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Wheat Beer

Beer Popsicles: Lemon Pale Ale

As summer heats up, so does my longing to add beer to everything I consume. I linger on the idea of changing classic recipes into beer recipes far longer than my busy day should allow. How would I add beer to a Tarte Tatin? What about an Blueberry pie? Or Eggs benedict? What beer would I use? Although I get lost in recipe development several times a day, it tends to make a long commute on a Los Angeles freeway that much more bareable.

Due to recent move, I’ve been a bit handicapped by my lack of access to a familiar kitchen and all of my culinary tools. I’m slowly working my way back to feeling normal, that slight feeling of alien unfamiliarity when I get home  has begun to subside and my subconcious is starting to accept that the new place that I sleep, is now my home.

Beer popsicles are a fun addition in any adult party. You can play with flavor combinations (strawberry basil, orange jalapeno, blueberry lime) or just use plain 'ole untouched beer. If you have little ones around, make sure to keep these labeled well and separated from the kiddie ones.  If you are worried about a tiny human being handed the wrong flavor, use colored popsicle sticks for the kids and plain boring wood ones for the grown ups. You can buy popsicle sticks, colored and plain at most craft stores or on Amazon. This is the popsicle mold I used, but just about any hollow vessel will work.

I used Pike Brewing Naughty Nellie for these. With flavors of hops, grapefruit and citrus, it gave a sour punch that I really loved. This is a recipe that can take a hoppier beer because there is no cooking involved. Experiment with your favorite pale ale, you have a summer full of back yard barbecues to get it just right.

Beer Popsicles: Lemon Pale Ale

Yield: 6 popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4 large lemons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pale ale or IPA

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher or measuring cup with a spout, stir until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours.
  3. Run molds under hot water until the popsicles release.
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Strawberry Beer Lemonade

Summer is almost here. Barbecues, lazy afternoons on the porch swing, long days at the beach, music and card games on the patio until dawn. I realize that a fridge full of craft beer doesn’t always please the masses, but I do want to impart those flavors that are so beautiful anyone can enjoy them, into nearly everything that comes out of my kitchen.

This is my version of an adult punch, a tasty crowd pleaser that will likely introduce your non-beer loving friends to the beverage that you have come to adore.

For this recipe, I used Beautiful Blonde by Knee Deep. With flavors ranging from citrus to grass, it gave this punch a textured tartness with unexpected flavor notes.

I really enjoyed the way the berries and citrus were complimented by the earthier tones of this beer, bringing it together as a well-composed beverage with only a few simple ingredients.

Take some care in selecting a beer for this recipe, looking for a Blonde Ale, or an American Pale Ale with low hops and notes of citrus.

Strawberry Beer Lemonade

Strawberry Beer Lemonade

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeeszed lemon juice
  • 1 large bottle blonde or pale ale (1 pint, 6 oz)
  • Ice

Instructions

  1. Add the berries, sugar and lemon juice to a pitcher. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes for the sugar to dissolve and the berries to begin to break down.
  2. Add the beer and ice, stir to combine.
  3. Adjust the lemon and sugar to taste.

Notes

*Tip: If you don't want the punch to become watered down by the ice, use frozen strawberries in place of ice cubes. 

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Beer Braised Chicken Sliders With Hoisin Beer Barbecue Sauce

There’s a good chance that when you think about cooking with beer, a meat recipe comes to mind. Your Dad’s beer marinated ribs? Beer can chicken? Beer braised pork? There’s a good reason for that.

Not just for the spectacular flavors that craft beer can impart on the meat, but because beer, especially high acid beer, acts as a meat tenderizer by breaking down tissue.

For this recipe you are free to run the spectrum of beer styles. Most recipes I write will be accompanied by stern warning about using any beer other than the type called for, this isn’t one of those recipes. That IPA I keep shaming you into avoiding? You can even give that a try. My gut instinct with a recipe like this was to use a light, high acid beer with herb notes (basil, sage, oregano) but I opted for a porter to test my "Any Beer Goes" theory.

