My Top Six Dishes of 2012!

Hello people. A year ago I shared my six favorite dishes of 2011. For 2012 I decided to post your six favorite dishes of the year, based on view counts.

So in January I started graduate school and have spent the past year balancing a lot. I wasn't sure I'd be continuing too strongly with the blog, but I still managed to make 16 posts this year. That's definitely not setting any records, and it's considerably less than the previous two years, but I am proud that I was able to keep it up.

And I am always surprised and honored when I see my stuff shared on pinterest (look!), reddit, or any random blogs along the internet. Sometimes I forget there are people out there reading my silly posts. Thank you guys whoever you are :)

I expect the blogging to continue to dwindle, but I don't think I'll be losing interest in food and beer any time soon, so I'll be around, even if sporadically.

Well happy new year guys and thank you so much for looking at my stuff! :) Here are the top six dishes based on view counts!

By the way, if you're curious, my most popular recipe ever is by far my jalapeño poppers paired with Magic Hat #9 (it has almost 7 times more views than the second highest!). I gotta say, jalapeño poppers and Magic Hat are definitely some crowd pleasers.

6. Crispy Salmon with a Witbier Pan Sauce

Starting out the countdown at number six is my crispy salmon with a Blanche de Chambly sauce, served with a strawberry and cucumber salad. It was a recreation of a recipe I made in 2010 with Allagash White. The addition of crispy skin made this dish even more irresistible.

Number five was one of my most recent posts so it got those page views fast! I used one of my favorite Pumpkin beers, Pumking, and brown butter to make a mouth watering sauce for my sweet potato gnocchi. After making the gnocchi from scratch, I seared them and added crispy sage for some extra flavor and texture.

This dish from Valentine's day is the oldest one on the list. I used Lindemans Framboise and raspberries to make a delicious topping for my beautiful lamb chops. Roasted potatoes with thyme made for a great side. Something about that red color makes this dish look so pretty and romantic. Maybe I'll make it again this February :)

These goat cheese and apple tartlets were my third most viewed of 2012. I cooked the apples in Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace and they tasted incredible. 

But this post wasn't just about the tartlets. It was about one of the coolest blog  related experiences I've ever had. In July I went on the By The Glass Show to talk about my blog and bring some food to go along with a beer tasting. The most exciting part was that on this particular episode Brooklyn Brewery's brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, called in to the show for an interview. It was a really great experience and I was so happy that everyone loved my food. I have to say, I was pretty nervous :)

Coming in at number two are my honey and amber ale chicken thighs made with Bell's Amber Ale. These chicken thighs were crispy, juicy, and full of flavor. And really easy to make.

Number one was actually a big surprise for me. I made it for a get together and did not really intend to make it into a blog post. I snapped a few pictures before leaving and decided to share. I guess you can't go wrong with a classic like this. It was also on foodgawker so that definitely helped!

I made this pumpkin soup using that awesome pumpkin beer from Southern Tier again. The combination of fall flavors was really lovely. I think this kind of dish actually makes for a cool winner. It's a good representation how beer can meld with ingredients in a dish to create something really interesting. The soup would not be the same if it were not for that undeniably unique beer.

P.S. If this were based on my own favorite recipes of the year I think I would have also included the kinda out there anchovy tart and the Game of Thrones inspired cottage pie. Yum. But hey what do I know!

Shrimp and Grits with Stone Levitation Ale

Alright I might as well get another blog post up before the end of the world.

So, sometimes I'll make an awesome dish and not bother posting about it because I don't get a picture of it. I like to take pictures during the day so that there is natural light and the photos look nicer. But it's way more convenient to make food at night, especially lately that it gets dark so early.

I recently hung out with my photographer friend, Alex. We decided to make some yummy food and he offered to take a picture with his equipment. This way it would still look nice at night and I wouldn't have to race against the light.

I had been craving shrimp and grits so we decided to go all out. The dish included:
  • Buttery creamy grits made with Stone Levitation Ale and melty Gouda and cheddar cheese
  • Crispy bacon
  • Seared shrimp (cooked in the bacon grease) with a Levitation pan sauce
  • Pan seared brussel sprouts
  • Scallions, parsley, and lemons
  • Sunny side up eggs with yummy runny yokes

For the beer I was thinking that since the Gouda cheese in the grits had a kinda nutty flavor to it, that it would be complemented nicely with something a bit nutty/caramely/but still hoppy and bright. An amber ale seemed like a good choice, and when I came across Stone Levitation Ale at Stop N' Shop I knew it was my beer. (By the way, that place has an amazing beer selection and is open 24 hours!) I used the beer in the grits, in deglazing the shrimp pan, and as a pairing.

So I made a nice hearty amount and we pigged out. It had all the flavors and textures I was craving, and paired well with the Levitation Ale. And it was fun to make.

Man, I could go for some cheesy grits right now.

P.S. I didn't make this in my kitchen and didn't bother to measure or anything like that, so no recipe today. Don't be mad.

Pan Seared Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pumking & Brown Butter Sauce

I'm the worst blogger ever. October is already pretty much over, but here is my Pumking gnocchi. I've been super busy with midterms and I had a series of colds so making blog posts has not been priority. But enough with the excuses.

