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Archive for the ‘Beer + Food’ Category

Two beers. Two recipes (well, two with beers. Three recipes total!). A bonus beer at the end. People.

This was a delicious night.

If you’ve never cooked with beer, these are pretty good recipes to try. It’s all simple, more about technique than precise measurements (just my style…I could never be a baker), with lots of room for tweaking and improvisation.

Let us begin.

Recipe #1: Magic Piggy in a Hat #9

It’s a pork roast. In case that didn’t come across in the title. And it’s roasted in a bath of Magic Hat’s original brew, #9!

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Hiding in the shadows….come into the light, my dear….

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There we are. I thought the tangy, apricoty #9 would match fabulously with juicy pork. And it did.

So here’s what you do:

Make a make-shift no-clean roasting pan because you forgot to buy a disposable one by wrapping layers of tinfoil around an 8×8 baking dish (it won’t work. You’ll still have to clean up).

Pour about….~3/4 of the beer in the bottom of the pan. Add spices. I used garlic, oregano, cayenne, ground roasted coriander, (I think?) marjoram, and these guys:

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(mustard seed) because I never use mustard seed! The bottle had literally never been opened before (it came with our spice rack). So I thought I’d give ’em a whirl.

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Yum. But I don’t recommend drinking it at this point. But at this point I DO recommend putting the piggy in the pan.

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And sprinkle some more spices on top. Note: if you have cats, bury this twine DEEP in the trashcan after removing from pork post-cooking. If it’s at all smell-able, they will dig it out during the night, eat part of the meshy encasement, then throw it up all over the pants you left on the floor whilst you sleep unaware.

FYI.

Then you put it in the oven at 325 for about an hour and 20 minutes, hour and a half. Even though this pork roast said “self-basting” (I didn’t believe it; it doesn’t even have arms!), I recommend basting a few times during the cooking process.

I also recommend drinking the rest of that beer. And taking awkward photos of yourself doing so.

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And while that’s cooking, you can start on recipe #2!

Recipe #2: Okra and Tomatoes Stewed in Woody Creek Water

The star of this show is this yummy witbier from local Frederick, MD (birthplace of the one and only Dan Prestwich, by the way!) brewery Flying Dog.

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Not sure what Flying Dog’s availability is outside this area, but if you can’t get your hands on it, any medium-bodied witbeer will work. But if you CAN get your hands on some Flying Dog, I highly recommend it, because they’re awesome.

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“Good people drink good beer.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Their slogan is short and to the point as well: “Good Beer. No Shit.”

That says it all. I gave Dan a hoodie with that slogan on it for Christmas!

Anyhow, here’s how you stew okra and tomatoes in beer. Actually, stewing okra was a totally new thing to me in general; I had to look up how to do it. I’ve only ever pan-cooked okra in olive oil before. But this was super easy + super delicious.

First, you chop chop chop your okra:

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It won’t be as great as that one guy’s okra at the farmer’s market, that’s so firm and fresh that he’ll slice out samples to eat raw, but as you haven’t been to the farmer’s market and it’s not quite summer yet, Harris Teeter okra will have to do.

Then you chop chop chop your tomatoes:

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These really were “Nature Sweet.”

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SO fresh and delicious, and just bursting with perfect ripeness.

Then you take the okra and tomatoes (no amounts…just however much looks like it could feed a small army. Of hippos. Because this girl right here can eat a pound of okra just by herself), toss them in a pot, and add….~2/3 of a bottle of beer? And some tomato juice (who knows how much…wing it!)

Bring to a boil.

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Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until liquid is aaaalllll but reduced (~30 minutes), stirring a few times (more towards the end, to prevent sticking). I think I threw some garlic in too? I don’t remember. Feel to run with it, babies!

And feel free to drink the rest of that beer too. But don’t bother with trying to take more photos of yourself. None of them will even be remotely postable on your blog.

But DO bother to make this next dish while the oinky’s roasting and the ‘maters and okra are simmering. DO DO DO BOTHER! It’s awesome.

