For weeks it’s been taunting me, begging to be flushed out, poured into my food processor and immortalized in internet print.
And this weekend three failed attempts to make IPA lemon bars that never really gave me the results I was hoping for coupled with this tweet:
gave this hummus it’s shot.
And I’m so glad that the stars didn’t align and the beer cooking God’s didn’t smile upon the IPA lemon bars (which have become my culinary nemesis, mocking me with vague imperfections) because this hummus was exactly what I wanted on a hot day. It didn’t last long.
For this recipe, I used one of my favorite IPA’s, Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA. A beautiful example of an IPA, even if this one was sans Habaneros.
Literary Grief. This is the term I use for the moment you finish a great book and realize that it’s gone. This sort of anchor to those free moments in your life is now spent and the characters that ran behind your consciousness during the busy moments of your day, beckoning you back to the pages have run their course. You miss having more left to discover, but all mysteries have been unearthed and the plot has crescendoed. Most recently for me, that has been Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton.
Inspired writing and an intriguing story peppered with mentions of thought-provoking recipes that I couldn’t help but mark for later reference.
One of those recipes was a reference to a Jerk marinade that Gabrielle still makes on a regular basis. Her only notes about it were just that it contained Stout, Scotch Bonnet Peppers, and Honey as well as the fact that the recipe’s ingredients totaled an upwards of 25.
The Stout Jerk marinade that I have created falls very short of the 25 ingredient threshold, but the inspiration to use stout, scotch bonnet and honey is from the above book. As fascinated as I am with Gabrielle, and grateful that I was able to eat at Prune years ago, I would bet all of my recipes on the hunch that she may have less than favorable opinions about lowly Food Bloggers.
After all, I’ve never slept on a pile of chefs coats between 12-hour shifts. I’ve never scraped mold out of a walk in. I’ve never reached calloused fingers into a deep fryer or worked one handed with a blood-soaked bandage covered with a finger cot slowing my progress. I worked as a waitress in the front of the house, but I always knew my place. I begged to be allowed do deep prep when we were slow, took the fall for wasted produce when the owner would hassle the over-worked line cooks, and made sure the cooks "water" cups were full when we were slammed. But I know my place even now, in the world of food and I am still, in so many ways, "front of the house" hoping one day to be in the kitchen doing more than just deep prep.
Here is a jerk marinade, inspired by Blood Bones & Butter and using Stout Beer for its flavor and its meat tenderizing properties.
1/2cupstout beerI used Storm King Stout, by Victory Brewing
4Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Peppers
1tspdry mustard powder
2tspChinese 5 Spice powder
1tspfresh ground black pepper
1tbsfresh squeezed lemon juice
1tspKosher or Sea salt
3lbschicken wingslegs, thighs
Add all of the ingredients (other than the chicken) to a food processor and process until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add chicken to a large Ziplock style bag, pour marinade over the chicken and seal, removing as much air as possible.
Allow to chill and marinate in the fridge for 8-24 hours, rotating about every 3 hours to redistribute the marinate.
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange on the sheet, spooning a bit of the remaining marinade over the chicken. Bake at 375 for 18-22 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Baking time will depend on the size of chicken you use. For very small chicken wings, start to check after 12 minutes.
(Chocolate Porter Strawberry Shortcakes With Beer Whipped Cream)
I’m taking a huge risk here.
You may have taken one look at this post and decided that I’ve lost my magic. Chocolate beer cake is as common as Nascar sweatpants in Walmart. But unlike motor sports fashion blunders in public, I loved this dessert.
I’m combining a past evoking childhood treat with my beer loving present tense self, and topping it with beer whipped cream. Strawberry shortcakes were one of my favorite desserts as a kid, but growing up I never had them from scratch. I was raised in a very prepackaged, frozen food section, shelf-stable house, with a mom who was trying to feed all of her 8 daughters (yes, that isn’t a typo, I have 7 sisters) with no time for any culinary adventure beyond reheating and assembling. Completely understandable.
Making my childhood memory of strawberry shortcakes those pre-packaged round sponge cakes, with Cool Whip and chopped strawberries.
So this is the "I cook from scratch and add beer" version of that. Although not a traditional "shortcake," I hope once I top it with drunken whipped cream and fresh berries you’ll forgive the misstep in terminology.
Chocolate Porter Strawberry Shortcakes With Beer Whipped Cream
For the cake:
3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter (softened)
2 cups sugar
1 tbs vegetable oil
12 oz Porter beer
For the strawberries:
4 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs porter beer
Preheat oven to 350.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.
