Food52’s new cookbook Genius Recipes perfectly encapsulates what makes this foodie site so addictive. They’ve mulled over what constitutes a truly “genius” recipe for years through executive editor, Kristen Miglore’s column, let them simmer, and have reduced them down to this delicious collection of crucial, life-changing dishes. Included are recipes from such culinary wunderkinds as Yotam Ottolenghi and the baker behind her favorite cheesecake…okay, she’s still working on prying that last recipe from their hands – see below!

We asked Kristen to tell us how recipes made (or did not make) the cut for the book and she’s filling us in on her favorite bite from the entire collection. Here are Kristen’s insights, including a mention of Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce recipe which, alone, is worth giving Genius Recipes a whirl in the kitchen…

The Chalkboard Mag: What are the qualifiers for each of the Genius recipes?

Kristen Miglore: I just wrote an article all about this! Simply put: A genius recipe will change the way you cook.

TCM: Toughest part of editing down Genius Recipes?

KM: Deciding what I should tuck away for the book instead of publishing straightaway in the column.

TCM: Favorite recipe from the book/bite everyone needs to eat:

KM: Roberto Santibáñez’s Classic Guacamole — it will ruin you for all others.

TCM: Recipe you suspect will get used most often:

KM: The cover recipe, Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter.

TCM: Best kitchen tip from among the recipes:

KM: Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s hummus is ground-breaking — it takes a fraction of the time of other from-scratch recipes, but comes out perfectly smooth (the trick is to sauté the soaked chickpeas in baking soda to help scruff off their skins and cook faster).

TCM: Your top personal kitchen skill:

KM: I love kneading dough, and I was pretty proud when I got an intuitive rhythm down. (Here’s the secret: Watch a YouTube video or two, and it’s not that hard!)

TCM: Three things your kitchen is never without:

KM: Whole milk, eggs, lemons.

TCM: Most under-rated kitchen tool/skill:

KM: Bench scraper! (For leveling measuring cups, scraping up messes, gathering a pile of chopped ingredients, etc.)

TCM: Food you’re most anxious to get your hands on for spring:

KM: Sweet, local strawberries that are dark red all the way through.

TCM: Cooking for others: any steadfast entertaining rules?

KM: You’ll get the most love if you know the crowd you’re serving: For my friends, creamy ricotta on toasts, colorful greenmarket salads, and strawberry shortcakes are sure things.

TCM: Go-to dinner recipe at home lately:

KM: Soft scrambled eggs and toasted English muffins (breakfast for dinner is underrated).

TCM: Fave food trend of 2015:

KM: I like when vegetables are the new kale (cauliflower, collards), because that means we usually find exciting new ways to cook with them.

TCM: Food trend you wish would pass:

KM: Re-embracing junk foods. I’m all for nostalgia, but there is nothing delicious about Cool Whip.

TCM: Is there a genius recipe you’re dying to get your hands on that is a secret recipe?

KM: My favorite cheesecake in the world is at Terrapin Creek Café in Bodega Bay, California, but so far I haven’t been able to pry it away from the owners.

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