Still Hungry? May 2016

Type “uses for beer” into a search engine and you’ll get plenty of hits—for instance: “9 Surprising Uses for Beer!” or “14 Household Uses for Beer!” But let’s be serious here for a moment, put down the mouse and say to yourself (in a stern voice), “Why do we need 14 uses for beer?” Isn’t it enough just for beer to be beer? So I did what any intrepid reporter would do: I opened a beer and called an expert. In this instance, my expert was Chef Allen Smith of the Santa Fe School of Cooking, and he told me I’m wrong,; beer does have another purpose in life, and that purpose is to transform food, not as an accompaniment, but as an ingredient. “I cook with beer pretty often,” Chef Allen says. He likes to take advantage of the many flavors available in a brew. “They can really enhance a recipe,” he says, adding that cooking with beer can be a challenge for the novice: “You have to know the flavor of the beer and be careful not to overpower the food.” Hoppy, darker beers have a nice nut-like flavor, and hold up in heavier dishes. “Sometimes,” for instance, “a soup or a stew needs a kick.” Add beer, which livens up dishes like carne adovada, since it adds such richness that “you can cut down the amount of butter you might use.”

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Wildflower Honey-Glazed Peaches…

 with Cream Cheese Ice Cream and Toasted Pecans

the compound signAs seen in the August 2014 Still Hungry? featuring Chef Mark Kiffin of The Compound Restaurant

Yield 4 servings

4-8 peaches approximately 1 pound

¼ cup wildflower or other good honey

1 pint cream cheese ice cream, or vanilla bean

¼ cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted Continue reading

Peas with Baked Ricotta 
and Bread Crumbs

Peas with Baked Ricotta by Deborah MadisonPeas with Baked Ricotta 
and Bread Crumbs
A light supper for 2

Olive oil
1 cup high-quality ricotta cheese, such as hand-dipped 
full-fat ricotta
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
4 teaspoons butter
2 large shallots or 1/2 small onion, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
5 small sage leaves, minced (about 11/2 teaspoons)
11/2 pounds pod peas, shucked (about 1 cup)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Chunk of Parmesan cheese, for grating Continue reading