Tag Archives: Cooking with beer

Enticing Beer Ice Cubes

August 2017 by Ginger Johnson

Beer is a deliciously creative ingredient in your kitchen if you think about it that way. I’m an avid cook and know a bit about beer. Everything I bring into my kitchen is free game for full use. And since we’re deep into the warmer summer months, beer ice cubes are one of my go-to ideas in tapping into beer as ingredient.

It’s really very simple:

  • Think about beers per their flavors that you’d like to add to your cookings.
  • Procure those beers.
  • Dispense them carefully into ice-cube trays and freeze.
  • Use as desired.
  • Repeat and experiment.

Now, is it really that simple? Yes! Are there some tactics to ensure best results? Yes. Here they are.

  1. Dedicate a separate ice-cube tray for this endeavor. Since most of them are plastic, the tray will adopt a beery flavor patina over time. Use one that releases easily, instead of shattering the cubes in removal. You can use a permanent marker to easily ID the beer cube tray.
  2. If you’re using fresh beer, pour slowly into the trays. The space is small so gently and slowly pouring the beer into the cube spaces will keep foaming to a minimum.
  3. If you’re using flat beer – which still has plenty of flavor to offer – then still pour slowly, though foaming likelihood is reduced since the beer has significantly decarbonated already.
  4. If the cubes look foamy regardless, let them sit a few minutes or gently stir them to help with decarbonation. Doing so can reduce foamy crystals in your beer cubes.
  5. Once they are frozen, you can let them remain in the tray until you’re ready to use them or remove them to a separate container, making easy access of the number of cubes you wish to use at any time.

Glass of beer

Making beer ice cubes for prep and cooking is a terrific way to utilize beer you won’t drink as well. If you’ve had a party, there’s a partial container remaining that you don’t want to put into your compost, then cube it! As I stated above, beer still holds a great deal of flavor regardless of the carbonation level. Repurpose the beer and let it shine in a whole host of cookings.

How can you then use the beer cubes? For one, I featured beer in Beerinades (2013 article), which is a superb way to repurpose beer from cubes. The slight acidity in beer replaces other acids for tenderizing in grilling. Soup, stew and chili all benefit from the addition of beer in the pot. And beer cubes can enhance muffins; think wheat beer cubes in banana muffins.

Using beer cubes in cooking requires some forethought, both for melting and also for replacement purposes. Questions and ideas are always welcome too – contact me at ginger@gingerjohnson.com anytime to inquire and share. I suggest you simply dig in and start experimenting.

Until the next time, cheers ~

g


You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter.

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk 



 

Big Beers and Lessons I Learned Cooking for a Crowd by Ginger Johnson

 

P1120047I’ve decided I don’t want or need to be a candy maker. Let me explain.

A short while ago I presented at the fabulously flavorful Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival held in dreamy Vail, Colorado USA. It was the second time I’ve done so and both times have been superb due to the organizers, volunteers, and other supporting characters that make this fundraiser sing.

In plotting and planning for this years session, Wandering Around the Kitchen With Ginger, I had hit upon what I thought were 3 grand recipe ideas. Featuring beer in the prep and cooking, these three candidates excited me: Ceviche with chili beer, polenta with both a savory and sweet sauce made with a barrel aged stout, and fruit muffin made with barleywine and stuffed with blue cheese.

IMG_4266Alas! One of the powers that be, above my direct report, saw to it to squash that whole menu, pulling, in my professional opinion, an unnecessary and selfish stunt only 10 days out from the fest.

Why not spread your arms wide and say, “We’re so glad you’re here. What can we do to help?” instead of pulling the power ripcord that sends others into a tailspin? That kind of unprofessional behavior ticks me off. And it furthered my resolve to make sure I took care of my client – the organizers – not the ones pulling strings to make us dance. Onward. Go ahead, try to control my creativity. I can work with anything.

Once I was given a redirect, and got my extraordinarily altered menu approved (!), then I was off and running. Again.

Beyond the message above (to support and foster vs. push and set up gates), I want to share what I learned in preparing and experimental cooking for this fantastic event this year.

