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Sweet ‘n Smoky Short Ribs with Cauliflower Mash

Colorado has been getting some crazy weather lately!
am6 See those specks? That’s cottonwood, embarking on an allergy-infested journey from the trees into people’s sinuses.
am7 Crazy gushers have been rampant, followed by plenty of hail and booming thunder.
am5 And then God apologizes and sends us sunsets like this. Love it. Love all the craziness, hail included.
am For all those moments when we were stuck inside, avoiding the drenching, piercing rains, this box came to the rescue.
am1 So pretty!
am2 They’re always saying you should add some color to your diet.
am3 My favorites from the box were the Chico King pale and Double Latte stout. Luckily, I have plenty of craft beer nerd friends who were willing to split some bottles with me. These are all pretty hefty beers and they definitely needed to be shared.
am8 For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I got a pressure cooker as a housewarming gift! All those beers in a box + people who want to share said beers + a new pressure cooker = vegan split pea COOKOFF and beer tasting!
am11 (Spoiler alert – mine was too thick, Janna’s was too thin so we ended up blending them together and the ending result was AWESOME!) We spent the evening sipping, stirring, laughing and playing with puppies.
am9 My handsome fella joined us for the cook-off and a sleepover. Augh, that face! I love my rescue puppy!

Anyway back to the pressure cooker…
am10 It’s led to crazy things like me making more artichokes. Despite the first debacle, I’ve become obsessed with artichokes. Unhealthily obsessed.
am The ridiculous amount of chokes and vegan things I was creating in my pressure cooker left me craving something a wee bit more substantial. I was sitting on my couch with the pup and got an insane, desperate need to make short ribs. And there definitely needed to be beer in that recipe.
am1 Stout, to be specific.
am5 I seared off three pounds of these babies, threw a bunch of beer, vinegars, sugars and spices into the pressure cooker, shut the lid and prayed.
am3 To add a little health factor, I rested the short ribs on a smoky cauliflower mash. All the carnivores in the house adored this recipe. J’adore.

Sweet ‘n Smoky Short Ribs with Cauliflower Mash

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Juicy pressure cooker short ribs smothered in a sweet and smoky stout-based gravy, served over cauliflower puree.

Ingredients

  • 3lb short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 12oz Snowbank Brewing Pawnee Porter (or other rich porter or stout)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
  • 1/2 Large head cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1-2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Step 1
Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat.
Step 2
On large plate mix together the flour, 1/2tsp salt, 1/4tsp pepper and 1/2tsp paprika.
Step 3
Roll the short ribs in the flour mixture and brown each side for 2-3 minutes. Remove the browned ribs and set aside.
Step 4
Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pressure cooker and saute until tender, about four minutes.
Step 5
Add the apple cider vinegar and porter to the pressure cooker, scraping all of the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon.
Step 6
Add the brown sugar, tomato paste and chipotle chile pepper to the pot and stir to combine.
Step 7
Return the short ribs to the pressure cooker, seal and cook for 30 minutes once the pot has reached pressure.
Step 8
Allow the pressure cooker to naturally de-pressurize, remove the cooked short ribs to a plate and cover with foil.
Step 9
Bring the liquid up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until slightly thickened.
For the cauliflower mash
Step 10
In a medium sized pot, boil cauliflower for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
Step 11
Mash the cauliflower and stir in butter, almond milk, salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
Step 12
Layer cauliflower mash with a short rib and drizzle generously with gravy.

am4 I also highly recommend pairing it with the same stout you include in the recipe. Oh pressure cooker, you’ve changed my life!

What’s your favorite kitchen appliance/tool? I thought nothing could beat the slow cooker, but I think I may have just been proven wrong.

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Mixed Vegetable Hash with Imitation Panda Meat

