Tag Archives: IPA

IPAlooza! May Beer Dinner

27 Jun

IPAlooza! Get it!? IPA-looza! iPalooza! An all IPA beer dinner!

It’s taken me awhile but I’ve grown to love IPAs. The hoppy bitterness is amazingly satisfying and I love the way IPAs smell. So…I was super excited for my April postponed to May beer dinner that was all IPAs all the time. I also decided to try and focus on IPAs that were relatively local.

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I started with Gold Digger IPA by the Auburn Alehouse Brewery. I’ve been up to the Auburn Alehouse a few times now – it’s a great place to stop after a hike in Auburn. This beer I paired with a great Broccoli, Grape, and Cucumber salad.

Next I paired Track 7′s Panic IPA with the Roasted Potato Galette. Still haven’t made it out to the brewery, but their Daylight Amber is one of my favorites.

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We wrapped up with Rubicon’s IPA and delish Caramel Apple Cupcakes!

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We got to try a range of different IPAs. My favorites were the Knee Deep Midnight Hoppyness and Samuel Adam’s Rebel IPA. The Midnight Hoppyness is a black IPA. The Sam Adams IPA is pretty mild and very drinkable.

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I was also super excited to show off my newest project….my patio! My dad came down in March to help me build it during my Spring Break.

We started with a blank slate – just lots of dirt and some weeds…

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…and a lot of gravel and sand.

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After lots of digging we found a rouge concrete slab…and then laid out a great foundation.

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Next I laid out all the pavers…

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…and learned how to use power tools to make planter boxes!

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Finally we swept sand over the whole patio to fill in the gaps.

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Some furniture and plants make it a wonderful place to hang out! We held the tasting out there this beer dinner and it was wonderful! I think I’ve spent most evenings hanging out on the patio with a cold beer and a good book!

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

18 Jun

I think caramel and apples are one of the best possible combinations. When I was younger my mom sometimes packed that Margetti caramel apple dip and some sliced apples in my lunch. As an adult I don’t really allow myself to buy things like that for fear that I will just sit on the couch and eat it with a spoon. I don’t have a lot of will power.

But these caramel apple cupcakes are a perfect compromise! I planned on making them for the May beer dinner since the theme was iPAlooza and apple pie and IPA is supposed to be a good combination. Since I had served apple pie in the fall, I wanted something different. (I also tried these Apple Tartlets which were good!) The cupcakes ended up being suppppppper moist and the caramel flavored frosting amazing!

Shockingly, this is one recipe of mine that doesn’t start with creaming together the butter and sugar! Start by mixing together the sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Then, add some vegetable oil.

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In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Slowly combine the two, along with the milk.

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Then, add in the applesauce. I liked that this recipe used applesauce instead of apples – it was quicker and easier, plus I think the applesauce contributed to the high moisture content!

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Finally, distribute the mix into muffin tins and bake!

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For the frosting, I basically eyeballed it. I think I used two sticks of butter and about 3.5 cups of powdered sugar. Then, instead of adding milk, I added about half a jar of Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce (adding the milk, too, threw off the consistency of the frosting). Top the cupcakes with frosting and enjoy!

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes (original recipe found at Kawaii Gourmet)

Everything you’ll needed

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • Your favorite frosting made with salted caramel!

Directions

  1. Mix together the granulated sugar (1 c), brown sugar (1/2 c), vanilla (2 tsp), and eggs (4).
  2. Add the vegetable oil (1 cup) until well mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour (3 c), baking powder (4 tsp), salt (1 tsp), cinnamon (1 tsp), and nutmeg (1/2 tsp).
  4. Add the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the milk (1/4 cup).
  5. Finally, fold in the applesauce (2 cups), being sure to not over mix.
  6. Fill cupcake tins about 1/3 way full and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool, then top with caramel buttercream frosting.

 

Spring Potato Galette

16 Jun

Spring potato galette…or at least it was spring when I started cooking! Clearly, I have a lot of catching up to do!

