Tag Archives: cooking with beer

Beer Muffins with Molasses Crumble

I woke up on Sunday morning craving a beer. Maybe it was the lack of beer from the night before or maybe I was dreaming about drinking… I’m not quite sure. What I do know is that these muffins turned out so gosh darn tasty that I ate 3 of them. and then I slipped into a 10am food coma while watching the Food Network. Let’s just say it was one glorious way to start the day.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado/raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup neutral oil such as vegetable or canola
  • 12 ounces of a malty beer; think stout, porter, or brown. Or maybe even pumpkin?
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Steps
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Sift together the 3 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Beat the 2 eggs together in a separate bowl; add the beer and oil.
  4. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Mix together; do not beat or over stir!
  6.  In another bowl, add the molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and remaining flour.
  7. Cut the ingredients together with a fork until the mixture is homogenous and crumbly.
  8. Grease a muffin tin or use cupcake wrappers to prevent the muffins from sticking.
  9. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, but only fill them halfway.
  10. Use half of the crumble mixture to divide evenly amongst each muffin.
  11. Fill each tin with the remaining batter.
  12. Use the remaining crumble to top each muffin.
  13. Bake in a 350F for 25 minutes or until done.

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Mustard… with Beer!

I’m a huge fan of making food from scratch. I’ll also be the first to say that it doesn’t always make sense to do so. Time constraints and food costs all too often get in the way. But then there are things like mustard. There’s really no reason not to make it yourself. It’s quick, absurdly cheap, and the flavor is worlds better than anything you’ll find in a squeeze bottle at the grocery store. And did I mention you can customize it to your taste with little to no effort? It’s definitely a recipe worth experimenting with. Heck, now that I know just how simple it is, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll have two to goodness knows how many flavors on hand at any given time.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbs brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup + a glug of light, non-hoppy beer
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Steps
  1. Grind 1 tbs. of yellow mustard seeds to a powder.
  2. Mix with the remaining mustard seeds (yellow & brown) in a small bowl.
  3. Chop the garlic and shallot very finely. Large pieces of garlic in mustard doesn’t seem like it’d seem that appetizing in turkey sandwich…
  4. In a small, non-reactive saucepan combine the beer, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, shallots, honey, turmeric, allspice, and salt (aka the rest of the remaining ingredients). Bring to a boil, then gently simmer for about 15 minutes or until the mixture reduces by about half.
  5. Pour the mixture over the mustard seeds, cover, and leave in the fridge for 36-48 hours.
  6. Pulse the mixture in a food processor or grind with a mortar and pestle until smooth. If you prefer grainy, pulse a few times just until the mixture comes together.
  7. The mustard is now delicious and fully sandwich ready and it’ll be even better in another 24-48 hours as the flavors meld and the acidity mellows out a smidgen.
Do you prefer honey mustard?
Mix the honey in the recipe and add honey at a 1:1 ratio with the final product.

Do you prefer your mustard more pungent and strong?
Use black mustard seeds instead of brown.

Do you prefer spicier mustard?
Increase the amount of brown mustard seeds and/or add a chopped serrano pepper with the garlic and onion. Or add tabasco or chile powder to the final product.

Do you prefer a more robust mustard?
Use a porter or a stout instead of the pale ale and replace the tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of molasses.

Even the above is just a starting point; play around with mustard seed varieties, types of vinegar, and spices. The possibilities are truly endless. And if you fully sanitize the jar and lid beforehand, it will keep for several months in the fridge, that is if it lasts that long…

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Pink Peppercorn Panna Cotta with Kriek and Macerated Cherries

Chris Cosentino is one of my culinary heroes. His restaurant, Incanto, introduced me to the wonder of duck head, pig trotters, and all things offal. This recipe is based on his with the addition of Lindemans Kriek, a tart beer that reduces incredibly well. The result is a dessert that’s tart, creamy, floral, and just sweet enough with an underlying pepper note.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbs. pink peppercorns depending on your taste
  • 2 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 12 oz. fresh cherries, can use frozen & thawed
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2 bottles of a kriek or other lambic (raspberry maybe?)
  • You will also need 10 five-to-six-ounce ramekins. And.. this recipe can be halved (10 servings is a whole lotta panna cotta).
Steps
  1. Crush the peppercorns
  2. Bring cream, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup kriek or lambic, 3/4 cup sugar, and peppercorns to a boil in a large saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour remaining 1/4 cup milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.
  5. Set a strainer over a large pitcher or bowl.
  6. Bring the cream mixture to a simmer; stir in softened gelatin and vanilla. Whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Let stand for ~5 minutes.
  7. Pour cream mixture through strainer.
  8. Coat ramekins with nonstick spray and divide the cream mixture amongst them.
  9. Cover and chill until they firm. It’s best to prepare them the day before as they can ~6 hours to properly set. Keep them chilled until eating time.
  10. Stir cherries with remaining 2 tbs. sugar and pepper. Let sit until sugar dissolves and juices form; stir occasionally.
  11. In a saucepan, add the remaining kriek/lambic and reduce until it reaches a syrup consistency.

