White Bean Turkey Beer Chili (for Thanksgiving leftovers)
Please excuse the interruption from your otherwise lovely Holiday weekend while I boss you around.
If you have leftover turkey this is what you should do with it. Make yourself some warm-your-bones chili, full of the beer brined turkey that you obviously made, and use it as an excuse to open a beer for lunch.
Because if you still have family in town, you’re gonna need it.
But if you’re reading this on any day of the year that is not punctuated with holiday sales and over-zealous shoppers looking for dirt cheap TV’s, then you can always substitute cooked chicken. Or just leave it out all together. It’s cheese and beans and beer, it’s a win no matter what.
“If you do it right, you’ll life several lifetimes before you’re done.” She was 80-years-old, only frail on the outside, and telling me about the life she lived decades ago. One where she was a young activist living in 1960’s San Francisco. That life, she said, was one that still makes her feel vibrant and rebellious even in her compression socks and sensible shoes.
She shows me pictures, her wildly unkempt hair flowing out of the frame. She says that if I do it right, I’ll look back on this moment with the photo in her hand and her words filling her small kitchen and think to myself, “That was a different life.”
That was about 7 years ago, and she was right. She’d served me scalloped potatoes that she’s baked in a skillet and showed me all the age-worn photos that she could find of that past life she once lived. The one that fills her head as she falls asleep.
“You don’t always have to be a good girl, you can rattle the cage sometimes, dear. Sometimes those are the best choices to make.”
She was also right about that. Skillet potatoes remind me of her, and the advice she’d given. Maybe someday when I’m 80 I’ll make some wide-eyed-farm-girl some potatoes and tell her to rattle cages.
A few months ago I sat at a table with a mess of brewers and beer people. The conversation turned to the water shortage, and farming practices. The debate went back and forth, what we can do, what we need to be careful of, and even how to move to a zero waste facility. The inspiring take away from this roundtable conversation was that although the ideas varied, the feelings of wanting to move towards sustainability and environmental responsibility was unanimous.
The heart and soul of good beer has never been ruled by a traditional bottom line. The concerns are quality, taste, community, and responsibility. If it costs more, then that’s just how it has to be.
Craft beer, as we know it today, is still in its infancy. With a constant stream of articles showing a struggling industry, a bubble on the verge of bursting, the beer business is still pushing forward with sustainability and responsible practices. There isn’t another industry that puts those needs in such a priority, even in the midst of a difficult phase.
Long Root Ale —a collaboration between HUB and Patagonia— is exciting evidence of the soul of this movement. It’s made with Kernza, an ancient grain that few have even heard of, but as it turns out, makes great beer. It also requires much less water and land, without the need for pesticides, and it assists in the reduction of land erosion. All that and a flavor that rests somewhere between wheat and rye. If that wasn’t enough, a portion of the proceeds goes towards environmental issues.
Just in case you needed a good reason to drink great beer.
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 can of beer
Preheat oven to 450, lowering the rack to the bottom most position (all other racks may need to be removed for space).
Rinse the chicken inside and out. Dry very well with paper towels until all the moisture is gone.
Sprinkle the inside cavity with 1 tablespoon salt.
In a small bowl stir together the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, onion powder and baking powder (this will help crisp the skin).
Rub the outside of the chicken with the spice mixture.
Pour about ¼ of a cup of beer out of the can (or drink it). Place the can on a flat surface.
Lower the chicken down onto the can until the can is well inside the chicken cavity. Set the chicken and can upright (use the two legs and the can to create a tripod) in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Gently transfer to the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F on a meat thermometer.
When I was in high school I was a lifeguard on a lake in Northern California for a summer doing a steady rotation of pool watch, lake watch, and zip-line duty. The last of which was my least favorite. I was there for the water, not to stand on a platform in the top of a Redwood tree, hooking pre-pubescent campers and their just-slightly-older-than-me counselors up to harnesses and watch them careen towards the lake below.
Occasionally there would be a kid, always a boy, always with a group of other kids who talked him into climbing up the rope ladder to get to the platform, who would freeze. He’d stand there in his harness, shivering in the shade with his still-wet swim trunks clinging to his body, his harness double bolted to the cable, unable to jump. I was always able to get him to let go, to trust, and to jump. Except once.
