When I was hardly out of my teens I sat down at a white formica table in a prominent Jewish deli in New York. Just after I placed my order, pastrami on rye, obviously, the waitress set down a plate of pickles. I hesitated, I hated pickled. The only run ins I’d had with those vinegared beasts was soggy, cooked tasting, nonsense that came via grocery store glass jars.
The waitress, an older woman with a thick brooklyn accent and bleach fried blonde hair was having none of my resistance, “These are the best in the city, eat up,”
So I did, I’m a people pleaser and I didn’t want her to be mad at me. I was amazed. Nothing at all like I’d ever had. Crisp, slightly sweet, a little herbal, and so delicious that I ate the entire plate. It was a revelation. Like finding out I don’t hate Chinese food, I just hate La Choy in a can, or that I actually like coconut I just hate Almond Joy bars.
It changed my world. I started pickling all kinds of things, like jalapenos, and coleslaw (minus the mayo) for pulled pork sliders, and I even once pickled under ripe strawberries just to see what would happen.
But the real moral of the story is that if a waitress twice your age tells you to eat something, you should do it. It’ll change your life.
Sriracha Bloody Beer with Chili Sugar Bacon + New Years Resolutions For Beer People
We do this too often. Spinning a resolution in a sacrifice that will ultimately give way to our guilt over lack of follow through. It’s not your fault, it’s the resolution. You can spend all year giving up coffee, carbs, sugar, or sleeping in, but that’s not what we should focus on at the dawning of a brand new year. It’s not supposed to be torture, it’s meant for celebration. So don’t put yourself in a culinary time out, or throw yourself into a debt related guilt prison, give yourself a gift. Grow yourself and your interest. Save the torture and regret for Lent. If you’re a beer person, you’ve got some options. But you already knew that, you’re way more creative than those vodka soda people.
1. Get certified in beer. Make it a goal to study hard, read up, and earn yourself a Cicerone Certificate, which is a certification that proves to the world that you actually know beer. And if anyone questions you, you will now have the proof you need to silence your opposition.
2. Brew your own. If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at homebrewing, there is no better time to start. Buy a starter kit, join a homebrew club, and realize that your first batch will suck, possible explode in the fridge, and then the next one will suck less. If that doesn’t scare you off, then you’ll make a fantastic brewer someday. After you stop sucking at it (don’t worry, everyone sucks at first).
3. Go to a beer festival. There is no better way to connect with the craft beer community than to drink with us. Nearly every state has a Craft Beer Week, there are ale fests, stout fest, holiday beer fests, fresh hop fests, summer ale fests, (and on and on), in every state. Find one locally or go to a giant gathering of craft beer lovers from all over the world like The Great American Beer Festival.
4. Invest in glassware. You’ll be shocked at the flavor difference between your favorite beer when you drink it from shaker pint (or, god forbid, a mason jar) and when you sample it from a glass made specifically for that beer style. If you appreciate beer, and especially if you invest in good bottles, you’ll love serving it the proper way. Although the names of a few of these glasses are a bit suspect, I love the line of glassware from Crate & Barrel (my favorites: stout glass, half pints, IPA glass, wheat beer glass, craft beer glass).
6. A new brewery every month. Most cities have more than enough established breweries or new start ups to take care of twelve months of brewery hopping. Stop in, grab a flight, and don’t forget to chat up the staff, beer people are the friendliest kind.
When I was 17 I decided to sell vacuums door-to-door. It was a great plan, I’d met a guy who had made a few thousand dollars in just one day, it seemed like easy money.
After a quick intro seminar in an office park in a bad area of town, they loaded up a floor model into the back of my car and gave me a folder of pre-screened targets that I had appointments with. My first stop was a nice apartment overlooking the water. I nervously waited for the door to open as I practiced my opening line in my head a few times.
The door swung open and an attractive 22-year-old guy was on the other side of the door. The look on his face mirrored my own: you’re not what I was expecting. He eagerly invited me in, offering me a drink, clearly unaware of my underage status. I declined, trying to stick to the script. I didn’t get paid unless this guy buys an overpriced cleaning machine, and I needed money.
I start the routine I’d been taught, demonstrating the equipment, quoting stats and specs, and trying to get him to pay more attention to the vacuum than my jeans. Mid-pitch, he stops me, “I have an Ikea couch and my TV is held up by a shipping crate, do you really think I can afford a $600 vacuum? It’s not going to happen.”
