Monk and Cheese

So I made some crab mac and cheese. Well I guess it's not technically macaroni, so rotini and cheese.  Using beer adds a nice depth to macaroni and cheese, and Monk In The Trunk Organic Amber Ale was perfect for it. Not too light, not too strong, and it really enhanced the flavors of the cheese. Sipping the beer alongside the dish made for a delicious pairing. Here is my recipe.

8 ounces pasta (I used rotini)
5 ounces crab meat
1/2 cup Monk in the Trunk 
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup evaporated milk
 1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon flour
salt to taste

Cook the pasta as you normally would. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a saucepan and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the milk and beer. Slowly add in the cheese while stirring. Whisk in the flour and season with salt. Remove from heat and add the cheese mixture and crab meat to the pasta. Place in a baking dish or ramekins. Combine the rest of the butter with the bread crumbs and coat the top of the pasta. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the top is golden brown. Pair the dish with Monk in the Trunk.

Beer Cheese Sandwich

This was just a little experiment I did. I had a bottle of Rastafa Rye Ale from Blue Point brewing. I was thinking of making fondue with it and dipping pumpernickel bread in it to play off the rye theme. But I don't have any fondue equipment so I decided to make a "fondue sandwich" ... or a cheese steak?  A sandwich with beer and cheese basically. So I just made my fondue with some Gruyere and cheddar. Cooked some steak, put it on the toasty bread with lettuce and tomato, and then added the cheese. Maybe not the most healthful sandwich, but a pretty interesting flavor combination :)

Tuna Tartare with Balsamic Stout Reduction

I got the idea to make a balsamic reduction with a beer. I decided a stout would work best so I went with Dogfish Head Chicory Stout. Reducing the beer and vinegar brings out their sweetness and results in an interesting concentrated flavor. I used more beer in the ratio so that those flavors would come out more. I wasn't really sure if all this would go with tuna tartare but that was my plan so I went for it anyway. Surprisingly, the sauce actually seemed like it was made for the tuna, which I guess it really was. It's also worth mentioning that I paired my tuna tartare before with Jai Alai White Oak IPA. That was a great pairing because the piney notes of the beer really complemented the dish. So if I were to do a beer dinner (which I'm thinking of doing at my house at the beginning of January) I would probably make this dish with a stout, pair it with an IPA and then save the stout to pair with a later dish.

Anyway here are the ingredients and directions:

chopped sushi grade tuna
some kind of toasted bread
chopped avocado
balsamic vinegar
soy sauce
lemon juice
olive oil
wasabi paste
ground ginger
sesame seeds

For the reduction, bring the balsamic vinegar and beer to a boil. Make sure you are using a large enough pot because it bubbles up a lot from the carbonation in the beer. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let it cook until syrupy. Combine the rest of the ingredients (except the bread obviously) and drizzle with the reduction. Serve with the toasted bread. Super easy right?

Blue Cheese Souffle with Moonglow Pear Sauce and a Prosciutto Salad

This was my first attempt at a savory souffle. I made a blue cheese souffle and cooked some pears in Victory Moonglow Weizenbock for a sauce. I also made a prosciutto salad to go with it and then paired all that with Ayinger Weizenbock. Victory Moonglow is fruity and spicy and perfect for cooking the pears in. Kinda similar to Schneider Aventinus that I used a while ago to cook apples. So the pears and beer were cooked down with some brown sugar and then pureed. The sauce came out delicious. Unfortunately, it's not in my picture since I tried to take one quickly before the souffle deflated. But trust me it was really good. When I do another beer dinner I definitely want to incorporate this sauce somehow.

Anyway, it was a really nice contrast to the blue cheese and the saltier flavors of the souffle and salad. Although blue cheese is a strong flavor, the souffle is still a subtle dish so I felt that pairing it with the same beer that the pears were cooked in would overpower it. Ayinger Weizenbock was the perfect pairing, and dude that is one delicious beer. Look how pretty!

Ommegang Abbey Crab Bisque

I had some Ommegang Abbey Ale left over from my two beer pumpkin soup so I used it in my crab soup. So nummy. From what I remember: crab, onions, tomato paste, butter, garlic, beer, evaporated milk, parsley, salt. Can you tell I've gotten lazy with writing down recipes? Good stuff though, and dubbels are really versatile with cooking. They work in both sweet and savory recipes and always add something special.