Weeknight Cooking

Too Many Cooks: Favorite Genius Recipe

November  7, 2014

You'll be hearing from the staff at Food52 in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.

At Food52 we try our best to offer well-written, intelligent instructions that yield delicious results, whether it's for simple roasted vegetables or Parisian macarons. There are some recipes, however, that stand out because they're smart and surprising enough to change the way you cook -- and those recipes are Genius.

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Anticipating the release of Executive Editor Kristen Miglore's cookbook Genius Recipes -- now availble for preorder on Provisions! -- we asked our staff to think about the Genius Recipes that have influenced them most. We heard a lot of great answers (and noticed a particular fondness for Marcella sauce) that highlighted the range of this collection -- from everyday cooking to special occasions. Today we find out:

What's your favorite Genius Recipe?

Is there one Genius Recipe that you make every week? Tell us in the comments!

Jackie: I love Rao's Meatballs, and not just because it was one of the first things my husband ever cooked for me. The combination of the parsley and meat just brings out all of the natural flavors, and the cheese adds a touch of richness. It's such a great dish in the cooler months. 

Gabriella M: Spaghetti alla Foriana, because I love carbs and am an exceptionally lazy cook. Ditto to The Kitchn's One-Ingredient Ice Cream.

Michael: I'm partial to these brussels sprouts, both because they're awesome and because my wife was the tipster! 

ChristinaCauliflower soup all the way! 

Stephanie: I most often make the porridge -- I'm a sucker for mush in a bowl. But my favorites are probably the caramelized white chocolate, chocolate sorbet, and the strawberry shortcake (just in case you all forgot how much I like sweet things). 

Haley: Northern Spy's Kale Salad and Marcella's sauce over the most basic of pastas is my Genius meal of choice.

Marian: Marcella sauce I make the most. Yogurt pasta makes me want to use the words "sultry" and "lush." Genius granola is the sort of thing I like to shovel into my mouth. Pan-fried beans and kale are my platonic ideal of a weeknight dinner. Croissants a la Plancha are underrated by a mile, and make me think of Spain. I guess I'll stop there?

But wait I forgot about tomato water pasta!!!!

Charlotte: Last year I went to a house party with two logs of dough for Pierre Hermé and Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies in the pockets of my coat. Needless to say, I made a lot of new friends and created an army of Dorie disciples. 

Lauren: Genius Grilled Favas! Since discovering them, I have them every year on my birthday. 

MerrillBroccoli Cooked Forever, yogurt pasta, Rao's Meatballs, Patricia Wells' lentils, Barbara Kafka's roast chicken, Sticky Balsamic Ribs, and Marcella's sauce are all heavy hitters in my house! 

Hillary: I used to make the perfect biscuits all the time, but then I had to give up gluten. But they are seriously amazing. I'm pretty partial to anything from Ottolenghi, so I love the eggplant polenta and the hummus. April Bloomfield's dressing is also great. And the Union Square Café's brussels sprouts are also a Thanksgiving favorite.  

Sheela: Olive oil granola! I had some pretty serious research going for years to find the perfect granola and then that happened. I've converted most of my family and friends to the recipe. Now it's the only one I (and they) make. Also, I absolutely do pass Alice Medrich's cocoa brownies off as my own.

JulieOlive oil cake and baguette

Posie: 1. Insalata pontormo, since I wouldn't stop talking about it until Kristen angelically bestowed the recipe upon us all, and it is SUCH a beautifully written article. If you haven't read it, stop reading this article and go do it! 2. The olive oil cake (because Grand Marnier smells THE BEST) and the fresh blueberry pie are tied for dessert! 3. Genius hummus, so I can stop spending all my money at Hummus Place.

Lindsay-Jean: The Judy Bird! I mean, admittedly I don't actually eat the turkey -- but I still help prep and cook it, and it just consistently turns out great. Of the Genius Recipes that I do eat, I'm going to have to go with April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Dressing. It's a little bit brash in all the right ways.

ErinRosemary brined fried chicken (and that's coming from a former fried chicken purist)!

Amanda: The ones I make most often are April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Dressing (for dinner parties), Marcella's Tomato Sauce (like every other week), Roberto Santibañez's Guacamole, Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Cake, Cook's Illustrated's Blondies (for when I bring dessert to a cookout), Maialino's Olive Oil Cake, Jennie Cook's Zucchini Butter (weekly, in summer), April Bloomfield's English Porridge, Carlo Middione's Polenta Facile, Teddie's Apple Cake, Anne Dimock's Straight-up Rhubarb Pie, and Nekisia Davis's Olive Oil and Maple Granola...not that I'm a Genius stalker or anything.

What's your favorite Genius recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

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From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • cookinginvictoria
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Editorial Intern at Food52


AntoniaJames November 10, 2014
Well, here are the ones I've made, like a lot, and have made again or plan to make again. Genius Recipes https://food52.com/collections/818131-genius-favorites?page=1 (There are at least a dozen that I've tried but found kind of "meh.")
The two that get the most play here are the green peach salad, in season of course, and N. Davis' granola.
Incidentally, did you know that double bags of granola make an excellent, much-appreciated packing material for shipping boxes of jams, berries and chutneys? Whenever I send care packages to my sons, I make four mini-loaves of banana bread or my gingerbread chocolate pumpkin bread, etc. (also great for padding), plus a batch of Genius granola, just for this purpose. ;o)
cookinginvictoria November 7, 2014
OMG, I have too many favorites. Can't wait for Kristen's book. Many of the recipes mentioned above are in constant rotation in my kitchen. Here are some others that were not mentioned that my family and I love: Marcella Hazan's Rice and Cabbage Soup, Toro Bravo's Radicchio Salad, Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson's Rhubarb Buckle with Ginger Crumb, Craig Claiborne's Pasta con Asparagi, Heidi Swanson's Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic, Maricel E. Presilla's Cuban Avocado, Watercress, and Pineapple Salad, Dan Barber's Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Purée, Deb Perelman's Mushroom Bourguignon, Suzanne Goin's Corned Beef & Cabbage with Parsley-Mustard Sauce, and Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese.
Kristen M. November 7, 2014
It makes me so happy that these have made it into your rotation!
cookinginvictoria November 7, 2014
These and many more! Sorry to list so many. I'm afraid that Amanda isn't the only Genius stalker. :)