Steamed Mussels with Ommegang Witte


I wasn't really planning this as a blog post, but I couldn't help but want to take a picture and share it. Truly delicious. I am currently in Lima, Peru visiting all of my family. Eating some delicious food over here! But this I made just before I left. My friend and I were craving some mussels and decided our best bet would be to make them ourselves. No lie, better than any restaurant I've been to. Ommegang Witte was just right for this kind of dish. Nice and bright and citrusy. And delicious cooked in with all that butter and garlic.

I think mussels are such a great dish to make. They are delicious, take just a few minutes to cook, and they are not at all expensive. And it's honestly fun. A combination of my fascination with marine life and of food. They are still alive when you get them! (I love when you tap on them and they close up) And hey they also look kinda Christmasy with the red and green right?


Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 12 oz Ommegang Witte (or other witbier)
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • a few sprigs of parsley
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil
  • 1 baguette


Remove any beards from the mussels (the little stringy bits hanging out) and wash them. Throw out any mussels that are broken or that don't close when tapped. Chop 3 of the garlic cloves and the shallots. Chop the tomatoes and parsley. In a large pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the mussels to the pan and pour in the beer. You can add more or less, 12 oz was just an estimate. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, or until you see the mussels open. Add the tomatoes, rest of the butter, lemon juice, parsley, and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and rub with a garlic clove that's been cut in half. Sprinkle with some salt and olive oil and toast in the oven. We also covered the bread in grated parmesan cheese before toasting and sprinkled some on the mussels. Serve mussels with the bread for dipping and pair with the beer.

Sweet Potato Pie Paired With The Bruery's Autumn Maple


Alright, I know I'm a bit late but this is my Thanksgiving post.

So last night I went to a Cigar City beer vs wine dinner at Bash in Sunrise. Five courses, each paired with a beer and a wine. And then everybody votes on each course. Not surprisingly, beer won! But it was nice to go to one of these dinners and taste each course objectively and seriously see how much more I enjoy the beer with each course. I don't want to bash wine, but beer is just so much more versatile and compliments so many dishes incredibly well. My stance on beer was definitely reinforced :) 

Anyway, this year for Thanksgiving I opted for a sweet potato pie instead of a pumpkin pie. It was my first time making a sweet potato pie and I really enjoyed it. Ingredients included brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. So yummy! Really, who needs a pumpkin pie? 

The Bruery also strays from the typical pumpkin for their Fall seasonal. Their Autumn Maple, a Belgian style brown ale, is brewed with plenty of yams instead of pumpkin. It also uses maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. So obviously, I had to make my pie again to pair the two. I think that at 10% abv the beer was a little too big for the pie, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.


Well speaking of Thanksgiving, even though it's already been two weeks, I want to share how thankful I am. I have to say I'm happier than I've ever been lately, which if you know me is a pretty big deal. I'm usually pretty jaded, bitter, and anxious. Nice qualities, huh? But I don't know what's wrong with me now. I'm happy. I am loving my new home, I'm really excited to start school next semester, I love all the friends I've been spending time with, and I feel very lucky to be part of the two best labs at FAU. So thanks to everyone that's part of my life right now :) Okay, I'll stop being lame and cheesy now. Back to the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cooked
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mash the cooked potatoes with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine well. Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool in refrigerator and top with whipped cream to serve.


Pumking Mousse


Hello people who read my blog!  I am currently in the process of moving so I've been a bit busy. This also means I've already packed a lot of stuff so I have nothing to measure ingredients with. Therefore, today's recipe is a pretty rough estimate. Also, I'm starting graduate school in January for an M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling! I'm really excited to get to take classes again. Just wanted to share :)

So I had this bottle of Pumking from Southern Tier that I wanted to make something with. I use Southern Tier's beers in dessert recipes a lot. I almost used Pumking to make an ice cream with caramel swirls, which I'm sure would have been awesome, but I ended up making a quick pumpkin mousse instead. This is definitely one of the best, if not the best, pumpkin beers you will ever try. Unfortunately, it is sold out at most places until next year so you'll probably have a hard time finding it. I guess this post is a little late. Is that mean? For me to write about this and then say you can't have any? Sowey.