He wasn’t a camper, he was a tall, very attractive, early-20’s counselor with thick wavy black hair and an ego to match. He was showing off as he climbed to the small wooden space at the top of the tree to stand beside me as I clipped him safely to the cable that would bring him to the sun-warmed lake below. As I finished he turned towards to opening of the wooden tree-house like structure we stood in, and froze. He took a step back, his eyes wide, and muttered, “…I can’t….I can’t”
At first, I tried to calm his fears. Tell him how safe it was, how every kid had gone down safely and there has never been an injury in the history of the camp. It didn’t work. I tried to tease him, letting him know that the 70-pound 12-year-old girl in line behind him had been down three times. It didn’t work. I asked why he was hesitant, he wasn’t sure.
After 20 minutes or prodding, I told him he had to get down, one way or another. That he had to jump off the platform or go back down the rope ladder. He moved closer to the edge, slowly putting one foot over the 30-foot drop, then he slipped. In one motion he was free of the platform and then both of this long arms reaching backward grabbed the railing and pulled himself back towards me on the platform. He couldn’t do it. He scrambled back up next to me, begging me to unhook him. Shaking. He slowly, shamefully, made his way down the rope ladder, past the 12-year-old girl with pity in her eyes.
Sometimes, I think of him. When I’m too scared to move forward with something I feel ill-equipped to manage. How do I do this thing? Where do I start with the thing? What if I can’t do the thing?
Just jump, I think to myself. Don’t be that guy, don’t stay on the platform. I remember thinking, as he made his way down the ladder, that he would regret it. He would wish he’d have jumped and wonder what he was so afraid of. So I tell myself to jump because I have nothing to be afraid of and I’ll regret it if I don’t just do it.
I’m jumping into making videos for some of my recipes. It may sound benign, but it’s a learning process. I’ve spent the past year trying to talk myself into jumping into figuring it out, and it’s daunting. It’s a process. Learning a little at a time, something new for each one, something I hate and will change the next time. But, you can’t stay on the platform forever, you just have to jump. Learning a little each time.
The patio is always full of people who don’t just know the beer, they know the story. They know the owners, the jobs they held before the lure of the frustration of brewing on a tiny system in the middle of an ocean pulled them into an uncommon life. The beer is always brewed on a system that looks to be just a tick bigger than a home brew system, and it’s running around the clock.
This weekend, on a small island, I stumbled upon Island beer. True to form, the patio was full of the people who run the line between patron and family. The system was on display behind the counter, in a stage between cleaning and brewing, and the beer was beautiful. Earlier this year I was on a tiny Island in the caribbean and found the same sort of beer-island-family that welcomes you in, serves you beer and wants to know your story.
Island beer is different. It doesn’t want to take over the world. It doesn’t seek a buy-out. It doesn’t concern itself with mass distribution. It’s a bit like life on the island. There is always a story of hard it was the get even that small system onto the island, a bigger one is just a far reaching fantasy. Island beer wants to be there for the locals, a backdrop to the stories they tell and the life they lead. It’s consistent, and memorable. It’s worth seeking out, pulling up a seat in the tap room and asking the owners to tell you about how they got started. You might find yourself being treated like part of the family before the end of the night.
Next time you’re on an island, look for the beer. Then find out the story.
oil for frying (canola, safflower, or peanut work well)
1 cup (240g) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15g) sriracha red chili sauce
1 long French baguette, cut into 3 inch slices, split to resemble buns
2 cups baby arugula
2 large tomatoes, sliced
Cut the fish into 1-inch strips, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt.
In a medium bowl stir together the buttermilk and beer. Add the fish to the bowl, making sure all fish is submerged. Allow to sit for ten minutes while you prep the dredge.
In a separate bowl stir together the cornmeal, flour, creole seasoning, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
Add 3 to 4 inches of oil in a pot. Clip a deep fry thermometer onto the side. Heat the oil to 350F, adjusting heat to maintain that temperature.
A few at a time, remove the fish strips from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off. Add fish to the cornmeal dredge, tossing until well coated. Add to the oil, frying until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from oil and allow to drain on a wire rack.
In a small bowl stir together the sour cream, and sriracha.
Spread the sour cream on the insides of the sliced baguette. Fill with a few pieces of fish, arugula and sliced tomato. Serve immediately.
Probably a bit too curious for my own good, but I’ll take it over safe, and timid. Lately, It’s been gluten-free beer that’s had me wondering (wait, don’t go! Let’s talk about gluten-free beer just for a second!).
