• Salad Daze with Hot Knives: Magic Shroom Dust in a jiffy!

    March 29th, 2011mr meanercookbooks, recipes

    I don’t know about you, but every time I get an inter-Department Delivery in an orange envelope it’s usually something like a boring circular from HR or a “policy update” from the legal department. Imagine, then, how delighted I was to be sent such an envelope from Hot Knives containing not some pointless corporate drivel but a sneak peek at one of the recipes from their very first cookbook, “Salad Daze”.

    Now, Hot Knives (a.k.a. Evan and Alex) are known to us as the genius chefs behind both the Verdugo Bar Patio sessions of summer 2009, as well as the inaugural event at the pre-opening of our local pub, (and favorite bar in all of LA) the Surly Goat early last year. In fact these vegetarian, highly vegan-friendly chefs create such amazing dishes that we have been known to chase around after them like a couple of Grateful Dead fans from the 80s.

    If we had one criticism, though, it’s that there are way too few opportunities to experience their dishes – they don’t cook at enough events! So, the best bit about getting the sneak recipe preview wasn’t so much the preview itself, but the news that Hot Knives are publishing a cook book of some of their best recipes, so we can make their original and inventive dishes in the comfort of our own home. Truth be told, on occasion they will post a recipe or two on their blog, but nothing beats having everything at your fingertips in a good cookbook.

    The recipe they sent to us was called “Magic Shroom Dust”. The description alone blew us away (abbreviated here):

    If there’s one “gateway meat” that seems to lure plant eaters back into the blood, it’s pig – specifically bacon. But behind every pig’s butt there is delicious produce, whether its acorns or grass, fungi or nuts. That’s what the smart critters like. So, we figure, why not go straight to the source and cultivate a sweet, salty — even fatty — plant matter? Rather than rely on the soy and food coloring that makes Bacos what they are, we picked up some oyster mushrooms and pepitas at our farmers market and stumbled upon a deeply oily crumble that rules on salads and dips – anything but pork belly.

    I mean, who wouldn’t want to keep reading and follow the recipe after that? So, our farmers market being long closed for the day, we hightailed it to two Ralphs and two Whole Foods stores (the recipe calls for a POUND of Oyster mushrooms, and each store only had one box!) as well as a trip BACK to Whole Foods to get the pepitas (raw pumpkin seed for those not in the know).

    If you’ve ever hung with the Hot Knives guys, you’ll know that they have quite the sense of humor, and this comes through in the recipes loud and clear. In fact, We laughed a couple of times during the preparation, and loved their human way of describing the techniques, such as “You want a crumb consistency, but so fine as to be dust. Bigger chunks are OK!”

    The whole dish was ridiculously easy to prepare, although through the entire process we failed to see how the thing could possible be bacon-esque. I mean, mushrooms and PUMPKIN SEEDS were the base? Half-way through the preparation we began to wonder if Evan and Alex had been doing a bit of real ‘shroom dust themselves while making the recipe as it resembled…. well…. nothing at all really.

    We were puzzled, though, right up until the last minute when we pulled the dish out of the oven…. and… VOILA! A crunchy, bacony surprise waited for us right there in the pan. It was brown, crispy and perfectly tasty. In fact, we started to eat right away straight from the pan – still a little dubious about how such an amazing dish was concocted from ingredients that bore little to no resemblance to the final product!

    We decided that some nice tricolore angel hair pasta, fresh basil, tomatoes and a garlic sauce would be the best accompaniment to put underneath the ‘shroom dust and the dish came together perfectly, although I could see this dust being very versatile – I took some to work the following day and sprinkled it on top of soba noodles with dumplings, and added some to a bean dish as well that evening. This morning I put some on a tofu scramble as well – there seems no end to the versatility of the Shroom Dust – it really is magic!

    Finally, in typical Hot Knives fashion, there’s a beverage and soundtrack pairing for each dish. They recommended Goose Island Bourbon County Stout as the beverage, and although we couldn’t find it anywhere it would have been an excellent choice for sure. Although, having read this news yesterday, that beer might not be around for much longer. The soundtrack was a very moody, synth-driven Umberto song (which we also didn’t have to hand), but we played the iTunes preview over and over again while we were eating it to get the vibe.

    In conclusion, Salad Daze will be published soon, so keep an eye out here, on their blog or follow them on twitter for more info. This is definitely one cook book that’s going to get pride of place in our kitchen.

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7 responses to “Salad Daze with Hot Knives: Magic Shroom Dust in a jiffy!” RSS icon

  • This is great news! Any idea what date the book comes out? Hopefully soon.

  • Oh god I remember those banh mi rolls at the Verdugo Patio so long ago. Looking forward to more summer events and maybe HK will come back? We can hope.

    When is the book out? This sounds great (and good pictures too, QG).

  • I too long for a sunny Sunday at Verdugo with some Hot Knives beersicles. I am sooo excited for this cookbook!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    That’s so cool.

  • I would like this in my mouth now please. The bacon addition to the pasta dish looks phenomenal.

  • martha stewart has a more simple probably not quite as tasty recipe on her site http://www.wholeliving.com/recipe/mushroom-bacon-topping

  • Thanks guys for testing this! And thanks people for the interest. The date is September.

    And finally to Martha — love her as much as the next fan of ex-cons in aprons BUT that dish is just baked mushrooms. And its probably generated by a hamster or a web master in India 🙂 Fakin’ bacon takes a little more magic than olive oil and “course salt.” Stay tuned dudes!

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