Just the Essentials with Julia Collin Davison

The ATK TV co-host lists her favorite recipes to make for friends and family.

Published Nov. 10, 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, co-host Julia Collin Davison lists hers, including a recipe for paella, and another for vegetable curry.

1. Paella

Paella is one of my go-to recipes when we have company over; I use a paella pan and plunk it down right in the center of the table for serving. This recipe is a real looker and makes for an impressive presentation. Also, I like to have everything prepped ahead of time, and then assemble it while chatting with folks in the kitchen. Once, I even let my guests (who had never made paella before) do the cooking while I sat at a kitchen stool and read off the instructions; we had a blast and they loved pretending they were on a cooking show with all of the ingredients already prepped for them.

2. Weeknight Roast Chicken

My husband, Ian, sells seafood for a living so naturally we eat a lot of chicken at home. This roast chicken recipe is my all-time favorite because it is incredibly simple and delivers a perfectly roasted chicken every time without any fuss. In fact, we make it about once a week at my house and both my husband and I know the recipe by heart.

3. Vegetable Curry

Although I am a serious meat eater, I far prefer this vegetable curry to other meat- or poultry-based curries. The flavors of the vegetables are allowed to shine through and taste hearty alongside the curry spices and coconut milk. (The recipe says you can use heavy cream or coconut milk, but I prefer it with the coconut milk). And I love that the recipe calls for water, rather than broth, so that the flavors taste clean. Be sure to make the cilantro-mint chutney that goes with the curry—it’s the bomb.

4. Ultimate Beef Chili

A few years ago, a group of family and friends had a chili cook-off. There were over 20 entries and although I didn’t enter, my mother and father did, using this recipe. Needless to say, they won. I wasn’t surprised; this chili is just that good.

5. Pork Tinga

I lived on the west coast for a few years in the late ’90s and fell in love with real Mexican food. Not only was Mexican food everywhere, it was inexpensive, delicious, and quickly became a staple in my diet. When I moved to Boston to work for ATK, I was saddened to learn that the nearest, most popular Mexican restaurant was a Taco Bell. No disrespect to Taco Bell, but their food only sharpened my Mexican food hunger pangs. So, I was forced to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food at home. Luckily, Mexican food is quite simple to make at home and this Tinga recipe is one of my all-time favorites.

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.
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