Recipe #3: Beer-less (But Delicious) Spicy-Sweet Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Is this little bugger a sprout, or just some sort of potato hair??

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Welp, I don’t know, but I just cut it off and went on my merry way. And no one died!!

Microwave it for 10 minutes until the skin basically falls off. Put it in a bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of cream cheese, a little apple juice to moisten things up (won’t need much…sweet potatoes are so much more naturally soft and fluffy than regular potatoes!), some cinnamon, a tiiiiny bit of cayenne, and this:

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This stuff is my new favorite condiment. Sorry non-Virginian readers (if there are any of you out there), you’ll probably never get to taste this. Unless you make a very long journey to Fort Valley, VA (or Mount Jackson, where we bought it from, about 12 miles south of Fort Valley). That’s watcha get for not living in this awesome state! It’s so perfectly sweet and smokey and just the right amount of spicy. I applied liberal amounts to the sweet potato mash, and it totally MADE this dish!

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You’ll want to make this with more than one potato though. I think we both would have preferred ~10 pounds of this, funneled directly into our mouths.

Now then, somewhere around this time you’ll have a steaming pot full of this:

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And a gorgeous, juicy roast that looks like this:

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Holy. Oinks.

Honestly, I was too busy digging in to take a nice pretty final presentation photo of my plate, so no climactic beautiful dinner plate pic. But it was deeelicious.

And the icing on the cake?

This guy to pair with my plate:

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I had the signature house brew of Monk’s Cafe for the first time a few years ago when Dan and I took our first vacation together, to Philadelphia, around Christmastime. It was my first introduction to sour ales, and I was completely, utterly in love. With the beer and with my man 😉 But I had never again been able to find it here in VA after that first taste.

And then, just like an old flame reappearing when you least expect it in the same aisle as you in the grocery store, it appeared on a little shelf in the Harris Teeter. And we were reunited.

Then:

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(I was but a baby! Also no idea what I’m drinking or if it’s the sour ale or not, but that’s Monk’s Cafe)

And now:

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So perfectly lactic and sour, with a sweet finish. My unicorn beer. Along with Innis & Gunn (which I had in Canada in 2006, but which is only available on this side of the pond in Canada & New England, it seems)

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A perfect finish.

Go make all these recipes now. They will knock your socks off. Then, if you have access to the Hyde Park H-T, go buy some Monk’s Cafe sour Flemish ale. And have yourself a ball.

Cheers!

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I’ll keep this post short and sweet, just like its subject matter.

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+

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Saranac’s new limited release Caramel Porter, and a toasted marshmallow. I’ve never been as huge a fan of Saranac as other brands; I usually buy the mix-pack when I need a good variety of beers on hand and I see it at the store, but none of their individual varieties has ever tickled my fancy so much that I’d seek it out on its own in a six-pack. Until now, that is. Saranac, I sincerely hope you decide to turn this limited release into a permanent release, because this will prevent me from having to stockpile it in closets and under beds in my house for fear of a Caramel Porter nuclear winter where none is available ever again.

It’s wonderful, and it’s exactly what it tastes like: a porter- all roasty and toasty and thick- with caramel running through it like that river on the label.

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And with this roasty toasty beer, I highly recommend you nosh on a roasty toasty marshmallow. Its flavors echo and intensify the taste of the beer immensely: those crispy, singed sugars on the ends; the soft, toasted amber of the sides; the oozing, melty inside- all the perfect food-incarnation of the deep sweetness, bitter roast, and warming ooey-gooeyness of the porter.

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Please consume immediately on a cold winter’s evening. Or afternoon. Or hell, for breakfast. Even if you have to toast your marshmallow on the gas burners of your apartment stove.

And please please please- for all of our sake- keep making Caramel Porter, Saranac.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know most of you are probably sleeping off your tryptophan-induced comas/hangovers right now, but for those of you who are up and want a little light reading to help your gravy and pumpkin pie digest, I will share with you my contribution to my family’s Thanksgiving feast this year: Dubbel pumpernickel chanterelle stuffing.

