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Tales From “Beer & Food: An American History”

Posted by Bob Skilnik on December 28, 2008

     In the last decade or so, there has been an explosion of new beer-themed cookbooks that have either attempted to pair up food with various styles of beer or use beer as an ingredient in its preparation. The craft beer movement and its impact in reawakening the brewing of styles of beer that had long been forgotten in the United States seems to have had a strong influence on the authors of these cookbooks. Though many of the recipes that have been created in the last few years have ambitiously tried to match these forgotten beer styles with various foods, the efforts often seem too esoteric for my taste, too demanding of my time and certainly not of common everyday fare.

A cedar-planked wild salmon matched with a highly-hopped pale ale sounds delicious on a restaurant menu but way beyond the sort of entrée one might whip-up at home. Let’s face it, there are few home cooks who have a supply of untreated cedar boards stored away or have ready access to wild salmon for this sort of a dish. And what would be a proposed vegetable accompaniment to such an entrée? Suggestions in the latest beer cookbooks might include the steamed, young tender shoots of the hop vine, similar, so we’re told, to the springtime harvest of asparagus. My local supermarket doesn’t carry young hop shoots. Does yours? Since supermarket asparagus continues to be flown in from God-knows-where and priced at $3.99 to $4.99 per pound in late December, imagine what a price of hop shoots would cost, if they could even be found.

As we look at the evolution of the use of beer in American food recipes, I hope to convince readers that beer, the drink of the common man, might be more appropriate and more user-friendly in less esoteric culinary excursions. After reading through a number of contemporary beer & food cookbooks, I couldn’t stop from thinking, “What ever happened to the old simple recipe of soaking bratwurst overnight in beer and then throwing them on the grill?”

        Initially in a search for simpler recipes of food using beer, I decided instead to begin by looking back at the roots of American cookery and its use of beer as an ingredient, to discover when the marriage of food and beer really took hold in our country’ s colonial kitchens. Using food recipes from some of the earliest American cookbooks through an assortment of recipes from the publications of pre and post-Prohibition breweries that have long past into oblivion, I have gathered, edited and tested a generous collection of old tried-and-true attempts at bringing together American food and beer.

American Food Meets American Beer

A number of well intentioned individuals have sent me scores of purported recipes using beer in food from Medieval times and earlier during my early research efforts, but I have chosen instead to use nothing more than published recipes from American sources. My avoidance of European cookbooks is deliberate, an acknowledgment of the chasm that developed in the late 1790s between cookbooks using English-styled recipes and ingredients and the first publication of a true American cookbook in 1796, written by an American using ingredients indigenous to the New World. With the beginnings of a uniquely American cuisine (actually a fusion of the best and most practical recipes from English cuisine) runs the parallel development of the United States brewing industry.

Like early American cooking efforts, early brewers also utilized indigenous ingredients for their brews. Amelia Simmons’ ground-breaking American Cookery, or The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and the Best Modes of Making Pastes, Puffs, Pies, Tarts, Puddings, Custards and Preserves, and All Kinds of Cakes….Adapted to this Country and All Grades of Life, makes no mention of beer or ale using the customary malted barley in any of her food recipes but does give instructions for the brewing of “spruce beer” and the use of “emptins” to leaven bread, a fermenting mixture of wild hops and starch. The lactic but leavening quality of this mixture was usually aided with the addition of saleratus, a naturally forming white crystalline substance having a sweetening alkaline quality, used like today’s baking soda. With the chemical reaction of the alkaline saleratus and the sour or lactic quality of a home made yeast, a leavening effect was assured. This homemade yeast starter, more a staple of forced necessity than choice, was a virtual cauldron of unpredictability, an aspect of fermentation that also plagued early commercial brewing efforts.

The preparation of spruce beer and the use of emptins in the kitchen hint at the widespread lack of high grade English malt or reliable brewing yeasts in many parts of the colonies, at least before the Revolutionary War. To a degree, this regression in brewing is startling. During the 1600s, settlements in the New Netherland and New England colonies had actually developed more than the semblance of a brewing industry in the Americas. Excessive taxation by local politicians of commercial beer and the abundance of cheap imported West Indies rum had caused the young American brewing industry to retreat to colonial households.

G. Thomman, in his 1909 book, American Beer, Glimpses of Its History and Description of Its Manufacture notes that good quality ingredients for brewing in the colonies were often difficult to attain during this era.

“…at one time the importation of malt was forbidden, in order to stimulate domestic malting; yet, within a short time thereafter, the malting of domestic wheat, rye and barley was prohibited on account of the scarcity of these cereals. At another time, a desire to encourage the exportation of wheat led to the enactment of a law imposing upon a brewers a fine of ten shillings for every bushel of wheat used in brewing. Ordinances encouraging brewing by exempting beer from taxation were counteracted in their contemplated effects by regulations prescribing the quality and fixing the price of malt liquors without regard to the increased cost of materials and production.”

 

By the late 1600s, even New York and Pennsylvania, where the brewing industry had flourished, fell into disrepair, though a few breweries continued to operate in Philadelphia, brewing quality porters and other ales. The widespread result of excessive taxation of beer and the lack of good quality brewing materials brought about not only a hodgepodge of unpalatable home brews using indigenous American ingredients such as corn, ginger, molasses or sassafras, but also a lack of readily available sources of good quality “barm,” or brewer’s yeast. Without this catalyst for fermentation, it often became difficult to make either a palatable home brew or a consistent supply of commercial malt beverages for those few breweries that still attempted to ply their trade.

The use of brewer’s yeast in households to leaven bread would eventually become a practice that would establish itself in the early 1800s of American home and commercial baking when, not coincidentally, the brewing industry began to regroup and expand.

Small Beer

            This is not to say that beer was completely lacking in the colonies during the Revolutionary War era. Victor S. Clark in his History of Manufactures in the United States talks of the humble retreat of the American brewing industry.

            “When the Constitution was adopted many housewives still brewed small beer for their families, and for fifty years thereafter numerous village breweries continued in operation with an equipment and a volume of business hardly exceeding those of a village bakery…”

 

            This “small beer” that Clark speaks of was a weak brew, meant to be consumed almost immediately after it was brewed. Its lower alcoholic strength, and oftentimes lack in the brew of hops with their preservative qualities, necessitated quick consumption since the proper sanitation of brewing equipment and storage vessels and the chemistry involved in making a proper beer were sorely lacking. The unpredictability of a successful batch of beer was based on an all too common reliance on wild yeasts to activate the fermentation. Most household yeast starters were filled with the wild yeast qualities of Saccharomyces exiguus and Lactobacillus bacteria. More often than not, these two critters would win the battle for survival in the young brew even if the beer-making Saccaromyces cerevisae yeast was present. This unpredictable blending of yeasts was just the right mixture of mischievous fungi for setting off the leavening of sourdough bread, the deliberate (though more often than not, accidental) making of vinegar and the occasional batch of good-quality beer.

The result was often a spoiled batch of beer or one that could turn quickly, whether brewed at home or in the few commercial breweries of the era. If consumed quickly, however, there was the chance that the wild yeasts that had caused the fermentation to occur did not have time enough to completely spoil the brew, fended off, perhaps, by the valiant efforts of a particularly determined colony of Saccaromyces cerevisaeyeast. In other words, early brewing efforts were often a crapshoot, an example of brewing being more of an art then a science.

American cookbooks of this era and beyond occasionally used “sour beer” as an ingredient in recipes, also described as stale beer. Lydia Maria Francis Child in The Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy, Boston: Carter and Hendee, 1830, suggested the addition of soured beer as a substitution for wine in stew-like dishes, either liquid ingredient having the necessary acidity to tenderize meat. Another mention of what to do with sour beer can be found in another recipe in her book for making batter for fritters or pancakes. Many contemporary batter recipes using beer still call for flat beer, a reflection of its earliest use when beer soured and was often left devoid of any natural carbonation. The call for flat beer for batters in today’s cookbooks serve no purpose different than the usage of carbonated beer; it merely is a holdover from the days of an abundance of flat beer. Waste not, want not — but contemporary recipe book authors merely reflect a centuries-old practice, unaware of why flat beer is called for.

If the household supply of beer had soured beyond all hope, Child’s book also suggested a mixture of the beer, molasses, water and a vinegar starter, all of which could be added to the family’s never-ending barrel of homemade vinegar. Not only did this practice illustrate the reality of beer turning bad on a regular basis but also Ms. Child’s and the early American settlers’ frugal philosophy of “waste not, want not.” It’s no wonder that some early American breweries also sidelined as vinegar purveyors. What better way to profit from a failed batch of beer!

            A manuscript of George Washington’s writings includes this recipe for small beer.

 

“Take a large Siffer [Sifter] of Bran…Hops to your Taste—Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a Cooler  put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Molasses into the Cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot.  Let this stand till it is a little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t  if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask—leave the Bung [Stopper] open till it almost don[e] Working—Bottle it that day Week it was brewed.”

 

            The unknown variables in this recipe for beer by President Washington would be frightening for any modern-day brewer, a mention of sanitation procedures and the quality of the yeast strain lacking in Washington’s brewing instructions. It’s a wonder whether the father of our country was a better brewer or maker of vinegar!

