At this point, I think I might officially be a Milk Street fanboy. This is the third cookbook from the Boston-based food media company I’ve reviewed in the last year, and I’d willingly pick another up tomorrow.

Courtesy of Voracious, Little Brown

I like Milk Street’s approach to home cooking – finding bold, flavorful dishes from across the world and adjusting them so there’s no need to find rare ingredients or have precisely the right equipment. It’s a refreshing, fun way to try out globally inspired cuisine, and I’ve had nothing but great results from nearly every recipe I’ve tried.

“The New Rules” fits snugly into that pattern. It is chock full of imaginative and appealing dishes, intriguing techniques and shortcuts. But it falls short of its stated mandate, to “change the way you cook.”

Granted, Milk Street does cover some new ideas – skipping a marinade and saucing the chicken and meat after it’s cooked, or cooking polenta in the oven with just a couple stirs, instead of endless whisking on the stovetop.

My favorite Milk Street technique is a new take on poached eggs. Instead of a saucepan filled with water and vinegar, they recommend about an inch of water in a skillet. Once the water is simmering, carefully pour in the eggs, cover the skillet and turn off the heat. Voila, in just a couple minutes, you’ve got perfectly poached eggs.

A cooked egg goes great on top of any number of things, and it worked really well in Milk Street’s version of miso soup. This is a great, filling soup packed with flavor and a mix of textures. Topped with an egg, it’s a complete meal perfect for a chilly autumn night.

But although Milk Street will give you new tips and tricks, I’m not sure it will revolutionize the way you cook. That’s OK: There are enough mouthwatering recipes and fun cooking tricks to keep a hungry cook busy for a good long while.

Miso soup with shiitake mushrooms and poached eggs

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup red miso

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

14-ounce container silken (soft) tofu, drained and cut into rough 3/4 inch cubes

2 cups cooked rice, warmed

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

shichimi togarashi, to serve

toasted sesame oil, to serve

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the garlic and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato paste has browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 6 cups water, then whisk in the miso. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Return the broth to the pan; discard the solids in the strainer. Add the mushrooms and bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.

While the mushrooms cook, fill a 10-inch skillet with at least 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Line a large plate with paper towels. Crack each egg into a small bowl or cup. One at a time, carefully tip the eggs into the water near the edge of the pan. Once all eggs have been added, cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let stand until the whites are set but the yolks are still soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, gently transfer each egg to the prepared plate to drain.

Add the tofu to the broth, leaving behind any liquid, and stir gently. Divide the rice evenly among four serving bowls, then ladle in the soup. Carefully place a poached egg on top of each serving. Sprinkle with the scallions and shichimi togarashi, then drizzle with sesame oil.


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