By Kristen Miglore
Ten Speed Press; $35
I’ve often felt as if Fine Cooking and the website Food52 are kindred spirits, specifically the site’s Genius column, created by executive editor Kristen Miglore. Not only does it publish great recipes, but it also explains why they’re spectacular. Here’s how Miglore defines genius recipes: They’re handed down by “cooking luminaries,” make us “rethink cooking tropes,” and get folded into our repertoires to make us feel genius, too. While some of the dishes in the gorgeously photographed book are from lesser known chefs, many may be familiar, such as the bar nuts from Union Square Cafe, Marcella Hazan’s classic tomato sauce, and Al Forno’s grilled pizza. But what makes even the well-known recipes fun to read about is the illumination Miglore provides, whether it be about a unique technique– steaming ribs and then finishing them on high heat–or a surprise ingredient, like a little butter in deviled eggs. None of the recipes are overly “chefy,” which makes this book a great choice for beginner cooks, while those who’ve cooked some of these dishes before–I’ve been making Rao’s meatballs and Roberto Santibañez’s guacamole regularly ever since the recipes appeared in past issues of Fine Cooking–will still enjoy Miglore’s insights.
If you want the smoothest, silkiest hummus ever, make this one. The genius step is sautéing the chickpeas with a little baking soda.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese
Simmering cauliflower in a spicy broth to boost its flavor before roasting is, well, genius. The accompanying cheese is mighty tasty, too.
Photos by James Ransom