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Mediterranean Beer Braised Pork Burgers

Beer Braised Pork Burgers2

We could never manage to get ourselves through an entire conversation about cooking with beer without talking about meat. Sure, the magical leavening powers of beer give bread that awesome texture, and after making a chocolate stout cake none of my cakes will ever be sober again, but meat is where it all begins.

There is no hard data on the inception of beer cooking, but my educated guess leans me towards meat. Not just for the incedible meat tenderizing properties of beer, but also due to the fact that it’s a mild preservative, important in those pre-Frigidare days of trying to feed a crowd. These days, meat and beer just seem to have found a seamless connection, a perfect marriage that leads to the birth of outstanding crowd pleasing meals. This union is due in no small part to the fact that beer gives meat an amazingly tender texture while infusing it with a little bit of that beer flavor we all know and love.

So, what beer with what meat, you ask? Great question. Here are my recommendations:

Beef: Imperial Stout

Pork: Smoked Porter

Chicken & Turkey: Brown Ale

Fish: White Ale

 In my history of beer cooking, those are the pairings that have proven the most successful. Also, don’t forget to save some of that beer for drinking.

Beer Braised Pork Burgers

For this recipe I used my Homemade Beer Burger Buns, which was a fantastic idea.

Mediterranean Beer Braised Pork Burgers

Ingredients
  

For the Meat:

  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 lbs country style pork ribs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 14.5 wt. oz. stewed tomatoes
  • 12 oz smoked porter
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped

For the topping:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbs dill chopped
  • ½ cup red onion very thinly sliced
  • 1 English cucumber dices
  • 1 cup firm tomatoes chopped
  • 8 Homemade Beer Burger Buns

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and cumin.
  • Sprinkle pork on all sides with spice mixture.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven until hot but not smoking. Sear pork on all sides, working in batches in necessary.
  • Pour the stewed tomatoes and beer over the pork. Add the Worcestershire, onions and garlic. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Add a lid at a vent and allow to cook until pork is very tender and falling off the bone, about 4 hours. Shred using two forks, removing the bones from the pot. Remove meat from the pot with a slotted spoon to drain off excess moisture.
  • To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, dill and red onion. Chill until ready to serve.
  • Split the burger buns and fill with pork, top with cucumber, tomatoes and yogurt sauce.

Beer Braised Pork Burgers3

Homemade Beer Burger Buns

 

Homemade Beer Burger Buns via @TheBeeroness

 The Beast of Yeast

If you are among the yeast-averse, those who are convinced that bread making isn’t in your skill set, you probably haven’t even read far enough to see that I have faith in your yeast taming abilities. Not only is it easier than you think, it’s so completely satisfying to watch that bread rise, yielding perfectly delicious results, and it’s also much cheaper than buying sub par alternatives at the market.

Over the past few years I’ve falling in love with the process of bread making, figuring out not just how to make dough rise, but why it fails. Here are my tips to making sure you have fresh baked success every time you tear open a packet of yeast:

1. Rapid rise yeast and regular dry active yeast are not the same. Rapid rise yeast needs more heat to activate, a heat level that will kill regular yeast. Use the type of yeast that the recipe calls for or the dough won’t rise (or won’t rise properly).

2. Buy a kitchen thermometer. Yeast is very picky when it comes to heat. Make sure the liquid you use is in the right temperature range. If the liquid is too hot, the yeast will be killed. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast won’t be activated. A thermometer will take any guess work out of it.

3. Yeast dies. Check the expiration date, if yeast is past that, it doesn’t have the living organism necessary to make dough rise.

4. Salt kills yeast. Don’t let yeast come in direct contact with salt or it will die. I’m over cautious with this, adding salt towards the end, after the yeast has been activated by the liquid. Salt is important in giving bread a bright flavor and helping you to avoid bland baked goods. Don’t skip salt, just add it last.

5. Dough rise times will depend on the temperature of your room. Dough rises faster in a warm room, and really slowly in a cold room. Although dough will still rise in a room as cold as 40F, it will take days to double in size. If the recipes says, "Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour," pay more attention to "doubled in size" rather than the "1 hour." Especially in winter, if your house is cold. It could take several hours if your house is colder than 70F.

6. Yeast feeds on sugars. You’ll have much higher levels of yeast rising success if you let your yeast feed off a little sugar (granulated sugar, honey or anything else with high sugar content). Add some to any bread recipe you make for greater levels of dough rising success.

Homemade Beer Burger Buns via @TheBeeroness

Now that you’ve had your crash course in yeast baking you are all set to tackle that culinary bucket list and impress your friends.

You can totally do this.

 

Homemade Beer Burger Buns

5 from 1 vote
Servings 8 buns

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ cups All purpose flour
  • 1 envelope rapid rise yeast 2 ½ tsp
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¾ cup wheat beer
  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • 1 tbs raw honey
  • ½ tsp salt plus additional for topping
  • egg wash 1 egg plus 1 tbs water, beaten
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, and onion powder. Mix until combined.
  • In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the dough has been moistened, sprinkle with the salt, honey and add softened butter.
  • Turn speed to medium-high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface, knead a few times. Cut into 8 equal sized pieces.
  • Form each piece into a tight ball. Add evenly spaced over a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.
  • Cover loosely and allow to rise until almost doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.
  • Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt.
  • Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Homemade Beer Burger Buns via @TheBeeroness

Golden Ale Beer Cocktail

Golden Ale Beer Cocktail

Of all of the ways I’ve abused and manipulated a pint of beer on this blog, the only  means that have proved controversial have been those that involve mixing beer with other alochol. Like it or not, beer mixology is a growing trend. While purist maintain that the only appropriate thing to mix beer with is a cold glass, the phenomenon is catching on.  More often than not, trendy, hip, well groomed drinking establishments are adding craft beer to their cocktail shakers.

It’s not about manipulating the beer, it’s about improving the cocktial. Because even when I feel the urge for a highball full of ice, rimmed with salt, I may still be craving those flavors of craft beer. I may not want to choose, I might just want both. And you can’t stop me.

I don’t often stray from my love of good beer, but when I do you better not hand me something fruity with an umbrella straw. I want something smokey, or sour, or spicy. I want something savory, you can hand those sugary drinks to the frat boys at the end of the bar. When I got my hands on a copy of Savory Cocktails, I was instantly hook. This isn’t just a book about booze, it’s a love letter to the cocktail. It’s full of thoughtful, imaginative, innovative recipes that are made for those who love the art of a well crafted cocktail. It even contains a few beer mixology cocktails, like the beautifully well balanced Golden Ale which is by far the best beer cocktail I’ve ever made.

Even if you can’t stomach the idea of mixing your beer with anything but your mouth, I’d venture a guess that you’d enjoy this cocktail more than is comfortable for your beer purist ways.

Golden Ale Beer Cocktail

Golden Ale Beer Cocktail

Recipe from Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lemon wedge
  • smoked sea salt
  • 1 scant barspoon hot sauce
  • 2 pony shots 2 fl oz vodka
  • 1/2 pony shot 1/2 fl oz Elderflour liqueur (such as St. Germain)
  • 1/2 fl oz lime juice or yuzu
  • 1/2 fl oz lemon juice
  • 1 tbs honey simple syrup honey and very warm water, 1:1 ratio, stir
  • 4-6 tbs 2-3 fl oz Belgian style golden ale beer

Instructions
 

  • Use the lemon wedge to lightly moisten the rim of a highball glass.
  • Pour the salt onto a small saucer, spreading in a thin layer.
  • Press the rim into the salt, cookie cutter style, twisting back and fourth to coat the rim with salt.
  • Fill glass with ice cubes.
  • Into a cocktail shaker filled 2/3 full with ice, add hot sauce, vodka, elderflour liqueur, lime juice (or yuzu), lemon juice, and honey syrup
  • Cover and shake.
  • Strain into prepared glass, stir in the Belgian Ale.

Recipe from Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry, which makes the perfect Hostess Gift. By the way. Just a thought.

Golden Ale Beer Cocktail

 

I received a copy of Savory Cocktails from Ulysses Press.
I was not financially compensated in any way.
All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Classic Glazed Beer Doughnuts

Classic Glazed Beer Doughnuts

We need to chat, you and I. About the Cooking With Beer odyssey I’ve firmly placed myself on and the reasons, both practical and provocative, that I’ve remained such a Craft Beer Cooking Devotee. While I know that the reason you’re drawn to these brew-infused foods may just be the ability to lay down a tray of treats and proudly proclaim, "I put beer in this!" there is in fact, a very functional side to beer baking.

Classic Glazed Beer Doughnuts

Leavening is the hallmark reason to use beer in your bread. And cakes, and doughnuts for that matter. It gives your baked goods a light and tender texture that just can’t be touched by the water or milk. Making that beer in your grubby paws a great addition to anything that needs a lightness to it. These doughnuts are a great example, the dough turned out extremely light and tender, giving you the impression that it was completely acceptable, nay…imperative, that you eat four. Ok, five. Doughnuts, those deep fried little vixens, can often be dense and tough, but just wait until beer has its way with that dough and it’ll never be the same.

Although that isn’t to prevent you from placing a large plate of homemade Classic Glazed Beer Doughnuts in front of a table full of friends and saying, "I put beer in this!"

Classic Glazed Beer Doughnuts

Classic Glazed Beer Doughnuts

Servings 12 -16 doughnuts

Ingredients
  

Doughnuts

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast 2 ¼ tsp
  • ¾ cup wheat beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 large egg yolk room temperature
  • ¼ cup heavy cream room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs butter softened
  • oil for frying

Glaze

  • 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup IPA beer

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the flour, sugar and yeast.
  • Add the beer to a microwave safe bowl, microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperate and repeat until beer reaches between 120 and 130 degrees F.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer, mix until most of the flour has been moistened.
  • Add the vanilla then the yolks, one at a time. Add the cream, salt and softened butter.
  • Building up speed, beat on high until the dough comes together and gathers around the blade.
  • The dough will be very soft.
  • Add dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubles in size.
  • Punch down the dough and knead lightly to remove any air bubbles. Place dough in the fridge and allow to rest for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1 inch thickness. Cut doughnuts out with a 3 ½ inch biscuit cutter with 1 inch circle holes.
  • Place doughnuts on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper. Loosly cover with a towel.
  • Allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Fill a large heavy bottomed saucepan with canola oil until about 4 inches deep. Add a deep fry thermometer and bring oil to about 360 degrees, adjusting heat to maintain temperature.
  • Working in batches, fry the doughnuts on each side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from oil and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and the IPA beer until well combined. One at a time dip the doughnuts in the glaze.
  • Allow glaze to set before servings.

 

Adapted from: Classic Glazed Doughnuts, Epicurious

Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches. Three ingredients no ice cream maker.

Three Ingredients, No Ice Cream Maker, Crazy Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches was the first name for this recipe, although that did seem a bit long for a recipe that’s so short.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not a girl that goes for the Quick & Easy recipes, but sometimes I hear of a recipe that just seems too tempting not to try. I stole this recipe for an 80 year old woman I know. She made a version of these (that involved Cool-Whip) for a bingo game she was hosting, and told me all about how easy they were, and how everyone loved them. Easy, you say? None left, you say? I must try these easy and delicious treats, although I will be skipping that blue and white plastic tub.

She was right: easy, delicious and none left. The moral of the story is always listen to your elders.

And eat ice cream.

Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches. Three ingredients, no ice cream maker.

Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 2/3 cup prepared caramel sauce, room temperature
  • 12 standard sized graham crackers

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the cream, whip on high until soft peaks start to form, slowly add the caramel sauce, mixing until well combined.
  2. Spread the caramel whipped cream in a thick layer between two graham crackers, scraping off excess with a butter knife.
  3. Place ice cream sandwiches on a large plate or baking sheet. Freeze until set, about 1 hour.

Easy Homemade Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches. Three ingredients, no ice cream maker.

 

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake3

Although I may be shattering illusion with this admission, I don’t always cook with beer. I often create very sober meals with teetotaling side dishes, not a whisper of booze in sight.

However, over the years of carving out a niche in this corner of Craft Beer Land, I have found that beer is an essential and non-replaceable ingredient in several dishes, it just does the best job.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake2

My Thanksgiving Turkey will always be brined with a brown ale, the meat tenderizing properties of beer have no match. If you want a juicy bird, it’s the best way to get there.

My dinner rolls will always be made with wheat beer, the leaving agents are just too good.

My steak will always be given a good soak in a dark craft beer, it gives the best results.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake5And my chocolate cake will always be made with a nice chocolate stout. The first recipe I ever made with beer was a stout cake, it was by far the best homemade chocolate cake I had ever made, wooing me to the boozy side of baking.