In the bowl of the stand mixer cream the butter and sugar. One at a time add the eggs, beating well and scraping the bowl between each addition, then add the oil. Alternating between the beer and the dry ingredients, add both a bit at a time, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, stir until just barely combined.
Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Invert the cake pan onto a flat surface. Using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter, cut out 5 circles from each cake round (you can also use a large knife to cut them into squares).
Place chopped strawberries in a bowl with sugar, stir to combine. Allow to sit at room temperature for ten minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream, powdered sugar and 2 tbs beer. Whip on high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.
Place one cake round on a plate, top with strawberries and then with whipped cream.
There are a few ingredients that I have to restrain myself from adding to everything I make. On that list are the following: Sriracha, bacon, goat cheese and roasted garlic.
As you can clearly discern, beer is not in that line-up. Because I never try to hold back the urge to add beer.
Two of those four ingredients did manage to coerce their way into this dip, bulldozing my yearning for variety with their seductive culinary appeal. Roasted garlic is an amazing substance.
Once you start to roast your own and realize that with less than a dollar and 5 minutes of active time you can create the most addictive and flavorful ingredient with your own hands, you may come to understand why I was powerless to resist.
On a side note, I served this dip at a party and was all at once horrified and flattered to find a guy I barely know licking the bowl. I’ll take that as a good sign, and a validation for submitting to the powers of roasted garlic.
For this recipe, I used Saison du BUFF, a joint effort from Stone, Dogfish Head and Victory breweries. A Holy Trinity of Craft Beer splendor that produced a Saison Messiah to lead us into the new world of craft beer glory. It is out now, try and get your hands on a bottle, while you can.
If you can’t get your hands on the Saison du BUFF, I’ve also really loved this with an IPA.
1 1/2cupReggiano or Parmesan cheeseplus an additional 1/4 cup for top
6ozsmoked Gouda or smoked mozzarella cheese
1cupSaison or IPA beer
1teaspoonred chili saucesuch as Sriracha
1tablespooncornstarchvery important. Keeps the dip from separating
1/4cupchopped scallionsgreen onions
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Cut the top tip of each head garlic off, just enough to expose all of the cloves. Place each head on a separate piece of tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and seal the foil around the garlic.
Place both garlic packets on a baking sheet or baking dish. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Reduce oven temp to 350°F.
In a food processor add the cream cheese, 1 1/2 cup Reggiano, gouda, beer, red chili sauce, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Squeeze the roasted heads of garlic until the soft cloves come out, add the roasted cloves to the food processor, taking care that none of the papery garlic skin is added to the food processor. Discard the empty garlic head. Process until well combined.
Add to a baking dish, top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake until melted and the top has started to turn a light golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven, stir (it will have puffed slightly) top with green onions, serve warm.
Tortillas are one of those glorious foods that I have found myself continuing to make from scratch. It wasn’t an epiphany that wakened me from my supermarket tortilla grabbing slumber, it was a gradual process. Tortillas are easy, and you probably have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already. And the end product will finally convince you that you no longer need that plastic bag full or pre-made taco vessels.
So why the beer? Beer is a leavening agent, mild in a way that is the perfect strength to lightly leaven a tortilla. And a beer with bread, wheat of notes of crackers will add a fuller flavor then the typical baking powder that is called for in most homemade tortilla recipes.
You only need a few ingredients to make these, so you need to choose carefully. Most people use lard, and this tends to give the best results. After I cook bacon (a weekly occurrence) I pour the rendered fat into an air tight container and store it in the fridge. Once it cools and solidifies, I use this to make tortillas with. If you are vegetarian or vegan, vegetable shorting makes a great stand in.
The beer you choose needs to be carefully considers as well. Because it has a slight cracker like taste, I use Hair Of The Dog’s Ruth. Choose a beer that has notes of yeast, bread or crackers. A wheat beer would also work well.
1/2cupfatlard, vegetable shortening, rendered and cooled bacon fat
3/4cupwarm beerPlus 3 additional tbs
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the fat and rub it into the flour with your hands until it forms course crumbs and all the fat has been distributed.
Addr 3/4 of a cup warm beer into the flour mixture, mixing with a fork until all of the flour has been moistened (adding the additional 3 tbs if needed). Knead for about 3-5 minutes or until the dough becomes shiny and slightly stiff but not firm.
Pull off pieces of the dough just smaller than a golf ball. Roll into balls and place on a plate, continue for the remaining dough. Cover the plate with a towel and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Roll the tortillas out until they are thin enough to see through. On a lightly floured surface, flatten a ball of dough with the rolling pin, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a very thin consistency. Alternately, you can use a tortilla press.