I explained that I had to call my boss to tell him how it was going, but I had to wait at least 30 minutes after my arrival. I asked him to give me more time. He hesitated. “Look, how about this. We’ll play one game of poker, if I beat you, you buy the thing. If not, I’ll leave before I have to make the call.”
A few minutes later he emerged from his kitchen with a pack of cards and a box of matchsticks he wanted to use as poker chips. Due to a lack of furnishing, we sat cross legged on the floor of his living room as I dealt hold ’em and watched him suck down a second scotch. Fifteen minutes later, I had all the match sticks. For a second time.
“I just beat you twice.” I said as I motioned towards the overpriced vacuum.
“I still can’t afford it. But can I take you out this weekend?”
“Are you going to by a vacuum?” Which was really a poor choice of words, I just wasn’t sure how to respond to his advance.
“You’re making me buy that thing before I can take you out?”
“No, I’m not going out with you either way. But….it’s a really good vacuum.”
He laughed. “Look, I’ll help you load it up. There really is no chance that I’ll buy this thing. How about we walk over to that cafe across the street and I’ll buy you dinner for your trouble.”
I hesitated, I didn’t want him to think it was a date, he clearly noticed.
“It’s not a date! I owe you something for your time, and the fact that you’re oddly skilled at poker, and I feel bad just sending you away. Just let me buy you dinner.”
I agreed, but I also ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, cheese fries, to remind him that there wasn’t any chance this was more. They were fantastic. I canceled all other vacuum-related meetings, returning the stupid thing in the morning. Cheese fries and winning at poker ins’t a bad night, but it never earned me any money
I always a nice girl, polite, maybe a little shy in a way that made me seem unapproachable. Always a go-with-the-flow, don’t-rock-the-boat kind of person, never one to cause a riot.
Until you put me in a red swim suit and give me a whistle, then I’m bossy and loud. The summer after high school I got a job as a lifeguard at a summer camp protecting pasty white teenagers from the depths of a murky lake. One of the stations I worked was this 30 foot long inflatable rectangular pillow that extended out into the deep center of the lake called “The Blob.” Kids would climb up on the large platform that was positioned over one end of The Blob, jump down and climb out to the other end of this multi-colored launching device. When the next kid would jump off the platform on the near end of The Blob, the first kid would be flung high into the air, right into the lake.
We had a weight limit, for safety reasons. Only a 100 pound weight differential between Blobbers was aloud or the launch would be too extreme for the the one who was being flung. A late afternoon, just a few minutes before the end of the afternoon swim session, a camp counselor came to me asking to bend the rules. He wanted to launch the smallest girl off the end of The Blob, just to see what would happen.
I said no, “You are huge, she is tiny. That doesn’t end well.”
He resisted, telling me I wasn’t being cool, “Why are you being so lame?!”
“You easily have 200 pounds on her, she’ll get hurt. Don’t do it.”
Two minutes later I see her on the far end of The Blob, hands gripping tightly to her lifejacket. Knees curled. I look up at the platform, a small kid was about to jump. But my relief turned to hot white anger when I saw Big Guy Dumbass Councilor push him out of the way and cannon ball onto the blob. Tiny Girl was sent so far into the air that everyone in line gasped. She flailed, her tiny arms windmilling. After a ten story descent into the water, she landed flat on her back with the loudest slap I’ve ever heard, it echoed across the lake. She lay in the water, frozen without moving. I immediately jumped in and swam out to her. She was in shock, but ok. She was silently sobbing, limp as I pulled her back in. I put her on the dock without saying a word, took off her life jacket, she had giant welts on her lower back and was having a hard time moving.
I looked up at Dumbass, who was still on The Blob. “Dude…” was all he said. I shot him the nastiest look I could muster and yelled to everyone in line that The Blog was closed early.
At dinner that night, we had sliders. I was still in my swimsuit, with white shorts, hair still wet after barely making it to the dining hall after filling out the Incident Report. I sit at the staff table, with a clear view of Dumbass. I stared at him, eating my sliders with a vengeance. Another lifeguard, who’d been working the pool that afternoon noticed my wrath, “Jackie, what the hell? What did those sliders do to you? Jesus, you look pissed.” Something about eating small little burgers that makes me feel powerful, in an “I’ve got this” sort of way. Don’t mess with me when I’ve got a whistle. Or sliders.
In a medium bowl add the sausage, 3 tablespoons beer, red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir until just combined.