  • Candy makers are a special breed and talent. I set out to make candied fruit and candied citrus rind. Knowing a dash of chemistry and a whole load of patience is involved, I’ve found out it’s not for me. I have a newfound appreciation for candy makers, home to pro.
  • Rehydrating vegetables is a fun pursuit. As a lover of cooking, it’s not hard to convince me to try something new. The aha! moments come when you let go and do just that – try. The mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes I rehydrated were a hit, idea wise for all, flavor wise for some. Regardless, they all tried it – that’s the key.
  • There are always others going through the same obstacle course you are. I found one of my comrades in cooking with beer had gotten a lot of crappy pushback when designing his menu too. Both of us are pros, both are willing to flex and collaborate – and we both decided to move forward and figure out how to do it rather than dwell.
  • People like to be entertained and learn something neat, clever and new. Okay – so I know the entertainment factor is high on the list. It was affirming to get the comments from attendees that they didn’t normally eat/try the vegetables, yet they did so and their eyes were opened. I tell people the best tool for tasting is an open mind, which leads to an open palate, and it’s true.

P1120071I’ll go back every time I am invited to this well run, well-done community benefit. With that one rare exception, everyone was gracious, helpful and understood we were there for a bigger reason: To help the community by participating in a fun and delicious event.

Till the next glass ~

gcj

You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter. 

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk

Go-To Beer and Food Books by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnjson and John Holl,  Judith Pavlik Photography

Ginger Johnjson and John Holl, Judith Pavlik Photography

It’s always fun to see what colleagues, known and yet-to-meet, as up to in the publishing world. Just this week, for example, I looked into a whole bunch of twitter handles for writers whom I’d just read in a book of essays (Best Food Writing 2013). In doing so, I will likely expand my world and hear more opinions, ideas, and angles of life.

So today’s article takes that direction and compels me to share some go-to beer and food books. These are books I recommend you scan through, read, and possibly buy. The ones that fit with your ideas of what a book can mean to you in the kitchen and your life is what I aim to share.

Larry Johnson and John Holl, Judith Pavlik Photography

Larry Johnson and John Holl, Judith Pavlik Photography

I’m not a reviewer so I offer these to you on a personal “this is what is meaningful to me” level. Do as you wish, share them if you like them too. They’re listed in no particular order. Thanks.

1. Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Maureen Ogle. Maureen’s a historian with no investment in the beer world, which makes her a superb author in writing a book on a topic that can be emotional for some. She starts in the 1800’s and works forward, sharing the landscape, a few players and a whole host of insightful and incidental American herstory. It was her third book; her fourth, In Meat We Trust is available now too.

2. Beervangelist’s Guide To The Galaxy, Fred Bueltmann. Philosophy pervades this book by Fred, a seasoned beer professional and one of my well-known colleagues per beer and food together. His refreshing take on what we consume and the combination of New Holland Brewing, where Fred’s an owner, really speaks to me: “Stop & Taste.” We get so wrapped up in using words like local and organic we forget to enjoy food for foods sake.

3. Best of American Beer & Food, Lucy Saunders. I love Lucy for many reasons. One being that she’s a knowledgeable food person AND knowledgeable about beer AND has some quiet steady success to lend her cred. She’s a class act whom I always enjoy seeing in person (though not nearly enough!) and has just come out with another wan-to-get book, Dinner In The Garden. Her site has all her books so check it out.

4. The American Craft Beer Cookbook, John Holl. You’d think someone as worldly as John might smack of smug. No way. John’s book is a compendium collected at brewpubs all across the USA, replete with alternative choices if the brand profile isn’t available in your area. As the Editor of All About Beer, John’s out and about a good deal. This is his third book involving beer.

G IMG_0294There are more books dealing with food and beverage that I enjoy, reference and use, to be sure. Start here. Send me an email (or post a comment here) with a go-to book for you. The hunt for helpful resources never gets boring.

Til the next glass ~

Go Here: Walk the Stacks. Those wise words are from a long time friend and tell me to get out, go to a bookstore and scan what’s available. It’s a great source of inspiration and attitude refreshment.

Try This: Go to your local library. The cooking and food sections are usually well stocked with myriad choices. I like to check out books that I’ve never heard of as well as ones from tried and true sources.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

It’s Chocolate Season!

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Okay, just like beer, every season can be chocolate season. I have chocolate on the brain though since I regularly visit Dagoba Organic Chocolate (they’re based in the town I live in, which helps). And if I’m thinking about something, that usually means I’m cooking with it.

And indeed I have been cooking with chocolate. And beer. And loads of other good ingredients.