Throw onto the griddle and allow to cook until lightly brown, about 1 minute per side. Don't over cook or your tortillas will be crispy.
Last week I was able to sit down with a guy, who in just two years went from a home brewer who was opening the doors to his first bar, to owning three bars and the fastest growing craft brewery in California.
If you live in Los Angeles, and you’re a craft beer fan, I’m certain you have heard of Tony Yanow of Golden Road. If you haven’t you are going to want to acquaint yourself with him and what he’s building. Here is my article for your craft beer research indulgence.
He is also the man who helped create one of my favorite IPA’s. Golden Roads, Point The Way IPA.
As I’ve hammered into you several times before, IPA’s make terrible cooking subject, which is why I rarely use them. This is a recipe that doesn’t require cooking, and the tart hoppiness of the IPA is a great compliment to the cherries.
And, as a salute to my fellow beer lovers who happen to be vegan (more vegan beer fans exist than one would expect) this is an easy recipe to veganize.
8 oz Dark Chocolate (60%) (For vegan, use vegan chocolate. Most higher end brands are vegan at 60%, but make sure to check if you want to make sure)
Pit the cherries and add them to a loaf pan in one tight layer. Pour the IPA over the cherries and allow to soak at room temperature for 2 hours and up to 6. Drain and allow to dry for about 20 minutes (they need to be dry before chocolate gets involved).
To temper the chocolate: (*Note. Tempering chocolate makes it shiny and gives it a nice snap. If you don’t care so much about that, you can just add the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted)
In a double boiler melt the chocolate over medium heat. If you don’t have a double boiler, add a metal bowl over a pot of water, making sure the bottom of the metal bowl does not come in contact with the water in the pot.
Chop the chocolate into chunks and add about half to the top of the double boiler. Heat the chocolate to 115 degrees (use a clip-on candy thermometer to do this). Add the rest of the chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate has melted and is now down to about 90 degrees.
A few at a time, add the cherries to the chocolate with a fork, roll around until coated, remove with the fork and allow to drain a bit, then place on a piece of parchment paper to harden. Repeat for all cherries. Chill until ready to serve.
The first time I made marinara was a complete accident.
Just a few months after I nearly accidentally graduated college, I got a job working with teenage gang members in South Central Los Angeles. You are free to laugh at the idea of a very white girl, who grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington, working in South Central. With gang kids.
I sat on one side of a light oak dining table in a small Group Home, a transitional respite for kids who had been released from jail but who were still on probation, to talk with Dominick. He was from a rough area of Compton, and had found his way to the seat across from me via a GTA charge and a hot temper. But to me, he was a baby faced 14-year-old who secretly liked Whitney Houston. This was our first meeting, and part of my job was to compile a list of his "Triggers." Anything that made him angry enough to lash out, to do something that could land his ass back in jail. We both had the same goal: get him back home. Most kids, in my short 4 months of experience all had a very similar trigger. This usually centered around someone "talking shit" about them, their mom, or their crew. Maybe a handful of other miscellaneous and understandable offenses.
When I asked Dominick what triggered him, what drove him to a rage that welled up in him a feeling of violence that once caused him to send a chair on a journey through a class room window, his face fell flat.
"What?" I was so curious, "What makes you that mad?"
He took a deep breath and lowered his voice, "When those mother fuckin' girls make human pyramids."
I laughed so hard I felt bad about it. His young face broke open into a sweet smile, "Jackie, I’m not gonna lie.." He started to giggle, "Pisses me the fuck off, I have no idea why. I want to push those chicks right over."
Fair enough. My job was to teach him how to deal with his anger, no matter what triggered it.
He wanted to learn how to cook, and he wanted to make Spaghetti. He thought that cooking might help him channel his anger. We didn’t have any sauce, but his group home staff had just come into ownership of 10 pounds of tomatoes, so we made do.
Because of Dominick, and his human pyramid hating ways, I will always love a good, homemade, can free, marinara.
Rub the head of garlic until about half of the papery white skin comes off. Cut a small amount of the tip off the head of the garlic, just enough to expose all of the cloves. Place on a small piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with about 1 tbs of olive oil. Fold the foil tightly around the garlic, place on a baking sheet. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place them on the baking sheet along with the garlic packet.
Roast the tomatoes and the garlic at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the skin starts to peel back from the flesh. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
The skin of the tomatoes should be very easy to remove at this point, peel the skin off the tomatoes and discard. Place a fine mesh sieve or strainer over a bowl. Scoop the seeds into the strainer and place the remaining part of the peeled and seeded tomato into a bowl, repeat until all of the tomatoes have been seeded. Allow the seeds to continue to drain while you make the rest of the sauce.
