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.

Stuffed Zucchini Paired with Mama's Little Yella Pils

Eeek! Tomorrow's the first day of another semester of classes. I'm taking group counseling, psychopathology in counseling, and career development. Figured I'd get a few recipes in before I get too busy.

Cheers to a fresh start :)

Okay, so keeping with the recreating of my older dishes, here's stuffed zucchini based on this recipe from May 2010. This is a pairing so there is no beer in the actual dish. In my old post I paired the stuffed zucchini with Victory Prima Pils because although it has beef, I thought the zucchini made it a bright dish that deserved a light crisp pairing.

This time around I paired it with Mama's Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues. I'm glad I listened to 2010 me because this pairing just made me happy. I guess it doesn't sound like it'd be that interesting, but for some reason that juicy zucchini and beef combo is wonderful. The bread crumbs also give it a great texture. And taking a sip of the refreshing yet flavorful pilsner just completes the experience.

And yay for beer in cans!

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs ( I actually used half regular bread crumbs and half panko because I ran out)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus some for topping
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cut the zucchini into 1 inch pieces. Scoop out the top of each cylinder to create little bowls.

Heat some oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat once the ground beef is cooked through. Combine the beef with bread crumbs, cheese, egg, garlic powder, and butter.

Arrange the zucchini on a baking sheet. Drizzle with some olive oil and salt. Stuff each piece with the ground beef mixture. Top with some extra mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until the zucchini is tender.

Crispy Salmon with a Witbier Pan Sauce

Hello, whoever it is that reads my blog! For this post, I have recreated one of my earlier dishes. I plan on doing this with some of my favorite older dishes, especially ones that did not get a proper picture. I based this on my July 2010 recipe for salmon in a witbier sauce with a strawberry cucumber salad. I changed around a few things and most importantly, I made this version with crispy skin.

I used Unibroue's Blanche de Chambly for the pan sauce. It's a very straight forward sauce of basically beer, butter, and garlic. The witbier brings in it's flavors of yeast, spice, and citrus that meld beautifully with the butter and garlic. Pour that over your crispy, succulent salmon and you have a top-notch meal. The cucumber and strawberry salad with a touch of honey is a nice side to the salmon and is complemented well by the slight citrus notes in the beer.

This is the kind of simple yet delicious dish that, to me, reinforces beer as an ingredient.

Here's how I made it. Lots more to come soon ;)

P.S. I apologize for always using the same glassware for all my beers. It's my go to glass for some reason :)

Strawberry Cucumber Salad:
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped 
  • 4 to 7 strawberries, chopped (about an equal amount as the cucumber)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Just combine all the ingredients in a bowl. It's extra good if you let the flavors meld for a bit in the fridge.

Crispy Salmon:
  • salmon fillets
  • salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • olive oil
I made mine like Gordon Ramsay does here. Score the skin of the salmon. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and some pepper. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add the salmon with the skin side down. Let it cook for about 4 minutes. Flip and cook for about 3 more minutes. Remove from pan and make your sauce in the same pan.

Witbier Sauce:
  • witbier
  • butter
  • minced garlic
  • salt
Pour a few splashes of the beer into the pan you just cooked the salmon in. Add a teaspoon of minced garlic (I also threw some garlic in with the salmon when I cooked it) and some salt. Let it cook for about 4 minutes and remove from heat. Mix in a tablespoon or two of butter.

Beer Cheese Tuna Noodle Casserole

Hi! I made a tuna casserole with cheese, beer, and panko bread crumbs. I wasn't planning on making this a blog post (hence the not so great picture), but it was really yummy and easy so I wanted to share. I just used stuff I had around the house and added Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, which lent it's rye and hops for a zestier dish. This dish gives you everything you crave: creaminess, cheesiness, and crunchiness. Hope you're not on a diet :)

  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1 5 oz can chunk light tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup Terrapin Rye Pale Ale
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Add the penne pasta to the water and cook for 11 minutes. Drain and place in a large casserole dish. Over low heat, melt the butter in a small pan and add the half and half. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in flour. Return to heat and add the beer, garlic powder, and salt. Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Add this mixture and the tuna to the pasta and combine well. Top with panko bread crumbs and some extra cheese. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until the panko starts to brown.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Goat Cheese, Apple, & Thyme Tartlets

Hi guys! I'm writing this post to tell you about my experience on the By The Glass Show a few weeks ago and to share my recipe for apple and goat cheese tartlets.

