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Honey Beer Biscuits with Strawberry Belgian Ale Sauce

Honey and Beer Biscuits1

If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen my announcement that I shot a TV show for Lifetime back in January. The premise of the show was to take people with interesting ideas for food products and develop those ideas into product lines that end up on grocery store shelves. There is a hole in the market when it comes to beer infused foods. Clearly this is something that people want that currently isn’t being offered on a large scale. The show airs June 22nd on Lifetime, my episode airs on August 22nd at 10:30pm on Lifetime, you’ll have to watch to see how it all turns out for me. Beyond my story, the show was well cast with incredible people, all with stories to tell and passion for what they make.

Honey Beer Biscuits with Strawberry Belgian Ale Sauce

These biscuits, which would be a fantastic addition to a beer infused food line, are the best biscuits I’ve made so far. The technique creates these beautifully flakey layers, the beer lightly leavens the dough, leaving behind soft notes of beer on the finish. For both the sauce and the biscuits I used Mischief from The Bruery.

Honey Beer Biscuits with Strawberry Belgian Ale Sauce The Bruery

 There are two types of breweries that I respect, those that offer accessible beer that’s consistent and well done. Solid beer that can be held up as excellent examples of their represented styles. The Bruery is the other type. They aren’t afraid to break a few rules, they make that clear with the spelling of their name. There is nothing traditional about the beer that comes out of this place, it’s innovative, experimental and exciting. It’s a place that you take a true beer lover, not someones who "like some beer, sometimes." It’s not among the beer I recommend for those who want an easy introduction to craft beer, it’s beer for beer lovers. It’s were you go when you want to see the limits of beer being challenged.

To be honest, I don’t always fall in love with what The Bruery makes, but I’m always intrigued, I always want to try what they’ve come up with because it’s clear how thoughtfully made every batch is. Mischief is one of my favorites. It’s beautifully well rounded with notes of bread, yeast, citrus, grass, with a bit of spice and apricot. It also comes in a bottle that’s a perfect fit for a champagne recorker which comes in handy when you want to open a large 750ML bottle in the morning to make biscuits and want to save the rest for later in the day. It also well distributed, I’ve even heard rumors of it making it past the Booze Guards to the North to earn spots on shelves in Canada.

Another amazing Bruery creation is Black Tuesday, available in October. If you’re near Orange County in late October, it’s worth a drive to the tasting room just for that beer.

If you can’t get your hands on Mischief (although you should try, it’s a great beer) looks for a hoppy Belgian ale or Hefeweizen for this recipe.

Honey Beer Biscuits with Strawberry Belgian Ale Sauce

Honey Beer Biscuits with Strawberry Belgian Ale Sauce

Ingredients

    For the Strawberry Sauce:
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup Belgian ale (or hoppy wheat beer)
  • For the biscuits:
  • 3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 tbs butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbs honey, plus 2 tbs (divided)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup Belgian ale (or hoppy wheat beer)
  • ¼ tsp course sea salt

Directions

    To make the strawberry sauce:
  1. Add the strawberries, sugar and beer to a saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add to a food processor or blender, blend until smooth.
  4. To Make the Biscuits:
  5. Preheat oven to 425.
  6. In a processor add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and 1 tbs honey, process until well combined. Add to a large bowl.
  8. Add the milk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
  9. Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 1 inch in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
  10. Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter about to go into an envelope. Roll lightly, once in each direction to about 1 inch thickness, fold in thirds again. Gently roll into about 1 1/2 inch thickness (this will give you the flakey layers).
  11. Using a biscuit cutter cut out 6 to 8 biscuits. Place in a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  12. Add the remaining 2 tbs honey to a microwave safe dish. Microwave for about 15 seconds or until thinned.
  13. Brush biscuits with honey and sprinkle with salt.
  14. Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  15. Serve warm with strawberry sauce
https://domesticfits.com/honey-beer-biscuits-with-strawberry-belgian-ale-sauce/

Honey Beer Biscuits with Strawberry Belgian Ale Sauce

Chocolate Porter Strawberry Shortcakes With Beer Whipped Cream

(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

5 eggs

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

(makes 10)

 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.

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Drunken Strawberry Tart with Beer Lemon Curd

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.