In a pot over medium high heat, add 2 tbs olive oil. Add the onions and carrots, sauté until carrots are soft and onions are translucent. Add the beer, seeded and peeled tomatoes and whatever juice has accumulated in the bowl beneath the tomato seeds. Discard the seeds. Remove the head of garlic from the foil packet and squeeze the soft head until the cloves comes out and into the sauce. Add the salt, pepper and basil.
Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, allow to cook and reduce until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you want a smoother sauce, add to a food processor and process until smooth.
Being wrapped in a world filled with food people, the lovers, academics and fanatics, I’ve often lost my footing. Forgotten the simple pleasures of small, honest meals for the sake of a journey towards the creation of an epic recipe. While surrounding myself with people who strive to reinvent the world of food as we know, I’ve been so entranced that I’ve stepped away from the core of who I am and the food I fell in love with.
I am not a moderist cook.
I am not a chef.
I may never create an epic recipe.
I am OK with that.
It was through a process, not of self discovery but of self remembrance, that stumbled upon a memory that I had almost lost within my catalogue of food experiences. Under the thousand dollar dinners, PR events, celebrity chefs, and world renowned restaurants was a small Italian city, and a home cooked meal.
Years ago, on what turned out to be a 16 hour layover, I was stuck in Pescara Italy. A girl about my age, just past 21, took pity on a broke and confused American in her tiny local airport and asked if she could show her town to me. It began with a home cooked meal, from her own mothers hands on a rickety folding table in her living room, the only place in the small apartment that would accommodate us all. Homemade bread, a small green salad, smashed peas and a roasted chicken.
For dessert was a lemon tart. Simple, beautiful and tangy, made by the hands of a woman who didn’t speak a word of English, but who took time to cook for me even though we would never have the ability to have a conversation, and I could never properly thank her. This is the food that I fell in love with, and I am reminding myself to stay true to that.
I’ve done my best to make the beer infused version of the tart that was made for me in Pescara, and chose a beer that is nearly as fascinating to me. Cooney Island Lager has flavors that remind me a great meal made in spring, orange, citrus, bread and apples.
If you can’t find this beer, look for a low hop beer with notes of citrus, tropical fruits and bread.
1cupfresh squeezed lemon juiceabout 6 large lemons
1stick unsalted buttercut into cubes
For the Strawberries
For the Whipped Cream
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the cubes of butter and process until combined, about 1-2 minutes. Your dough should resemble course meal.
Start with 3 tbs of water, pulse until combined. If the crust doesn’t hold together add more water, a bit at a time, until it does.
Dump the dough into a 4 inch deep, 9 inch wide tart pan with a remove-able bottom (you can also use a pie pan). Starting with the sides, form the crust inside the pan, trying your best to make it all as even as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a least 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375.
Place a sheet of parchment paper inside your tart and fill with pie weights. If you don’t have any, dried beans work great.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your tart is a light golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly. remove pie weights.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, beer, sugar, corn starch, whole eggs and yolks to a bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the lemon mixture to a pan over medium/low heat along with the butter. Whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Add the curd to the crust and chill until set, about 4 hours.
Just prior to serving add the berries to a shallow bowl of pie pan and cover with 1/2 cup beer. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Drain and return to bowl with the sugar, stir to combine.
Add all of the whipped cream ingredients to a stand mixer and mix on high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.
Top tart with berries and whipped cream just prior to serving.
A really well crafted IPA is a beautiful thing,but this is the style that is most often poorly done. The art of balancing a hop forward beer delicately with its subtle back notes is an art that only a few persistent pros seem to be able to manage. The well crafted, well balanced IPA is an incredible art, that takes the dedication of a thoughtful and persistent brewer to really ace.
I present to you Stone Ruination. It is a Masters level education on how to do the IPA right. Seek it out if you adore the Indian Pale Ale, or even if you tend to avoid it. That’s how you make an IPA.
IPA Marinated Citrus Pork Chops With Peach Poblano Salsa
1 cup chopped fresh yellow peaches (about 1 large peach)
1 cup chopped red bell peppers, stem and seeds removed (about 1 medium sided pepper)
2/3 cup chopped poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed (about 1 large pepper)
2/3 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 of 1 large onion)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs IPA
1/4 tsp chili powder (add more for a spicier salsa)
In a large bowl or baking dish, combine the IPA, lemon juice, salt, agave, garlic and srirach, stir to combine. Add the pork chops, turning to coat. Place the bowl (or baking dish) in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
Add all of the salsa ingredients to a bowl and toss to combine.