So, on July 5th I was an in studio guest on the By The Glass show. By The Glass is a really cool radio show about adult beverages. They talk about all types of drinks: sake, rum, beer, wine, mead, you name it. And they have some really interesting guests. You can watch or listen live Thursdays at 6, or you can see old shows once they are uploaded.

This particular episode was especially awesome because Garrett Oliver called in. He is the brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery and he literally wrote the book on beer and food, The Brewmaster's Table. I even have a quote from his book on my "about me" section. Here it is again for you:
"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."
More recently, he put together The Oxford Companion to Beer, covering almost everything you would ever want to know about beer. Garrett is pretty much as big as it gets in the beer world and is an amazing speaker. I was thrilled to get to be on the show when he called in.

Here is a picture from when I met him in person in 2010 after he spoke at a Total Wine event.

So here is a review of the beers we tasted and the dishes I made. All these dishes can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature.

First up, Brooklyn Lager. For this beer I made two kinds of bruschetta: one topped with  tomato and basil (recipe here), and one topped with marinated eggplant (recipe). Both were delicious and a big hit. I especially liked the eggplant and lager pairing. I've actually paired a similar eggplant dish with another beer we tasted that day, Sorachi Ace. So for this one, I changed some of the herbs that I used and it really complemented the lager. The caramel malts were a nice match to the toasted bread, garlic, and eggplant. The tomatoes were also delicious with the lager. The balsamic vinegar, basil, and tomato combo. Yum.

The second beer we tasted was Sorachi Ace. I love Sorachi Ace. I've used it as a pairing quite a few times before. It's citrusy, spicy, super interesting, and works well with a variety of dishes. (Once I paired it with crab cakes and it was delicious!) I decided to do both a sweet pairing and a savory pairing because I couldn't settle on just one thing. First I made a ceviche. It was a Peruvian style ceviche but with some pineapple and some other extra stuff added in. It was amazing with the beer. Both are so bright and citrusy, and the cilantro was just perfect with the beer!

Here are some quick instructions for the ceviche:

Chop up some white fish (such as Tilapia), shrimp, a red bell pepper, canned pineapple, a red onion, avocado, corn and lots of cilantro. Boil the shrimp until pink. Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Add the juice of about 8 limes, or enough to cover everything. Add some orange juice and the juice from the canned pineapples. Salt generously. Add garlic powder and a few teaspoons of aji amarillo paste. Leave in the refrigerator for at least one hour. It will taste amazing. If it doesn't, it probably needs more salt or more aji amarillo paste or both :)

Then, the main attraction of this post, the apple and goat cheese tartlets. These paired beautifully with the Sorachi Ace. I knew this beer was good with goat cheese so I wanted to use it in my dessert. I decided to cook the apples in the Sorachi Ace along with some sugar and spices. The thyme was lovely along with the goat cheese and puff pastry and beer. Not gonna lie, I think this was a flawless pairing. These flavors were just meant to be together, and bringing the Sorachi Ace in as an ingredient really brought it all together. Garrett Oliver actually has a recipe for a goat cheese and apple omelette on the Brooklyn Brewery website that he pairs with Sorachi Ace, which sounds amazing! 

And lastly, with the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout I did a take on my chocolate mousse with raspberries. Here's my recipe. Deep rich chocolate with a deep rich chocolatey stout. Can't go wrong, and the raspberries add an excellent contrast.

I had a lot of fun on the show, even though I was pretty nervous at first. The guys were really awesome and welcoming. Their next episode is this Thursday and is about craft beer cocktails, which is something I would actually love to start experimenting with.

You can watch the episode I was on here.

Below is the recipe for the goat cheese and apple tartlets! Enjoy :)

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Goat Cheese, Apple, & Thyme Tartlets

  • 2 granny smith apples, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup Sorachi Ace
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 oz goat cheese
Apples - Melt butter over low heat in a medium sauce pan. Add chopped apples to the pan. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add the beer, sugar, thyme, and spices. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Puff Pastry -Lay out the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter or a small cup, cut out circles from the dough. Place them on a greased baking sheet (I used butter). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Once the puff pastry is cooked, take each one and just pull the bottom and top apart a little and it should separate easily. Then you can make a little sandwich. Place some goat cheese on the bottom half and top with some apples. Sprinkle with a little extra thyme and top with the other piece of puff pastry.

Cottage Pie with Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre

Okay guys, this is a good one. I know it's summer and this is kind of a wintery dish but I live in Florida so whether it's June or January the weather is the same outside. I have to be allowed to cook wintery dishes once in a while, especially when they are this good.

