Friday, November 28, 2014

Spiced Cheesecake with Black Currant Sauce

This cheesecake is the last recipe of my Thanksgiving collaboration with Boom Island Brewing Company. Every holiday season the brewery releases a Belgian holiday brew, dubbed Yule. Yule is a potent beer...upwards of 12%-13% ABV. A Belgian dark strong ale is probably the closest style one could use to describe it. Each year this holiday treat is brewed with a different fruit. This currant.

To match the richness of the boozy backbone and rich malt, I felt a cheesecake was appropriate. The spices are a nod to the holiday season...cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. And the gingersnap crust of course! The topping I opted for a black currant jam (far easier to find than fresh or frozen black currants this time of year) to tie into the fruit undertones of this beer. Raspberries, blackberries or blueberries would be equally as welcome.

This cheesecake was a treat to come up with. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

The recipe is my own

serves 10-12

for the crust
• 25-30 gingersnap cookies (2 cups finely ground)
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• ¼ tsp salt

for the filling
• 24 oz cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar, packed
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 ½ cups sour cream
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp of allspice
• ½ tsp salt

for the topping
• 1 cup black currant jam

• Preheat oven to 350°F
• Place gingersnap cookies in a food processor. Cover and process until the cookies are the texture of very coarse sand. Add butter, brown sugar salt, and cinnamon. Process until well combined. Transfer mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch spring form pan. Using the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Once chilled, place spring form pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is fragrant and set, about 10 minutes.
• In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the sour cream, cream cheese and sugars until smooth and free of lumps, 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Stir vanilla, spices and salt. Pour into crust.
• Lower oven temperature to 325°F. Set the cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until the center is mostly set, but still jiggles slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the spring form pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate.
• Spread a thin layer of currant jam over the top of the cheesecake. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

IPA Cranberry Sauce

photo by Heather Hanson

Nix the canned cranberry sauce this year and make this homemade sauce using your favorite IPA! IPAs can become even more bitter when boiled or reduced, so I chose add it at the end. This late addition allows the more delicate hops flavors and aromas to shine through. IPAs with citrus, floral or tropical fruit notes work best with the tart cranberries. Please celebrate responsibly. The alcohol does not cook out of this one. While there is not enough beer included to get anyone tipsy, do take care to inform guests that alcohol is included in the dish.

the recipe is my own

serves 6-8


  • 1 – 12 oz package fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ½ cup IPA

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the cranberries and orange zest. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the berries burst and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the beer. 
  • Serve warm or chill until ready to serve.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dubbel Mashed Sweet Potatoes

On to the next Thanksgiving side!

Forget the marshmallows and pecans. Serve up these mashed sweet potatoes with a surprising twist! A Belgian dubbel's subtle spice and banana notes will sing when served alongside this dish. Again, I turned to Boom Island for their HooDoo Dubbel. Chimay Red, Ommegang Abbey, Goose Island's Pere Jacque and Rochefort 6 will work wonderfully in a pinch. Or omit the beer all together and stir in chicken or vegetable stock instead.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray

serves 8

• 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 overripe banana, sliced
• 1 orange, zested and juiced
• 1 cup Belgian dubbel (or stock)
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
• Salt and pepper to taste


• Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 1 to 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
• Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat. Add butter and bananas to the pot. Cook bananas 5 minutes and add the juice of 1 orange to the pot, reserve the zest. Allow the juice to cook out, 1 minute.
• Add the potatoes to the pot along with the Hoodoo and brown sugar. Mash potatoes, banana, stock and sugar together until well combined. Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest, to your taste.
• Mash to combine spices and serve

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spatchcocked Turkey with Cloves and Orange

Photo by Heather Hanson

We should draw our attention to the turkey before the big day arrives. 

I loved this bird more than any other turkey I've ever made. I've taken to brining most turkeys, but the time and room in the fridge can be prohibitive. This bird does need to spend the night before hand in the fridge, but the fear of brine leaking everywhere is no longer a concern. 

This is a smaller turkey, only 10-12 pounds which will still feed a fair number of people. 

The true beauty of this turkey is the cooking time. Spatchcocking...cutting out the spine and spreading it flat, breast side up, cuts down the roasting time to about 90 minutes. The breast remained unbelieveably moist, the dark meat still has time to cook through, and because the bird was flayed open far more of the skin roasted to that perfect crispy golden brown.

So what beer to pair?

Pair with a Belgian Tripel.  Again, as a collaboration with Boom Island, we opted for their Brimsone Tripel. Tripels are a farily common Belgian style. Often corked and caged, these big bottles make quite the presentation at the dinner table. If you can't find Brimstone try Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde, Westmalle's Trappist Tripel, Chimay White or Tripel Karmeliet.

"The centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner needs an equally impressive beer to join at the table. Brimstone's higher alcohol and effervescent carbonation holds its own against the richness of the turkey, while the hints of clove and honey from the beer help pick up the spices and citrus used in the basting oil."

recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 10-12

• 4 tsp ground coriander
• ½ cup kosher salt
• ¼ cup finely grated orange zest
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp rosemary
• 1 Tbsp thyme
• 2 tsp black pepper
• 1 10–12 lb. turkey
• 2 medium onions, quartered
• 4 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
• 4 celery stalks, halved crosswise
• 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 4 wide strips orange zest
• 1 tsp whole cloves
• ½ cup Belgian Pale Ale

• Combine coriander, salt, orange zest, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl.
• Place the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp kitchen shears and some muscle power, cut along both sides of the spine and remove. Flip the turkey breast side up, spreading open as much as possible. Press down on breastbone to flatten. You should hear a crack and feel the bones give way. Rub the entire turkey with salt mixture. Place turkey, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill, uncovered, overnight.
• Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a roasting pan. Rinse turkey, pat dry, and place, skin side up, on top of the vegetables. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
• Heat oil, orange zest strips and cloves in a small saucepan until oil is sizzling, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
• Brush turkey with oil, and add ½ cup of Silvius to the pan. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to roast, rushing with oil every 20 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, about 1 hour longer. Transfer to a platter; tent

with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Apple Sage Stuffing with Belgian Pale Ale

Photo by Heather Hanson

I'm back! Sorry for the always seems to get in the way of these side hobbies. It's has been an incredibly busy, productive and very happy fall. Though the snow on the ground seems to indicate we have now moved onto winter in Minnesota. 

Know what that means? Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I've got a few tasty recipes coming up that stemmed out of a collaboration with a local brewery. Sadly, if you live outside of Minnesota you won't be able to get your hands on a bottle of their beers. I have suggested similar brews to accommodate. 

I'm starting off with my favorite Thanksgiving dish...stuffing. This was cooked and paired with Boom Island Brewing Company's Silvius Pale Ale.  The earthy sage, sweet apple and slight sourness from the sourdough work incredibly well with Silvius' lightly toasted malt backbone and subtle peppery finish.  If you can't get your hands on a bottle from Boom, try out another Belgian pale ale such as Orval Trappist Ale, Ommegang's Rare Vos or Leffe Blonde.

the recipe is my own

serves 10-12


• 12 cups dry bread cubes (we used a combination of sourdough and rye)
• 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
• 2 Braeburn or granny smith apples, diced
• 2 tsp ground sage
• ½ tsp pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• 2 cups Silvius Pale Ale
• Preheat the oven to 350
• In a large saucepan, melt 6 Tbsp butter. Add the onion and celery and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
• In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes and diced apple. Toss with the onion mixture. Drizzle with Silvius and mix until the bread cubes are slightly moistened.
• Transfer the stuffing to a 9x13 baking dish and dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, 1 hr or until the stuffing is heated through and beginning to brown.