This started three years ago as a personal challenge. I’d been looking up a recipe for 100% whole wheat bread and was told that it was really difficult to make really great tasting bread without at least some white flour, or copious amounts of butter.
It took several tries, dozens of recipes, different flours and experimenting with plant fats but I did it. I’ll save you several thousand hours of research and give you the quick and dirty rules that I’ve learned on my endeavor. First, flour matters. A lot. I tried several brands and so far King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour was vastly superior to others I tried. Soft, flavorful, not at all grainy or dry. Second was the issue of fat. Bread needs fat. I love making brioche, the yolks and butter and incredible in the final results, but I wanted to make it all plant based, mostly because I love to torture myself with endless kitchen trials and internet research. I tried different oils, but in the end, the fat from coconut milk was incredible. It gave the bread a dairy like texture and flavor, and a softness that I couldn’t get with anything else.
And then there was the beer! We’ve already talked about how sometimes beer isn’t vegan, or ever vegetarian for that matter, but pick the right beer and the results are perfect. My first choice for a bread baking liquid is usually a bottle conditioned wheat beer, the active yeast is fabulous. I tried that, a pale ale, and even a saison. In the end, the roasty flavors of a stout complimented the whole wheat perfectly.
So there you have it. A loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, made with just plants and beer. And it’s amazing.
I’m talking to a Hat Grabber at a party in Vegas. Hat Grabber is shorthand for a very young, very pretty, fairly vacant, girl who does things only she can do without getting punched in the face. This includes things like grabbing the hats of the heads of men she’s just met, putting it on her head, and forcing everyone to answer the question, "OH MY GOD, HOW CUTE DO I LOOK?" Hat grabbers.
I’m talking to a Hat Grabber about growing up on a farm, and she asks me if pigs smell like bacon.
"Live pigs? Do live pigs smell like bacon?" I’m a little confused and wonder if I actually heard her correctly.
"….yeah. I mean, I’ve always wondered that."
I’m mostly thinking about how quickly I can exit the conversation without hurting her feelings. "No," I answer, "They don’t smell that good. Also, cows don’t smell like hamburgers."
She laughs. She thinks I’m hilarious. I point to the waiter circulating the party with a silver tray of mini burgers. "How cute are those?! You should eat one!" She grabs her Hat Grabbing accomplice that has just returned from the bar and heads right for the cute food.
I’m relieved, I feel like I’ve been rescued. I owe the remainder of that evening to cute mini burgers. Burgers that actually do smell much more like bacon than live pigs do.
In a large bowl add the meat, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, egg, bread crums, and beer. stir until just combined (about two of three turns with your hands). Over handling the meat will make it tough and mealy.
Place bowl in the fridge for 1 hour and up to 1 day (this will help keep it’s shape during cooking.
Using a cookie scoop, make balls just smaller than a golf ball with the chilled meat.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Add the meat balls, pull the skillet back and forth over the burner to roll the meat balls around in the pan. Cook until meatballs are just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add the barbeque sauce, cover with a lid, cooking at a simmer until meatballs are glazed and sauce is very thick.
Place one to two meatballs inside slider buns. Serve warm.
Honey Porter Glazed Cod FilletsLast year I sat on a table in a tattoo parlor in Silverlake. Gritting my teeth and trying to ignore the ink being forced into my skin by a sharp needle to cover up a teenage bad decision. Another artist, waiting for his next client, sat down next to me to try to distract me from the pain. The conversation wanders to beer, as it often does with me.
He’d just brewed his first batch of beer with a homebrew kit that he’d been given for his 30th birthday
"It sucked didnt' it?" I say matter of factly. He looked hurt. "It’s supposed to suck, you’re first batch isn’t about drinking, it’s about learning."
He smiled, "It was so bad we drain poured the entire batch. It sucked. Hard."
"Good! That means you have a good palate, if you thought it was good and forced it on your friends, that would be bad. You’re actually off to a good start."
He side-eyed me, "Really? because I’m pretty discouraged. I don’t even want to try again"
"Because your first tattoo was so awesome that you never put down your gun?"
He laughed, and so did the guy torturing me with his gun, which wasn’t my intention.
"It was so terrible! I feel SO bad for that guy, even still!" He laughs and I see him make the connection, I can see him link the beginning of one obsession with that start of the other.
"Did you learn more than one thing? Because that’s the point. Beer is hard, you can’t expect to get it right the first time. You just learn a few things each time. It gets good, then it sucks again, then it gets better."
He smiled, "Is it weird that I kind of needed to hear that? I’ve felt like a HUGE failure all week. It was really getting to me. Thank you."
The tattoo was done, my foot wrapped up like a brisket and I hobbled to my car. I wondered why failure is so bad. Why it can ruin us for weeks. It’s not bad, it’s necessary. It’s valuable. It should make us proud. We did something. We learned something. And we are ready for more.
Let’s talk about red velvet for a second. It’s a cultural phenomenon with inspired spin offs that include vodka, candles, coffee, and a myriad of other head tilt inducing concoctions that lead me to wonder why exactly this dessert deserving of all this hype.
