Sarah always has a lot of new cookbooks. She and Evan buy a lot, and on top of that they receive others from publishers. During our last visit, we spent a lot of time looking at recent selections. One, in particular, caught the attention of both Susan and me. I wound up buying a copy because I think that anyone who likes cookbooks would want this one on his or her bookshelf.
The name of the book is Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook. The book is written by Kristen Miglore, Executive Editor of the food website, Food52.com. It is filled with beautiful images by the author and published by Ten Speed Press, Berkeley.
Some critics complain that the recipes are not really “genius” and that some of them don’t work. They are partially correct. Some of the recipes, at least in my hands, don’t work and some of them I will not make again.
The real genius behind all of the recipes is that they contain tricks that you never knew or methods that make you think, “Now, why didn’t I think of that.” As well, there are recipes that have become classics. An example of that is Shirley Corriher’s Touch-of-Grace Biscuits that was daughter Carol’s first contribution to our family cookbook. Who would think that a wet blob of dough could turn into light Southern biscuits?
Another recipe that intrigued me was Daniel Patterson’s Poached Scrambled Eggs. Daniel is chef/owner of Michelin-two-star Coi where Evan and Sarah worked before they opened Rich Table. The story behind the recipe is that Daniel’s wife made him toss out his beloved Teflon-lined sauté pan, so he had to come up with a new way of scrambling eggs for his breakfast. The genius of the recipe – why didn’t I think of that – is based upon a common folly of cooks who have tried to poach the perfect egg only to have it break in the cooking water. Patterson simply mixed the eggs before he put them in the poaching liquid, and mirabile dictu, he had a scrambled egg.
This recipe takes that technique one step further. Migas are a great Tex-Mex dish which requires two basic elements – eggs and stale corn tortilla pieces – and whatever else suits your fancy. I first ate them at a cafe in Austin near the University of Texas campus. Since then they have become a family favorite that is always on the menu at family gatherings. One of the keys to this recipe is to have all of the add-ins prepped and ready to go before you cook the eggs.
- 3 corn tortillas
- 4 crimini mushrooms, sliced
- vegetable oil
- 3 scallions, cut in ¼ inch slices, including green tops
- 2¼ ounces sliced black olives
- 3 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and then crumbled
- ½ green or red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 snacking peppers, chopped
- 4 ounces Hatch green chiles, diced (optional)
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
- ½ cup Cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (use a combination of the two if you wish)
- ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- salt and pepper
- sour cream for topping
- Lightly coat the tortillas with vegetable oil. Cut into ¼ inch strips and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake at 200° F for about 20 minutes or until the strips are crisp. Cool and set aside.
- Sauté the mushrooms in about 2 tablespoons of oil. Set aside
- Gather the add-in ingredients on your work surface.
- In a medium saucepan, bring salted water to the boil. Turn off the heat, stir the water vigorously to create a vortex, and pour the beaten eggs into the vortex. Cover the saucepan tightly for a full minute. Remove the lid and drain the cooked eggs in a fine-meshed sieve, shaking to remove any excess water.
- Return the drained eggs to the saucepan along with the melted butter. Stir to loosen the eggs and incorporate the butter.
- Stir in the tortilla strips, mushrooms, scallions, olives, bacon, peppers, optional green chiles, tomato, cheese, and cilantro.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Top with salsa. Serve immediately while still hot. Pass sour cream for topping if desired.