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It tastes just as delicious and unusual as it sounds. There were a few skeptics at first, but everyone was converted (as evidenced by the plates of seconds, and thirds) a few forkfuls in. I drew inspiration from a couple sources (The Homebrew Chef’s recipe for duck and porcini mushroom stuffing and this recipe from Whole Foods for mushroom stuffing) making some changes because I wasn’t cooking any meat and because of ingredient availability, and also winging the amount of butter (no oil) and stock.

It was somewhat of a long process- exacerbated, I’m sure, by the fact that I was documenting every step for the blog-but completely and utterly worth it. In fact, there’s something I love about long, involved recipes on the holidays, when you’re up at the crack of dawn and sharing the sunrise with only those others dedicated (or assigned) to cooking up part of the impending feast. You’ve got hours ahead of you, watching the day change around you as you chop, stir, broil, and bake with a leisurely dedication, so that bellies may be warmed and taste buds tantalized in the backdrop of the gaggle of loved ones that will come together to bask in each other’s company while sampling food and drink.

Now then. From the beginning…

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You start with a round of pumpernickel bread. Pumpernickel was the only bread round left at our local grocery when I went to pick some up, so I thought, “Heck…I’ll go with it.” Pumpernickel has a deep, hearty flavor that I thought might work well with the earthy mushrooms and dark, full Dubbel. Anyhow, you first lay the slices out exposed the night before to stale them up a bit. The goal isn’t to make rocks out of them, but to get them just dry enough to stand up to all the beer, butter, and stock you’ll pour over them later.

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Frying pans may be used for bread storage if pan space is limited and counter space is nonexistant.

Then, once you’re ready to start cooking, you tear the bread up into little bits and place in a large bowl.

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Next, you’ll chop your veggies: two yellow onions, one leek, two stalks of celery, and one elephant garlic clove (I imagine 4-8 garlic cloves, depending on how much you like, would suffice if you used regular garlic).

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You will cry so hard at those onions they’ll give you a headache, even while wearing sunglasses (which you will discard when you realize that you can’t see the onions you’re chopping, and onion-tears are preferable to slicing-your-finger-off tears).

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The aftermath.

Then you chop your fresh herbs: thyme and sage. I winged these amounts too, but you should have piles approximately the size of those shown here. Perhaps…three little bunches of sage and 8-10 sprig-clusters of thyme (leaves shimmied off the branches)?

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Next, you bring in the special guest of this stuffing: Dubbel!

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I used Maredsous Brune from Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV in Breendonk-Puurs, Belgium. Any Dubbel would work well, as The Homebrew Chef describes, with its rich, malty flavor bringing out the earthiness of mushrooms (and in his case, the richness of the duck, but in my case, the heartiness of the pumpernickel). However, I chose this one specifically because Total Wine described it as having notes of figs, dark fruit, bread, and some other things of that nature that sounded like it would match my pumpernickel perfectly.

Measure out 2 cups of your Dubbel.

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Then take of lots of artsy still lifes.

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These two cups will be mixed with one cup of chicken, beef, or veggie stock in a saucepan on the stove. You’ll then heat it until it just starts to boil, then turn off the heat and add in 1 ounce (that’s two half-ounce little packets) of dried chanterelle mushrooms.

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Just let these sit and re-hydrate (and mix flavors with the beer/stock) while you do the next few things.

At this point, it is completely acceptable to give yourself a little pour of the leftover Dubbel at 10:30 in the morning. After all, you don’t have to go to work- or even to the feast for several hours- and you can’t waste what you paid $11 a bottle for. All the while ignoring the filthy stovetop.

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It is also acceptable at this point to break into the leftover fried rice from last night’s hibachi dinner. Because of all your baking, your breakfast so far has consisted mostly of nibbles you have nabbed from the dishes you’ve used (rule #1 of holiday baking: no dish or utensil may be placed in the sink before being licked clean of its delicious coating). This is to say your breakfast has consisted of a piece of bread with cheese, bourbon dessert sauce, peanut butter cookie crumbles, and some odd stray vegetables.