 

Don’t Go Near the Water

            If the brewing of beer was such a crapshoot, with the final product often destined to succumb to spoilage, why did early Americans even bother to brew? More than likely, the reason was poor quality water, or more accurately, the perception of bad, unpotable water. Now this might seem an odd notion considering the pristine rivers, babbling streams and crystal clear bodies of water that the early settlers surely came upon in the New World. Immigrants, however, had seen what polluted water could do to a once healthy person in the Old World. Diseases like typhoid and dysentery were common in built up areas such as established European cities and large villages. Though the concept of bacteria and its connection to hygiene were yet unknown, there was an almost inherent knowledge, shared from the educated lawmaker to the lowly peasant that the consumption of water seemed to foster disease.

Little wonder why. By the 1700s, many European waters were already polluted with human waste. Add to that the run off from tanneries and slaughterhouses and other industries that found the local rivers and lakes to be ideal dumping grounds for the unwanted by-products of their industrial efforts.

            When settlers arrived in the New World, their wariness of drinking any water was understandable. However, by boiling water and getting an infusion of fermentables from ingredients such as spruce, corn, barley or bran, as Washington’s beer recipe shows, the people of the Colonists era sensed that boiling was critical in insuring a healthy drink. It’s no wonder that beer, hot cocoa drinks, tea, and later coffee, all had the common element of using boiled water. Even potions such as rum toddies, oftentimes diluted with water, were finalized before consumption with the insertion of a glowing red poker to stir the concoction and heat the drink to a frothy boil.

 

Strong Beer

            There are recorded instances, however, of the higher-strength “strong beer” or “ship’s beer” also being used in some early American food recipes. In the these instances, the brew could be used in the place of a fortified Madeira, but for the most part, the strongest beers were sought out by the landed gentry who could afford them and stored away with the household’s supply of expensive wines. In other words, they were meant to be savored by beer drinkers as intended and not necessarily as a cooking ingredient. These beers were typically imported from England and brewed using quality malts and more reliable yeast strains and astringently hopped for a preservative effect. Strong beer’s use in early recipes, however, does occasionally show up in cookbooks of this era.

 

To Stew Brisket of Beef

Having rubbed the brisket with common salt and saltpetre, let it lie four days. Then lard the skin with fat bacon, and put it into a stew pan with a quart of water; a pint of red wine, or strong beer, half a pound of butter, a bunch of sweet herbs, three or four shallot, some pepper and half a nutmeg grated. Covet the pan very close. Stew it over a gentle fire for six hours. Then fry some square pieces of boiled turnips very brown. Strain the liquor the beef was stewed in, thicken it with burnt butter, and having mixed the turnips with it, pour all together over the beef in a large dish. Serve it up hot, and garnish with lemon sliced.

Susannah Carter, The Frugal Housewife: Or, Complete Woman Cook; Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Liands is Explained in Upwards of Five Hundred Approved Receipts New York, Printed and sold by G. & R. Waite, no. 64, Maidenlane, 1803

 

           

Expansion of the Brewing Industry

As the country continued to develop and expand, a number of things occurred that reinstigated the brewing of beer on a commercial scale, limiting the need for home brewing and even the necessity of small rural taverns to simultaneously act as boarding rooms, eateries, stables and ersatz breweries. Although normal trade relations with Englandwere interrupted again with the War of 1812, and with it, the importation of good quality English malt, the growing of native barley as a cash crop had increased substantially in the states to fill the void of imported brewing grains. This indigenous grain of six-row barley, along with the deliberate cultivation of the wild hops that could be found in the rural areas of much of the East Coast, brought together the necessary ingredients to make a qualffable beer.

One of the first brewers’ of note during the expansion of the early American brewing industry was Matthew Vassar. This brewer shrugged off the destruction by fire of his brewery in 1811 and restarted his brewing business soon after. Although his initial efforts amounted to no more than the brewing of three barrels of beer at a time, the reputation of his products gave him enough capital to open up a saloon in the basement of the Poughkeepsie, New York courthouse to sell his products. Vassar is more well-known for his later founding of Vassar College, but for our purposes, it is interesting to note that he also was responsible for introducing oysters to the beer drinkers of Poughkeepsie, years before the philanthropist provided the capital for the institution of an all-womans’ college. I’m still amazed at beer enthusiasts today who gush over the notion of pairing a dark beer with oysters when the practice had bee commonplace for centuries. An absolutely delightful book about the importance of the American oyster trade, centered around New York City, is Mark Kurlansky’s “The Big Oyster,” History of the Half Shell. Stopping in the many “oyster saloons” in New York for a dozen freshly-schucked oysters and washing them down with beer was a common indulgence.

His father, James, also a brewer, had a reputation years earlier for brewing quality ales, milds, porters and small beers, as well as the selling of “skimmings” or yeasty barm to families for the use in baking products. Those families that had access to brewery yeast found that it helped to make a good quality leavened bread.

This bread recipe below also takes advantage of corn meal, often called “Indian meal” or simply “Indian” in early American cookbooks.

 

Rye and Indian Bread

Sift two quarts of rye, and two quarts of Indian meal, and mix them well together. Boil three pints of milk; pour in boiling hot upon the meal; add two teaspoonfuls of salt, and stir the whole very hard. Let it stand till it becomes of only a lukewarm heat, and then stir in half a pint of good fresh yeast; if from the brewery and quite fresh, a smaller quantity will suffice. Knead the mixture into stiff dough, and set it to rise in a pan. Cover it with a thick cloth that has been previously warmed, and set it near the fire. When it is quite light, and has cracked all over the top, make it into two loaves, put them into a moderate oven, and bake them two hours and a half.

Esther Allen Howland, The New England Economical Housekeeper, and Family Receipt Book, Cincinnati: H.W. Derby, 1845

 

By the early 1800s, however, the brewing of good quality ale had once again become more common place, especially in regions where German immigrants had settled. Pennsylvania was particularly noted as the leading brewing center of the United States during the first few decades of the nineteenth century, with New York, Massachusetts and Maryland adding to the beginnings of large scale brewing in America. By 1850, four hundred and thirty-one breweries accounted for 23,267,730 gallons of beer, and with it, a more common source of brewer’s yeast for baking.

 

The Temperance Effect on Cooking

Part of this expansion of the American brewing trade was a result of the inadvertent influence of the early temperance movement to steer imbibers to the lower-strength malted beverages. This movement was a reaction to the free-wheeling countryside bootlegging of whiskey and the importation of cheap rum into the U.S. At the time, drunkenness was a problem in the states, especially in the rural areas where a bumper crop of bulky corn could be easily mashed and distilled into the more portable and potent American whiskey. Though whiskey could be used as a bartering tool in the back woods and farm lands where money was scarce, it was also subject to abuse by settlers during the downtime of the winter months. Various government efforts were made to convert whiskey drinkers to the less inebriating enjoyment of malted beverages. By the 1880s, beer, or more specifically, lager beer, would indeed take over in popularity as the drink of the common man. Unfortunately, decades later, U.S. brewers, boastful creators of the resultant “drink of moderation,” would also find themselves targeted by both advocates of temperance and the more forceful prohibition movement.

In a reflection of the times, this first wave of American temperance in the 1830s was not only exhibited in the development of “dry” organizations such as the Washingtonian Movement and its Total Abstinence Society, ironically conceived in a Baltimore tippling house by a group of repentant drunks, but also in some cookbooks of the era. The dedication page of Ann Allen’s The Housekeeper’s Assistant, Composed Upon Temperance Principles: With Instructions In The Art of Making Plain And Fancy Cakes, Puddings, Pastry, Confectionery, Ice Creams, Jellies, Blanc Mange: Also, For The Cooking Of All The Various Kinds of Meats…, Boston, J. Munroe, 1845, preaches to readers that the “authoress” has dedicated the book to the temperance movement and hints of the apparent use of liquor [most likely including beer] in everyday cooking. In the dedication, Allen vows that she does not use alcoholic drinks “…as a beverage or in cookery.”

By the 1840s, as some states started to wrestle with the gradual move from the softer-stanced temperance movement and towards the harsher prohibition of the manufacture and consumption of all alcoholic drinks, a new type of beer would come on to the American scene, one that would change the history of the United States brewing industry and begin to seal the relationship between food and beer.

 

Food Recipes of the pre-Lager Era

There are various example of yeast recipes for home baking during the years before lager beer, some using the very American pumpkin as a fermentable yeast starter, bran, indigenous white potatoes and the chancy emptins concoction, as described earlier. The following recipe for a yeast starter utilized malt from a local brewery and, though it’s not explicitly stated here, probably also utilized a sample of good quality yeast from the same brewery. The publication of this cookbook in 1840 by Eliza Leslie reflected the growing, and for many, the more familiar sight of a local brewery in the immediate area. Yeast starter recipes for the next few decades usually recommend picking up either malt or yeast barm from a brewery, a luxury the household cook couldn’t envision from the colonial era until the early to mid-1830s or so.

