I got an interesting little email this week. It was from a friend of mine in the U.K. and it was for a recipe exchange. The exchange is pretty simple – you send one recipe, something that’s a favorite, to the person whose name is listed in the body of the email then you copy the note and send to 20 friends, including your name in the body. It’s kind of a “round robin” approach and in the end, you should get 36 new recipes.
And I am really excited to do this! Not because I necessarily need 36 new recipes (I still have a stack of Bon Appétit magazines to get through!), but because I’m very curious to see what folks from the U.K. consider their favorites. What are their “go-to” recipes? The one’s their family and friends ask for over and over again. Should be interesting!
This also got me thinking about my own cooking habits and why some dishes remain in my repertoire and others fall by the wayside. What makes a recipe a true favorite (besides great taste, of course)? Is it simplicity? Exotic ingredients? A homemade feel? In trying to figure out which recipe to share for this exchange, I started thinking about what my favorites have in common . . . here are my very unscientific findings:
- Goes With Everything – our family favorites tend to be the recipes that “go with” just about anything. This summer, a big favorite is Watermelon, Tomato & Mint Salad. This recipe is a good baseline – but I’ve added Kalamata olives and dressed the salad with Balsamic vinegar and olive oil to give it a little more depth. Not only is it cool and refreshing, but it goes with any type of grilled meat or seafood making it fool-proof for parties or family gatherings.
- Offers A New Twist – I love gazpacho (the cold, chunky tomato-based soup we usually start to see on menus when the mercury soars). But last summer, I was looking for a change of pace and I found a recipe for White Gazpacho. It was similar to the original in that it was cold and chunky, but added some different tastes including almonds and grapes to make it a new favorite. Sometimes a little twist on an old favorite is all you need!