The porter effect, as I am now calling it, gave a "meatier" quality to the chicken. Which turned out wonderfully, and gave this a bit of a pork taste.

The beer I used for this recipe was the Payback Porter by Speakeasy. It’s a fantastic choice for a porter because the notes are similar to those I see in barbecue sauces and rubs: smoke, coffee, cocoa, and molasses.

Next time I’ll use a beer with a high acid content for a little contrast, but as far as the beer that you pick, experiment and let me know how it goes.

 

Beer Braised Chicken Sliders With Hoisin Beer Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients

    For the Barbecue Sacue:
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup beer
  • For The Braised Chicken:
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups beer
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 15 mini Hawaiian bread rolls
  • Yield: 15 sliders

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tbs canola oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle the chicken with salt on all sides. Place in the pot and cook on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Cover with 1 1/2 cups of beer and 1/2 cup chicken broth, cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.
  2. While chicken is cooking, prepare barbeque sauce by warming olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds; add 1 cup beer, hoisin sauce, chili powder and soy sauce. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until thickened and reduced, remove from heat.
  3. When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and allow to cool. Using two forks, shred chicken to as thin slices as possible, then add to hoisin barbeque sauce pan, tossing well to coat.
  4. Split rolls in half across the middle to resemble small sandwich buns, fill with chicken.
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Beer Brined Roast Chicken

Why do I cook with beer? What is it about this fantastic beverage that drives me to create recipe after recipe with beer as a star ingredients? Flavor. Beautiful and complex flavors that take months, even years to perfect by brewers. Aside from that, beer is a natural meat tenderizer, making it the perfect choice for a brining liquid and explaining that Beer Can Chicken recipe you keep seeing at tailgate parties. Due in no small part to the beer in the brine, it’s flavors and tendering properties, this recipe gives you a juicy bird, crispy skin and the perfect level of beer taste. That’s why I can’t stop cooking with beer, it’s just so perfect.

 For this recipe I used Alaskan Brewing Company White Ale due to the flavors of citrus, coriander, and a slight sweetness, this beer is a fantastic choice. Choose a beer with similar flavors and low hops, please no IPA’s.

Beer Brined Roast Chicken

5 lb whole roasting chicken

4 cups water

3, 12 oz Alaskan White (or similar white ale with citrus notes, and low hops)

1 tsp whole cloves

1 tbs whole black peppercorns

1/2 cup kosher or sea salt

1/2 red onion

1 whole lemon

1 tsp black pepper

In a pot over medium heat, combine the water, beer, cloves, peppercorn and salt. Cook until the salt has dissolved, and the liquid starts steaming, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool, adding a raw chicken to hot brine will start to cook it prematurely.

Rinse the raw chicken, removing anything that is in the cavity. Place in a large stock pot, bucket or dutch oven that is just taller than the top of the chicken. Pour the cooled brine over the chicken until submerged. Place in the fridge and allow to soak for 12 hours. If the chicken isn’t fully submerge, turn every 4-6 hours to re-distribute the brine.

After 12 hours, remove from brine and rinse thoroughly, pat dry. Place in a roasting rack in a roasting pan and allow to sit, uncovered in the refrigerator until the skin has dried, about 12 to 24 hours. This final step will allow the skin to become crispy during cooking, while the meat is juicy.

Preheat oven to 450.

Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the chicken, place the spent lemons inside the chicken cavity along with 1/2 an onion. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with pepper.

Roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees, or the breast meat is at 180 degrees. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.


Beer and Brown Sugar Pancakes

I’m in the process of developing a beer scale for the recipes I write. A scale that lets you know how much beer flavor comes through upon the final result. From the low end being, "Mild Hints of Beer Flavors" to the high end of "Strong Bold Forward Beer Taste."

Some people want to be smacked in the mouth with the flavor of beer, while others want the flavors to fly under the radar, yielding a treat they serve to unwitting non-beer lovers. This pancake recipe falls right in the middle. Beer that is tastable, but mild.