I know I sparked your interest when I posted this picture last week…
AM8 My interest was sparked as well and I went home with two of these sausages to test out. But before I get into the recipe, here’s a recap of last week – It was insanely awesome and busy.
AM Fridays are free pretzel day at The Mayor of Old Town. This will be a new tradition of mine, so if you’re in FoCo on Fridays and want me to treat you to a jalapeno cheese pretzel with raspberry jam, show up and I’ll generously call over the waitress so you can enjoy one of these heavenly babies!
AM1 The evenings have been absolutely to die for up here! I went out with some friends after Mayor and enjoyed a few of the many patios about town.
AM2 Hot Rocks Lager from Port Brewing. Drooool.
AM3 Saturday was the Taste of Fort Collins. I went with my friend Kara and met up with a handful of people to sample the goods and enjoy a concert.
AM4 Braffle (a brat smothered in sauerkraut and maple syrup, wrapped in a waffle) from the Waffle Lab and Collective Soul!
AM5 I had to Google Collective Soul to find out who they were… BUT they played three songs that I recognized from my middle school years! The drunken crowds rocked out until the sun set.
AM6 Father’s Day was spent up in the mountains eating mass amounts of Indian buffet, helping pull a guy out of the middle of the road who had passed out on his bike after drinking a pint (no joke) of vodka and threatened a bunch people with a knife. We calmed our nerves that night with Pure Imagination stout from Verboten Brewing.
AM7 My Aerogarden is a success! I ate these leaves and promptly had to sit down from the exhaustion of the harvest.
AM8 And that brings us back to this. Imitation panda meat. I came across this at The Boar and Bull – a local butcher shop in Loveland that has some of the most delicious beef tenderloin I’ve ever had the good luck to consume. I saw these and knew I couldn’t leave without ’em. It is not, in fact, panda meat. Shocker, I know. These sausages are full of pork, bacon, cheddar cheese, red onions and Coca Cola. They. Are. Incredible.
am7 To make this hash, I used the handy Veggetti.
am4 It’s basically a much cheaper version of a spiralizer that takes up less space and gets you an arm workout.
am5 It’s also very sharp. Be careful so you don’t end up with sliced fingers like me. Genius.
am I shredded two potatoes and a zucchini…
am2 Sliced up some onions extremely thin, threw them in a pan to soften…
am1 Sliced up some asparagus into matchsticks and threw them into the pan with the zucchini and potatoes…
am6 Cooked up some panda in a separate pan, then threw everything together…
am8 Magic!

Mixed Vegetable Hash with Imitation Panda Meat

Serves 2-4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Thin strands of zucchini, potatoes, onions and asparagus are tossed together with smokey, rich imitation panda meat.

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium red potatoes
  • 1 Medium zucchini squash
  • 1 Small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 6 Large asaparagus stalks
  • 1-2 imitation panda meat sausages (or other pork sausage, casings removed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

Step 1
Using a spiralizer, spiralize the potatoes and zucchini into long strands.
Step 2
Take the asparagus spears, cut off the tops (do not discard) and slice thinly.
Step 3
In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add onions, potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, salt and pepper.
Step 4
Cover for 6-7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, then remove the lid and flip to brown both sides.
Step 5
In a separate pan, cook the imitation panda meat (or other pork sausage) until no longer pink, draining off any excess grease.
Step 6
Toss the cooked imitation panda meat into the large pan and mix together.
Step 7
Serve and devour.

am7 Real panda meat. Would you or wouldn’t you?

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Turkey Potstickers with Spicy Sweet Gingerbread Beer Dip

Do you guys remember a few weeks ago when I got a delicious present in the mail?
AM2 I was sent some of Bison Brewing’s Organic Gingerbread Ale from the owner of the company to develop some recipes and pairings. I wracked my brain for ideas and finally came up with a stroke of beery-genius last night after making homemade potstickers. They were tasty but not quite mind-blowing, and the spicy sauce I served them with was overpowering and unbalanced. A lightbulb switched on and I remade them for lunch today with some boozy additions.
am15 California and Colorado – these two were made for each other.

Turkey Potstickers with Spicy Sweet Gingerbread Beer Dip

Serves Makes 40-45 potstickers
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
By author Adapted from Alton Brown
Piping hot homemade potstickers with a hint of cinnamon and gingerbread are served with a spicy sweet dipping sauce made with Bison Brewing's Organic Gingerbread Ale.

Ingredients

  • 1lb organic ground turkey or chicken
  • 1/2 bell pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Bison Brewing Gingerbread Ale
  • 2 teaspoons Worchestshire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 packet wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (divided)
  • 1/2 cup Bison Brewing Gingerbread Ale
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (Frank's Wing Sauce or Schultz Spicy Sweet as examples)

Note

Make the dipping sauce ahead of time to free up space on your stovetop.

