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Beer Cheese Corn Spoon Bread & How To Throw a Craft Beer Thanksgiving

Beer Cheese Corn Spoon Bread2

As we fly through the fall, hurdling towards the holiday season, our first major stop will be the festival of glutton that I love so much.  While many of you will show up to your respective Thanksgiving feasts bearing bottles of wine, craft beer has earned a spot in America’s Favorite Meal. But there is a bit of a dilemma when it comes to pairing beer with such a huge spread, since very (very) few gatherings this large will allow the opportunity to pair a different beer with each dish, you need to pick beers that play well with many others.

Pick three separate beers for the meal progressoin. The first to pair with the appetizers that you’ve set out as your guests arrive, the second beer to pair with the poultry centric main attraction, and the third for the dessert round.

The Appetizer Beer should be like the food, a warm up for whats to come. Nothing overwhelming, you don’t want to wreck you guest palates before the meals have even begun. Look for something refreshing, clean and bright to get people ready for the onslaught of flavors that are about to come their way. My picks:

Ommegang Witte

Rogue Good Chit Pilsner

Drakes Blonde Ale

The Main Event Beer has to pair with everything from turkey to jello salad (don’t pretend like you don’t have an aunt that always brings that) so it has to be versatile. Look for a beer thats earthy, malty, moderately carbonated and low(ish) hops, you want the beer to highlight the food, not fight with it. My picks:

Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale

The Bruery Saison Rue

Schlafly Bière De Garde 

Dessert Beer will give you a bit more flexibility. You will probably have an assortment of pies ranging from fruit to chocolate, so you’ll need a beer that can mesh well with what you have. Since this is the final offering, it’s OK to go off the rails a bit and mix it up. I love to end a big meal with a malty, big, barrel aged beer, or a strong barleywine beer, it’s a dessert all on it’s own. My picks:

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Southern Tier Backburner 

North Coast Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin

So now that you’ve got the beer down, it’s time to think about the menu.

beer fodd thanksgiving

Until the end of time there are two beerified offerings that will always grace my late November Holiday Table:

Beer Brined Turkey

Beer-Brined-Roasted-Turkey

Hefeweizen Honey Dinner Rolls

Hefeweizen Honey Rolls6

But you might need more than just turkey and rolls, although those do happen to be the cornerstones of the leftover sandwiches. Here are a few more beerified offerings for your holiday table:

Beer Cheese Skillet Potatoes

skillet beer cheese potatoes_

Stove Top Beer & Bacon Mac n Cheese

Stove Top Beer Bacon Mac and Cheese 4

Pumpkin Ale Farro Roasted Asparagus Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Salad

Pumpkin Ale Farro Roasted Asparagus Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Salad

IPA Sweet Potato Mash

Sweet-potato-mash-FG

Chipotle White Ale Cranberry Sauce

Chipotle White Ale Cranberry Sauce

Porter Pecan Pie

Porter Pecan Pie3

Bruleed Pumpkin Beer Pie

Bruled Pumpkin Beer Pie2

Apple Pie with Pale Ale Mascarpone Cream and Beer Pie Dough

Apple Pie with Pale Ale Mascarpone Cream and Beer Pie Dough

Mile High Chocolate Stout Pie

Mile High Chocolate Stout Pie3

And for that Black Friday Pick me Up: Sriracha Bloody Beer with Chili Sugar Bacon

Sriracha Bloody Beer with Chili Sugar Bacon

And don’t forget about this Midwestern treat that I appropriately beerified, the corn soufflé that goes by many names and usually includes a box of Jiffy mix. Today we skip the mixes in favor of some real life cheese, beer and all kinds of deliciousness.