It’s not so much the “gluten” part that I’m curious about, as far as me (and my guts) are concerned, gluten is awesome. It’s more of a curiosity about a growing segment of the market that is focused on brewing with different grains. Barley is the only ingredient in beer that has gluten, and brewers are experimental and curious by nature, so what does beer taste like if you brew it with millet instead of barley? What about brown rice? It’s not so much the gluten part that has me interested, it’s the beer being brewed in a different way. It’s one grain being swapped for another. What does that do? The brewing process is the same, what does the end result look like?
To satisfy my curiosity I’ve teamed up with Heather Christo and Allrecipes and we’ve decided to do a LIVE Facebook taste test. This means I have never sampled any gluten-free beer and I will do so live, for the first time, on camera. Also, it bears mentioning that I have a complete inability to hide my feelings. So if a beer isn’t good, you’ll be able to tell right away.
So join me on the Allrecipces Facebook page on Thursday, August 11th at 2PM PDT to watch me sample all the gluten-free beer I can get my hands on. It should be fun. Then, maybe, we can eat this gluten-filled cake to celebrate?
1 cup (150g) fresh blueberries (for frozen, see note)
1 cup (125g) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (16g) lemon juice (or beer for a larger beer flavor)
Preheat oven to 350.
Add the sugar and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until light, fluffy and well combined.
Add the egg and vanilla, beat until well combined.
Stir in the buttermilk and beer.
Stop the mixer, sprinkle with flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined.
Stir in the blueberries.
Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake until top springs back when lightly touched, about 55 minutes. Allow to cool completely before icing.
Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice (or beer). Pour over the cake, slice and serve.
For frozen blueberries, rinse well until the water runs clear. Add to paper towels to dry, do not stir into batter. Layer loaf pan with 1/4 of the batter, sprinkle with berries, top with more batter, then blueberries, repeat until all the berries and batter have been used. This will avoid smashed berries and a purple cake.
There is a street fair in LA that I used to frequent, with chicken the smells so incredible it will haunt your dreams. I’d rush past the booths of produce, handmade ceramic mugs, the guy trying to get me to vote for his City Council pick, the face painting lady, just to be near to the lady grilling the chicken.
Sophia was always with me, as polite and charming as a bulldog could possibly be. She wasn’t the kind to bark (even when she probably should have), and she never once jumped up where she wasn’t supposed to. She’d run up to her intended target, sit her chubby body down right in front, and lift a paw to get attention. It was a genius move. Whatever she wanted she got. Head pets, food scraps, lavish praise. But the chicken lady was her crowd, and she worked it. She’d run up to the booth, sit down right in the front, and gently scratch the vinyl sign covering the bottom of the booth. Chicken Lady would squeal that “her dog” was back. She’d load up a plate of chicken (probably too full), and rush to feed Sophia and pet her head.
I, of course, had to order some. I’d convince myself it was as a way to thank her for feeding my dog better food than most the world eats, but really it was because I’d jones like an addict for what she was peddling.
Lately, I’ve been consumed with puppy fever. Sophia’s been gone a while, and I need another furry, fat, beast in my life. So I decided to make our chicken and stalk all the bulldog rescue sites in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a legit way to spend the afternoon. At least until I can find another buddy to visit street fairs with me and beg for chicken.
20 minute dinner: Chili Beer Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
Stocking a beer tub for a summer party is as important as planning the food. Beer sets a tone and fuels conversation. It’s as much about offering your friends their favorites as it is about introducing them to new ones.
When planning the brew menu keep in mind the types of drinkers you’ve invited as well as how far you want to push their palates. Offer your guests safe choices, slight pushes in new directions, and a few more extravegant options for the fearless few who want to try something new.
Keep in mind that while you may be drawn to the bold punch of a triple IPA, don’t forget that long summer parties pair better with lower alcohol session ales to keep your guests (or yourself) from becoming a cautionary tale or a viral YouTube video. Keep most of your offerings below 6% ABV to help your guests stay in control.
Wheat beer: This is an important addition to your beer tub. The low hop profile is perfect for the “craft beer is too bitter” guy. Most wheat beer is very low on the bitterness scale and a common gateway for those new to craft beer. Wheat beer is also insanely drinkable and pairs easily with a wide array of foods.
Pilsners: Pilsners are having a moment in the craft beer scene right now. Pilsners are about balance, no one ingredient takes center stage. They are hoppy but aren’t the hop bombing IPA’s or the malt saturated Belgians on the other end of the spectrum. Pilsners are a crisp, drinkable introduction to hops with a nice carbonation for summer drinking and burger eating. They are also the perfect way to show Macro Beer Guy that he might actually love a crisp refreshing beer that has a kick of flavor to it.