Anyway, this beer has some nice strong spice flavors and tastes like a really good pumpkin pie.  My mousse almost feels like an edible version of Pumking. Along with beer and eggs, I used pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. The pairing of the mousse with the beer was also spectacular. Really, how could it not be? Then I got to thinking about a Pumking smoothie. You know, like an awesome mixed drink. So I made one of those too (not pictured). Pretty much the same stuff from the mousse, minus the eggs. I could really experiment all day long with this beer. Here is my recipe. And just a warning, it contains raw eggs.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin beer
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
Directions:

Separate the egg whites and yolks into two bowls. Add the sugar to the egg whites and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Add the brown sugar, pumpkin puree, beer, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the egg yolks. Stir to combine. Gently fold the contents of the two bowls together. And that's it. Takes 2 seconds. Okay maybe a little more, but it's really easy. You can eat it right away or let it set a little bit in the fridge. I topped mine with a little whipped cream and cinnamon.

Seared Tuna Sandwiches Paired with an IPA


Okay, I tried to take a picture of these with my new camera that I don't know how to use yet and then the battery died so I apologize for the slightly blurry photo. I swear they were delicious. So my tuna sandwiches featured a carrot and apple slaw, wasabi mayonnaise, cilantro, and green onion. Awesome mix of flavors. I paired them with Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City. I originally wanted to pair them with Jai Alai that was aged on White Oak. Unfortunately, Total Wine was out of it. The regular IPA still worked great. At first, you might think that this beer is too big and that it would overpower a little tuna dish, but once all the components were together, they complemented each other quite well. The IPA was able to stand up to the wasabi and something about the clean fresh hop taste matched nicely with the flavors in my sandwich. This kind of sandwich is actually really easy and quick to make. You only have to mix some stuff together, sear for a few seconds, and you're ready to eat. Here is my recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 4 kaiser rolls, lightly toasted
  • 1 pound sushi grade tuna
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup shredded green apple
  • 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions
  • salt and pepper
  • sesame seeds
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
Directions:
For the slaw, combine the shredded apple and carrot in a bowl. I used a cheese grater to shred them. Add the vinegar, green onions, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. To prepare the mayonnaise, simply combine the wasabi paste and mayonnaise. Cut the tuna into 4 pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and coat with sesame seeds. Heat olive oil in a pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, place the pieces of tuna in the pan. Sear for about 30 seconds per side. To assemble, spread the wasabi mayonnaise on a bun, place the tuna on top, drizzle with a little soy sauce, and top with the slaw and bun.

Baked Jalapeño Poppers With Apricot Dipping Sauce Paired With Magic Hat #9


Sooo I'm leaving for Colorado tomorrow for the Great American Beer Festival! Yay! I'll be in Denver until Monday. Guess I should be packing, but first I'll share my latest pairing. I got this idea the other night when I was out and had some yummy late night jalapeño poppers along with a Magic Hat #9. I was surprised at what a good combination it was. Then I figured I could really enhance that by making an apricot dipping sauce to go with the apricot flavor from the beer. Turned out really nice! Of course I thought of beer battering them but I decided to take it easy and just make this one a pairing. I also like just slicing the jalapeños in half and then topping them because they're a lot easier to core and you can easily stick the bread crumbs right on top. Oh and please make sure you wear gloves when preparing the jalapeños and don't touch your face! :)


Poppers:
  • 1/2 lb jalapeños
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp italian seasoning
  • olive oil
  • salt

Apricot Dippings Sauce:
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of onion powder
  • pinch of paprika
  • salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the jalapeños in half and remove the seeds and membrane. Combine the cream cheese, shredded cheddar, garlic powder, and salt. Spoon the cheese mixture onto the jalapeño halves. Combine the panko, some more salt, and italian seasoning in a bowl. Top the jalapeños with the panko mixture. Place the stuffed jalapeños on a baking sheet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. 



Brown Ale and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto


Ugh, it's been a while since I made something to share here. It seems like I always realize it's been a long time, then decide I'm going to make a bunch of stuff, and then another few months go by. Time goes by too fast. Doesn't give me a second to catch up. Anyway, I've been busy applying to grad school and stuff, so if I get in next semester hopefully I'll still find some time to make lots of food. Ooh, also my twin sister is moving to Lima, Peru in two weeks. So lots of changes and new things in the next few months. She's also taking her camera with her (the one I usually use to take pictures of my food) so it's time I get one of my own.

