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Gluten Free

Thai Butternut Squash and Beer Soup

Thai Butternut Squash and Beer Soup, only thirty mintues to a delicious soup! 

There is a very strong likelihood that I will just eat soup until the end of time, or until the end of 2020, whichever comes first. And it seems like at this point, it’s a toss up. For this delightlyful pot of happiness, I just combined two of my favorite food categories: "Thai food" and "things that taste like fall". Yes, that last one is absolutely a culinary designation, just trust me. 

Although I’m fairly certain butternut squash isn’t a common food that you’ll come across in Thailand, you’ll just have to view this as a mashup. A fusion. My "Pacific Northwest stuck on this side of the world" life fusing with my desire to "get on an airplane and travel to exotic destinations once the threat of a deadly virus has been lifted". Someday this will happen, probably before the world ends. Until then, it’s time to make soup and ignore everything else. 

Thai Butternut Squash and Beer Soup

Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium (1 ½ lbs.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
  • 1 shallot bulb diced
  • 2 cups (16oz)broth vegetable or chicken
  • 3 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (13.5oz) full fat coconut milk
  • 4 oz rice noodles
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • Sriracha for serving
  • 1 cup (8oz)beer pilsner, pale ale, lager (nothing too hoppy)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Add the diced squash to a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Roast until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat, add the shallots, cook until softened.
  • Stir in the beer, broth, curry paste, garlic, cumin, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and coconut milk, bring to a low simmer.
  • Add the softened squash, remove from heat.
  • Using an immersion blender or stand blender, blend the soup until smooth (if using a stand blender, allow to cool slightly before blending). Return to heat, heat until warmed.
  • Add the rice noodles to a large bowl, cover with boiling water, allow to sit until softened, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain the noodles, add desired amount to a bowl, ladle in the warm soup.
  • Top with desired amount of cilantro, peanuts, drizzle with sriracha.

Loaded Beer and Bacon Corn Chowder

Loaded Beer and Bacon Corn Chowder

loaded-beer-and-bacon-corn-chowder1

Don’t give me that look.

I am fully aware that in most parts of the world, it’s still summer. There is still frolicking in flip-flops and water activities to be done in the two weeks before fall officially sets in. But where I live, the rain-soaked-90’s-music-mecca, I already have the heater on and the wellies out.

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Soup is my consolation prize for rainy days in early September. To be honest, that’s not the entire truth. I like it more than I thought I would, more than I even wanted to. The Los Angeles girl who dreaded moving here is shocked at how much I like the weather. Officially, I miss California. That’s the bi-line when I talk about how much I love Seattle. I do harbor a love for the rainy days that punctuate an otherwise sunny week in August. I’m in awe of the fall, the drizzly days, the morning mist, the leaves changing color by the hour. It’s magical.

If I’m being honest, this soup is less of a consolation for a lack of sun, and more of a celebration of the next season coming and how it’s forced me into a love for the Pacific Northwest weather.

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Loaded Beer and Bacon Corn Chowder

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ lbs sliced bacon
  • ½ white onions, chopped
  • ½ cup (55g) peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 cup (8oz) pilsner beer (or summer ale, wheat beer)
  • 3 ears of corn kernels
  • 1 large (390g) garnet sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups (16oz) chicken broth
  • ½ cup (100mL) half & half
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1g) smoked paprika
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced

Instructions

  1. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy.
  2. Remove from pan, pour off all the bacon grease except 2 tablespoons.
  3. Once the bacon has cooled, chop and set aside.
  4. Add the onions and carrots, cook until softened and starting to caramelize, about ten minutes.
  5. Add the beer, scraping to deglaze the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add the corn (reserve one cup of kernels for the end), sweet potatoes, and broth. Bring to a gentle simmer, cooking until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
  7. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Stir in the half and half, remaining corn, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and smoked paprika. Stir over medium heat until warmed. Adjust spices to taste.
  8. Ladle into bowls, top with cheddar, green onions, chopped bacon, and jalapenos.
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Flourless Chocolate Stout Cookies

Flourless Chocolate Stout Cookies 101

This is what happens when you leave me alone with a bag of cocoa powder.