Session IPA’s. Given that you’ll be the host for a mass beer consumption, you should be mindful of ABV. While many-a guest might scoff at the 4% brew, and feel a manly surge of testosterone when he cracks open a 12 % beast, you know he needs to get home in tact. Session beer (beer that has less than 5% ABV) have so much flavor no one will miss the alcohol, or the obnoxious behavior as a result.
Sour & Wild Ales.Love ’em or hate ’em, sours are part of the conversation and a rapidly growing style in todays craft beer market. Grab a few for your guests, you’ll never know who is going to love them, maybe even you.
12 ounces wheat beer, or summer ale (not too hoppy)
1 cup chopped pineapple
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeno, chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ tsp red chili sauce
juice from ½ lime
12 Good quality corn tortillas
Add the olive oil to a pan over medium high heat. Cook the onions until starting to brown.
Sprinkle the chicken breast on all sides with salt. Add to the pan, cook on both sides until seared. Sprinkle chicken chili powder, onion powder, cumin, and cayenne. Add the beer, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to maintain a simmer (do not boil). Cover with a lid, allow to simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
Remove chicken from the pan, shred using two forks. Return the chicken to the pan, allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from pan, add to a serving platter.
In a serving bowl add the pineapple, jalapenos, cilantro, salt, chili sauce and lime juice, stir to combine.
Serve the chicken in the tortillas, topped with the salsa.
I’m on a layover in Salt Lake right now, in an airport bar resisting the urge to hair-of-the-dog my way out of sleep deprivation and a small sprinkling of a hangover. I’m going to tell you something that will make you think I’m crazy, but I already rolled that dice when I told about the time I decided to be a vacuum salesman and that time I assaulted a waiter in Spain: I like layovers. I like the energy, this mix of people, the contentment of knowing there isn’t a lot expected of me at this moment, the brief pause in a day otherwise filled with travel, the calm before I get back home and jump back into my life. I look at the faces of the other travelers and wonder if we’d have been friends if we’d ever really met. I wonder if we’ve ever been in the same place before this, or if we ever will again.
I made a decision two years ago—in the midst of the biggest personal crisis of my life— to figure out how to enjoy my time instead of “kill time”. The last thing I need to do is go around killin’ the moments of my life that don’t please me as much as I’d hoped, and then later complain when it goes by too fast. Maybe all moments aren’t amazing, or even traditionally enjoyable, but as my theory goes: if you can figure out how to enjoy a layover then just maybe those great moments will be even better. Maybe not. But at least I’m not just going’ around killing off moments in the prime of my life.
Beer Dutch Babies Oven Pancakes with Peaches and Cream
This was the first recipe I ever memorized.
I was 16 and I’d driven 3 hours to stay at a house on the lake with a few friends. Five guys shared a dirty, old, charming, huge, lakeside craftsman house and were very clearly expecting me to cook breakfast.
The weekend prior I’d spent the early morning hours making Dutch Babies with my friend, pretending we’d just woken up rather than just snuck back into her house. I remembered the recipe. I remembered that it was simple, easy, and really, really good. I made a double batch for the guys, poured it into two very hot glass baking dishes, and baked until they puffed in a way that made me look like a breakfast genius. Other than scrambled eggs, it was the only breakfast recipe I knew.
I served it with powdered sugar and some blackberries that grew wild in the backyard. I pretended like this was just another dish, I hid the oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-that-worked expression that was begging to get out.
I still love it. It’s simple, quick, beautiful and makes you look like a breakfast genius. Even if you are serving people who are not hungry frat boys who are probably hungover.
Blackberry Peach Saison Galette , with the BEST pastry crust ever.
I wonder if he likes it.
Garrett Oliver starts an effortless soliloquy about the beer we’re drinking. A careful and accurate dissection of flavor, body, and aroma of a replica batch of a 133-year-old Carlsberg beer. In his cashmere voice he talks, almost without thinking, to tell me his thoughts on the beer we’re drinking.
He’s a beer celebrity if there ever was one. I wonder if the center stage he always takes while in the company of beer people is something he likes as much as he seems to. In a crowd like this you can watch the wave of acknowledgement and awe wash over the faces of the people in attendance as his presence is noted. Whispered tones sneak through the crowd in a way that reminds me of my days in Hollywood and the drunken celebrities that I crossed paths with. Similar in a way, but this seems like a deeper connection. A beer celebrity is given that crown because of accomplishments, knowledge, and achievements. Not because of sex tapes, DIU’s and antics. It’s as much fame as it is reverence. Beer celebrities have earned their spot through decades of hard work, magnificent beer, and an unwavering dedication to people in this community. It’s more than just fame, it’s glory.