Today was the first official day of summer. After a long but pretty wonderful year of teaching I’m ready for a bit of a break. Even though I start my summer job in just a week, I’m officially taking advantage of the longer, lazier days. Today I went to my first baseball game of the season (Go Sacramento RiverCats!) and lounged by the pool.

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I love summer break but sometimes August rolls around and it seems I’ve accomplished nothing. So I made a list this year and am hoping to slowly check things off. I need to organize my garage (always!) and make a beer bottle wind chime. There are too many books to read and a few lessons to revise, too. Some knitting and sewing project to start, and a few to finally finish. Plus cooking. Cooking and baking of course.

This recipe I think I have down. I found the recipe for the potato galette from Joy the Baker (she’s the best – have you gotten her cookbooks yet? Me either but I want them!) and severed it at my May beer dinner. Like Joy said, it’s the perfect comfort food. And also may have contributed to why last year’s bathing suit was a little tighter this season…

You start with potatoes and chives.

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I got to use my mandolin again to slice the potatoes before roasting.

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Next, toss the potato slices with olive oil and spices. Joy uses Old Bay but I have a giant bottle of Johnny’s Seasoning that gets used about once a year to make Chex mix at Christmas…

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Then, you lay the potato slices out to roast.

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Meanwhile, you can make the pie crust. I went ahead and used the tried and true Perfect Pie Crust Recipe. Divided up nicely, the recipe makes enough for eight smaller galettes.

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If you have any potatoes left after snacking, it’s time to layer them with cheese and chives.

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The chives are so pretty. I currently have some growing in my garden. Hopefully mine will survive my not-so-green thumb!

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Finally you fold the pie crust over the edges a bit and bake!

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The galettes came out a little crisp, totally rich, and wonderfully delicious. I served my with a salad and an IPA.

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Joy the Baker’s Roasted Potato Galette

Everything you’ll need: (I included measurements but didn’t really measure when I put mine together)

  • Your favorite pie crust recipe
  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil to coat
  • 1-2 teaspoons seasoning (Johnny’s or Old Bay)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 large, beat egg to coat the crust

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and slice thinly. Coat the potato slices with olive oil and liberally season.
  2. Lay the potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
  3. Roll out a small pie crust (I used 1/8 of the Perfect Pie Crust recipe) and add a layer of potatoes in the center. Add cheese and chives.
  4. Add a second layer of potatoes, cheese, and chives.
  5. Fold the edges of the pie crust over the potatoes and brush with the egg.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden and the cheese is melty!

*As Joy suggested, I assembled my galette directly on the sheet I was going to bake it on since it would be tricky to transfer.

 

Stuffed (with good tidings) Potatoes

19 Mar

I’m feeling full of love and good tidings. Something about putting my body to work, being amongst the green and growing, cooking good food. Because that’s what I did this afternoon. I ran out of work early today and made the afternoon about things I wanted to do. There never seems to be enough time to do that and so often I start conversations with friends and colleagues about how tired we are, how busy, how stressed. So today was all spring and good tidings.

After work I went to the pool to swim laps (and by swim laps I mean flail around a bit and stop to catch my breath every four lengths…) and then headed to the grocery store. I’ve reached my limit of cheese and cracker lunches so I had to get something. Walking by the deli case I was inspired by the twice baked potatoes and decided to make my own for dinner (and lunch tomorrow!)

I’ve made these any number of times before and tend to go long stretches forgetting about them. The recipe is originally from a Weight Watchers cookbook but I don’t really measure much now – just throw things in until they taste good. Mix in whatever you want!

Start, of course, by baking up some potatoes. I pulled weeds while they cooked. You can almost see my backyard again. Seriously, there were (still are) a lot of weeds.

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While the potatoes are finishing up chop and saute onion, broccoli, and carrots.

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Next, scoop out the insides of the potatoes and mash with a little butter, milk, and salt and pepper.

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Be careful not to burn your fingers while scooping. I’ve made that mistake before. More than once.

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Mix some cottage cheese and a little shredded cheese into the mashed potatoes and add the veggies.

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Scoop the potato-veggie mix back into the potato skins, sprinkle with a bit of cheese, then bake.

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And that’s it! The cooking time is long but the recipe is simple.