The difficulty with a scale such as this is that the type of beer you use has a direct result on the "beery-ness" of your final product. While the most important aspect of choosing a beer for your recipes is matching flavor profiles between your beer and the recipe, the second aspect is finding the right level to suit your desired level of beer taste.

There are a few tricks you can use to adjust the levels of beer taste to suit your needs. If you want to increase the amount of beer you taste, simply adding more beer may not work due to the fact that you will be increasing the amount of liquid in the recipe by doing so. If the recipe calls for "1 cup of beer" then try putting two cups of beer in a pot on the stove and cooking until it has reduced to 1 cup. This will remove water from the beer and intensify the beer flavors. One thing to keep in mind is that beer is often used as a leavening agent and cooking your beer prior to adding it to a recipe can remove those effects.

If you want to decrease the beer taste, substitute some of the beer for a non-beer liquid such as broth, water or juice, depending on the recipe. Or, if the beer is being used as a leavening agent (as in this pancake recipe) try to substitute with carbonated soda water.

If you want to increase the flavor of beer, look for beers that have a strong "malt forward" or "hop forward" taste notes, but beware of too hoppy beers (Such as IPA’s) because when reduced, they are very bitter.

Cooking and baking with craft beer is a journey, there will be a certain level of experimentation, success and failures that you should expect when trying forage ahead in a field that is growing with huge popularity, but with very few who have gone before us. In a lot of ways, this is uncharted water. We should learn from every batch, making note of what works and what doesn’t. Thanks for joining along the road.

For this recipe, I choose Mission Amber Ale because it has notes of caramel and malt, but with a balanced hop flavor. If you want to make this recipe and can’t find Mission Amber Ale, look for an amber with notes of caramel, maple, brown sugar, cloves, or cinnamon with low or balance hop notes.

Beer and Brown Sugar Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg plus 1 additional yolk

2 tbs canola oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup Amber Ale Beer

(makes 10-12)

In a bowl add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder, whisk to combine.

In a small bowl, add the egg, the additional yolk, vanilla and the oil whisk until well combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the egg mixture and beer to the center and whisk to combine.

Heat a skillet or griddle until hot. Spray with butter flavored cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle. Once bubbles appear in the middle of the pancakes and the edges start to look dry, flip the pancakes and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 5 minutes total (2.5 minutes per side).

*For this recipe, plain Grade A Syrup just didn’t seem to be enough for me. I put 3/4 cup of syrup and 1/2 cup of the Amber Ale in a pot on the stove over high heat for about 10 minutes and it thickened and reduced to a caramely syrup that was perfect. 

Saison Caramelized Pineapple Beer Shortcakes

Beer people are so often missunderstood and stereotyped.

Don’t mistake our inherent low maintenance for a lack of opinion. Don’t think that our love of indulgence translates to a lack of self-control. Just because we have a adoration for a high calorie beverage, doesn’t mean that we aren’t concerned with healthy living. And our love for a good ole fashion dive bar doesn’t tarnish out Mensa standings.

And as much as we would love for you to understand exactly why we drive 20 minutes out of our way on Friday afternoon to make sure that we have an exciting stash of Craft Beer for the weekend, we also want you to drink what you want. If you love wine, or whiskey, or even a famous Macro brew, that’s ok. More of the good stuff for us.

And if everyone else in the world stopped drinking Lost Abbey Carnevale Ale, or if it became so fervently distributed to every home in America that it was dubbed the new King of Beers and the Beer Snobs decided it was no longer desirable, it wouldn’t matter one bit. I would still drive to Northridge on Fridays to make sure I could find a bottle or two for the weekend, if need be.

I’m pretty sure that it was just a coincidence that the first time I was able to get my hands on this Special Release from Lost Abbey, was also the same day that I saw fresh pineapple at my local market for the first time this year, but it could also be fate. The flavors mixed so beautifully that I’ll have a hard time ever baking with pineapple again and not having the urge to reaching for this beer.