This dish has some really nice Fall flavors just in time for the nice weather here in Florida. It's all pretty much in the title: pan seared sweet potato gnocchi, Southern Tier's Pumking beer, brown butter, crispy sage, and parmesan cheese.

I had never seared gnocchi before but I really liked the little bit of crunchy texture that it added. Pumking has a wonderful spicy pumpkin pie flavor that when combined with browned butter is hard to top. I just added some sugar to balance it out and it made for a delicious sauce. The crispy sage and parmesan cheese didn't hurt either. Yum yum.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • butter to sear the gnocchi
Pumking & Brown Butter Sauce:
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup Pumking
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt to taste
Crispy Sage:
  • 20 sage leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste

Gnocchi: Prick the potatoes a few times with a knife or fork. Microwave for about 5 to 10 minutes per side (depending on your microwave) until easily pierced with fork. Peel the potatoes and mash them (I used a potato ricer). Lightly flour a flat surface. Place your mashed potatoes on the surface and add one cup of the flour, salt, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and the beaten egg. Knead with your hands and add more flour as needed until the dough stays together.** Roll the dough into a ball and separate into a few sections. Roll each section into a rope and cut into 1 inch pieces. To make the ridges, roll the pieces on a fork like this. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop in the gnocchi in batches. When they float to the top, remove with a slotted spoon.
** It's not a bad idea to boil some water and test a piece of dough  to make sure it holds together and does not need more flour before forming all of it.

To sear the gnocchi:
In a large pan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Add the gnocchi in batches and cook until they brown on each side. Remove gnocchi from pan.

Pumking Sauce: Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter starts to brown, add 1 cup of Pumking, the sugar, and salt to taste. Simmer for about two minutes and remove from  heat.

Crispy Sage: Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place sage leaves in the pan in batches. Fry on each side for about 15 seconds, until they are crisp and appear to be sparkling. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Pumking Soup with Crispy Sage

Woops! Didn't post anything in September. I've been overwhelmed with school work.

So I had a meeting last weekend with my research group and we all made fall themed foods for dinner. I decided to make this pumpkin soup. It's really easy to make and does not take long. I know this because two hours before the meeting I still didn't know what I was going to make and had not yet gone to the store to buy ingredients. I did however have some Southern Tier's Pumking on hand because I am obsessed and I stock up on it. I decided a soup would be easy and tasty.

I just used pumpkin puree and precooked squash. I would have used butternut but they were out at the store. They also only had one can of pumpkin puree. People go crazy for fall recipes. So from there it was really just a matter of combining everything and frying the sage leaves. It was also really convenient for taking to a gathering. It's always hard for me to think of stuff that you can make ahead of time and bring somewhere. With this, all you have to do is reheat the soup when you get there and drop in some sage leaves (which stay crispy for days).

The soup is creamy and pumpkiny and spicy and buttery. It's basically the same flavor theme as the Pumking gnocchi I keep meaning to post. They both have the crispy sage leaves, which really make a difference by adding texture, interesting flavor, and of course prettiness, and they both use my favorite pumpkin beer ever.

I always love cooking things with Pumking. Looks like this year I'll have a few recipes with it. Well it's October and it's my blog so I'm allowed to post as many Pumking recipes as I want, okay?

I was about to post this and I just found out that Brown Distributing of South Florida got named the 2012 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival! So awesome and they 100% deserve it! Yay, congrats guys!


Pumpkin soup:
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
  • 2 packages frozen squash, thawed (each 12 oz)
  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz apple sauce (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups Pumking
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 cube chicken bouillon
Crispy sage
  • 20 sage leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot over low heat. Add the minced shallots and garlic. Let simmer until softened. 

Add the squash, pumpkin puree, apple sauce, water, garlic powder, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup of beer. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for about 10 more minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.

For the sage leaves: Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. When oil is hot, place sage leaves in the pan in batches. Fry on each side for about 15 seconds, until they are crisp and appear to be sparkling. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Beer Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushroomssss ♥

I was looking through my fridge wondering which blog post dish I could recreate with the ingredients I had at home. I had these baby bella mushrooms so I was thinking of doing these stuffed mushrooms. However, I didn't have the blue cheese or mozzarella. (That is still one of my favorite dishes though!)  I looked through my available beers and found Smuttynose's Robust Porter. Perfect. I opened it up and after smelling it and taking a sip I decided these wouldn't just be a pairing. These were going to be beer stuffed mushrooms. 
Something about the body, maltiness, and slight sweetness in the beer reminded me of a grilled portabello mushroom. It just seemed like a great match.

So I chopped up the mushroom stems, some onion, and garlic and cooked them in the beer. I added some delicious grated parmesan cheese, thyme, and panko and baked them in the oven. 

Good stuff. Lovely pairing. Easy to make :)

  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms (aka cremini)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup porter
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • olive oil
Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Finely chop the stems and onions (I used a food processor). Heat butter over medium heat in a pan. Add the chopped stems and onions. Let that cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the beer and minced garlic. Let it  cook until the liquid reduces down a bit. Add garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, panko, salt, pepper, and thyme. Arrange mushroom caps on baking sheet. Drizzle the caps with olive oil. Using a small spoon, stuff the caps with beer mixture. Top with some extra Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.