Form into 8 small patties, about 2 ½ inches wide by ½ inch tall.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook the patties on one side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and add ½ cup beer to the pan. Simmer until patties are cooked through, about 6 additional minutes.
In a small bowl stir together the sour cream, cilantro and sririacha.
Add the patties to the split rolls, top with sour cream and lettuce.
I spent the better part of the last two weeks throwing myself into my second book. Cooking at 1 am, editing photos at dawn, trying to pull sentences out of my weary brain that would actually be ones that you would want to read.
Monday at 2 am I finally sent it off to my publisher. 100 recipes, all made with beer, all intend for parties. Small bites, appetizers, desserts. The years I’ve spent in the beer world have given me an overwhelming appreciation for the community that exists here. The people who gravitate to craft beer are those who want to share, not just beer but ideas, companionship, trust, knowledge, this is a community of people that thrive together. Of course, a book about beer food to be shared just made sense. I hope you love it as much as I do, I hope you make food to share with other, and I hope that maybe somewhere, the craft beer community is grown a little stronger because of the book I spent so much time creating. It’s the least I can do.
Porter Marinated Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps with IPA Chimichuri
For the Steak:
12 ounces porter or stout beer
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tbs brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
2 lbs flank steak
1 tsp kosher salt
For the Chimicuhri:
1 cup Italian parsley, loosely packed
½ cup cilantro, loosely packed
¼ cup fresh oregano, loosely packed
¼ cup olive oil, plus additional for red pepper
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs IPA beer
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp crushed red chili flakes
½ tsp salt
For the wraps:
1 red bell pepper
In a shallow bowl or baking dish stir together the beer, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili powder, pepper and onion powder. Sprinkle the flank steak on all sides with salt, add to the marinade. Marinate for at least one hour and up to overnight.
In a food processor add the chimichuri ingredients, process until smooth.
Preheat the grill.
Grill the steak until desired degree of doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes.
Rub the bell pepper with olive oil, grill until soften and grill marks appear.
Slice the steak and the bell pepper.
Fill the butter lettuce leaves with steak and bell peppers, spoon on sauce.
Maybe it was because I’m a people pleaser, or I’m detrimentally curious, but she was able to talk me into it. I took headshots and a few weeks later I was on a catwalk in Culver City modeling high waisted jeans, and a mesh top with no bra, with vines and flowers drawn on my face.
Backstage I was so nervous I felt like I was going to throw up. At 5”7’ and 118 lbs, I was the “short, fat” model that needed the 7-inch heels to make the $500 denim inseam work. I was in a world that didn’t belong to be, in an ill-fitting role. A seasoned model, one with dead eyes and the purse full of cocaine walked by and gave me a smirk, “First show? Good lucky, honey” in a voice as nasty as garbage.
A switch flipped. I’ve never been the mean girl, I’ve never been the center of attention girl, and I was learning how not to be push over. I smirked back.
I walked out on the long black stage, lights from all sides. Camera bulbs flashed. I was acutely aware of being nearly topless, and I owned it. I got to the end of the runway, I knew it was going well. When I got halfway back, I saw Dead Eyes at the other end, she’d paused. I put my hand up, forcing her to stop. I turned back around and did another pass, walking back to the end of the runway. For some reason, the crowed cheered at my double pass. Dead eyes had to wait, she was furious at the back of the stage. When I finally exited the stage, I did so with a death glare at my back. I very quickly changed my clothes, grabbed my things and left, vines and flowers still painted on my cheeks. I didn’t get paid for the show and I never did another, but it was worth it.
I’d much rather run around a kitchen that a runway. It was a reminder that sometimes when you don’t belong somewhere it’s not your loss. Sometimes, with a little luck, we just end up where we are supposed to be. And it fits really well.
In a food processor add the cream cheese, sour cream, old bay, garlic powder, chili powder, hot pepper sauce, corn starch, beer, worchestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, and mozzarealla, process until smooth.
Stir in the onions and crab meat.
Add to an oven safe serving dish.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until warm and golden brown.
When I get to a new city, I always ask people what breweries they like. People answer this question in one of two ways: how much they like the beer, or how much they like the people. Sometimes, the judgement is clouded by a love for one spilling over into the other, the way you adore your friends mediocre band. Often, there is an overlap. Great beer and great people. The amazing thing about craft beer is that it’s full of people you love, people you want to root for.
Lucky for me, in this new town I’m in, Seattle has plenty of both. A few days after moving here I had drinks with a friend. I asked about Pike Brewing, “Adored. People here adore Pike, the people who work there are so great and the beer is super solid.” No matter how many people I ask, craft beer new comers to genuine beer snobs, the answer seems to be the same. Seattle is rooting for this brewery.