Saison Caramelized Pineapple Beer Shortcakes

For the Beer Shortcakes:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup Saison Beer(Los Abbey Carnevale recommended)

For the Saison Caramelized Pineapples:

4 cups fresh pineapple, chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 stick butter

1 cup Saison beer (Los Abbey Carnevale recommended)

For the Ale Chantilly Cream:

1 1/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 tbs Saison Beer (Los Abbey Carnevale recommended)

(6-8 servings)

Preheat oven to 425

In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar, pulse to combine. Add the butter and process until it resembles coarse meal. Add the beaten egg and the beer and process until just barely combined, abut 30 seconds. Don’t over process or your shortcakes will be tough.

The shortcakes will be very moist, and have more of a "drop biscuit" style than those that you roll out.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet. Using your hands, or two spoons, place about 1/4 cup of the dough onto the parchment paper and form into a loose ball. Dough should make between 6 and 8 shortcakes, depending on the size you want.

Bake for 12-15 minutes of until the shortcakes have turned a light golden brown and a tooth pick in the center comes out clean. Slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet and onto a flat surface and allow to cool.

Add all of the Caramelized Pineapple ingredients to a pan over high heat. Stir frequently (or continuously) until the liquid has reduced so much that the pan seems to only contain pineapples and frothy bubbles, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Just prior to serving, make the whiped cream.

Add all of the ingredients to a stand mixer and beat on high until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

To assemble, just split the shortcakes in half down the center, add the whipped cream, then the pineapples. Serve with a cold glass of Lost Abbey Carnevale.

Lemon Pilsner Cake

 If you have ever had the opportunity to talk to a brewmaster, you have seen it. You’ve seen that look that lets you know that there is an art and a respect for what they do that goes far past what most Americans experience at their day jobs. The look that tells you that the paycheck isn’t the reason he does the job. The flavors, the journey, the solving of the problems that yield to an end result of a drinkable, shareable masterpiece. You’ve seen that look.

It’s because of that look that I try to create recipes that respect the years of love and hard work that go into the process of making Craft Beer. I had the idea of making a lemon cake with pilsner, but the issue is always the hops. Hops are a hard ingredient to cook and bake with, given that they often reduce to a very bitter product. Scrimshaw Pilsner, while still a pilsner, has a low, and well balanced hop taste. It is also from one of my favorite breweries, North Coast, that produces an incredible variety of craft beer. And you can bet that if you are ever lucky enough to take a tour of the brewery, you will see that look I’m talking about, all over the place.

Lemon Pilsner Cake

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

2 tbs lemon zest

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup Pilsner

Icing:

4 oz cream cheese, softened (cold cream cheese will result in lumpy icing)

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup Pilsner

1/2 tsp vanilla

Direction:

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a large loaf pan with butter flavored cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest until well mixed.

In the bowl of  stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl between additions. Add the lemon juice and mix until well combined. Turn the mixer on low and add the flour a bit at a time until just barely combined, do not over mix.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the pilsner, stirring with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until the top turns a light golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and the powdered sugar, beating until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and whip until smooth.

Top the cake with the icing, chill prior to serving.

 Cooking and baking with craft beer. 

Jalapeno Pale Ale Cornbread

The past few weeks I’ve been craving summer. I live in Los Angeles, so feel free to laugh at my inability to cope with a mild seasonal chill. It isn’t so much the weather of the Summer months that I miss, but the culture of the season. Backyard barbecues, a slower life pace, vacations and water related activities. There is something about the way that summer feels in my bones, the feeling of endless possibilities that the days bring that I miss. Cornbread is an epicurean reminder of what I’m missing out on, and brings a comfort that the Summer isn’t too far away.

Beer is a great way to add a new dimension to cornbread. Not only is it a leavening agent, insuring that your bread won’t be overly dense, it is also a preservative, giving you a few extra days to consume it. But I don’t think you’ll need them.

I chose Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale because it has a beautiful chili flavor, without the heat, a hard thing to accomplish. It also has a bit of a cinnamon and spice finish that pairs very well with a recipe that runs the line between savory and sweet.