Also note the addition of pearl ash in the yeast to counteract the inevitable souring of the starter that sat around a little bit too long. Potash, as it’s more commonly known today, was originally obtained from wood ashes and used to counteract the eventual lactic qualities of a yeast starter with its alkaline properties. Its usage was similar to that of saleratus.

Also note that by the time of this recipe book’s publication in 1840, molasses had become an everyday-cooking ingredient, this New World sweetener having replaced the once traditional English treacle in U.S. cooking usage.

 

Baker’s Yeast

To a gallon of soft water, put two quarts of wheat bran, one quart of ground malt (which may be obtained from a brewery), and two handfuls of hops. Boil them together for half an hour. Then strain it through a sieve, and let it stand till it is cold; after which put in two large tea-cups of molasses, and half a pint of strong yeast. Pour it into a stone jug, and let it stand uncorked till next morning. Then pour off the thin liquid from the top, and cork the jug tightly. When you are going to use this yeast, if it has been made two or three days, stir in a little pearl-ash dissolved in warm water, allowing a lump the size of a hickory-nut to a pint of yeast. This will correct any tendency to sourness, and make the yeast more brisk.

 

Eliza Leslie, Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches. Philadelphia: E.L. Carey & Hart, 1840

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Though many of the soup/stew-type recipes of the late 1700s and early 1800s call for the addition of Madiera, red wine or, as a last resort, sour beer, as a tenderizing ingredient, this soup is an example of the much rarer use of ale, simply as a flavoring component.

Asparagus Soup

Take five or six pounds of lean beef, cut into lumps and rolled in flour; put into your stew-pan, with two or three slices of fat bacon at the bottom; then put over a slow fire, and cover it close, stirring it now and then till the gravy is drawn: then put in it two quarts of water and half a pint of ale. Cover it close, and let it stew gently for an hour with some whole pepper, and salt to your mind; then strain off the liquor, and take off the fat; put in the leaves of white beets, some spinach, some cabbage, lettuce, a little mint, some sorrel, and a little sweet marjoram powdered; [after removing fat from the gravy, pour back into the stew] let these boil up in your liquor, then put in the green tops of asparagus cut small, and let them boil till all is tender. Serve it up hot, with a French roll in the middle.

 

Susannah Carter. The Frugal Housewife: Or, Complete Woman Cook; Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands is Explained in Upwards of Five Hundred Approved Receipts… New York, Printed and sold by G. & R. Waite, no. 64, Maidenlane, 1803

 

 

            Below is another example of ale being used for flavoring, not as a tenderizer. Note that this recipe specifically calls for “…good table beer.”

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To Make a Craw Fish Soup

 

Cleanse them [the crawfish], and boil them in water, salt and spice: pull off their feet and tails, and fry them [the crawfish, not the feet and tails]; break the rest of them [the feet and tails] in a stone mortar, season them with savory spice, and an onion, a hard egg, grated bread, and sweet herbs boiled in good table beer; strain it, and put to it scalded chopped parsley, and French rolls; then put in the fried craw fish, with a few mushrooms. Garnish the dish with sliced lemon, and the feet and tail of a craw fish.

 

Susannah Carter. The Frugal Housewife: Or, Complete Woman Cook; Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands is Explained in Upwards of Five Hundred Approved Receipts… New York, Printed and sold by G. & R. Waite, no. 64, Maidenlane, 1803

 

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            Though we’ll see numerous interpretations of stew using beer as an ingredient throughout the book, this early recipe holds up well throughout the scores of stew recipes of the next two centuries. Note, however, that red wine is the first choice as an ingredient, not beer.

Burnt or dried bread is often called for in early gravy-based dishes to thicken the sauce.

 

To Stew Beef

Take four pounds of stewing beef, with the hard fat of brisket beef cut in pieces; put these into a stew-pan with three pints of water, a little salt, pepper, dried marjorum powdered and three cloves. Cover the pan very close and let it stew four hours over a slow fire. Then throw into it as much turnips and carrots cut into square pieces, as you think convenient; and the white part of a large leek, two heads of celery shred fine, a crust of bread burnt, and half a pint of red wine (or good small beer will do as well). Then pour it all into a soup-dish and serve it up hot, garnish with boiled and slice carrot.

 

Susannah Carter. The Frugal Housewife: Or, Complete Woman Cook; Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands is Explained in Upwards of Five Hundred Approved Receipts… New York, Printed and sold by G. & R. Waite, no. 64, Maidenlane, 1803

 

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Dutch Cakes

 

Take five pounds of flour, two ounces of caraway seeds, half a pound of sugar, and something more than a pint of milk, put into it three quarters of a pound of butter, then make a hole in the middle of the flour, and put in a full pint of good ale-yeast: pour in the butter and milk, and make these into a paste, letting it stand a quarter of an hour before the fire to rise; then mould it, and roll into cakes pretty thin; prick them all over pretty much, or they will blister, and bake them a quarter of an hour.

 

Susannah Carter. The Frugal Housewife: Or, Complete Woman Cook; Wherein the Art of Dressing All Sorts of Viands is Explained in Upwards of Five Hundred Approved Receipts… New York, Printed and sold by G. & R. Waite, no. 64, Maidenlane, 1803

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Read More In Beer & Food: An American History

Review

“The first book that gives a historical look at why beer and food are truly partners in today’s kitchens.”  —John R. Hall, president, Goose Island Beer Company
“Kudos to Bob Skilnik for creating this absorbing and informative resource.”  —Keith Lemcke, marketing manager, World Brewing Academy
“This enjoyable read merits a pint of your favorite ale by your side, so you may sip and browse throughout!”  —Lucy Saunders, editor, Beercook.com, and author, Grilling with Beer
“A tasty history, from beer soup to Beer Nuts, with pickled pigs’ feet in between.”  —Don Russell, a.k.a. “Joe Sixpack,” beer reporter, Philadelphia Daily News

 

 

 

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WARM SPINACH SALAD with APPLES and BACON

Posted by Bob Skilnik on November 17, 2008

WARM SPINACH SALAD with APPLES and BACON

 

Serve with a Honey-Flavored Specialty Beer, such as Michelob Honey Lager.

 

1 small Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup dried cranberries, chopped                                                       

1 package (10 ounces) baby spinach

⅓ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons cranberry juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 bacon slices, drained, and crumbled

 

  1. In a large bowl, combine the apple, onion, cranberries, and spinach and toss to mix well.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, cranberry juice, mustard, salt, and pepper over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Drizzle the warm dressing over the salad and toss well.  Sprinkle with the bacon.  Serve immediately.

 

Cook’s Tip: Toss the salad while the dressing is still hot to wilt the spinach leaves.

 

Makes 6 servings.

 

*Recipe courtesy of the Anheuser-Busch cookbook – Great Food Great Beer.

 

From the folks at Anheuser-Busch; Heres our recommended holiday spread (a new take on the traditional offerings) with recipes from Great Food Great Beer: The Anheuser-Busch Cookbook paired with our various specialty and craft-style brews.

 

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Two Dishes Made With Octoberfest Brews

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 3, 2008

PUMPKIN RAVIOLI WITH BROWN BUTTER AND SAGE

GINGERSNAP CHICKEN BREAST WITH RAISIN GRAVY

Go Get ‘Em!!

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‘Insensitive’ Beer Ad Featuring Barbecued Stag Scrapped

Posted by Bob Skilnik on September 29, 2008

Lion Nathan has been forced to scrap a series of TV commercials to launch a “green” beer after it emerged that a deer had been killed so it could be filmed on a barbecue for final scenes in the ads. After an internal investigation the brewery company found that its production company, Goodoil, had failed to “source the deer appropriately”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Ironically, a stag is the brand logo of Lion’s bestselling beer, Toohey’s New. The production crew filming in the South Island two weeks ago decided it would be easier and cheaper to select a beast for slaughter at a local deer farm, rather than commission a model or a computer-generated image.

“Lion Nathan is absolutely committed to the ethical treatment of animals, and despite the considerable costs involved in making the advertisement, we don’t intend to air it.” it said in a statement.

Now pass me another beer.

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Deep-Fried Cheese-Stuffed Burger Made From Bacon

Posted by Bob Skilnik on August 5, 2008

I was surfing for some decent beer-batter recipes and I came across this burger recipe that defies…well, it just defies.

I had dreams of the old Saturday Night Live “Superfans” skits with George Wendt, Chris Farley, et. al., Farley ironically pounding his chest to jump-start his heart after one more heart attack. This is the “hamburger” recipe that will have everyone pounding their collective chests, just by reading the recipe, let alone sliding it down. It comes from Peppers and Smoke, via A Hamburger Today.

This stuffed version appears to be a “refinement” from a standard Burger Made of Ground Bacon over at Serious Eats. While the “beer” connection is due to the addition of a boxed beer-batter mix, I suspect that any one of these recipes might seem really appealing after hitting hard on a fat blunt—forget the beer, but I digress.

If you’re too lazy to click over to A Hamburger Today (hey, put down that blunt!) for this recipe monster, I present to you, The Deep-Fried Cheese-Stuffed Bacon Burger. I’d suggest an ice cold malt liquor to accompany this baby. Let’s cut the pretense of pairing this with something like a Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA. Peppers and Smoke suggest a Shiner Bock and frankly, that would be a nice beer for this. Not complicated, but just a nice beer with some maltiness to cut through this monstrosity.