So, the most recent beer and food activity I participated in was a beer cook off at Lou's Beer Garden. I made my shrimp and scallops in a creamy coconut milk and witbier sauce. That was my first recipe on this blog, and still one of my favorites. I didn't win but it was still a pretty cool experience. I've never had the chance to give out my food like that to so many people, and everyone seemed to love my dish. It was definitely a challenge to make enough food for 100 tastings since I'm not used to cooking on such a big scale. But it was really nice to have people be able to taste my food instead of just looking at pictures. It was a little bit scary too, with all the judges peering over their papers and asking me to describe my dish. Eeek. Here are some pictures of my food at the event :)



 Anyway, moving on to my beer risotto. To me, risotto seems like a perfect dish for beer experimentation. The typical risotto process is to cook some onions (or shallots) and maybe garlic in some butter or oil in a large pot. Then add the rice, and after a minute add some wine. Let the rice absorb the wine, and then add chicken or vegetable stock a bit at a time until it is all absorbed and creamy and the rice is perfectly cooked. 
                        
                    

So, as you can see, there is a perfect opportunity to substitute the wine (and some of the stock) for any beer. I mean, think of all the options. If we have a brighter lemon zesty risotto we can use a yummy saison or a hefeweizen. We could do brown ales or even stouts to add depth to earthy flavors. We could make a risotto with pumpkin and some autumn flavors and add a pumpkin beer. We can even make sweet risottos and then there's a million other options there. I opted for a simple shiitake mushroom risotto and added Ellie's Brown Ale for another layer of flavor.



Ingredients:
  • 5 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 4 oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 16 oz arborio rice
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 12 oz beer
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • handful of parsley, chopped


Directions:
In a large pot, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for a few minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add the arborio rice and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add a cup of the brown ale and cook until the beer is absorbed. Reduce the heat and add a cup of broth, cooking until absorbed. Continue to add the rest of the beer and broth 1 cup at a time, waiting until each cup is absorbed before adding the next one. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan and cook the chopped mushrooms for 5 minutes with salt and pepper. When the risotto is done it will be creamy and the rice al dente; it will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of butter, mushrooms, and parsley.

P.S. I have a good idea for my next recipe, can't wait  ^_^

Marinated Eggplant Paired with Brooklyn Sorachi Ace


        

Eggplant is not really the obvious choice to pair with this beer, but I just felt like they would go well together. And they did. See, you've got to trust your instincts! This eggplant appetizer comes from my sister's father-in-law. He owns a wonderful little Italian restaurant in Lima, Peru called Trattoria Napoli (here's their facebook page). I know most of the people reading this probably don't live anywhere near Peru, but if you ever make it there you should definitely check this place out. Everything there is made from scratch daily. Along with delicious pastas, pizzas, and calzones , he makes the most amazing eggplant ever. It's covered in Parmesan cheese and marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar overnight. He recommends eating this dish with lots of bread and wine. It is certainly delicious with wine but I decided to go down a bit of a different path. 

Sorachi Ace is a delicious saison from Brooklyn Brewery. It's made with a Japanese hop called Sorachi Ace, which gives the beer it's lemony flavors. This is a unique and complex beer that you've really just got to try. So, the eggplant soaks in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar after being cooked and is all tender and oily. The brightness and flavors of lemongrass in the beer provide a nice contrast to the eggplant. The carbonation cuts through the oil and you get a fresh palate to enjoy the flavors all over again. It's also got these hints of herbs and spice that work really well with the flavors of the dish.


Here's what you need:
  • eggplant
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • a few garlic cloves
  • Parmesan cheese
  • parsley (you could also use other herbs, I added a little bit of thyme which went nicely with the beer)
  • salt
Cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. People often suggest salting eggplant to either get rid of the bitterness or remove the water. I've done it with and without salting and I don't really think it makes a difference here. So I don't bother (I'm also pretty impatient). Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add eggplant in batches. Add salt and some minced garlic. Cook the eggplant slices on both sides until they start to brown. Then remove and add the next batch to the pan. While those are cooking, drizzle the eggplant that's done with olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley. Once it's all cooked you can leave it to marinate overnight or eat immediately with bread.

Beer Scampi



I got another bottle of Dogfish Head Namaste because I liked it so much the last time I paired with it. I ended up using it in my dinner tonight. I made linguine and sauteed some shrimp with butter, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. After removing the shrimp, I added the beer and lemon juice to the pan and let it reduce a bit. Then stirred in some more butter and finished it off with a little fresh parsley. The brightness of the beer was lovely with the lemon juice and shrimp. Who needs to cook with wine when you've got beers like this?