Moving on. Now, you sautee!

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You dump those veggies into a large pot or Dutch oven (I would’ve used the Dutch oven, but did NOT feel like dealing with the involved process of scrubbing it soapless then oven-drying it, especially with all the other dishes I’d already made, and Dan wasn’t awake to do it) with four tablespoons of butter, and sautee for about 8 minutes. Add salt or pepper if you want. I wasn’t sure if the herbs would get totally overcooked/wilted/burnt/destroyed if I sauteed them the whole time, so I added them in halfway through, but you really could add them from the beginning.

After this is done, you’ll then add all the veggies and herbs, along with the mushrooms and all the beer/stock in the pot, to your bread bowl and stir it all up.

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You’ll hopefully invest in a bigger bowl than I did. Stirring got really difficult at this point. But look at how nummy those close-ups look!

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And the beautiful curve of that chanterelle.

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Then, optionally, do as I did and add a glug more of each the beer and the stock, just to ensure enough moisture.

Then you take some more butter, rub a 13×9 casserole dish with it, and pour it all into the pan.

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Dot with some more butter on top, and into the oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Then ta-da, you’ll get this:

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Devour. Share with others, but make sure to package up the leftovers for yourself.

This really did turn out every bit as fantastic as I’d hoped my tinkering would. The dark, hearty, rich flavors of the pumpernickel, mushrooms, and Dubbel worked well together, though each was dark, hearty, and rich in a different way (the pumpernickel more tangy-malty from the caraway seeds, the Dubbel sweet-malty, and the mushrooms more earthy).

Click here if you want to see the recipe in printable form! Well, more printable than this (i.e., written out, and without pictures. I still haven’t figured out how to just make it load a clean PDF for you). Let me know if you like this feature- I’m thinking of going back and making printable recipe pages for other recipes I’ve posted here, as well as others in the future.

And happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone’s was filled with large quantities of seasonal food, people you like and who like you in return, and indulging with reckless abandon.

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Last night’s drinking and dining situation made me feel like this:

You’ll see why.

Yesterday after work, I was in Total Wine picking up some Thanksgiving selections, and thought I’d pick myself up something to crack open that night. So I grabbed this baby:

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Because I am a sucker for a) saisons, b) hops, and c) the unusual. As well as the new, and this was certainly a new one to me. I’d had De Proef Brouwerij’s Reinart Flemish Wild Ale and Zoetzuur Flemish Ale before, and was a fan of both of them. This one sounded right up my alley as well. Dirk Naudts of De Proef Brouwerij is known for experimentation, and with this ale, he teamed up with Tomme Arthur of The Lost Abbey (“Inspired Beers for Sinners and Saints Alike”) in San Diego, CA. The Old World openly embraced the hand of the New World, and vice versa, to produce a saison aggressively hopped with American pale ale varietals and fermented with traditional Belgian brettanomyces yeasts.

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The result? Well, as you may expect, it’s a hoppy saison! It’s a pretty tasty one at that. The hops are citrusy, with a hint of cedar. The yeasts are present, though not as in-your-face as the hops, and to me, tangible yeasts always give a beer a thicker body and a hint of breadiness, which nicely balanced the pucker of those hops. They also give the beer the signature tartness of a saison, but (at least on my first tasting), this brew seemed less earthy and tangy than I’m used to saisons being.

I was drinking out of a small glass, however, which required a refill, and the bottle had been sitting out for 15 or 20 minutes by the time I went for a second pour.

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The flavors of the Belgian yeasts seem to really come into their own once the beer warms a bit, and the signature earthiness of the style seems to raise its voice more, to inch toward the front of the class.

Perhaps my choice of dinner, chewed while I sipped on this, was partially to blame as well for me missing some of the finer points the first go-round. You see, I made crab-and-leek-stuffed portobellos, paired with asparagus and my last-minute, wait-this-plate-doesn’t-have-a-carb! side, buttered bread.

