Brothers Ian and Isaiah Perry of Blue Springs cook every chance they get. Both work for a tax preparation firm, but their time in the kitchen reduces stress, gives them joy and provides a creative outlet.
Q: How did you learn to cook?
Our mom taught us to cook and had us in the kitchen before we remember. Our entire family cooks and the skills and many of our recipes were passed down from our grandmother.
Q: What foods do you especially enjoy cooking?
We enjoy cooking all kinds of dishes, for every meal and from every cuisine. We both especially love to bake. Ian’s specialty includes cakes, cookies and breads, while Isaiah specializes in pies and pastry.
Q: Do you try new recipes and foods?
We both enjoy homestyle cooking and yet are also adventuresome. We try lots of new recipes, taking recipes from different sources and tweaking them until they are what we like. Whenever we see a potential new ingredient, we buy it and try it. For example, we recently bought a jackfruit and enjoyed cooking with it, then froze some to use later.
Q: Who prepares most of the meals and who do you cook for?
Our brother Brad loves to cook, too, so we try to get together and plan meals ahead a few days so we know who is cooking and when. Yet, it is not uncommon for one of us to step into the kitchen and cook on our days off or late in the night. We really enjoy helping one another as we cook so you will often find us all in the kitchen.
The three of us brothers are constantly cooking for our family and for our friends. If you know us, you have eaten our food. That is how our mom taught us to show hospitality.
Q: What tips can you share for those learning to cook?
First, “mise en place,” which is a French phrase that means everything in its place.
For a cook, it means gathering all the ingredients you need for a recipe before you start to cook. Too often, if you start cooking without the ingredients assembled, you discover half way through the recipe that you are out of a key item. We also try to be sure that “Murphy’s Law” – which means anything that can go wrong, will go wrong –has no place in our kitchen.
In addition, we have discovered that knives are very important. You don’t need a whole block of knives, but you need one or two good, sharp ones.
Q: Tell us about the recipe you are sharing.
This recipe for eggs in a tomato sauce is traditional and a version of it is found in many different cultures. We serve it for breakfast, but it is also great for brunch or anytime of day. We keep most of the ingredients, except for the fresh basil, on hand so it is easy to make at a moment’s notice. We make it so often, we know the recipe by heart.
Uova in Purgatorio or Eggs in Purgatory (Italian Style Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce)
Makes 3 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice (San Marzano, preferred)
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
4 fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
1 teaspoon anchovy paste, optional but highly recommended
Red pepper flakes, or to taste
6 Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more to toast bread
½ tablespoon honey
¼ cup white wine, optional
3 to 6 slices country bread, preferably crusty, rubbed with a cut clove of garlic
3 to 6 eggs
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic has lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and salt and turn heat to medium-low.
Stir in the pepper, oregano, basil, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and olives. Simmer, stirring occasionally, and occasionally squishing tomatoes with a wooden spoon until they begin to break down, about 20 to 25 minutes. Do not blend the sauce; it should be chunky.
Add the Parmesan, butter, honey, white wine, and additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, to taste.
Simmer the sauce until thick enough for a spoon to leave a slight depression. If it’s too thin, continue to simmer, checking every 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, if toasting the bread in a skillet, heat the skillet over medium-low heat. Coat the bread in butter and set in the pan, flipping when the down side has browned, approximately 3 minutes. Otherwise, you can leave the bread untoasted, or toast in a toaster.
Make a depression in the sauce for each egg and crack an egg into each one. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the eggs are your preferred doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes (3 minutes for very runny, 5 minutes for just slightly runny).
To serve, gently spoon an egg and tomato sauce over a slice of toast. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over 14 cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com. Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com.