Just Desserts and Beastie Brass Monkey Sorbet

As promised, here are my notes from this week’s Top Chef Just Desserts.

First, let me just say that the coconut water all the chefs were enjoying in the house did not go unnoticed! The chefs head to the kitchen and Top Chef Jordan Kahn appears. The Quick Fire Challenge is to take a root vegetable and turn it into a yummy dessert. Some of the root vegetables the chefs had to work with were completely foreign and crazy! I’m always impressed when the contestants are able to successfully work with an ingredient they have never encountered before. I mean, Burdock root? Jicama, now I could have worked with that. Mild, similar enough to an apple. Jordan says that Matthew’s dessert is the most beautiful one, but I whole-heartedly disagree. Its just a brown log. Ick.

The judges don’t say much as they are tasting, just “Thank you” to each chef, which drives me crazy, since I want to know what every dish is like! In the end, Sally wins (Double ick. Not liking her so much!)

Next (maybe even on the same day?) Gail comes in and introduces Ad Rock from the Beastie Boys. No one moves except for Rebecca, who is all annoying and squeally, declaring her undying love for Ad Rock. If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t have recognized him on the street. Sure, I know all the words to “Girls” and “Fight for your Right,” “Intergalactic” and some other Beastie songs from my childhood, but to say that Ad Rock is crush-worthy is an over-statement. But, to each her own. I did find him awfully entertaining as a Top Chef judge, I vote keep him on!

The chefs find out that their challenge is going to be to incorporate weird and savory ingredients from the “Beastie Boys” pantry. In preparation for this week, I did a little research on the subject of The Beastie Boys and food, and it turns out there are tons of websites dedicated to listing out every Beastie reference to food or drink! The cheftestants are faced with having to choose 2 items each, from options like canned ravioli, popcorn, pork and beans, pizza, mashed potatoes, matzo, and several kinds of liquor, including Brass Monkey, of course. For those of you unfamiliar with Brass Monkey, it’s an orange malt liquor, but can also refer to a drink that’s half beer and half orange juice (which I always referred to as a “Lunch Box,” but who am I to argue with Wikipedia?)

Then the chefs get to sabotage each other by adding one more ingredient to someone else. Some of the contestants thought it through (Clearly the whole chicken that went to Sally was strategic). Others did not, like Matthew giving his “bromance” Chris the can of ravioli, before admitting that he just thought it was funny, and didn’t realize at the time that he could be sending his buddy home with that sabotage.

Besides having the most entertaining challenge of the season, this week’s episode also showed us a personal side of many of the contestants, which I totally loved. We got to see Matt telling America that his daughter was an accident (Ha!) and Chris’s one month baby girl in ICU (awww.) I love both of these boys even more now and would love to see one of them take this season!

The most unexpected ingredients turn out to produce the best desserts, and Matthew, Chris, and Sally end up in the top 3. Matthew wins for his mashed potato cheesecake with gravy foam (about which Gail exclaims, “You must try this, it’s hilarious!”), and Ad Rock continues to make me laugh out loud with comments from his “culinary standpoint.” Katzie, Rebecca, and Megan are in the bottom three, all of them crying for whatever reason, all claiming that the reason their dishes didn’t work is that their dishes didn’t work (huh? The judges and I would have appreciated a little more elaborate explanations, especially since I can’t taste the dishes for myself and come up with my own opinions). And I don’t know why, but I find it amusing that even when someone is crying, Johnny is still a total a-hole.

Jen pointed out that the cheftestants on regular Top Chef never, ever cry. She called them “hard-core kitchen women.”

On a side note, I miss my dear Hubert.


On to the recipe! Now I definitely would have made 40oz ice cream, had that not been the losing dish. It just sounded way too fun. (“A scoop for me, and one for my dead homies.”)

Instead, we decided Beastie Brass Monkey Sorbet sounded great.


(4) 12-ounce bottles light beer (I used Hoegaarden, which Erin and I recently found out is properly pronounced “Hoo-garden”)

2 cups granulated sugar

Juice of 1 small orange


Mix together all ingredients and process in an ice cream maker following manufacturer’s instructions for sorbet.


That recipe kind of felt like cheating. So here’s a recipe that would go great with that one!

Pound cake 


– AM

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