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I’m playing with the idea of serving these at the next beer dinner. My thought was to make April’s beer dinner iPAlooza (get it!? IPA-palooza! All IPAs!) so I paired tonight’s dinner with the KBC IPA. The beer was good. The pairing just OK. Suggestions?

Happy Spring and good tidings! I hope you take a moment in your day that’s just for you!

Stuffed Potatoes

Everything You’ll Need

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Head of broccoli
  • Other veggies if you want!
  • About 4 ounces of cottage cheese
  • About 1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided
  • Little bit of milk
  • Little bit of butter

Instructions

  1. Cook potatoes at 375 degrees for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until tender.
  2. Chop the onion, carrot, and broccoli and saute in olive oil until tender. Add spices if you want! Like garlic powder!
  3. When the potatoes are done, carefully cut them in half and scoop out the flesh, leaving the skin in tact.
  4. Mash the potatoes with a little bit of milk and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the cottage cheese and half the shredded cheese to the potatoes and fold in. Then, add the veggies.
  6. Scoop the potato-veggie mix into the potato skins and sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes until heated through.

Black Bean Sliders

30 Jul

It’s been a month. Again. And I don’t really have much of an excuse. Except that I’ve been living in a dorm building. Yes, almost 30 and spending six-weeks of the summer supervising high school kids, sleeping in a twin-sized bed, and eating meals cooked in an industrial kitchen. I’m ready for messy kitchen, dirty dishes, and beer, sweet beer.

In the meantime, I thought I’d finally get around to sharing the recipe for the most deliciously cute black bean sliders I made for my June Beer Dinner. Mini foods hold a great appeal for me; it’s almost like you can trick yourself into believing  it’s OK to eat more because they’re small. And that’s where I get in trouble with those damn mini candy bars…

You start with some garlic. See my new garlic peeler! I love it!

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Cook it up in some oil with a little onion (of course).

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Then, you mash the patootie out of the black beans. I used a potato masher the first time I made these and then just used the KitchenAide the next. Both worked pretty well but the finer mashed ones were easier to shape into patties.

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Next, add some stuff to beef it up – sautéed garlic and onion, corn, spinach, red pepper, spices, delish, plus  Panko bread crumbs.

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I also ended up adding an egg to get things to hold together better.

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Pan fry in a bit of oil.

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Finally, serve ’em up how you like them! For the beer dinner I prepared everything ahead of time and then warmed them back up in the oven and melted a piece of cheese on top; instead of avocado I served a spicy guacamole.

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The sliders paired really nicely with an IPA. The first taste test I went with Coronado Brewing Company’s Idiot IPA. Coronado has a lot of beer being distributed right now in the Sacramento area and I’m excited to try a few more of theirs. For the beer dinner I went with Goose Islands IPA. Both beers I tried for the first time at the Capital Beerfest.

Black Bean Sliders from The Curvy Carrot

Everything you’ll need:

  • 3 gloves of garlic (or more, you know)
  • Small yellow onion, chopped
  • Two, 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Egg (optional)
  • Fixings: cheese tomato, onion, etc.

Directions:

  1. Begin by sautéing the garlic (3 gloves) and onion in oil until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mash the black beans until soft.
  3. Add the corn (1/2 c.), bell pepper (1/2 c.), spinach (1/4 c.), soy sauce (1 T), cumin (2 t), and cayenne pepper (and any other spices you’d like) until combined.
  4. Add Panko bread crumbs (2/3 c.) and egg (optional) until the mixture comes together and will form a patty.
  5. Form patties and allow to chill 10-15 minutes.
  6. Cook patties in olive oil over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.

June Beer Dinner

30 Jun

IMG_8348It’s been a month. Hell, it’s been more than a month since I last posted. Life just seemed to slip away from me in the last 40 days. The end of the school year came, then it was beer dinner time, hosting a baby shower for twins, and getting ready and starting my summer jobs. For awhile there I was only capable of thinking about three days ahead. Not good when you’re suppose to be planning things that need more than three days to prep. Now, though, I’ve finally managed to catch my breath.