Not just one batch, but five. Each batch with new tweaks to make them perfect. A batch with mini chocolate chips, one with ill-advised walnuts, one batch of chocolate and caramel ice cream cookie sandwiches, and the last batch left on my sisters kitchen table for her to love-hate me when she got home from work.

Some recipes bring out the obsessive, the this-must-be-perfect, the one-more-to-make-it-even-better, and this recipe stuck that cord. The next time I make them it’ll be with a sprinkle of sea salt on the top, maybe a smoked Maldon, and a barrel aged stout.

As a side note: beer and cookies are vastly superior to milk and cookies. No exceptions.


Flourless Chocolate Stout Cookies

Yield: 16-18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ¾ cups (1 lbs) powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (114g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (5g) vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons stout beer
  • 1 cup (140g) chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Separate the eggs.
  2. Add the salt to the whites and beat the whites until light and frothy.
  3. Add ½ cup powdered sugar to the whites, beat until firm.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and cocoa powder, stir until combined.
  5. Stir in the vanilla, beer and egg yolks until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to mound cookies onto the parchment.
  7. Freeze for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375.
  8. Bake for 14 minutes.
  9. Pull the parchment onto the counter to allow the cookies to cool.
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Flourless Chocolate Stout Cookies 104

Jalapeño Honey Grilled Beer Chicken

Jalapeno Honey Grilled Beer Chicken 7

I had a camera in my face and a man four-inches shorter than me asking questions he should know the answers to.

This is mid-day TV, I suppose. This is a cooking segment on a Los Angeles NBC station. This is a person unable to let a millisecond of silence creep across your screen. Your ears must be punctured with words, even if they are odd and out of place.

I’d been making a chipotle beer cheese sauce, a blender version that takes only the few seconds TV cooking can tolerate without a pay off, and I mentioned that alcohol intensifies heat. The higher ABV a beer is, the hotter it will make that pepper you put in your sauce. Add a jalapeño to some vodka and it will exploit every inch of capsaicin it contains in just mere minutes. It was a warning, really. If you don’t want a screaming hot sauce, steer away from the 13% triple IPA monsters and towards the 4% session beers.

A slight pause to pour the sauce into a bowl, no more than a full second and he panicked. "So….what does "intensify" mean?" The second he said it, I could see a flash of regret in his eyes and a plea for me to pick up the ball. He could have asked about ABV, or about local beers that would work best. But instead he asked me to define a word like we were in the middle of a really heated spelling bee.

I can no longer talk about alcohol intensifying heat without thinking about him and his request to define the word rather than explain the idea. It is true, the higher the alcohol content, the spicier it will make your peppers. This can be great if your like your dishes with a kick. It can be assaulting if your pepper is already hotter than you’d expected. Either way, it something to keep in mind.

Jalapeno Honey Grilled Beer Chicken 4

Jalapeño Honey Grilled Beer Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (125g) stout or porter beer
  • ¼ cup (70g) balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup (70g) sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup (90g) honey
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) onion powder
  • 1 lbs chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the beer, balsamic, soy, honey, garlic powder, and, onion powder.
  2. Add the chicken and jalapenos, stir to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for one hour and up to 12.
  4. Thread chicken and jalapenos onto heat safe skewers.
  5. Grill until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
  6. Serve warm.
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Jalapeno Honey Grilled Beer Chicken 5

Grilled Street Corn with IPA Chipotle Cream + What’s The Deal With Gluten Free Beer?

Grilled Street Corn with IPA Chipotle Cream + What’s The Deal With Gluten Free Beer?

Grilled Street Corn with IPA Chipotle Cream 6

Beer’s main objective is to taste great. To gratify an urge, quell a thirst, satisfy the drinker with a balance of it’s necessary ingredients: water, hops, malt and yeast (and possibly a few not as necessary ingredients). But let’s say the malt was different. The malt wasn’t the malt you’re used to. It wasn’t malted barley, it was a different grain. The results were great, the beer tasted awesome.

Would you mind? Would it bother you if water, hops, malt and yeast was STILL water, hops, malt and yeast, but the malt was malted millet instead of malted barley? Would you even notice?

