Thursday, November 28, 2013


No place better to be than cuddled up on my couch with my precious puppy, contemplating what I'll be eating and DRINKING later on.  Here are some last minute Thanksgiving cooking tips.

1. If your bird is not defrosted yet, do NOT panic.  Open a beer. Stick that bird in a big tub and put it in the sink.  Run some water over until it's defrosted.  Make sure you get the inside, and remove all the gibberish.  Classic restaurant way to defrost fast!

2. Make sure all your beer is in the fridge NOW.  No one likes warm beer.  Except the English.

3. Sides are the best part of T-giving so make sure yours are AWESOME.  Make those mashed potatoes with whole cloves of garlic, and they will be tasty and help boost your immune system.  Which I need because I am fighting a beast of a cold.  Just add peeled garlic cloves to your potatoes when you are ready to boil them, then mash them right in.  Delish, and not at all overwhelming.

4. Pace yourself.  If you are opening up some big guys today (I have a Beerhive from +Brett VanderKamp at New Holland, a special little something from Southern Tier, several Backwoods...) remember they are MUCH higher in alcohol.  No one likes a drunk at the the table.  At least not DURING dinner.  So keep it classy.

5. Pre-whip your cream for your pie and store it in the fridge.  It will last at least 6-8 hours in there, and you won't have to do it later.

Hope you all have an amazing day with your family and friends!  Let the tryptophan induced coma commence!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


Like I even need to say anything else...but I WILL give you some awesome recipes to help you actually incorporate MORE beer into your diet.  The key to cooking with beer, I feel, is to always pick a NON-hoppy beer, and to reduce it down.  This concentrates the sugars in the beer, and makes it easier to add lots of flavor, without really changing the composition of the recipe.

First up, a nice vegetable side dish.  Delicata are awesome, cause you don't have to peel them.  Just slice, scoop out the seeds and fry in some olive oil.  Top it with a fresh, crunchy apple fennel relish and all is right with the vegetarians.  

Squash with Fennel and Apple Relish
2 Delicata squash
olive oil

 Slice the ends off of the squash. Slice into 1/2" rings and remove the seeds with a spoon. 
Lightly salt the squash and let sit for 30 minutes. Completely dry off with paper towels, removing the salt. Heat enough oil to coat a saute pan over medium high heat.  Add them to the pan. They should sizzle the moment they hit the pan. Don't crowd them or they'll steam more than they'll brown. Saute until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side).
Fennel and Apple Relish

 1 crisp apple, peeled, seeded, very small dice
 1fennel bulb, outer layer removed, very small dice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (if you want)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 cup Beehive Ale from New Holland, reduced in a saucepan to 1 Tablespoon
salt and pepper

Mix all the relish ingredients together and season well with salt and pepper.  Serve the relish sprinkled over the squash.

For the turkey, make it however you normally do.  I rub mine with herb butter, under the skin.  This year I took the infamous +Founders Brewing Co. Backwoods Bastard, reduced it down, and then basted the turkey with it the last 15 minutes.  It picked up the bourbon notes, and made an awesome gravy.  Plus, then you'll have three more to drink.

The pie really turned out amazing, thanks to the winter pack from +ShortsBrewingCompany .  Reduce the Gingersnap and add it to your pie like you would vanilla extract. KICK ASS.  I've now had a 3/4 of the pie for breakfast.  No, you can't have any. Make your own.

Pumpkin Pie

For the crust:
2 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
2 egg yolks
2 tBLS cream

In the bowl of a food processor, place the flour and sugar and pulse to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas.  Mix the yolks and cream together in a small cup and add to the flour mixture.  Pulse until a dough forms.  Remove the dough from the machine and form into a disk.  Wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle your work area with some more flour.  Place a disk on the work surface, sprinkle with more flour and gently roll out the dough to fit the pie or tart pan.  Press into place.  Prick the tart with a fork and place back in the freezer for half an hour, or up to 24 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375,  Par bake the pie crust for abut 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Time the baking of the crust with the making of the filling because you want to add hot filling to a hot crust.

For the filling:
1 bottle Short's Gingersnap Ale
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can evaporated milk
4 eggs

Place the beer in a saucepan and reduce down until very thick and syrupy.  Meanwhile, mix all the rest of the ingredients together in a saucepan over low heat.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of the reduced beer to the pumpkin and whisk well.   Heat the filling up until just hot.  Pour the hot filling into the hot crust and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the center if jiggly like jello and the edges are firm.  Cool for at least an hour.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recipes for Parsnip Soup and Beet Salad

I forgot to take pictures when I was on the air the other morning.  Morning television goes QUICK, and before you know it, your three minutes (and six hours of work) are up.  Both of these recipes are kick ass for T-Giving.  Soup is a great way to fill up in a low fat style.  Add an onion confit topping made with +Greenbush Brewing Co  Unicorn Killer and it is above and beyond.  Salads are just great.  Add some roasted beets and some local goat cheese from Dancing Goat Farm, and you are set. You can thank me later.

Amy Sherman's Parsnip Soup 

For the soup:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups slivered onions
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped (or a mix of root veggies)
8 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
1/2 cup cream
squeeze of lemon

In a soup pot, heat up the olive oil and add the onions.  Cook, stirring, until brown.  Add the parsnips and continue to cook, for another 5-8 minutes.  Add the stock, salt and pepper to taste.  Add more stock or water, just enough to make sure the veggies are covered. Simmer the soup until t he parsnips are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the cream.  Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth, season with more salt and pepper if needed.  Add a little lemon juice to brighten the flavor.

For the topping:
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon  honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup malty beer, or a pumpkin ale

Heat a skillet over medium heat. and cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain off most of the fat.  Add the onion and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat, and season with salt and pepper, and add the spices and honey.   Cook for a few minutes, then deglaze with the beer.  Cook until the onions are soft and sweet, about 15 minutes.  Serve the soup topped with the confit.

Amy Sherman's Roasted Beet Salad

To roast beets:
about 2# red beets (3-4 large)
about 2# yellow beets (3-4 large)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wrap the red beets in foil, and the yellow beets in foil and place both packages on a sheet tray in the oven.  Roast until tender.  This can take between one hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the beets.  Let the beets cool.  When cool enough to handle, slip of the skins and discard. Separately cut the beets into a large dice and put in separate bowls.  This can be done the day before, just store the beets in the fridge until ready to use.

For the salad:
4 cups lettuce
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, chopped

1 large shallot, minced
3 TBLS rice wine vinegar 
1 TBLS dijon mustard
1 tsp coriander, toasted and ground
1/4 cup extra virgin oil (or pistachio oil if you’ve got it)
salt and pepper

To make the salad dressing, combine the shallot with the vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes.  Add the mustard, coriander,and then whisk in the oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Pour a few tablespoons over each bowl of beets and stir well.  Toss the greens with some of the dressing.  Top with the beets, crumble the goat cheese, and sprinkle the nuts over the top.  Drizzle more viniagrette over the salad, if you would like.