Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Caramelized Bourbon Butternut Squash

Dessert or vegetable? You decide. If glazed carrots or sweet potatoes make frequent appearances at holiday gatherings, this is a great substitute. Mix things up a bit without raising too much suspicion that you may be attempting to usurp a family tradition.

A note on cooking with booze, as you may have noticed I do A LOT:

In most recipes where beer or liquor is exposed to prolonged heat, the alcohol will mostly cook off. That being said, ALWAYS disclose when you use alcohol in a recipe out of respect for your guests. Some religious practices forbid imbibing any alcohol. Recovering alcohols may be more sensitive to the flavors. And kids...well most kids will find the booze on their own soon enough. Best be honest up front.

the recipe is my own

serves 6

The Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, about 3 lbs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp bourbon

The Process:
Preheath the oven to 350

Peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut into 1 1/2" cubes. Layer the squash in a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, chili powder, salt and bourbon. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sugar is just dissolved.

Pour the bourbon mixture over the squash. Gently toss to coat. Bake, covered, about one hour or until the squash is tender. Increase the oven temp to 450. Uncover the squash and roast an additional 15-20 or until the glaze begins to caramelize.

Friday, April 18, 2014

IPA Marinated Pork Chops

Need something else to use up some of that marmalade from a few days ago? This pork is the perfect companion.

Initially I had been a little disappointed about the amount of beer flavor that came through in the marmalade. But paired with these chops, it just sings. The entire combination melds together in pure euphoric bliss. Okay...that is a bit of a ridiculous claim to lay on a piece of pork topped with some preserves. But it WAS damn tasty.

The pork is marinated in an IPA and buttermilk mixture that not only tenderizes the meat, but also imbibes the pork with wonderful citrus and floral notes from the hops. The marmalade pulls out those citrus notes even further. The breading on the pork returns the favor by teasing out hints of hefeweizen in the marmalade.

These chops can certainly stand on their own. But the bitter and sweet citrus on top truly helps them shine.

adapted from The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacqueline Dodd

serves 4

The Ingredients:
4 - 4 oz boneless pork chops
6 oz IPA
6 oz buttermilk
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt, divided
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup panko
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne

The Process:
Combine the IPA, buttemilk, onion and 1/2 tsp of salt in a large bowl. Add the pork, making sure each chop is fully submerged. Cover and refridgerate for 6-8 hours.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, panko, remaining salt, pepper and cayenne. Remove the chops from the marinade. Press each chop into the breading mixture, coating evenly on both sides. Set aside to come to room temperature, 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chops and fry, 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown and juices run clear.

Serve with a dollop of marmalade.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hefeweizen Marmalade

Stir a little bit of booze into your breakfast! A marmalade has been on my "to create" list for a while now. The arrival of the Beeroness' cookbook finally prompted me to plough ahead. The chance to add beer or bourbon to a recipe is usually all the motivation I need.

Jackie recommends a hefeweizen, preferably one with notes of citrus and clove. A witbier, traditionally brewed with corriander and orange peel, would compliment the marmalade nicely, but I fear the more subtle beer notes would get lost among the sugar and citrus. Serve that one alongside for a lovely food pairing instead. Many pale ales will fit the bill, especially those with strong citrus notes. A saison would add a twist of spice. Steer clear of any uber hoppy beers, as the extensive boiling times may make for a very bitter marmalade.

I opted for Widmer's Hefe

recipe adapted from The Craft Beer Cookbook by Jacqueline Dodd

yields about 2 pints

The Ingredients:
2 - 12 oz bottles hefeweizen
1 lb (about 2) navel oranges
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp whole cloves
1/2 lemon, juiced and zest finely grated

The Process:
Thoroughly scrub the oranges. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the oranges into 1/8-inch rounds. Remove and discard any seeds as you go. Stack the slices and cut into quarters or sixths.

Wrap the cloves in a cheesecloth bundle tied with kitchen twine.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the beer, oranges, sugar, and clove packet. Bring the mixture up to a simmer (about 190°F). Simmer for 5 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand overnight.

Remove and discard the clove packet. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, about 180°F, and maintain for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The orange rind should be tender and begin to turn transculent. After 2 hours, add the lemon juice and zest. Return the mixture to a gentle simmer, between 185°F and 200°F, for 20-30 minutes.

Place a small plate in the freezer.
Bring the orange mixture to full boil, and stir continually, until it reaches about 222°F.  Test the readiness of the marmalade by placing a teaspoon of the mixture onto the chilled plate and allowing it to sit for 30 seconds. Tilt the plate. The mixture should be a soft gel that moves slightly and will wrinkle when touched. If mixture is thin and runs easily, continue to boil until the marmalade reaches the gel stage.
Ladle into sterile jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Gently stir to remove air bubbles. Wipe rims of jars clean and top with lids, screwing them finger tight (not TOO tight). Submerge filled jars in a water bath of boiling water and boil for 5-7 minutes (process times may vary by elevation).

Remove from water bath and allow to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hopleaf's Beligan-Style Steamed Mussels

A few weeks back Ross and I headed to Chicago for a mini break. Highly recommended by many friends was a stop at Hopleaf, for both their extensive Belgian beer list and for their steamed mussels. We were not disappointed.