    Allow to cool before serving or it will melt the panna cotta (as can be seen in my picture at the bottom of this post; I was kind of sort of overly eager).
  12.  invert panna cotta onto plates. Spoon cherry mixture over top and pour kriek/lambic syrup around in a big delicious puddle.

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1554 Devil’s Food Cake with Black Pepper Meringue

I am not a baker. There’s something about the whole following directions thing that I just haven’t gotten the hang of. Unfortunately for me, baking doesn’t often tolerate a cook going rogue and that’s kind of what I did with this recipe.. I couldn’t stop drooling when I read it in Bon Apetit last month and had to give it a go, but also decided to add beer because, well, beer and chocolate go lovely together.

To my own disbelief, this cake turned out ah-freaking-mazing. In fact, I was so impressed with myself that I brought a piece to the Pastry Chef at my work for her to critique. Her response was excellent. As was the restaurant’s Forager who also tried a piece. Both let me know the recipe was a ‘keeper’ and so now, that’s exactly what I’m going to do – keep it – blog style.

But before we get into it, let me say that this recipe isn’t very difficult (don’t let the somewhat lengthy ingredient list fool you!), but it is sort of time consuming (less the sort of). Read through the steps, buy the ingredients in advance, and plan to make the filling the day before and have no fear that the invested time is absolutely worth the end result.

INGREDIENTS

FILLING

  • 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup New Belgium 1554 (or other dark beer, or kahlua)
  • 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
CAKE

  • nonstick oil spray or butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 6 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. buttermilk
  • The rest of the bottle of 1554 (or other dark beer or more kahlua)
  • 1 tbs. finely ground espresso beans (optional)
  • 1 tbs. cocoa nibs (optional)
BLACK PEPPER MERINGUE
A candy thermometer would also be good to have to make the meringue.
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (fresh is a must)
STEPS
FILLING
    
  1. Pour 1 tbs. cream into a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the chocolate and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1 tbs. sugar in a medium bowl.
  4. Bring remaining cream, the beer, and 1 tbs. sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan; stir to dissolve.
  5. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture in with the egg yolks, being careful not to create scrambled eggs (which I did on accident on the first attempt…).
  6. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens slightly and your finger leaves a path when you draw a line on the back of a spoon. This will take ~3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  7.  Add the gelatin mixture to the cream mixture; stir to dissolve.
  8. Pour the cream mixture through a strainer (I use the same one I use for brewing) and into the large bowl with the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute.
  9. Whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
  10. Add the creme fraiche.
  11. Use a stand up mixer (or your mad mixing skills) to beat until well blended.
  12. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling and chill overnight.
  13. IMPORTANT: Pour the rest of the beer into a bowl or glass and cover; leave it so that it goes flat and doesn’t affect the texture of the cake with its carbonated goodness.
CAKE
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Coat the bottom and sides of three 9″ cake pans (or one pan that you’ll use multiple times if you’re like me and lacking on the baking equipment) and line with parchment paper rounds.
  3. Whisk cocoa powder in a medium bowl; whisk in the egg and egg white.
  4. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. of lukewarm (yum) beer.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose and cake flours, baking soda, and baking powder.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl for ~2 minutes.
  7. Gradually beat cocoa mixture into butter mixture.
  8. Beat in flour in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions.
  9. Fold in espresso powder and/or cacao nibs if using.
  10. Divide the batter among pans; lift the pans a few inches into the air and drop on a hard surface to spread evenly in the pan and to prevent over mixing.
  11. Bake until a taster (toothpick) comes out clean when inserted into the center, about 15-17 minutes.
  12. Let cakes cool in pans set on wire racks (which I didn’t have) for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove cake from pans and let them cool completely. (I leave the parchment paper rounds on the cake to prevent the cake from sticking to a surface as I don’t have wire racks and it helps keep it intact since the cake is somewhat delicate while warm).
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKES
  1. Place 1 cake layer on a plate.
  2. Stir the filling to loosen.
  3. Spread half of the filling over cake in an even layer (and remember that frosting hides mistakes…).
  4. Place second cake layer on top of the filling.
  5. Spread remaining filling over the second layer.
  6. Place the remaining layer on top.
  7. Chill the cake while making the icing.
MERINGUE
  1. Mix 1 tbs. sugar and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Attach a candy thermometer to a small saucepan and add remaining sugar and 1/2 cup water.
  3. Sit over medium low heat until sugar dissolves.
  4. Increase heat and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan, until the thermometer shows 240F, which will take about 10 minutes.
  5. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment; beat at medium speed until frothy.
  6. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining sugar and salt.
  7. Gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites while the mixer is on medium-high.
  8. Continue beating the egg whites until they are stiff and cool; this will take around 20 minutes.
  9. Add the pepper.
  10. Immediately spoon onto the cake. Smooth over top and sides; swirl decoratively (and because it’s easier than trying to make the topping look clean and smooth).
  11. If you have a blow torch, torch away.
    

