Tag Archives: Co-Op

Davis Beer Week

17 Aug

The summer is almost at an end – I’m setting my alarm tonight for the first time in about a week. Tomorrow is the beginning of pre-year meetings and planning sessions even though the kids don’t come back for another week and a half. I’m not quite ready.

It was a weird summer. Not bad….but kind of bumpy. Summer work was overall good but I missed my trip home due to an ill timed flu. I spent one whole weekend in bed. Missing the flight, though, did mean I was in town for Davis Beer Week.

Even though I didn’t participate in many of the official events, I did a lot of unofficial tastings at home.

I kicked off beer week with a range of pale ales. First was Auburn Alehouse Independence Day Ale. Decent, but not noteworthy. IMG_0128.JPG

Although the cap was pretty awesome… IMG_0129.JPG

I also had Dale’s Pale Ale for the first time. Not sure how I’ve managed to miss it but it provided a nice pick me up to an afternoon reading educational books.


Finally tonight in honor of fall I tried New Belgium’s Tour De Fall – of the three this was probably my favorite.


I did go to a great class at the Davis Co-Op: Cooking with Beer. I got to watch the excellent chef there make four different recipe and sample each. We had Lambic Whipped Cream Cheese, Chocolate Stout Muffins (sooooo good!), Welsh Rarebit with a brown ale, and finally an IPA BBQ sauce.


I wrapped the week up at the Davis Bike and Brew Fest. My friend Katy kindly went with me. Beer, sunshine, and a good friend – a perfect ending to summer.



Easter Braided Danish (Co-Op Cook’s Challenge!)

28 Mar

It has been much, much too long since I posted but I have been overwhelmingly busy with the new job. Actually, starting the new job while still trying to finish up a few other things at the old jobs. I am totally exhausted but completely enthused!

So last weekend before things got too crazy I made this beautiful braided danish. I baked it to share with my grandmother, sister, and brother-in-law but I think it would make a perfect addition to Easter brunch. The recipe is another Davis Co-Op Cook’s Challenge and an excellent and informative instruction brochure can be found here.

Now get ready because this is a hell of a recipe! Useful, though, when you’re trying to impress your family who remembers when you would only eat peanut butter sandwiches…

You start by making dough – I got to use my dough hook for the first time!


I also bought bread flour to the first time, too. I’m not totally sure what the difference is, but it seemed finer. I started by combining the flour, yeast, and sugar.


Then I cut up the butter into little cubes.


Next I added the milk and egg.


Then I turned on the mixer and let it go to town! I was so impressed. At first the butter didn’t really mix in…


…but pretty soon the mixture got smooth, but a bit sticky.


Then, I scooped the dough out into a greased bowl, covered it, and let it rise for an hour (about double in size… although I couldn’t really remember what size it was to start with). After an hour you gentle fold the dough to deflate it, and then let it rise a second time over another hour.


Towards the end of the second hour I made the filling, combining cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon juice, some flour, and Lemon Curd. I didn’t soften the cream cheese so there were some lumps left. Next time, I’m going with something chocolate for the filling!


After the second rise my dough was still kind of sticky so I sprinkled a little flour on top and kneaded it in a bit. I had been worried about it but it ended up being perfectly “dough” like – I was so excited!


OK, then I rolled the dough out into a roughly 10 x 15 inch rectangle.

IMG_8095     IMG_8094

At this point transfer the dough to a cookie sheet with parchment paper. As the Co-Op says, if you don’t, you won’t be able to move it after it’s filled!


So now you have to divide the rectangle into thirds…


…then spread the filling down the center.


Next was the trickiest part for me – cutting strips about one inch apart down the length of the outer thirds. My cuts were not very clean and I had to kind of pull them apart making it a bit messy.


Second to best part next – braiding time! First, cut off the strips at the top and bottom so you have a little flap to fold over. Then, lay one strip diagonally across the center, and  next fold the strip from the other side over.


Continue down the whole length of the danish, tucking in the ends.


Look how pretty!


Now you have to loosely cover the danish and let it rise for a third hour! Finally, pop it in the oven. In the meantime, prepare the glaze (see my new pastry brush!).