The taste was both rich and light, smooth and bold. It may have been a gateway recipe that lead me down a path of beer cooking obsession.

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake4

Epic Chocolate Stout Cake with Chocolate Bourbon Sour Cream Frosting

Ingredients
  

For the Cake:

  • 7 wt oz 72% dark chocolate chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces Chocolate Stout
  • 3 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs + 2 yolks
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tbs espresso powder
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cup dark chocolate chips melted & slightly cooled
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In the top of a double boiler (or a bowl set over gently simmering water), add the dark chocolate, and butter, stirring frequently until just melted. Stir in the chocolate stout.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the sugar, eggs and yolks until well combined, light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the oil and sour cream, beat until well combined.
  • Slowly add the chocolate, beating until all ingredients are well incorporated, scraping the bottom to make sure all us well combined.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and kosher salt.
  • Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, stir until just combined.
  • Grease and flour 3, 9-inch cake pans (or two cake pans, and 12 cupcake tins).
  • Pour the batter evenly between the pans.
  • Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched, (15-17 minutes for cupcakes).
  • Allow to cool, remove from pans (it’s easiest to transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper.)
  • To assemble a tall cake it’s easiest if all ingredients are cold, warm cake and frosting tend to slide. For best results chill the cake layers for 1 hour prior to assembling.
  • Chill assembled cake until ready to serve.

For the frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the softened butter on high until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sour cream, beat until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly pour the melted chocolate into the mixer, beating until well combined with the butter mixture.
  • Add the powdered sugar and slowly building up speed, beat on high until well combined.
  • A few tablespoons at a time add the bourbon and the cream, allowing to fully incorporate before adding more. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Cover bowl and refrigerate until set, about 20-30 minutes.

 

Skillet Sour Cream Chicken

 

15 minute Sour Cream Skillet Chicken

 

I started this blog with the idea that I’d blog my dinner, which turned into cooking for the blog which turned into freelance work and somewhere around starting an LLC and registering trademarks I realized that I rarely or never blogged my dinner.

I did an interview recently and the interviewer asked for links to my "go to week night meal," and I was more than embarrassed to say that I’d never really blogged it. This is just one version of my 15 minute chicken that seems to make it into regular rotation.

I always use boneless skinless chicken thighs, the flavor is worlds above the chicken breast and it is almost impossible to dry out. I love to cook them in a cast iron skillet because of the awesome crust it gives the chicken. The sour cream version was a big hit, so I’m sure it will make it into my busy weeknight menu again.

15 minute Sour Cream Skillet Chicken

Skillet Sour Cream Chicken

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs minced basil (about 3 large leaves)
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tbs lemon juice (about ½ medium sized lemo)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs vinegar (apple cider or rice wine)
  • rice, pasta, potatoes or quinoa for serving

Instructions

  1. sprinkle the chicken thighs on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet until hot and almost smoking.
  3. Add the chicken thighs and sear on both sides until browned.
  4. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, pour over chicken. Lower heat to medium-low, cover loosely and allow to gently simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  5. Serve with sauce over starch of choice.

15 minute Sour Cream Skillet Chicken

Italian Beer Bread Sticks & Tips for Beer and Food Pairing

 

Italian Beer Bread Sticks & Tips for Beer and Food Pairing via @TheBeeroness

Before we jump in to my treasure trove of beer and food pairing tips, we need to dispel one myth: there are no rules. Drink what you  prefer and eat likewise. If YOU like it, it’s a good pairing, there are no hard and fast rules, just considerations and principles to keep in mind.

1. Consider intensity. When subjecting your tasters to a palate wrecking chipotle dish or 1000 IBU IPA, consider the delicacy of what you’re pairing that monster with. Mild works well with mild, and strong holds up next to strong. If you really want to pair an intense food or beer, you may consider equally intense counterpart that can take a punch.

2. What flavors linger should be what is paired. Consider what flavors stick around on your palate after the bite when you think about what you pair it with. Making a steak with a garlicky cream sauce? That sauce will probably linger more than the meat. Pair to that rather than the steak.

3. Alcohol intensifies heat. This can be good or bad, but a factor that should be considered. Was that curry a little more mellow than you intended? Grab a high ABV (alcohol by volume) beer to kick the heat up a notch. On the other hand, that jalapeno and Habanero chili might need a low alcohol session beer.

4. Don’t forget texture. I will spare you from a lecture using my least favorite beer term, "mouth feel," with just a mention of the idea that carbonation cuts through grease and fat. A great compliment to a triple cheese pizza isn’t as much a flavor but a texture, bubbles add a cleansing balance to a rich greasy meal. While a smooth stout, with low carbonation levels, will match the silkiness of a creamy chocolate mousse. Consider carbonation levels when paring, not just flavors.

5. Think of all the flavors being in one bowl. The ingredients should be able to coexist simultaneously, and although the argument can be made for contrasting, the best place to start is complimenting. The best way to do this is thinking about all the flavors together. Let’s just pretend that you made yourself a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup. What do you want to throw in that pot? a beer with notes of caramel and molasses or a beer with lemon and basil. I don’t know about you but that last beer is looking like a much better man for that job.

Italian Beer Bread Sticks & Tips for Beer and Food Pairing via @TheBeeroness

When it comes to cooking and beer, it’s always a fairly safe bet to pair with the beer you used to make the dish. I used a higher hop wheat beer for this, a good beer for pairing as well. The wheat matches the flavors in the breadsticks (obviously) and the slightly higher than average hops can keep up with the kick of garlic.

Italian Beer Bread Sticks

Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 breadsticks

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp fresh rosemary minced
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 3/4 cup beer wheat beer or pale ale
  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Topping:
  • 3 tbs melted butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp course salt

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, garlic powder, sugar and rosemary. Mix until combined.
  • In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the dough has been moistened, sprinkle with the salt and add softened butter.
  • Turn speed to medium-high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 equal sized pieces.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a 7-inch breadsticks. Transfer to a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.
  • IN a small bowl whisk together the melted butter and garlic powder. Brush breadsticks with the butter mixture, reserving any leftover.
  • Sprinkle with coarse salt (I used smoked Maldon salt)
  • Bake at 400 for 12 minutes or until a light golden brown.
  • Brush with remaining butter prior to serving, if desired.