Directions

For the dipping sauce
Step 1
In a small pan whisk together the brown sugar and beer over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer until the mixture is reduced by half (about 40 minutes).
Step 2
Remove from the heat and whisk in the two tablespoons of hot sauce. Put into a serving dish to let it thicken for five minutes and then serve.
For the potstickers
Step 3
In a large bowl combine the first twelve ingredients (turkey or chicken through cayenne pepper) and set aside.
Step 4
Take one wonton wrapper from the package and cover the packet with a damp cloth to keep them from drying out and cracking. Dip your fingers in water and wet two edges of the wrapper.
Step 5
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and lightly spray with olive oil once hot.
Step 6
Place the wontons in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip to brown the other side.
Step 7
After browning both sides, pour in just enough vegetable broth to cover the base of the pan and cover the pan with a lid for one minute to steam through. Serve, wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove the stock residue and repeat with the rest of the potstickers.

am4 I’ve always loved making balsamic reductions for salads and ice cream, and decided to go for it with this beer as well. For this recipe, I recommend starting the Gingerbread Ale reduction while you assemble the potstickers.
am5 Combine the brown sugar and Gingerbread Ale, whisk together and set to simmer for about 40 minutes or until reduced by half.
am9 That’s about right. Remove it from the heat, whisk in the hot sauce and pour it into a serving dish.
am Combine the first twelve ingredients and prepare for a hassle with some wonton wrappers. The hassle is worth it, I promise you.
am6 Wet the edges of the wonton wrappers with water and place a teaspoon of the filling in the center, being careful not to overstuff it.
am7 Fold the wonton wrapper over and press the edges to seal in the goodness.
am8 Repeat until all your filling is used up.
am10 Put ’em in a hot pan and brown each side.
am2 Pour in just enough vegetable stock to coat the bottom of the pan and immediately place a lid on top to steam these bad boys for another minute.
am13 Serve them immediately, paired with a Bison Brewing Organic Gingerbread Ale to tame the flame from the spicy sauce.
am14 This is a sauce I think even the Heat Freaks can get behind! Enjoy!

Any recipes you’d like me to beerify? Have you ever beerified a recipe?

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Wilted Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple-Glazed Pecans

How’s everyone faring after the long, intensive weekend of leftovers?
am Our second Thanksgiving was stuffed full of butter and excessive amounts of meat, just because. We had to make up for the vegan binge the night before.
AM1 Since that fateful day, we’ve been starting each morning with a kale smoothie. Of course, the kale smoothie might just happen to come after I’ve eaten more leftovers, but I feel like it kind of balances it out, right?

Today I’m bringing the recipe for that kale salad that we had on Thanksgiving. I think I’ll be making it again for Christmas dinner with the addition of some roasted pomegranate arils!
AM7

Wilted Kale and Quinoa Salad with Maple-Glazed Pecans

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
By author Lightly adapted from Angela Liddon
Warm and crunchy kale salad with a burst of tart sweetness from white balsamic vinegar and maple-glazed pecans.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups baby kale (washed and finely chopped)
  • 1 + 1/2 cup pre-cooked quinoa (use vegetable broth for more flavor)
  • 3/4 cups pecans
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoon flavored white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 handful Craisins (or substitute pomegranate arils)

Directions

Step 1
In a large pan on the stove, toast the pecans over medium-high heat until fragrant.
Step 2
Drizzle the maple syrup over, stirring constantly, then pour the pecans onto a sheet of parchment paper and place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Step 3
In a small food processor, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and process for about thirty seconds.
Step 4
In a large bowl, combine the finely chopped kale, warm quinoa, pecans and Craisins (or pomegranate arils) and drizzle the dressing over the top.
Step 5
Toss and consume.

AM10 This salad is pretty easy to put together once you’ve done the rinsing and chopping. We had leftover quinoa in the fridge so we didn’t have to labor over that for half an hour.
AM2 Toasting the pecans.
AM3 Maple-glazed! This makes the salad!
AM4 So does the white balsamic vinegar – Cara-Cara Orange/Vanilla from my favorite olive oil shop in Fort Collins.
AM6 Throw everything into a bowl and top with warmed quinoa, then toss.

I hope you’re all having a good start to the week! I’m off to another day at the brewery and I couldn’t be happier with my life. Prost!

What are your post-Thanksgiving cleansing foods/plans?

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Simple Kitchen Sink Soup

It’s been quiet around here. Quiet and calm. Until yesterday. Apparently, funemployment is coming to an end shortly, one way or the other. Since the end of my peaceful, quiet and calm time is looming, I’ve been soaking up as much time as I can in the kitchen, hiking in the brisk mornings, and lazing about on the couch watching reruns of terrible, terrible shows on Netflix. Quality time.
am1 The herb garden has hit its end thanks to the repetitive cold frosts we’ve awoken to every morning. I’ve been taking handfuls of dried herbs from this bowl and crumbling them into almost every recipe I’ve created. Including the homemade stock I used for this one.
am Simple Kitchen Sink Soup. I was hoping to make a split pea soup to warm up with and then realized that there were no split peas in the house. Lentils it is! The wonderful thing about this recipe – you can throw anything you want into that pot. I had some carrots, celery and onions that were about to peak, so those were my choices.