Beer Crepes


Okay, so I made some crepes with beer in the batter. I wasn't really sure what direction to go in because there are so many options. Some beers would work better with a savory crepe, some would add a lighter flavor or a stronger flavor, and it might be fun to try a stout for a sweet one. So I decided to try three types for some variety. I made one big basic batch of batter, divided it into three equal parts, and added a different beer to each one. I built each crepe around the beer used in its batter, and they all turned out delicious. Sweaty Betty for my spinach, mushroom, and cheese crepe. Young's Double Chocolate Stout for my nutella, strawberry, and whipped cream crepe. And Gamma Ray for a banana, cinnamon, and brown sugar crepe.


First up: Sweaty Betty, a wheat ale. Brian said I should call them "sweaty crepes" but I didn't think that sounded too appetizing. I decided to use this one for my savory crepe. For the toppings I went with spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and melted swiss cheese. Then I paired it with the same beer. It was a wonderful pairing. As a matter of fact, all three of the crepe pairings were spectacular, and are probably in my top 10.


Next up, Young's Double Chocolate Stout. You can see the crepe is a little darker because of the stout. I think they're pretty. Sometimes I forget how yummy nutella really is, especially with strawberries. This was delicious, and the pairing with Young's Double Chocolate was perfect. The beer isn't overly sweet so the roastiness was a nice contrast to the sweet toppings. All of the crepes were awesome but out of the three I think this is the winner.


Last, but not least, Terrapin Gamma Ray. A wheatwine with 11% alcohol. It's made with honey and tastes almost like bananas, so why not go with a banana crepe?  I tasted the crepe by itself and you seriously would have sworn there was banana in there. This beer really added some flavor. I combined the real banana pieces with cinnamon and brown sugar and topped it all with condensed milk. (If you're not using condensed milk as a dessert topping you are seriously missing out.)

Here's the basic recipe for beer crepes. This makes plenty since I was making three types, so you might want to cut the recipe in half. Also, experiment with adding more or less beer depending on how much flavor you want to come through.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk or evaporated milk
  • 1 cup beer
  • pinch of salt
  • butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (optional, depending if you're going for sweet or savory)


Directions:
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add in the milk and beer, and slowly mix in the flour. You can use a blender to get it really uniform if you prefer. Melt some butter in a small pan over medium high heat. Pour a small amount of batter into the center of the pan and swirl around so it coats the bottom. Let it cook until it starts to get golden brown on the bottom and then flip. Cook until the other side starts to get golden and then remove. Continue until all your batter is gone. Now top your crepes with whatever you like!

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta Paired with Joe's Pilsner


Here is a foolproof snack you can serve when guests are over. A few simple ingredients, incredibly easy to make, and always tastes amazing. It's pretty tough to go wrong with garlicky bread, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Yum. I paired my bruschetta with Joe's Pilsner from Avery. This crisp, clean pilsner is perfect between bites. Doesn't get much better than this.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil plus extra for bread
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 baguette
  • salt and pepper to taste



For bruschetta:
Slice bread into 3/4 inch slices. Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side of the garlic on each piece of bread. Brush each piece with olive oil and sprinkle with some salt. Toast in the oven until it starts to get crusty.

For the topping:
I boiled my tomatoes for 1 minute, peeled off the skin, and seeded them. You don't have to do this unless you want to. Dice the tomatoes and mince the garlic. Combine in a large bowl with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Chop the basil leaves and add to the mixture.

Strawberry Arugula Salad Paired with The Bruery's Hottenroth


My sister and my brother-in-law requested something light for lunch on Friday, so I put together a salad with some stuff that was in the fridge. Strawberries, avocado, red onion, and baby arugula. I made a dressing with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper. This was a really good combination of flavors and a wonderful salad for the summer. The strawberries were especially delicious! I didn't initially plan on pairing anything with it, but that night I decided to pair the left overs with The Bruery's Hottenroth. I love this beer! It's a citrusy and refreshing Berliner Weissbier (hey, same style used in my last post!) and pretty much felt like an extension of the salad dressing. It also has an abv around 3% so it's great for a light salad. A simple and enjoyable pairing :)

(Hmm.. I just realized that a large percentage of my posts end with smiley faces)



Potato Pancakes Topped with Smoked Salmon and Mango Beer Sauce


Man, it's been a month since I posted anything. I've been a kind of busy, trying to spend my free time preparing for the GRE instead of making beer dishes. But now that's done and I have my birthday and a couple of weddings coming up to look forward to. That means lots of good food and beer in my future. Hopefully I'll also be able to fit in some beer recipes.

