Brian's Birthday Dinner

I made a little four course meal for my boyfriend's birthday. For the first course I made crab cakes since he loves those. For some reason I got the idea to make crab stuffed mushrooms too so I separated half of the crab cake mixture before adding the egg, spices, and mayo. I added butter and cheese instead and stuffed the mushrooms. The crab cakes paired so wonderfully with the Brooklyn Sorachi Ace we were having. Really, you have to try it.

For the second course I just went with lobster tail cooked with some butter, lemon, coconut milk, and salt. My gosh lobster is reallyyy yummy with butter ♥

The main course was some delicious lamb. I seasoned the lamb chops with mint, thyme, pepper and plenty of salt. I pan seared them and then deglazed the pan with some Allagash Dubbel and made a little sauce with that. I paired the lamb with some tasty thyme and butter potatoes. I really wish I had bought more lamb. We were licking the bones clean. Eek.. poor lamb. So yummy though.

For dessert I made a Mokah chocolate souffle. Mokah is a beer from Southern Tier that pretty much tastes like a dessert. Very chocolatey with a little bit of coffee. The souffle turned out great and I will definitely be posting the recipe soon. Brian said it's the best chocolate dessert he's ever had :) And of course pairing it with Mokah was just a perfect flow of chocolatey flavors.

And that was it. Hope you enjoyed your dinner Brian. (Well, I know he did.. he had his eyes closed saying "mmmm" throughout most of it) Thanks for letting me cook for you and happy birthday!! Hope this is the start of an amazing year for you! ♥ ♥

Suspiro Limeño

July 28th was Peru's independence day (Fiestas Patrias) so I made a Peruvian dessert called Suspiro Limeño. It's really yummy and not tough to make. The bottom is kind of like dulce de leche (we call it manjar blanco in Peru). To make that, you take a can of condensed milk and a can of evaporated milk and cook it over low heat for a little over half an hour. It will become thick and the color will darken. Then you add 3 egg yolks to that and a little bit of vanilla extract. The top is just egg whites, port wine and sugar. Cover about a cup of sugar with the wine and cook it until syrupy, and then add it into three beaten egg whites. And I didn't have any wine so I actually did end up using beer in this even though I hadn't planned on it :) As for beer pairing purposes, it might be interesting with a stout so the roastiness could balance the sweetness. I might have to make this again so I can try it with a beer. Anyway, "suspiro" means "sigh" in spanish and I think this dessert will definitely make you sigh with contentment ;)

Rauchbier Marinated Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Mashed Potatoes

Okay, so I marinated some steak in Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen. Can't really say I know how to pronounce that, but anyway smoked beers are pretty interesting and I've been meaning to make something with one for a while. They smell like a campfire and taste like smoked meat or bacon. So the other night when I wanted to make steak for dinner I remembered the smoked beer I had left in my fridge. I marinated the meat in the beer along with some Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and some other flavors. I was actually really surprised at how much of the smokey flavor came through. The mashed potatoes I made with mushrooms were also a pretty big hit. Pretty enjoyable meal I'd say.

1 pound top sirloin fillets
1/2 cup smoked beer
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce
garlic powder
black pepper
1/4 of a red onion
Canola oil

mashed potatoes:
3 potatoes
6 medium size white mushrooms
3/4 cup evaporated milk
3 tbsp butter
1/4 red onion
garlic powder
salt to taste
1 tbsp minced parsley

Combine the balsamic vinegar, garlic, beer, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard in a large bowl. Season the meat with the thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Place in the bowl and turn over to make sure it gets covered in the beer mixture. Cover and leave to marinate for a few hours. In the mean time make the mashed potatoes. Make holes in all the potatoes and microwave them for 5 minutes on each side. Peel off the skin and mash into a bowl with a fork. Add in the butter, milk, parsley, garlic powder, and salt. Chop the onion and the mushrooms and cook in a little bit of butter on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Mix the mushrooms into the mashed potatoes. Heat some oil on a large pan and place the steak and onion in it. Brown on both sides and cook on medium heat until desired doneness. Slice the meat and serve with mashed potatoes.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi With a Beer Butter Sauce

I used Ommegang Abbey Ale for the gnocchi's sauce. The slightly sweet flavors in it complement the sweet potato and make for an interesting sauce. The combination of the cheese, butter, and beer in the sauce smelled so good as it was cooking. I find that sweet potato gnocchi is a little harder to make than gnocchi with regular potatoes because the sweet potatoes are a lot more moist so it's harder to roll out without adding a lot more flour. Just resist the urge to add too much or it will not turn out right. I also added a russet potato to help out a little bit.