But winter is coming in Game of Thrones. Last night was the intense season finale of the show so I am making this post in honor of it. Although cottage pie is traditionally made with leftovers and might be considered a peasant's dish, I think any king or queen would be happy to have this at their table.

I decided to research Game of Thrones food and there is actually an official cookbook that was published a few days ago! It has recipes based on dishes mentioned throughout the books. And here is their blog. Really fun stuff!

The beer I chose -Raison D'Etre from Dogfish Head- totally made this pie. It's brewed with beet sugar, raisins, and Belgian style yeast. The aroma told me it would be perfect for a cottage pie. That's often when I decide what to make with beers. You can sit there and research beers and think about what technically goes with what, but when you smell a beer, that's when you can clearly see all the delicious possibilities in your mind.

I seriously recommend you make this. It's delicious.

For the filling:
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 2 cups chopped red onion (about half a large onion)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 12 oz bottle of beer
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
For the potato topping:
  • 15 small red potatoes or 4 to 5 russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook for about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, beef bouillon, and beer. Season well with salt and pepper. Lower heat and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes.

Boil the potatoes in a large pot for about 30 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Peel the potatoes and mash them in a large bowl. Stir in the butter, milk, and salt.

Place the beef and vegetable filling in a baking pan, casserole dish, or ramekins. Top with the potato mixture. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water to create an egg wash. Brush this over the top of the potatoes. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then broil for 4 minutes.

Honey and Amber Ale Chicken Thighs

So I just realized that this is my 80th blog post. How did that happen? I will definitely have to celebrate when I get to 100. I have a huge backlog of ideas and recipes that I need to make or post. I made an awesome Raison D'Etre Shepherd's Pie the other day. I also had a poll on my blog a few weeks ago about what I should make next so I better get on those beer cookies! There is definitely plenty to work with before I get to 100.

Today's dish is honey and amber ale crispy chicken thighs. I love using chicken thighs. They are flavorful, juicy, affordable, and perfect for crisping the skin. They are also a good size for serving. Not like a huge piece of chicken breast or a tiny little drumstick or wing. The dark meat is more flavorful and they never dry out!

So I had made honey glazed chicken before and thought that a beer would work great in this type of dish. My mind first went to a brown ale but no, I wanted something different. After thinking about it, Bell's Amber Ale came to mind. (I love Bell's. I sometimes want to say that Bell's Two Hearted Ale is my favorite beer ever. But that's like picking a favorite child. And I have favorite beers for all types of different occasions. But yeah Bell's is yummy stuff.) So the amber ale still has some of those caramel malt flavors but also a good amount of brightness. It felt like just the right intensity for the dish.

This chicken is easy to make and requires ingredients that you usually have at home. It really has a lot going for it. The delicious honey beer combo and that super crispy skin. It would be pretty tough to make this taste bad.

  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on bone in
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Bell's Amber Ale
  • juice of half a lime

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the chicken thighs in a baking dish. Combine 2 teaspoons salt, mustard, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley in a small bowl. Rub this mixture on both sides of the chicken thighs. Drizzle with the olive oil. Bake in the oven for the 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the honey, balsamic vinegar, beer, lime juice, 1/4th teaspoon salt, and 1/4th teaspoon garlic powder. After the chicken has been baking for 35 minutes, remove from the oven and pour the honey and beer mixture over the chicken. Return to oven and cook for another 20 minutes until the skin looks brown and cripsy.

Beer Battered Avocado Wedges Over Arugula Salad

Here's a little something I made a few weeks ago. Avocados battered in Brooklyn Lager over a tasty arugula salad. You might not normally think to fry an avocado, but let me tell you that it is actually a really good idea. Avocados are already delicious on their own, but beer battering creates a wonderful new texture. The avocado is rich and creamy and the batter is fluffy yet crunchy. It's hard not to finish all of it at once.

To go with my battered avocado, I made a salad of arugula, mango, and red onion, along with a cilantro lime vinaigrette. So many delicious fresh flavors in there. I also tried coating the avocado in panko bread crumbs but I liked how the batter worked more. I experimented with few different beers as well and Brooklyn lager was just right in the batter and as a pairing.

P.S. Look at this! According to the Miami New Times my blog is the number four beer blog in South Florida :D

For the batter:
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying
For the salad:
  • 1 hass avocado, cut into wedges
  • 1 mango, chopped
  • arugula
  • red onion, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the beer batter ingredients. Heat about an inch of oil in a pan. Place some flour in another bowl. Coat the avocado wedges with the flour and then dip into the batter. Place the coated avocado wedges into the hot pan, flipping after about a minute. When the avocado wedges are golden brown remove and place on plate lined with paper towels. For the salad, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients and toss with the mango, arugula, and red onion.