Now that summer is here, and we get a window of heat in the Pacific Northwest, a burger and a beer are the perfect meal. Made with a beer that Seattle loves, it makes me feel like this new town is starting to become my home.
Jalapeno Beer Cheese Burger with Beer Candied Bacon
For the bacon:
12 strips thick sliced bacon
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup stout
For the cheese sauce:
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 tbs cornstarch
1 cup IPA
1 cup whole milk
2 cups (4 wt oz) shredded cheddar cheese
For the burgers:
2 lbs ground chuck (80/20 lean to fat ratio), very cold
2 tbs stout
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbs melted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 jalapenos, sliced
6 hamburger buns, or Kaiser rolls
Make the bacon:
Preheat ove the 350.
In a sauce pan over medium high heat, bring the brown sugar, stout and cayenne to boil, boil for one minute.
Place the bacon on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Brush the bacon on each side with sugar mixture.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flip, re-brush with sugar mixture, bake for ten more minutes until bacon is a dark brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool. Bacon will harden as it cools.
Bacon can be made a day ahead of time.
Make the cheese:
In a pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle with flour and cornstarch, whisk until well combined, allow to cook until a light brown color.
Add the beer and the milk, bring to a low simmer. About ¼ cup at a time, whisk in the cheese, making sure all cheese is melted before adding more. Keep warm while you make the burgers (sauce will thicken as it cools, add additional milk or beer and add to heat if the sauce thickens too much).
Make the Burgers:
Preheat the grill.
In a medium bowl, gently mix together the beef, 2 tablespoons stout and onion powder. Make sure that you only mix as little as necessary, over working the meat will make it tough. Form into 6 patties (make sure to form patties larger than you want the final results to be, patties shrink as they cook).
Brush patties on both sides with butter, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Grill on both sides until medium, about 4 minutes per side.
Fill the buns with patties, jalapenos, bacon and cheese sauce.
I’ve always been a bit of a heat freak. I’ll always order the spiciest version of any dish on the menu, and then add hot sauce. I’ve had to tamp down the fiery ingredients when writing recipes for mass consumption, but when it’s just me and a few other capsaicin worshipers, I’ll triple the power of the chiles.
When it comes to peppers, there is no way to look at them and tell how hot they are. Jalapeno’s for instance can range for a semi-mild heat level to a knock your socks off fire that can be three times the socville units of their milder counterparts. The scoville scale measures the heat level in chiles, giving them a number that correlates to how spicy those little devils are. Other than the peppers that earn no units (like the bell pepper), most peppers get a range rather than a specific number. For instance, the jalapeno ranges from 2,500-8,000. But you’ll never be able to tell just by looking at them if that pepper is mild or wild.
If you want to temper the heat a bit, most of the heat is held in the seeds and that white membrane that keeps the seeds attached to the inside of the pepper. Remove some or all to control the heat a bit. Too mild? Add beer. Alcohol intensifies heat so adding a high ABV brew will kick that heat up a notch of two. Adding another kick of heat to my spicy food is just another reason for me to love beer.
We’ve talk about this before while discussing Julia Childs last meal and how I defiled it with a stout. Many discussions have been had over what entrée and dessert we’d all have if we were afforded the choice. Would it be Grandmas pot roast? Sushi? A burrito from that place you used to go when you were a kid?
The conversation needs to extend to the pint glass, what’s your last beer? If it’s a true last beer, there are a few factors you no longer need to consider: price? Charge it. ABV? Doesn’t matter, hangovers won’t be felt. If it really is your last beer, the last sip you’ll take as an earthly being, you probably wont be rolling the fermented dice on something new, you’ll grab an old favorite, your comfort beer.
What is it? What do you drink? Is it the first beer you fell for, the one that got you into craft beer? Is it one with memories attached to it?
For me, it would be a stout. Probably the first craft beer I feel in love with: Old Rasputin.
But then again, maybe I would surprise myself. I might want one of those fantastic California IPA’s that felt like home for some long. Sculpin, Race 5, Pliny? Who knows, it would be a game time decision.
But one things for sure, if you’re the one flipping the switch, make sure there’s proper glassware; I can’t drink it out of a mason jar.
I was once invited to leave The Viper Room when the guy I’d been chatting with escalated past douche bag right up into unignorably obnoxious territory and I was swept up in his wake.
