Friday, June 27, 2014

Lemongrass Dubbel Marinated Chicken

At it with beer. I've been in the possession of The American Craft Beer Cookbook for a few months now and I have yet to post any of the recipes. Although, until recently I hadn't a good opportunity to try any of them out. The book runs the gamut from simple to elaborate to slightly convoluted. Some dishes can be thrown together from everyday items in your pantry, while others call for a touches a bit more exotic. The hummus and beer-mosas featured can come together in a pinch. The pork belly corn dogs with truffle mustard or the smoked bologna mousse on chicken skin crostini however...

Let's start on a the slightly less ambition end. This recipe features a beer marinade, using one of my favorite styles: the Belgian Dubbel. The most exotic ingredient is the lemongrass. Every once and again fresh stalks will appear alongside the ginger at our local grocery store. More frequently, I'll find a few stalks in a blister pack by the organic produce. When all else fails, hit up an Asian market.

adapted from John Holl's American Craft Beer Cookbook

serves 3-4

The Ingredients
4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and mince
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp ground pepper
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 cup dubbel

The Process:
Pat the chicken dry. In a large bowl or zip top-bag, combine all of the ingredients. Toss, stir or shake to coat. Cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to a day.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place skin side down in a large cast iron skillet. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 180.

Switch the oven to broil. Broil the chicken, skin side up for 2-3 minutes or until the skin has begun to brown.

Remove from oven and allow to rest 3-4 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Warm Purple Potato Salad with Arugula and Radishes

Oh, CSA share, how I've missed you! Come mid-June, every Thursday is like Christmas as I unpack our box. The first few boxes are always a bit sparse, but heavy on the leafy greens. Those early weeks see a lot of spinach salads and arugula pesto. I was thrilled to see this arugula recipe alternative in the last CSA newsletter.

I used the beautiful purple potatoes provided in our last box. They provide such a wonderful contrast to the bright greens. But really any small roasting potato will do. The heat from the roasted potatoes will wilt the arugula, so I'd recommend serving immediately. That being said, the salad makes very tasty, albeit soggy leftovers.

Recipe courtesy of Dani Lind of Driftless Organics

serves 4

The Ingredients
5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs purple potatoes, scrubbed, skin on
1 bunch radishes, trimmed
salt and pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch garlic chives, coarsely chopped
2 oz arugula (about 2 cups)

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch wedges and the radishes into quarters. Toss with 2 Tbsp of oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, flipping once, or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to crisp.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 Tbsp of oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, combine the roasted vegetables, spring onions, garlic chives and arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.

Serve immediately.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Spent Grain Falafel with Tzatziki

In my wanderings to perfect a spent grain dog biscuit recipe, I stumbled across a new website. The Brooklyn Brew Shop. The site itself is for a home brew supply shop, but one section is solely devoted to cooking with spent grain. Home brewing can generate a fair amount of leftovers once the wort has been siphoned off.  When we've brewed a 5-gallon batch of beer in the past, there was typically too much grain leftover for us to use. Most of it would be destined for the compost. However, with this new discovery comes much, much more inspiration and motivation.

So when should I brew my next beer to ensure another insurgence of spent grain? And, oh, which recipes to try first?

adapted from The Brooklyn Brew Shop

serves 4

The Ingredients:
for the tzatziki 
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 mint leaves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

for the falafel
2 -14 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup spent grain, wet
1 egg
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
juice of 1/2 lemon

The Process:
for the tzatziki
Place the cucumber in a clean towel or several layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze as much of the liquid from the cucumber as you can.

Combine the cucumber, yogurt, garlic, mint, salt, oil, and vinegar in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

for the falafel
Preheat the oven to 375

Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside.

Pulse the garbanzo beans in a food processor until a coarse paste forms.

Transfer to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix until well combined.

Roll mixture into 1" balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, flip halfway through.

Serve with tzatziki.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Steak Tacos with Radish Relish

The relish really makes this dish. The entire meal comes together incredibly quickly, which is good. After all, who wants to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen with gorgeous summer nights to look forward to.

adapted from Bon Apetit

serves 4

The Ingredients:
2 Tbsp oil, divided
1 lb skirt or flank steak
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4-5 radishes, trimmed and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 lime, juiced and zested
8 corn tortillas
2 oz queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled

The Process:
In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, heat 1 Tbsp of the oil. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Sear the steak, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

At the steak rests, in a medium bowl combine the radishes, half of the cilantro, green onion, serrano pepper, remaining oil, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet, 1-2 minutes per side. Cover and keep warm.

Slice the steak cross grain. Divide steak among tortillas, and top with relish, cheese and remaining cilantro.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Beer Ricotta Gnocchi with Lemon-Thyme Browned Butter Sauce

Remember I few days ago when I made the saison ricotta? Get ready to make another batch for this recipe!

I love how the beer carried through to the end of the recipe. The bready, boozy notes were still there. To keep the flavors light and bright, I wanted a simple sauce, so I turned to a browned butter base. Browned butter and sage is a common accompaniment to gnocchi. To brighten the sauce and change it up a bit, I opted to add lemon and thyme. Part of me hoped the citrus and herbs would mimic the hop flavors that were lost in the gnocchi. The end result was wonderful.

Gnocchi recipe adapted from The Splendid Table
Sauce recipe adapted is my own

serves 4

The Ingredients:
for the gnocchi
1 lb saison ricotta, drained
3/4 cup to 1 cup flour, plus more for rolling
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper

for the sauce
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
The Process:
In a large bowl combine the ricotta, flour, egg, butter, Parmesan, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Gently knead with your hands until a sticky dough forms, added additional flour as needed. Cover and chill for one hour.

