Ken Leighton 8 a.m., Jan. 18
Contributing to an Upcoming San Diego Beer Cookbook
Back in April, I reported that San Diego-based company, Chefs Press, is in the process of compiling recipes from individuals associated with the local craft beer industry for an upcoming cookbook. At the time, I was a fly on the wall for a photo shoot for the book, where I gathered info and sampled dishes. Now, I’m proud to report that I will also be involved with the project, contributing recipes as well as writing its foreword. I’ve contributed my words and graphic design skills to a number of cookbook projects in the past, but this is my first time contributing instructional material of my own.
Recently, I cooked up the three recipes I’ll be contributing, getting them ready for their close-ups in tandem with Chefs Press’ Bruce Glassman. There was a great deal of primping and more attention given to measurements, ratios, and knife cuts then I can remember affording my food in ages, but I think it was all worth it. The shots turned out pretty darn good for my amuse bouche-sized starter, brunch dish, and dinner entrée.
The first of that trio is “Burgers and Dogs,” a dish I developed for a supper club I’m in where the theme was “All American.” Baseball season was upon us and I thought of two classic sports-ready foods that, to me, scream U-S-A in a big way—chili dogs and chili cheeseburgers. Instead of going with traditional takes on each, I put together a recipe for a shrimp sausage, which I grilled, placed in a split savory éclair, and topped with etouffée (a Creole dish of a protein smothered in a roux-based gravy). On the burger front, I incorporated smoked gouda in a biscuit I topped with a Southwest seasoned combination ground turkey and pork chorizo patty that's nappéed with a beer and roasted pepper chili, and garnished with a habañero dill pickle slice.
My brunch dish also draws off my love of New Orleans fare, putting a Creole spin on an Italian breakfast dish called “Eggs in Purgatory.” Mine incorporates the ingredients found in jambalaya—blackened chicken, andouille sausage, the trinity (onion, bell pepper, celery)—in a risotto that’s left overnight so that the starches set the Arborio rice into a firm mass from which I cut out round cakes that get pan-seared. The cakes are placed atop a pool of spicy Creole sauce piquant, topped with an egg fried in a Cascade hop-infused butter, and garnished with a reduction of porter-style beer and Worcestershire sauce, as well as seasoned crawfish tails.
The entrée is one that’s worked well for me served at beer dinners, supper clubs, and casual get-togethers at home—cinnamon-dusted pork tenderloin with jalapeño-sweet potato hash, cilantro and cotija cheese pesto, and a mole sauce made using an English chocolate stout in place of Mexican chocolate. That condiment is rich and deep with layered flavors of cinnamon, clove, chilies, nuts, and, to a great extent, that beer. Mole can be labor intensive, so I’ll be including two versions—the full-on recipe, plus a quick version that takes just an hour-and-a-half and a lot fewer ingredients to make. Utilizing homebrewing terms, the easier iteration will be referred to as the “extract version” to the more entailed “all grain version.”
It’s an exciting development for me on a personal level, and I hope it translates to a tasty development for readers who enjoy exploring the more tucked away regions of the food-and-beer netherworld. The book, which is operating under the working title, Brew Food: Great Beer-Inspired Recipes from America’s Craft Beer Capital, and will include recipes from many in the local craft beer and dining industries is scheduled to hit shelves in November of this year.