Beer Cheese Corn Spoon Bread

Beer Cheese Corn Spoon Bread

Ingredients

  • 6 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup pale ale beer
  • 8 wt oz cheddar, grated
  • 3 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, not canned)
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a pot over medium heat melt the butter.
  3. Sprinkle with flour, whisk until thickened and light brown in color, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the milk and beer until well combined.
  5. About ¼ cup a time, stir in the cheese, stirring until completely incorporated between additions. Stir in the corn kernels and cornmeal, remove from heat.
  6. In a small bowl whish together the egg yolks (reserve the whites), sour cream, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the corn mixture.
  7. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  8. Stir the egg whites into the corn mixture.
  9. Pour the mixture into a greased 2qt baking dish.
  10. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until the edges start to turn light golden brown.
https://domesticfits.com/beer-cheese-corn-spoon-bread-throw-craft-beer-thanksgiving/

Beer Cheese Corn Spoon Bread4

 

Garlic Beer Cheese Rolls

 

 

Garlic Beer Cheese Rolls

 

My book tour kicks off in a few days and one of my first stops is at Bear Republic, one of my favorite California breweries. On October 10th, from 6:30 to 8:30 I’ll be at the pub in Healdsburg hanging out, signing books, hoping to meet some of you and gleefully consuming some Bourbon Smokey Bear Stout. Join me, if you’re in the area, sit down and have a beer with me.

It was the beauty of Racer 5 IPA that introduced me to Bear Republic, quickly becoming a go-to favorite of mine, one I always have on hand at parties. It’s a crowd pleaser with just the right amount of hops to give you what you want but not overwhelm, it gives a perfect balance.

 

Because of that perfectly balanced hop kick, it’s a great beer-cheese-beer. Even more perfect to stuff that beer cheese inside a tender garlic filled roll for an awesomely beer flavored garlic cheese roll that can be a meal all in itself. But really, it’s just about being responsible when drinking, you need to eat something to soak up all that fantastic Racer 5 you be able to put down.

Join me October 10th, 2013  6:30-8:30, at Bear Republic!

Garlic Beer Cheese Rolls2

Garlic Beer Cheese Rolls

Ingredients

    For the Dough
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 envelope rapid rise yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  • 1 tbs white sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup IPA beer
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • For the Filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 wt oz cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup IPA
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane
  • ½ tsp salt
  • For the Topping:
  • 3 wt oz cheddar, shredded (about 1 cup)

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, sugar and garlic powder. Mix until combined.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the dough has been moistened, add the oil and sprinkle with the salt while the mixer is still running.
  4. Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  5. 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. Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface. Knead several times, roll out into a rectangle about 10 inches by 18 inches.
  6. Add all of the filling ingredients to a food processor, process until smooth and well combined, about 5 minutes.
  7. Spread the filling evenly across the dough. Starting at the long edge roll the dough into a log. Cut the dough into 8 rolls, each about 2 inches wide. Place cut side down into a baking dish. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake uncovered at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Serve warm.
https://domesticfits.com/garlic-beer-cheese-rolls/

I use this Microplane to turn a clove of garlic into paste in a second. (Affiliate link)

Garlic Beer Cheese Rolls3

Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip

Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip4 @TheBeeroness

This needs to be made with an IPA.

The buffalo sauce (which has to be Franks, let’s just get that out of the way) needs a big kick to the face. The only beer up for that job is an IPA.

I made this with Ballast Point’s Sculpin, one of my favorite IPA’s on the planet, and as with so many great IPA’s, it’s made in California.

After all, we have Ballast Point’s SculpinRussian River’s PlinyBear Republic’s Racer 5Stone’s RuinationDrake’s Aroma Coma, and AleSmith IPA.

No offense to the rest of the world, but if you love your hops, the West Coast is a great place to be.
Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip @TheBeeroness

But maybe you don’t like hops. The mere thought making you want to wash your mouth out with a pale lager.

Before you decide, definitively, I dare you to have a blind IPA taste party.

Get a bottle of every beer on the above list (this will be much easier for my West Coast friends), pour them, taste them.

And don’t forget to invite me. I’ll bring the dip.

Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip via @TheBeeroness

Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup Mozzarella, plus ½ cup mozzarella for top
  • 1/3 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 2/3 cup IPA beer
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, add the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, Franks Red Hot, beer, garlic powder and cornstarch, process until well combined, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour into an oven safe dish. Stir in chicken pieces, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
  5. Bake until warm and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, sprinkle with blue cheese and serve warm with chips.
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https://domesticfits.com/buffalo-chicken-beer-cheese-dip/

 

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Beer Cheese Wontons

 

This recipe has nothing to do with Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving, really. It’s my favorite holiday, due in no small part to the fact that it is a day devoted to a gluttonous love of food. And no presents are exchanged. I’m not sure what it is about those present exchanging holidays that makes me nervous. I’ve never been a girl who is comfortable with receiving gifts. I love to give them, completely love it. But having someone watch me open a gift, I can’t help but feel completely self conscious about my reaction which I assume to be sub-par.

I know. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to over think things.

Which makes my love for Thanksgiving FAR exceed any feelings I have for Christmas. I get to make significantly more food than will ever be consumed, and no one will be attempting to decipher my reaction as I peel away the wrapping of a hand selected present.

Starting sometime in the next 36 hours, I will start preparations for the following dishes: This turkey, These rolls, this Mac n Cheese, something similar to this pie, and this pie too. As well as about 6 other dishes that will create a disgusting surplus of food.

 

And then, we will all be back to making football food, like portable beer cheese dip.

 

 

Beer Cheese Wontons

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 2 tbs green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Directions

  1. In a food processor combine the first 9 ingredients (everything except the wonton wrappers, green onions and the oil), process until well combined.
  2. One at a time, place the wonton wrappers on a flat surface. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, wet the edges or the wrappers with water.
  3. Place about 1 tbs of filling in the center of the wrapper. Sprinkle green onions on top (about 1/4 tsp).
  4. Fold wrapper over to create a triangle, press the edges together until very well sealed. Brush the bottom of the triangle with water and fold the corners into the center and press into shape.
  5. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Adjust heat to make sure it does not get to the smoking point, or the wontons will burn.
  6. Carefully add wontons to the hot oil, cooking until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  7. Serve immediately, wontons will get soggy if they sit.
https://domesticfits.com/beer-cheese-wontons/

 

Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Beer Sauce

 

 

Today is November 6th, Election Day.

As Americans spend the day thinking of little else, wedged firmly between Barack and a hard place, I wanted to give you a little motivation to get through this day.

We will soon find ourselves at the end of this exhausting Election Season, our feelings of separatism from those who disagree with us will fade. We will find Facebook to be a friendlier place, and those Someecards of a political nature will ebb.

Regardless of the outcome, you have a reason to grab your favorite beer. Either in celebration of your guy winning the mad race to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or as a way to console yourself over the fact that the other guy came out ahead.

Given that you may be too distracted to spend all that much time in the kitchen tonight, this meal only takes about 20 minutes.

And, I’m pretty certain it has bipartisan support.

For this recipes, I like a brown ale, a blonde, a pale or a wheat beer. Be aware that using an IPA will kick up the beer flavor considerably and may be too bitter in the end.

Chicken in Creamy Mushroom Beer Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 oz wild mushrooms, such as Shiitake (not dried)
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle chicken thighs on all sides with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the pan and cook on both sides until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan.
  2. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are soft and have darkened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the beer, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, add the cream and stir.
  6. Add half of the cheese, stir until melted. Add the remaining half, stir until combined.
  7. Add the chicken and allow to cook until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, serve over rice or pasta.
https://domesticfits.com/chicken-in-creamy-mushroom-beer-sauce/

 

 

Stove Top Beer And Bacon Mac And Cheese

I’m not a beer snob. To be honest, the term has always rubbed against the grain.

I’m a beer fan, a beer lover, a girl fascinated by beer, but I’m not a snob.