How-To: Deep-Fried Cheese-Stuffed Cheeseburgers Made From Bacon (Pics Here)

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 to 2 sticks mozzarella string cheese, cut into small pieces
  • Packaged beer-batter mix
  • A neutral-flavored oil, for frying (safflower oil, peanut oil, or vegetable shortening work well)
  • Your favorite hamburger bun
  • The cheese of your choice
  • The condiments of your choice

Procedure

1. Run the bacon through the meat grinder once—and then a second time, to evenly distribute fat and meat.

2. Form two equal-size patties, making an indentation in the center of one to hold the cheese. Place the cheese in the indentation of the bottom patty, cover with the top patty, and crimp the edges tightly to seal. Make sure seal is tight so cheese does not leak out.

3. Place oil in your deep-fryer, and allow it to come to frying temperature. If you don’t have a deep-fryer, use a stockpot with a boil basket, along with a deep-fry thermometer that clips to the side. Heat oil over high heat to 365°F. (Note: Depending on the oil, it will begin to burn between 400 and 450°F and will catch fire around 500°F. So be very careful to monitor temperature.) Once the oil reaches 365°F, reduce heat to low and monitor temperature, keeping oil at 365°F.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the beer-batter mix according to package instructions. Dredge patty in mix. Place patty in boil basket and lower gently into hot oil. Cook until patty’s internal temperature registers 160°F on a meat thermometer.

5. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels. Serve on bun, topped with the cheese and condiments of your choice. (Note: Be careful not to bite into this too soon after cooking. The molten cheese could deliver quite a scalding.)

Posted in Beer In Food, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Here’s To Beer & Chef Dave Lieberman Get Ready For Summer

Posted by Bob Skilnik on July 3, 2008

Four new video recipes, complimented with written instructions from Chef Dave Lieberman and Here’s To Beer. They’re all geared towards summertime food and fun! Might be just the thing for The 4th.

SUMMER CELEBRATION

VIDEOS AND RECIPES FOR SUMMER

Recipes include;

FRESH GUACAMOLE

FLANK STEAK FAJITAS

BEER SIMMERED CHICKEN AND CHEESE QUESADILLA

HONEY POACHED PEACHES, GREEK YOGURT AND PISTACHIOS

Don’t forget to check back often at the “Here’s To Beer” website for more cooking tips, beer history and salutes to your favorite drink, BEER!

Posted in Beer In Food, Cooking With Beer, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Beer Drinker’s Disappointment–Hamburger No Longer America’s #1 Sandwich

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 18, 2008

italian-beef.jpgYeah, I know. Everyone’s worried about their health, their heart, balancing their HDL vs. their LDL and all that rot. But me, I’m a beef man; give me steak, or on a warm summer night, a hamburger off the grill.

But I just ran across this article and it makes me wonder what has happened to American cuisine? As this article in Restaurants and Institutions notes, the grilled chicken-breast sandwich now is the most-often menued item.

In the same sense, the article also points out that what’s old is new again.

Club sandwich: The classic layered look is back in vogue. Among commercial operators that menu sandwiches, the venerable club trails only hamburgers and cheeseburgers as a top seller and also is No. 3 on the list of sandwiches commercial operations say are increasing in sales.

Turkey sandwich: As I like to think of it…a Club Sandwich without the bacon. Simple yet elegant, turkey sandwiches appear among the top sellers for both commercial and noncommercial operations. Turkey reappears on the list of sandwiches that are increasing in sales for both industry segments as well.

Dismissing culinary globalism (paninis, focaccias, wraps, etc.), the Philly cheesesteak sandwich is also hot, and since it’s beef, I’m on it. The chopped-beef-and-cheese concoction is among the top 10 on both the top-seller and thinking-about-adding lists for commercial operators.

My only objection with a cheesesteak is…the cheese. Who the hell puts cheese goo on beef?

Come to Chicago. We’ll show you how to make a beef sandwich, a hot Italian beef sandwich, the Italian bread dipped in a jus (“gravy”) and topped with giardiniera, a condiment made with serrano peppers (called “sport” peppers in Chicago), with other assorted vegetables, such as bell peppers, olives, celery, pimentos, carrots and cauliflower and sometimes crushed red pepper flakes, all marinated in vegetable oil, olive oil, soybean oil or any combination of the three oils.

Since there’s so much going on in your mouth with this delight, a simple American pilsner works just fine as a wash. Anything else would distract from the mess of one of these monsters.

Grilled chicken sandwiches? You’re gonna die anyway. I’d rather go with a belly full of beef than a scraggly “range chicken” sandwich.

I went through dozens of pages looking for an “authentic” Chicago-style beef sandwich recipe and discarded everyone of them that used something other than a top inside round. You could get away with a top round too, but anything else means the recipe preparer doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. This one, supposedly from Buona Beef looks pretty good and if your last name is Buonavolanto, who am I to argue?

Three tips;

1. If you or a friend or neighbor has an electric meat slicer, like at a deli, make a deal with them to slice the beef as thin as possible and then give them some of the action. Like most Chicagoans, I don’t have one of these slicers laying around the house…but I gotta guy.

2. Warm the juice (“the gravy”) and add just enough of the sliced beef for the serving. Don’t dump all the beef into the gravy or overheat the beef, otherwise it’ll curl up and get tough. If somebody wants another sandwich, heat up some more gravy and add a single serving of beef.

3. Slice 8 to 10 green peppers and 2 red peppers (for color contrast) into 1/4 inch slices, longways. In a frying pan, pour in 1/4 cup of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Throw in the sliced peppers and cook until somewhat soft, but still with a little crispness in them. Add 2 tablespoons of dried oregano and 2 tablespoons of dried basil and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Stir, add 1/4 cup of water, place a lid on the frying pan and slow simmer for 10 minutes, taking the lid off after 5 minutes or until the water cooks off.

How do you put this all together? Open up a crisp bun, like a French roll, or cut a 6 inch wedge from a long piece of Italian bread, either dip one side in the gravy or spoon some gravy over the inside of the bread until it’s wet, take some tongs and throw on too many slices of beef, add some cooked sweet peppers and top it all off with giardiniera, the hotter, the better.

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich, provided by Joe Buonavolanto Jr., co-owner of Buona Beef Restaurants.

* 9-10 lbs top inside beef round
* 3 garlic cloves, crushed
* 2 qt. water
* 1/2 cup chopped oregano
* 1/4 C. salt
* 1/4 C. black pepper
* 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
* 35 freshly baked French rolls (for smaller portions reduce ingredients portionally)

For roasting times, figure on 10-12 minutes per pound for medium. Check with a meat thermometer for an internal temperature of 130 degree Fahrenheit for rare, 140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sirloin in roasting pan and dry roast for 15-20 minutes.

2. Remove pan from oven and add water, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Return to oven and roast at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

3. Remove from oven. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Internal temperature will rise 5-10 degrees.

4. Slice the beef as thinly as possible.

5. Pour juice from the roasting pan into a smaller pot and heat, but don’t boil. If you have to stretch the juice a bit, add some ready-made beef broth. I like Wolfgang Puck’s beef stock. Add a pinch or two of dried oregano and basil to the juice. You should have about a good-sized quart, maybe a quart-and-a-half of beef gravy ready.

6. Add thinly sliced beef to some heated juice and warm meat through, but don’t let the meat sit long.

7. Dip bread in juice and pile beef high on freshly baked French rolls or Italian bread.

8. Garnish with sliced sweet bell peppers and hot giardinara. Makes 30-40 sandwiches depending on portion size. If you make them right, you’ll be lucky to get 25 sandwiches.

9. Grab a beer. Rinse; repeat.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer & Food Pairings, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer, Just Good Food | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Tickle Your Girl’s Fancy With A Slyder For Valentine’s Day, White Castle, That Is

Posted by Bob Skilnik on February 14, 2008

white-castle-valentine-menu.jpgWhite Castle is going all out for Valentine’s Day. From 5 to 9 P.M., you can bring your date to one of the most romantic eating establishments that money can buy. Imagine bellying up to a table, decked out with a sexy red table cloth.

Call ahead for reservations:

Chicago—Call 708-458-4450 ext. 516 to make a reservation at your nearest Chicago White Castle.

Cincinnati—Call 513-559-0575 ext. 13 to make a reservation at your nearest Cincinnati White Castle.

New Jersey—Call 732-381-4343 to make a reservation at your nearest New Jersey White Castle.

New York—Call 718-899-8404 ext. 300 to make a reservation at your nearest New York White Castle.

More cities and contact numbers at their site.

Nothing says “Lovin'” like a sack of slyders! And remember this, if you don’t get any action after this, you’ll probably get more than you want the next morning. I’d suggest something in a 40-ounce bottle of something to along with your entrée, and to heighten the experience, leave the bottle in a paper bag. 

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GET THE NUTRITIONAL VALUES OF OVER 1,100 WORLDWIDE BEERS HERE!