I wonder if he likes the attention or if he just puts up with it. I wonder because it’s impossible to tell, he seems as effortless as coffee in Paris. I wonder because we don’t want him to stop showing up and telling us what he thinks of the beer.
1/3 cup (71g) granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup (60g) divided
3 teaspoons (12g) cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons (24g) Saison beer
2 yellow peaches, sliced
6 wt oz blackberries
Add ¾ cup of flour (reserve the other 3/4 cup), salt and sugar to a food processor, pulse to combine. Add the butter and shortening, process until well combined and dough gathers around the blade and is slightly fluffy and whipped (this will be far more processing than most recipes, but this will create a new fat, making the crust incredibly flakey).
Add the remaining flour and pulse 6-8 times or until all the flour has been combined.
Transfer to a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the beer until completely incorporated into the dough (don’t add the beer in the food processor or your dough will turn into a cracker). Dough will be very soft.
Lay a long sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface, add the dough to the center.
Form into a flat disk. Wrap disk tightly in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 3 hours and up to three days.
Preheat oven to 350.
Knead the dough lightly in hands until dough comes together and warms slightly. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to form a large circle, about ¼ inch thick.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, transfer the dough circle to the parchment paper.
In a medium bowl add the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons beer. Beat with a hand mixer until well combined.
Add the cream cheese to the center of the dough in an even layer, making sure to leave the outer 4 inches of the dough bare.
In a medium bowl add the peaches. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch, toss to coat. Add the peaches on top of the cream cheese layer.
Add the blackberries to the bowl, top with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch, toss to coat. Add blackberries to the center of the galette.
Fold the bare edges of the dough up over the filling, using the parchment paper if necessary.
Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer, freeze for 15 minutes. Alternately you can chill in the fridge for 30-45 minutes (or overnight). This will help the galette stay together when baking and help the crust to be lighter and flakier.
Brush the crust with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool prior to serving.
Strawberry Pineapple Pale Ale Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
This is the new beer-to-watch of 2016.
Pineapples have been slowly sneaking their spiked heads into brew kettles for the past few years, closing the lead on grapefruit’s fruit-of-the-moment status. IPA’s are often the drug of choice for the pineapple craze, but the tentacles of this trend are extending their reach into all corners of the beer world.
The sweet acidity of this gorgeous tropical fruit blend so well with citrusy hops and is balanced so beautifully with malt that the pairing feels effortless. Scour your bottle shops and report back. Possibly a beer Randalled through a cored pineapple? Let’s give that a try. For now, here are a few to seek out.
Strawberry Pineapple Pale Ale Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 12 servings
1 cup (226g) butter, softened
1 cup (200g) sugar, plus ½ (100g) cup, divided
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon (5g) vanilla extract
1 cup (8wt oz) IPA beer
1 ½ cup (0.75 lbs) finely chopped fresh pineapple
3 ½ cups (360g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
1 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
1 teaspoon (6g) salt
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 ½ cup (339g) heavy cream
1 ½ cups (155g) plus ½ cup (55g) powdered sugar, divided
½ cup (113g) butter, room temperature
16 wt oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon (5g) vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
Preheat oven to 350.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat on high speed until well creamed.
While the mixer is running on medium speed add the yolks (reserve the whites in a clean bowl) one at a time. Stop the mixer several times to scrape the bottom to insure the butter is well incorporated.
Stir in the vanilla, beer and pineapple.
Stop the mixer, sprinkle with flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until just incorporated.
With a hand mixer beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the remaining ½ cup sugar, beating until peaks return. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans.
Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes or until the top of the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched.
Allow to cool before removing cake from pans.
Add the heavy cream and ½ cup powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer, beat on high until soft peaks form. Remove from mixer, set aside (no need to clean mixer bowl between jobs).
Add the butter and cream cheese to the mixer, beat on high until well combined, light and fluffy. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beat on high until well combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
Ice the cake with a layer of frosting and sliced strawberries between each layer of cake.
It’s stopped raining for two days. So, obviously, the grill needs to come to life. There is something beautifully primal about cooking over open flames, even if those open flames are produced by propane our ancestors didn’t have access to. The fire, smoke, heat much higher than your oven is able to compete with, grilling isn’t just another way to cook food, it’s often a better way to cook food. That glorious char is worth braving the possibilities of spiders under the grill cover.