Let’s back up.

Barely is traditionally what’s used to make the malt in beer (for more info about that, read this). It’s the only ingredient necessary to make beer that contains gluten, water, hops and yeast don’t. Barley is a grain, but there are other grains, too. What if a brewer used a different grain to satisfy the malt ingredient?

Of course, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s the main premise: use a different grain that doesn’t contain gluten instead. Nothing fake, nothing overly processed, just a different grain (to start with). If the beer still tastes great, does it matter?

Watch the Facebook Live Gluten Free Beer Taste Test

Gluten Free Beer

Gluten-free beer comes in two main categories:

Gluten Removed/Crafted to Remove Gluten

This beer is made the way a beer is normally made, brewed with barley (which contains gluten). An enzyme is added to break up the gluten protein and destroy it. The beer still contains gluten, but it’s well below the 20 parts per million that the FDA requires to call something "gluten-free." The beer is made with a gluten ingredient, and some gluten may still exist. Some people have a reaction to it, some people don’t. if you have a severe gluten allergy, proceed with caution. These beers are not allowed to put "gluten-free" on their label, but instead use "crafted to remove gluten," "gluten reduced"  or "low gluten" instead.

Most popular: Stone Delicious IPA, Omission Pale Ale, Omission IPA, New Belgium Glutiny

Of the gluten removed beer I’ve sampled Stone Delicious IPA, and Omission IPA were my favorite. 

Grilled Street Corn with IPA Chipotle Cream 1

Gluten FREE

In the past few years breweries have been cropping up across the country that brew only gluten-free beer. Beer that is artfully crafted with malted grains that don’t contain the gluten proteins. As difficult as it is to make truly great tasting beer, the use of an alternate grain is a new level of difficulty and an interesting section of the market to explore.

If a beer is labeled as gluten-free, it is truly gluten-free. It was brewed with ingredients that do not contain gluten, such as millet, sorghum, corn, rice, or quinoa. A brewery cannot label a beer as "gluten-free" if it was brewed with any ingredients that contain gluten.

Ground Breaker Brewing in Portland, Oregon is not only a 100% gluten-free brewery, it also has a gluten-free pub attached to the tap-room. Their IPA won a silver medal at GABF last year.

Holiday Brewing in Colorado is new on the scene, opening their completely gluten-free facility in February of 2016. With a growing legion of fans, and an impressive list of beer, this is a brewery to watch.

Glutenberg in Montreal, Canada is a growing presence in the United States. With distribution in more than 15 states and several solid beer styles to choose from, this a brewery worth checking out if the need for gluten-free beer arises.

Ghostfish Brewing in Seattle, Washington isn’t just a force to be reckoned with, it’s set the bar higher than any gluten-free brewery has before. Sweeping this year’s US Beer Championships with 3 medals, and taking home 2 of the three top medals at last years GABF, this beer isn’t just "good for gluten-free," it’s simply delicious, well-crafted beer. As a person without any gluten issues, this is beer I would order if I saw it at a taproom. It’s great beer, made with great, high-quality ingredients. My favorites are Grapefruit IPA and Watchstander Stout. Gluten allergies or not, this is beer worth seeking out.

My favorite gluten-free beer is Ghostfish Grapefruit IPA, necessitating a gluten-free recipe, to be enjoyed alongside your gluten-free beer.

Grilled Street Corn with IPA Chipotle Cream 5

Grilled Street Corn with IPA Chipotle Cream + What’s The Deal With Gluten Free Beer?

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ears of yellow corn, shucked
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 or 2 chipotle chilies in adobo
  • 3 tablespoons IPA beer
  • 4 wt ounces (about ½ cup) crumbled cotija cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to medium high. Add the corn to a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with melted butter, sprinkle with salt.
  3. Grill over medium high heat until grill marks appear on all sides.
  4. In a blender add the sour cream, chipotle chilies (1 for lower heat, 2 for more heat), and IPA beer, blend until smooth. Add additional beer for thinner sauce.
  5. Add the corn to a serving tray, drizzle with sauce, sprinkle liberally with cotija and cilantro. (roll corn to coat in sauce, if desired).
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