In a pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the pork chops, cooking one or two at a time, don’t crowd the pan. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes. You want them to still have a slight hint of pink still in the center, pork chops go from undercooked to overcooked really quickly, so keep a close eye on them.
Plate, and top with salsa. You will have more than enough salsa for the chops, serve the excess in a bowl with chips.
There are foods that I relent to making from scratch, taking hours to carve a meal out of whole ingredients. Hours spend on homemade pasta, breads, pie dough and sauces. The extra time is more than worth it for real food, feed to those I love from the earth, to my hands to the table.
And then there are things that take so little time and effort, I am amazed that it took me so long to start making them from scratch.
Like whipped cream, tortillas and ricotta.
The active time on this recipe is so little, and the reward is so great, I will never buy it again. No special equipment or difficult to find ingredients. No extensive aging times or unusual techniques. Just a few simple ingredients and a stove.
Spread it on bread and top with fresh vegetables.
Make homemade ricotta ice cream.
You might need to make a double batch.
This is recipe that needs a wheat beer. The citrusy breadyness comes through in really great way. I used Colete By Great Divide. The flavors were perfect for this ricotta and lent themselves well to either sweet or savory recipes using the cheese.
I was grateful that I bought a six pack, this is a beer that will make it’s way in my normal drinking and cooking rotation.
Homemade Beer Ricotta
3 cups whole milk (do not use Ultra-Pasterized, it won’t work)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Saison beer, Plus 2 tbs divided
3 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar (you can also use lemon juice, or a combination of the two)
Makes about 1 1/4 cups
In a pot over medium high heat (do not use an aluminum pan) add the milk, cream, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/3 cup beer.
Clip a cooking thermometer onto the side of the pan.
Bring the liquid to 190 degrees, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching. Keep a close eye on it, the liquid reaches and passes 190 very quickly and you don’t want it rising above 200.
Remove from heat, add the 2 tbs beer and then the vinegar (or lemon juice) and stir gently once or twice. It should curdle immediately. Allow to sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
Line a large strainer with 1 or 2 layers of cheese cloth, place the strainer in the sink over a large bowl.
Pour the ricotta into the strainer and allow to drain for 15 to 30 minutes and up to an hour.
After 15 minutes you will have a smooth creamy spreadable cheese. As you continue to allow it to drain, it will become more and more firm. It will also continue to firm once it is chilled, remove it from the strainer before it reaches the firmness level you want as it will continue to firm up in the fridge.
Place in an air tight container and store in the fridge.
You seem to have no interest in healthy beer recipes. You want your beer recipes to be a flagrant indulgence of full-flavored stimulation. You want chocolate and bacon and sugar and whatever else I can manage to squeeze into your meal.
I like that about you.
No "semi-homemade" or "skinny" versions will do for your beer baking, you want it to be bold and extravagant, diet repercussions be damned. You also have no problem with my recipes that take hours, making Bacon Beer Jam with delighted voracity.
So it is by pure accident that I offer to you a recipe that only takes 5 minutes to throw together and less than 20 to bake, allowing you to get a fully flavored beer muffin on your table in less than a half an hour.
Although I know you would have been more than willing to spend much longer. I appreciate your tenacity.
For these Beer Bread Muffins, I used Lagunitas Red, a special release that’s just so fun to drink.
3/4cupshredded cheddar cheeseplus additional for topping, if desired
2tbschopped green onions
1/4cupmelted butterplus 2 additional tbs, divided
Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cheese and onions, stir until well combined. Pour in 1/4 a cup of melted butter plus the 6 oz of beer, stir until just combined.
Pour batter into muffin tins until each well is about 1/2 full. Pour remaining 2 tbs of butter onto the tops of the muffins, dividing evenly between each muffin. Top with additional cheese, if desired.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins have puffed and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Serve immediately, these are best right out of the oven.
You aren’t always aware of the nexus of a true obsession. It may only be in hind sight that the catalyst is revealed upon agonizing inspection of your past. For me, however, the spark was breathtaking, an obvious birth of a fixation that lead to this blog. That trigger was Bison Honey Basil Ale. A beer that begged to be turned into Beer Creme Brulee, my first post.
If you enjoy this little blog that I have, and are as fascinated as I am with turning beer into chewable treats, you don’t have me to thank, you owe the lovely folks at Bison Brewery a debt of gratitude. As do I, or course.
For this post, I used Bison Chocolate Stout, an excellent example of the genre.
In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add 1 cup beer (reserve the remaining beer). Allow beer to boil and reduce until thick and syrupy and only about 1 tsp remains, about 20 minutes. Set aside. (Note: if you want a lower level of beer taste, skip this step and substitute the "extract" you have just made with 1 tsp of vanilla extract in the later step that calls for the beer extract)
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes up and over the sides of the pan, set aside.