If you can’t get your hands on this beer, look for a pale ale with strong, bold flavors of chili and spice.

Jalapeno Pale Ale Cornbread 

Jalapeno Pale Ale Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs chopped fresh jalapenos, seeds removed
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup dry polenta (course corn meal)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup pale ale with notes of spice (I used Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs raw honey
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh is better. If you use frozen, make sure they are thawed)
  • 2 tbs melted unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray a large, deep dish loaf pan generously with butter flavored cooking spray.
  3. In a sauce pan over medium/heat, add the butter and the jalapenos and cook until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the milk and polenta and stir until the milk starts to bubble and is well combined with the polenta. Cover and remove from heat, allowing to rest for about 20 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and the honey until well combined.
  7. Add the egg mixture to the polenta pan and stir. Add the dry ingredients and stir until incorperated. Add the beer and the corn kernels, stirring until just combined.
  8. Add to the prepared baking dish and pour the 2 tbs of melted butter over the top.
  9. Bake at 350 until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes.
https://domesticfits.com/jalapeno-pale-ale-cornbread/

Ale Steamed Salmon With Belgian Wheat Beer Bearnaise

There are always exception to even the most powerful rules. This leaves a movement and an honestly to the lives we live, without the guilt of hypocrisy. The rule I am adding an addendum to is my strong allegiance to West Coast beers. Although great beer can be found nearly everywhere in the world these days, I have a powerful draw to local food and drink. I’ll make a unabashed exemption to my locavore attitude in support of my love for Allagash. In fact, Allagash Black was one of the beers I choose for my profile shot, and a fabulous example of a well crafted stout. If I ever make it up to Portland Maine, I’ll be making a very long stop at the brewery.

Today, I used Allagash’s freshman beer, their first ever product that was an undeniable success and pioneer in American Brewed Belgian Wheat Beers, The Allagash White.

Ale Steamed Salmon With Belgian Wheat Beer Bearnaise 

4 Salmon Fillets, about 3 oz each

2 bottles of Allagash White

2 tbs vinegar

1 tbs finely chopped shallots

1/4 tsp white pepper

2 tbs fresh tarragon

1 tbs chervil

1 sprig fresh parsley

4 egg yolks

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

Rice or pasta for serving

Preheat oven to 350.

Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet, place the salmon fillets on the rack. Pour one bottle of Allagash White in the bottom of the baking sheet, making sure that the beer does not submerge the wire rack. You want at least 1/2 inch between the beer and the top of the wire rack.

Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil, making sure to tent the foil over the salmon so that the foil does not touch the fish at all. Secure tightly, in order to trap the steam inside the foil.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. 

While the salmon is cooking, make the Bearnaise.

Add ½ cup of the remaining Allagash beer, the vinegar, shallots, pepper, tarragon, chervil, and parsley to a pan over medium heat. Allow to simmer and reduce until about 2 tbs of liquid remain, about ten minutes. Pour through a fin mesh strainer to remove the solids, allow to cool.

In a food processor add the 2 tbs of liquid, egg yolks and salt. Melt the butter in a sauce pan until very hot and just starting to bubble. Remove the stopper from the top of the food processor lid. Turn on the food processor, allowing to process for a few seconds before beginning to slowly pour the melted butter into the food processor while it is still running. Allow to process until well combined and frothy, about 3 minutes.

Plate the salmon over rice or pasta, pour about ¼ cup sauce over each plate.

Serve with Allagash White.

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Craft Ale Risotto

Risotto is the first recipe that I ever mastered. To this day, I count this among my favorite comfort food, downing giant bowls whenever the opportunity arises.

The classic recipe is made with white wine, but the substitution of a citrusy, medium-bodied craft beer only adds to the profile of flavors. I used another California beer: Telegraph California Ale, although this recipe would lend itself very well to the Telegraph White Ale.