I spent years on the fringes of the music industry in LA, and the beer snobs I meet now echo those same phrases I heard then. And so do my responses.

If you loved The Killers when we saw them play free shows at The Spaceland, you should still love them when they win Grammys.

Good music, is good music. Regardless of how many, or how few, other people like it.

If you loved Rogue Dead Guy Ale when no one carried it, you should still love it when it has mass distribution.

Good beer, is good beer. Regardless of how many, or how few, other people like it.

At a beer event a few months ago I asked the rep from North Coast Brewing why he hadn’t brought any Scrimshaw, "The Beer Snobs would eat me alive if I poured that!" And then whispered to me that it was what he drank more than anything else.

Stop doing that.

Good beer is good beer. Don’t be afraid to drink what you like, even if everyone else likes it too.

In celebration of good beer, I give you my favorite one pot, quick and easy, make this for Thanksgiving, you will never make it from a box again, Mac & Cheese. Hope you still love it even when everyone else does too.

Stove Top Beer And Bacon Mac And Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 strips of bacon, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup beer (pale ale, blonde, bock, and Hef work well, an IPA will give you a very strong beer flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (fresh grated, pre-shreaded has additives that prevents it from melting properly)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of boiling water, add the noodles and cook until just before done. Don't over-cook the noodles or this will end up mushy.
  2. Drain the pasta, return the pot to the stove and cook the bacon until crispy, remove from pot and allow to cool.
  3. Drain off bacon grease and return drained noodles to the pot.
  4. In a separate bowl, add the beer, egg and sour cream, beat until well combined.
  5. Add the butter and the beer mixture to the noodles and return to medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted.
  6. About 1/4 a cup at a time, add the cheese. Stir until cheese has melted before adding more.
  7. Add the spices and chopped bacon, stir.
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https://domesticfits.com/stove-top-beer-and-bacon-mac-and-cheese/

 

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Mac And Beer Cheese Soup

 

I have a confession to make. Before starting this blog, I tried to make beer cheese soup and failed. I was baffled, at first, but figured out that a combination of my lack of patience (manifesting itself in my cheese dumping rather than slow adding) and a furious boil, resulted in a sloppy mess.

Second confession of the day (just call yourself a priest, and I’ll say a few Hail Mary’s on my way out) is that even though I love this recipe, I think I may love the photos more. Because right after I took them I was reminded via ping of my first post and how on their best day, those photos are hideously below average. I’ve worked really hard to bring my photography up to an acceptable standard and these photos reminded me of how my work is paying off.

Third confession, I won a state-wide Cook-Off on Friday. Ok, not really a confession, but I’m excited, so I thought I would share.

Fourth confession, I still have  a crush on Luke Perry. And Val Kilmer’s character in Real Genius. Looks like I went one confession too far.

Mac And Beer Cheese Soup

Note: Cheese sauce separates easily if the mixture is brought to a boil, or if pre shredded cheese is used. If the mixture does separates, try to puree the cheese sauce with a hand blender before you add the noodles.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbs corn starch
  • 12 ounces Hefeweizen
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (thinly grated, don't use pre shredded)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni noodles

Directions

  1. In a large pot heat the olive oil. Add the onions and jalapenos, cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the butter stir until melted.
  3. Sprinkle the flour and corn starch on top of the melted butter and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the beer, broth and cream bring to a low simmer.
  5. 1/4 a cup at at time, add the cheese and stir until completely melted before adding more (do not boil or cheese will separate). Repeat until all the cheese is incorporated into the soup.
  6. Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and stir to combine.
  7. Add the macaroni noodles and cook until noodles are al dente.
  8. Add additional beer or broth to thin to desired consistency.
https://domesticfits.com/mac-and-beer-cheese-soup/

Cucumber Cups Stuffed With Goat Cheese Caprese


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

On Friday I fought a culinary chicken battle that ended with a giant foam core check with my name on it. This was my second attempt to win the Semi-Finals of the Foster Farms Chicken Cook Off, last year wasn’t my year. But this year, I won a giant check, a trip to Napa, the opportunity to cook at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (my favorite prize so far) and the chance to grab another Giant Check worth ten grand.