Drunken Strawberry Tart with Beer Lemon Curd

Ingredients

    For the tart crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3-5 tbs ice cold water
  • For the curd:
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 2 whole eggs plus six yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 6 large lemons)
  • ½ cup beer
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • For the Strawberries
  • 3 cups strawberries
  • ½ cup beer
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbs beer
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. Place a sheet of parchment paper inside your tart and fill with pie weights. If you don’t have any, dried beans work great.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your tart is a light golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly. remove pie weights.
  7. 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.
  8. Add the curd to the crust and chill until set, about 4 hours.
  9. 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.
  10. Add all of the whipped cream ingredients to a stand mixer and mix on high until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.
  11. Top tart with berries and whipped cream just prior to serving.
https://domesticfits.com/drunken-strawberry-tart-with-beer-lemon-curd/

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies & The State Of Food Writing

Fish Where There Are Fish: The State of Food Writing

Amanda Hesser wrote an article last week for FOOD52 that, in summation, stated that food writing is dead. This drew critiques, criticism, praise, and response articles all over the web. When posted by a mutual friend on Facebook, Babette Pepaj (of TechMUNCH and Bakespace) disagreed, "Fish where there are fish," she stated.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been on the fringes of an idustry in the midst of a tornado like change, all the "Old Schoolers" looking down with dismay as the ripples seems to be coming from a throng of new and unexperienced talent waiting to take a stab in a new and digital format. 

When I moved to Los Angeles in the late 90’s as a teenager, my husband, then boyfriend, joined a year later with a band that had just signed a major record deal. He worked his way around the scene, taking jobs at major recording studios, tour managing bands, production, A&R scouting, drum coaching, all while the music industry was still the giant beast of the 1980’s, the A&R guys holding the keys to the kingdom with that illusive Record Contract dangling from their fingers. It wasn’t long before the beast started to crumble and the curtain was pulled from the Great And Mighty Oz.

It all seemed to start with Napster. A brilliant idea, even if illegal and poorly thought out, that brought the Music Industry Beast to its knees. First, largely ignored. Then a few lawsuits, then a few more, then Metallica chimed in. No one, save for a few smart people over at Apple, stopped to hear the cry from the public of, "This Is What We Want." I asked my husbands boss (he was working for a Recording Company headed by a well known music producer) why they didn’t pick up where Napster left off, "Why don’t you sell the songs on your own website? let people download them?" The response was lots of legal jargon, with a dash of, "artist want to sell records, not singles."  iTunes disagreed and well know how that went.

Years later, sitting in a bar called The Short Stop, chatting with a small-band-trying-to-make-good in Silverlake, California I asked about that illusive record deal. "We don’t need one, " said the guitar player, "I can get my songs onto iTunes, I can book my own shows. I don’t need to give anyone 90% of my money." He was right. They went on to be the biggest band ever to come out of Silverlake, although I now only see them on Guitar Hero or the Grammys, they will always be the guys (and girl) I used to buy beers for and chat about literature & music with.

Fish where there are fish. Although the sad reality is that the music industry is a ghost town to us now, the mighty and wealthy clamoring to get jobs, moving out of town to find work or wallowing on unemployment, we have a few friends who are making money. For the most part, those are people who started businesses to help artist help themselves. À la carte services that help the musicians maintian control, while assisting them in doing things they don’t know how to do for themselves. PR people, managers, booking, pressing of collectable vinyl, merch, all overseen by the artist. Of course the days of multi-million dollar musicians are largely behind us, more people are making a decent, but modest living, fishing where there is fish.

How does this translate to food writing? We’ll see. Will the only people that make money those who assist blogger with tech help, running ads, photography tutorials and book deals? Amanda Hesser may be right about HER food writing world being dead, and those mighty giants have started to crumble, but what will rise up in its place? What will the dawning of the new food world look like? The truth is, people will always write about food. How and where the money will be made is a different issue.

I’m not going to pretend to link this to cookies, so here they are:

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies For Two

(makes only 6, because the last thing I need is 48 cookies just sitting around my house)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup oats

2/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup chopped strawberries (feel free to use those un-pretty ones on their last legs)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar. Add the egg, and beat on high. Scrape the bottom of the bowl and add the vanilla and beat again. Add the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and beat until combined. Stir in the strawberries.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with cooking spray) and drop large spoonfuls of dough on to the sheet, leaving space between each cookie.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill for 20 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies turn a light golden brown and are cooked through. Slide the parchment paper off the baking sheet onto the counter and allow the cookies to cool. 