3 medium sweet potatoes
1 russet potato
2 cups flour
1 egg
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
pinch of nutmeg
salt to taste

3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp flour
1/3 12 ounce beer
splash of half and half
salt to taste

Make holes in the potatoes with a knife and microwave for 5 minutes on each side. Peel and smash the potatoes with fork. Add in the egg, nutmeg, salt, and parmesan cheese. Add half of the flour and knead with your hands on a flat floured surface. Add the rest of the flour and add a little more if needed until the dough holds together. It will still be slightly sticky. Section the dough into a few pieces and roll each one out into a rope. Cut into gnocchi sized pieces with a knife. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi into the pot in batches. When they float to the top they are ready to take out. For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients, cooking until thickened.

Salmon with Witbier Sauce and Strawberry Cucumber Salad

Last night I made salmon for myself and sweet potato gnocchi for my family. (Well they had some of the salmon too.) I used beer in the sauces for both dishes and both came out delicious. And I actually took note of what I did so I have recipes! Well for now let's talk about the salmon dish. I think salmon is delicious but even if you don't, you might enjoy it with a tasty beer sauce. My mom, boyfriend, sister, and my sister's boyfriend are not big fans of cooked salmon but they could not stop eating it. I used Allagash White because witbiers are perfect to pair with fish. The yeast flavors and hints of citrus tie in with my salmon and my cucumber strawberry salad. Not only does it pair well, it also adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. Delicious.

1 pound salmon
fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp butter
1/2 12 ounce bottle of witbier
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

1/2 cucumber
4 strawberries
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp honey

Serves 3. Season the salmon with salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a pan and add the onion and minced garlic. Then add the salmon and cook on medium heat on both sides until cooked through. Remove the salmon and add the beer into the same pan. Reduce the heat and add the milk, garlic powder, and the rest of the butter. Season with a little salt and cook for about 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

For the salad chop the cucumber and strawberries, and combine with the chopped onion and honey. Add salt to taste.

Chicken Liver Pâté

Pâté can sound pretty fancy, but it is really easy and cheap to make a tasty one. I got my chicken livers at Publix at a little over a dollar for 3/4th of a pound. I cooked some shallots in a bunch of butter and then added in the livers. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, parsley, basil, and garlic. Pâtés usually involve some sort of alcohol. People cook the livers with wine or add some type of brandy before blending. Of course, I decided to try it with beer. I thought a dubbel or a tripel might work best since they are more similar to the higher alcohol content and fruit like characteristics of the calvados and cognacs that are often used in pâtés. I ended up going with Weyerbacher Merry Monks. I added some to the pot and cooked them until they were just a bit pink on the inside. Then I just took the whole mixture and pureed it in the blender with a splash of half and half. And that's all there is to it. Just let it sit in the fridge for a few hours and you're ready to impress everyone with your fancy pâté ;)

Framboise Sorbet

My boyfriend got me an ice cream maker for my birthday! He also got me a gift card to The Cheese Course so I could buy a bunch of yummy cheese, and two seats at a Publix Aprons cooking class so we could go together. And a game for my Nintendo DS: Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. :) But I'll focus on the ice cream maker for now. This is the first thing I made with it. I just used some peaches, strawberries, Floris Framboise, and simple syrup. It was so refreshing. Ice cream makers are a lot of fun. I'm excited to turn everything I think of into a ice cream now :) I'll be experimenting a lot with this and I guess abandoning my old way of making ice cream for a while. Although I still think it's great if you don't have an ice cream maker.

Thank you Brian! ♥