Italian Beer Bread Sticks & Tips for Beer and Food Pairing via @TheBeeroness

How To: Make Pickled Jalapenos

Jalapeno Peppers3

Jalapenos are abundant right now, but that’ll change very soon, when fall starts to chill the fields. I love the brightness of fresh jalapenos, but pickled jalapenos are a staple. Once I figured out how incredibly easy and cheap it is to make my own, I’ve never gone back. I even learned how to water bath can just so that I could make these in giant batches!

The tricky thing about jalapenos is that the heat level varies wildly, and there is no way to tell how hot an individual pepper is. But the good news is that most of the heat in the jalapeno is in the seeds and the membrane in the middle of the pepper, removing all or some will give you control over the final burn.

Once you have yourself a giant batch of beautifully pickled peppers, there is an enormous amount of uses from quesadillas to burgers, I just can’t get enough.

Pickled Jalapenos

Ingredients

  • 15 large jalapenos
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup vinegar
  • 3 tbs white sugar
  • 2 tbs kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Slice the jalapenos into ¼ inch rings. Remove all or none of the seeds, depending on desired heat level (the more seeds left in the peppers, the higher the heat level).
  2. In a pot over medium high heat, add the water, vinegar, sugar, salt and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar and salt have dissolved, remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature before adding the jalapenos. Place peppers and pickling liquid in an airtight container, such as a canning jar, refrigerate for 4 days and up to three weeks.

 

 Jalapeno Peppers2

Hoisin Stout Chicken Legs & What Are Hops?

Craft Beer 101: What are hops? via @TheBeeroness

Chances are, if you’ve spent anytime within stumbling distance of a Craft Beer Lover, you’ve heard the word "hops" thrown around like a rag doll. You may have been leery asking the "What are hops?" question for fear that you’ll be subjected to the mad beer-geek ramblings of your semi-inebriated friend. So, here I am to save you from the possibility of a lecture on beta, delta, and gamma resins whist trying to hide your shell shocked expression, with a quick and dirty introduction to this essential beer ingredient.

Hops are a flower that comes from a plant in the marijuana family. It’s believed that they were originally added as a preservative when trying to make water safe to drink, but due to their uniquely bitter flavor, the use became more about taste than preservation.

Craft Beer 101: What are hops? via @TheBeeroness

Hops have a very specific taste that comes from the oil and gives beer it’s bitterness. These levels of bitterness are measured along a scale called the International Bitterness (or bittering) Units, that we just refer to as a beers "IBU’s." Generally, the higher the IBU’s, the more bitter the beer. That bitterness is used to counter the sweetness in the sugars used to feed the yeast, and it’s that balance that dictates how "hoppy" or bitter a beer tastes, more so than the amount of hops used. For instance, most stouts have a very malty taste (malt, essentially, is the opposite taste of hops), but can have a very high IBU rating. Think of this like weather, the same temperature feels much colder with the wind chill factor. Beer tastes much more bitter without a malty balance. IBU’s are only one indicator of what’s in store for you, bitterness wise, but isn’t always a linear expression of experience.

Hops can be added at various phases of the brewing process and are often added more than once while the beer is being made. If you hear the term "dry hopping" it really has nothing to do with the hops being actually dry, it means that the hops were added at the end of the brewing process and steeped like tea, giving a bright floral taste to the beer, rather than a strictly cooked hop flavor. Most likely, the hops were also added previously in that brewing process and the dry hopping was purely for that bright hop flavor and an extra kick of bitterness.

Hops can be used in the flower state, but are commonly used after being compressed into a pellet that looks like food for a small furry pet. The highest concentration of US hops are grown in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re driving through Oregon and see long green vines strung up on tall wires, you are probably looking at the makings of beer’s most notable ingredient.

Hoisin Stout Chicken Legs via @TheBeeronessOh, and hey, I have some food for you. Thank you for indulging my need to Beer Geek Out for a few paragraphs. Because I’m so nice, I gave you both the oven and grill methods as not to taunt the grill-less causing Sad Face reactions across the world.

This chicken was great from the oven, but I have a huge crush on my grill right now so the win goes to grilled.

Hoisin Stout Chicken Legs

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 3 lbs chicken legs
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic grated with a microplane (or minced)
  • 2/3 cup stout beer
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 7.4 ounce jar Hoisin sauce about ¾ cup
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl whisk together the buttermilk, 12 ounces pale ale and salt. Add chicken, cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes (if all ingredients are cold from the fridge, this is not long enough from any foodborne pathogens to form). Alternately, chicken can also be allowed to soak in the fridge for 3 to 6 hours.
  • Rinse chicken well with cold water, pat dry.
  • While the chicken is soaking, make the glaze. Add the sesame oil to a pot over medium high heat, add the garlic, stir. Add the stout, soy sauce, honey, hoisin, smoked paprika and sriracha, bring to a boil, stirring frequently until thickened, about 8 minutes.

Oven method:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add the chicken (working in batches if necessary) and sear on all sides until browned, transfer to a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper or aluminum foil. (note: browning the chicken before the oven will help you to avoid rubbery, chewy, skin on your chicken).
  • Brush the chicken on all sides with glaze. Cook for thirty minutes, removing chicken from the oven and re-glazing every ten minutes. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165.

Grill method:

  • Preheat grill to medium high.
  • Brush the grates with olive oil.
  • Brush chicken on all sides with glaze.
  • Place on hot grill, close the lid.
  • Turn and brush with glaze every 2 minutes until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

Hoisin Stout Chicken Legs via @TheBeeroness

Kids Lunch Box Idea: Strawberry Lovers Lunch

I Heart California-Strawberries #BuildABetterLunchBox

This post is sponsored by California Strawberries. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas are my own.

Lunch box meals are an enormously difficult challenge. You need to have the ability to create a meal that will dazzle a tiny human (no small feat), have the staying power to last in a little box that’s been tossed around in a kids backpack and probably sit at room temperature for a while, be quick to throw together the night before, and packed with nutrition. It’s not surprising that I find it easer to plan my Thanksgiving menu than a weeks worth of unique lunch box ideas.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

Strawberries are one of my favorite items to include in the lunch box, she loves strawberries as much as she loves candy but they have incredible health benefits that my growing tiny human needs in her little body. Strawberries are a super food, packed with fiber and vitamin C, plus strawberries are one of the most antioxidant dense fruits, packed with cancer fighters.

