Just the Essentials with Adam Ried

Why this equipment authority believes adding an egg to a dish automatically qualifies it as dinner.

Published Oct. 27, 2015.

In celebration of 100 Recipes—a book which lists, in our estimation, the 100 most essential recipes in the history of the Test Kitchen—our beloved television personalities have each compiled a list of their five favorite recipes from the book. Below, equipment review extraordinaire Adam Ried lists his, including a hearty farmhouse stew and a decadent pork roast. 

1. Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Bread Crumbs

“Add an egg, and it’s dinner,” is a battle cry I’ve used with great regularity. In fact, I said it once in a Cook’s Illustrated story, though I think it landed in the editor’s computer’s trash. A bowl of pasta with crisp bread crumbs and fried eggs—the thickened, silky and still liquid yolk, which becomes the sauce—is a prime example of the notion. If the yolk overcooks, though, the dish can be a disappointment rather than the simple, yet soaring joy it is when done well.

2. Maple-Glazed Pork Roast

Though I stop short of drinking it straight up, I’m a maple syrup freak. I prefer the darker, more robust stuff, and I use it with abandon—even in my coffee! So why not with roast pork? The natural sweetness of the meat and the syrup complement each other nicely, and the pair accepts other flavors with open arms. All the variations rock, especially the ones with smoked paprika and rosemary. This recipe is as easy as they come, and it’s a crowd-pleaser.

3. Farmhouse Vegetable and Barley Soup

Chucking a bunch of random fall and winter veggies into a pot with some stock is the default—and wrong—way to make vegetable soup, and I’m guilty of quite a few subpar pots of the stuff myself. The discoveries in this recipe—porcini, soy sauce, white wine, and barley, none of which are common in most veggie soups—really do turn a dud into a delight. This is vegetable soup the way you always hope it will turn out.

4. Rice and Lentils

At the risk of sounding like a teenage girl—with all due respect to teenage girls, of course— O-M-G!!! These onions! They’d make a cardboard box taste great! And this from a reluctant fryer who’s always steered clear of the technique because of the mess. Beyond that, as a fan of Middle Eastern food I’ve eaten plenty of Mujaddara in my day, so I know this recipe is exceptional. Both the lentils and rice are beautifully cooked, and in my view, the cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne in the spice mix really sets this version apart.

5. Yellow Layer Cake

Just like the recipe description says, “Everyone deserves a homemade birthday cake.” For many cooks, though, that’s far more easily said than done. And if you’re going to put the work into a scratch-made cake, you really want it to come out well. Look no further: This one does. And I’m a good judge because cake is, hands down, my favorite food.

The Test Kitchen's True Essentials

100 Recipes

If you could only have 100 recipes at your disposal, what would they be? In 100 Recipes, the editors of America’s Test Kitchen present what they consider the recipes everyone should know how to make—these are the dishes that will give anyone the culinary chops they need to succeed in the kitchen.  
Buy the Book

This is a members' feature.