Sure, I’ve had my share. I’ve made countless recipes passed on by friends as "The Best" variation. I’ve talked to devotees that swear it’s the best cake they’ve ever had, requesting it for every birthday. I’ve had cupcakes, doughnuts, and even pie, but I’m always left wondering.
When the recipe leads me to the step that calls for two (yes TWO) bottles of red food coloring, I pause. It’s not so much the potentially toxic nature of the inclusion of such an ingredient, (for a rundown of why red food coloring is bad read this). As a recipe developer, I wonder if there is a reason for the addition of this ingredient that I’m possibly overlooking. Why is it called for in such a massive quantity?
Was there a reason I’m not aware of? Rumor has it that it just goes back to good 'ole fashion American capitalism. I’ve been told this is food folklore, I’ve been told it’s true, but even Food & Wine Magazine reports that the inclusion of two bottles of red food dye has been linked to a man in Texas trying to sell more red food dye.
Fact or fiction one thing is undeniable: the red food coloring does not add anything to the taste or texture of the cake and could potentially distract from it. But what will add to the flavor and texture of your cake? Beer. Beer is a natural leavening agent that adds a fantastic, slightly lighter texture all while gifting your cake with the beautiful flavors of roasted grains.
For this cake, I used the recipe that most variations lead back to: The Waldorf Astoria Red Cake, with the traditional white roux frosting. The only substitution I made was beer for red food dye, which, I have to say, gave me the best velvet cake I’ve made.
In a small bowl whisk together the beer, cocoa powder and vanilla until well combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the shortening and sugar, beat until well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
Add the beer mixture and the salt, beating until well combined.
Alternating between flour and buttermilk, add both a bit at a time while the mixer is at low speed. Don’t over beat.
In a small bowl stir together the baking soda and vinegar. Gently fold into the batter.
Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, between 25 and 30 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.
In a pot over medium high heat, warm the milk.
Gradually whisk in the flour, stirring until very thick, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl, cover and allow to rest until cooled, about 1 hour.
Add the softened butter to a stand mixer, beat on high until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla beating until well combined. Add in the white roux, beat until fluffy and resembles whipped cream, about 15 minutes.
Frost the cake adding generous amounts of frosting between layers.
Drunken Winter Farro Blood Orange Salad with Stout Balsamic Glaze
Winter citrus is like a promise. A reminder that spring is almost here. It’s not the standard beige winter produce, it’s bright and bold and completely unlike anything else that grows this time of year. For the few weeks that blood oranges gift us with their presence, I can’t stop buying them. I slice open the orange rinds to expose the deep ruby flesh, squeeze until I get every last drop of the juice that tastes like a collaboration between a raspberry and a naval orange. The color always gets it. It’s gorgeous, deep and stunning. I always make cocktails, like this one. I always figure out how to bake a blood orange dessert, and I eat it raw, my teeth pulling the segments free from the white pith. Every drop of juice that’s left I save in ice cube trays. For later, when the winter has passed and the rest of the world has moved on to peaches and apricots.
Drunken Winter Farro Blood Orange Salad with Stout Balsamic Glaze
Add the farro, beer, water and salt to a pot over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a low simmer. Add the lid at a vent. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked but still chewy. Drain off any remaining liquid. Allow to cool.
In a pot over medium heat add the balsamic, honey and stout beer, simmer until reduced to a syrup, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl add the arugula, blood orange segments, goat cheese, pecans and cooled farro, toss to combine.
Chocolate Stout Peanut Butter Cups. Three Ingredients, crazy good.
Let’s agree to make stuff this year. Because you and I, we like that. We like getting our hands and our kitchens dirty, ignoring the dishes that are starting to pile up as the vision we have for our edible creation taking shape. We like that sort of thing.
Of course we know that we can buy stuff at the store, but that isn’t the point. We want to make it ourselves, fill it with beer, and hand it over with a big stupid smile on our face. It’s almost Valentines day, which I loath for reasons I’ll keep to myself, but if I was going to get all gifty, I’d make something. And I’d probably fill it with beer.
My first Valentines Day post ever was my most controversial yet, and the one that has earned me the most hate mail. I suppose that if you compare and contrast blow jobs and shoe shopping, that happens. I stand by every word, now more than ever. This year, I’m too weary to be quite so feisty, I’ll just settle for filling chocolate cups with beer infused peanut butter.
I know what you’re thinking, you want to use a peanut butter stout. I can see where you’d think that, but I’m going to ask you to reconsider. The flavors are too similar and will end up getting lost. Pick a contrasting flavor that will stand out, like a smoked porter or an espresso stout. I chose the latter. This gorgeous Survival Stout by Hopworks was perfect, rich roasty flavors and sexy espresso finish. You’ll be glad you have so much leftover once you beer up a bowl of peanut butter.
8wt ozabout 1 ½ cups dark chocolate (60% cocoa content)
1cupcreamy peanut butter
1/3cupstout or porterespresso or smoked work best
Add the chocolate to a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted.
Line a mini muffin tin with mini muffin papers.
Add about 2 teaspoons of chocolate to the muffin papers (about 1/3 full). Use the back of a spoon to “paint” the sides of the mini muffin papers, making sure to cover the entire paper, but keep the walls thin,leaving more room for filling.