For those of you who are watching your waistline, here’s a list of White Castle products with nutritional values.

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer, Just Good Food | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Superbowl Chili #2

Posted by Bob Skilnik on January 16, 2008

chili.jpg2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion (chopped)
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 can/bottle beer (Negra Modelo would be nice, but use a soft pilsner in lieu of)
1 28-ounce can kidney beans, preferably the spiced beans made for chili

Heat olive oil in heavy fry pan or Dutch oven. Add meat and onion. Cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients except kidney beans. Stir and cover. Simmer one hour, stirring occasionally. Drain kidney beans and add to the pot. Simmer 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Serve with grated sharp cheddar or jalepeno cheese, sour cream and chopped green onions.

Open windows during half-time.

Serves 6.

Posted in Beer And Food Pairing, Beer In Food, Cooking With Beer, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Leave a Comment »

Superbowl Chili #1

Posted by Bob Skilnik on January 10, 2008

shinerbockpouredinchili.jpg

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil; more as needed
2 large sweet onions, diced (about 4 cups)
2 large fresh poblano peppers (or green bell peppers), stemmed, seeded, and diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt; more to taste
4-1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks, 3 to 4 inches long
3 tablespoons New Mexico chile powder (or 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder)
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
12-ounce bottle amber ale, such as Shiner Bock, Dos Equis Amber, or Huber Bock
1-1/2 quarts homemade or low-salt beef broth
For the garnish:
2 14-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
12 ounces sour cream or whole-milk plain yogurt

how to make

In a 12-inch skillet, heat 2 table-spoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute’ until softened, translucent, and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the poblanos, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the poblanos soften, another 8 to 10 minutes. If the pan seems dry, add a little more olive oil. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté for another 5 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 table-spoon olive oil in an 8-quart or larger Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the beef cubes until browned and crusty on two sides, working in batches to avoid crowding the pan. With a slotted spoon, transfer the browned beef to a bowl. During searing, it’s fine if the pan bottom gets quite dark, but if it smells like it’s burning, reduce the heat a bit. If the pan ever gets dry, add a little more oil.

Once all the beef is seared and set aside, add the onions and peppers to the pan, along with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, chile powders, cumin, and cloves and cook, stirring, until the spices coat the vegetables and are fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Slowly add the beer while scraping the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to dissolve the coating of spices. Simmer until the beer is reduced by about half and the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the beef, along with any accumulated juices, and the beef broth. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Test a cube of meat—you should be able to cut it with a spoon. Discard the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

If not serving immediately, chill overnight. The next day, skim any fat from the top, if necessary, before reheating.

To serve, heat the chili gently. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about 2 cups of the beef cubes to a plate. Shred the meat with a fork and return it to pot. (The shredded meat will help create a thicker texture.) Taste and add more salt if needed. Heat the beans in a medium bowl covered with plastic in the microwave (or heat them gently in a saucepan). Arrange the beans, chopped red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream in small bowls to serve as garnishes with the chili.

Serves 8.

Posted in Beer And Food Pairing, Beer In Food, Cooking With Beer, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Beer Cheese Fondue, Sausage Swirls and more

Posted by Bob Skilnik on January 4, 2008

The Philadelphia Journal’s latest contribution to beer in food, via the Kansas City Star. 

The Kansas City Star newspaper shared this recipe as part of a package on New Year’s Eve appetizers. Enjoy the Beer Cheese Fondue.

BEER CHEESE FONDUE

Posted in Beer & Food In The News, Beer & Food Pairings, Beer In Food, Cooking With Beer, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Leave a Comment »

Interesting Bar Conversation Topic

Posted by Bob Skilnik on January 4, 2008

Change in diet can clear the air and ease flatulence
By staff reporter

04/01/2008 Baked beans have long been named the culprit for causing flatulence, but researchers have now come up with a long list of foods likely to egg on gassiness.

According to this month’s issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, temporarily avoiding certain foods can help identify the individual causes of flatulence, helping sufferers breathe a sigh of relief.

MORE

Posted in Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer, Just Good Food | Leave a Comment »

Kugelis—Break Out A Baltic Porter And Eat Like A Lithuanian

Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 5, 2007

For Your Kugelis Kravings

For Your Kugelis Kravings

UPDATE:  I totally forgot about posting this info until I saw that there has been a recent run on hits to this particular  post. Some of you wanted info on purchasing a mechanized potato grinder, a “Kugelis machine,” to quicken the time needed for grinding 5, 10 or more pounds of peeled potatoes. When grinding, time is of the essence if you want to retain nice, white ground potatoes. They’ll oxidize after being ground and will turn greyish. This won’t change the taste; it just looks funky.

Here’s the info:   http://www.granddukesrestaurant.com/

They have a Lithuanian store/deli down the road from the restaurant. The restaurant site is  http://www.granddukesrestaurant.com/ .  The link to the store/deli is on the restaurant website, it’s Lietuvele    http://lietuvele.com/

That’s where you can definitely get the machine with links at the site in English and Lithunian, with some Lugan songs playing (too loudly) in the background on the index page.  You should call before making the trip  (Phone 1-773-788 1362 or e-mail lietuvele@sbcglobal.net  ). Here’s a direct link to the potato grater  http://www.lietuvele.com/osc/index.php?cPath=17

Check to see if it comes with a 120v motor or a 220v. If it’s a 220v, you’ll need a stepdown transformer too.
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thumb_the_session_beer_food.gifI think I was about 18 years old, too young to legally enjoy a beer in my hometown of Chicago, but already trying my damndest to try to get used to the taste of beer.

I had a friend at the time who’s parents were a bit understanding about teen-age boys and beer drinking and would allow us the occasional beer drinking party, as long as we spent the night and dropped our car keys into their hands before the beer came out.

My buddy’s parents were Lithuanian, having come “over on the boat” sometime after World War II. At the time, it was necessary for WW II refugees to get on a list and arrange sponsorship with a family here and prove that their was a job waiting for them before they could arrive in the U.S.                                                                   

Typically the sponsors here in the U.S. were second generation Lithuanian-Americans whose parents had been in the States since the Third Great Migration, anywhere between 1885 and before World War I.

They did it the right way, no sneaking over and demanding signs and voting ballots in English and Lithuanian, learned English as soon as possible once they arrived here, and practiced a frugality that most cradle-born Americans never learned. Work hard, pay cash and eat hearty, even if the food had its origins in farmer-like simplicities.

My friend’s mom would ensure that we kept somewhat sober by serving this weird dish called kugelis, a baked potato pudding that was loaded with bacon and all its drippings, butter, onions, and all kinds of different ingredients that each Lithuanian mother usually kept secret. It’s the kind of deceptive practice that prize-winning chili makers exercise; they give you (almost) all the ingredients of their prize-winning chili, but for some reason, yours never comes out quite as tasty as theirs. If you’ve ever seen the “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode where Marie relabels some of her spices so poor Deborah could never get the taste of some Italian specialty quite the same as Marie’s, you know what I’m talking about.

Lithuanian kugelis makers like to practice the same bit of deception, but no matter what the end result, as I learned many years ago, a piece of two of warm kugelis, maybe with a dollop of sour cream on top, goes so good with beer. Doesn’t really have to be a beer from the Baltic States; any beer will do with a hearty dish like this.

While kugelis is considered a unique Lithuanian food, there are European food similarities, including the Jewish potato kugel, and the somewhat similar potato pancake, potato-based recipes that a number of Central and Eastern European countries enjoy. While the small neighboring countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are lumped together as “the Baltic States,” this dish is truly indigenous to Lithuania. There is no regional influence in this recipe, but kugelis has developed into a very hearty peasant dish that took advantage of Lithuania’s abundant and perennial crop of potatoes and pork (bacon) as a meat staple.

So at the risk of having my mother-in-law—who’s also Lithuanian—banish me from her house, I’m going to give you her “secret” formula for one of the most satisfying things you could ever eat with a beer wash. And like chili, I play around with this recipe. Add a few more eggs and the dish will be fluffier or use one or two less and the kugelis will be heavier. Same with the bacon. I sometimes use 1 1/4 pounds (and all the bacon grease) and switch to a large onion rather than a medium-sized one.

Making kugelis is like making homebrew; there’s an artistry involved, so once you get the hang of this, improvise to your heart’s (and stomach’s) content!

One other tip. Don’t ever tell a Lithuanian woman that her kugelis is good, but that Mrs. Stankus down the block makes a tastier version. I once told my mother-in-law about an old girl friend’s mother (also Lithuanian—I’ve got a thing about Lithuanian girls, I guess) who used to make a fluffier—and I thought, tastier—version. That was 25 years ago, and now I understand why the Russians left Lithuania.

Sofija’s Kugelis (Potato Pudding)

Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Cooking Time: 2 Hours

 

5 pounds of Idaho white potatoes. Years of experience have proven that Idahos make the best kugelis.

6 eggs, beaten

1 pound bacon

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 stick butter

1 cup heated milk

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon ascorbic acid (or 4 vitamin C tablets, crushed)

Preheat oven to 425F.