Divide the dough into four. On a lightly floured surface, roll each quarter out into a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch round log, about 18 inches long. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Arrange the gnocchi on a lightly floured sheet, leaving space between. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

To cook, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, cook the gnocchi for 3-4 minutes, until they float to the surface. Gently scoop them out of the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon, transferring to a serving bowl. Keep warm.

for the sauce:
Cut the butter into pieces. Melt in a small heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Simmer butter until golden brown in color, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and immediately add lemon juice, salt, thyme, and honey, swirling to blend.  The butter will foam up when the liquid is added.

Pour half of the sauce over gnocchi and gently toss to coat. Divide among four plates and drizzle with remaining sauce.

Serve sauce immediately.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


The CSA season has begun. Summer is officially here! Now to track down a few more recipes to have on hand for the endless march of arugula and radish greens.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Zesty Italian" dressing

No, no. I am well aware that this in no way resembles a classic Italian dressing...with its lovely simplicity of oil and vinegar. 

But a fit of summer nostalgia had me craving the Italian pasta salad you see at every grocery market deli and every summer picnic. You know the one? Rotini dotted with red pepper, olives, occasionally pepperoni and mozzarella and SWIMMING in "zesty Italian" dressing.  The dressing is key to the pasta salad. Only I didn't have any. I am not one prone to buying many oil and vinegar dressings, given how easy they are to make at home. This Kraft knock off is no different, and you probably already have most of these ingredients on hand. 

 Yields about 1 1/2 cups

The Ingredients:
1 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 large cloves of garlic,minced
2 Tbsp shallots, finely diced
2 Tbsp red bell pepper, finely diced
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil
Pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

The Process:
Combine all of the ingredients in a 1 - pint sized jar. Cover and shake vigorously until thickened and well combined. Alternative, whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl, or give a whirl with an immersion blender.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Saison Ricotta

I know, I know. I am on a saison kick at the moment. I have no regrets.

With an excess of whole milk on hand, as well as a stellar home-brewed saison, the time seemed appropriated to revisit ricotta. I've made this simple cheese several time before, once with goats milk, once with buttermilk in lieu lemon juice or vinegar. Most frequently, I turn the curd into paneer. But not once have I incorporated beer.

The difference is flavor is definitely there. The beer isn't shy, offering up a bready base with a hoppy, herbal bite.

The biggest surprise I had with this version was how much the milk mixture frothed up as I heated it this time around. The curd that resulted was very fine, not at all like the plump tender curds from the buttermilk version. As a result, the ricotta took much, much longer to drain than I would normally like. I also substantially reduced the amount of vinegar the original recipe called for. I've had luck with 1 Tbsp per 4 cups of dairy without any problems. 3 Tbsp per 4 cups dairy seemed a bit excessive. I wanted the flavors of the beer to come through, not the tang of the acid.

As I had plans to turns this batch into gnocchi later in the week, I hung the ricotta to drain for over two hours before storing it. A half an hour should suffice to remove most of the liquid, and yields a creamier, spreadable cheese.

adapted from Jackie Dodd's recipe at

yields about 1 pound

The Ingredients:
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup, plus 1/4 cup saison, divided
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

The Process:
Line a sieve with several layers of cheesecloth or muslin and set aside.

Pour the milk, cream, salt and 2/3 cup beer into a large non-reactive saucepan with a heavy bottom.  Heat slowly over medium high heat, stirring the milk constantly to prevent scorching.  Bring to mixture to 190 and remove from heat.

Gently stir in the vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup beer. After a minute or so curds will begin to form and clump on the surface.  Allow the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes. Gently stir to encourage the curds to separate from the whey.  Stir infrequently at this point...over stirring will break up the curds too much and yield a drier ricotta.

Once the curds appear to have fully separated, ladle the cloudy liquid (whey) through the cloth lined sieve, working slowly to avoid breaking up the curd.  Once most of the whey has been ladled out of the pot, carefully pour the rest of the curd/whey mixture through the sieve.  Allow most of the liquid to drain.  Once the moisture is cool enough to handle, gather the edges of the cloth together to form a bag.   Thread a dowel or the handle of a wooden spoon through the knot and suspend the bag over a pot or the sink.  Allow to slowly drip drain for at least 15 minutes, and up to two hours.  Resist the urge to press the ricotta.

Place in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Saison Braised Chicken Thighs with Honey Cumin Carrots

I have had saison and chicken on the brain for a while. I do not know why. But I don't particularly care.

Saisons are an excellent beer to pair with food in general. The rustic beer is perfect with rustic foods. Roasted and braised preparations play off of the malt backbone.  The dry finish and high carbonation cuts through rich, fatty meats. And the peppery spice character from the yeast and hops plays incredibly well with a myriad of kitchen spices....thyme, juniper, pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger oregano, garlic...even floral notes from teas and rose hips are enhanced by this beer.  It plays well with heat and loves earthy, funky flavors found in mushrooms and many cheeses. No wonder it is one of my favorite beer styles.

The recipe is my own

serves 3-4

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3-4 thighs)
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, julienned
6-8 juniper berries
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
12 oz Saison, divided
1 lb baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 350

Combine the flour, salt, pepper and dried thyme. Pat the chicken dry and dredge in flour mixture.

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet set over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Add the juniper berries, thyme and bay leaf to the skillet.
Stir in 10 oz of the saison. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the preheated oven. Cook 35-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the remaining 2 oz of saison with the honey, oil, cumin and salt. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Arrange the carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast alongside the chicken for 25-30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and beginning to caramelize.

Remove the carrots from the oven. Uncover the chicken. Pre-heat the broiler and broil the chicken 4-5 minutes, browning the skin.

Serve along with pan juices.