About Me

Okay, a little bit about me: I'm Vanessa, 26, live in south Florida. I love food, beer and cooking. I want to show people that beer can be used in so much more than beer batter and chili. The right beer pairing can make a meal into a completely different flavor experience. I have a bachelors in Psychology and am working on my Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I was born in Peru and love Peruvian food so you might see some of that come out in my cooking. Those are the basics, and now I'm going to ramble a bit about my relationship with food and beer. So read it if you like.

Good food and good beer are two of my favorite things in the world. I really got into craft beer about 2 years ago when I started going to beer dinners. Beer dinners are usually 3 to 5 courses, and each dish is paired with a different beer. It opened my eyes to all the different types of beers and all the ways beer can interact with food. It was all about savoring every bite and actually thinking about what you are eating and how it pairs with the beer. It was amazing to see how a well paired beer could really take a dish to another level. I have always loved for the act of eating to be an experience that you savor, not just something to get out of the way because you have to survive. Beer dinners really embody this as everyone takes the time to talk about each flavor and how the beer plays off of them. Wanting to enjoy my meals soon turned into wanting to enjoy my beer experiences. It's all about getting the most enjoyable flavor experience in anything you try.

I began cooking about 3 years ago. I had always loved food but for some reason never thought of really cooking. Then one day it just hit me that I could make anything I wanted or craved. Restaurants don't have any magical ingredients that I can't get a hold of. I am just as capable as anyone else and I can make anything I want. So I just started cooking and fell in love. It's such a relaxing experience. I love all the wonderful smells, the colors, watching food change shape over heat. It all felt so natural so I just went with my instincts and made it up as I went along. I am definitely no expert in cooking. All I know is that I do it for fun and what I make tastes good.

Me at my first beer dinner ^_^

I started incorporating beer into my food soon after my first couple beer dinners. I decided to start a blog to record some of my experiments and recipes with beer. Now I can make my own beer dinners for friends :) I love not only pairing with beer, but using it as an actual ingredient. Different styles of beer can add a wonderful depth and complexity that isn't present without them. I don't believe in rules when it comes to cooking or beer pairing. I think if something tastes good, then it works. I could list the types of beers that are supposed to pair with certain types of dishes but I've experienced many cases where the least likely beer made the most wonderful pairing with a dish. Don't be afraid to experiment and just try something that feels right to you. 

I often don't include recipes because I find it hard to cook while measuring everything and writing it all down. I'd rather just explain the process. When I do have recipes, they are mostly estimates. So that's my disclaimer.  When I want to make a type of dish that I know nothing about, I research as much as I can about it. I read about it in Wikipedia, read a bunch of different recipes, and maybe watch some videos about it. Once I understand what is supposed to be happening, I go into my kitchen and make my own version. I prefer to understand a dish from the inside out and make it myself than to follow recipes. 

So that's how I work. I'm no chef or photographer or beer expert. I'm just a girl that loves yummy food and beer and wants to share it with others. I want to use food as a way to get people interested in all the things beer has to offer. I also want to inspire people to cook and try new things and not be afraid to experiment with their food. And I'll leave you with a quote from Garrett Oliver's book, "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."