Read this cookbook: “Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks + 100 Delicious Recipes” by Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food & Wine (Oxmoor House, $29.95)
By Wendell Brock
Did you know you can cut corn off the cob using a Bundt pan? (Sure can! Just balance an ear on the inner pillar of the tube; then slice down with a sharp knife.)
How about pitting cherries with a wine bottle?
(Easy peasy! Place a cherry stem side up on the top of an empty vessel; then push the seed into the bottle with a chopstick.)
What’s a good method for shaping hamburger patties that cook evenly and look perfect?
(Plastic lids! Simply weigh out the beef — or turkey, for that matter. Place between identical lids, and squeeze to flatten.)
In this deliciously clever little book of illustrated tips with recipes, Justin Chapple, Food & Wine’s daffy-brilliant test-kitchen senior editor, shows you how ordinarily onerous kitchen work can be a cinch.
Armed with a large resealable plastic bag, the chef teaches you how to concoct Rye Pancakes with Maple Caramelized Pears; squeeze out Ricotta Gnocchi With Summer Herbs; and poach perfect salmon.
In his kitchen, muffin pans make cosy furniture for limber, soft-shell tacos. Stick them in the oven, and before they get too comfortable, you have hard-shell tacos and crispy tortilla bowls.
Mason jars he recruits for shaking cocktails, packing portable salads and housing Miso Chicken Noodle Cups to be eaten on the go.
Chapple, who hosts Food & Wine’s “Mad Genius Tips” video series and appears regularly on NBC’s “Today,” cuts a hammy figure wherever he goes. (You may have seen him at Atlanta restaurateur Ford Fry’s Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival over the summer.)
So the photos of this madcap culinary comedian wielding a tin-foil sword or striking a yoga pose atop a Cadillac-size gas range are terrifically entertaining and a great way to waste all the time you save with his magic hacks.
Wendell Brock is an Atlanta food and culture writer, frequent AJC contributor and the winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for journalism. Follow him on Twitter (@MrBrock) and Instagram (@WendellDavidBrock).