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The buttered bread went nicely with the creaminess of the yeast-feel (that body-boosting effect I talked about tangible yeast imparting), but nothing about the meal particularly matched the tartness or tang (except maybe some spice in the Old Bay on the crab). However, I think the portobello, while delectable, might have been the main problem. It’s so earthy and rich that it may have overwhelmed the beer. Instead, you need something light and tangy- and perhaps salty- to match the tang of the yeast, and buttery to match the yeast-thickened-body and balance the hops. Total Wine recommended pairing this with blue cheese, and while I’m allergic to blue cheese and could never experience that, I think some sort of cheese would be appropriate. White Stilton? Goat? Port Salut?

Even if the meal didn’t match the beer perfectly in taste, it matched it in metaphor: just as someone brewing beer regionally (as tradition and historical circumstances would mandate) would not have access to both Belgian yeasts and American hops, nor would someone foraging for mushrooms in the woods typically also have access to seafood. Old World meets New World, forest meets the ocean. Perfect harmony.

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At least, that’s what the name of this beer would have you believe:

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This is, of course, “Otro Mundo,” which translates roughly to “Other World” (if my high school Spanish serves me correctly). It was the last of our gift beers from Jason & Laura, along with RJ Rockers’ Fish Paralyzer, Rogue Mocha Stout, and Chimay red (which paired magnificently with an delicious deer curry dish I made, but the pictures of it all came out horribly, so no post on that one, unfortunately). Otro Mundo is a red ale produced in Santa Fe, Argentina by Otro Mundo Brewing Company. Both Dan and I enjoyed this beer.

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Yeah I’m drinking my beer out of an O’Mara’s Irish Cream glass. It almost looks like a Manhattan like that.

Dan sampled this a minute or two before I did, and the first words out of his mouth about it were, “Does this smell like yogurt to you?” Now, I don’t know if I’d have had that same impression had I smelled it without his influence, but after he said it, I could certainly see (or smell) what he meant: it had that ferment-y, lactic, slightly sweet yogurty smell to it. Which was by no means unpleasant- it was just very unique.

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The beer was quite interesting. It had all the flavors you’d expect from a red ale, with a wild, tangy taste similar to a sour ale or saison. But unlike sour ales, which tend to taste slightly fruity or cherry-like, and unlike saisons, which tend to taste dry and champaigne-like or earthy, this tasted malty. It was sour AND sweet, that particular malt-imparted sweet that gives it a heaviness and a lacing of caramel.

And while we didn’t pair this with a meal, it did taste great with the salty-sweetness of peanut butter in these Reese’s Pieces:

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Until next time, happy munching and sipping!

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Oh yes. It’s that time of year again. It’s brisk. Downright cold, even (compared to the brutal, recently-passed summer). People go into hibernation mode. They crave warm, hearty foods. Enter: chili!

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Now, I’ll tell you how I got there in a second. First, let me tell you about Dan and my history with chili. It’s pretty much our specialty dish. We would cook it almost much every time we met up at my family’s cabin in Lebanon Church (the halfway point between Harrisonburg and Arlington) when we were doing the long-distance thing while I was still in college. It warmed us many a cold night up there, ladled into bowls and topped with sour cream, and many a cool morning after, piled onto eggs. We perfected a recipe all our own, that involved ground beef, diced tomatoes, dark kidney beans, peppers (both bell and habanero), onions, a secret blend of southwestern spices, and our key ingredient: a little bit of cinnamon and brown sugar. We’d let that thing simmer for hours and it only got better the next day.

However, one thing we had never made was white chicken chili. So, for the sake of doing something new last night, I decided to make this. I loosely based it on this recipe, with some changes. I used corn instead of zucchini, completely disregarded the measurements for the spices because it seemed WAY too under-seasoned, added in a few extra seasonings like paprika and garlic powder (in addition to the fresh garlic already in there), didn’t rinse my beans (that stuff that coats them = starch + sodium.  Starch + sodium = delicious), and replaced one of the three cups of chicken stock with a cup of this guy:

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Now now, that’s a pretty pose, but we can’t see your branding. Look up a little bit.

