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Beer Risotto wins national cooking challenge

National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Cooking with Beer Challenge, the judges named a winner. Linda Rohr, a 53-year-old publicist and project manager from Darien, Connecticut, was won first place in the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Cooking with Beer Challenge, earning her a trip to Cancun for two for her “Quick and Easy White Beer-Seafood ‘Risotto’ with Fresh Herbs.”

Rohr’s recipe, a quick and easy risotto-like dish made with orzo pasta, scallops and shrimp was praised by judges for its ease of preparation, versatile serving options and outstanding flavor. Unique to the recipe is the addition of a bottle of white beer, which is used to steam the seafood. Taking second place and a cash prize of $1,000 was Emil Topel, 36, a chef from Phenix City, Alabama for his “Lager-Steamed Thai Turkey and Shiitake Dumplings with Pale Ale Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce.”

Ten finalists from around the country were chosen from hundreds who submitted recipes featuring beer. Beer was the only required ingredient in the recipes, and contestants were allowed to enter any type of dish in the contest.

Quick and Easy Seafood “Risotto” With Fresh Herbs
Serves 6

1    12-ounce bottle White Beer
½ cup   fish stock
12 large   scallops, halved
12 large   shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 TBS   olive oil
1 cup    thinly sliced shallots
4 cloves   garlic, minced
1 (5.4 ounce) pkg   Boursin-style herb and garlic flavored cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup   julienned sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
3 cups   hot cooked orzo
2 cups   baby arugula
¼ cup   freshly snipped basil, divided
2 TBS   minced cilantro, divided
2 TBS   freshly snipped dill, divided
¼ tsp   freshly ground pepper
1 tsp   smoked sea salt or kosher salt
2 TBS   olive oil
¼ cup   freshly shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place white beer and fish stock in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add seafood and cook just 2-3 minutes or until just opaque. Remove seafood with slotted spoon and set aside. Increase heat; bring liquid to a boil, reducing by half.

Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, sauté shallots in olive oil until caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in cheese, sun dried tomatoes, beer and stock reduction, orzo and seafood. Heat through. Stir in arugula, fresh herbs (reserving 1 tsp of each for garnish). Season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Divide among six plates. Garnish with more fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

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Beer and food bonanza

Because sometimes you need a little nourishment before the next beer . . .

– What to serve with that turkey next week? The Brewers Association offers a primer: This Year Beer Goes With The Bird!

– Don Russell also mentione beer and turkey in his Joe Sixpack focusing on beer as a gourmet ingredient – recipes included.

– Britain’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has a booth at this year’s BBC Good Food Show. Beer experts and best selling authors Roger Protz, Tim Webb and Jeff Evans will lead a variety of tastings for the Great British Beer Experience.

“Good food and good beer go perfectly together, so it makes sense that they should both be showcased under one roof,” said CAMRA Marketing Manager Georgina Rudman. “More than 130,000 people visit the BBC Good Food Show every year and we are extremely excited to have grasped the opportunity to bring real ale to those consumers who may not have tried it before.”

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Put down the mussels and pass the Duvel

Philadelphia’s Don Russell (author of the Joe Sixpack column) has the second in his series about the relationship of good beer and good food.

Today he collects suggestions from chefs and beer writers, including descriptions that will make you hungry and thirsty. For instance, chef Sanford D’Amato of Coquette Café in Milwaukee pairs St. Amaud French Country Ale with smoked, oven-dried tomato and chevre tart with fresh thyme.

“This beer has a rich, deep red, ripe fruitiness with anise licorice hints that is quite delicious, but a bit heavy and cloying with some foods. With the tart, the smoked tomatoes swallowed up a good part of the sweetness of the beer, standing right up to it, and the combination of the slightly bitter smokiness of the tomatoes and the goat cheese’s acidity brought out a mid-range of delicious flavors in the beer that were barely detectable before. The beer tasted much spicier and the tart’s flavors were brought together. For my taste, each made the other better.”

As the authors of “What to Drink with What You Eat” write: “One plus one equals three.”

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Double Chocolate Stout cookies

Double ChocolateDouble Chocolate Stout cookies are back this month in the Northwest. “Last year when we first introduced the Double chocolate Stout, we had the quadruple the normal number of customer comments,” said David Saulnier, president of Cougar Mountain Baking Co.

Cougar Mountain uses BridgePort Brewing Co.’s Black Strap Stout as in ingredient in the cookie. The alcohol bakes out of the cookie, but flavors from the stout – most notably chocolate, molasses, coffee, other roasted quality and even an underlying smokiness – meld nicely with chocolate chunks in the cocoa-based cookie.

Cougar Mountain introduced Double Chocolate last year as a “Flavor of the Month” and brought the cookies back this October. “People were wowed by such an original flavor, and they thought the resulting cookie was great,” Saulnier said.

Not surprisingly the cookies pair very well with Bridgeport Black Strap Stout. The flavors in the cookie and beer echo each other, with the understated alcohol in the beer heightening the flavors and the roasty-bitterness at the end cleaning the palate. For another bit of cookie and sip of beer, of course.

Since the cookies come eight to a box (made from 100% recycled paper) we felt it out obligation to find some other good pairings for you. The cookies are intensely flavored so you need a beverage that will stand up to them. Yes, milk works well. Most wines won’t.

Beyond the Black Strap Stout we found that Brewery Ommegang Ale, currently brewed for Ommegang in Belgium, and New Belgium Frambozen both worked well with the cookies. The Ommegang is powerful enough to stand up to the chocolate, in part because it shows certain chocolate qualities. We particularly liked the way licorice in the beer matched the cookies. The raspberries (juice, actually) used to make Frambozen turn the Double Chocolate cookies into a double dessert.

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Stone auction: Beer and dinner for 8

The latest in Stone Brewing’s series of charity auctions to celebrate its 10th anniversary closes Friday, but bids are already apporaching $1,000.

The dinner for eight with Stone founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner features six courses and six vintage Stone beers. The package also includes an invitation for one person to be a guest at a tasting of Stone 02.02.02 Epic Vertical Ale.

The charity auctions have already raised $20,371.

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Craft beer and food

The current edition of the various Brewing News publications (Southwest Brewing News, Midwest Brewing News, etc. – there are seven) includes A “Craft Beers Flavors” supplement.

Most of the stories are by Lucy Saunders (Beerkcook and Grilling With Beer), with plenty of information about pairing beer and food when dining and cooking with beer.

Also plenty of recipes. Well worth seeking out – you’ll usually find Brewing News in brewpubs, better beer bars and bottle shops – and you can’t beat the price (free).

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Bennigan’s features recipes made with Guinness

The things you learn when you read press releases: The Bennigan’s chain sell $1 million of Guinness each year, making it the No. 1 U.S. account.

The release itself deals with a recipe partnership between Bennigan’s and Guinness:

Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern and Guinness have teamed up to create Bennigan’s Guinness Grill menu featuring Bennigan’s exclusive new Guinness Glaze original recipes made with Guinness Stout. The Guinness Grill menu hits Bennigan’s restaurants nationwide June 26.

“This partnership combines the classic, tavern menu at Bennigan’s with the most recognized name in Irish beer,” said Clay Dover, vice president of marketing at Bennigan’s. “Our culinary team set out to create a taste that combines the Guinness Stout flavor with a bit of sweetness, and the result is one of the most prominent menu introductions in our restaurant’s 30-year history.”

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Cooking with dad – and beer

Is it just because of Father’s Day? Or the fact that summer begins officially in less than a week?

Budweiser sauces

For whatever reason, cooking with beer outdoors seem particularly prominent of late. You’ll find recipes for grilling with beer at website that promotes Lucy Saunders’ new book (“Grilling with Beer”).

And Anheuser-Busch has created recipes for the four beer-based barbecue sauces it will soon be selling.

From the press release:

“This summer we want to bring the kitchen outdoors and offer some new and interesting recipes we believe home cooks will enjoy,” said Brent Wertz, executive chef for Anheuser-Busch’s Kingsmill Resort & Spa in Williamsburg, Va. “With the growing popularity in cooking shows and outdoor grilling there’s a renewed interest in alternatives to traditional grilling fare. Basically, there’s a new world of grilling that’s just beginning to be explored. The old rules don’t apply and we want to encourage home cooks to have fun and stretch the boundaries beyond their wildest imaginations.”

The Grilled Barbecued Brie looks particularly inviting.

The Budweiser Sauces come in four flavors: Baste, Wing, Barbecue and Beechwood Smoked Barbecue.

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