Staff Picks: Our Favorite Images of 2017

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Another year, another year’s worth of ridiculously, ridiculously good-looking images of food here at Serious Eats. We’ll keep this short, since we know you’re just here to ogle pics, not read a bunch of text (honestly, ain’t nobody got time for that). So without any further ado, here’s a look at the photographs and illustrations our team couldn’t get enough of in 2017.

Roasted Carrots With Black Sesame Paste

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

This photo almost didn’t happen. I was racing to squeeze one last recipe into a long shoot day, and decided to do a very simple seasonal recipe with roasted carrots and a black sesame paste. My first go at the recipe was an unmitigated failure, and I was running out of time to get it right. I dashed around the kitchen in a panic, tossing things together as I muttered under my breath. I could feel the doubt emanating off Vicky as she stood there, camera in hand, waiting for me to realize it was a lost cause. Within minutes, I had a completely new take on the idea, this time a total success. We were both pretty shocked that I’d pulled it off. As good as the recipe turned out, the real magic happened when Vicky snapped her shots. I love the way the carrots seem to glow from within, and how dark and brooding the black-sesame looks against them. It’s so striking and evocative that I can recall every detail of the taste just by glancing at the image. —Daniel Gritzer, managing culinary director

Read the full story: Black Sesame Paste Is the Nutty, Bitter Accent Roasted Carrots Need »

Tiramisu

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

You know the “oddly satisfying” tab on your Instagram Discover page? This photo was made for that category. Vicky captured that feeling of peeling back the twine atop this tiramisu to reveal the snow white mascarpone filling beneath a flurry of cocoa powder. It’s a feeling akin to the satisfaction of peeling a strip of painter’s tape off a wall to reveal a perfectly straight edge. It make me feel like there might be something sacred and orderly left in this world. —Kristina Bornholtz, social media editor

Read the full story: How to Make the Best Tiramisu »

Ikura Don

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I just want to dive into this bowl of ikura don and bathe in the luminous, coral-hued roe as each one pop-pop-pops all around me. —Marissa Chen, office manager

Read the full story: Ikura Don, the Rice Bowl That Makes Every Night Caviar Night »

Losers’ Thanksgiving

[Illustration: Alex Citrin]

Thanks to our visual director, Vicky Wasik, Serious Eats is packed with gorgeous images of food. Every once in a while, Vicky finds talented illustrators for some of our features and I love when she does. This illustration, from Sohla’s wonderful Thanksgiving story, is one of my favorites. Sure, it’s not a beauty shot of a cake or a gorgeously broken yolk (which are both always a pleasure to see) but it shows how good food can bring people together, no matter who they are or where they’ve been; whether they’re wearing fishnet stockings or a preppy orange sweater. Even seated on rubber crates and a cement block, strangers can have a meaningful meal. I love that. And I love the cat, obviously. —Ariel Kanter, marketing director

Read the full story: A Losers’ Thanksgiving »

Steamy Chicken Pot Pie

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Vicky managed to capture the Starry Night of steam in the upper-left corner of this chicken pot pie photo, and it feels like a once-in-a-lifetime shot—the culinary-photographic equivalent of a total solar eclipse. —Miranda Kaplan, editor

Read the full story: The Best Chicken Pot Pie, With Biscuits or Pastry»

French Buckwheat Crepes

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I was not present for the shoot of these stunning buckwheat crepes, and I was filled with regret the moment I saw this photo. I am a real sucker for dishes topped with eggs. Seeing this golden yolk tucked into a perfect, puffy crepe, perfectly accented by purple-y grey tones, gave me all kinds of cozy, hungry (and envious) feelings. Vicky Wasik, our visual director, usually pulls this kind of thing off in a matter of minutes, making it all the more impressive. —Natalie Holt, video producer

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

We make a lot of image grids to make it easier to see steps together, but some of my favorite photos are the ones caught in the middle of the cooking process. They don’t always get the full resolution treatment, like this shot of a buckwheat crepe that might be mistaken for the surface of the moon. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read the full story: How to Make France’s Other Crepes, Savory Buckwheat Galettes Bretonnes »