Simple Kitchen Sink Soup

Serves 8-10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 7 hours
Total time 7 hours, 15 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
A painfully easy vegan stew, chock full of vegetables and perfect for a chilly autumn evening.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 onions (chopped)
  • 3-4 carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 4-5 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 2 cups lentils (rinsed)
  • 8 cups homemade vegetable broth
  • 1 handful any other chopped vegetable you want to use (potatoes, kale, mushrooms, etc.)
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt to taste

Directions

Step 1
In a slow cooker layer each ingredient, one by one, without stirring.
Step 2
Set slow cooker to low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4, until lentils are soft.
Step 3
Season to taste and serve.

I also had plenty of spent grain from my snow day brew day. It was necessary to make some whole grain bread with that.
am2 I may have forgotten to allow it to rise the second time… Ah well. Still delicious.
am3 Smear a slice of this with honey butter and your life will be complete. Bread recipe coming soon!

What’s your favorite autumn recipe? Please share links!

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Protein-Packed Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

It’s the last day of September and I think it’s past time to start in on copious amounts of deliciously warming autumn recipes. This soup is from an adaptation I made three years ago on the blog, but this time I added red lentils for a punch of protein – a perfectly rounded out vegan dish.
AM

Protein-Packed Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Serve Hot
This soup is SPICY, slightly sweet and full of veggies and protein thanks to the lentils! If you need to clear out your sinuses, this is the soup to make! Not only are you getting massive amount of Vitamin A from the butternut squash and a huge dose of protein from the lentils, but you also hike up your metabolism with the cayenne.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large butternut squash (halved and seeded)
  • 4 Large leeks
  • 1 head garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils (rinsed)
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cayanne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Step 1
Place the butternut squash halves, cut side up, on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. At the same time, remove the papery skins from the garlic, then wrap the entire head of garlic in foil.
Step 2
Bake squash and garlic at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes, or until fork easily pierces through the thickest point of the squash.
Step 3
Allow the squash and garlic to cool while you prepare the lentils: Place the rinsed lentils in a pot with the 2.5 cups of water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring often.
Step 4
Trim, wash and thinly slice the leeks.
Step 5
Saute the leeks in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes while the lentils cook.
Step 6
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the casing and into the pan with the leeks and saute for another 5-10 minutes.
Step 7
Add the cubed butternut squash and saute for 10 minutes.
Step 8
Add the vegetable broth, cooked lentils, ground nutmeg, cayenne and ground pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 9
Take an immersion blender and puree the soup into a creamy consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle the soup into a blender and blend until smooth, then pour back into the pot.
Step 10
Slowly stir in salt, pinches at a time, until you reach the desired taste.

Butternut Soup I garnished this with my spicy-sweet roasted squash seeds, also from an old blog recipe, and paired it with one of my favorite pumpkin beers – Elysian Night Owl.
AM4 And now, I’m off to enjoy this gorgeous day with a mountain bike ride! Happy trails!
manana

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Seared Sesame Ahi Tuna with Zucchini Salad

Now that I have access to a complete kitchen, I’ve had the chance to get back to one of the ultimate joys in my life – cooking! First up, I decided to recreate the delicious meal kindly prepared for me by the lovely Janelle, with a few tweaks inspired by our visit to LAB Brewing.

Seared Sesame Ahi Tuna with Zucchini Salad

Serves 1
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 6 minutes
Total time 16 minutes
Allergy Fish, Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Simple, healthy and delicious - seared Ahi tuna with bright sesame flavors marry perfectly with tender strips of fresh zucchini marinated in white balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb sushi grade Ahi tuna (about 3/4in thick)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Medium zucchini
  • 1/3 tomato (seeded and chopped)
  • 1oz Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions

Step 1
First, prepare the zucchini salad. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini into strips and place in a small mixing bowl.
Step 2
Add the seeded and chopped tomato, white balsamic vinegar and olive oil and toss to coat.
Step 3
Next, take the Ahi tuna and massage with sesame oil.
Step 4
Sprinkle salt, pepper and sesame seeds on both sides of the tuna steak.
Step 5
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high to high heat.
Step 6
Once the pan is hot, place the tuna in the pan and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Step 7
Right before serving, use the vegetable peeler to peel the pecorino into strips and toss with the zucchini salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

AM I paired this with something I traditionally wouldn’t recommend, but it seemed necessary.
AM3 Our family homebrew Yeti clone!
AM4 Our pup, Barleywhine (yes, that is actually his name), seemed to think the recipe and pairing was good.