A few tips for grillin’ like a pro:
Preheat. You want the grates hot enough to sear on contact and the space under the grill hood to be hot as well.
Marinate your meat. There is a lot of heat in there and it’s easy to overcook meat, especially poultry. Marinating meat, like these chicken skewers, gives you a little wiggle room and allows even over-cooked meat to stay juicy.
Oil for flavor not for sticking. Contrary to popular belief, your meat and veggies will release from the grill when the char marks appear. No need to oil so the meat won’t stick. But it can add a little extra flavor, especially olive oil. But you’re better off oiling the food in most cases.
Thermometer. If you want to get the perfect level of doneness, don’t leave it to chance. Get an inexpensive thermometer and take your meat off the grill when it’s 5 degrees below the temp you want, it will continue to cook even after you remove it from the grill.
Grill. It. All. Not just burgers and dogs, vegetables, fruit, dessert and bread are all awesome with a little love from the grill. Pizza is one of my favorite grilled foods and a great way to feed picky eaters and people who don’t like meat.
Skewers + Water. If you won’t have metal skewers and want to make a few meat or veggie sticks, soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from scorching or catching on fire. Put them on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, fill with water and place a heavy plate on top keep them submerged.
Session beer. Ok, this isn’t a grilling tip but more of a reminder. If you’re going to spend the day drinking and hanging with friends (friends who may need to drive later), skip the high ABV beers and fill your beer tub with tasty, lower alcohol craft beers. Here are some of my favorite session beers for spring and summer.
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted (olive or for vegan)
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Mix until combined.
In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed. Once most of the dough has been moistened, add olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt while the mixer is still running.
Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface. Knead several times, cut into 8 equal sized pieces.
One at a time form the dough into 6 inch circles.
Preheat a grill to medium high. Combine the melted butter, remaining garlic powder and salt.
Place circles on the grill until the dough releases and the underside has grill marks, about 2 minutes. Brush with the top with the melted butter. Grill until dough is cooked through, about 2 additional minutes.
Not chicken in general, beer can chicken. Mostly because when people found out that I cooked with beer for a living, that was the first recipe they thought of. “Like….beer can chicken?” Um, yeah. Or Beer Brined Duck with Stout Pomegranate Sauce and Belgian Ale Sweet Potato Mash.
Over the years, I’ve gotten over it. The truth is, it was my issue. Not theirs, not the chickens, but mine. I was so bent towards pushing the idea of cooking with beer into the space that wine occupies that I lost sight of the fact that beer can chicken is pretty damn good. Not to mention the fact that it’s more accessible than most wine dishes, and it highlights one of the main reasons to cook with beer: it makes poultry taste fantastic.
When people ask me what my go-to cooking with beer recipe is, I always talk about poultry. I decided that it was time to put pen to digital paper and show the world that cooking with beer isn’t JUST beer can chicken, it is ALSO beer can chicken. After all, you can make any wine dish with beer but wine can chicken just isn’t the same.
2 tsp baking powder (this will help crisp the skin)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp brown sugar
Place the chicken in a large bowl or baking dish. Sprinkle on all sides with kosher salt. Pour the beer over the chicken until submerged (adding additional beer or water to submerge the chicken).
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 12.
Preheat the oven to 250.
In a small bowl stir together the paprika, baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, 1 tsp salt, chili powder and brown sugar.
Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse well and pat dry.
Place a wire rack over a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray.
Rub the chicken on all sides with the spice mixture, add to prepared pan.
Bake at 250 in the bottom half of the oven for 30 minutes. Move the chicken to the top half of the oven and bake at 450 for an additional 30 minutes or until cooked through.*
Although the timing of this recipe sounds like it's too long, it isn't The recipe was adapted from America's Test Kitchen and always yields perfect results. The first 30 minutes is just meant to render fat, not cook the chicken. The second 30 minutes cooks the meat and browns the skin. The baking powder in the recipe helps draw out moisture and crips the skin.
I have this detrimental habit of undercutting my price, or doing work for free, in exchange for a plane ticket and a hotel reservation. Last year I nearly committed to writing an entire menu just for the opportunity to go to Uganda for the weekend. The timing ended up being too last minute and (fortunately or unfortunately, I can’t decide which) I had to back out.