All the Winter Squash

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I hate squash, but I love primers of any sort. This shot is perfectly attuned to the way my mind likes to digest information about a group of objects (the back cover of Cook’s Illustrated has always been the page I turn to first). You’ve got shots of the squash’s exterior skins next to the colors of the flesh and seed pods inside, and it’s all arranged kind of like the way you’d see them at the market. —Sal Vaglica, equipment editor

Although designated “winter squash,” in my mind these beauties are pure fall. This photo conjures up memories of post-picking cider at the apple orchard next to colorful, overflowing, scarecrow-framed displays perched on hay bales. —Tim Aikens, front-end developer

Read the full story: A Guide to Winter Squash »

Beautiful Bowl of Lentils

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

It’s quite a feat to make a bowl of lentils look beautiful, and this is the most beautiful bowl of lentils I’ve ever seen. —Sho Spaeth, features editor

Read the full story: Make French Lentils Shine With Good Technique »

Koji, a.k.a. Tantalizing Mold

[Photograph: Chris Anderson]

I’m embarrassed to admit that before we ran this interview, I had absolutely no idea what koji was. Since we ran the post, though, I’ve had the opportunity to taste koji, and Rich Shih gave us a lesson in koji-making that’s resulted in a number of jars generating delicious mold being scattered throughout our office. But as much as I’ve enjoyed my foray into koji and its delicious umami powers, I’m even more obsessed with the stunning close-up photographs taken by Chris Anderson, which make the mold look as good as it tastes.

Read the full story: A Man and His Mold »

Artichoke Combustion

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

My favorite photo of the year didn’t actually make it on to the site, until now. The one you see above was fished out of Vicky’s recycling bin and uploaded in preparation for this post. In the photo, Daniel is prepping an artichoke for his Carciofi alla Romana recipe. Artichokes are interesting enough—they’re sort of the armadillo of the plant world (who decided to eat that?)—but what’s really cool about this particular photograph are the WISPS OF SMOKE trailing off of the knife blade. —Paul Cline, developer

Read the full story: Carciofi alla Romana, the Other Delicious Roman Artichoke Dish »

Black Sesame Ice Cream

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I can’t look away from this delicious pastry massacre of virile red against black sesame ice cream. It immediately takes me back to my mosh pit and mohawk days. Who knew a dessert could be so punk rock? —Sohla El-Waylly, assistant culinary editor

Read the full story: Japanese Black Sesame Ice Cream Is Sweet Oblivion for Your Dark Soul »

Blackberry Cake

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Baking is often a celebration of beige, so I instantly fell in love with the color riot captured in this photo. —Stella Parks, pastry wizard

Read the full story: Fresh Blackberry Cake Is a Summer Spectacle »

Chaat!

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I had so much fun working on this shoot with Sohla. It was intense—a lot of components go into the chaat recipe, so it took all day, but all of the ingredients were so fun and colorful and full of texture. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read the full story: Chaat Your Mouth, How to Make the South Asian Street Food at Home »

The Ultimate Coconut Layer Cake

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I don’t know if I’ve ever captured a more perfect bite of cake. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read the full story: How to Make the Ultimate Coconut Layer Cake »

Oven-Dried Grapes

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I LOVE the color palette of these raisins. It’s no surprise that my wardrobe is filled with those same burgundy and gold tones. —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read the full story: Use the Oven to Make the Plumpest, Tastiest Homemade Raisins »

Thanksgiving Punch

[Photograph: Emily Dryden]

This punch pic that Emily Dryden took is so festive and bright. How can you not smile at all those lemon slices? —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read the full story: Fig and Cinnamon Punch, the Perfect Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Cocktail »

Strawberry Layer Cake

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Because, frosting! —Vicky Wasik, visual director

Read the full story: How to Make Strawberry Cake With Real Fruit (and No Jell-O) »

Homemade Oreos

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

I really enjoy the process photos of this recipe. My favorite is the restaging of the classic Oreo cookie dunk, but really just go and view them all. —Vivian Kong, designer

Read the full story: How to Make Oreo-Style Cookies at Home »

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