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There we go. Now the whole world can see you are the Heinnieweisse Weissebier Farmhouse Ale from Butternuts Beer and Ale in Garrattsville, NY (well, they can’t see the brewery info, but I looked it up). I chose this beer for two reasons: a) it was a flavorful but light-colored/bodied beer that seemed to fit the white-chicken-chili ethos, and b) you could buy individual cans of it from the Euro Mart on Wilson Blvd. that I stopped in at on my walk, so I wouldn’t have to carry a whole six-pack home.

Of course, I bought two cans: one to cook with, and one to sample while I was cooking. And I have to say, I was thoroughly impressed! This is the first beer I’ve ever had from a can that actually tasted as good as beer from bottles. I know canned beers are making a comeback nowadays, and with advances in canning technology and materials, there is supposed to be no difference in quality between cans and bottles, save for those that arise out of our own prejudices. But I have to say, either my prejudices must be awful strong or that claim is just not the truth. I’d previously tried another beer from this brewery, the Porkslap Pale Ale, which I ordered at GalaxyHut purely because of the funny name. Meh. I didn’t think it was very flavorful. My next experience with a canned craft brew was Old Chub, a Scotch ale from Oskar Blues. It was good, because come on, you can’t make a Scotch ale without it having flavor. But I just didn’t think it had the body or the heft of a bottled Scotch ale.

But this beer actually tasted comparable to a hefeweizen or farmhouse ale that comes from a bottle. It’s actually kind of an interesting taste: both hefeweizen AND farmhouse ale? Wheaty, yeasty, AND wild-saison-y tasting? Yes, please. I’d like another. And I’d like one for my chili too!

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Oh. And of course. I forgot one other modification I made to the recipe. Dan’s aviator glasses are a requirement for chopping that onion that goes in there, as they cover a large proportion of my face and provide the best tear-guard I’ve found to date.

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I have to say, this was a pretty good recipe. I let it simmer longer than usual, in an attempt to get it to boil down more, but then conceded to the fact that it’s not a thick, tomato-ey chili like we’re used to having. It’s more a soupy chili. And that’s OK. I also stirred a good amount of sour cream into my bowl, and topped it with crushed tortilla chips.

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Blue corn all the way! Times these chips by about five (I’d already eaten some of it, and kept adding more as I went along).

Click here if you want a more printer-friendly version of the recipe. A warning: this will make A LOT of chili. We both had hearty portions, and the leftovers just barely fit into a very large container. But I’m betting this is easily freezable, and can be pulled out at a moment’s notice to warm your soul (and stomach) on a cold night and be enjoyed with a nice farmhouse ale.

Cheers!

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While in an ideal world, I would have loved to have been here this weekend:

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Eating plates of this:

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Drinking this:

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And partying it up with these guys:

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I could not. My post-surgery-ed state and my inability to walk very far, coupled with the fact that the Capitol City Brewing Company Oktoberfest, while awesome-looking, was very popular and there was already a line to get in by the time we considered going, COUPLED AGAIN with the fact that I do not live in Bavaria, made me reconsider my Oktoberfesting options.

I say, if you cannot bring yourself to Oktoberfest, bring Oktoberfest into your home! So thus I did. Beginning with this guy:

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How could you not want to drink with this guy??

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He’s so jolly and avuncular and kind! He even seems to be taking the fact that his beer stein looks empty in stride. Anyhow, this merry monk graces the label of Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse all the way from Germany. I wanted something authentically Bavarian to kick off Oktoberfest, and I’m glad I chose this one. It was, in a word (or two), frankly delicious.

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It was incredibly thick and yeasty, with a head that just wouldn’t die: just like I like my hefeweizens. It also tasted EXACTLY like banana bread. Even more so than I thought Wells Banana Bread Beer did when I tasted it! The overwhelming banana taste, coupled with the thick, wheaty body and the foam of the head, along with a tiny whiff of lemon and a little touch of almost milky sweetness from the yeast that reminded me of the smoothness of walnuts, made it exactly like drinking a liquid loaf of the stuff. Amazing.

