Monday, September 2, 2013

Beer Zucchini Bread

I had the fixins to make zucchini bread and had the thought in the back of my mind to make a loaf. 

After a visit to Shebeen Brewery, I was inspired. During a tasting, I sampled their pineapple wheat I knew I had the final ingredient for my recipe.

All I did was substitute the eggs in my regular zucchini bread recipe with a cup of beer and what I ended up with was a lighter, fluffier very tasty treat. DElish! 

I used Shebeen's Pineapple Wheat but you can use any beer you like. I'm thinking the spiciness of Shebeen's Cannoli Beer would be perfect in a recipe like this, but my husband's head would explode if I used that particular beer to cook with.  He practically had a spasm when he found out  I used the Pineapple.  It didn't stop him from eating it though.


Pineapple Wheat Zucchini Bread

3 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Pineapple Wheat Beer
1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Canola Oil
2 Cups Zucchini, Shredded
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

In a mixing bowl, stir to mix the dry ingredients together. 

Mix in the remaining ingredients, stir until thoroughly combined but don't over mix.  
Pour into a buttered 9x13 baking dish.

Bake for 50 minutes or until top springs back when tested.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Pale Ale Brined Eggs (Beer Pickled Eggs)

A hamburger and a french fry walk into a bar. The bartender says, "I'm sorry we don't serve food here.

Actually, that's pretty unlikely.  Most bars do have food available to the customers, in some form or another. Whether it be bowls of pretzels and nuts, or hot wings, or pickled eggs.

Bar food is usually inexpensive. It is often hot or salty or mouth puckery, and it is almost always some form of finger food.

Why?  Because they want  you to eat when you drink so that you don't get totally sh!t faced, so you can drink more.  And all that spicy, sour, salty food makes thirsty, so you will drink more.  And, if you're not distracted by cutlery like which fork to use for which whatever, you will drink more.

It's all about drinking more.  And I, for one, am all for that!

You may or may not have ever seen a big jar of pickled eggs sitting on the corner of a bar.  If you've been in a dive, you probably have.

Although, I've never eaten a pickled egg in a bar, I like them.  I just won't eat them if they're sitting there and I don't know how long they've been sitting there.

I've decided to bring the bar to the egg to make beer brined eggs. I must say they are surprisingly tasty and go great with a cold, frosty brew.

I used Denver Pale Ale, which is an English style pale ale, because it's a little sweeter and  not as bitter as American pale ales. Also, it's light in color.  I didn't want to use an intense flavored beer so to not overpower the eggs. Nor did I want to use a dark beer because it will discolor the

That being said, use whatever you like.  Pickles eggs made with an amber ale might be pretty; pretty tasty, too.

Pale Ale Brined Eggs (Beer Pickled Eggs)

24 Small Hard-Boiled Eggs
1 (12 Fluid Ounce) Bottle Beer
2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Pickling Spice
2 Tbsp Parsley Flakes
4 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 Hot Peppers

Place eggs in a large, deep pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Drain and place in fresh cold water.  When the eggs are cool peel. Stab each egg with fork so that all that tasty brine can fully penetrate the egg.

(She said fully penetrate! Yes, yes I did)

Divide the eggs into two quart sized canning jars ( or other air tight glass container).

In each jar place, 1 tablespoon each of the pickling spice and parsley flakes plus 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and a hot pepper.  Use whatever kind of pepper you like or omit the pepper if you don't want spicy eggs.  You can use the pepper whole or seeded or whatever you like depending on level of spiciness you like.

Combine the beer and vinegar and pour over eggs until they are fully submerged. Add additional vinegar if you need more liquid to cover the eggs.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 week before using.

Enjoy with your favorite beer or as a snack or even chopped up on a salad.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

IPA Vinaigrette

I've been on a bit of a salad kick lately.  When I'm making a lot of salads I like to use various salad dressings to keep things interesting.  

I also like to make my own fresh salad dressings.  So, I'm always looking for something different and tasty to drizzle over my greens.

You may not think that beer and salad pair well.  But I made a dressing using one of my favorite India Pale Ales and it was superb. A wonderful combination of sweet and tart and citrus, it was refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to a hearty salad.

I used Alaskan IPA, but you can use whatever you like.  Experiment with different beer types for a new flavor sensation.

IPA Vinaigrette

3 Ounces Alaskan IPA
1 Tbsp Vidalia Onion, Minced
1 Tsp Orange Zest, Grated
1 Tbsp Raw Honey
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

In a food processor or blender combine onion, orange zest, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. 

Slowly add the olive oil and process until mixture well combined.

Toss with your favorite greens and pile on your favorite toppings.

I used this dressing on a salad topped with grilled steak, frizzled onions, provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, green olives and pepperoncini.  Yum!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Beer'd Warm German Potato Salad

I love potato salad in the summertime.   It's creamy and fresh; the perfect compliment to the typical summer fare.