Here’s a little tip about me: More often than not, if I think, “dessert sure sounds good” for some reason chocolate enters the picture. I love lemony things, savory treats and all varieties of desserts, at about any time of day. Though my tooth isn’t craving massive amounts of sweet, a little at just the right time is a day maker.

Over the weekend, for instance, I was craving oatmeal raisin cookies. You know, slightly chewy, feels-good-to-eat-them sort of wheels of baked wonderfulness. So to my cookbook shelves I went, in search of an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oddly enough, some of the cookbooks I thought would yield at least one had none. Alas – not one to give up easily, I persevered and located pay dirt in my 1987 Good Housekeeping All American Cookbook. Whew!

Since a recipe to me is an inspiration, rather than a step-by-step instruction list, I like to riff. This time I subbed out a few things AND added a heaping tablespoon of unsweetened Dagoba cacao powder.

Bingo!

The cookies came out with good texture, were slightly crispy, and the cocoa gave them a nice extra depth of flavor without making them very sweet. The raisins have the sweet part wrapped up and the recipe has my seal of approval.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I hope you explore and experiment when you cook. After all, recipes that delight you have to start somewhere!

Oh – and pairing these cookies with a tasty Milk Stout, Coffee Stout, and rich Porter would be truly rewarding. To the maker, go the spoils. Join me?

Till the next (cookie &) glass –

g

Go Here: Support your local Chocolate maker. Don’t know who they are? Use the Internet at your fingers tips to seek out and then buy and try their wares. All tasting has a hit or miss factor, so keep trying until you find one you like.

Try This: Adding chocolate to recipes provides a new layer of flavor depth. For instance, adding a nice chunk of a dark chocolate to a red meat or tomato based slow cooked chili is delightful. Adding a teaspoon of cocoa powder to a marinade gives it a subtle under layer of flavor with other complementary ingredients. Adding a heaping tablespoon to my cookie mix above lent it a nice deep blush as well as a soft cocoa-yness.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

 

Spring Greens by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

The Growers and Farmers market across the country, and globe for that matter, are magical places. The people bustling around, the vendors answering questions and selling goods, the locations usually packed with folks.

I love it all. And I’ve liked these markets from the first time I went. It was a very large outdoor farmers market in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My memory is a bit fuzzy since I was still in the single digits yet I clearly remember a few things. The seemingly endless rows of stands, vendors and booths. The brilliant colors of a mid summers selection of grown goods. And the enormous caterpillars that love dill!

Today these markets are still a marvel to me and one I’m thankful for. Having been and continuing to be a vendor at select events across the continent, I know how much work is involved. Early mornings, full days where you greet everyone for the first time each time, and the methodical tear down. Only to repeat it the next day, weekend or month.

The markets in my area are plentiful and much anticipated by the communities they service. On Tuesday of this week I headed to one of my markets, known as a Growers Market, as it launched into the season. Being still cool and certainly at the beginning of the growing year, the selection of fresh veggies was tight – and an impressive array nonetheless from those who grow them in protected structures.

Delicious Fresh Spring Greens

Delicious Fresh Spring Greens

I went on Tuesday to scout and hopefully procure fresh spring greens for a TV segment I do monthly with a local station. The theme for this week’s program, which the host and I agreed on, was fresh greens. 

So what might this have to do with beer? Glad you asked.

Long after the TV spots are over, the greens will still be faithfully growing. They offer a remarkable serving of nutrients and minerals. Beer in fact does have some very solid nutritional value. Vitamin K, silicon, and Vitamin B for starters.

One of the things I’ll be doing more of is developing dressings for salads of all sorts (green and otherwise) that will be complementary. Beer has a mild acidity that works well with various oils to make vinaigrettes. You can cook beer down to get a thicker consistency sauce to use in making various dressings and drizzles. It’s a very versatile ingredient, just as your spring greens are.

I figure combining two winning ingredients – beer and spring greens – will only yield tasty, refreshing and healthy dishes.

Till the next glass ~ g

Go here: Search out fresh markets – searching online will offer numerous results, like via USDA and Local Harvest. Contact Chamber of Commerce’s as well as Visitors Bureaus – they want to help you find what you want and support local businesses.

Try This: Use beer in vinaigrettes by replacing the vinegar with beer. Be aware of what flavors you’re after and the bitterness as well as the sweetness of the beer + the end food that will be carrying the dressing for best results.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

Cooking with Guinness: Pot Pie, Caramelized Onions and a Voguish Cream Soda

Guinness Beef Pot PieChoosing our recipe items this week has been much more difficult than we thought it would be. This past year, cooking with beer has exploded and our choices are seemingly unlimited. How could we possibly just choose a few?

