I was pleased to discover that you CAN teach an old dog (me) new tricks when I found myself employing MANY ideas found in the new cookbook that arrived in my mailbox. Like the best cookbooks, Food52 Simply Genius: Recipes for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People is not just a collection of recipes but a teaching manual of systems-thinking and smart ideas from some really great cooks from Samin Nosrat to Yotam Ottolenghi. So it was that I learned a better, simpler way to soft-boiled eggs than the one I’ve used for decades — plunk an egg straight from the fridge into boiling water and cook 6 minutes — an essential technique pioneered by legendary chef David Chang in the wonderful Soy Sauce Eggs he serves at Momofuku. (A chart anchors the results of various cooking times in your head.)

And it somehow didn’t occur to me that cream has enough fat that you can fry and caramelize all sorts of foods (including steak) in it, a technique pioneered by Chefs Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbo of Ideas in Food blog. I’m going to start with their Caramelized Cream Smashed Potatoes…

I love knowing that when I run out of homemade chicken broth, I can use coconut water as writer Yi Jun Loh’s mom does in Malaysia for her One-Pot Coconut Water ABC Soup, a savory broth with onions, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes…

I am glad to have the recipe for the down-and-dirty skillet lasagne that involves throwing everything together in no time rather than careful layering, the innovation of Kathy Brennan and Caroline Campion.

And then there slow-baking a frittata to make it delicate and custardy; the “cacio e pepe” made with white miso; the hummus of black-eyed peas; the fried-egg salad… These are only a few of the ideas I learned that are making my cooking life easier. I’m proud that my own dead-simple, foolproof method of roasting just about any fish is included in the mix of this dandy cookbook for “beginners, the busy, the curious”. I am in good company…

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2 replies on “Simple Genius Recipes and Ideas for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People

  1. A New Way to Cook is in my kitchen too. One of my “go-tos”, it continues to inspire.

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