So this recipe is kind of a combination of two ideas. Recently I made the most delicious sandwich I think I've ever had. You should definitely try it, just saying. I had some left over baked salmon that I shredded up and combined with mayo and lemon juice. I toasted up some bread and put the shredded salmon on it along with some sliced onion, sliced tomato, mango, avocado, and cilantro. Is that not a wonderful combination of flavors? So yummy. The second part of my idea came from when I went to the Dubliner a few days ago with some friends. I ordered the potato pancakes with smoked salmon on top. I really liked this idea and man do I love smoked salmon. Anyway, I decided to combine the flavors of these two meals and of course incorporate some beer.

I set out to make some potato pancakes with Nova salmon and a mango beer sauce. I mean fruits taste amazing with smoked salmon, and potato pancakes are often eaten with applesauce so I figured this had to work. And the the perfect beer for the sauce? Dogfish Head Festina Peche, a super tasty and tart peach Berliner Weisse. This was a great way to add some acidity to the dish and add a bit of effervescence to the sauce. So I picked up some delicious Nova salmon and got started on my potato pancakes. Very simple dish - just grated some potatoes, added an egg, some flour, and salt and pepper. Fried them until nice and golden brown and topped them with the nova. For the sauce, all I did was blend together my mango and beer, along with a little sugar. At this point I really wouldn't blame you if you stopped and just drank it as a bubbly tart mango smoothie. But I went on and drizzled a little olive oil in it and added the sauce to my salmon. I topped it all off with some cilantro. I loved the different textures and flavors in this dish: the crispy potato pancakes, the luscious salmon, and the sweet/tart sauce. Festina Peche also made for a wonderfully refreshing pairing. This dish would also work great using peaches instead of mango.

Well, I've got a few things in mind that I want to make soon so hopefully it won't be as long until my next post :)



Ingredients:

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup canola oil for frying
  • 1/2 pound Nova salmon
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • 1/3 bottle Festina Peche
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • cilantro
  • salt
  • pepper


Peel and grate the potatoes. Drain the excess liquid. Add the eggs, flour, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add oil. When the oil is hot, form the potato mixture into pancake shapes and place in the pan. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. For the sauce, blend the mango, beer, sugar, and olive oil. Top the potato pancakes with the salmon and sauce and serve with a beer. Simple, right? :)

Seared Scallops and Asparagus with a Saison Pan Sauce


Mmmm, scallops ♥! I wanted to make scallops with a beer sauce and asked in my last post for some beer suggestions. Someone recommended Le Merle from North Coast Brewing. I had never had it before and I love saisons so I decided to give it a shot. It's got some citrus and spicy yeast that works well with seafood, along with some light caramel notes to complement the seared scallops.


To prepare the dish, I first cooked my asparagus in a pan with butter for about 10 minutes. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a little lemon zest. After debearding my sea scallops I sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I seared them for about a minute per side in a hot pan with oil and butter. After removing the scallops, I made a simple pan sauce. I turned the heat off and poured in some of the beer, scraping up all the good stuff from the bottom of the pan. I added a little bit of cream, butter, and salt and it was good to go. I poured a glass of Le Merle to go alongside and enjoyed (but not before taking some pictures).


The beer worked pretty nicely in the dish. It made a nice tasty sauce and it played off of the lemon zest in the asparagus well. For the pairing I might have preferred something a little lighter. The beer was more boozy than I expected (7.9% abv) so it was a bit too strong to pair with the light dish. But overall, very enjoyable. My family loved it. They were fighting over the last few scallops. Thanks for the suggestions! Keep them coming :)

Mother's Day Dinner


I made dinner for my mom last night for mother's day. The menu included: some absolutely delicious pan seared scallops with asparagus, lemon mushroom risotto, and a strawberry souffle with chocolate mousse on top. There was no beer involved in the dinner, but I wanted to share anyway. I actually used white wine in both the risotto and scallops. Hey, I've gotta cook with different things once in a while. 