Chill until the chocolate has set, about ten minutes.
In a small bowl stir together the peanut butter and stout until well combined.
Fill the chocolate cups with peanut butter mixture until just below the top.
Add a small amount of melted chocolate to the top of the peanut butter, making sure to cover the entire mound of peanut butter, smoothing to make a flat top.
Chill until set, about ten minutes. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Beer Braised Pulled Pork Sliders with Chipotle Beer Cheese Sauce. Perfect football food!
I get to do things. Fun things, cool things. This still feels new to me, these fun cool things. I spent years working with grubby, incredible, wonderful, difficult, heartbreaking kids in South Central LA.
Then I worked behind a desk, in the pencil skirts and stilettos that I couldn’t wear in Compton, working with elderly Holocaust survivors in Beverly Hills. I social worked my way through most of Los Angeles.
Now I get to work on TV shows, and I go to Vegas for awards dinners, and cook on the news. There are times when I feel selfish, for walking away from the good work to do the fun work.
But those feelings don’t last long. I’m so grateful for what I do now that I can’t sully that with feelings of guilt. I’m lucky. I’m excited. I cooked on the news again Wednesday, I made football food, talked about beer, and made a few jokes.
It’s the same in a way, social work and beer cooking. I’m solving problems. Beer cheese sauce separates? let me help you with that. Not sure how to tell if that beer is bitter or not? I’ve got the answer. Social work was solving problems and answering questions. I do that now too, although I’m not sure I’m saving anyone’s life.
I’ll always be a person who wants to help, wants to add to your table, wants to make your life better because we came in contact. Even if the only thing you gained from me is a slider recipe or a desire to visit Fremont Brewing. Beer social work is much easier, and I’m fine with bringing my work home with me now.
Beer Braised Pulled Pork Sliders with Chipotle Beer Cheese Sauce
In a small bowl stir together the salt, brown sugar onion powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, smoked paprika and mustard powder together until combined, set aside.
Take out your pork and stab 6, 2-inch deep holes fairly evenly spaced through the meat. Push a clove of garlic into each hole until no longer visible.
Rub the entire surface of the meat with the spice mixture, using it all.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until very hot. Sear all surfaces of the meat, even the sides, until browned. The entire process will probably take about 10-15 minutes. Pour the beer over the meat, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 3 hours, turning the meat over about every 30 minutes, until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Once the meat is tender remove from heat, use two forks to shred into pieces while still in the pot (or remove, shred and return to pot). Return to the pot to heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and discard the liquid.
Add all cheese sauce ingredients to a blender or food processor. Process on high until very well blended, about 5-8 minutes.
Transfer contents to a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk rapidly and continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Fill slider buns with pork, top with cheese sauce, serve warm.
Short Rib Black Bean Beer Chili, SO GOOD. It’s eat-it-out-of-the-pot-before-anyone-else-can-have-any good.
The only food that really comforts me is the food I make myself. The food I serve to people I love, even just one person, in my small kitchen, over an exchanging of words that are hard to speak. I don’t want to order a pizza, I want to make bread, watch it rise, smell it baking and know that I did it. I don’t want take-out in little white containers, I want a slow cooked bowl of short ribs that I can both laugh and cry over with someone who looks into my heart and likes what he sees. Sure, I love a big steamy bowl of Ramen, or perfectly creamy pile of baked Mac n Cheese, but it doesn’t comfort the same way as when I lose myself in the process of making it. I’ll look for recipes that take a while, that give me the excuse to stay in my kitchen for a few hours, recipes that aren’t hard but take some time to bring out the best of what they can do. That’s comfort food. A beer and a few pint glasses doesn’t hurt the situation either.
Stout Harissa Chicken Thighs. Crazy good one pot chicken.
Let’s talk about an interesting question. A specifically head-tilt inducing question I’ve been asked a few dozen times over the past few months, "How do I get people to try craft beer?"
My furrowed-brow-blank-stared response is usually as simple as, "Why wouldn’t they?" The logic for trying something new is simple: To see if you like it. The request to sample anything isn’t a contractual obligation to fall in love, we don’t want you to propose to beer, to have babies with beer, we are asking for a first date. A quick meet over coffee at a strip mall Starbucks to see if there are sparks. A few sips of a flight of diverse beers to see if something strikes your fancy. Hate hoppy beers? Lots of people do, try a Belgian or a white ale. Can’t get past that stale Miller Light from college? Neither can we, it’s not what we serve here. Saying you don’t like beer based on a few run-ins with off balanced brews a few years ago is like saying you hate California and won’t visit Napa Valley because you didn’t like the traffic in Anaheim when you went to Disneyland when you were 7.
Beer is broader that most people realize with a flavor database that is arguably larger than any other alcoholic beverage on the market. A few tactics to try? Sure, let’s talk strategy. Peer pressure? We all know from 8th grade health class and high school parties that it works like magic, use it to your advantage. Shame and guilt! I grew up with Catholic grandparents and can attest to the effectiveness of this approach. Tease them and call them afraid? If Marty McFly taught us anything it’s that being called a chicken will get people to take on any dare regardless of personal consequences.
