24 June 2016

Black Pepper Tofu and other Genius Recipes

The good folks at Food52 have come out with an in-print book, Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. It's actually a compendium of other famous chefs' recipes throughout the ages (including Julia Child's lovely grated zucchini casserole and Marcella Hazan's weirdly boring tomato sauce with onions and butter). Notes from the editors at Food52 explain how and why the recipe works and include "kitchen hacks" like "you can cut the amount of butter if you want."  So really, they've done a great job of rounding up some excellent recipes and putting them in one place for us to use.  It's debatably ironic for a well-established food blog to be in the printed cookbook business at this point in the 21st Century, but I still enjoy the tactile sensation of flipping through it, at any rate. And the photos are very nice.

Two of my favorite recipes are pretty modern in origin, including one from fellow blogger Smitten Kitchen.  I have included my own substitutions (or "hacks", if we must). Buy the book if you want, or just subscribe to Food52's excellent blog. You really will learn new things.

Yotam Ottolenghi's delicious Black Pepper Tofu recipe

with these substitutions:
  • just use 9 tablespoons of soy sauce, and add one more tablespoon of sugar
  • I used four small serrano peppers because it's what I had
  • I could not for the life of me crush my black pepper by hand--it just kept jumping out of the bowl. So I used a pepper grinder and did more like 3 tablespoons (to make up for the heat of the serranos)
  • I used 6 green onions and about 2 cups of steamed broccoli

Another great recipe included is Debra Perlman's (Smitten Kitchen) Mushroom Bourguignon. I actually used a mix of white and shitake mushrooms, because it's what I had, and I definitely had to add some water to keep the gravy from being too pasty in the end.  I also added salt, because I apparently like it more than she does.  But it's a totally solid foundation for a recipe.