Strawerry Filled Apples #BuildABetterLunchBox But more than anything, they’re so pretty. I know she’ll reach right for them. The sauce I make is just a combination of apple sauce and strawberries giving it a gorgeous natural pink color that inspired her to name it "Princess Sauce." When trying to move my family away from all artificial food coloring, strawberries are the perfect way to add stunning color in a natural and health filled way.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

I also really love to make her these Strawberry Peanut butter Burritos. The sliced berries hold up better to a lunch box environment better than jam, there isn’t the risk of soggy bread. She also loves that it’s different than your average sandwich.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

This lunch box meal takes less than ten minutes to throw together, and it’s packed with fiber, antioxidants, and general goodness, although she only sees fun finger food. Just the way I want it.

Lunch Box Idea- Strawberry Lovers Lunch #BuildABetterLunchBox

Strawberry Lovers Lunch

Ingredients

  • Peanut Butter Strawberry Burritos
  • 1 6-inch flour tortilla
  • 3 tbs creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup fresh sliced strawberries
  • Apples Heart Strawberries
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2-3 large strawberries
  • Princess Sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries

Instructions

For the peanut butter strawberry burritos

  1. Spread the peanut butter liberally across the tortilla
  2. Lay the strawberry slices in an even layer on top of the peanut butter, overlapping slightly.
  3. Roll up into a burrito.
  4. Slice in half, if desired.

For the apples:

  1. Cut the apple in half across the middle (rather than down the stem) Slice into 4 to 6 (½ inch) rings.
    Using a small cookie cutter (I prefer a heart shape) remove the core.
  2. Slice the strawberries down the center, through the leaves.
  3. Using the same cookie cutter used to cut the apples, cut a shape out of each strawberry half. Place the strawberry in the hole in the center of the apple.

For the Princess Sauce:

  1. Add apples sauce and strawberries to a small blender or food processor.
  2. Process until smooth.

Catch more great strawberry recipes on the California Strawberries Facebook page! They always find the greatest strawberry concoctions.

Chocolate Stout Mousse Brownies and What The Heck Is A Stout?

Craft beer 101: What The Heck Is A Stout?

Dark beers, with their inky good looks and sinister darkness have a way of scaring away those new to the brew. But what is a stout? and what makes it so dark?

Don’t let the color fool you, these gentle giants offer a smooth, malty, drinkability with much lower hop bitterness than their lighter counterpoints. Stouts were born from another dark beer, the Porter. Porters and stouts are both made with grains that have been roasted to a dark blackness, giving them their inky color and toasted flavors. Porters came first, gaining wide popularity across Europe in the 18th century. Once brewers started to tinker with the formula (as they often do) and the ABV (alcohol by volume) was raised, the term Stout Porter was born, referring to a stronger version of a porter. Although over time, the ABV of a dark beer has no bearing on weather a it will earn a stout or a porter designation, it’s no longer part of the equation. For example, a Guinness, the worlds most popular stout, has an ABV of only 4.2%, very few porters are at or below that level.

To this day the differences between stouts and porters are well debated and the lines have been aggressively muddied. For the sake of cooking, stouts and porters are interchangeable. The difference between a stout and porter: what ever the brewer wants it to be. Try not to spend too much time on the differences of stouts and porters, for the most part, it just doesn’t matter.

If you are a coffee drinker, or tend to favor the bourbon, the dark beers should be on your Must Try list. The flavor profiles in a stout often have notes of cocoa, espresso, and spices. They have richness that’s easy to enjoy. Although within the genera, several styles exist.

Chocolate Stout Mousse Brownies and What The Heck Is A Stout?

Imperial Stout (or Russian Imperial Stout): These days the term means a big bold stout, full of larger than life flavors and a higher than average ABV. These are generally sippin' stouts, made to savor and share. Don’t be afraid of these giant beasts, brewers can pack some fantastic flavors in these beers.

A few to try: Old Rasputin Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout, Rogue Imperial Stout

Milk Stout (or Sweet Stouts): These are beers made with the lactose from milk, one of the exceptions to the Beer is Vegan rule. The sweetness of the lactose gives a creaminess and a velvety texture to a tall glass of dark brew.

a few to try: Left Hand Milk Stout, 3 Floyds Moloko, Revolution Brewing Mad Cow Milk Stout

Smoked Porter: The mild hints of smoke in these beers make them great for a cold winters evening by the fire, as well as the perfect braising liquid of a large pork shoulder. This is my go-to style when braising beef or pork, and also adds a meatiness when cooking chicken or mushrooms.

A few to try: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla BeanDeschutes Imperial Smoked Porter

 

Chocolate Stout Mousse Brownies. Rich and chocolaty with the texture of a fluffy, creamy mousse.

These brownies are a hybrid of the Chocolate Stout Mousse that will be in my Cookbook and my favorite brownie recipe. There is a light, mousse-like texture and deep richness all over a crispy chocolate shortbread crust.

Chocolate Stout Mousse Brownies

Ingredients
  

For the Crust:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter

For the Filling:

  • 8 tbs butter 1 stick
  • 8 wt ounes bittersweet chocolate 62% cocoa content about 1 ½ cups
  • 5 eggs separated
  • ¼ tsp cream tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup stout
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tbs flour

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven 375.
  • In a food processor add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and powdered sugar, pulse a few times to combine.
  • Add the butter cubes and process until well combined.
  • Spray a deep dish 8x8 inch baking dish (for 9x13, double the recipe) with cooking spray.
  • Dump crust in the prepared dish, press firmly into an even layer.
  • Place 8 tablespoons of butter, stout and chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or a metal bowl set over a pot of water) over medium heat. Stir frequently until melted, remove from heat.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the egg whites and cream of tartar, building up speed, beat on high until soft peaks form.
  • Move whites to a large bowl.
  • In the stand mixer bowl (no need to clean between jobs), add the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on high until light and slightly fluffy.
  • Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, beating until completely combined, scraping the bottom to make sure the mixture is well incorporated.
  • About 1/3 at a time, gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture using a spatula. Stir until egg whites are well combined with the chocolate mixture. Add filling in an even layer on top of the crust.
  • Bake at 375 for thirty minutes or until the top has puffed and looks dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.

Chocolate Stout Mousse Brownies. Rich and chocolaty with the texture of a fluffy, creamy mousse.

Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce

 

Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce

While flavor may be a great go-to reason to cook with beer, don’t overlook the more practical applications of beer cooking. One of the cornerstones of Practical Beer Cooking is the inherent meat tenderizing properties of beer, making it the perfect brining liquid. While infusing the meat with flavor and uping the juiciness factor, beer also lends it’s powers to giving you extra tender meat. While land dwelling meat is often the target of brining, most scallops need a good long soak in a hoppy brine.

Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce

Scallops are a deceptive beast. For the most part, these sweet and mild little sea treats look simple to prepare. But a few minor issues could be robbing you of that restaurant quality greatness. The first, and most damaging issue is that the majority of grocery store scallops will come soaked in a phosphate solution that, while whitening and preserving, infuses the scallop with a soapy taste. This phosphate solution also permeates the meat, leaking out during cooking and preventing you from getting a good sear. So, really, you need to flush the beast to get a great meal out of it. The phosphate soaked scallops are generally referred to as "wet" scallops and those that are not soaked in anything are referred to as "dry" scallops. While dry scallops are still available, they are harder to come by, more expensive, and much more rare the farther you get from the water. If your scallop is white and sitting in a pool of milky liquid, it’s a wet guy. If it isn’t labeled "dry packed" you can bet your dinner that your new found culinary delight has been hanging out in phosphates for a while.

The cure to this is really simple, and relying on those meat tenderizing properties of beer will give you a great wash to get your scallop back to a dry pack quality. Allowing the scallops to brine will work the phosphates out, giving you the ability to sear those beautiful scallops without that nasty milky liquid seeping out in the pan, ruining that beautiful sear you want. Make sure to allow them to dry really well before searing to get that great golden crust that always drives us crazy.

For this recipe I used a smokey stout for the sauce (the Sauce of Dreams, that I sort of want to take a bath in), the slight notes of smoke are really beautiful and add a bit of a Texas Barbecue flavor to these nicely seared scallops. I used Still Life by Beachwood Brewing, a really nice stout, with beautifully layered flavors. Look for a stout or a porter (both dark beers that are interchangeable when cooking) that have notes of smoke or espresso.

Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce

Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce

Ingredients
  

For the Scallops:

  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 12 jumbo scallops
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil

For the Corn Puree

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 5 tbs butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup cream or half and half

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup stout
  • 1 tbs molasses don't use Blackstrap
  • 3 tbs balsamic
  • 1 tbs soy

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl stir together the pale ale, salt, water and lemon juice.
  • Add the scallops, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • While the scallops brine, make the puree. Cut the kernels off the corn cob, set aside.
  • In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the kernels, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and cream. Allow to simmer until corn has softened, about 8 minutes. Add to a blender or food process and process until smooth, about 5 minutes. Pass through a fine mesh strainer or chinois (this will remove any fibers and give you a really creamy puree).
  • Make the sauce: Add the stout, molasses, balsamic and soy to a sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a strong simmer, cooking until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes (should easily coat a spoon). Sauce can be made three days ahead of time and stored in the fridge, but with thicken as it cools. Heat slightly to thin.
  • Remove the scallops from fridge and place on top of a stack of 4-5 paper towels. Add another layer of paper towels and allow to drain and dry for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper on both sides.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to a pan over high heat. Allow the butter to melt and get very hot, nearly smoking.
  • Add the scallops, flat side down, and allow to cook until a dark golden brown crust forms on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until seared on the opposite side. Remove from pan when a slight hint of translucent pink still remains at the center, don’t over cook.

Beer Brined Scallops over Smokey Corn Puree and Stout Molasses Sauce

After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

 

Perfect After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

Before I became a member of Club Mom, I had no idea how much time I would spend obsessing over school lunches and after school snacks. Along with how hard it is to cut tiny fingernails and how accustom to contact with bodily fluids you become, these are things not mentioned in those baby books. Heads up kids, there is a LOT they don’t mention in the baby books.

Perfect After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

My little lady is a constant mover, more interested in sports than food at this point. She’s tiny and needs bites that are both nutrient and calorie dense to keep meat on her tiny bones. I started to make these because they’re portable, fruit filled, and just enough chocolate to get her interested.

Perfect After School Snack: Chocolate Banana PopsYou can also make them with cinnamon chips, yogurt chips or peanut butter chips. It all works out about the same. Just slice the banana into 1/2 inch slices, add a toothpick, melt the chips in a microwave safe bowl, dip, add to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and freeze. Once they’re frozen you can add them all to a large zip lock bag.

Perfect After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

 

Couldn’t be easier.

And while I’m at it, California Strawberries is doing a fun Build a Better Lunch Box campaign and giving away these adorable lunch boxes. Cute, right? Enter the giveaway here.

Red Rocket Lunch Box

Perfect After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

 

 

After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana, ripe but firm
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips, or yogurt chips)
  • 12 toothpicks

Instructions

  1. Slice the banana into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices.
  2. Skewer with a toothpick.
  3. Add the chips to a microwave safe bowl.
  4. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, stir and repeat until melted.
  5. One at a time, dip the banana bites into the melted chips, place on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.
  6. Freeze.
  7. Serve frozen.

Perfect After School Snack: Chocolate Banana Pops

 

Homemade Beer Mustard and Gateway Beers: Best Introductory Craft Beers


beer mustard

I’ve made mention of Gateway Beers before, beer that serves as an easy introduction to craft beer as well as offers a fine example of the flavor profiles available. Beer that eases the curious into the pool of craft beer flavor, while giving a preview of what’s to come once you decide to wind yourself down the labyrinth of craft beer exploration. I’ve scoured my beer drinking past to present to you my favorite, accessible, easy to drink and hard to forget craft beers.

Wheat Beer

The most readily available wheat beers will most likely have the designation of Hefeweizen or White Ale. With a smooth, mellow, drinkability, this is a great first stop on the train to full blown beer obsession. For the craft beer newbie, these are a great palce to start.

 

1. Allagash White. This is a beautifully balanced example of a white ale. It’s bright, crisp, fruity and citrusy. Of all the beer I recommend as Gateway Beer, this is at the top of my list. It’s also very well distributed, look for it at most major supermarkets with craft beer selections. Allagash White

2. Hangar 24 Orange Wheat. This is a vibrant and clean wheat beer from a rapidly growing brewery out of Redlands California. It’s well balanced with a mild, not overly sweet, orange taste pulled from groves right in the breweries own back yard. Hangar is very well distributed on the West Coast, and with a motivated team, that distribution is growing daily. (Available in both bottles and cans)

Hanger 24-10-2

3. Dogfish Head, Festina Peche. This is just fun beer. It packs a peach punch, and while it may be a bit on the sweet side for those lovers of bitter beer, it’s a great way to show off what beer can do to those have never ventured inside the beer world.

