There’s an art to a well-written recipe. The end product—usually a list of ingredients followed by a set of instructions—belies the work that goes into crafting these seemingly straightforward guidelines. But anyone who writes a recipe knows: The work starts well before the letters hit the page, and often goes several rounds in the kitchen—work that most readers and home cooks rarely consider but that is meant to simplify what happens once you arrive at the stove.
This is our third annual recipe issue, in which we’ve compiled a selection of some of our most standout dishes from the past few years. Compiled from well known chefs, recipe developers, and our own test kitchen, these are the recipes that work time and again.
For this issue, we’re leaning into the fall and winter season: rich and sumptuous stews, holiday-table stunners, and sweets and baked goods to warm up those chilly days and nights. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made the chicken and hominy soup and batched extras in the freezer for leftovers, or how often I’ve recalled the grilled oysters with parsley butter recipe whenever we pick up a few dozen half-shells. Those homemade moon pies on the cover? I plan on tackling those during our first frigid weekend of the season.
Of course, not everyone follows a recipe to the letter. The New York Times’ assistant managing editor Sam Sifton once compared recipes to sheet music, something that can be mimicked, improvised, and then riffed upon. We hope these recipes serve as a starting point for your next masterpiece. They might provide inspiration and then become your own when you add that one special-to-you touch—extra cilantro to finish, tofu instead of chicken. Play around. Use the ingredients you have. Or follow the recipe exactly and enjoy the delicious and well-earned results.
However you choose to use this issue, we hope it becomes a faithful kitchen companion this season—dirty up those pages and flag the ones that become your favorites. And please let us know what you think: Tag us on Instagram (@thelocalpalate) or leave a comment on our website. We can’t wait to see what all you’re cooking up this season.
- by Erin Byers Murray