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Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Belgium Brewing Beer Ice Cream

Yes, I know what you're thinking.  Kate has lost her freaking mind.  It's finally happened.  She's gone over the edge.  Au contraire, my friends, this is one experiment that turned out wonderfully.  Thanks to New Belgium Brewing and their gracious gift of brewskis we had plenty to experiment with.  And, strangely enough, this was the first idea I had when presented with the challenge of creating a new recipe or a dozen that use beer.  My expectations weren't high.  I thought the beer ice cream would be interesting at best.  Horrible at worst.  But, what's the worst that could happen?  I'd waste some ingredients and the ice cream would go down the drain. 

The day after I found out I was one of the bloggers from Food Buzz who'd receive a stipend to purchase New Belgium Brewing products, we went to the monthly wine tasting dinner at Agio.  Our tablemates pretty much thought I was nuts when I said beer ice cream was one of my ideas.  We brainstormed other ideas, but most of those were in the normal range.  Chef Joseph and I had an opportunity to chat and he said he'd never made beer ice cream but that it sounded interesting.


Connie doesn't really like ice cream.  He liked this.  In fact, he finished almost all of his two little scoops.  AND, he's suggested that we fix this again for the next family party.  Wow - that's huge praise from my hubby.  George got to lick the bowl. 

He had some huge purrs going on while he was licking the bowl. 

1554 Beer Ice Cream

12 oz bottle New Belgium Brewing 1554 Enlightened Black Ale
4 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
milk (about 1/2 c - see directions)
1 c heavy cream


Pour the beer into a saucepan. 

Over medium low heat, reduce it to 1/2 cup. 

Be VERY careful because if it starts to boil it'll overflow the pan and create a total mell of a hess.  Once you've reduced it, pour it into a measuring cup and put the cup into an ice bath.

While the reduced beer is sitting in its ice bath, put the egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler set over medium heat. 

Make sure the bottom of the double boiler bowl is not touching the water.  Whisk them until they're well combined.  Add milk to the cup the beer is in to make a cup of liquid total. 

Slowly pour the milk/beer mixturre into the egg yolk/sugar mixture, whisking the entire time.  Continue whisking it until it coats the back of a spoon. 

Slowly add the cream.  Once everything is well combined, chill the mixture.  Now, it's on to the ice cream maker. 

Don't you love my note from Connie?  He's the best!

Follow the directions for your ice cream maker. 

I originally intended to coat pretzel chips with dark chocolate and add them in but this was wonderful on it's own and didn't need anything else.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chili Cheese Beer Bread Melt

MMMMM, I'm typing this as I'm eating this sandwichI wish it didn't have to end.  This is the first of my recipes for New Belgium Brewing.  Hopefully, the rest will be equally yummy. 

One of the things I've discovered over the years is that if you're making a grilled cheese sandwich, the cheese melts much better if it's grated first.  I've also discovered that rather than slathering the bread with a dressing such as mustard or mayonnaise, it's sometimes better to mix it with the cheese.  That was the case here.  Had I used cheese slices and loose chilies, they'd have skittered all over the place.  This way, I only had to deal with the cheese mixture that oozed out of the sandwiches - not slip-sliding fillings.

I'm sure the filling would be good with another bread but it's designed for the beer bread.  I used the cheddar scallion bread made with New Belgium's Mighty Arrow pale ale. It was a great match.  Beer bread is so easy to make that I'm not sure why I've not made it regularly!

Chili Cheese Beer Bread Melt
serves two generously


4 slices cheddar scallion beer bread, cut about 3/8" thick

1 c grated cheddar
1 c grated smoked gouda
2 oz chopped green chilies (I used Trader Joes)
2 T mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard

Combine the cheeses, chilies, mayonnaise and Dijon. 

Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread.  Pile some of the cheese mixture on two of the slices - NOT on the buttered side.  I'm not saying that any of you would do that, just that that we've got the voice of experience here.  Top with the other slice - buttered side out.  Place the sandwiches in a heated skillet. 

They'll take 8-10 minutes per side on medium heat.  I'd advise against using a grill pan because the cheese mixture will ooze out and you'll have a mell of a hess to clean up. 

I received a stipend from New Belgium Brewing to purchase the beer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hot Nicoise Salad

Ewww is probably your first reaction if it's not what in the heck is nicoise salad?  Hot conjours up visions of wilted lettuce and soggy stuff.  This is not that at all.  It seems, Gywneth Paltrow had a hankering for a nicoise salad on a cold, grey London day and decided to try a hot version.  Now, I knew she'd taken a tour of Italy with Mario Batali.  But, I had NO clue she could cook.  Seems she's written a cookbook called My Father's Daughter.  Based on this recipe, I may well buy the cookbook.  It was that good. 