 

Peel the potatoes into a large bowl. Cover with cold water. Finely grate potatoes and add the ascorbic acid to the potato mush keep the potatoes white. Don’t try to cheat and use a Cuisinart since the texture just won’t be the same. Without the inclusion of ascorbic acid or the vitamin C, the grated potatoes will turn grey before completion of the dish. We always like to think that the occasional grated skin from a finger or two also adds a flavor enhancement to the final product, so if you knick a knuckle or two, just think of how you’ll answer the question, “I can’t put my finger on it. What’s that delightful other meaty flavor in this?”

 

“My secret ingredient. Don’t worry about it. Did you watch the Cubs fold last night? Need another beer?”

 

Cut bacon into small pieces and add to a 12-14 inch frying pan. Cook on medium heat and stir occasionally. When the bacon is very lightly cooked, add the chopped onion. Although it can be a minor balancing act, the bacon should be almost cooked through while the onions become translucent. Remove pan from heat and add the stick of butter to the bacon, onions and grease and stir until the butter’s melted

 

Into the grated potatoes, pour the bacon and ALL the grease. Stir lightly and add the 6 beaten eggs. Add salt, pepper and sour cream. Mix thoroughly.

 

Liberally grease a 9” x 13″ x 2″ pan with butter. A Pyrex-type glass pan will help control any excess browning of the edges, but a metal pan will work fine. Pour in the potato mixture.

 

Place in preheated oven (425F) and cook ½ hour. When kugelis shows slight browning around the edges of the pan, bring oven temperature down to 350F and cook another 45-60 minutes until top is golden brown. Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook another 30 until pudding is firm. Give the pan a slight shake to test for firmness. Remove from oven and let sit ½ hour.

 

Serve as a stand alone entrée or as a side dish. Top off each individual serving with a generous dollop of sour cream.

If you need to double this recipe, it’s best to use two 9” x 13” x 2” pans rather than one large one. The cooking can be uneven with a larger pan.

 

If you have any kugelis left over, slice it thin the next morning—about the thickness of a slice of bread—and fry it on both sides in unsalted, sweet butter until heated through and golden brown. Look, the grease will probably kill you anyway, so have a breakfast beer with your kugelis and get over it.

 

babushkaswithcomputer.jpg

 

Posted in Beer & Food Pairings, Beer And Food Pairing, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Food Recipes of the Repeal Era and Beyond, Part IV

Posted by Bob Skilnik on September 20, 2007

Editor’s Note: Before reading this installment to Beer & Food: An American History, keep in mind that these recipes represent the beginning of the American brewing industry’s pairing and use of beer in food. Up until the post-Prohibition era, most written instances of beer used in food were merely attempts to reconcile what to do with spoiled and stale beer.

As you look through the upcoming segments with their food recipes, keep this thought in mind; many contemporary food recipes reflect an evolution of food preparation. Switch an ingredient or two, maybe add a foodstuff that no one ever heard of 15 or 20 years ago and you’re working with a newer interpretation of an old standard.

If you want to catch-up before reading Part IV, here are links to

Part I     Part II      Part III    

More info about Beer & Food: An American History by me, Bob Skilnik (with a foreword by Jim Koch from The Boston Beer Co) here.

**********************

With the war winding down, brewers continued their public relations campaign to keep beer in the kitchen, or better yet, simply in the home. The publishing firm of Frederic H. Girnau Creations of Minneapolis, Minnesota, took an approach similar to the pre-Prohibition Mendelsohn recipe books. By utilizing a couple of different culinary themes, Girnau helped promote various regional breweries with his collection of hefty-sized booklets—Famous International Themes, 300 New Ways of Making Delicious Sandwiches, the Sandwich Book of All Nations, Tried and Tested Cookie Recipes, Fish and Sea-Food Cookery, How to Prepare Wild Game & Fowl, Madame Chiang’s Chinese Cook Book (with the helpful hint that the recipes were “Translated in English”), Housewives Home Canning Methods, and lastly, How to Cook with Beer.

 

With ads for various competing brews placed between the same stock recipes in each booklet, cooks could learn the intricacies of preparing Chicago Style Chow Mein Noodles, Calf’s Head Stew, Tutti-Frutti Sandwiches, Potato Doughnuts, and obvious regional delights such as Bear Northern Style, Roast Raccoon, or Porcupine—probably all an acquired taste—and that old beer drinkers’ favorite, at least in publisher Girnau’s mind, Striped Bass Pudding.

 

While it’s amusing for city-slickers to look back at many of these dishes and laugh, there’s a lot of colonial-era frugality still involved here, all the more obvious when one considers the strong rural landscape that continued to exist in the U.S. in the ’40s. The philosophy of waste not, want not continued.

 

Although the food recipes were the same, two of Girnau’s How to Cook with Beer booklets displayed an interesting contrast in how the American Brewing Company of Miami, Florida, and the Minneapolis-based Gluek Brewing Company decided to handle the introduction to the sixty-four-page recipe collection template. A.B.C. President Louis F. Garrard took the customary approach of most brewers, using the book template format that Girnau provided. Garrard pointed out “…the importance of beer as a delicious cooking ingredient,” noting the importance of including beer in food recipes “…has been lost to our generation.” Garrard’s answer to this generational gap, of course, was to start including the use of the brewery’s Regal Premium Beer in the recipes provided.

 

The introduction to the Gluek Brewing Company’s recipe booklet, however, took a different approach, giving President and Chairman Edward V. Lahey of the United Brewers Industrial Foundation a forum to lay out the economic and social benefits of beer, all cooking aside. Of course, the Gluek booklet was also sprinkled with plugs for its Gluek beer, “The beer that speaks for itself.” A sample of Lahey’s introduction follows:

 

The brewing industry is a national asset in that it contributes importantly to the economic and social welfare of this country.

 

BEER ranks the top as a revenue source, contributing at the rate of about $700,000,000 annually in federal, state and local taxes. Since beer was re-legalized on April 7, 1933—after 13 years of Prohibition—combined revenues to public treasuries have exceeded ten billion dollars.

 

Beer, however, extends its economic benefits not only to public treasuries but also to many allied industries—agriculture, manufacturers of brewing equipment and machinery, bottles, cans, kegs, etc., and to the employment ranks, paying out about $300,000,000 annually in wages and salaries.

 

Socially, beer has served not only as a wholesome refreshment and adjunct to gracious living, but has been an aid to moderation and temperance. Military authorities have acclaimed beer also as a morale builder and as a factor in making the American Army, during World War II, the soberest in history.

 

Although the introductions to the brewers’ respective cookbooks varied in their focus, the intent was the same. Twentieth century beer had made it through the grain restrictions of the First World War, the blood-splattered years of bootlegging and Prohibition; had stumbled into American homes with the beginnings of Repeal; helped the troops to victory on two fronts, and was now ready to guide the nation through the post-war boom. It was time to really push beer into American homes and American lives. The Gluek and the American Brewing Company booklets touched on beer’s use as a flavor builder and food  seasoning. The real message, however, was clear; beer belonged not merely in the kitchen. Beer belonged in the home, whether it was included in food or not.

 

COMING SOON: PART V

Posted in Beer And Food Pairing, Beer History, Beer In Food, Books & Beer, Cooking With Beer, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Leave a Comment »

Sam Adams Boston Baked Beans

Posted by Bob Skilnik on July 8, 2007

July Is National Baked Bean Month

baked-beans.jpgSamuel Adams Boston Lagered Baked Beans


2 pounds dried navy beans
2 bottles (24 ounces) Samuel Adams Boston Lager
¼ oil or bacon drippings (be authentic here and use the drippings)
3 onions, coarsely diced
1/3 cup dried yellow mustard powder
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup pure maple syrup (or an additional cup brown sugar)
1 tablespoon paprika
2 small smoked pork shanks, split or 1 pound lean bacon
Salt to taste 

In a large pan, soak the beans overnight with cold water. Drain the beans and cover with fresh water and 1 bottle of Samuel Adams Boston Lager and salt. Bring the beans to a boil, then simmer slowly for 1 hour or until the beans are tender. Place the beans in a large, ovenproof pan or Dutch oven along with the liquid they simmered in.

In a small fry-pan, heat the oil on medium heat and add the onions. Cook until they are a deep, golden caramel color, and then add to the beans. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the pork, into the beans. The pork shanks should be pressed down into the beans.

Place the pan, uncovered, in a preheated 300º F. oven and bake for 3 hours. Add the additional bottle of Sam Adams Lager plus enough water to just cover the beans, seasoning as needed. Allow the beans to continue cooking, uncovered, without adding additional liquid until they are browned on top and have cooked to the desired consistency, approximately 3 hours.

When cooked, serve as is or shred the meat from the pork shank and stir into the beans.