And the best part…. bake to golden perfection!


Glaze the danish… have you ever seen anything so beautiful!?


Normally I would post the recipe and instructions, too, but the Co-Op did such a good job that you should follow their guide.

OK Co-Op, I’m ready for the next challenge. Bring it on! I’m thinking chocolate souffle?

Quiche Co-Op Cook’s Challenge

19 Feb

My local Co-Op posted their first “Cook’s Challenge” on Valentine’s Day and I decided to give it a whirl. The challenge was for quiche – imaginary bonus points for making the crust yourself! I actually consider myself a fairly decent quiche maker already. Personally I love that you can throw basically anything in there with some cheese and eggs and it tastes delish. Usually I just toss ingredients together when I bake a quiche so this time I actually (mostly) followed the Co-Op’s “How To” guide and got some pretty good results.

I decided to make the crust the night before because 1) I already had the butter out for another cooking project and 2) I knew I’d never make the crust on a weeknight. First I cut the butter into small chunks. Oh sweet, sweet butter.


Then I blended it with the flour and salt with my pastry cutter. I like my pastry cutter – I think it beats my mom’s technique of two butter knives, but I definitely dream of a food processor someday.


After the butter was mixed in with the flour I added a few tablespoons of water until a dough formed. And let’s be honest – the dough doesn’t magically form the way recipes say. I got my hands in there and smushed that buttery-flour together. (See my new spatula? Purple! It’s the small things in life…)


I planned on using the dough the next day so I wrapped it up and put it in the fridge.


I’m sorry Co-Op, your dough recipe was good but I prefer this one. Maybe it was because I prepared it ahead of time, but it was hard to roll out and didn’t really stick together.

I did manage to get the dough rolled out though.


And fit cutely into the pie pan.


But….I forgot that it would shrink down when I baked it so it was less of a pie crust and more of a pie bottom. Whatever – it worked!


For fillings I decided to go with zucchini and bell pepper. I had planned on mushrooms but the friend I was sharing dinner with isn’t a fan so I actually stopped at the Co-Op on the way home from work to get the peppers!




Next, the best part. Layer the cheese on the bottom (I went with swiss this time, although often I just use whatever I have in the fridge) and add the veggie mix.


Then, pour the egg and milk mixture on top.


IMG_7792I was going to pair this with New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Trippel, a totally delicious beer with crisp spices, but my friend and I drank the beer while the quiche was cooking instead. Oops.

It was kind of a lot of prep for an after-work, weeknight dinner but with the good company (thanks Katy!), good beer, and good food at the end, it was worth it!


Also, leftover pie crust….cinnamon-sugary dessert! (And yes, the corner is missing. Dessert got done before dinner so we just had to sample it!)


Davis Co-Op’s Quiche Recipe (Original recipe here)

Everything you’ll need:

For the crust-

  • 3/4 cups cold butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 Tablespoons very cold water (stick it in the freezer!)

For the quiche-

  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup veggies (you choose!)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (you choose!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the crust-

  1.  Cut the butter into small pieces and combine with the flour & salt.
  2. Use a pastry cutter, two knives, or a food processor to cut the butter into the flour. You’ll still have chunks of butter visible, but the more you cut the smaller they’ll be. (If you don’t have a pastry cutter, two butter knives work fine – literally, making a cutting or slicing motion in the mixture. You’ll feel silly because you’re not actually “cutting” anything but it works.)
  3. Add 4 Tablespoons of cold water and mix until the dough starts to stick together. Add extra water as needed.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and mush together a bit more.
  5. Roll the dough out into a circle that’s about 2-1/2 inches bigger than the top of your pie plate. The less you have to handle and roll out your dough the better. Then, put your pie plate upside down on your dough and cut around it, about 2 inches away from the rim.
  6. Put your pie crust in the pan and bake for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the quiche-

  1. Saute the onion and veggies until tender.
  2. Sprinkle the shredded cheese onto the prepared and baked pie crust. Add the veggie mixture on top.
  3. Mix together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl, season to taste, then pour over the cheese/veggie mix.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until golden and just set. Let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving.