Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cooking with Beer 3 - Beer Dinner

Recently we got together with some friends (our monthly cooking club) and the theme for this month was cooking with beer.  While I didn't have too much trouble finding recipes, variety was an issue for me.  There were a bunch of bread, chocolate desserts and beef recipes that came up but not much else.  Still, Jo and I managed to find some ideas.  As I'm the resident beer geek and and I make dessert often (my wife would say too often) I was challenged with finding a tasty dessert.

With Jo's help (aka she found the recipe), I found a variation on brownies that looked really tasty.  I've made a similar recipe but it didn't include beer and flipped the order of brownie and blondie layers.  The new recipe was Black and Tan Brownies and they turned out quite well if I do say so myself (and I do!).  I followed the recipe but instead of the Guinness, I went with something more flavorful.  I'm betting any stout would work (chocolate, american or imperial), but I decided Dark Horse Too Cream Stout would work really well.
I first had it before my Beer Schooled class and thought it had a nice creamy body with a lot of coffee and chocolate notes.  Figured those flavors plus the lactose sugar in it would blend really well with the chocolate in the brownies and caramel in the blondies.  The fun thing is that I bet the brownie flavors would change a bit depending on the beer used.  Here's them after baking.
The brownies layer ended up very fudgy while the blondie layer had a tiny bit of crunch and it was all really good.

Our other recipe was a potato salad, Warm Potato Salad with Beer and Mustard Dressing.  The beer in this one is blended into the salad dressing so it calls for a lighter beer.  I picked up a few different beers to try, Bell's Amber, Victory Lager, and Stoudts Gold and decided the Gold was the best choice.  Turns out not only was I correct, the Gold was really tasty on its own and really reminded me of being in Germany as we drank a lot of helles lagers.
This recipe was even easier than the brownies.  The potatoes get mixed up with onions, green onions and some other stuff.  Then you cook the beer mixture down, add it to some mustard and, voila, salad dressing.  Great appetizer and the salad dressing would go well on any type of salad although maybe cut the mustard down a little in that case.
Here are some pictures and recipes of all the other great dishes at dinner that night

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket with Beer
Beer-Cheese Spread
Chicken with Dark Beer (Coq à la Bière)
Butternut Squash in Brown Ale Maple Glaze
Belgian Turkey Ragout (not picture but delicious)
Pumpkin-Honey Beer Quick Bread
Raspberry Lambic SorbetWhile I don't have the recipe for this one, I can find it if anyone is curious.  Just ask in the comments.  Found the recipe.  I will say this is the one place I'd suggest Lindeman's Framboise.  Drinking wise it's entirely too sugary and sweet, but that works perfectly for a sorbet.
Along with great food, I also brought a couple beers for us to sample.  The first I opened was Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout.  It's part of their five stout series and is number three (obviously.)
This was the first blueberry beer I've actually enjoyed as all the others have been sort of weird tasting.  Others thought it was good too.  I'm hoping to find this on draft somewhere as it's in the area at the moment.  After that I opened one of my 2009 Dogfish Head World Wide Stouts.
Sort of reminds me of port, but it replaces some of the wine flavors with the plum and strong malt notes that are found in strong stouts.  This one wasn't quite as popular seeing as how the 18% is sort of a kick in the face, but I enjoyed it.  The last I opened was the Too Cream Stout.  Drinking it at the same time as the brownies made some of the stout flavors in them really come out.  If you make the brownies, I definitely suggest drinking the beer you used at the same time as it's an interesting comparison.  Here's a neat picture one of my friends, Kelly, took of one of the samples.  Don't know which as they were all stouts but it's a good picture regardless.
I also had some Flying Fish beers that night.  I like their Abbey Dubbel a lot and overall their beer is really high quality.

So, as you can see, if you use beer as an ingredient there are a ton of recipes out there to choose from.  I strongly urge you to use decent beer, regardless of what the recipe says, because half the fun is drinking the rest of the bottle and no one really wants to drink Bud Light no matter what they say.  (Yeah snobbery!  But seriously it's true and I won't be convinced otherwise.)

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree. Who would drink Bud Light, especially when there's Miller Lite around?