Craft Ale Risotto 
4 cups chicken broth
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbs chopped shallots
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1½ cups arborio rice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
8 oz Telegraph Ale
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper
  1. Place the chicken broth in a sauce pan and bring to a mild simmer, keeping to warm, but not boiling.
  2. In a separate pot, add the butter and allow to melt over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until transparent, but don’t allow to brown. Add the garlic and cook until you can smell them, about 20 seconds
  3. Stir in the rice and the oil, cooking until the rice is completely coated with oil and it smells slightly nutty, don’t allow to brown. About 2 minutes.
  4. Add the beer and cook until the pan begins to dry, stirring frequently. About 6 minutes.
  5. Add a ladle full (about 2/3 cups) of broth into the rice. Stir frequently until the broth is almost dry, and then add another ladle full and repeat. This process should take about 20 minutes. Don’t leave the risotto while it’s cooking, the rice on the bottom of the pan burns easily. (if you run out of broth, just use hot water the same way you would broth)
  6. Once your risotto is cooked through (taste it to verify that the rice is cooked and not crunchy), turn heat to low and add the cheese, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Risotto should be soft and wet, not dry like typical rice. It should be firm enough to be served as a side on a plate, but soft enough to jiggle when the plate is shaken.
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Orange Blossom Ale Cranberry Sauce

I could get really cheesy about this. I could even call it CranBEERy sauce. But I’m not going to do that, because, that would be lame.

And I respect you too much for obvious puns. Drunken cranberry sauce? Boozy? All of those overused descriptors miss the point, and the fact that high heat burns off alcohol.

A light ale, with a strong citrus note, like  Buffalo Bill’s  Orange Blossom Ale, lends a beautiful balance to the strong acid of cranberries that you usually see sitting around your Thanksgiving table. I won’t even speak to those of you whose only preparation for anything Cranberry related is the use of a can opener to dispense a hideously ridged gelatinous mass of phallic shaped berry-adjacent matter onto a crystal serving dish.

Other things we won’t be speaking of today: the sound that thing makes when it comes out of said can.

Clear your head of all thoughts tin related and focus on a sweet and tart taste of a cranberry sauce with back notes of an American Pale Ale. You’ll thank me for the reprieve.

Orange Blossom Ale Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Pale Ale with citrus notes (do not use an IPA, too much hop. I used an Orange Blossom Ale)
  • 4 cups Cranberries
  • 1 tbs fine orange zest

Directions

  1. Put it all in a sauce pan and allow to simmer over medium low heat until thickened, about 15 minutes. The longer you cook, the thicker it becomes.
https://domesticfits.com/orange-blossom-ale-cranberry-sauce/

Salted Hefeweizen Brioche Rolls

Napa SmithWheat is a perfect baking beer. It has crisp, clean flavors, sweetness and bold tones that hold up to the oven. A smooth wheat beer with citrus and peach notes.

I enjoyed this beer, the baking, the drinking, the flavors. It was an easy beer to enjoy and gave me a sense of the brewery. Relaxed, comfortable and welcoming. I’ve lived in California most of my life, and traveled all over the world and I have a firm believe that Napa is a place that needs to be experienced, a beautiful escape from the rest of reality. Winding along the back roads of  Napa county, meeting locals, sampling the local food, drinks, produce…You’ll feel like you are living in a distant land far away from the life you know. In Napa, people love to eat, drink and cook with only local ingredients. It’s charming, as if Napa could exist all on it’s own. A little bubble, a snow globe of a world, swirling around itself filled with fresh-baked bread, handmade pies and locally sourced beer.