Posted in Beer And Food Pairing, Beer In Food, Cooking With Beer, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad With Lager Beer Dressing For July 4

Posted by Bob Skilnik on July 4, 2007

crockwell1951bevofmoderation.jpg

12  Servings

2 bottles (12 oz each)  Lager beer
4 cloves garlic, smashed with side of knife
4 pounds mixed baby red, white and blue potatoes, quartered
1 Tablespoon plus 1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon honey mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped
1/2 cup canned sweet corn kernels
1/3 cup scallions, sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

In large pot with colander inset, combine beer and garlic cloves. Bring Lager beer to a boil over medium-high heat. Insert colander or steam basket; place potato quarters over simmering beer. Cover tightly with lid. Steam potatoes 20 to 24 minutes, until just tender when pierced with fork. Transfer potatoes to large bowl to cool. Pour the beer from pot into a glass measure, discard garlic and reserve beer. There should be about 1 cup.In small saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until softened. Add reserved beer, vinegar and sugar; bring mixture to a boil. Boil 7 minutes or until reduced to about 2/3 cup. Pour mixture into a blender or food processor. Add honey mustard, salt and pepper. With blender or food processor on low, slowly pour in remaining 1/3 cup canola oil until dressing is emulsified.Pour dressing over potatoes; add egg pieces, corn kernels, scallions and bacon. Toss well to coat. Serve potato salad warm or refrigerate up to 2 days before serving. Top with parsley when ready to serve. (If dressing is made ahead, bring to room temperature before serving.)

Courtesy of The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA)     Alexandra, Virginia  http://nbwa.org/Nbwa/Resources/Cooking_and_Dining_with_Beer/

The N.B.W.A.was founded in 1938 as a trade association for the nation’s beer distributors. It also, however, has assumed an educational role with the public, bringing attention to the problems of alcohol abuse, drunk driving, and underage purchasing and consumption of beer. The site also provides plenty of food recipes using beer. Make sure to stop by their site for recipes, beer terms, and further information on promoting responsibility while enjoying a beer or two.











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Maltose & Malt Extract-Glazed Pork Ribs

Posted by Bob Skilnik on June 14, 2007

bbq-ribs.jpgMaltose is a syrup (or powder) that can be made from wheat, rice, barley or other grains. I recommend the barley malt syrup in this rib recipe. The chemical structure varies slightly with which grain is used, but the end product will be similar. You can find maltose at any local homebrew shop or go online and do a search for a mail order homebrew shop. Homebrewers who brew malt extract batches sometimes like to use maltose to add body or “mouth feel” to their beer, something that might be lacking when making homebrew from malt extract and not from grain.

Even Amazon carries maltose made from rice, but it comes from China. After poisoning dog food and contaminating cheap toothpaste with anti-freeze, I’ll personally take a pass on the Chinese stuff. But I digress…

Maltose & Malt Extract-Glazed Pork Ribs

1 rack St. Louis-style or baby back ribs

1 cup of beer, preferably a dry beer such as a Japanese beer. I’m thinking Sapporo, but even a domestic ice beer will do. I know, this doesn’t follow the philosophy of using only craft beer, but you need the dryness here to balance the sweet maltose and malt extract sauce. Trust me…

2 teaspoons Szechwan peppercorns

4 quarter-size coins ginger root

6 to 8 cups unsalted chicken broth (enough to cover ribs)

Maltose & Malt Extract Sauce:

1 teaspoon corn or peanut oil 3 firm plum tomatoes, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

3 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked until soft, drained, then chopped coarsely

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

¼ cup of a dry beer

2 tablespoons packed dark malt extract powder or brown sugar

1 heaping tablespoon creamy peanut butter

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese chili sauce

¼ cup maltose

1/3 cup thin-sliced green and white scallion rings

1 tablespoon fine-minced garlic

1 tablespoon fine-minced ginger root plus diagonally sliced green and white scallion rings, for garnish

To make ribs: Peel the translucent skin from the backside of the ribs. Cut the rack between the ribs into 2 or 3 pieces and place in a nonreactive large pot where they fit snugly. Add the beer, peppercorns, ginger and enough broth to cover the ribs by 2 inches.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, partially covered, about 1 hour or until the ribs are very tender. Remove the ribs to a baking sheet and allow them to cool in a single layer. Discard the cooking liquid. Ribs can be cooked a day or two ahead, great if you don’t want to fuss too much with company on hand. Now I’m usually dead set against boiling ribs, but simmering them in this spicy mixtures adds a definite depth of taste to them.

To make sauce: Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the plum tomatoes and toss briskly 1 to 2 minutes, or until seared and browned in spots. Scrape the tomatoes and any juices into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and process until smooth.

In a nonreactive pan, combine the tomato mixture with all the remaining ingredients except the garnish. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the maltose dissolves. Let cool to room temperature.

Either throw them on the outdoor grill to finish them off or keep inside and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you’re going with the oven technique, place the ribs, curved side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and brush with about two-thirds of the sauce. Bake uncovered in the center of the oven about 15 minutes or until glazed. Personally, I throw them on the grill and cook them on indirect heat while basting them with the maltose glaze, just enough to get some carmelization on them.(Can be cooled at this point and refrigerated for up to a day. Let come to room temperature before finishing.)

About 30 minutes before serving (if necessary, preheat the oven again to 375 degrees), cut the rib racks lengthwise into individual ribs. Glaze the top and sides of each with the remaining sauce and put the ribs, curved side up and not touching on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until well glazed and hot. Serve at once heaped in a tangle and garnish with a thick sprinkle of ginger and scallion rings. Makes 4 servings.

You can also follow the general directions and instead, substitute the oriental theme with a homemade BBQ sauce or mop, just be sure to incorporate the maltose into the recipe. Lucy Saunders, author of Grilling With Beer, has a plethora of recipes for making mops and BBQ sauces. Find one in her book and adapt it to this recipe, if desired.

Posted in Cooking With Adjuncts, Cooking With Malt Extract, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | 1 Comment »

Home Made Sauerkraut

Posted by Bob Skilnik on May 12, 2007

cabbage.jpg I put this recipe under “Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer.”

Sauerkraut has a long history, including as a staple for Revolutionary War soldiers — both sides.  But other ethnic groups ate it too: during the winter of 1775/76, British forces in Boston allotted 1/2 pound of Sauerkraut per man and week; in neighboring Rhode Island a soldier was to get as much as 2 pounds per week. Their Sauerkraut was shipped all the way from England and Ireland, but it was of course available in America too, where the Continental Congress in July 1777, ordered the Board of War to procure Sauerkraut for the soldiers of the Continental forces.

Sauerkraut was also stored on ships during the 1700s as a preventative against scurvy and probably washed down with “Ship’s Beere.”

As my mother-in-law points out in the video, sauerkeraut is good for you. Fresh, raw cabbage is very rich in Vitamin C; one cup or 200 grams contains a whole day’s supply. Sauerkraut, which is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, has about half as much Vitamin C as raw kraut. Sauerkraut is also rich in cruciferous phytochemicals, long known for their disease-fighting powers. Recent research has shown moreover that the process of fermentation of the raw kraut produces a substance called isothiocynates, which prevent cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung, and liver.

Our Recipe:

20 lbs. raw cabbage, chopped thin. You can also downsize this by working in 5 lb. increments.
3 level tablespoons kosher salt per 5 lbs. of raw cabbage
For each 5 lbs. raw cabbage (per layer), you can add
   1/2 teaspoon of caraway seeds
   1/4 small green apple, peeled and seeded and finely chopped
   2-4 dried juniper berries
   1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and finely chopped

Method:

In a clean and sterilized food grade plastic container (with lid), layer in 5 lbs. of raw cabbage.

Sprinkle 3 level tablespoons of salt over each 5 lb. layer, and if desired, add caraway seeds, apple, juniper berries, and/or carrot. Repeat for each 5 lbs. Sofija likes to skip everything (caraway, apple, etc.) except the necessary salt and pour about a 1/2 cup of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice over the last layer of cabbage. I think this helps quicken the fermentation.

Make sure you FIRMLY PACK each layer. I actually pound it down with my fist and pretend it’s a book critic.

After adding your final 5 lb. layer of raw cabbage, cover with a sturdy plate that covers all the cabbage. If there’s any on the side of the fermenter, push the pieces back down under the plate. Take a weight (or brick) enclosed in a sealed plastic bag and place on plate. Cover. If you’re going to use a fermenter as I have, put in an air trap and fill it with a little vodka.

Keep at room temperature and in about 48 hours, you should see liquid in the container. The salt draws out the water from the cabbage and sets up wild fermentation. The salt actually helps to inhibit any mold as the cabbage begins to ferment. After a few more days, check to see if there’s any foam on top of the liquid. If so, use a clean spoon to remove.

Place fermenter in a cooler area, about 65 F or so.

Depending on how sour you want the kraut, you can let it go 2 weeks to a month. Taste to make sure. If the kraut is a bit salty, before you prepare it for the table, you can drain and store the liquid and thoroughly rinse the kraut. Then very gradually, keep adding back some of the liquid to taste.

Serve hot or cold. While we customarily seem to always cook sauerkraut, it’s excellent served as a cold side dish and is actually more healthy in this form. If you go “cold,” start enjoying in 7-10 days. Lotta crunch and really fresh tasting. Its amazing what lactobacilli can do, that is, aside from ruining beer or making Belgian brewers wealthy.