Brown Ale Chocolate Truffles

Okay, so wayyy before I ever started cooking, especially before I started cooking with beer, this was pretty much the only thing I knew how to make. Along with scrambled eggs with instant mashed potatoes, which I would make for myself when my mom was sick. We had the Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook (published in 1993) at my house growing up. One day when I was a kid I chose to make the "easy chocolate truffles," and then that was the only thing I made for a long time.

To be fair, they are really delicious and incredibly easy to make. It's pretty much cream cheese, chocolate, and sugar. I would always add some instant coffee which gave it some nice depth. So for some reason this recipe popped into my head the other day and I thought, "You know what else would give it some depth and complexity? ...Beer!" (Obviously, what did you think I would say?)

So I added Maduro Brown Ale from Cigar City into the mix. The chocolate and coffee notes in this beer make it a really good choice. Pairing it with the chocolates is also nice because it's not overly sweet, and the roastiness allows you to go back for another bite of chocolate without being overwhelmed with too much sweetness. I cooked the beer down a bit so that the extra liquid wouldn't change the texture of the chocolates too much.

Although I suppose they aren't technically "chocolate truffles" (more like fudge or chocolate cheesecake balls), they sure look fancy and taste yummy and would pair great with many beers. I had them with a framboise once and it was wonderful. Additionally, if little nerdy 10 year old me could make them, then so can you. I was going to include a picture of me at that age, but I felt this post looked pretty with the chocolate pictures and I didn't want to taint it.

So here is the recipe, adapted from the Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook.
This makes about 50 truffles so you may want to cut the recipe in half.

  • 1 1/2 packages (12 ounces) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown ale
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • For topping: ground nuts, cocoa powder, coconut flakes, sprinkles, or whatever you want to roll them in. I actually used nesquik powder :D

Beat cream cheese until smooth (make sure it's softened or you'll break the beater!). Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Microwave chocolate for 1 minute and stir. Add 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted. Don't rush it or you'll burn your chocolate and have to go buy new chocolate and start over. Place the beer in a small saucepan over medium heat. After about 10 minutes it should reduce down to about 1/4 cup. Mix in the chocolate, beer, vanilla, and instant coffee.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in topping of your choice. Keep refrigerated.

P.S. Tomorrow is my last final for my first semester of graduate school. Are you proud? I am! I had no idea what I wanted to do for a very long time, and now I love the field I've chosen :)

Asparagus, Tomato, and Anchovy Tart Paired With Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

I think I have a slight problem. I can't stop eating anchovies! I got a craving some time last week and have been eating them on everything ever since. I guess I should probably take it easy with all the sodium. But not before sharing a delicious recipe that I came up with during my anchovy obsessed week. A puff pastry tart with asparagus, tomatoes, anchovies, lemon, shallots, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Each ingredient plays an important role and the combination of all of them together creates a wonderful explosion of flavors in your mouth. Just the right balance of acidity from the tomatoes and lemon, saltiness from the anchovies, and butteriness from the puff pastry. Mmmm.

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA could not have been a better choice for the pairing. If you've ever had Dogfish Head 60 Minute or 90 Minute you know that they have a distinct Dogfish Head IPA flavor that is unlike most IPAs. Just enough hops to wake up your palate and stand up to the pungent flavors in the dish, but enough of a malty background to keep it balanced. This pairing is really a beautiful marriage of flavors. Every sip of beer resets your palate and allows you to enjoy the flavors all over again. I think you should probably try this if you're into really yummy stuff.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( I also included grated Romano cheese)
  • 2 oz can of anchovy fillets in oil, chopped
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes (about 15 tomatoes), sliced in half
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold puff pastry and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Fold the edges over to create a border. Brush pastry with the beaten egg. Combine the asparagus, garlic, shallot, cheese, anchovies, tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, but remember that the anchovies already contain a lot of salt. Spread mixture onto the puff pastry. Bake for about 18 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Valentine's Day Lamb Chops with Roasted Thyme Potatoes and a Framboise Sauce

I wanted to make something in the spirit of Valentine's Day but didn't want to go the route of the typical sweet dessert. So I decided to make a nice romantic dinner instead. I pan seared some delicious lamb chops and made a sauce with Lindeman's Framboise, a Belgian raspberry lambic. To go with it, I roasted potatoes along with fresh thyme. I often make potatoes like this when in need of a quick side dish. So easy, yet delicious. All you do is chop up some potatoes (you don't even have to peel them), drizzle with olive oil, season generously with salt, garlic powder, and fresh thyme. Then bake until golden brown. 