This was my first time making risotto. I really enjoyed the process of preparing it. It was actually relaxing watching the broth get absorbed into the rice as I stirred. I used some lemon juice, lemon zest, oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, and baby bella mushrooms in my risotto. Came out really yummy.

The scallops were simply seared in butter and olive oil with salt and pepper. After removing the scallops, I added some white wine into the pan and made a tasty sauce. This is one of  my favorite ways to make a sauce. You get the most flavor when you make it right where the food was cooked. A little beer (or wine), some butter, salt, garlic, and milk. Hard to get a better sauce than that. The asparagus were pan seared with butter, salt, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Perfect. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of the scallops.

Both of these dishes are now at the top of my to cook with beer list. I think the right beer could make these extra interesting and tasty, so look out for that soon. If you have any suggestions for a beer I should use for them, or beers you would like to see used in any recipe, let me know with a comment! I don't mind a challenge :)

Hopslam Passion Fruit Sorbet


That's right. Hopslam sorbet. I must say, this was a wonderful idea. Everyone loves this delicious Double IPA from Bell's for it's great hoppy aroma and taste. One of the main things I get from the nose is passion fruit. In fact, it smells almost exactly like it. I would know, I had some passion fruit puree and a bottle of Hopslam right next to each other. It's the same! I almost couldn't convince my family that there wasn't actually any passion fruit in the beer.

So I figured these two things together would make a great refreshing sorbet. Just some passion fruit puree, simple syrup, and Hopslam. Get the balance of acidity (from the passion fruit), sweetness (from the sugar), and bitterness (from the beer) just right and into the ice cream maker it goes. Delicious! Perfect for the hot weather we've been having lately. And if you have enough, you might even get a buzz from it ;) I think beer adds a nice little zest to sorbet that goes really well with icy cold fruit flavors. Oh and have I mentioned what an amazing fruit I think passion fruit is? It's so yummy! If I didn't drink beer, mixed passion fruit drinks would be my beverage of choice. That or bloody marys, but that's irrelevant. 


Maple Bacon Coffee Porter Ice Cream


The Funky Buddha's Maple Bacon Coffee Porter is currently the number one new beer in the country on beeradvocate.com. Look! How cool is that? Aren't you Floridians proud? In honor of all of their success, here's some ice cream made with their famous beer. So that makes this the number one new ice cream in the country, right? The delicious flavors of the porter work wonderfully for this. It's like an extra yummy coffee ice cream. And I couldn't resist adding some bacon that was cooked in brown sugar :)

Crispy Poached Egg on Creamed Spinach Paired with Dogfish Head Namaste


It may look a bit weird, but this is a really cool dish. I'm surprised I haven't really done a dish with eggs yet on here. I eat eggs constantly: fried, poached, scrambled, soft boiled, hard boiled, omelettes. I especially love anything with a runny yoke. So I was looking for inspiration for something different to put a poached egg on, and somehow came across some pictures of cripsy poached eggs. It sounded amazing: a crunchy exterior and a warm runny yoke inside. I knew immediately that I had to make it.

So then I had to decide what to serve it with. When I was growing up, one of my favorite dishes was something my mom would always make. It was a piece of toast with a fried egg on top and a creamy spinach puree on top of that. With some parmesan cheese. Don't know where it comes from but it is still one of my favorite dishes. So this is kind of a take on those flavors. The toast in the panko bread crumbs, the fried egg is now poached, and instead of spinach puree I have creamed spinach. How could this not taste good? And I was not disappointed. Seriously heavenly. Brian was pretty skeptical when I  first told him what I was making, but he was very pleasantly surprised. And don't even get me started on the pairing. That was almost the best part.

Namaste, a lovely witbier from Dogfish Head. It's made with lemongrass, orange peel, and coriander and is deliciously refreshing. It balanced the dish beautifully. You get the crunch from the poached egg, the salty egg yoke, the slightly bitter and creamy spinach, and some citrus and spice from the beer. So yummy!
                                                                            


So here is how it was made:

Ingredients:

  • panko bread crumbs
  • eggs
  • flour
  • oil
  • salt and pepper
  • vinegar


For the spinach:

  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese


For the spinach: Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until softened. Add the spinach and the rest of the ingredients. Adjust to taste.