In a large sauce pan over high heat add both sugars, butter, cream, corn syrup and remaining 1/2 cup beer. Stir until butter has melted and then stop stirring while the candy boils (you can occasionally swirl the pan), clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, taking care that the tip doesn't touch the bottom. Allow to boil untouched until the liquid reaches 244 degrees. The caramel will reach 200 degrees rather quickly,but will take 15-20 minutes to reach 244. The last few degrees climb quickly so stay close to your pot.
Once the caramel has reached 244, remove from heat. Add the reduced beer "extract" that you have set aside and stir until the bubbling has subsided. Pour it into prepared loaf pan, allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Cut into squares.
In the top of a double boiler add the chocolate and the stout, stir over low heat until melted and creamy, about 5 minutes. Don't over heat or your chocolate will seize.
One at a time, place the squares into the chocolate with a fork. Roll around until covered, remove and add to a piece of wax paper, sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Once the squares been covered in chocolate transfer the to the refrigerator, repeat with remaining caramel. Chill until set, about 10 minutes.
Remember the Beer Cooking Scale I told you about last month, the one I want to invent? The one that would let you know the approximate level of Beeryness the final product has? This recipe is at both ends of that yet-to-be-invented scale’s spectrum. The beer butter has a kick you in the mouth beer flavor that will be heartily enjoyed by beer enthusiast, and the shrimp has a subtle note of beer in it’s finish. If you are a Kick You In The Mouth kinda person, cooking for a Maybe Just A Touch kind of person, this will satisfy you both. You get a butter full of intense beer flavor to slather onto whatever you so choose, and your little friend gets a plate of shrimp with slight notes of beer. Harmony between the two of you once again.
For this recipe I used a Saison brewed with sage, giving really great herb notes to the finished product. This is a special release beer from Epic Brewing called Utah Saison Sage #2.
If you can’t find this beer, look for a Saison with herb or citrus notes.
Roasted Garlic Beer Butter
1 head of garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup Saison beer
1 stick of butter, softened
Preheat oven to 425. Rub several layers of the white papery skin off the head of garlic, leaving a light layer still in tact to keep the bulb together. Cut off the top point of the head, exposing the cloves inside.
Place on a sheet of foil, drizzle with olive oil and fold the foil tightly around the garlic. Place in a baking dish and roast in a 425 degree oven until the cloves are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
While the garlic is roasting, add the beer to a pot on the stove. Cook until reduced to 3 tbs, about 10 minutes. (To lower the level of beer flavor in the butter, reduce 1/4 cup of beer by half.)
In a food processor, add the softened butter and the beer. Squeeze the head of garlic until the cloves push out, adding just the cloves to the food processor and discarding the papery skin.
Process the butter until smooth. Add to an air tight container and store in the fridge.
Roasted Garlic Beer Butter Shrimp, two methods
3 tbs beer butter
pinch of salt and pepper
Metohd one: Grilling
Preheat grill. Melt the beer butter in a microwave safe dish. Skewer the shrimp with a heat safe skewers(or water soaked wooden skewers). Sprinkle with salt and pepper, brush liberally with melted butter. Grill until pink and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Brush occasionally with butter while cooking.
Method two: Stove Top
In a pan over medium high heat, add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper, add to the pan and saute until cooked through about 5 minutes.
Beer and bacon in a spreadable form, this may be the best thing to ever come out of my kitchen. It is a simple food, a few ingredients that over time become large with flavor and possibilities. A conversation piece, something your guest won’t forget, or a handmade gift for those carnivorous beer lovers in your life. Although the cooking time is long, your active time is relatively short.
This is the perfect way to spend a lazy sunday afternoon: The smell of bacon welling up around you in a sun soaked kitchen with Delta Spirit rising from the speakers and the rest of the demanding world no longer existing. Just you, music and the transformation of ingredients happening on your stove. Cooking, creating, lingering in my kitchen gives a very grounded feeling to my over extend life. A reminder that I need to slow down and enjoy, just be. A recipe that ask little of me other that the time it takes to simply simmer is a reminder of that, just be.
In a large pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon, working in batches if neccessary. Remove the bacon from the pan and allow to cool and then roughly chop. Drain off the bacon grease from the pot, leaving only about 1 tbs bacon drippings in the bottom of the pot. Return the pot to heat and cook the onions until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup beer and both vinegars, scraping to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the brown sugar and the bacon, reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Place the lid on the pot at an angle, allowing to vent the steam. Cook until reduced to a thick and syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a food processor along with remaining 1/4 cup beer and pulse until most of the large pieces have been chopped.