 Salted Hefeweizen Brioche Rolls

1/2 cup room temperature Hefeweizen Beer (Napa Smith Wheat Preferred)

1 envelope of dry active yeast (1/4 oz)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoons sea salt,

3 large eggs

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

Topping:

1 tbs melted butter

1 tbs sea salt

  1. Add the beer to a microwave safe container heat in the microwave for 10 seconds, test the temperature (you want it between 105 and 110) and repeat until the desired temperature is reached. Put the beer in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to get foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, salt and sugar and mix on low with the dough hook attachment until shaggy, flaky lumps form (about 1 1/2 minutes).
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined.
  5. Add the softened butter (softened is important), beat until the dough gathers around the hook and is smooth and shiny.
  6. Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball in inside.
  7. Wrap with plastic wrap leave in a warm place until it’s double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  8. Grab the dough at the sides until it has deflated.
  9. Allow to rise a second time at room temperature, until it has doubled in size, deflating every 15 minutes by grabbing the sides, about 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from the bowl and place on a floured surface, shape into a long log, about 4 inches wide and 1 foot long.
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut in 3 equal sized pieces.
  12. Then cut each of those pieces in half (you will now have 6 pieces.)
  13. Now cut each of those pieces in half and you will have 12 equal sized pieces.
  14. Each of these pieces will be a roll, but you have to make some more cuts first.
  15. Cut each slice into 3 equal sized pieces, rolling each into a ball and placing all three into the same well of a greased muffin tin. Repeat for each slice.
  16. Cover with plastic wrap, place in the fridge and allow to double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  17. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sea salt. This is when you break out the fanciest salt you have. Or buy some just for the occasion.
  18. Preheat the oven to 400. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.
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Beer Poached Apples With An Amber Ale Caramel Sauce

I came across Albion Amber Ale, from Marin Brewing Co this week. It isn’t a traditional Amber, but the flavors are bright and complex. One taste of this brown ale, and a caramel sauce immediately came to mind. The rich toffee and nut flavors paired beautifully with this recipe and the strong caramel and malt flavors came through in the sauce in such an amazing way.

Even if you skip the apple, this sauce is so incredible you can eat it right out of the jar with your fingers.

Beer Poached Apples with Amber Ale Caramel Sauce

4 fuji apples

2 1/2 cups (20 oz) Amber Ale

2-4 cups hot water

2 cups brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbs butter

Peel all four apples with a vegetable peeler. With an apple corer remove the core of the apples. Place in a large sauce pan or pot, cover with the beer. Add enough water so that the apples are no longer touching the bottom of the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a strong simmer. Roll the apples with a fork frequently to insure that all side of the apples are evenly cooked. Poach for 20 minutes or until the apples are fork tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove the apples.

Raise the heat to a strong boil and reduce the liquid to 1 cup. Depending on how much water you added, this should take about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar, stir until dissolved. Add a thermometer with a clip to the side of you pan, submerging the tip in the liquid, but making sure it does not hit the bottom of the pan.

Boil, without stirring, until the temperature reaches between 225-230 degrees. Remove from heat and stir until the bubbling subsides. Add the cream and butter, stir to combine. Allow to cool.

Top the apples with the caramel and the chopped nuts.

Another fabulous way to serve this is to chop the apples, and serve the apples, nuts and caramel over vanilla ice cream. Amazing.

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Gingerbread Ale Beer Bread

Beer bread is simple. A few ingredients creates a soft, but dense bread. The basic principle is to use the beer as the yeast. Although beer is great in this capacity, adding a leavening agent like baking soda, or self rising flour, is important to help keep the bread from becoming too dense. The simple ingredients open the possibility to so many different types of flavorings. Beer bread can be sweet or savory.

I got my hands on a few bottles of the Gingerbread Ale from Bison Brewery for this batch of beer bread. The gingerbread flavors worked so well with the recipe, leaving a mild but distinct flavors of ginger and beer.

Gingerbread Beer Bread

3 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 cup chopped pecans

12 oz Bison Gingerbread Ale

TOPPING:

2 tbs melted butter

2 tbs brown sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a large loaf pan with butter flavored cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pecans. Stir until well combined.  Add the beer all at once. It will foam up. Stir quickly to combine. Don’t worry about lumps, thats normal.

Add to your batter greased loaf pan. Pour the melted butter on top of your loaf and sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the butter has completely absorbed into your loaf and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of your loaf comes out clean.


