We've chosen our 10 (or so) favorite recipes of 2009, remembering how many times we sneaked into the kitchen during testing for Julienne's graham cracker chewy bars or Paula Wolfert's sizzling shrimp, both of them instant hits. (Food section staffers are required to taste and evaluate each dish; hey, somebody's got to do it.)
Food Editor Russ Parsons inspired us to get behind the stove with 5 pounds of onions, cooked until they're a burnished mahogany in color and have the texture of marmalade. They're so good simply spread on grilled bread, but then he wowed us by putting them into a luscious potato gratin with prosciutto, a little cream and Gruyère cheese.
Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter, after hauling in firebricks from her car and lining the kitchen's ovens with them, had a pizza breakthrough: pizza at home as good as any from a pizzeria. Her pizza Margherita rocks.
And there was so much more to love last year: quinoa with shiitakes, fennel and cashews; bell pepper and corn slaw; ragù to make your Italian grandma proud; author Andrea Nguyen's rice noodles with Chinese chives, shrimp and pork (a great potluck dish); white chocolate bread pudding with whiskey caramel sauce (made in a slow cooker); and orange shortcakes with strawberries and cream.
Now we can't wait for what 2010 brings.
See the full list of the Top 10 recipes of 2009 (plus five runners-up) here. Also: Take a look back at our "best of" lists for the last 25 years.