We do need to delve a little deeper in this discussion. Why do you want this specific human to fall in love with your adult beverage of choice? Because you want a brewery buddy for on location beer mecca visitation? Do you want someone to talk to about beer? Or are you just being bossy and controlling? Once you isolate your reasons for wanting to push beer on others, you’re at a better jumping off point for negotiations (unless you’re being bossy, then you just have to let it go). Regardless of the outcome, we still have to respect the fact that some people just don’t like any beer. Which isn’t always a bad thing. More for us, right?
8dried guajillo chilesstem and seeds removed, broken into pieces
2dried ancho chiliesstem and seeds removed, broken into pieces
1cuproom temperature stout or porter
3clovesgarlicgrated with a microplane
For the Chicken:
6chicken thighsbone in, skin on
salt and pepper
½white onionchopped (about 1 cup)
1can14.5 wt oz diced tomatoes
2tbschopped flat leaf parsley
Make the Harissa:
In a small bowl add the guajillo chilies and ancho chilies. Pour the beer and the water over the chilies. Use a heavy object such as a coffee mug to make sure the chilies are submerged. Allow to sit at room temperature for one hour. Drain the chilies reserving 2 tablespoon soaking liquid.
Add the chilies, 2 tablespoons soaking liquid, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, coriander, caraway and cumin to a food processor. Process until the mixture is a paste. Harissa can be made up to a week ahead of time and the flavors develop over time. Make at least one day ahead if possible, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to use.
Make the chicken:
Salt and pepper the chicken on all sides.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet until very hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Cook until skin has browned, turn over and brown on the other side. Remove from pan (chicken will not be cooked through).
Add the onions, cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the beer, scraping to deglaze the pan. Stir in 1/3 cup harissa and tomatoes. Add the chicken back in the pan, skin side up.
Roast at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove from oven, preheat the broiler.
Place pan under the broiler until skin has crisped, about 2 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley prior to serving.
Slow Cooker Beer Brisket Sandwiches with Horseradish Sour Cream
I learned football on the field, the way you should. Of course I didn’t play on a tradition team, I’m a 5’7″ blonde girl that never weight much more than 127lbs. I did what girls with pent up aggression and a need to please grown ups did, I joined a powder puff league in college so that I could beat the crap out of other girls in a socially acceptable way. Take a bunch of WASPY white girls who have spent their lives being told to "act like good girls," strap them up with a waist belt of tear away nylon flags, throw a ball in the mix with a huge Samoan coach and watch them tear each other up with smiles on their faces.
The best part of my year on the field wasn’t the release of pent up rage, it was a deep understanding of the game. I finally understood that what looked like a bunch of giant millionaires fighting over small oval object was actually an extremely mental game. I learned the rules, the way the stadium smells at night, the victory of a first down, the reasons you should love the game.
These days my competitive nature seems more likely to manifest itself in the pot luck throw down that football gatherings seem to incite. I want to win at pot luck in a way that seems like it didn’t really occur to me that I was competing ("Oh, this? You like it! I’m so glad."). Sliders are great at that, effortless like the perfect pair of jeans and just as delicious.
For these sliders I used a beer from a brewery that is quickly becoming a favorite since my move to Seattle, Fremont Brewing. If you’re in Seattle, it’s a fantastic place to visit. But just know that if you do happened to plan your visit on a game day you will kindly asked to root for the Seahawks. Or maybe you could just stuff your trap full of sliders. Either way it’s a win.
Slow Cooker Beer Brisket Sandwiches with Horseradish Sour Cream
I’ll cook anywhere if you ask me to. A dorm kitchen, a camp stove, a closet with a griddle. Just make sure that I have a few things on hand. One of the items that I’ll always request, if you ask me to cook outside my comfort zone, is an enamel cast iron pot. These things are beast. If you treat them right, they’ll do the same right back. You’ll have this beautiful shiny pot for so long, your grandkids will fight over it once you’re gone. When I wrote my first cookbook, The Craft Beer Cookbook. I wrote it with recipes that I want you make for the rest of your life, because these are recipes that I want to make for the rest of my life. I used a cast iron pan, a Dutch (or French) oven, lots of beer (clearly) and ingredients that I love.
It’s the end of a long and difficult year for me, and as a way to celebrate the year, as well as my birthday, I’m giving you a gift. I’m giving you THREE of my favorite things. First, my book, The Craft Beer Cookbook. One of my proudest accomplishements. I’ll be shipping it to you myself and I’ll scribble whatever you want in it. You want me to profess my undying love for you? I’ll do it. Of course, because you’re the best.
Second, the amazing people at Le Creuset have agreed to send you one of my favorite cooking implements ever: the 5 1/2 qt French Oven. In red, which is my personal favorite color. This is a staple in my kitchen, a must for anyone who loves to cook.
Third, beer. Of your choice. BevMo is giving you a $50 gift card to grab the beer of your choice for general drinking purposes or perhaps to try your hand at cooking with beer. Or possibly both. If you’d like some recommendations for which beers to spend this windfall on, I’d be happy to provide those to you as an addendum to the prize. But really, there is no way to lose when you have yourself some money to spend at BevMo.
