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In which Jen stalks the very talented (and very attractive) Hot Knives chefs for a series of winter appropriate recipes. PART 1 OF 3

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.

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So BYT has collaborated with the men of Hot Knives to give you a few recipes that will help you ring in the season (and beyond) with the much-needed help of beer and a level of respect for our fellow sentient beings. Accompanying each recipe is a beverage and soundtrack suggestion from Alex ‘n’ Evan, with the hope that you’ll have some fun in the kitchen – “maybe even too much fun,” they say.

The addition of booze is a strong component to Alex and Evan’s cooking.
“First and foremost,” they say, “you have an open bottle and you’re not going to use all of it, so you get to start drinking. We always drink beer while cooking, even if it’s for breakfast.”
Amen.
But using beer in a recipe is a little trickier than sherry, port or wine. There is an attention to detail and quality that must be noted, noting that “Thomas Keller or whoever isn’t cooking with Heineken, because it’s shit. They wouldn’t cook with Charles Shaw.” But unfortunately, cooking with high-quality, micro-brewed craft beer hasn’t exactly made it to the mainstream in American culinary culture. While Alex and Evan are apt to point out that they aren’t the first to use beer in cooking, they acknowledge that it is “rare for something as typically puritanical as vegan cooking to toy with booze [and] that’s pretty much [their] attitude with cuisine in general. More indulgent than depriving.”

Recipe #1:

Belgian Onion Soup (Serves 4)

2 Tbs. of vegan margarine
2 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions halved and sliced thin
6 cloves of garlic
4 shallots
2 cups of Chimay Grande Reserve (whooooooo hooooooooo)
4 cups of vegetable stock
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
½ tsp ground white pepper

Prep:

1. Heat a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add the margerine and let it blister.
2. Add the onion and cook uncovered. Let them sit for about four minute and then stir. Repeat until the onions have all begun to brown.
3. Add the olive oil, garlic and shallots and stir in the same fashion as before, one every five minutes, until the garlic an shallots have caramelized.
4. Add the beer, crank the heat to just shy of high. Let the beer boil off until there is ½ as much beer volume as onion volume.
5. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, and white pepper. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about two finger-widths. Taste the soup and add salt to adjust. Cook for at least an addidional 20 minutes before garnishing (below). In an ideal world, you should let the soup sit a day before serving it.

To Serve

4-6 slices of a crusty bread
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

Keeping it Vegan

The same crusty bread
1 Tbs. of brewers yeast for each slice of bread
1 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil for each slice of bread
1. Ladle your soup into oven safe receptacles, being mindful to leave one finger-width for your cheesy or cheese-free toasts.
2. Float the toast in the center of each bowl and cover with cheese. If you wanna do it vegan; douse toast with the olive oil.
3. Pop the bowls under the broiler either in your oven or your toaster oven, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and brown, or the olive oil slicked bread turns golden. Garnish with pinches of salt, and brewers yeast if appropriate.

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deelicious. see you next week with more!!!

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