Last night I decided to immerse myself into more of the beer culture of Northern Colorado.
AM1 The Verboten Sisterhood meets weekly at the brewery in Loveland.
AM2 IN the brewery in Loveland, to be exact. I grabbed a pint of their Angry Banjo Kentucky Common and enjoyed the ambiance as the ladies filtered in, glasses in hand.
AM6 After beer nerd chatting and displays of how to pour the perfect beer, one of the Verboten founders, Angie, brought out this devil. I had a few sips and found it necessary to tamper the heat with another snifter of Yeti clone when I got home.
AM5 Also… found these on the shelves at a liquor store. No limit. Bought out the shelf. One for sipping now and three to age.

Have I mentioned that I love Colorado yet? Because I do. I really do.

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Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

I just can’t seem to stop celebrating this past week!
am7 My Certified Cicerone pin and badge came in the mail yesterday, sending me off into another frenzied hour of joy.
am10 I got a carwash for the first time in months. With the small amount of time I have for myself, I kind of saw this as a celebration… Oy, I’m getting old.
am6 I also got back into the kitchen! These pumpkin spiced donuts were a regular in my life until a year ago, when my life got tossed around in beautiful ways and I had to move four times because of shifting jobs. I made these delicious donuts again, took one bite and realized something was off… Instead of 1/2 cup of brown sugar, I’d only added 1/4 cup. Well, crap.

They were still delicious, but obviously lacking just a tad.

I did what any normal person would do – melted butter, dipped the tops in butter and then in a mix of cinnamon and sugar.
am3 BOOM. Problem solved.
am4 Then I took another bite. Just to make sure the problem was actually solved.
am5 It was. Oh, my goodness, it was.
am I had quite a bit of pumpkin leftover from the donuts, so I made a form of mac ‘n cheese using pumpkin puree.

Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese

Serves 4-5
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
A healthy version of macaroni and cheese with an added dose of dietary fiber and Vitamin A from pumpkin puree, as well as whole grains from whole wheat pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12oz whole wheat pasta ((3/4 lbs))

Directions

Step 1
In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Step 2
Add the onions, garlic and sage and saute until the onions are translucent.
Step 3
In a blender (I used my Magic Bullet), combine the pumpkin puree and cooked onions, garlic and sage, and blend until smooth.
Step 4
Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan and heat through.
Step 5
While the sauce is heating, cook pasta according to package directions.
Step 6
Add the mascarpone and parmesan to the pumpkin sauce and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 7
Drain the pasta once al dente, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water.
Step 8
Place the drained pasta back into the pot and add the pumpkin sauce, stirring until all the pasta is coated. Add pasta water if necessary to thin out the sauce.
Step 9
Any add-ins should be mixed in next - I sauteed chicken apple sausages and added frozen peas to give a little more substance.
Step 10
Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and devour.

am1 And since I felt so healthy after this meal, I decided it was time again to celebrate.
am8Berliner Weisse with (way too much) woodruff syrup at Golden Road.
am9And a sample of their West by Northwest collaboration brew with Deschutes! And now I’m off to prep for a crapload of beer dinners I’m hosting in the near future.

Life be good.

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Beer Pairing: Sweet and Sour Chicken

Welcome to the second edition of pairing food and beer! This recipe is compliments of my mumsie who threw a bunch of random things into a bowl and made delicious magic!

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Quinoa

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Tender chunks of chicken and roasted vegetables are tossed together in a sweet and tangy marinade, completed with a side of light, fluffy quinoa.

Ingredients

  • 2lb chicken breast (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons gin
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 can chopped pineapple (drained, juice reserved)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Directions

Step 1
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, gin, soy sauce, olive oil, onion, bell peppers, pineapple and pineapple juice. Stir well, cover and let marinate for 1-4 hours.
Step 2
With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables and chicken and spread one even layer on a cookie sheet covered with foil.
Step 3
Take the marinade and bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer until reduced by 1/3.
Step 4
Roast vegetables and chicken in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until chicken is no longer pink inside.
Step 5
Remove the chicken from the trays and place in a bowl, covered to keep warm.
Step 6
Roast the vegetables until soft and golden – about 15 more minutes.
Step 7
Cook quinoa according to directions on package, substituting chicken broth for water.
Step 8
Serve everything together, drizzled with the marinade reduction.

