Saturday, May 29, 2010

Russian River Damnation

Russian River Damnation
Belgian Golden Ale
Santa Rosa, CA
7.0% Alcohol
Rating: 4/5

It was good, but it was no Pliny the Elder! It smelled amazing, with all the complexity that you'd want in a golden ale, but the taste fell a little bit short. Still, a delicious beer. Maybe I was supposed to age it or something?

Use for Stale Bagels

This is a weird little dessert that I put together when I had some giant, stale poppy bagels. It's a bread pudding, spiffed up with some nuts and spices and the poppy seeds from the bagels. If your bagels aren't giant ones from New York, you might need to use two. Even though the quantities in here sound small, it should be plenty for four people.

  • 1 1/2 stale poppy bagels (or 1 bagel plus some bread, or something similar)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or half-and-half
  • 2 tbs. butter and some for greasing the pan
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala or similar spice mixture
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus an extra spoonful
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbs. rum
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and then ground roughly (use a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup shelled salted pistachios
  • 1/4 cup halvah, chopped into walnut-sized bits (not really essential)

Heat your oven to 325 degrees and grease a small casserole dish or cake pan with butter. Tear the bagels up into pieces; these should be about the size of grapes, but it's nice to have some variation to get a range of textures. Put these in the casserole dish with the halvah and pistachios. Heat up the milk, rum, butter, cinnamon, garam masala, salt, and the 1/4 cup sugar just until the butter is melted. Pour this over the bagels into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the ground walnuts on top, and then sprinkle a spoonful of sugar on top of this. Bake until a knife put in at the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Delicious Fish Pictures

Photographer extraordinaire Lindsay took some excellent pictures of our dinner yesterday.

It was Pacific cod with Chimichurri sauce. I got the recipe for the sauce from Simply Recipes and it's very good; use a food processor when you make it. For the fish, I just sauteed a half pound fillet of cod in olive oil over medium-high heat for about three or four minutes per side. It stuck to the pan about as much as it could (it's a very finicky pan!), so I deglazed it with some white wine to salvage the delicious little bits. Here's another view:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hale's Ales Kölsch

Hale's Ales, Kölsch German Style Ale
Seattle, WA
4.5% Alcohol
Rating: 3/5

Yesterday Lindsay and I went to a tasting at Bottleworks, where we tasted five beers from Hale's Ales for one dollar! The first one was their Kölsch, which they said was like a Pilsner but more flavorful. This description was dead-on, but I found these extra flavors slightly funky, even though it was still a nice beer. On the other hand, Lindsay thought it was great, so it's definitely worth a look, especially if you're tired of IPAs and the like.

Snoqualmie Falls Belgian Grand Cru

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company, Spring Fever Belgian Style Grand Cru Ale
Snoqualmie, WA
7.0% Alcohol
Rating: 4/5

It's brewed with coriander. Their label says it has overtones of pineapple, and it's actually true! It reminds me of the Austrian wheat beers I used to drink when I was in Hungary. Very pleasant and refreshing.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Beet Primer, part 2: the nuts and beets of things

These recipes combine beets with nuts. I was planning to write some filler about how nuts and beets complement each other, but I don't really think they do. They're both earthy and almost dirty tasting. Sometimes there are more important things than balance!

Since the nuts will provide so much flavor, these are good recipes to use the easier but inferior method of beet cookery mentioned in my previous article, which I'll summarize:

If the beets are really dirty, rinse them a bit, but don't worry too much about it. Put them in a pan, tops cut off but otherwise whole and unpeeled, with a splash of water and a bit of salt. Cover and put in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, depending on the size of the beets. Pierce them with knife to check if they're done. You can put them in the fridge for later or use them right away. When you're ready, peel the beets by holding them under running water and sloughing off the skin. Then chop to desired size.

Here are the recipes. I'm leaving them imprecise because measuring when you make these would be like weighing your lettuce when you make a salad.

Beets with Pecans
  • cooked beets in 1-inch cubes
  • pecans
  • olive oil
  • rice vinegar
  • salt, pepper

Toast the pecans in a dry cast iron pan over medium heat, giving them an occasional shake. When they've browned a bit, combine them with the beets, pour on some oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and toss. This is also good with a little bit of honey, especially if the beets aren't very sweet.

Beets with pistachios
  • beets
  • tahini sauce
  • pistachios

If you don't have any tahini sauce, make some. (I just mixed up some tahini paste with a clove of crushed garlic, some cumin, salt, tons of lemon juice, and some water to thin it.) Toast some (shelled!) pistachios, and combine with the beets and tahini dressing.

Arugula and Beet Salad with Pine Nuts
  • beets
  • arugula
  • pine nuts
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Toast the pine nuts. Shake up lemon juice and olive oil in a jar, pour it over the beets, pine nuts, and arugula, and toss along with Parmesan. This one is nice with warm beets, so that the arugula wilts a bit.

Lazy Boy IPA

Lazy Boy Brewing, India Pale Ale
Everett, WA
6.2% Alcohol
Rating: 4/5

A clean, fresh-tasting IPA. An excellent beer for your everyday drinking.