To enter, use the Raffle copter fields below (it may take a second to load), Like us all on Facebook, follow us on twitter, tell your friends about this and let me know what you make in your new pot, with your new beer and your scribbled on cookbook. And feel free to invite me over, even if you’re just cooking on a camp stove. I’m down for that.
1large jalapenostem and seeds removed, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2cupspurple cabbagethinly sliced
2cupsgreen cabbagethinly sliced
Preheat oven 300.
Using a paring knife, create 6, 2-inch deep holes fairly evenly spaced through the meat. Push a peeled clove of garlic into each hole until no longer visible.
Sprinkle the pork evenly with salt.
In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, pepper, paprika, chili powder, and onion powder. Rub the spiced all over the surface of the pork.
In a large oven safe pot or Dutch oven (with an oven safe lid) heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Sear the meat on all sides, about 3 minutes per side.
Add the beer and broth, bring to a simmer.
Cover and place in the oven. Turn the meat over every 30-45 minutes. If the pot begins to dry out, add extra broth or hot water. Allow to cook until meat is falling apart, about 3 to 4 hours.
Remove from oven, shred using two forks while still in the pot. Allow to sit in the pan juices for ten minutes while you prepare the jalapeno slaw. Remove meat from pan juices, draining off most of the liquid prior to serving.
To make the slaw, combine all the jalapeno slaw ingredients in a bowl, toss to coat. Fill each sandwich bun with pork topped with slaw.
Stout Bacon Jam Jalapeno Poppers. Because the only thing that can make Jalapeno Poppers better is bacon. And beer.
I was on a reality TV show once.
By the time January rolled around and filming started, in a cold warehouse in Van Nuys, California, the idea I had been pitched by the team of producers had morphed into something that hardly resembled the original premise. I’d been sold on the idea that the team was to document the process of assisting me in developing a line of beer-infused food for grocery stores. I ended up walking into a cooking competition.
When I arrived at a hotel near the filming location I was asked to hand over my phone, my computer and all access to the outside world. The phone in the room was even disabled. I asked why, what if I need something? "You won’t" was as much of an answer as I could get.
A beat-up Dodge Caravan pulled up at 5 am the following morning as I stood shivering outside the hotel lobby. A few other TV show participates filed into the seats behind me. "Hi, I’m Jackie," I said to the girl who sat down next to me.
"No talking!" A 23-year-old from Kentucky snapped at me from the driver’s seat.
"Wait…what?" I was confused and dangerously under-caffeinated.
"You can’t talk to anyone except the producers unless we say you can."
I didn’t push back, I just gave a look of shock to the other 5 passengers that was mirrored by their own reactions to this news.
After arriving on set, and a brief orientation to the show premise, which wasn’t even a distant cousin to the show vibe I was sold a few months prior, I was hustled to a makeshift "room" which was no more than a large plywood box constructed on one end of the warehouse. Each contestant was put in a separate box, with nothing more than a folding chair. I sat there for three hours, re-reading the copy of Blood, Bones & Butter I luckily had in my bag. When it was my turn for shooting I was handed a plate of the bacon jam that I’d made for the shoot and given a few directions. "Walk to that podium, set down the plate, smile at the chefs." "Now do it slower" "Now do it faster" "Introduce yourself" "Do it again." After a few scripted back and forth segments, I went back into the box. Starving, unsure of the time, bored to tears, to wait another three hours.
Late in the day, well past dark, it was time to shoot a mock cooking battle. The count down clock was faked. As soon as each participant was finished with the dish, the producers came over to shoot the "five…four…three…two…one…hands up, time is over" segment. We each did this three or four times, well after each of us had finished our dishes.
Close to midnight, exhausted, hungry, a bit jittery, the battle was over. I had made it to the top two. I wanted sleep, I didn’t care that I hadn’t been cut, I just wanted to sleep. Before I could go, I was taken to a dark room, sat in a chair, a bright light in my face obscuring the camera filming my responses to a young producer’s questions. It quickly became clear what she wanted. She wanted me to trash talk the other girls. I refused. Two hours later, the interrogation continued. "Aren’t you annoyed at how bubbly she is? Isn’t she ugly? Doesn’t it seem like she’s faking it all for attention?"
I thought of the people who admit to murders they don’t commit just to be left alone, just for sleep and food. "Listen," I finally said, "I won’t do it. I’m not going to shit talk girls I genuinely like and hardly know just for some sound bites. You have to take a different direction."
"Can you act scared of them?"
"Fine, they scare me."
I was finally able to sleep. At least until 6 am when I had to do it all again. Another day of shooting, another day of the box. Another day of getting scolded for talking to people. We faked conversations about things that hadn’t happened for the sake of the camera. We filmed the "if you win" scene and the "if you lose" scene. They missed the genuine moments, the good stuff went on off-camera.
After the final round, close to 3 am, the last remaining contestant and I presented our dishes to the judges and a grocery store buyer. We had already filmed the "post judges, waiting for the results" banter, which we had to fake given that it took place 3 hours before the judges even showed up. She started to cry, no cameras around, no one but her and me.