I not so subtly parted ways with him to cross the street towards The Roxy when he escalated further,”You’re leaving?! I pulled out my best stuff for you!” I had no idea that he’d been trying to get somewhere with his meaningless rambling.
Oh, you mean the uber-impressive story about having lunch with Alan Thick last week? Or telling me that your ex-girlfriend was a sexsomniac?
Or bragging about stealing wifi from your neighbor? Because it was all gold, so clearly I have no reason to leave with this depth of conversational wealth that’s being offered to me.
Sometimes, people just try too hard when what they really want is to impress. We can do the equivalent of Over-Sharing-Drunk-Viper-Room-Guy with food. We can try too hard, do too many things, and make a mess of it all.
Keep it simple this summer, some grilled produce, good ingredients, real butter and great beer.
And save the stories of your ex-girlfriend for your guy friends and only after they’re too drunk to object.
For what seems like decades brewers have been involved in a bit of an ABV arms race to see who can bring to the table the IPA with highest alcohol content. The Top That ABV Game seems to be waining in favor of the Full Flavor Session IPA game, to the relief of lightweights across the land.
Now that summer is around the corner and long days of eating Hot Meat off the grill and drinking all day, session beers are more important. A session beer is a beer with low alcohol that you can spend a “long drinking session” consuming without becoming a cautionary tale. Mostly, these are beers that have less than 5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Although a low ABV session beer becomes an important part of not becoming an unintended YouTube sensation with drunk antics, we also want to continue to perpetuate our status as the Craft Beer Queen, so “lite” beer won’t be considered. Session IPA’s are what we go to. The hops we want, the low alcohol that keeps us functional all day.
Here are some to seek out. This isn’t a “top ten”list, or a “best of” list. It’s just a list. A list of great session IPA’s to seek out when you want to drink all day without embarrassing yourself. If you have a session IPA you love, let me know.
In a food processor or blender add the apricots, IPA, sriracha, cornstarch, and balsamic, blend until smooth.
Salt and pepper the chicken thighs on all sides,.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
Sear the chicken breasts on both sides. Add the shallots, stir until shallots have softened.
Add the apricot mixture, reduce heat to a low simmer, simmer until sauce has thickened and chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with parsley.
This recipe needs fully ripe, sweet apricots. If you use under-ripe apricots, the dish will be overly sour. If you don't have over ripe (almost mushy) apricots, add 2 tbs honey to combat the bitterness.
There’s a beauty and effortlessness in the collaboration of beer people. It’s an illustration of the spirit of community that exists in the world of craft beer. And indicator of how brewers are fans of each others, how the idea of competition is so so faint, it almost can’t be felt, how beer people cheer each other on and push each other forward.
Beer week, regardless of the city you’re in, has a way of brining these collaborations to the years giddy apex. This year Seattle beer weeks collaboration may be the largest yet. Six different breweries, Black Raven, Pike Brewing, Naked City, Georgetown, Schooner Exact, and Elysian brewing, all came together to brew one beer. A great session IPA that has a beautifully well balanced hop flavor that’s insanely drinkable.
Lucky for beer people, as well as those just looking to explore hopped up liquors, Beer Weeks are popping up all over the country. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, check out Seattle Beer Week May 8-18th. If you aren’t make sure to check out the beer week in your area and support local brewers, local beer and local economy, with the added benefit of a day full of great beer in your pint glass.
Beer Battered Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema
There are a few things you don’t realize you’re giving up when you leave LA. You know you’ll miss the weather, the sunny winter days spent sunbathing on the beach, the fact that every band always has a tour stop in your town, and the unlimited Girls Night Out options.
But no one tells you you’re giving up tacos as you know them. And Horchata, for that matter. The brilliance of living in a town so chocked full of authentic Mexican food is really manifested in two ways: toppings and tortillas.
Whether it’s a taco truck (the real kind), taqueria, or a backyard party thrown by the family of the girl you work with, real tacos come on homemade corn tortillas. No self-respecting Mexican grandma would have it any other way (think of asking an Italian grandmother to serve her pasta with Prego).
Homemade corn tortillas are a thing of beauty, soft, warm, and so easy to make. Once you start making them from scratch, you’ll have drunk the Kool-aid too, there is no going back.
Which brings us to taco toppings: no one outside the USA puts iceberg lettuce and shredded cheese on their tacos. It’s not a hamburger, it’s a taco. If you like them that way, you should do it. It’s a Tex-Mex part of our National culinary identity, but it’s not authentic. In LA, you get onions and cilantro and the option to add a few dashes of hot sauce if you choose.
