Best of 2014: Dane's Picks


By Dane Feldman

Yesterday I kicked off a mini-series of Dish + Drink’s best of the year starting with the Best Drinks of 2014. Today, we’ll take a look at my personal favorites from this past year that either don’t necessarily fit anywhere else or just missed the cut elsewhere. From side dishes to easy breakfasts, these are recipes I’ll be keeping into 2015.

Almond Pesto and Potato Side Dish

All photos by Dane Feldman.

This side dish came about as sort of an accident. In what was probably my first successful attempt at caramelizing onions (seriously, it’s all about patience), I managed to combine some delicious flavors and create a hearty side dish that works for all seasons.

Crab Salad

Who doesn’t love crab? Well, tons of people, but I’m not one of them. I truly enjoy all things crab, especially crab dip and crab salad. Of course, one of the components to making a delicious crab salad is to load up on heavy ingredients, so I ventured into the healthier realm and made a crab salad with just as much flavor and far less calories.

Zucchini Potato Nik

Thanks to Mark Bittman, traditional Jewish cooking has been made cool again. In my house, it’s always been cool, so I owe a big thank you to him for inspiring this zucchini and potato nik. What’s a nik? Honestly, it’s really just a giant latke.

Watermelon Gazpacho Salad

Watermelon gazpacho has been “in” for a few years now and it’s one of my favorite dishes to make on a hot summer day. For those who still can’t get behind cold soup (you should, though, because it’s awesome), this salad combines all of the wonderful flavors of watermelon gazpacho without the gritty cold soup.

Avocado and Goat Cheese Toast

Speaking of food trends and recipes that are “in” these days, the avocado toast is still going strong and probably will all through 2015. This is one of the easiest and best ways to get a little bit of breakfast in you even when you just don’t feel like it or you only have a few minutes to spare. Adding a little goat cheese makes this feel like an even bigger indulgence than it is, but it is just as tasty with a little bit of red pepper flakes and olive oil. Eating breakfast really never goes out of style.

Blueberry Pie

Dessert doesn’t go out of style either—especially pie. I love pie and pie in the summer made with fresh fruit truly rivals almost anything else, at least for me. If you’ve been following Dish + Drink since its inception in May 2013, you know that I’m not much of a baker. Yet somehow, I made pie and it was good. Bookmark this one for spring and summer.

Honey Bourbon Cocktail

Speaking of spring and summer, nothing says summer like a little bit of honey and bourbon. Okay, fine, mint juleps say spring, but not everybody likes fresh mint. This cocktail is about as simple as it can be to make and it packs a powerful punch along with its subtle sweetness. If nobody stops me this one might be on the Best of 2015 list too.

Bacon + Peach Grilled Cheese

I don’t do a whole lot of cooking with red meat or bacon–in part because my household doesn’t eat it and in part because I try not to do so. When it comes to the breakfast meats, I’ve been known to say that I prefer sausage to bacon, but this grilled cheese is a true exception. Really, don’t put sausage in this. Trust me.

Pulled Chicken + Butternut Squash Risotto

My first attempt at making pulled chicken was a major success. This dish is truly fantastic because it combines healthy vegetables with lean protein and the creaminess of risotto. I love recipes that make me feel like I just had a cheat meal without actually having a cheat meal. This fits the bill and is also a fantastic fall recipe practically guaranteed to warm you up.

Stuffing + Mushroom Shallot Gravy

Speaking of fall recipes, what’s autumn without Thanksgiving and, for that matter, what’s Thanksgiving without stuffing? I have always loved the concept of Thanksgiving for the food, but unfortunately I don’t get to cook on Thanksgiving. This year, I took matters into my own hands and made a little pre-Thanksgiving with this vegetable stuffing. I’ll be bookmarking this one for November 2015 and November 2016 and November 2017…

Stay tuned for more of the Best of 2014 series.