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Cooking With Beer, Day 7, Enjoying St. Paddy’s Day With An Original Recipe For Corned Beef

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 17, 2007

By now, everyone probably knows that the Irish do not eat corned beef and cabbage on March clog-dancer.gif17. Instead, the Americanized recipe seems to have evolved from earlier British-American practice of boiling beef, typically with root vegetables.

Nonetheless, every St. Patrick’s Day, innumerable slow-cooked beef brisket or corned beef recipes, usually adding Guinness or Harp to the pot for “authenticy,” are rolled out by food writers in the food sections of U.S. newspapers and magazines.

This recipe from 1803 “To Stew Brisket Of Beef” looks to be a stepping stone for today’s now-cliched corned beef and cabbage recipes and uses a healthy dose of beer;

“Having rubbed the brisket with common salt and saltpetre [salt peter], let it lie four days. Then lard the skin with fat bacon, and put it into a stew pan with a quart of water, a pint of red wine, or strong beer, half a pound of butter, a bunch of sweet herbs, three or four shallots, some pepper and half a nutmeg grated.

Cover the pan very close. Stew it over a gentle fire for six hours. Then fry some pieces of boiled turnips very brown. Strain the liquor the beef was stewed in, thicken it with butter, and having mixed the turnips in it, pour all together over the beef in a large dish. Serve it up hot, and garnish with lemon sliced.

An ox cheek or leg of beef may be served up in the same manner.”

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Cooking With Beer, Day 6, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Potato Salad Dosed With Harp

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 14, 2007

Potatoes and Harp beer. Culinary symmetry. Get it

Harp-ed Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 each eggs, hard boiled, chopped

Beer Dressing:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup Harp Lager
1/4 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 pinches salt
3 pinches white pepper

To make salad:

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until done, about 20-25 minutes. Remove, drain and cool slightly. While potatoes are cooling make beer dressing .

Slice unpeeled potatoes. Place into mixing bowl. While potatoes are still warm, add eggs, parsley, celery and beer dressing. Toss slightly. Do not overmix or the potatoes may break into pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped chives.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the Harp Lager, vinegar and sugar and boil for 5 minutes.

Put into a food processor with the Dijon mustard. With the motor running, slowly pour the remaining olive oil in. Salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 6 servings

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Cooking With National Premium, Day 3, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Irish Beer Stew

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 12, 2007

In 1948, the National Brewing Company of Baltimore, MD published a little guide to cooking with beer, actually, cooking with National Premium Beer. This booklet’s approach was unique because it targeted MEN as cooks. From Repeal on, virtually all the beer-in-food booklets that were either published by the United States Brewers Association (USBA) or individual breweries were addressed towards women. They, after all, were the Queens of Cuisine, the shoppers of groceries. But Natty Bo turned towards the idea of men as cooks, noting that at one time “…cooking was so deplorably a purely feminine function…” Brew in Your Stew and all its beer related food recipes was “…designed for men,” including the following recipe for Irish Beer Stew; National Premium Beer, 1948

From the Emerald Isle, where Shamrocks and Shillelaghs are still considered the best in low-rate insurance policies, comes this mealtime favorite with a flavor Mother never knew was there. And you can thank your National Premium for that very special flavor!

2.5 lbs. stewing lamb
2 tbsps. fat
1.5 cups National Premium Beer
1.5 cups boiling water
salt & pepper
12 small onions
9 small potatoes
1 bunch carrots
2 cups cooked peas
flour

Have lamb cut in serving-size pieces at meat market. Dredge with seasoned flour. Brown on all sides in hot fat. Add National Premium and water. Cover; simmer 1.5 hours. Add onions, potatoes and carrots cut lengthwise. Add enough boiling water to cover vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender (about 1 hour). Add peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thicken gravy if desired. Serves 4 to 6 depending upon your appetites.

But sure to check out Beer & Food: An American History for more manly beer/food recipes, including an interesting recipe for Welsh Rabbit by bandleader Spike Jones.

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Malt Extract Cooking, Day 2, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With Oatmeal Cookies

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 11, 2007

Oatmeal is almost as much a part of the Irish food culture as the potato. With that thought in mind, how about a oatmeal cookie recipe from a 1928 publication titled Schlitz Malt Syrup in the Home? An industry wide attempt to guise the use of malt syrup as merely one more food item in the kitchen — and not the reality of malt extract chiefly used as a base for homebrewing — was fortified with numerousSchlitz Malt Syrup Ad attempts by once big-named brewers (now malt extract manufacturers — wink, wink) in publishing food recipe pamphlets that promoted the use of extract as a key ingredient. This recipe for oatmeal cookies using Schlitz Malt Syrup, “the World’s Finest Malt Syrup,” is but one example.

Check out Beer & Food: An  American History for more.

Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter or lard
1 tablespoon Schlitz Malt Syrup (plain)
2 eggs
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons sour milk (leave out overnight or simply add a few drops of lemon juice to the milk)
1 cup raisins

Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon together, and add the oatmeal. Cream the sugar, butter and Schlitz Malt Syrup. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture. Dissolve soda in sour milk. Add the flour to creamed mixture, alternating with the sour milk and soda mixture. Add the raisins. Bake in a moderate oven (350°-375° for 10 minutes or less).           

Posted in Beer History, Cooking With Malt Extract, Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stout Cooking, Day 1, Counting Down To St. Paddy’s Day With A Double Chocolate Cake

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 10, 2007

Well, St. Paddy’s Day is on its way, and I’m sure my Irish mother, Mick McCarthy (no joke!), would have appreciated this week’s worth of beer & food recipes, splashed with some stout and layered with a bit o’ blarney. Let’s begin with this quick and easy recipe for a double chocolate cake with a wee bit of stout (your choice).

Whether your Irish heritage is Shanty or Lace Curtain, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this cake receipe that came over from the Old Sod nearly 100 years ago. As least that’s what the Irish bricklayer who was buying beers in Schaller’s Pump in Bridgeport in Chicago told me. I wanted to ask him how the recipe was 100 years old when it starts out “One package of Duncan Hines,” but hell, he was buying.Murphys Irish Stout

1 package of Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake mix
1  12-ounce package of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 small package of instant chocolate pudding
1.5 cups of sour cream
12-ounces of stout

Preheat your oven to 350F. Throw everything except the stout into a Kitchen-Aide stainless steel bowl. Drink 8 ounces of the stout and pour the last 4 ounces into the bowl. Beat it on “slow” until the conncoction is thoroughly mixed, stopping the beater to push the mix off the sides of the bowl. Spray a bundt pan with vegetable oil and sprinkle it with some flour so it’s completly coated with the flour. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 1 hour or the time it takes you to go through 4 more bottles of stout. If you haven’t hit the 1 hour mark but have drunk 4 bottles of stout, grab another stout and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

In an hour, both you and the cake should be baked. Since the cake will be very moist, don’t rely on the old “clean toothpick” method to see if it’s actually cooked. Better yet, take it out of the oven and give it a thump to see if it’s done. If so, carefully remove the cake from the bundt pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. Now you have to wait.

If you have any Jameson’s on hand, relax and have a few. You deserve it!

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Chili — A State of Mind?

Posted by Bob Skilnik on March 3, 2007

chili.jpgThere are probably more versions of chili than stars in the sky. In my long years of chili eating and beer drinking (and antacid taking), I’ve wolfed down bowls of green chili, chili with beans, chili with no beans, chili on pasta, and Chicago-style chili. But I have to admit that I’ve always been intrigued with Cincinnati-style chili. Why? Well, they have this crazy habit of adding chocolate to the pot, leading to a subtle taste nuance that beats some Texas chili recipes that suggest adding red ants!

Here’s an interesting recipe for Cincinnati Chili that uses chocolate and Chocolate Stout.

Cincinnati Style Chili

2.5 lbs lean ground beef (extra fine grind if possible) — 85% lean
2 14-oz cans Swansen’s Beef Broth (less salt version) chilled
12-ounce bottle of Chocolate Stout
1 can tomato sauce – (16 oz)
1 large white onion minced fine

First spice addition (at beginning)
1/2 oz bitter chocolate
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp dark molasses or if handy, 1 tbsp dark malt syrup
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chili powder (dark)
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Second spice addition
1 tbsp chili powder (dark)
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
2 tbsp granulated garlic
a pinch of ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp mace

Gather all the spices, sauces, et. al., for the first spice addition in one container before starting the batch.

Place broth over medium-low heat and add the ground beef, tomato sauce and onion. Stir in the beer. Continue to stir as the liquid is heated. The ground beef will nearly dissolve in the  developing into almost a paste. Once dissolved, increase heat to high.

Add the first spice addition and continue to stir until the chili comes to a strong boil. Turn down the heat to maintain a medium simmer. Let simmer for 2 hours covered.

For best results, let simmer for at least 2 hours. You can put it in a slow cooker and let go all day for better results.

When nearly done, add the second spice addition, stir to make sure that it is completely mixed in and remove the chili from heat.

Refrigerate for 2 days before reheating. Skim any fat from the top and heat slowly for best results.

Serve traditionally, maybe over spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese (3-way).

Posted in Food That Demands To Be Paired With Beer | 4 Comments »