I’m so excited. Not just because the other dishes I was competing against were incredible and each worthy of their own Big Check, but because, in a way, this Big Check (that currently sits on my bar, in all it’s 4 foot long splendor) serves as a validation for what I do. I’m good at this! See, look, other people picked my recipe out of thousands of other ones!

Maybe that seems silly, I create 3 to 5 recipes a week, post them for you and you seem to like them. You send me emails and post comments telling me that you liked my little creations. That should be enough, right?

But for some reason, that Big Check gave me tangible evidence that my recipes are good. Other people, who don’t even know who wrote that recipe, liked it.

Maybe I have a future here.

;

For this, I’m resurrecting and re-creating one of my most popular posts.

I love these little cucumber cups, so easy, so versatile, the perfect thing to throw together for a party. They take about 5 minutes, and they look so fancy. I used persian cucumber for these, smaller than your standard English cucumbers and the skin is so thin, there is no need to peel them.

Just use a small melon baller to scoop out a good portion of the middle, or use a paring knife to cut a wedge out of the middle and you can fill them with just about anything.

;

Beer & Bacon Pecan Bars

Ingredients

    For The Crust:
  • 1 stick plus 2 tbs (10 tbs) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs water
  • For the Filling
  • 1 cup stout
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a food processor add the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt, pulse to combine. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the food processor. Process until butter is incorporated into the flour mixture. Add the water and process to combine. Add additional water, 1 tsp at a time if there is flour that still hasn't been dampened.
  3. line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper (this will make it easier to remove from the pan) and dump the shortbread into the pan. Press into the bottom of the baking pan in one even layer.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes of until a light golden brown.
  5. In a pot over medium high heat, add the stout, cook until reduced by half. Add the butter and stir until melted, remove from heat. Add the sugar, corn syrup and stir until melted. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the eggs and stir until combined.
  6. Pour the filling over the crust, sprinkle with cooked bacon and bake at 350 until the filling no longer jiggles when you gently shake the pan, about 25-30 minutes.
https://domesticfits.com/cucumber-cups-stuffed-with-goat-cheese-caprese/

;


Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Goat Cheese

Every foodie mom wants to raise an eater. A kid with a profound appreciation for food who can tell you the difference between a Béarnaise and a Hollandaise. 

I love that my two year old’s favorite food is bacon, that she’ll pick the carcass of roast chicken clean if I let her, that she prefers to snack on roasted Nori sheets over Oreos if given the option, but it’s not my biggest focus. I want her to respect food, but I want her to respect people more.

I’m grateful that I have the ability to buy organic whole produce, spend the extra five bucks for the organic free range eggs, that I always make cakes, frosting, ricotta cheese, bread and pasta from scratch, and I’m thrilled that I get to be that type of mom. But I wasn’t that type of kid.

I was the kid who’s family lived pay check to paycheck, who once sorted through boxes of canned food sent over from the local Mission when the funds ran really low, who waited in the 12 passenger van while mom ran into the bakery to buy twenty-cent day old bread so our family of ten could make it through the month. And I never had a friend who made me feel bad about it.

When my seven sisters and I would have friends over on a friday night, and mom would make Bisquick pancakes for dinner, it was seen as charming, not as a cheap way to feed the fifteen mouths that were now at the table.

That’s what I want for Tater. To be able to sit at anyones table and see the food as what it is, a gesture of care and affection. I don’t want her to ask for aged Reggiano to add to the Rice-A-Roni that her friends mom served. I don’t want to raise a kid who wants to add a honey balsamic reduction to ice berg salad mix she is given by the next door neighbor.