Chili Beer Chicken WIngs Bottle

IPA’s and Other Pales

Although "pale ale" is a bit of a broad stroke when it comes to the spectrum of craft beer, it seems to be where most newbies want to begin. With flavors that range wildly from citrus to caramel, it’s a great place to hang out for while when exploring craft beer.

IPA Lemon Bars3 Eagle Rock Populist Bottle_

1. Eagle Rock Populist. The IPA is the corner stone of the craft beer movement, the poster child for Beer Drinkers Beer, but with high levels of intensity and bitterness, a beer style that should be approached with caution for those new to the scene. Look for an IPA that has a strong malt backbone to balance the hops and lower level IBU’s (international bitterness units). While the Populist kicks you quite a few hops, the low notes of malt and caramel give a nice smooth balance that’s rounded out with citrus and pineapple. It’s a great one for those who have a taste for craft beer, but have yet to venture into the higher hop end of the scale.

lemon pilsner cake bottle

2. North Coast Scrimshaw. This is a fantastic example of a pilsner from one of my favorite breweries, North Coast. It’s the perfect beer to give to the Macro Beer Drinker in your life to show them a clean and drinkable beer that also has tons of flavor. It’s really well distributed on the West Coast, but worth seeking out if you’re farther East.

paleale

3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Sierra Nevada deserves a lot of credit when it comes to the ground work that was laid for the current Craft Beer movement. While the macro breweries spent millions to convince the 1990’s beer drinking public that "bitter beer face" was the fate worse than death, Sierra Nevada persevered, holding tight to the beauty of a well bittered beer. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale was the Gateway Beer for a nation, a way to open the door and pave a foundation for what is taking place now.

The Dark Beers
Those new to the beer scene are always afraid of the inky black beers, assuming that the color is an indication of harsh taste. The color comes from roasting the malt and/or barley before brewing, making these beers surprisingly smooth and mellow. Nearly all dark beers have lower hop profiles and a smooth drinkability. If you are a coffee or bourbon drinker (and especially those naughty few who like the bourbon coffee), a nice stout will be right up your alley. The two most common dark beers are Stouts and Porters, the differences are relatively minor and often debated. When cooking, stouts and porters are completely interchangeable.
milk_stout_bottle_glass_494478432
1. Left Hand Milk Stout. I was lucky enough to get my grubby paws on one of these in Boston, a truly unforgettable experience for a beer lover. This is a fantastic beer to seek out for craft beer devotees as well as those new to craft beer, the velvety creamy taste will make you a believer in the dark side. Unfortunately for me (and other West Coasters), it’s biggest distribution is on the East Coast.
stout cookies bottle
2. North Coast Old Rasputin. I have a weakness for this one, especially when it’s on nitro. If you know someone who loves bourbon, but claims to hate beer, seek out the Old Rasputin Bourbon Barrel Aged bottle to change their mind about what beer tastes like. It’ll turn a brown liquor drinker into a beer drinker in a second.
22oz_Chocolate1
3. Rogue Chocolate Stout. Chocolate beer is so many guilty pleasures all in one, and few people can resist the idea of drinking their chocolate. This version is easy to recommend due to it’s wide availability and impressive distribution. I hear those who work for Rogue are smooth talking geniuses, which may be why it’s easy to find anywhere from Kentucky to Korea.
beer mustard2Mustard is a great way to introduce people to the flavors of craft beer in the kitchen. Because of the relatively small amount of beer called for in this recipe I like a strong IPA with low notes of malt, caramel and nuts.

Homemade Beer Mustard

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup mustard seeds
  • 2 tbs mustard powder
  • ½ cup IPA
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 tsp cream style horseradish
  • ½ tsp honey

Instructions
 

  • Add mustard seeds, mustard powder, IPA, vinegar, salt and cayenne in a glass bowl, stir until well combined.
  • Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  • Add to a small food processor or blender along with the horseradish and honey, process until mostly smooth but some whole seeds remain.
  • Transfer to an airtight container, store in the fridge.

Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Sauce plus a $500 grilling giveaway

 

(This post contains affiliate links)

Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Sauce plus a $500 grilling giveaway

I’ve spent the better part of the past few months obsessing over my new grill. After going a year without one, sad faceing at the grill recipes I saw on other blogs, I finally caved and bought one. As a way to feel a little less guilty about taunting the grill-less, I’ve teamed up with a bunch of other fantastic bloggers to offer one lucky reader a fantastic grill package worth over $500.

Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Sauce plus a $500 grilling giveaway

Although we are on the waining end of summer grill season, we are rapidly approaching tailgating season. The Coleman NXT 200 is powerful portable grill that’s perfect for fall football adventures and the gift card is a perfect way to add some accessorites to your grilling good times.

I have this Cameron Stove Top Smoker, it’s perfect to use indoors as well as on the grill. A good grill brush is important for when you want to cook more delicate food, or grill a pizza.  And don’t forget a grill basket for those vegetables.

In the spirit of grilling and tailgate food, I’ve whipped up some grilled Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Buttermilk Cream Sauce. Enjoy, and don’t forget to visit the other great bloggers hosting this giveaway!

Savory Simple, BakeaholicMama, Cooking Classy, Foodie Crush, Cravings of a Lunatic, 52 Kitchen Adventures, Pineapple and Coconut, Taste Love & Nourish,

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Sauce plus a $500 grilling giveaway

 

Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Buttermilk Sauce

Ingredients

For the fries

  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tbs salt
  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp course sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs buttermilk
  • 1 ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp sriracha (plus additional to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl stir together the water and 3 tbs salt until the salt has dissolved.
  2. Cut the potatoes into ½ inch wedges.
  3. Soak the potatoes in the salt water for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Remove from water and dry well.
  5. Add potatoes to a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and spices, toss to coat.
  7. Preheat the grill to medium high.
  8. Add the potatoes to the grill, close the lid and allow to cook until strong grill makrs appear, about 5 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until tender when pierced with a fork.
  9. To make the sauce whisk together all sauce ingredients until well combined. Add to a squeeze bottle, drizzle over fries.

Tailgate Fries with Sriracha Sauce plus a $500 grilling giveaway

Lemon Beer Dream Cake

Lemon Beer Dream Cake via @TheBeeroness

As I type this, I stand firmly on the waining end of National IPA Day (August 1st).  With two different bottles of IPA rattling around in my bones, I blame all levels of grammatical inaccuracies and typos on higher than average ABV’s.