I also have a habit of obsessively bookmarking restaurants across the world if they sound interesting, just in case I’m ever in that area and looking for a place to eat. Most of which will go unvisited, but the few times I’ve found myself within walking distance of bookmarked business, I’m more thrilled than is appropriate.
The majority of my pre-trip plans include figuring out where I want to eat once I get there. Last year in Panama it was ceviche in the fish market. In Bogota it was Abasto. When I finally make it to New Orleans it’ll be beignets at Cafe Du Monde.
This recipe is the closest I’ve come to the real thing. Light, airy, slightly chewy and completely addictive. The beer gives it a beautiful lightness that I haven’t found in the classic recipes that call for evaporated milk.
These were so good, in fact, that they now replaced my beer doughnut holes as my go-to recipe for bring-a-dish gatherings.
oil for frying (canola, peanut, or grape seed oil)
Confectioners sugar for dusting
In the bowl of a stand mixer stir together the yeast, sugar, bread flour and baking soda.
In a microwave safe bowl combine the beer and butter. Heat until the mixture reaches between 120-130F on a cooking thermometer (mixture may curdle, this is normal).
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients, mix on medium speed until all the flour has been moistened.
Add the salt, turn the mixer on high and beat until the dough forms a soft sticky ball that gathers around the blade, about 8 minutes.
The dough will be very soft and loose, but if it’s too loose to hold together add a few pinches of flour.
Transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Loosely cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm room until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Add dough to a well floured surface, dust with flour. Pat into a large rectangle about ½ inch thick. Avoid using a rolling pin in order to preserve the air bubbles in the dough.
Add 3 to 4 inches of oil to a pot over medium high heat. Clip a cooking thermometer on to the side making sure the tip doesn’t hit the bottom of the pot. Heat oil to 350F to 375F, adjust heat to stay in that temperate range.
Using a bench knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2 inch squares. A few at a time (don’t crowd the pot) fry the beignets on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes.
Remove and allow to drain on a stack of paper towels or a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
There is a nexus of food and beer that few people see.
A commonality that’s shared in a small subset of people devoted to either one or the other, and in even fewer cases, both. At their pinnacles both worlds hold a labyrinth of information that any geek can’t help but get lost in.
The same people who will sit for hours in a conference room learning the molecular difference between Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus, furiously scribbling notes in their tattered Moleskin just for a slightly better sour ale are the same strain of humans that will obsessively research the starch content in various types of potatoes and how that starch is affected by sodium.
Yeah, so that’s us. In an almost embarrassing way we can’t just enjoy our food and beer, the questions just spontaneously form like wild fermentation in our brains. What yeast is this? How did they get the malt sweetness upfront and the hop bitterness at the end? Could you lager this? What about matcha, can I brew with matcha? How did the chef get this sauce so thick but still so creamy? How were these vegetables cut? Where does the smoke flavor come in, the salt or the corn?
Most people, most normal people, just want to consume. They know what food they like and what beer they like and they want more of those things. But not us. Even when we know we will absolutely hate a beer or a food, we want to try it if it’s interesting. Even voluntarily signing up for an abusive sip or bite is worth it for the information we now hold about how it tastes.
These tacos are a small slice of that. The beer and salt soak will disrupt the starch in the potatoes leaving you with a fluffy middle and a crispy exterior. I won’t continue, you have tacos to eat and more normal things to think about. But for now, just know that the secret to crispy oven fries is a salt brine.
Enjoy your tacos and I hope you have a much more normal person than myself to engage in dinner conversation.
Slice the sweet potatoes into wedges about ½ inch thick. Place in a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt, cover with beer. Add water to the bowl to bring the level of liquid above the potato wedges.
Cover and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 12.
Move the oven rack to the top 1/3 of the oven, place a rimed metal baking sheet on the rack (this will preheat the baking sheet helping to crisp your potatoes). Preheat oven to 425.
Drain the potatoes and rinse well. Place on a stack of paper towels and pat dry. Add to a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, toss to coat.
Add the potatoes to the pre-heated baking sheet, distribute in an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the potato wedges over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the other side of the potato is golden brown. Remove from the oven, add to a stack of paper towels.
Add two to three sweet potato wedges to a tortilla, top with corn, avocado, cilantro, onion and hot sauce.
The salt brine will help the exterior crisp and the center of the potato to stay fluffy.