As summer heats up, so does my longing to add beer to everything I consume. I linger on the idea of changing classic recipes into beer recipes far longer than my busy day should allow. How would I add beer to a Tarte Tatin? What about an Blueberry pie? Or Eggs benedict? What beer would I use? Although I get lost in recipe development several times a day, it tends to make a long commute on a Los Angeles freeway that much more bareable.
Due to recent move, I’ve been a bit handicapped by my lack of access to a familiar kitchen and all of my culinary tools. I’m slowly working my way back to feeling normal, that slight feeling of alien unfamiliarity when I get home has begun to subside and my subconcious is starting to accept that the new place that I sleep, is now my home.
Beer popsicles are a fun addition in any adult party. You can play with flavor combinations (strawberry basil, orange jalapeno, blueberry lime) or just use plain 'ole untouched beer. If you have little ones around, make sure to keep these labeled well and separated from the kiddie ones. If you are worried about a tiny human being handed the wrong flavor, use colored popsicle sticks for the kids and plain boring wood ones for the grown ups. You can buy popsicle sticks, colored and plain at most craft stores or on Amazon. This is the popsicle mold I used, but just about any hollow vessel will work.
I used Pike Brewing Naughty Nellie for these. With flavors of hops, grapefruit and citrus, it gave a sour punch that I really loved. This is a recipe that can take a hoppier beer because there is no cooking involved. Experiment with your favorite pale ale, you have a summer full of back yard barbecues to get it just right.
The best part about visiting a brewery is the opportunity to sample those special release beers that never make it into bottles. Those brews that are only made in small batches, put into casks that sometimes make it to local pubs or events but will never make it into bottles in your local distributors shelves. Like those songs your favorite band will never record but will occasionally play live if you happen to catch a show on the right night, these are beers that make you feel special for having been granted the experience. In a world where it seems everything is accessible with the right google word search, these near mythical concoctions are only available to those who happen to be in the right place at the right time.
One of my favorites is the Habanero Sculpin from Ballast point. Because of the process they use, the heat is fresh and bright. An uncooked scorch that isn’t shy. Habaneros are an extremely unpredictable ingredient, with heat levels that vary widely from pepper to pepper, making every cask of Habanero Sculpin different from the last. If you ever make it down to San Diego, stop in for a pint and count yourself among the special few.
Since I wasn’t able to get my hands on any Habanero Sculpin, I found myself fixated on this Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale. And the result was a toffee that I couldn’t stop eating. So addictive, and it only takes about 20 minutes to make. I already have plans to make and hand this out as Christmas gifts, if I can wait that long to make it again.
In a large pot over high heat add the sugar, butter and 1/2 cup amber ale, it will triple in volume during the cooking process so make sure to use a large pot. Stir until the mixture starts to boil. Allow to boil untouched until the mixture starts to darken and thicken at about 230 degrees. Stir continuously until it turns a very dark amber and hits 290 degrees. This process will take between 15 and 20 minutes from start to finish. pour onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat. Allow to cool.
Add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the beer until hot but not boiling. You can heat it on a pot on the stove or microwave it in a microwave safe bowl. If you use the microwave, know that the beer will foam up once it reaches it's boiling point. Pour the hot beer over the chocolate chips and stir until well combined and melted.
Pour the chocolate over the toffee and smooth out in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the chocolate and chill until the chocolate has set. Cut into pieces.
If you use a chocolate with less than 60% cocoa content, it will have higher levels of milk solids, because of this it will have a more difficult time hardening once the beer is added. Try to fine 60% and chill it to set.
I want you to start thinking of beer as an extract. A complex amalgamation of flavors that functions in a recipe as an extract. If you were baking a fabulous caramel cake recipe, and the recipe calls for vanilla extract and all you had was mint would you just go ahead and use that? I wouldn’t, but then again a traumatic trip to Morocco has implanted a serious mint aversion in me. Think of beer the same way. If a recipe calls for a stout, an IPA isn’t going to work, you’re implanting an entirely different database of flavors. Stick with a stout or something similar, a porter maybe? If the recipe calls for a pilsner don’t use a porter, but you can always use a similarly flavored blonde ale.
This recipe is the best "first timers" recipe when cooking with beer. It takes about 15 minutes, it can be thrown together at the last minute and its simple. This is what you can go to if you have a beer themed party, easy, elegant and beautiful beer flavors that are subtle enough to be loved even by those "non beer people" in your life. You might even convert a few.