"My whole life is in this product. I mortgaged our house, I depleted our savings. What if I fail? I think they like you more. I think they’ll pick you." She sobbed.
For me, it was a whim. It was something fun. It was her life. I was rooting for her, she was the one who should win.
My pitch had gone well, really well. They pressed, I had answers. "Bacon jam? Isn’t jam supposed to be sweet?" I explained that plenty of jam was savory, onion, tomato, even garlic jam. With plenty of applications. Bacon jam could be both. It can go on brownies or vanilla ice cream, or it can be spread inside a pork loin roulade or on biscuits. When the show finally aired, however, my monologue was cut in favor of a shot of me staring blankly into space. As if I had no idea what the question meant.
Hers hadn’t gone well. She had been rude, combative, hostile. Mostly because she was exhausted, emotional, and desperate to win.
At 3 am we were back, both of us rooting for her, both of us desperate to sleep. And then the answer came:
"And the contestant who is cut tonight is….Jackie"
I smiled. I was happy. We had to reshoot and I had to fake a sad face. But I was thrilled. The right person won.
Ten minutes later I was back in the interrogation room and I knew what the producers wanted. They wanted tears, they wanted me to be upset. I was just glad it was over. "Do you think the wrong person won? Did they make a mistake?"
"Nope. She should’ve won. She deserved it."
"Isn’t she rude? Mean? How can you want a mean person to win?"
"Look, I know it would make great TV if the blonde white girl shit talks the 60-year-old Jamaican woman, but that’s not going to happen. Maybe she’s a bit rough, but I like her. She’s tough, she has a great product, she put her entire life on the line for this. She deserves it. They picked the right person."
She didn’t like that. But it was 3 am and she finally just let me go back to the hotel.
By the time the show aired, it was full of petty, forced, artificial drama that had never really occur. You missed the heart and soul of good people, you had no one to root for. And even my competition, the woman whom even I wanted to win, came off as someone you wanted to root against. I looked sad, stupid, and vacant. You wanted to throw Prozac at the screen every time I was on. Needless to say, the show did not return for a second season. People want someone to root for. They want to see the heart and soul more than the drama and the tears. Especially when it comes to food, give us a hero, someone to root for.
Stout Bacon Jam Jalapeno Poppers
These peppers are best made in stages. They are time consuming and tend to be too much work for the day of an event. It’s best to prep the peppers, make the jam and the cream cheese ahead of time, storing in the fridge until ready. Just fill, coat and fry when it's time to serve. (they can also be filled and stored in the fridge for 24 hours, just make sure to coat right before frying)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon, working in batches if necessary. Remove the bacon from the pan and allow to cool and then roughly chop.
Drain off the bacon grease from the pot, leaving only about 1 tbs bacon drippings in the bottom of the pot.
Return the pot to heat and cook the onions until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup beer and both vinegars, scraping to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
Add the brown sugar and the bacon, reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Place the lid on the pot at an angle, allowing to vent the steam.
Cook until reduced to a thick and syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a food processor along with remaining 1/4 cup beer and pulse until most of the large pieces have been chopped. Bacon jam can be made up to a week ahead of time.
In a food processor add the cream cheese, mozzarella, and 3 tbs IPA beer, pulse until well combined.
Cut the top off the jalapenos, use a paring knife to scoop out the seeds and membrane inside the peppers.
Pipe the cream cheese mixture and the bacon jam into the pepper in equal portions. I used a dual piping bag for this. You can also slice the pepper ¾ the way down one side, spreading the jam on one side and the cream cheese on the other.
Sprinkle the peppers on all side with flour.
Add the eggs to a small bowl, beat until well combined.
Add the bread crumbs to another bowl.
One at a time dip the peppers in the egg mixture, allowing the excess to slide off before rolling in the bread crumbs. Place back in the egg mixture and then back in the bread crumbs. Set the pepper on a wire rack for about ten minutes to allow the coating to set.
Add 3 to 4 inches of oil to a pot over medium high heat, bring to 325 degrees using a deep-fry thermometer. Adjust heat to maintain this temperature. It’s important that the oil stays close to this temperature. If the oil is too cold the pepper will take on too much oil, if it’s too hot the breading will cook and the pepper will still be cold and vegetal. Cook the peppers for 5 to 6 minutes in the hot oil, return to a wire rack to cool. Serve immediately.
I used this multi-color piping bag set for the filling. It also works great if you make cupcakes for football games, you can pipe two colors on at once. (affiliate link)
Chocolate Porter Mousse Tart with Potato Chip Crust. POTATO CHIP CRUST!! #chocolate #beer #recipe
You already know the kind of tricks I play over here. You know that I add salty things to sweet things more often than not. You know that pretzels have been a favorite, as is bacon. But I’ve moved on, or really, I’m expanding.
I’m broadening my salty-sweet pairings to improve upon those chocolate covered potato chips you love so much more than you expected to. Sweet and savory is a balance, like malt and hops. It’s a way to round out flavors and bring them to a new level. Try it the other way too. Add a little brown sugar to your fried chicken, or maple syrup to your barbecue sauce.
