Food, beer and a sense of community: three of my favorite things. And in keeping with that trio, Riverside brewery Intuition Ale Works has embarked on its first publishing journey. The finished product, Cooking with Intuition, is a stunning hardbound collection of recipes incorporating locally crafted beer by area chefs, home brewers, food truckers and Intuition's own Mug Club members.
The book is co-authored by Intuition general manager Cari Sanchez-Potter and creative projects coordinator Robin Rutenberg, but it's local photographer Laura Evans' keen eye and attention to detail that really sets it apart. These 288 pages are as much a coffee-table book as a must-have recipe index.
"Cooking with Intuition isn't just for folks who enjoy cooking or for people who are major craft beer snobs," says Sanchez-Potter. "The book is much more than that. It's about shining a spotlight on our amazing culinary community and highlighting all the creative talent we have here in Jacksonville, using beer as a lens."
Throughout the book's 80-plus recipes, beer-as-common-denominator proves to be quite a versatile ingredient, offering chefs myriad flavor and complexity options. "Our brewers at Intuition brew so many styles of beer that cooks have a lot of options for using [them] in their dishes," Sanchez-Potter says. "Stouts add a subtly sweet and malty flavor to long-simmered stews or slow braises; the carbonation in certain brews adds lift to foods like hushpuppies or fish-and-chips; and hoppy beers like IPAs lend depth to brines, marinades and sauces."
For some people, Cooking will serve as an introduction to beer-infused cuisine, but it's also designed to help more experienced cooks break free of their culinary comfort zones, Sanchez-Potter says. Recipes range from the über-simple (stout floats, with Intuition's Truck Stop Stout topped with ice cream) to multi-step, restaurant-quality dishes like Black Sheep Chef Waylon Rivers' King Street BBQ pork belly with Wainwright cheddar grits and pickled mustard seeds.
There are vegetarian-friendly recipes, too, like Grassroots Market's I-10 IPA-marinated tempeh salad with Southwestern quinoa and almond-lemon dressing, and sweet creations such as 29 South Chef Scott Schwartz's sticky toffee pudding, made with Lowdown Porter.
You can pick up Cooking with Intuition
for $40 at the brewery's taproom at 720 King St., or online at intuitioncookbook.com, as well as at a handful of area establishments, including Uptown Market, Orsay, MOCA Jacksonville and Chamblin's Uptown.
Here's the goal: Once a month, I'll make one of these recipes (without burning down
our kitchen!). You do the same. Then we'll post
photos of our creations on the book's Facebook page, facebook.com/cookingwithintuition. Who's up for the challenge?