It also paired well with our distinctly non-Bavarian (but still delicious!) appetizer of duck mousse with truffles spread on mini toasts. There was no real thought put into this, but they were both tasty together. Maybe the unique richness of each was able to stand up to the other.

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Then it was time for the main affair. First up to bat: carrots cooked with a little help from this guy!

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This was a recipe for karotten im bier (found here), and it’s essentially what it sounds like: carrots in beer! Basically, you boil the carrots in dark beer, a little sugar, and a little salt, until they’re cooked. Like so:

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As always, I made a few changes to the original recipe. I used baby carrots instead of regular ones, because that’s what we already had. And thus I’m not sure if the proportions are actually correct, as I just dumped what was left of the bag in. I also added the sugar and salt in the beginning, figuring it would be more flavorful if cooked with the carrots, and also didn’t measure this; just threw in some pinches (since the proportions were already off). Finally, I also had no idea how long it would take the carrots to cook, since the recipe didn’t indicate, but I figured it was probably going to be a long time if left uncovered, and I didn’t want the rest of the meal getting cold while the carrots cooked. So I covered them.

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However, I think this may have been one of my downfalls. By covering it, the Guinness cooked down to a very small amount of syrup (aka, not enough volume or liquidness for boiling), so I kept having to add more in. In the end, they didn’t turn out great…I loved the idea of the goopy Guinness reduction they were covered in, but the taste was way too overwhelming and bitter. Part of that may also be that I used Guinness Extra Stout instead of regular Guinness (unknowingly), and I don’t really like the Extra Stout. I think it tastes just like the carrots did: too overwhelming and bitter, but not in a good way like an IPA (you all know I like my hops). It tastes kind of like charcoal to me. I actually ended up replacing half my carrots with a salad, though Dan ate all of his.  Must try this with regular (tasty) Guinness sometime!

No matter though! The rest of the meal was redeeming. Next up to the plate is the tuber that no German meal would be complete without: the potato! I wanted to make some sort of authentic German potato dumplings, but I decided to take the easy route with this one and make a simple mashed potato dish with garlic, chives, cream cheese, milk, and butter.  I could this make ahead of time, so as to save my more impressive culinary efforts for a more involved main dish. Nothing beats a good mashed ‘tater though!

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Then came the piece de resistance: weinerschnitzel! I dredged veal scallopine cutlets in flour, dipped them in egg, then rolled them in breadcrumbs, and into the pan with hot oil they went. Then to a drain on a plate:

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Mmmmm. Overall, these were pretty good. I think the oil needed to be hotter though, because the veal cooked a bit faster than the coating could fry, leaving it a bit chewy (and the breading a little fally-offy in some parts, though I got better at it as I went along). And, with the recipe calling for no seasonings, I wanted some sort of whipped garlic dipping sauce or perhaps a nice horseradish cream to go with it. Though that could be my American palate screaming out to be assaulted with seasonings. Anyhow, our unventilated apartment now smells like fried veal and probably will for days to come. Score!

Of course, the Oktoberfest meal wouldn’t be complete without another Oktoberfest beer! This time it was from Old Dominion, a brewery whose namesake is the moniker of our home state of Virginia, but which is actually located in Dover, Delaware. I am pleased to present to you: Dominion Oktoberfest!

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This was an extremely flavorful Oktoberfest beer- possibly the most flavorful I’ve had yet this season. Very full and round and toasty, with all the wonderful tastes an Oktoberfest beer/Märzen should have: biscuits, malts, toffee, caramel. It’s very bready, with a touch of sweetness…sort of like a sweet bun of some sort. But here’s the twist: there’s a very present hop taste as well. It’s got a bitterness that (maybe because of association with its color) reminds me of a copper penny taste….but in the most delicious way possible. There’s something woody or piney about it too; perhaps those are the hop tastes I am sensing. Something natural to it. In any case, very delicious! A great beer to sip as the sun goes down:

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Happy Oktoberfest everyone!

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