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Skirt Steak Marinated in Beer with Polenta & Roasted Red Pepper

This dish is stupid easy, relatively cheap, and gosh darn delicious – all of which are perfect for a midweek meal. From start to finish it’ll take less than 45 minutes (if you don’t count the marinating time). Try to wake up and put the marinade together before you leave for work. It’ll take around 5 minutes and that’s calculated in I-haven’t-had-a-coffee-yet time. Cuts of meat like the flank steak need those extra minutes to live up to their full potential. Not a morning person? Put the marinade together the night before.

INGREDIENTS

MARINADE

  • 2-4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard (optional)
  • 8 ounces of a darker beer, we used a doppelbock because it’s what was in the fridge. Medium bodied, darker beers work best in this dish. Think dark lager, porter, or brown ale.
  • Splash of  Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • an herb – we used dried rosemary, but fresh is almost always better
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
STEAK!
  • 2 lbs. of flank, hanger, or skirt steak
POLENTA
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • lots of parmesan cheese, 1/2 to 1 cup
ROASTED RED PEPPER SALAD
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
SAUCE
  • 4 ounces of the beer you used in the marinade
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • rosemary or thyme
  • honey
  • salt & pepper
STEPS
MARINADE

  1. Whisk together the marinade ingredients until well combined.
  2. Pour the marinade into a large bag or in a shallow dish with deep sides.
  3. Place the steak in the marinade
  4.  Seal the bag or cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 6 hours to 1 day, turning occasionally.
  5. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature.
ROASTED RED PEPPER
  1. Begin roasting the red pepper over a burner and turn until the skin is blackened and delicious.
  2. Place the pepper in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for ~10 minutes. The steam will cause the skin to loosen which will make the pepper easier to peel.
  3. Remove the charred skin from the pepper. I find this is easiest to do with slightly wet hands. Do not rinse the pepper, though!
  4. Slice the red pepper into ribbons.
POLENTA
I start the polenta while the pepper is roasting
  1. While the pepper is resting, bring the salt and water for the polenta to a boil in a large, deep pan. Once the water comes to a boil, gradually stir in the polenta.
  2. Stir frequently for ~20 minutes until the mixture thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  3. Stir the butter and cheese into the polenta and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place a lid on the polenta and set aside.
Grab a helper if needed!

STEAK

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed pan to cook the steaks. My favorite is cast iron.
  2. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a very small amount of oil (not olive) in the pan.
  4. Place the steaks in the pan when the oil sizzles if you place the corner of the meat in.
  5. Do not move the steak until it needs to be flipped. Don’t disrupt the browning! This will take about 5 minutes per side.
  6. They are ready when a thermometer registers 125-130F for medium rare. Cook a little longer if you prefer your steak to be medium. Try not to cook to well done — skirt steaks don’t handle overcooking as well as other cuts of meat.
  7. Allow to rest!
  8. Cut the steak into thin slices against the meat grain.
SAUCE
  1. While the meat rests, add 4 ounces of beer and 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary or thyme.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the liquid reduces by half.
  3. Turn off heat and add a spoonful of honey.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove the herbs.
  6. Taste! Depending on the beer and your preferences, it may need additional seasoning, acidity, or sweetness.
SALAD
  1. Dress the arugula with salt & pepper and oil & lemon juice.
  2. Toss with the red pepper slices.
Plate it up and enjoy!

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Witte French Toast

Breakfast is underrated. And when it comes to pairing beer with food, well, it’s all too often overlooked. Skip the bloody mary or mimosa at next Sunday’s brunch and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about..