Beer Cheese Chicken Pot Pie

This is the ultimate comfort food, combining three great comfort food players: Beer, Cheese, Warm Soup. Add to that a flaky pastry crust and you pretty much have pot pie perfection. I use Mission Street Blonde Ale for this, from the Mission Brewery out of San Diego.

A really beautiful blend with the mild cheddar I used. It cooks really well, leaving a mild lemony flavor with traces of wheat. The hops are subtle and blend well with the rest of the recipe.

Beer cheese has started to climb out of frat boy myths into actual culinary acceptance of the past decade. This recipe isn’t a traditional Beer Cheese recipe, but the idea is captured and transformed into a hearty soup and a filling entrée. A great recipe to have in your beer cooking arsenal.

Beer Cheese Chicken Pot Pie 

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 5 tbs butter cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 tbs vodka
  • 2 tbs cold water

For the Filling:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup sliced leeks (white and very light green portion only)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 3 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cups raw chicken, cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  •  1 1/3 cup Mission Street Blonde Ale
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup melted butter

1. Combine 1 cups of flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, pulse a few times until its combined. Add the butter and the shortening and process until it forms a ball around the blade, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the remaining flour and process until well incorporated, about 1 minute.

3. Move to a bowl and add the water and the vodka, combine with a spatula or wooden spoon.

4. Form the dough into a disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill until very firm, about two hours.

5.  Preheat oven to 400.

6. In a pan over medium, high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the leeks and the garlic, sauté until leeks are soft.

7. Add the bacon and cook for 2 minutes.

8. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and darkened.

9. Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

10. In a separate bowl, add 2/3 cup of broth and the flour, stir until combined. Pour mixture into the pan through a small mesh strainer to remove any lumps.

11. Add the beer to the pan and stir to combine. Add the peas, corn, cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese has melted and is well combined with the broth.

12. Pour into small, portion sized, oven safe ceramic dishes. Makes about 4.

 

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13. Once the dough has chilled, place disk on a very well floured surface, add flour to the top of the disk as well. Roll out into an even thickness.

14. Cut out circles that will cover the dishes with at least a one inch overhang on each side.

15. To prevent sticking, spray the rim of the baking dish with cooking spray.

16. Top each dish with the dough circle, cutting a slit to vent at the top. Then brush the dough with melted butter.

17. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool a bit before serving.



Cheddar Beer Biscuits

When you go about baking biscuits, beer is a great addition. Not only because beer is fantastic will every possible edible substance, but because the the carbonation is an amazing leavening agent that lends itself well to culinary beer usage.

For this recipe I used a Orange Wheat beer from Hangar 24, a Southern California based brewery. The beer was beautiful and the flavors where perfect for these biscuits. When I pick up a beer with fruit on the label, I am initially a touch apprehensive. I wait for the possibility of a Hard Cider like taste with the hesitation of a contused prostitute, before taking a sip. I am HAPPY to report that the natural orange was perfectly subtle and a well balanced citrus flavors, with a clean, crisp finish.

Even after cooking, the flavors stayed intact and complimented the white cheddar beautifully.

 

I also used Kerrygold cheese, although this has nothing to do with Oktoberfest, it’s just really great cheddar. The flavors are perfect for this recipe.

Cheddar Beer Biscuits

2 cups of flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sugar

1 stick (8 tbs) butter, cut into small cubes

1/2 cup craft wheat beer (Orange Wheat from Hanger 24 preferred)

1/2 cup white cheddar (Kerrygold reserve preferred)

Preheat oven to 400.

Put the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in your food processor and pulse until combined. Add your butter cubes and  process until the butter is evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes.

Move to a bowl and add the cheese and beer and stir until combined.

 

Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Squish together with your hands to form a ball and then flatten into a rectangle about 6  inches wide and 10 inches long and 2 inches high. Use a sharp knife to cut the biscuits into squares.

 

You can make them as big or small as you want, but this recipe will make 6-8 average sized biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle the top with a bit of sea salt and pepper.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until light golden brown.