I wanted to try something different to go with barbecued flank steak, I found a recipe for a German potato salad that was just what I was looking for!  Warm potato salad made with a beer dressing.  That's my kind of thing!  And, it it rocked!

I used Headwall Alt., a German brown ale, by Tuckerman Brewery.  You can use whatever beer you like, but I recommend something lighter in flavor and color.  A strong tasting beer will overpower the other flavors in the salad and a dark beer will give the  potatoes an unappealing color.

Beer'd Warm German Potato Salad 

12  Small to Medium Red Potatoes
6 Slices Cooked Bacon, Crispy
3 Stalks Celery, Minced
3 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Lager or Brown Ale
1/2 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
Salt And Fresh Ground Pepper, To Taste

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 15 minutes or just tender.  Remove from heat and drain. Return to pan and cover with cold water.

Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into quarters.  Place in a large mixing bowl, set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour until blended and smooth. Add the mustard and sugar. Slowly stir in the beer and Tabasco sauce. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat as soon as it begins to boil.

Pour the beer dressing over the potatoes and mix gently so as to not smoosh the potatoes. Add the hard-cooked eggs, celery, and bacon. Add salt and pepper, if desisred.  Again, mix gently.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spicy Sweet And Sour Brown Ale Pickles

My hopped up IPA pickles were a big hit (see recipe).  That left me wanting experiment with a different style of pickle utilizing a different style of beer.  

I thought that a brown ale would go will in a sweet and sour pickle recipe because if the mild sweetness of the beer.  And, of course, I had to throw hot peppers into the mix.  Why not, right?

These pickles are gently sweet and a little tart with just the right bite of spicy goodness.  

I did good!

I used Six Point Brownstone Ale, but you can use any brown ale you like.  

Spicy Sweet And Sour Brown Ale Pickles
Refrigerator Pickles

Makes 4 Quarts 

20-24 Small Pickling Cucumbers
1 Small Onion, Sliced Thin
2 Stalks Celery, Cut In Half
4 Hot Peppers, Halved
4 Cups Raw Sugar
1/2 Cup Pickling Salt
1 Quart Vinegar
1 16-ounce Can Sixpoint Brownstone Ale

Cut off the ends of cucumbers.  This is important because there are enzymes in the ends that will soften the pickles . . . i.e. less crispy. 

Cut the cucumbers into quarters, make sure they’re short enough to fit in quart mason jars without sticking up too high.  Pack the cucumbers into the jars.  (Note: I used a half gallon canning jar with swing top and gasket)

Add 2-3 onion slices, half a celery stalk and one hot pepper to each jar.

In a large saucepan, dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar and beer.  Bring to just boiling.  Be careful the syrup doesn't boil over.

Using a ladle, pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers leaving about a 1/4 inch of headspace.

Screw the lid tops on and allow the jars to cool on the countertop.

Put the jars in the fridge and allow the pickles to absorb all the wonderful spices.

After about a week open the jar, take a bite and be completely impressed with your awesome pickling skills! The longer they sit the better they will get. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hearty Fruit Oatmeal Smoothie

This smoothie recipe is quick and easy to make and has the added benefit of being a filling, healthy, portable breakfast.

I take a smoothie with me and sip it on my way to work.  It's delicious and keeps me satisfied until lunchtime.

The smoothie is simple to make and with most of the prep work done ahead of time it's ready in less than 5 minutes.

The full recipe makes about 24 ounces and 500 calories.  That's enough to fill you up or to share for a lighter treat.  

I normally buy enough fruit for a week's worth of smoothies.  Then prep and freeze them all together in a zipper bag so they're ready to go in the blender every morning.

Hearty Fruit Oatmeal Smoothie

1 Small Banana, cut into chunks and frozen
10 Medium Strawberries, frozen
1/2 Cup Other Fruit Or Berries, cut into chunks, if necessary, frozen
1/4 Non-fat Plain Or Vanilla Yogurt
3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats*
2 Teaspoons Unflavored, Non-Thickening Fiber*
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Raw, Organic Honey* Or
1 Tablespoon Natural Maple Syrup
1 Cup Cold Water

In a blender, combine the oats, fiber and cinnamon.  Blend on high for about 10 seconds to pulverize the oats into a coarse powder.

To the blender add the honey/syrup, yogurt, frozen fruit, and water.  

Blend on high until smooth.   Pour into a glass or to-go cup and enjoy.

*don't use quick oats as they are super processed.  The less processed the oat the more good stuff remains intact.  

*the additional fiber adds no flavor or bulk but does help keep you full longer and aids digestion.  (Metamucil, Benefiber, Fibersmart or similar)

*make sure you get raw, natural organic honey from either a local beekeeper or from a health food store.  Most of the honey sold in grocery stores are from questionable sources (like China) and have most or all of the healthy pollen stripped from it.  Even if it's labeled as all-natural or raw it's probably not due to loose federal regulations regarding honey.

*use real maple syrup, not pancake syrup which is nothing more than flavored corn syrup and lacks the flavor and health benefits of real, natural maple syrup.