So I think this dish counts as Valentine's Day themed, right? That pretty ruby color really pulls it through. The sweet and slightly acidic beer does a nice job of balancing the savory meat and potatoes, and the effervescence makes for a nice palate cleanser that makes you want to keep going back for another bite of lamb. Very enjoyable dinner. In my experience, the key to knowing your pairing is good is when you want to keep going back and forth between the beer and the dish.

Lindeman's Framboise is ideal for Valentine's Day. It pours such a pretty red color and has a sweet raspberry aroma. The combination of the effervescence, sweetness, and tartness would make a perfect pairing for a decadent chocolate dessert as well.

Here is a super technical overview (not really) of how I made this dish.

  • lamb chops
  • red potatoes
  • olive oil
  • onion or shallots, finely chopped
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • pepper
  • framboise
  • raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • fresh thyme
  • butter
  • garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 375. Chop potatoes and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and garlic powder. Add plenty of fresh thyme (you can just pull gently down the stem against the grain and the leaves will come right off). Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with some more thyme after baking.

Lamb Chops:
Melt some butter along with olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan. Simmer for about a minute. Turn the heat to high. Add the lamb chops, cooking for a few minutes per side, until nice and browned on the outside. Turn off heat and remove the lamb from the pan (you can cover them with aluminum foil so they stay warm). Splash in some of the framboise to deglaze the pan (oooh it looks so pretty at this point). Add in the raspberries, a little more minced garlic, a dash of salt, and a good amount of butter. Turn the heat to low and smash up the raspberries as you combine in the pan. You can also add in a little sugar if you want to balance out some of the acidity.

Now put it together all pretty like I did and serve to your significant other with a glass of beer :)


Young's Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Hi guys! I started grad school a few weeks ago and I've been super busy. I wish I had more time to make blog posts, but I'm also enjoying school so I guess it's okay. Hopefully I'll have time to make the Valentine's Day themed recipe I have in mind soon :)

So Food Loves Beer Magazine asked me to recreate my mini Choklat cheesecakes recipe using Young's Double Chocolate Stout for an article on decadent desserts. Their preview issue comes out in March and you can follow them on facebook and twitter. Definitely my kind of magazine :)

I used the chocolatey stout in the filling and in the sauce. It really comes through in the final product. The cheesecake also pairs really nicely with a glass of Young's Double Chocolate Stout. It's like cookies and milk... except it's beer and cheesecake.

Enjoy and happy Super Bowl day!

  • 40 graham crackers (~ 1 1/2 cups crushed)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 16 ounces cream cheese 
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • ½ cup Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter 
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Makes 18 mini cheesecakes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush the graham crackers finely and combine with the butter and sugar. Press mixture into bottoms of greased muffin tins or baking cups. Bake the crusts alone for about 5 minutes. For the filling, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar using an electric mixer. Add in the vanilla and eggs as you continue mixing. Mix in the beer. Pour filling into the muffin tins and bake for about 22 minutes until set. For the chocolate sauce, bring the half and half to a simmer with the butter. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips, sugar and beer.

Note: This recipe makes a thinner sauce than shown in the picture. I melted in more chocolate chips so I could photograph it without the sauce spilling off. You can do the same if you prefer a thicker sauce :)

Happy New Year! My Favorite Dishes From 2011

Just thought I'd start the new year by sharing some of my personal favorite dishes from 2011. Here are my top 6 in no particular order.

I hope 2012 is an amazing year for anyone reading! :)

Making gnocchi was so much fun. And the mushrooms with the beer made a delectable sauce. This picture from my beer dinner includes the crispy sage leaf which I think took the dish to another level. 

These poppers I made in September were so crunchy and cheesy and yummy. The sweet apricot sauce was a hit and it was just right paired with #9.

This was definitely a favorite of mine. It includes a combination of some awesome flavors: smoked salmon, potato, mango, Festina Peche, and cilantro. 

These sandwiches paired with Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City were so good! The wasabi mayo, the apple carrot slaw, the perfect seared tuna. All together in one bite = amazing.

I went all out for my beer crepes and made each crepe with a different beer and different toppings. There was  definitely something to love in each one.

This is a basic you can't really go wrong with. Perfect batter and the buttery dipping sauce was so delicious.