Guinness Beef Pot Pie by Picture the Recipe.  This was our first visit to this site and we were captivated. The photographs take you step by step in to their culinary world and it’s a splendid one. If you are not a lover of the pot pie, this recipe makes an excellent stew.

List of Ingredients; Beef chuck, onion, cloves of garlic, celery, mushrooms, diced potatoes, frozen peas and carrots, tomato paste, thyme ~ dried or fresh sprigs, dried rosemary, bay leaf, Guinness ~ not extra stout, beef broth, brown sugar, flour, salt, pepper, olive oil, parsley, puff pastry and egg.  For full recipe and method visit: PicturetheRecipe

Carmelized Onion and Guinness DipCaramelized Onion and Guinness Dip by Toledo Blade. A Friday or Saturday evening hold’s it’s own magic when you add a couple of cold beers, some breads, crackers, chips and a great dip or two. It’s movie night with stellar snacks. This recipe made the cut simply for the Guinness and caramelized onions.

List of Ingredients; Olive oil, large sweet onions, Guinness, salt, black pepper, cayenne and extra-sharp cheddar cheese. For full recipe and method, please visit: ToledoBlade

Guinness Cream SodaGuinness Cream Soda by Chow.  Although I love my Guinness as is, changing it up and giving something new a “whirl” is what we are all about here at Your Home. On paper we found the flavor combinations a bit odd, however, in reality the beverage was quite lovely.

List of Ingredients; Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Navan vanilla liqueur, club soda, Guinness Draught. For full recipe, method and tips, please visit Chow.com

Here are a few more Cooking with Guinness ideas.  Enjoy!!

Cheers to Cassoulet, I say! by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

Cassoulet. Pronounce it “cass-oh-lay” and let it roll off your tongue. It’s a fun word to say and in my world if a word is fun, particularly in reference to food, I want to explore it further.

In the case of cassoulet, I’m going to venture forth and start making them. Oh sure, as a from-the-hip cook I’ve certainly already riffed unknowingly on cassoulets, using any nature of long slow cooking escapades and ingredients. They’ve usually been good and it feeds my permanent experimentation jones. Now it’s time to actually make a traditional cassoulet, following a recipe so I can see what the real deal tastes like, smells like, feels like, looks like, and sounds like.

The dish is named after the vessel in which it is traditionally cooked – the cassole. It’s been an earthenware container, glazed inside, that’s functioned as the cooking and serving pot all in one.

While I’ve yet to either purchase or be gifted a cassole, I’m going to move forward using a roasting pan or high sided ceramic baking dish. Today in fact I’ve got rabbit in my fridge that’s begging to be included….though rabbit is not one of the traditional ingredients I can see where it fits the feeling of the origins of the dish (see, there I go again). I do have a few of the other usually included items: white beans, garlic, and tomatoes. If I follow Julia Childs’ recipe then I need to take a trip to my markets. Hmmmm…think that’s another permissions slip to grocery shop. And it’s a very small nudge I need to do that!

Herb Bouquet http://www.allaboutyou.com/craft/making/prepare-a-bouquet-garni-48527

Herb Bouquet
Photo: AllAboutYou.com

I’m talking about cassoulet today because my writings here on Your Home are usually beer centric and cassoulet is an excellent example of adding beer to the mix. White wine is called for in this recipe. I could easily substitute a soft delicate Kolsch. I could and do rehydrate beans using beer. And of course I’d want to serve a complementary beer with the finished dish. 

Being a provincial, nutritious, use-a-lot-of-various-ingredients kind of meal, selecting a beer to match nicely with the flavors will be a fun pursuit.

What do you say – care to join me? It’ll be ready at 7.

Till the next glass ~

Go Here: Your local library had lots of cookbooks for you to explore. When you need inspiration, are researching a particular food (like cassoulet) or want to read food herstory, go to your local branch and grab a few cookbooks from the shelf. Find a comfy spot to peruse your choices and take a few home with you.

Try This: Cassoulet. Some of the ingredients are perhaps less common though the end result will surely yield a delicious warm and hearty dish. It’ll be best shared with friends so get a crew together and dig in!