In the guts of Sam Adams I sat in the back of a room filled with beer people. Julia Herz stood at the front, addressing the crowd of beer writers, just thirty minutes before the bottles of Utopias were to be popped by Jim Koch, and we could think of little else. “Raise your hand if you drink beer,” Julia said with the perfect touch of sarcasm. Every hand was enthusiastically raised as a small giggle spread across the room. “Keep ’em up. Raise the other hand if you also drink wine.” Nearly every hand raised. “Good, me too. Now cross your arms over if you also, at least occasionally, drink liquor.” I look towards her as a sea of beer drinking limbs form X’s in front of me.
We drink beer. We drink wine. We drink liquor. Of course we do.
Outsiders always draw parallels between beer and wine, assuming a rivalry that has yet to be realized. Wine is wine, beer is beer. Both are consumable alcoholic beverages, both take skill, dedication, fermentation and yeast to produce, but for us there isn’t a conflict. Do you ask Italian chefs if they eat Japanese food? Do you ask if there is a threat to pasta because of sushi? Of course not.
Cooking with wine is a long respected practice and beer is just starting to enter into the scene in a legitimate way. Wine and food pairings seem natural, while there still seems to be a need to explain the importance and value of pairing beer and food. Beer has a spectrum of flavors that wine can’t even imagine, the application for cooking with beer far exceed those for wine, and reminding the masses that craft beer is not at all the same substance as that stuff they beer ponged with in college is a fight still being won. We know the value of beer, and we see where we need to go, but beer is in no way “the new wine.” As we expand the knowledge base for craft beer, showcase the flavors and ingredients being presented, we created a bigger space for it rather than devour the space that wine is already in. We won’t stop drinking wine, we don’t need to. There is space at the table for well made beverages of all sorts, we’re just looking to join the party on an equal footing and we’re getting there.
Just a few months ago Beer Pairing: The Essential Guide To Pairing From The Pros by Julia Herz and Gwen Conley was released. Essential is the right word to describe it, it’s a book that clearly illustrates the value and possibilities that exist when it comes to the relationship between beer and food. It’s a manifesto on the celebration of the flavors of beer, the importance of glassware and how to bring beer and food to it’s full potential. I took the majority of the photos in the book, with the exception of a few portrait shots, and was able to experience first hand the staggering knowledge these two women possess as well as the full impact of well paired food and beer. It’s a book that I’ve reached for in the past few months more so than any other beer resource I own. I highly recommend it.
Add the beer and broth to a pot over medium high heat, bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and cook until just before al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about ¼ cup cooking liquid, add noodles to a serving bowl.
In a pan over medium high heat add the pancetta, cooking until crispy.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, parmesan, salt pepper and the reserved cooking liquid, pour mixture over the pasta, toss to coat. Sprinkle with pancetta, arugula and pomegranate seeds.
*For a more assertive beer flavor, replace the chicken broth with beer. Be careful to use a low IBU beer or the end flavor will be overly bitter and intense.
Slow Cooker Tuscan White Bean and Beer Chicken Soup
“You’re not reactionary, you’re rebellious but intentional. You think before you jump off the bridge.”
Someone I know well said this to me once. I was the kid your parents warned you about, the one who jumps off the bridge and your parents ask if you’re going to follow me into the cold waters of Lake Washington. “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” My mom never asked me that questions because she knew I was always the first to jump. But the fact is, I only jump if I know with reasonable certainty that it’s safe. When I was homeless in Hollywood at 19, I had a cell phone, a savings account, and a craigslist ad to house sit for free, as long as it was a nice neighborhood.
When I decided to quit my job as a social worker to pursue my dream of being a writer and photographer, I first spent a year doing both. 80 hours a week doing both my day job and my dream job. Then a year part-time at my day job (which, to be fair I still loved), and full-time hustling to work in writing. I jumped, and it seemed brave, but I had a backup plan.
Maybe it comes from a non-traditional upbringing that required several backup plans, but I’m not afraid to jump. I just need to know what my options are. I can be stranded in a coastal Spanish town at 3 am, or lost in the center of a Moroccan city, my mind will start to formulate a plan, “You’ll be fine, you can figure this out,” will be my first thought. I’ve jumped before and it hasn’t gone well. I’ve lost, I’ve failed, I’ve done things I shouldn’t have. But I more regret the things I didn’t do than the things I did.
You’ll never hit the ball if you don’t swing the bat. So, as this year hurdles forward, that’s what you should do. Swing the bat. Jump off the bridge. Maybe you need a backup plan for failure first, but you can do it. It’s better to fail at doing what you want than succeed at doing what you don’t. Grab a beer, make a plan, and swing the bat. Best thing I ever did.