For the crispy eggs:
The first step is poaching the egg. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a splash of vinegar to the water. Place the egg to be poached in a small bowl. Swirl the water in the pot around with a spoon and gently place the egg in the water. Let each egg cook for about 3 minutes or until the whites are hardened. Don't overcook because you will still be heating them when frying. Remove the poached egg with a slotted spoon and place into ice water to stop the cooking. Once all the eggs are poached, you can place them on paper towels to drain until you are ready for the next step.

For the frying of the egg you will need three containers. One with a beaten egg, one with flour, and one with the panko bread crumbs. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Gently take a poached egg and place it in the flour. Once coated, immerse it in the beaten egg, and then coat with the panko. Place a pan over high heat and add about 1/2 an inch of oil. Once hot, add the coated egg. Cook on both sides until golden brown. From here just place the eggs on the creamed spinach and serve with a delicious beer. Enjoy!


Salmon Burger Paired with a Pale Ale


So the other day I made a yummy little salmon burger and paired it with Victory Headwaters Pale Ale. I got the idea to make this when Brian and I went to a restaurant (which I will not name) and ordered a salmon burger that was pretty disappointing. I figured I had to be able to make something better. So I made some salmon patties, a lemony dill mayo, and toasted up some kaiser rolls. For the pairing, a pale ale was really nice. I normally would use something more subtle to pair with salmon but for the completed dish I thought a pale ale would work well. It was very refreshing and did not over power the burger. The beer cleansed your palate between each bite and kind of cut through the creamy sauce. I have to say, this was much more enjoyable than our experience at the restaurant, and I think this may be one of my new favorite pale ales.


Witbier Steamed Clams and Mussels Over Linguine


Alright, so this was my first time cooking with clams and mussels. Beer is classically used in Belgium to steam mussels, so being "the beer cook" I knew I eventually needed to make something with beer and shellfish. I originally wanted to make linguine with clams, and then decided to use both mussels and clams for my dish. It all turned out really yummy and I was pleasantly surprised by the price of the shellfish (especially the mussels!) and how easy they are to prepare. I can't wait to cook with this stuff again. I also decided to try out a new beer for this recipe. I wanted a Belgian Witbier to cook the shellfish with and saw Troublette at Whole Foods. It's from a brewery in Belgium called Brasserie Caracole (Caracole means snail. Look at the cute little snail on the bottle!) I had never had it before but saw online that it had some pretty great reviews so I grabbed it. I'm glad that I did because it ended up working beautifully.

So it was pretty exciting to make this dish. The mussels and clams are supposed to stay alive until you cook them. They should be tightly closed before cooking. If one of them is open and doesn't close when you tap on it, it means it's dead and should be thrown away. If they don't open when they are steamed it also means they were already dead. I was nervous that I would somehow kill all my clams and mussels before dinner and that none of them would open when cooked and I would have to throw everything away. But as I lifted the lid and saw the last few crack open I thought, "Yay my clams and mussels aren't dead! ..Well I guess now they are. But they opened! Yayy!" It's pretty fun to watch them pop open. At least for me, I don't know what you do for fun. Anyway, it's really such an easy and relatively affordable dish that ends up looking and tasting pretty fancy. Here's how I made mine :)



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound linguine, cooked al dente
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups beer
  • 8 ounces clam juice
  • 1/2 pound mussels
  • 15 clams
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste


Directions:

  1. Rinse the shellfish and scrub off any sand. Debeard the mussels (This means removing the little seaweed-like stringy things coming out from between their shells). Make sure all the shellfish are closed tightly. If they are not, give them a little tap on a table. If they don't close up, discard them. 
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened. 
  3. Add the beer, clam juice, and half of the parsley to the pan. 
  4. Place the clams and mussels in the liquid and cover. Let them cook for about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the opened shellfish and set aside. Discard any that didn't open. 
  5. Add the butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the liquid. Let this simmer for 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the shellfish back in along with the cooked pasta. Add the olive oil and the rest of the parsley. Gently combine everything and enjoy with a glass of beer. It's also good with a bit of grated parmesan cheese.

Celery Root Soup


I've been wanting to make something with celery root ever since I had celery root mashed potatoes at a Brooklyn beer dinner a while back. I had never tried it before and I loved the unique flavor it gave the potatoes. So I finally got around to buying my own. They are said to resemble a mix of celery and parsley in flavor. You just cut off all the ugly outside part with a knife and then you can boil it like a potato.