I'm a huge fan of Salad Nicoise.  Tuna, anchovies, basil, tomatoes, olives, green beans...  Tossed with a great vinaigrette and some nice, crisp romaine.  It doesn't get much better.  When I saw this version, I was totally intrigued.  We were in the car so I immediately read it to Connie.  He was intrigued too.   

We were supposed to go out to dinner to celebrate my birthday which was coming up in a few days.  But, life intervened.  We needed to start cat food since we were almost out.  The menu at R Bistro - which changes weekly - didn't particularly appeal to me this week.  And, Butler was playing in the Sweet 16 at 4:30.  I'm an IU grad - that's Indiana University - but I served on the Kappa house board at Butler.  And, Mom went there.  And, it's one of the hometown universities.  Needless to say, I wanted to see the end of the game.  So, our R Bistro reservations were cancelled.  The gift certificate will be used another day.  We had all the ingredients for the Hot Nicoise Salad.  It needed the oven and not the stove.  Which was a good thing since I had most of the burners going making cat food.  And, the others were being used for slices of happiness.  Serendipity!

A couple of comments.  The photo showed the dish in a skillet, so my brain said it needed to be roasted in a skillet.  I don't have a large enough oven proof skillet to make four servings of this.  So, I made the full version of the vegetables and two servings of the eggs and tuna.  It was so good I wish I had the leftover tuna today!!  And, yes, I could have used a roasting pan...  This recipe called to me for a bit of truffle flavor so I added the black truffle salt and truffle oil.  Those by no means are make or break items.  We just happen to love the flavor. 

Hot Nicoise Salad
serves 4


or with wine for the cooks...

1/2 lb green beans
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 c pitted olives (her recipe calls for Nicoise, we used Kalamata)
1 roasted red bell pepper cut into strips
1 2 oz can anchovies, drained and chopped
1/2 c torn basil leaves
1 T capers (my addition)
1/2 c plus 1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T truffle oil (my addition)
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 6oz 1" thick tuna steaks
4 large eggs
1/4 t black truffle salt (my addition)
2 T fresh lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 400.  Lightly steam the green beans just until they're crisp tender.  Put them in the skillet or roasting pan. 

Squeeze the tomatoes over the green beans.

Add the roasted red pepper, anchovies, capers, basil and toss all of that with 1/4 c of the olive oil. 

Crack the eggs into ramekins.  Nestle the ramekins into the vegetables. 

Sprinkle the eggs with the black truffle salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drizzle them with a tablespoon of the olive oil.  Lay the tuna steaks on top of the vegetables.  Drizzle a tablespoon of the olive oil over the tuna steaks.  Dust them with salt and pepper. 

Roast the salad in the center of your oven for 15 minutes.  You want the tuna steaks to be rare in the center and the yolks of the eggs to be runny. 

Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil, the tablespoon of the truffle oil and the lemon juice.  Remove the skillet from the oven and plate the salad.  Drizzle with the dressing.

Adapted from Food and Wine.  Original recipe Gwenyth Paltrow.

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Belgium Brewing Beer Blast

New Belgium Brewing was kind enough to provide several of us bloggers from Foodbuzz a stipend to purchase some of their beer and create a new recipe.  I was particularly excited because their Fat Tire is one of our favorite beers.  Time for some creative thinking.  What can we make with beer?  Oh, yeah, lots of things!

I made a list of potential dishes.  Researched proportions for a few of them.  Made a grocery list.  And, off to the grocery we went.  Were we in luck or what?  New Belgium has a twelve pack called Spring Folly.  It has three each of it's Fat Tire Amber Ale, Ranger India Pale Ale, Mighty Arrow Pale Ale and 1554 Enlightened Black Ale.

My first project was beer bread.  I started in on the internet.  What are the typical proportions?  Turns out all of the recipes called for 3 cups of self-rising flour and 12 ounces of beer.  The amount of sugar, though, ranged from three tablespoons to a half cup.  Hmmm.  Next question, which beer makes the best bread?  My beer bread recipe ideas range from grilled cheese to bread salad to french toast.  So, I decided to do a taste test and make three loaves of beer bread.  We were forced to do a taste test of the beer so I could decide the amount of sugar in each loaf. 

I know, tough job but somebody's got to do it!  I kept track of what was in which bowl as I went:

First was plain bread with Fat Tire.  I used a full 1/2 cup of sugar in this one.

Next was cheddar scallion, one with Mighty Arrow and one with Ranger.  I used 1/4 cup of sugar in these.  The Ranger is much more hoppy than the Mighty Arrow.  There wasn't any method to my madness when I chose the metal bread pan for the loaf made with the Ranger.  I just needed to be able to identify which loaf was which.

