthey at 9:24 PM on October 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

The results of this recipe disappear rapidly. It's perfect for the end of every tomato season. My version of the Green Tomato Cake (basically a bananaless banana bread) is as follows:

2 cups blended green tomatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1.5 cups sugar
- I usually use brown sugar, because it's the cheapest fair-trade sugar at my local discount store, but presumably whatever you have handy works just fine
2 eggs for a lighter, fluffier cake OR 1/2 cup applesauce for a moister, more dense cake - I prefer the applesauce version, my partner prefers the eggs
2 cups flour - I use one cup each of white and wheat
2 teaspoons spices - the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. My favorite is 2 teaspoons chinese 5-spice and I have also had good success with pumpkin spice, which is a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Basically use whatever spices you prefer or think would be genius.
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups raisins (or substitute any dried fruit, chop if needed)
3/4 cups chopped walnuts (or substitute any tender nut, such as pecans or soaked almonds)

Directions also copied and altered from above link:

1. Place blended tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Place in a colander and drain well.

2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add raisins and nuts to dry mixture.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

4. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs or applesauce and beat until creamy. Once well-mixed, add to dry ingredients. Dough will be very stiff. Mix well.

5. Add drained tomatoes and mix well. Pour into the prepared 9 x 13 inch pan.

6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

I've also heard great things about green tomato pie.
posted by aniola at 3:21 PM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

My Chex Mix recipe. It's adapted from my grandmother's and my childhood neighbor's, and the side of the Chex box. (because Grandma's asks for 3 sticks of butter, gah, and the Chex box asks for a stick, I hit in the middle).

Preheat oven to 250

3 cups each of Wheat, rice and corn chex
3 cups of cheerios
3 cups of pretzels
3 cups of cheddar bunnies or rockets or goldfish or cheeze-its in a pinch
2 cups nuts (calls for mixed, I use cashews)

you can also add a couple of cups rye rounds, or whatever.

2 tbsp (or slightly more? I use more) of worcestershire sauce (Lee & Perrin's or Annie's. Annie's is vegetarian)
2 sticks of butter
1.5 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp each onion and garlic powder
1/2 tsp each cayenne and celery salt, if you want. I tend to use more cayenne

I melt one stick of butter in the microwave and mix in all the spices.

I mix all the dry ingredients and divide between 2 roasting pans (if you don't have toasting pans, you can get disposable ones at the dollar store), and cut the final stick of butter and distribute evenly between the pans.

Pour the melted butter mixture (divided evenly) over the 2 pans.

Stir every 15 minutes.

After I remove from the oven, I might shake some green can cheese over it, but it isn't necessary.

posted by bibliogrrl at 7:03 PM on December 4, 2013 [6 favorites]

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