I want her to eat what she is served, and feel grateful that someone took the time to offer her food from their home.

I want to raise a kid who would eat boxed macaroni and cheese if that what she is served, and clean her plate, without ever pointing out that her mom makes it from scratch.

And if she is at summer camp and a group of weary, under paid cooks serve her chicken nuggets and tater tots that only made a brief stop in the kitchen after a long ride on a Sysco truck, I hope she is able to see warm food that people took time away from their families to make for her. 

And if someday her mother in law serves her a burnt lasagna that is still frozen in the middle, with Kool-Aid out of plastic tumblers, I hope she say thank you. And I hope she means it.

Food is more than just an experience of taste and the pleasures that it brings, it’s about a respect for those who serve it. Everyone has different abilities, concerns and limitations but we all bring food to those we love with the same motivation, and no amount of foodie intolerance should ever diminish that.

I have the privilege  of spending time and money on the food that I want to serve, but the love I bring to my table is no different than the busy, over worked mother or 5 who serves spaghetti from a jar and a box twice a week.

I want her to be gracious and appreciative, no matter what is put in front of her, thanking her hosts, because others did that for me.

That’s what food is about.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Goat Cheese

3 tbs olive oil

3 cups Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters

1/2 tsp course salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

small pinch of cayenne pepper

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled 

(makes 4 side dish portions)

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat until hot and shimmery. Add the Brussels sprouts, tossing frequently until browned and fork tender. Turn off heat, add the salt pepper and cayenne, toss to coat. Add to a plate and top with goat cheese. 

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Chipotle Grilled Cheese With Shiitake Mushrooms & A Chipotle Round Up

I don’t buy many things in cans. I DO buy Chipotle peppers, and those come in cans. I’ve had to become inventive with them, as I try to use the food in my fridge rather than let it go to waste. And although the can these gorgeous smoked Jalapenos come in is rather small, a little goes a long way and I end up with a lot left over.

Seeing as how I am asking you to open a can to make this here sandwich, I also wanted to leave you with a few other things you can do with the rest of that can, once you devour that spicy, smokey grilled cheese. 

I rarely do "Internet Round-Ups," But Chipotle peppers and my desire to use the whole can has left me no choice, but has give me quite a few recipes that I can’t wait to try. Check them out:

1. Shrimp & Pasta with Chipotle Cream Sauce, Modern Comfort Food

2. Honey Roasted Chipotle Peanuts, Braised Anatomy

3. Cherry Chipotle Beef Ribs, Pop Artichoke

And some Chipotle Goodness, from my own Kitchen:

4. Chipotle Hummus, Domestic Fits

5. Chipotle Stout Braised Beef Tacos, The Beeroness

Now you are fully equipped to use an entire can of Chipotle In Adobo. 

Shiitake Mushroom & Chipotle Grilled Cheese

1 tbs olive oil

6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (use gloves)

2 tbs cream cheese, softened

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 tbs chopped cilantro 

4 slices of bread

2 tbs butter, softened

In a pan over medium high heat, add the oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the sliced mushrooms and sautee until dark and cooked through, remove from heat. 

In a bowl, add the softened cream cheese and the chipotle peppers, stir until well combined. Add the cheddar cheese, mushrooms and cilantro and stir until combined. 

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Return the pan used to cook the mushrooms to medium high heat, add one slice of bread, butter side down to the pan. Carefully slather half of the chiptole cheese mixture onto the bread and top with another slice, butter side up. Repeat for the additional slices of bread. Cook on each side until browned, about 4 minutes per side. 

Remove from pan, slice and serve with a cold beer.

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Olive and Goat Cheese Tartlets & The Blogger vs Pinterest Controversy

I’m officially on Pinterest. It’s such a brilliant and simple idea. A big digital pin board that you can share with friends. 