At the beginning of the month I hosted my fourth beer dinner – Summer Seasonals! There was quite a variety of beers and lots of new guests. Both my cousins and their spouses came for the first time, plus a new co-worker. It’s always fun to have new people.

Seeing as it was the beginning of summer I went with a beach theme! Super cute but now I’m not sure what to do with beach balls and sand toys…

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For dinner we started with veggie kabobs and rice…

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Then black bean sliders and chips. (Recipes to come!)

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Dessert was stout floats! I had to test out many different stout and ice cream combinations but I finally decided on Lagunitas Imperial Stout with coffee ice cream.

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I paired the kabobs with a local amber by Track 7 Brewing Co. I haven’t made it out to the tap room yet, but hopefully by the end of the summer. The Daylight Amber is probably my new favorite amber. It rich without being too hoppy. Same for the Goose Island IPA I paired with the Black Bean Sliders. I first tried this beer at the Sac Beer Fest and really liked it. I think I’ve grown into hoppier IPAs since, but even my sister liked this one.

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The beers we tried this time:

  • Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest – Too hoppy for me (I guess I haven’t grown that much)
  • Samuel Adams Summer Ale – Pretty good but wasn’t anything remarkable
  • Leinekugals Summer Shady – Totally different beer; reminded me of the malt beverages I choose when I first started drinking…
  • Big Sky Brewing Summer Honey – Probably my favorite; sweet without being too much
  • Blue Moon Agave Nectar – Was good, but a little too sweet for me
  • Anchor Summer Beer – I don’t remember…

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The next beer dinner is schedule for the beginning of August but I’ll also be moving then so we’ll see. I guess that just means more time for me to test-taste some beers!

April Beer Dinner – Ambers & Reds

17 Apr

It has been forever. Basically three weeks. Probably 20 beers. OK, more like 30. I’m sorry. In my vague defense I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with work. I started full time teaching again after having spent the last year and a half splitting my time between a part-time office job and teaching just a few mornings a week. It’s like being back in my first year of teaching – feeling like I’m going to drown but also being exhilarated to get up and go to work in the morning. I guess things balance out.

IMG_8149So it was a welcome break the first weekend in April to host my third, bi-monthly beer dinner! I was a lucky girl and three of my very good friends came to spend the weekend with me. Between putting them to work hanging decorations and their own amusements playing with my train set, we managed to fit in a quick trip to the University of Beer (thanks for the gift certificate, Mom!). I tried my first white IPA there – Chainbreaker White IPA by Deschutes. It was a lot different than other beers but I really liked it! Some hops goodness without being overwhelming, plus a little something extra.

Back home Rachel, Bonnie, and Ed helped me put the finishing touches on the table setting. Ed proved himself to be surprisingly apt at flower arrangement and I do believe things looked beautiful!

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IMG_8159This month we tasted Ambers and Reds, plus some beers from Wisconsin Rachel brought. Sadly, none of them super stood out to me. I found that I favored the Reds over the Ambers, though. My two favorite was probably Knee Deep’s McCarthy’s Bane Imperial Red Ale.

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There was actually sooooo much beer that three bottles didn’t even get opened….lucky me! I don’t think Ninkasi’s Spring Reign is an Amber or Red but I do know I like it! And the Rubicon Irish Red was my other favorite. (Sorry there’s no actual descriptions of these beers….I didn’t really write anything down this time and it’s been awhile….)

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Dinner was delicious if I do say so myself. To start we had a Vegetarian Tortilla Soup that I paired with Sweetgrass American Pale Ale by Grand Teton Brewing Co. That was followed up with Black Bean Empanadas expertly constructed with the crew’s help. This was paired with Firestone Walker’s Union Jack India Pale Ale and an awesome corn-tomato-avocado salad a la Bonnie.

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Dessert was Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes paired with a Chocolate Stout by Rouge Ales. I also got to play with my pastry bag to do the frosting on the cupcakes! It was a bit of a disaster to start but in the end the cupcakes were beautiful!

Now I’m looking forward to June’s beer dinner. We’ll be tasting Summer Seasonals – the perfect way to start summer break!