Beer needs that same balance, a little sweetness from the malt, and a little bitterness from the hops. Of course, I needed a beer that messed around with these principles as well. It seemed a bit fated when this beer showed up on my doorstep from Stone Brewing. This beer is savory. It’s warm and smokey with notes of cocoa and orange. It’s not a sweet chocolate beer that you might be used to. It’s perfect to pair with a big plate of barbecue beer ribs, and finish with a tart that has a big kick of savory-salty dessert mouthful. Stone’s Smoked Porter with Chocolate and Orange Peel is a fantastic cooking beer, the flavors and big and bold. It’s a fantastic reminder of how important beer and food are becoming to each other.
7.5wt ozabout 6 cups bag salted kettle potato chips
10wt ozabout 1 ¾ cups dark chocolate chips
½cup+ 2tbs porterStone Smoked Porter with Chocolate & Orange Peel
Preheat oven to 350.
Add the chips, flour, cornstarch, and brown sugar to a food processor, process until chips have been reduced to crumbs. While the food processor is running, add the melted butter until well combined with the potato chip crumbs.
Starting with the sides, press the crust into a 9-inch tart crust with removable bottom (alternately, you can use a spring form pan, pressing the sides up just about 1 ½ inches).
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate chips and ½ cup porter. Microwave for 45 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Allow to cool for ten minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the cream, remaining 2 tablespoons porter, salt and powdered sugar. Beat on high until soft peaks form.
While mixer is running, slowly add the chocolate until well combined.
Spoon into cooled crust in an even layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Porter Ginger Glazed Salmon. 20 minutes and SO good! #salmon #recipe #quick #easy #asian
I have this bizarre ability to have strangers confess dark secrets to me without provocation. Several times, after such admissions, they’ll say, "I can’t believe I just said that," as they further expand upon the revelation. Maybe it’s something in my eyes, or maybe it’s that I have a Master’s Degree in Feelings (Psychology, whatever), or maybe it’s that I genuinely do care about people, but sometimes it’s jarring.
I was at a local market buying salmon when I start chatting with the clerk about my recent move to Seattle from Los Angeles and my love for the Dodgers that hinges on my unabashed adoration of Vin Scully. She’d lived in LA too, decades ago "I left because I had a drug problem," the 70-year-old checker declared. She gasped and waited for my reaction.
"Looks like you’ve kicked it, congratulations. Seems like it was a good move for you,"
She gave me a childlike smile, "I did some nude modeling too, but that was when I was much younger,"
"Look at you! So saucy, I bet you were quite the dish back then,"
"I WAS!" she said, with a huge grin on her face.
My transaction was complete, salmon packed in my shopping bag so I left, I didn’t want her to Next Level her admission. Although, there was part of me that wanted to invite her over for dinner and hear the rest of her stories. If I got drug problems and nude modeling in 6 minutes at the check stand, imagine what she’d admit to after a few beers.
Porter Braised Beef Short Ribs Sandwiches with Jalapeño Beer Cheese Sauce #beer #recipe #tailgating
On the way to making quick chicken tacos I decided to make a burger. One that takes a couple of hours, one that I decided to call a sandwich instead because I felt like it. One that I decided to spice up with jalapenos. Because things that take a few hours need to be made. There’s a feeling of accomplishment, of unguarded control, a way to push back against the restraint of the rest of your life, the parts that you can’t govern as you want.
But you deserve a little control, a little bit of your life that you have total say over. A little bit of something that goes right, and no one is pushing you around, or taking advantage of you, a space where your work doesn’t go unnoticed. No matter what great things you’ve done this week, and I know there have been plenty, you won’t be getting a parade. Or a Congratulations card. Or even a confetti shower when you walk in the door. But you should, because I’m sure you’ve done something to deserve those things. But with these, all that hard work won’t go unnoticed. You might not get a piñata and a present, but you will get some delicious sandwiches. Even though I’m sure you deserve much more.
Porter Braised Beef Short Ribs Sandwiches with Jalapeño Beer Cheese Sauce
Sprinkle the salt on all sides of the short ribs. In a small bowl stir together the flour, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin and brown sugar. Sprinkle the ribs on all sides with the flour mixture.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the short ribs, browning on all sides.
Add the broth and beer, bring to a low simmer. Add the lid at a vent, cooking until short ribs are tender and falling off the bone, about 2 ½ hours, remove from heat. Using two forks, shred while still in the pot. Allow to sit in braising liquid for ten minutes, remove from braising liquid.
In a pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the jalapenos, cook until softened. Sprinkle with flour and cornstarch, whisk until well combined, allow to cook until a light brown color.
Add the beer and the milk, bring to a low simmer. About ¼ cup at a time, whisk in the cheese, making sure all cheese is melted before adding more. Keep warm while you make the burgers (sauce will thicken as it cools, add additional milk or beer and add to heat if the sauce thickens too much).
Add the ribs into rolls, top with cheese sauce. Serve warm.
Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits
I was once friends with a man who was 100 years old. We had a bit of an unlikely friendship, since he had reached retirement age long before I was even born. He was smart, funny, and seems to have no concept of the age gap.
Life was a constant opportunity to make people laugh, and he took full advantage of it.
When he moved to Los Angeles in the 1940’s to get his pneumonia stricken daughters out of the frigid East Coast winters, he was without money, without a job, and without an education. He walked in to a Taxi company headquarters and asked for a job. He had a fantastic driving record and a winning smile, in his book, that’s the only resume he needed. As soon as the hiring manager found out that he had only lived on the West Coast of a week, knew nothing about Los Angeles freeways, and had never driven a cab, he shut down the interview.
“If you don’t know how to get from LAX to the Roosevelt Hotel, how are you going to get the client there??”
Jack responded with this famous smile, “Well if you don’t give me the cab, it’s gonna take a whole lot longer!”
He got the job.
Jack worked as a cab driver, running tourist from the Airport to Hollywood for over 30 years. He was also the very first Employee of the Month for the cab company, and to date, the recipient of the most complimentary letters ever sent to the cab company about any one of their employees.
As I sat with him only a few months before his 101’s birthday, eating biscuits that his nurse had made us, I asked him if he had any regrets.
“Not really. The secret to living 100 years old and not regretting anything is this: Do your best. Don’t hurt anyone. Make friends with anyone who will let you.”
When my job moved me farther from his apartment in the valley, I wasn’t able to visit as often as I used to so I wrote letters, postmarked from my Santa Monica office. One day I got a return letter, addressed to me with flowery handwriting. It was from his 76 year old daughter:
I’m not sure what it was that formed a friendship between you and my Dad, but I wanted you to know how much he valued you. Your visits brightened his day, even his week. If there was a highlight from his last decade of life, it was the time he spent with you. He spoke of you often, and although my sister and I were at first skeptical of a friendship between him and a girl in her 20’s, it quickly became clear that there was a special bond between you two. I’m so sorry to tell you that he passed away, just a week shy of his 101’s birthday. I do want you to know that we appreciate the time you spent with him in his last year. Thank you."
I cried. And ate biscuits in his honor, his favorite breakfast. To this day, "Do your best. Don’t hurt anyone. Make friends with anyone who will let you” is some of best advice I’ve gotten.
Stout Mushroom Gravy and Chicken with Beer Biscuits
In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 1 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter about to go into an envelope. Roll lightly, once in each direction to about 1 inch thickness, fold in thirds again. Gently roll into about 1 1/2 inch thickness (this will give you the flakey layers).
Using a biscuit cutter cut out 6 to 8 biscuits. Place in a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Brush biscuits with melted butter, sprinkle salt.
Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
While the biscuits bake, make the gravy.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Sear on each side until golden brown, remove from the pan, chop (they do not need to be cooked through).
Add the onions, cook until softened, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are dark brown and soft.
Sprinkle with flour, cook until the flour has turned brown, about 2 minutes.
Add the beef stock and stout. Simmer until thickened. Add the chicken cubes back into the pan, simmer until cooked through.
I’ve never really been the girl with the sweet tooth. I’ve had a meat tooth. A salt tooth. A beer tooth. I could eat my weight in guacamole or tater tots and it takes a small act of God to get me to stop eating sushi. But sweets don’t give me the mad rabid cravings that get me to lose my mind. I love chocolate, and pie and cake, and I’ll always eat dessert if it’s around. I’ll take a small slice of every single pie at the Thanksgiving table, but those late night cravings that come after a few IPA’s are almost always of the salty variety.
But every once in a while something will hit the right note. Like this toffee that I ate the entire batch of before I could share and then lied and said it fell on the ground when really it just fell into my mouth. The perfect combination of sweet and salty will get me every time. A little sea salt sprinkle on a danish before it’s baked, or salted caramel, or candied bacon, it’s hard for me to really fall in love with a dessert that doesn’t kick me some salt. Which is why pretzels seem to make it into my desserts more often than fruit does. Maybe you like this too, after all, chocolate and pretzels go perfectly with beer.
Until this year I was given a smooth transition into fall, which in LA seems to happen sometime around the end of January. September is always scorching, October is "brisk" in that low 70’s kind of way, we’ll get a day of rain in November to which all true Los Angelenos will first say, "I can’t believe it’s raining!" which will be immediately followed up with, "But we need it, so it’s ok." It’s the Los Angeles Rain Manrta, we all say it. Every. Damn. Time. Just the way ever single radio station thinks it’s clever to play No Rain by Blind Mellon followed by I’m Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage chased by a little Umbrella by Rihanna.
Not so much the process with the way the seasons change in Seattle. It was upper 80’s until it wasn’t. It was sunny until it wasn’t. It went from the blistering depths of summer to grab-a-latte-and-pull-on-the-wellies fall, literally overnight. But the oddest part, is that no one moaned. The first time in my life that the first rain of the fall brought a collective sigh of relief from across the City I live in. People wanted it, the way you’re glad when the last guest leaves a good party at 3 am and you finally get to go to sleep. It was as if the City said, "We’re back to normal!" For me, there’s some getting used to that still needs to take place. I’m a lizard on a rock and I need the sun. My tolerance for scorching heat is high, but my rain and cold threshold is still pretty low. So, of course, I spent the day cooking. I made something warm and comforting and reminded myself of all the things besides endless sunshine that this City has to offer.