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Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

 

Here’s a little something you should know about me. I have a head full of statistics. I hear one and it sticks. Mr. Fit’s teases me about the fact the a rare week goes by that I don’t reference one. Including the fact that 36% of all statistics listed online are outdated or inaccurate. So take that for what it’s worth.

Here is one that’s more useful. California produces 86% of the nations strawberries. More fascinating than that is the fact that California also grows more than HALF the nations total produce. Seriously, HALF of the fruits and vegetables that are grown in the U.S. come from just one little state (ok, so it’s not that little, but STILL!).

We’re not all palm trees and reality TV, there is some amazing food here. Nothing is better than local produce, especially strawberries. If you have the opportunity to visit our great state, skip Beverly Hills and Hollywood Blvd and head straight for a farmers market, we get to have them year round.

Here is another fun fact about strawberries (have I lost you yet? is this stuff interesting only to me??) They are one of the few fruits that will NOT continue to ripen after being picked. If you pick a green strawberry, it will never turn red. Once they are taken from the vine they become a ticking clock towards rotten fruit so use them quick. Or freeze them fast.

 Chocolate is always a welcome twist on a classic. I love a great homemade shortcake and adding chocolate is great surprise. This is just my biscuit recipe, modified to add chocolate.

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Goat Cheese Raviolis with Blistered Sugar Plum Tomatoes and Hefeweizen Marinara

Yield: Yield: 30-34 Raviolis (about 4 servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • (2 tbs chop fresh herbs, if desired)
  • For The Marinara
  • 1 lb sugar plum tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup beer
  • 5 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbs tomato paste

Directions

  1. On a flat surface add the flour. Make a well with walls that are about 1 inch thick, make sure the well is large enough to hold the eggs, milk and oil.
  2. Add the yolks, egg, milk and oil. Break the yolks.
  3. Using your fingers, stir quickly. The motion will allow the liquid to pick up flour from the walls and will gradually become thicker. This will take about 10 minutes.
  4. As the liquid becomes thicker, close to a paste consistency, start to push the flour walls up over and into the liquid pool. Continue to stir until the flour and liquid is mostly incorporated.
  5. Pull the dough into a ball, it will be shaggy and seem a bit dry.
  6. Knead on a flat surface with the heel of your hand, this will take a ten to fifteen minutes. Knead until the dough is smooth and slightly elastic. If you aren’t sure if the dough is done, keep kneading. This isn’t a dough that can be over worked, but too little kneading is a problem.
  7. Put dough into a small bowl and cover tightly and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  8. Cut into 4 sections. Place any dough sections you are not working with back in the bowl and cover.
  9. One at a time, roll out the dough sections to about ¼ to ½ inch rectangle.
  10. Attach the KitchenAid Pasta Roller attachment to your stand mixer.
  11. Set the thickness to 1 (the thickest setting).
  12. Turn the KitchenAid stand mixer to a speed of 2.
  13. Feed the dough rectangle into the pasta roller narrowest side first.
  14. Pass through two or three times.
  15. Narrow the thickness to a 3. Pass the dough sheet through two or three times, this should get easier and easier with each pass.
  16. Narrow the thickness to a 5. Pass the dough sheet through two or three times, this should get easier and easier with each pass. You want the dough sheets to be so thin you can see through them.
  17. Lay the sheets on a flat surface.
  18. Place about 2-3 tsp of goat cheese on the dough sheets about 1 ½ inches apart, in to rows.
  19. Brush the dough with water around the balls of goat cheese (sprinkle with fresh herbs, if desired). Top with second sheet of pasta.
  20. Press the pasta around the filling, sealing well. Use a sharp knife or a pastry wheel to cut into squares.
  21. Place on a plate, allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  22. Cook in a pot of lightly salted boiling water until raviolis float and are cooked through.
  23. Drain, plate and top with sauce.
  24. Make the sauce:
  25. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, cook the onions until soft about five minutes.
  26. Add the tomatoes, cook until soft and the skin has blistered. Add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds.
  27. Add the beer and cook until the beer has mostly evaporated, about ten minutes.
  28. Add the remaining basil, oregano, salt and pepper, stir, remove from heat.
  29. Add to a food processor along with the tomato paste, process until smooth.
https://domesticfits.com/chocolate-strawberry-shortcake/

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