IPA day was started by bloggers, with nothing to gain but promoting the hoptastic end of craft beer sepctructrum. It wasn’t a cooperate game, a marketing strategy, or a way to promote a single beer. It’s a rally cry, a voice from within this community I’ve come to love that just says, "join us." A way to celebrate the beer that’s at the cornerstone of a movement that identifies us as a community and a way to pull others into the pot. Drink the Dry Hopped Kool-Aid with us, we want you here. No singular voice benefits from this, it’s just a fun, rising tide, that lifts all craft beer ships.

For these reasons, I’ll always participate. Until it gains sponsors, then I may have to reconsider.

Lemon Beer Dream Cake via @TheBeeroness

As I spent a day in and out of comprehensive distraction, I did what I do in this corner of Craft Beer Land, I cooked. I baked. I made a cake that served as a bit of therapy for a strange time in a strange life. I wanted to pay homage to the Beer of the Hour, but that IPA can temperamental. Cooking and reducing an IPA in any capacity can be a bit hit or miss. Higher IBU beer (IBU stands from International Bitterness Units, it’s how to tell how hoppy or bitter a beer is), reduce to a very bitter product. I generally use them when the beer won’t beer cooked (or at least not cooked for an extended period of time), or when I want a little beer to go along way, flavor wise.

Lemon Beer Dream Cake via @TheBeeroness

A fringe benefit of beer blogging is surprise shipments of beer from great breweries. A recent shipment was graciously sent over from a brewery out of Athens, Georgia called Terrapin. Although most of the time I’ve spent in Georgia should go lavishly unrecorded, I would like to take a trip back to visit this place.

Terrpain’s dedication to diversity of brew, as well as a steadfast determination to provide Beer For All, makes this a place I want to hang out. Sampling the beer sent all the way to the far reaches of the West Coast, I found beer that I can give to the Craft Beer Seekers in my life as well as beer that I consider to be Gateway Beer. Gateway beer is a favorite category of mine, and often hard to fill. It’s beer that will rest well on the palates of those in the Craft Beer know, as well as easy beer to serve to people who, "don’t really like beer." It’s my way of pulling a few vodka drinkers and inBev devotees over to the Craft Beer side.

Only hours after a stash from Terrapin landed on my doorstep, I weighed my options. For this cake, I needed a lower hop beer for the cake and wanted an IPA for the filling and the frosting. I choose Maggie’s Peach Farmhouse ale (great gateway beer) for the cake and Hopzilla (beautiful, well balanced IPA) for the frosting.

Lemon Beer Dream Cake via @TheBeeroness

If you’re new to craft beer, or want a beer that’s easy to serve to people on the beer fringes, the Maggie’s Farmhouse is a great one to offer. It would also be a great choice for my Beer Sangria.

The Hopzilla I really liked, it was well balanced and in my world of flavor profiles and balanced tastes, that’s a win. A nice malt finish after a hoppy start always wins me over.

Lemon Beer Dream Cake via @TheBeeroness

Lemon Beer Dream Cake

Ingredients
  

For the cake:

  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs lemon zest
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup Saison pale ale or White ale beer
  • 5 egg whites reserve yolks for curd
  • ¼ tsp cream or tartar

For the filling:

  • 2 whole eggs plus five yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice about 6 large lemons
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • ½ cup IPA beer
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cut into cubes

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tbs IPA beer
  • 3 tbs whole milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter, sugar, and lemon zest, beat on high until very well combined, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, add the beer and buttermilk (it’s ok if it curdles).
  • Alternating between the flour and the beer mixture, add a bit of each to the stand mixer while it runs on low speed, until all ingredients are combined. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure all ingredients are well combined.
  • Remove the batter, add to a large bowl. Clean the mixer very well (using a hand mixer or a separate mixer is fine as well).
  • Add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the clean bowl of a stand mixer, any amount of fat and the egg whites will not whip properly.
  • Whip on high until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  • Add about 1/3 of the egg whites to the cake batter mixture, gently fold to combine. Once combined, gently fold in half of the remaining egg whites, then the final egg whites, stir until combined.
  • Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans very well (8 inch cake pans will work as well), divide the batter between the three pans.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the tops have just started to brown.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before removing from pans.
  • While the cake is baking, make the curd.
  • In a pan off heat, whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, beer, and corn starch. Add the butter cubes, place the pan over medium high heat. Whisk frequently until thicken to a pudding like consistency, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, add to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  • To make the butter cream, add the butter, sugar, and zest to a stand mixer, building up speed, beat on high until very well combined, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • One tablespoon at a time, slowly add the lemon juice, beer and milk, allowing to re-mix to a fluff consistency between additions, this should take no less than 8 minutes total. Make sure the frosting is very well whipped.
  • To assemble the cake, add one layer of cake to a cake plate. Top with half of the lemon mixture, then with another layer and then with the rest of the lemon mixture before adding the final layer of cake. Top the final layer of cake with the butter cream. If you want to frost the entire cake with buttercream, double the buttercream recipe, assemble the layers and chill the cake for at least one hour before attempting to frost.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Lemon Beer Dream Cake via @TheBeeroness

 

 

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad4

 

I can’t sit here and tell you that I have no idea why I love to Greek-ify things. I’ve already told you about my midnight boat experience between Italy and Greece, and the indelible moment that created in my life. More than that, it was Igoumenitsa, a port in Greece, where I realized how important food was to me.

I was broke, I’d worked three jobs for two semesters of my senior year of college to save enough money to send myself on a poorly researched trip through Europe, and I was short on cash. But even with the dwindling funds I decided to spend a the last bit of cash I had on a small piece of Baklava because I figured it was the last time I would ever have the chance to eat such an iconic Greek dessert in Greece.

It’s these little stories you collect over your life that give me no regrets of being firmly inside my thirties. I’ve done well, I suppose, on collecting stories over the past decade. If there is nothing else you do with your life, collect stories you’re proud to dazzle a crowd with over a glass of wine. It makes growing up so worth it.

 

Greek Pasta Salad2

 

Greek Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups ditalini pasta
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and dice ( about 2 cups)
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • 2 tbs dill, minced
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, ripe but firm
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Add to a large bowl, allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Gently fold in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Greek Pasta Salad5