Editors Note: The recipe above includes an Herb Bouquet.  For those who have not been introduced to these little beauties as of yet they are  is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup,stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption. For more information please follow this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Patrick’s Day Ideas; Cooking with Guinness

We have reached day two in our Week of Guinness in Honor of Saint Patrick, and we have some wicked deliciousness in today’s post.There is a bit of history in the original post from Day One, if you missed it, poke the link and give it a read.

Guinness and Dubliner Cheese Soup

Guinness and Dubliner Cheese Soup

Guinness and Dubliner Cheese Soup by One Upon a Cutting Board. Dubliner is a unique cheese consisting of a mature complex character with a sweet aftertaste. The delightful granular cheese is aged over a year and although it is named after the city of Dublin, it is manufactured by Carbery, located in County Cork, Republic of Ireland.

List of Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Guinness stout (or more for stronger flavour)
  • 1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth (beef broth would be a good substitute!)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 pound (or 1 cup loosely packed shredded) Dubliner cheese (or sharp cheddar cheese if desired)
  • Salt and pepper
  • For full recipe and method please visit OnceUponaCuttingBoard.com
Guinness and Chocolate Truffles

Guinness and Chocolate Truffles

Guinness Chocolate Trufflesby Guinness. Two of our favorites, chocolate and Guinness all wrapped up in one delectable bite.

List of Ingredients

  • 1 kg dark chocolate, in small chunks ~ 2.20 pounds chocolate
  • 400ml of cream ~ 1 3/4 cups cream
  • 100ml Guinness ~  3.38 ounces Guinness
  • zest of 1 orange
  • cocoa or coconut powder
  • For full recipe and method, please visit Guinness.com
Black Velvet

Black Velvet

Black Velvet by BBC Good Food.  This site is one that Your Home visits often, as the cuisine is excellent, the site is clean  and easy to navigate. We were looking for something exquisitely concocted with Guinness and we simply could not resist this sinfully sparkling delight.

The list of ingredients is sheer perfection.

  • Guinness
  • Champagne
  • For full recipe and method, please visit BBCGoodFood.com

You can find more delicious Saint Patrick’s Day recipes and ideas right here.  If you are looking for something specific, please contact us and we will be happy to post it for you!  Karie@YourHomewithKarieEngels.com  We always look forward to hearing from you.

Irish Saint Patrick’s Day Toast
Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.
‘Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!’  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A Week of Guinness in Honor of Saint Patrick

Guinness

Guinness

1725 was the year a legend was born. Guinness, one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, is a popular Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness (1725–1803) at St. James’s Gate, Dublin. Brewed in almost 60 countries, Guinness is available in over 100. Annual sales total 850 million litres (1.5 billion imperial or 1.8 billion US pints) For more history read here and visit Guinness.com to view the timeline.  On March 17th, approximately 13 million pints will be raised in honor of Saint Patrick.

Like many Irish Americans, I feel a deep sense of cohesiveness on the festive day where we wear green and raise pints to our Irish ancestors and those relatives still living across the pond.  The Irish began marching in New York City while fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War, to reconnect with their Irish roots.  Other parades in years and decades after were held in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and now are spread through out the entire United States creating bonds of solidarity in Irish communities.

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick

It’s ironic then is it not, that St. Patrick was not an Irishman.  Factual information about his life and times are vague, although it is known he was born in Britain around A.D. 390  into a Romano-British family, with both his father and grandfather Deacons in a Christian Church.  He was kidnapped at the age of 16 by Irish raiders, sent overseas to tend sheep in the chilly mountainous countryside of Ireland where he remained for seven years.  Folklore suggests he had dreams and heard voices that told him to escape his captivity, which he then did, found passage on a ship and returned home to Britain.

Patrick was ordained as a Priest and guided by voices, he returned to Ireland and spent the remainder of his years traveling the isle and converting the Irish to Christianity.  His life was not an easy one, he was beaten by thugs, harassed by Irish royalty and admonished by British superiors.   There are many myths surrounding the Priest who would eventually become a Saint.  On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are consumed around the world and on the anniversary of his death over 13 million pints are raised in his honor.

Let’s begin with my favorite toast as we raise a glass ~ “May you be half an hour in Heaven, Before the Devil knows you’re dead.”

Guinness Irish Stew

Guinness Irish Stew

Guinness Irish Beef Stew by Jelly Toast. With Saint Patrick’s Day just around the corner, assembling the menu for our Week of Guinness, yes, we do set aside an entire week, is top priority.