If you aren’t a blogger, you probably have no idea how many arguments and debates go on in blog land about this social networking site. The petitions, the disagreements, the loathing. If you are a non-blogger, you are probably a bit confused. What could anyone possibly have against pinterest?! It really comes down to respecting the originator of the idea you pin as well as the sanity of your pin followers. Here is a little list so that we can all pin in peace and harmony. 

1. Pin to the original post. This is the biggest irritation of pin followers. You see a pin and think, "I LOVE those shoes. I will buy them right now." you click and then pin goes to the google homepage or someones email account or even the pinterst homepage. You’re a disappointed buyer and the seller of those shoes just lost a sale to a Ghost Pin. Check the URL of re-pins so that you don’t perpetuate this. I’ve had my own photos lead to everything from the Foodgawker homepage to the Facebook homepage to, for some inexplicable reason: Target.com. Even if you found the recipe on Foodgawker, or you found those shoes on a fashion tumblr, click through to the original website or blog and pin directly to that, for the sake of your pin followers.

2. Don’t cut and paste the recipe into the pin description. It doesn’t bother me so much, but it is the biggest frustration and the source of most animosity between pinterest and bloggers. Bloggers feel like they will lose traffic if people can get the recipe from pinterest, and traffic is all we have people! It validates what we do. It comes down to respecting the content of the person who has created it. 

3. Follow your favorite bloggers. Pinterest generates an amazing amount of traffic for us and we are SO thrilled with that. If you have a favorite blogger, follow them on pinterst and re-pin their posts. It’s the easiest way to know that you are pinning or re-pinning correctly. If you have any questions, just ask. 

4.Bloggers need to relax a bit. If pinners break these rules, it isn’t out of malice. People either didn’t realize their mistake or are just trying to make things easy for their friends. Just sigh and let it go, there is no need to get upset about possibly loosing a little traffic when most people will probably click through to your recipe (or seek it out) if they want to make it. My general philosophy is that it is better to lose traffic than lose readers. 

5. Pin comments. We have covered that fact that bloggers don’t so much like it when they see their entire recipes posted in pin comments, which has been largely eliminated due to the enforcement of a character limit. And most pinners don’t like the long comments because it ruins the aesthetic of the overall board. But I personally love to see a quick review of the recipe written in the pin. For instance: "Made this for Thanksgiving! Loved it!" or "I didn’t make the frosting but the cake was great all on it’s own!" or even constructive comments: "I liked this but it needed more salt. I also added parmesan and it was a hit!" But don’t bash us. There is a pretty good possibility that we will see it and it hurts our feelings. We are real life humans with hearts and brains and feelings. Be nice, or at least helpful and tactful. 

And please, if you have more to add to this conversation, do so in the comments section! And please, pin away!

Here is my pinterest, a little bare at the moment but I’m working on it!

Olive and Goat Cheese Tartlets

Ingredients:

1 sheet puff pastry

1 6 oz can of Large Black Olives

4 oz goat cheese

8 oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup chopped tomato

1 tbs chopped fresh tarragon or basil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry with the rolling pin three to four times in each direction, making the pastry thinner, longer and wider. Using a 3.5 inch biscuit cutter cut out 12-16 circles.

Place the pastry circles on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

In a food processer, add the olives, goat cheese and cream cheese. Pulse until well combined.

Top the pastry rounds with 1-2 tbs of the olive mixture.

Bake until the edges of the puff pastry turn a light golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and top with tomato and fresh herb.

Homemade Ricotta and Prosciutto Wrapped Mangos on Toast

I’ve been re-reading Plate to Pixel this week. An attempt to push myself forward off this photography plateau I’ve been stuck on. I struggle, at times, with the balancing act that is being a mom, working full time, and maintain a blog. When my photos suck, and I know it, I see them as the crack that will bring down the wall and a panic begins to rise within me.

I know that when it comes to the blog trifecta: "Recipes-Photos-writing" I have a long way to go in all areas. The pursuit of goals isn’t about being perfect, or even about raw talent, as much as it is about struggle. Continue to fight, learn, seek objective feedback, challenge yourself, and don’t give up. 

