Recipe by Benjamin Moore, executive chef, Parallel 33.
I like to take everyday food and pair it in unique ways people wouldn’t think of. I taste something and think, Oh my gosh, this would go really well with this other thing. My kitchen staff is always surprised with what I think up. For example, I have a scallop dish that I serve with bacon and maple syrup. One of my chefs in culinary school told me there was no way I could have bacon and maple syrup in an upscale restaurant. I guess I took it as a challenge. I made a maple stock with serrano [peppers] and paired it with lentils sautéed with bacon.
It’s exciting to me that I don’t know my style yet and I’m trying to define a style. At the same time I’m just trying to cook every day. The greatest thing in the world is when I cook something that I think is good and people love — you can’t put a price on that.
I cook less at home because I’m not there as much, but my wife and I like to go to the farmers’ market and get some cheese, a baguette, some fresh fruit and have a wine-and-cheese diner. I cook all day, I have to make these things with different levels to them. When I go home, I like to cook with my stomach. One thing we do a lot is go to Trader Joe’s and get a 99-cent pizza dough. We head to the farmers’ market for toppings and go from there.
We also make a beer bread sometimes on the weekend. It’s quick and easy, and you can change the beer to play with the flavors. This bread, some nice cheese, and wine, for us, that’s a meal. It’s really simple.
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 T white sugar
2 T olive oil
1 can or bottle of beer (Stone Brewing Company’s smoked porter really works)
HOW TO DO IT
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Pour in the beer and olive oil and mix with a wooden spoon until just blended. The batter will be sticky. Pour into a 9 x 5–inch greased loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes. The top will be crunchy, and the insides will be soft. Serve warm and topped with butter, onions or cheese.