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef chuck
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 12 ounces Guinness Extra Stout
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcester sauce
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 turnips
  • 1 large potato
  • minced parsley for garnish.  For full recipe and method please visit Jelly Toast

Vail, Big Beers and Cooking with Beer: Grown-up Slow Cooked Pork and Beans by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

If you read last week’s beer column, you know we shared a delicious recipe that I made at the Vail, Colorado based Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival. We’ll keep the mouth watering going today!

I grew up with lots of green beans, both fresh and canned, yet not a whole lot of the other type of beans. Perhaps we had beans in the occasional chili or other conventional bean-inclusive recipe, though beans were fewer and farther between.

So the last few years have found me really beaning out with an emphasis on rehydrating beans, using them instead of canned. I choose to rehydrate because even organically labeled canned beans have high levels of sodium, something my body doesn’t need in excess.

Once I started rehydrating, it was all a happy down hill snowy slide for me! I save all prep and cooking liquids in my kitchen for further use and enjoyment. About the only liquids I don’t reuse in actual cooking are from prep and cleaning. I give these to my compost bucket or plants since it’s still perfectly good for those purposes.

Fast forward from my bean exploration to the aforementioned fest. Knowing the audience would be quite savvy and perhaps ahead of the average beer fest pack, I put some pressure on myself to really develop some unexpected tasty dishes. Beans provided a big part of the success.

I used Collage in this dish, a collaboration beer made by Deschutes Brewery and Hair Of The Dog Brewing. Credit is due to savvy pro Kimberly Lord Stewart for the name (Grown-up Pork & Beans) per this article she wrote about the fest and our session. I was calling it Roast Pork & Beans, though I like her turn of phrase better.

One key in cooking with beer is to think of it as an ingredient, as a flavor contribution, and as a liquid.

Grown-Up Pork & Beans

This recipe can be easily adapted for quantity, no matter the size of cooker or pot.

  • Get your slow cooker out and make sure it’s clean.
  • Pour your dried beans into the crock.
  • Pour the beer of choice over the beans, covering completely + 1 inch liquid buffer. I poured in about 24 ounces/750 ml worth of beer then added fresh water to level.
  • Turn the cooker on low. Leave it alone for 2 – 4 hours, looking in periodically.
  • If your cooker is a hotter one, watch the heat closer. If it’s got a cooler element, then you may want to turn the temp to medium or high.
  • After about 2 – 4 hours, stirring only once or twice to prevent sticking, turn the heat up to high for 2 – 4 hours.
  • Look in every hour to make sure there’s enough liquid to cook and totally rehydrate. Add liquid as needed. I will often add various waters like vegetable or potato (from previous cooking and steamings) or even pickle brine for a bit of accent if it fits with the flavors.
  • Add some medium marbled pork chops about an hour into the high cycle, stirring them in to cover completely.
  • Add chopped onion, brown sugar or a bit of molasses, a chunk of dark unsweetened chocolate, coarse salt and cracked pepper, and chopped greens like kale, mustard or chard. Stir these in completely.
  • Keep cooking the P&B until you like the flavors, at least 10 hours. An overnight low setting is a great way to really get the flavors to meld and mingle. I prefer after 24 hours of cooking.
Cypress Grove Chevre Bermuda Triangle

Cypress Grove Chevre Bermuda Triangle

This is a dish that gets better and better with time…until it’s gone. It’s really flexible and can be easily adapted to vegan, vegetarian, meat centric, or what have you. Have fun exbeerimenting with beer in your prep and cooking. Enjoy this recipe served with the beer you used in cooking.

I included a nice piece of Cypress Grove Chevre Bermuda Triangle as well as a sliver of Dagoba Dark Chocolate and french bread.

The whole point today is that beans are super agile and delicious both as a cooking medium and as a featured ingredient. So is beer.

Till the next glass ~

g

Try This: Rehydrate a type of bean with various liquids, both overnight – cold in the fridge for a slow soak, as well as with the help of heat on the stovetop or in the slow cooker. If you use heat, be sure to go slow and steady and watch the liquid level so they don’t dry out. It’s always better to have more liquid at the end then tough under hydrated beans.

Go Here: The Cook’s Thesaurus has a helpful page on beans – check it out here. Kim mentioned this place in Denver as well – now it’s on my list to visit!

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

 

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