When you add the beer to the flour and sugar, it'll bubble like crazy.  Just dig in and mix it all up and you'll be fine. 

Out of the oven came the loaves.  The house smelled incredible and I had a tough time sitting at the computer working while the scent of the bread wafted into the family room.  But, they needed to cool just a bit before it cut them.  Ah, it was finally time.  We each had a slice for breakfast.  And, wanted another one!  But, we were well behaved and didn't make piggies of ourselves :-)

This is SO easy!!  And, it is very good.  I'm so looking forward to trying this bread out in several recipes this week.

Beer Bread

3 c self rising flour
12 oz beer
1/4-1/2 c sugar
1/2 c grated cheddar and 2 chopped scallions (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375.  Put the flour and sugar in a bowl.  Add the cheddar and scallions if you're making a savory bread. 

Pour in the beer. 

Mix until the ingredients are combined.  The dough will be very sticky.  Pour the dough into a well greased bread pan.  Bake for 55 minutes.  Turn out of the bread pan to cool. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tuscan Grilled Vegetable Packets

Connie and I just spent a weekend at our favorite B and B. It's not your traditional B and B for two reasons.  One, it's a separate house and two, nobody serves you your breakfast.  You've got to cook it yourself.  But, that's ok because Maggie has a fully furnished kitchen AND you're presented with a wonderful selection of breakfast goodies.  We found eggs, sausages, ham, honey greek yogurt, fresh fruit, frozen blueberries, pancake mix, milk and juice.  Plus, she's got the goodies to make s'mores and to bake cookies if you so desire.  The house is on Maggie's family farm.  It's beautifully decorated and SO very comfortable.  There are two bedrooms, full bathroom with laundry facilities, a very well furnished kitchen, a living room and a dining area.  Outside, there's a hot tub, gas grill, fire pit and lots of patio furniture.  You're welcome to explore the farm - which I'd highly recommend since Maggie's an incredible gardener.  The farm's in Borden, IN which is a hop, skip and jump from Starlight, IN - home of Huber Winery.  Yup, you're all of three miles from Huber Winery.  And, go a bit further and you can eat some of the best country cooking around at the Huber Family Farm.  The best part?  It's wonderful and doesn't break the bank!  You can find a link here:  Rosewind Farm Bed and Breakfast.

When we go down to Rosewind, I pack a big cooler of goodies and prepare to cook for the weekend.  This time, there was a wine tasting dinner at Huber Winery so I didn't have Saturday dinner to fix.  Friday night, however, was a production. 

We started with shrimp cocktail.  I wanted to make shrimp and feta omelets Sunday morning and the rest of the bag of shrimp had been in the freezer long enough.  Time to use them up. I mixed some prepared seafood sauce with a LOT more horseradish and spooned the sauce into martini glasses.  Then, the shrimp were arranged around the edges.

That was followed by a little soup.  I'd used about three cups out of four of frozen turkey broth I had.  The other cup needed to be used up.  Maggie'd told me to help myself to anything in the garden.  Garlic chives were ready to be picked.  So, a few of those along with some finely chopped and sauteed mushrooms went into the broth.

Dinner was a couple of little steaks marinated in Worcestershire sauce and plenty of pepper, rosemary potatoes and Tuscan Grilled Vegetable Packets from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Grilling 2.  Well, they were supposed to be grilled but the B and B was out of aluminum foil and I didn't want to hike up to the main house and get more.  So, I did them on the stovetop.  They were quite good.  I kind of wondered about the chili sauce in the marinade but it turned out to be a good addition.  One word of caution:  The recipe calls for baby zucchini and yellow squash.  I should have either used less of both since I could only find the "normal" size or I should have used more of everything else.  The dish was a bit overwhelmed with squashes. 

Tuscan Veggie Packets

for the vinaigrette
1/2 c oil and vinegar dressing (the recipe calls for Newman's Own, I used olive oil and red wine vinegar)
1/4 c finely chopped fresh basil (there was none to be had at the grocery so I used a couple of teaspoons of dried)
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T chili sauce
1 t Italian seasoning

for the veggie packets:
8 oz baby cremini, sliced
8 oz zucchini, sliced
8 oz yellow squash, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, cut into strips
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Get your veggies all sliced and ready to go. 

Combine the dressing ingredients and mix well.  Make six foil packets with heavy duty aluminum foil.  You'll want the packets about 12" square.  Fill them with a mix of the veggies then drizzle on the dressing.  Seal the edges well.  Grill over medium heat on a hot, oiled grill.  Alternatively, if a grill isn't available, you can prep this on the stovetop.