The best thing about this recipe, is how easy it was to make homemade ricotta. Cheese making has been on my To Do list for a while and ricotta was a great intro, so easy and fast. 


Durring my research, I used three posts as guides and made two batches, all of which I consumes over the weekend. 

I used posts from these three blogs:

Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body

Smitten Kitchen

The Italian Dish 

I used the milk I had on hand, and this is what I came up with:

Homemade Ricotta and Prosciutto Wrapped Mango on Toast

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of cream

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbs lemon juice

8-10 large slices of sour dough bread

1 large mango

4-6 slices of prosciutto, sliced in half down the center to make 8-12 long skinny strips

salt and pepper to taste

To Make the Ricotta:

Put the milk, cream and salt into a sauce pan. Attach a thermometer (either candy or deep-fry is fine) to the side of the pot, making sure that the tip of the thermometer does not touch the bottom of the pan but is still submerged in the milk.  Heat over medium/high heat until it reaches 190 degrees, about 6-8 minutes. You will know it has reached this temperature because it will foam up really fiercely. 

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, stir only once. you want it to distribute, but you don’t want to disrupt the curds that will be forming. Leave it alone for about 5 minutes. Don’t touch it. 

Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl, line the strainer with 3-4 layers of cheese cloth. 

It will still be pretty thin, this surprised me. I was expecting something that looked like cottage cheese, and it looked more like thick milk. Thats fine. Pour it into the strainer that you have lined with cheese cloth. 

Allow it to drain for about 20 minutes to 2 hours. The longer you allow it to drain, the thicker and stiffer it will be. Remember that once you chill it, it will continue to thicken, so place it to chill when it is a bit softer than you want the final product to be. 

I liked Julia’s tip about tying the cheese cloth to the kitchen faucet in order to speed the draining process up a bit. Worked like a charm. 

Scrape the cheese into a a container with an air tight lid. Chill for at least 20 minutes prior to use. 

Ricotta should keep in the fridge for about 5 days. 

To make the toast:

Using a biscuit cutter, cut 3 to 4 inch circles out of the bread. Place under the broiler until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. 

Peel and slice the mango, wrap with prosciutto. 

Spread each toast circle with ricotta, top with a prosciutto wrapped mango, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

I also made these with apples slices, and that was equally as amazing. 

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.



Oktoberfest Beer Recipe: Cheddar Beer Biscuits

Oktoberfest started this past Saturday, September 17th, marking the 201st anniversary of this high holiday devoted to beer. In honor of the German festivities, I am declaring this week "Beer Week" on Domestic Fits.

I have a love and a passion for really fantastic craft beer that started while working as a waitress at a micro brewery when I was in college. I was able to get a tour of the brewery and a crash course in beer making from two very excited, self proclaimed "Beer Geeks." Up until this point the idea of a "Beer Guy" conjured up images of frat boys playing beer pong, but the Geeks changed all that for me. They were excited about the beer, the flavors, the process of it and the difference between an Ale and a Lager (FYI: there are several differences but the main difference is a Lager is brewed longer). I was hooked and a world of flavors opened up. Lucky for me, the West Coast has a fantastic, seemingly endless, supply of craft beers. If you are ever so lucky to visit us, and you love the art of beer, take a tour of a microbrewery. Beer guys are the nicest breed.

Although the true Oktoberfest celebrations won’t allow any beer to be served at the festival that aren’t brewed within the Munich City limits, I decided against using German beer. I love German beer, its lovely, but the locavore spirit of using what is close by is what I wanted to capture. For this recipe I used a Orange Wheat beer from Hanger 24, a Southern California based brewery. The beer was beautiful and the flavors where fantastic for these biscuits

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.

Get the recipe on my other blog, The Beeroness!

Get the recipe on my other blog, The Beeroness!