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- Title: Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook
- Autor: Kristen Miglore
- Publisher (Publication Date): Ten Speed Press (April 7, 2015)
- Language: English
There are good recipes and there are great ones—and then, there are genius recipes.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink the way we cook. They might involve an unexpectedly simple technique, debunk a kitchen myth, or apply a familiar ingredient in a new way. They’re handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacies. And, once we’ve folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. In this collection are 100 of the smartest and most remarkable ones.
There isn’t yet a single cookbook where you can find Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread, and Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake—plus dozens more of the most talked about, just-crazy-enough-to-work recipes of our time. Until now.
These are what Food52 Executive Editor Kristen Miglore calls genius recipes. Passed down from the cookbook authors, chefs, and bloggers who made them legendary, these foolproof recipes rethink cooking tropes, solve problems, get us talking, and make cooking more fun. Every week, Kristen features one such recipe and explains just what’s so brilliant about it in the James Beard Award-nominated Genius Recipes column on Food52. Here, in this book, she compiles 100 of the most essential ones—nearly half of which have never been featured in the column—with tips, riffs, mini-recipes, and stunning photographs from James Ransom, to create a cooking canon that will stand the test of time.
Once you try Michael Ruhlman’s fried chicken or Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s hummus, you’ll never want to go back to other versions. But there’s also a surprising ginger juice you didn’t realize you were missing and will want to put on everything—and a way to cook white chocolate that (finally) exposes its hidden glory. Some of these recipes you’ll follow to a T, but others will be jumping-off points for you to experiment with and make your own. Either way, with Kristen at the helm, revealing and explaining the genius of each recipe, Genius Recipes is destined to become every home cook’s go-to resource for smart, memorable cooking—because no one cook could have taught us so much.
These 100 recipes are ever-so-carefully curated from “luminaries of the food world.” I’m pretty sure I didn’t know about the food52 com website until I bought the book, but today I’m a faithful reader. The recipes in this book, for which the author dug far and beyond those that had appeared in her column, all come with amazing pedigrees: every one is authored by a highly-respected chef and/or cookbook author. It must have taken Ms. Miglore, the author, months simply to secure copyright permissions. The book, which I own in hardcover, is organized by “course,” beginning with “breakfast.” The very first recipe, “fried eggs with wine vinegar,” from Roger Verge, is so amazing that, to this day, I’ll usually crack a pinch (Verge calls for much more) of vinegar du jour into my morning eggs. Union Square Cafe’s “Bar Nuts” is a staple for parties and, on occasion, holiday Ball-jar gifts (the “genius” part of the recipe is that they toast the nuts first and then toss then with the spicy butter coating–no chance of burning the coating). Other tried-and-trues: Marcella Hazan’s famous super-simple “Tomato Sauce with Butter & Onions,” which, by the way, I’ve been making (with canned tomatoes) from her seminal cookbook since the 1980’s; Jim Lahey’s famous “No-Knead Bread;” “Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with Tahini” from Moro Restaurant (I don’t know the London restaurant, but if a recipe includes chickpeas and tahinis, I’m in; “Green Lentil Salad” from Patricia Wells (I make as a side dish and I don’t discard the onions and garlic); “Gratin of Zucchini, Rice & Onions with Cheese” (Julia Child) which I modify for altitude (rice) and using a spiralizer instead of a grater; “Broccoli Cooked Forever” from Roy Finamore: I don’t know who he is, but I know that the dish is indeed genius; and “Shrimp Grits” (from Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock): my notes say “it was ridiculously complicated–even for me.” Still, I keep making it, even adding an extra step (reserving 1/4 of the cooked shrimp for garnish). “Onion Carbonara” from Michel Richard is phenomenal in the opinion of this onion lover. The “genius” here is using onions sliced into long ribbons (I use the mandoline) to mimic pasta. The recipe calls for bacon, which I omit. Yum! Finally, “Fresh Blueberry Pie” from Rose Levy Beranbaum is a classic show-stopper. If I’m invited for dinner in blueberry season, I’m bringing this pie (I make it as a tart and, in lieu of a lattice top, I add cut-outs for fun–see photo). Every recipe is beautifully presented, with a headnote telling us why the dish is special, plus, perhaps, a bit of its history. Every dish has a color photo, and some have up to 12 photos demonstrating technique. Not sure how to cut up butternut squash? 12 photos show you how. Since I don’t eat meat other than fish, I did not make most of the many recipes in their “Meaty Mains” chapter. However, there are plenty of classics that I make and again–plus, in the course of paging through the book for this review, I slapped 5 Post-It’s on the pages for other recipes I want to make! This is a book that’s well worth the price–and, as demonstrated by my new Post-It’s, worth coming back to from time to time for new inspiration.