I was thinking of using my celeriac in the mashed potatoes that went with the beef brisket at my beer dinner, but I was warned that some people have an aversion to the taste of celery. Instead, I used it to make myself a yummy creamy soup for lunch. I made the soup with some White Rascal that was left over from the beer dinner and also used the beer as a pairing. I was pretty excited when I tasted the two together. It was such a nice match of flavors. I was a little sad that no one was around to experience the pairing with me, but at least I got to eat all of it.

Well, I had actually written down the recipe for this. But it's gone. I can't find it anywhere. So all you get is the picture :( But I'm pretty sure there was butter, milk, celery root, parsley, onion, celery, and garlic involved. I don't know, all the things you might expect :) If I find the recipe I'll update.

Beer Dinner #2


I had a little beer dinner at my house last Saturday night. Anyone who knows me knows I love beer dinners. Going to them is what really got me into beer and food. I think they are a perfect way for people who may otherwise not try some beers to get into them. They showcase what beer and food can do together and how beer can make a meal special.

Quoting Garrett Oliver in The Brewmaster's Table, "And this is what real beer can do: it can make every single decent meal that you have an interesting and memorable flavor experience. It can be something that will light up your senses and make you actually want to pay attention to what's happening on your palate. Paying that little bit of attention, both to your food and to your beer, is the difference between having an 'OK' culinary life and having one filled with boundless riches of flavor. Learn a little bit about the amazing variety and complexity of flavor that traditional beer brings to the table and in return I promise you a better life." See? Doesn't that sound awesome?

So I planned for five courses all paired with beer and invited some people over. This is the second beer dinner I've put on for friends where I cooked all the courses. I ended up repeating a few of the dishes from the last one I did since it was all different guests. I think everything ended up pretty successful. Here's a little summary of the courses along with some snapshots.


1. I chose my coconut shrimp and scallops dish for the first course. Shrimp and scallops cooked in coconut milk and beer on some toasty bread with some mango papaya salad. This dish was the first post ever on my blog (which I just realized was almost exactly a year ago). And it's still always a hit. I used White Rascal for the sauce and the pairing. Good example of what beer can add to a dish as an ingredient. It just wouldn't be the same without it. The witbier works really well with the coconut milk, mango salad, and seafood.


2. The second course was ceviche. Because I just didn't want to have a dinner without it. So good. I was considering doing my tuna tartare with a stout reduction instead but couldn't commit to not making a Peruvian ceviche for everyone. Definitely next time. So we tried it with Stone IPA and Victory Helios because we wanted to see how each would complement the dish. I always love IPAs with ceviche but it was nice that Helios provided something bright and kind of funky to go with the acidity in the dish.


3. The third course was a newer one. My homemade gnocchi with a dubbel mushroom sauce. I was a little scared to prepare this for the dinner since one of the dinner guests has Italian parents who prepare amazing gnocchi for her all the time. But she approved and said they were just right :) I used Ommegang Abbey for the sauce and paired it with Korbinian. The only change I made, which I think is an awesome one, was to add crispy sage leaves. I fried them up in a little oil so they get all crispy and shimmery and pretty and delicious and then put one on top of each serving. If you can't tell, crispy sage leaves are my new obsession. They taste so good, even by themselves. I can't stop snacking on them. They were perfect with the rich mushroomy sauce and they went great with the dopplebock pairing.


4. The main course was Old Chub braised beef brisket and some mashed potatoes. I cooked the brisket for a few hours in Old Chub and a bunch of other yummy stuff. Old Chub, a scotch ale, is perfect for slow cooking meat with its flavors of caramel and smoked malt. Super rich and tasty dish. And once the meat is all melded with the flavors of the beer, the pairing becomes perfect.  I was almost going to go with a lamb chop dish for the entree but I figured this would get me more bang for my buck. Although people didn't need too much food at this point. Everyone was starting to get full. 


5. But there's still room for dessert! Or, in this case, breakfast. French toast with strawberry syrup paired with Wake-n-Bake from Terrapin. I used Challah bread and cooked up some strawberries with maple syrup. Coffee stout with french toast. What more could you want? This is a picture of some I had the next morning with a little bacon on the side. The bacon was not included in the dinner :P


So thanks so much to those of you who came. I hope you had a good time and enjoyed everything. I had a lot of fun cooking for you guys :) ♥

Can't wait for the next one!