This last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming craving for french toast. I’ve been meaning to make the Sunday Mornin’ Haystack French Toast from The Best of American Beer & Food by Lucy Saunders, so that’s exactly what happened. This recipe is based entirely on hers, with a couple of minor tweaks (I’m not the most creative before coffee…)

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces bottle-conditioned wheat ale (I used a 22 ounce bottle of Ommegang Witte)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk + a fair splash of Half & Half
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking spice (I use this instead of cinnamon because the allspice & ginger go well with the Witte)
  • 6 thicker slices of a white bread (challah is my favorite for french toast, but this recipe works better with a fresh baked white bread; stay away from the thing sliced mass produced stuff)
  • Maple syrup
  • Garnish – orange slices (even better when caramelized), bananas, blueberries, powdered sugar, etc. I’m a fan of supreming orange slices because it compliments most wheat beers quite well.
Steps
  1. Allow the beer to sit out overnight at room temperature so that the yeast settles at the bottom of the bottle. Carefully pour all but the last 3 ounces of the beer into a glass or two. What remains in the bottle should be yeasty & opaque.
  2. Combine the eggs, yeasty ale, milks, baking spice, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk until well blended and aerated with lots of bubbles.
  4. Place bread slices in a large pan with a deep rim; cover with the egg mixture.
  5. Turn over the bread to coat evenly and allow to soak until almost all of the egg mixture is absorbed.
  6. Set oven to “warm” or the lowest heat setting.
  7. Prepare a greased griddle or large skillet with a pat of butter (or a few sprays of oil) and place over medium heat.
  8. Cook until both sides are golden brown.
  9. Transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven to keep warm while preparing the remaining pieces of bread.
  10. Place the french toast on a plate, top with maple syrup, and your choice of fruit and/or powdered sugar.
  11. Serve with a Belgian Wheat Beer or an American Pale Wheat Ale, something that’s citrus forward and unfiltered.

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Mac and Cheese and Beer with Chiles

There’s beer & cheese soup and there’s beer & cheese dip, but seldom does one hear about mac & cheese & beer unless at a gastropub. Why is this?? Beer and cheese go beautifully together; it makes sense to combine them in this classic American dish.

This is where the fun began. What beer to use?? Most recipes for beer & cheese soup or beer & cheese dip don’t specify what type of beer to use or they suggest a light lager. If you’re going to cook with beer – let the beer shine! Use something with flavor that will truly compliment the dish. That being said, I’ve definitely had my share of cooking with beer mishaps (cooking potatoes in an IPA is not a good idea) and I didn’t want to mess this one up, so I made two different types: hatch chile & IPA and chipotle & doppelbock. The results? Both were outrageously good, but also very different from each other. The IPA version really stepped up the traditional recipe, whereas the doppelbock version is an adventure for your tastebuds in the best possible way.

If you’re interested making both versions side by side like I did – have 2 pans going and halve the ingredient amounts below. The cheeses are also very interchangeable, so use what you enjoy, but use multiple types of cheese if you can. If I’ve learned anything from making an outrageous amount of mac n cheese over the years, it’s this: single cheese versions aren’t nearly as good as their multiple cheese counterparts.

IPA & Hatch Chile ingredients

  • 1 lb dried pasta (my favorite is cavatappi)
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted hatch chiles (or roasted anaheim peppers)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of an IPA (I prefer a less bitter & less hop forward IPA like the 471 for most cooking)
  • 1/2 cup butter + 3 tbs
  • 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces monterey jack
  • 4 ounces gruyere
  • 8 ounces cheddar
  • salt & pepper
  • panko bread crumbs
Doppelbock & Chipotle ingredients
  • 1 lb dried pasta
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onions
  • 2 – 4 chipotle peppers + 1 tbs of adobo
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (optional)
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup doppelbock
  • 1/2 cup butter + 3 tbs
  • 4 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces monterey jack
  • 8 ounces cheddar
  • salt & pepper
  • panko bread crumbs
Steps
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  5. Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat in a pan large enough to contain the pasta & additional ingredients.
  6. Saute the onions in the melted butter until soft, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Whisk in the 4 tbs of flour.
  8. Continue to cook the flour/butter/onion mixture until it turns a light brown & begins to foam. This should take between 2 & 3 minutes, but watch it carefully & whisk frequently to prevent burning.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium low.
  10. If cooking the doppelbock version – add the tomato sauce & 1 tbs adobo and cook an additional minute.
  11. Slowly pour the milk & beer into the pan while whisking constantly.
  12. Whisk in any spices (garlic, mustard powder, salt, pepper, etc.)
  13. Cook the mixture, while continuing to stir frequently, until it begins to bubble & thicken, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  14. Turn the heat to very low and stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  15. Chop the chiles to the size that you want in your macaroni & cheese. I tend to cut the chipotle peppers into smaller pieces as they are substantially spicier.
  16. Add the chiles to the milk mixture.
  17. Slowly add the cheeses to the pan and mix until smooth and fully melted. Important: do not add additional liquid after this point or the cheese may loose the creamy texture.
  18. Add the noodles to the pan and carefully stir until evenly coated.
  19. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.
  20. Transfer the noodle & cheese mixture into the greased pan.
  21. Melt the remaining 4 tbs of butter over low heat.
  22. Pour over ~1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and mix until the breadcrumbs are well coated.
  23. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, until the cheese begins to bubble & the top turns a golden brown.
  24. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
     

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