In which Jen stalks the very talented (and very attractive) Hot Knives chefs for a series of winter appropriate recipes. PART 2 OF 3
(check out part 1 and the onion chimay soup here)
The winter season are admittedly a fantastic time to gorge with loved ones on food and sentimental behavior alike. If there’s ever a time to be existentially indulgent about the stuff we put in our bodies, it would be right now.
That’s where Hot Knive (http://www.urbanhonking.com/hotknives/)s, the Los Angeles-based cooking duo of Alex Brown and Evan George, comes in. Harbingers of self-described “meditative practice and relaxed tomfoolery” in the kitchen, these boys espouse a particularly heartwarming approach to cooking: “more beer in food means more beer in you.” Their vegetarian, if not vegan, cooking style replaces the indulgent element of meat with another – booze.
Hot Knives cut their teeth not at the Culinary Institute of America or in some French cellar peeling potatoes with dreams of a better life. Rather, the boys went to college together and quickly discovered some shared interests – “strong beer, harsh music and Nietzsche, you know?”
“We had the same knack for making something nice out of a can of beans,” they say while reflecting on the early days of culinary experimentation. This mutual bonding eventually led to a shared apartment where the “one exception from the typical bachelor slob pad” was togetherness in grocery shopping and large communal meals that Evan and Alex would prepare for friends. The name Hot Knives was born after the two began a regular column for a Los Angeles weekly paper, which quickly turned into a blog, giving them the opportunity to share recipes, ideas and food porn as often as they wanted. It should be noted that these two are two-time trophy winners of the annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. A feat not to be reckoned with.
Equally impressive is the food philosophy that these men operate with: “The talking heads of the Food Network et al espouse sharing and bliss until their bodies bloat. We want to help bolster confidence and ingenuity in the kitchens of people who are interested in good ethics as well as good eats.”
Apples Roasted in Beer
6 Fuji apples
2 cups Ephemere apple-spiced beer
6 whole cloves
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 ground walnuts
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Pre-heat your over to 375 degrees.
2. Core your apples, twisting them out gently with an apple corer, and place them in a long, deep bread pan. They should sit snug so they don’t bob around. Pour 2 cups of beer, which is most of the bottle (just enough for a cup while cooking!), on top of the apples. You’ll want them two-thirds submerged. Put the pan in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until softened and starting to get blistery with a slight mushy look. The beer should be reduced by about half.
3. While your apples roast, whip up the simple pastry crust to top ‘em off. Mix softened vegan margarine in a bowl with equal parts flour and sugar and some finely chopped walnuts. Roughly crush the fresh coriander seed in a mortar and pestle and add to the mix. Using a fork push it around into a rustic crumble and finish it off by squeezing in your hands until evenly mixed.
4. Once the apples are ready, pull them out of the oven and stuff them (not too tight) with most of the pastry crumble. What’s left, sprinkle on top and let fall into the reducing beer goo. When you put the apples back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes the crumble will melt into a sugary syrup with the beer.
5. To serve, place one apple on a small desert plate. Spoon some extra beer syrup on the side and drizzled on top, and then garnish with one fresh green cilantro leaf.
Beverage: Unibrou’s Ephemere
Soundtrack: Silver Apples’ “I Have Known Love”