The description alone on their menu is nearly all you need to recreate the dish at home, adjusting seasoning to your personal taste. A brief search yielded two very similar recipes. Hopleaf uses Wittekerke by Brouwerij de Bradandere to steam the mussels. I opted to use the same, though many excellent witbiers and wheats abound these days. As an homage to Chicago, dinner was paired with Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale.

adapted from recipes at Time-out and Restaurants.com

yields 2 main course servings

The Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves, bruised
leaves of 3-4 thyme sprigs
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 pounds Prince Edward Island mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
12 oz witbier or wheat beer
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed

The Process:
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, celery and shallots, sauté until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the thyme and bay leaves, sauté an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the shallots and celery are translucent.

Stir in the beer, butter, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and immediately cover. Simmer 3-4 minutes, or until most of the mussels open. Discard any unopened mussels. Season broth with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Serve alongside a good, crusty bread to sop up the broth and a cone of piping hot pomme frites with garlic aioli.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creole style Salmon

Last summer Ross and I ventured to Seattle for our first true vacation in a very long time. Many a beer was sample. Great times were had with friends. And pounds of fresh seafood were consumed. As a thank you to our friends who put us up for a few evenings, I agreed to cook dinner for the lot of us. Ross and I were heading to Mt. Rainier in the morning. One of our friends, who works at Pike Place Market, agreed to pick up whatever struck her fancy when her shift was up. What I was to cook would be a complete surprise.

We arrived back at their house to 3 pounds of wild caught Alaskan salmon and several snow crab clusters. Apparently she had received the cute shop girl discount...all totalled the haul came to about $40.

This recipe was born:

The Ingredients:
3 lb salmon, skin on
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1 Tbsp Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 lemon, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

The Process:
 Preheat oven to 400

Generously oil a baking dish large enough to accommodate the salmon fillet(s). Lay the fish, skin side down, in the dish. Generously sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Layer lemon slices on top.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onions and celery until fragrant and just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add peppers and sauté  an additional 2-3 minutes. Add diced canned tomatoes along with juice to the saucepan. Add the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Spoon vegetables over the top of the salmon. Bake, uncovered, at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily.

Serve with crusty bread, or alongside rice and a fresh salad dressed in vinaigrette.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

My first attempt at a Gingerbread House and 
one of our last projects of 2013.  Keep and eye out for the post next winter!

I apologize, dear readers.  Thank you for sticking out this lengthy dry spell with me.  This blog began as a New Year's resolution to push myself to try new recipes, step out of my comfort zone, and play more in the kitchen.  I have continued to do so with fervor.  Unfortunately, as life caught up the blog fell by the wayside.

Despite that, 2013 yielded some incredibly tasty treats.  I found myself playing around more with beer in recipes as I learn more about brewing and beer styles.  Seafood became the highlight of my week this spring and early summer, as Ross would stop by a fish monger to procure the challenge for that evening's dinner.  A mere 61 recipes were posted.  A far cry from the 100 I set out for.  Some of the highlights:

Beer Pretzel Toffee
Clams in a Green Curry Coconut Broth
Hawaiian Rum Punch (a Pinterest favorite it would appear!)
Lemon Parmesan Orzo with Seared Scallops
Coconut Brown Ale Pancakes with Coconut Cream and Toasted Macadamia nuts
Osso Bucco Sea Bass
Plum Semifreddo 
Sour Braised Beef with Polenta Fries

No major misses this year, though a few dishes came out a little uninspired.  Baking certainly seemed lacking this past year.  As did sides and salads.

The first few months of 2014 will be a little slow to get under way as I continue to juggle far too many tasks in the air.  But there will always be time for cooking.  As the snow melts away the posts should become more frequent.  

What will 2014 bring?  Beer ice cream in several variations is in the works.  And some baked goods using spent grains from brewing.  More seafood.  And hopefully several more quick bites and snacks.

Thank you for sticking around!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Strawberry and Blueberry Muffins with a Streusel Topping

Our CSA continues to delight us with more berries than we can keep up with!  While I love the thought of frozen berries to enjoy later this year once the summer bounty diminishes, it seems such a shame to not use up as many as possible while at their peek of freshness.  With a double batch of berries in hand, I could think of no better idea than to play around with a few muffin mixtures.

The end result is a hodge podge of three recipes I tinkered with.  The batter is thick, almost the consistency of co

okie dough.  At first I found this a bit frustrating, particularly when I attempted to fill the muffin tin.  But in the end the thick batter resulted in muffins evenly studded with fruit, instead of a mess of berries submerged at the bottom.

A sprinkle of sugar spiked with lemon zest makes a bright wonderful topping, but I am a sucker for a good streusel.  Nothing really beats the Better Homes and Gardens version...

Inspired by Alton Brown, Confessions of a Baking Queen the BHG cookbook and Smitten Kitchen

The Ingredients:
for the muffins
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sliced or quartered strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries

for the topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter

The Process:
preheat the oven to 380

Line a 12 ct muffin tin with paper liners or generously mist each cup with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat in the egg until well combined.  Mix in the yogurt, milk, vanilla and zest.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in half of the dry into the wet until well combined.  Sift in the remaining dry ingredients in to batter, until just mixed.  Fold in the berries.

For the topping, in a small bowl combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside.

Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons, fill the cups of the muffin tin approximately 3/4 full.  Sprinkle with topping.
  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pan once while baking.

Transfer to a baking rack to cool.