Deliciousness marinating!
Spread in one layer so all the vegetables are cooked evenly.

This is a hearty, filling meal with a lovely tangy sweetness. I’d recommend pairing this dish with a rich nut brown ale or any other sweet malty beer to really emphasize the caramelized sugars that form as a crust on the pineapple after it’s baked in the oven. If possible, drink local!
Enegren Brewing’s Valkyrie California Alt – rich, malty and a smooth finish. The residual sugars in this match perfectly with the marinated chicken and vegetables.
Island Brewing Company’s Nut Brown Ale – this one is a little drier, but still has enough malty sweetness and roasty back-end to enhance the sweet marinade reduction. If you want to be blown away, throw a handful of roasted peanuts on top, combine with a nut brown and let your taste buds go crazy!

Some mainstream beers that would pair well with this dish:
Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale – rich malts and a toasted nutty finish with just a touch of hops.
Chimay Premiere (Red) – sweet dried fruits and a relatively dry end.
Sierra Nevada’s Tumbler – hints of chocolate and toasted nuts with medium high carbonation and light sweetness.

I’m sure there are plenty more! If you make this, share your beer pairing choices!

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Beer Pairing: Bite Me Chicken Stew

Good afternoon! I’ve decided to start a little series about pairing different styles of beer with food –  partially in preparation for the Cicerone test, and partially because every single type of meal can be brought to another level when combined with the right style of beer. I’ll try to post a new pairing every week and if you have any questions, recommendations or requests, feel free to write them down in the comments!

Yesterday I was feeling a little under the weather and was craving something warm with a spicy “bite”, so I threw a bunch of random foodstuffs from my cupboards into a pot and came up with:

Bite Me Chicken and Brown Rice Stew

Serves 6-8
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Wonderfully hearty stew with a spicy bite on the end, balanced by creamy avocado and tangy lime juice.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced green chiles (4 ounces)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 box Rice-A-Roni Spanish Brown Rice (Plus half of the spice packet)
  • 2/3 cups frozen or fresh corn
  • 1 avocado (cubed)
  • The juice of one lime

Directions

Step 1
Bring the chicken stock to a boil.
Step 2
Add the green chiles, tomatoes, Rice-A-Roni and 1/2 the spice packet and reduce to a simmer.
Step 3
Let it simmer for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally then add the corn.
Step 4
Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Step 5
Remove from heat, garnish with avocado and sprinkle with lime juice to taste.

If you’d like, you can even make your own chicken stock for this recipe, which is what I did.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 3 hours
Total time 3 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Soup
Simple chicken stock to add to any soup.

Ingredients

  • Remnants of a baked chicken, bones and all
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 4 carrots (sliced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-3 teaspoon flaked red pepper (depending on desire of spice)

Directions

Step 1
Place the chicken in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
Step 2
In a pan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent (about 7 minutes).
Step 3
Add the onion, garlic, carrots, salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to the pot and let simmer for 1 to 3 hours.
Step 4
Remove the chicken bones, keeping as much meat in as possible and bring stock to a boil.

Continue with the Bite Me Chicken and Brown Rice Stew recipe above.
I decided to pair this wonderfully spicy stew with Uinta’s Cutthroat Pale Ale (I’d recommend either a pale ale or an IPA for this soup). The pale ale has just a hint of a bitter backend to enhance the spicy bite that rounds out the edges of the stew, but enough of a light graininess so as to not compete with the flavors. The caramel malts that grace your palate at the end of the sip brings out the sweetness of the corn and tender chicken. If you want to really suffer (in a good way), pair this with a seriously hoppy IPA like Dogfish Head 90 Minute or another dry pale ale. The hops will make the spice even more pronounced and clear your head of any congestion, guaranteed.

Other pale ale pairing recommendations:
– Fish ‘n chips – crisp hops help to cut through the grease
– Grilled/broiled halibut – dry pale ale doesn’t overwhelm the delicate flavors of white fish
– Gumbo – hops bring out the spices while chilling the afterburn at the same time
– Sushi – light flavors in pale ale add a sweet complexity that pairs well with the vinegar-graced sushi rice
– Anything fried, spicy, or seafood of any kind
– Pale ales with higher IBUs are good for dishes like roast beef or pork roasts to bring out the sweetness of the meats

Any other food pairings you’ve tried with pale ale that you’d like to recommend?

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