Crema is a Mexican staple, but not as often used on tacos. It’s more of a mole or enchilada accessory. But in LA we have these surfers who open taco restaurants after surfing their way up the West Coast of South and Central America. They make fish tacos and serve them with a creamy sauce. Which may not be completely authentic, but it’s still very LA.
So, what I’m trying to tell you is that these tacos are equal parts authentic and hypocritical. Which, let’s be honest, that’s pretty LA.
Beer Battered Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Lime Crema
Yield: 4 servings
1 large egg
1 cup flour
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup pale ale
Oil for frying
1 lb raw shrimp, deveined, shell and tail removed
1 cup Mexican crema
1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced (plus additional to taste)
1 tbs fresh lime juice
½ cup diced onions
½ cup chopped cilantro
12 beer tortillas
In a large bowl stir together the flour, cayenne, garlic powder and salt.
Add the egg and the beer, stir with a fork until well combined.
Add about 2 inches of oil to a skillet over medium high heat (ideally you want to oil to stay around 350 degrees).
A few at a time, dip the shrimp into the batter, let the excess batter slide off, then add to the oil. Allow the shrimp to cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and add to a stack of paper towels.
In a small bowl stir together the crema, chipotle chili and lime juice.
Add the shrimp to the tortillas, top with diced onions, cilantro and chipotle crema.
Not a lot, just a few. After all, parties are about lack of restrictions. First, there needs to be a bit of portability involved. One hand, no utensils type of portability. If you’ve every tried to navigate the consumption of food that requires a knife and fork while trying to mingle, you understand the hard and fast nature of that rule.
You also need something low maintinace. Something you can set down and leave for your guests to grab, sans explanation.
Lastly (only three rules, after all, this is a party), you want something fairly quick and easy to put together. After all, you have other dishes to make, and dishes to wash, and people to mingle with.
But if you can work in beer, there are some bonus points involved.
I’ve been hiding my Instagram account from you under a different name. I changed my Instagram name to The Beeroness last week after I realized that you want to see my life. This is the hang up for me, the part that’s so hard to wrap my brain around: that invisible people on the other side of the computer actually want to see what my life is like. Sure, it speaks to a hideous level of insecurity on my part, but why wouldn’t I let you in?
After all, you trust me with your Thanksgiving turkey, and to give you a Beer Cheese Dip for your football party, and you even ask my advice on what to do with the remains of the Blueberry Kolsch homebrew that didn’t exactly go as planned.
If there is anything that can lure me away from ordering a good beer, it’s a spicy cocktail.
The heat in a fresh pepper and some whiskey will get me every time. Once blood orange season rolls around, I’m powerless. Blood oranges have a great flavor, part naval orange, part raspberry and the color is incredible. The season has just started and ends far too soon. During the few peak weeks that I’m able to find these beauties that make my cutting board look like an episode of Dexter, I juice and freeze as much as I can for later.
Because before too long the only orange I’ll be able to find will be the boring orange ones.
Using both beer and bacon in a dip to get your attention. It’s like a video of Christopher Walken volunteering as Tribute, or a list of The Things You HAVE to Know By The Time You’re 30, or those UpWorthy videos that Facebook always tells you are a Must Watch. You can’t look away.
But it’s the food version of those things and you won’t be able to stop eating it until you run out of chips, and briefly contemplate using your fingers. But you shouldn’t, apparently, that’s tacky.
Add the cream cheese, sour cream, mozzarella, cheddar, smoked paprika, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, cornstarch and beer to a food processor. Process on high until smooth and well combined, about 5 minutes.
Stir in most of the copped bacon, reserving about 2 tablespoons.
Pour the dip into an oven safe bowl top with reserved bacon.
Bake at 350 until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes.
If the dip is "fluffy" out of the oven, just stir before serving.
Putting dip on bread. Serving it on a silver platter. Acting fancy.
It’s the same amalgamation of ingredients as that dip you serve in that Pyrex bowl surrounded by bread slices, relatively similar process, but the result is the ability to use the Italian word for “little toast” whilst talking about beer cheese dip.
It also allows for your unruly party guests to grab a portable portion of dip and move along, avoiding a traffic jam around the dip section and promoting harmonious party mingling.
Or you could just serve it in a bowl surrounded by bread like a normal person. But you’ll miss out on being able to say Italian words like a boss.