I use Flying Dog Road Dog Porter. With rock and roll good looks, a unbreakable tie to the incomprehensibly talented Hunter Thompson, and profanity right on the label, this is a beer that needs to be acknowledged. Its both full of flavor and easy to drink, this is a beer to seek out.
Chocolate Beer Cream Puffs
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs porter
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup porter beer
2 tbs heavy cream
preheat oven to 400.
Place the puff pastry on a floured surface and roll in each direction, making it wider and longer. Using a 2.5 inch circle biscuit cutter, cut out 20-25 circles and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 400 until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup of heavy cream, 3 tbs cocoa powder, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 2 tbs porter. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Taste, add addition sugar if desired, beating to combine, put in a piping bag.
Split the puff pastry circles in half to resemble buns and pipe the whipped cream into the center, replacing the top.
In a microwave safe bowl, add 2 tbs heavy cream and 1/2 cup porter. In a separate bowl, add the chocolate chips. Microwave the cream/porter mixture until hot and steamy. Pour over the chocolate and stir until melted. You’ll reach a point where the ganache looks like chunky hot chocolate, it’s fine, just keep stirring until well combined.
Spoon the ganache over the cream puffs.
Drink the rest of the porter and enjoy your handy work.
Disclaimer: These are not traditional cream puffs, or profiterole as they are called in Greece and Italy, but the name "cream puff" seemed to describe them to the closest approximation of what they actually are. Feel free to re-name them Puff Pastry Whipped Cream Bites if this bastardized version of a traditional dessert bothers you. I don’t mind at all.
In the food world you hear terms thrown around so casually. Words like confit, reduction, braise, semifreddo. I even see those words being used wrong so often, their meanings seem to change as more and more people republish inaccurate content. Braise is one of those terms.
Maybe it’s ignorance, maybe it’s an attempt to fancy-up boiled chicken to make it sound more impressive or maybe it’s just the result of blindly believing everything that’s posted online. As I post the definition of braise, I hope an inherent skepticism creeps into you, it should. Anyone can post anything online and hit "Publish". I have no editor, or fact checker, I don’t even have any consequences if I publish inaccurate content. Just the reputation as a reliable, solid source of information that is important to me, an integrity in writing that I hope to keep in tact. And for that, I’ll give you three sources, that you are free to check at your leisure.
A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables)
is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered,
in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time.
For this recipe I chose Allagash Black, one of my favorite beers of all time. It’s a stout that has notes of caramel, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt and such well-balanced flavors it not only incredibly perfect for mole, it’s a beer I will always list in among my Top 5 of All Time. It’s a beer that I urge you to seek out, whether you decided to make this recipe or not.
If you can’t find Allagash Black, look for a Stout with coffee and chocolate notes. This is a recipe that is on the difficult side and the flavors are in a delicate balance. Choosing the right beer will make all the difference.
Beer Braised Enchiladas with Beer Mole
6 boneless chicken thigh fillets
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 to 2/3 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
For the Mole:
2 dried ancho chilies, stem and seeds removed
2 dried anaheim chilies, stem and seeds removed
2 dried guajillo chilies, stem and seeds removed
1 stick mexican cinnamon
1 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup dry roasted almonds
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs creamy peanut butter
Toppings (if desired):
1/2 cup mexican crema
2 tbs chopped green onions
In a pot over medium heat, at the 3 types of dried chilies, the prunes, cinnamon stick, 1 cup beer and enough water to submerge the chilies. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow to soak, covered for 20 minutes.
In a skillet, add the almonds and toast over high heat, tossing frequently until toasted, about 5 minutes, remove from skillet and add to a food processor. In the same skillet, add the olive oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add to the food processor.
In a pot over medium high heat, add the 3/4 cup beer, 3/4 cup chicken broth and chocolate. Cook until the chocolate has melted, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate has melted, add the contents of the pot to the food processor along with the sesame oil, tomato puree, smoked paprika, sugar and peanut butter. Removed the chilies and the prunes that have been soaking from the pot and add to the food processor, discard the cinnamon stick. Turn the food processor on and puree until smooth, about five minutes. Add a bit of the soaking liquid from the chilies pot to achieve the right consistency. Return the mole to a pot on the stove to keep warm, adding more soaking liquid or hot water to thin if mole starts to thicken.
To make the chicken:
Sprinkle each side of the chicken thigh fillets with salt. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook on each side until slightly browned. Add enough beer to barely cover the chicken, cover and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Allow to simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and shred with two forks.
Fill warm tortillas with shredded chicken, and cheese, roll and place 3 or four on each plate. Top with mole sauce, mexican crema and green onions.