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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I made some German food and reported on it at my beer blog Bottles and Cans, but you can read it all here:

Cooking w/Beer: Stovetop Brats
Last night we had what I am calling the "Oktoberfeast." This was a meal featuring German potato salad and some Brussels sprouts mixed with sour cream and bacon. There was an excellent Oktoberfest beer from Avery, but I'll post more on that later.

Now, I've made beer brats before, but this was different. First of all, I cooked the sausage in some water. One good tip I picked up was to poke some holes in the brats so that they would not explode. After the water evaporated, I browned them in the dry pan before adding some onions to cook in the remaining fat. Once the onions were browned, I tossed in a cup of beer and let it simmer.

Usually, I go for a high quality beer, but this time I went a little askew. The beer of choice was a Burger Beer, leftover from my sister's visit over a month-and-a-half ago. It's cheap and stays good forever in a can, but most importantly, it's a German style lager. There really is nothing special about the beer, but I did taste the same yeast as was in my much more expensive and better tasting Avery German style beer.

Get It Together: The Kaiser and the Oktoberfeast
I planned a dinner the other night consisting of stove top brats, German potato salad, and Brussels sprouts with sour cream and bacon. These foods made my "Oktoberfeast" complete...well, almost.

With fall comes a new set of seasonal beers. There are the porters, stouts, and pumpkin beers for sure, but I love a good Oktoberfest. Not being the biggest fan of lagers, I struggle to find a good Oktoberfest brew. Great Lakes out of Cleveland, OH makes a good one as does Bell's. However, Great Lakes doesn't distribute here and the Bell's Oktoberfest was sold in rather limited quantities.

Luckily, Avery's The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest hit the shelves here in Columbia this fall. This beer actually reminded me a lot of the cheap, rice-based Burger beer I used on the brats, but it had something more. The yeasts of these two beers was where similarities began and ended. The Kaiser is a thick, syrupy malt bomb that matches the greasy intensity of even the most German meal. If I see this beer ever on a menu at a restaurant, I'm ordering the brats and kraut every time.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The last Gourmet arrived today.

I don't know what to say.

I gasped audibly when I heard you were gone.
Goodbye, beautiful photos of beautiful foods and beautiful places.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Support Local Matters

To the area localvores reading this blog: you may be interested in checking out the website for Local Matters, a Columbus-area NFP working to distribute and raise awareness about locally grown, sustainable food. On our Market-to-Market bicycle trek last weekend, the organization's volunteers were out in force, helping spread the good word and co-sponsoring the event. You can join their Facebook group, too, so help support the cause.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Beer Meatloaf and Pumpkin Beer Bread

Over at my beer blog, I posted something on cooking with beer. I made a meatloaf that insures your loaf doesn't dry out (along with adding some flavor) and a pumpkin bread that is basically pumpkin beer with self-rising flour (plus a few other things.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

grab a spoon: a post on soup

I love a good project. With my absolute favorite season of autumn approaching, a few weeks ago I proposed to Jerms that we begin a culinary endeavor: a new soup every week. We are definitely big fans of soup. Really, what’s not to love? They are endlessly adaptable, as simple or complicated as you want them to be, healthy, beautiful, restorative, easily adaptable to vegetarian eating, and bountiful enough to offer leftovers, which are often even more delicious than the initial bowl.

So far our Autumn 2009 Tour of New Soups has covered Veganomicon's Creamy Tomato (the creamy texture comes from pureed potato), Ina Garten's Rosemary and White Bean, Split Pea from the same book, and Chickpea Noodle. The final soup in that list, all of which we prepared vegan, was especially fantastic. I think it's replaced my go-to soup for veg*ns who have colds, flus, and other soup-healing ailments. I modified it slightly: I skipped the mushrooms because we didn’t have any, doubled the carrots, used water since we had no mirin in the house, used soybean miso (the entire 1/3 cup), and used whole wheat noodles, the “Amish” kind that often come in a clear plastic bag (such noodles are the kind of thing my mom sends home with me after a visit at my parents' house, aw). I also added chopped fresh kale at the end, which wilted nicely and upped the nutritional value.

One other new soup we've tried so far is a cheater, I suppose, but nevertheless Trader Joe’s 17 Bean and Barley is adaptable and healthy, with the ease of only requiring the addition of your chosen ingredients (or following their handy suggestions). Plus, you can try and identify the 17 beans while eating dinner. Fun!

Other favorite soups in our repertoire include Chili (served in the Cincinnati style, on top of spaghetti); Hearty Tomato with Lemon and Rosemary; Pinto Bean for when we want to eat like Buddhist monks; Lentil; Corn Chowder; a simple vegetable that starts with V8 juice and any veg we have on hand, plus additions like barley and edamame; and Garlic and Potato, my former stand-by soup for sipping out of a mug when feeling under the weather. Also, I highly recommend Better Than Bouillon for vegetable broth. It's economical, has very little packaging, and the taste adds a rich base to any soup.

I will write an update as our new-soup-making project continues. Any suggestions for ones we should try?

(Photo of beet soup taken last March in San Francisco, at Brenda's, where I shared a delightful meal with Rebecca, Lu, and Jason.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Alton Brown Interview in Gizmodo

Alton Brown, host of Good Eats, Iron Chef America, the excellent Feasting on Asphalt/Waves miniseries, and patron Saint of this humble blog, was recently interviewed by the gadget blog Gizmodo on his penchant for "hacking" kitchen (and non-kitchen) gadgets to do things for which they weren't necessarily intended. Give it a read.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad

I've seen so many blogs mention this salad lately, in some form or another, that I just had to try it, especially when I spotted some fresh baby brussels sprouts from Northridge Organic at the farmers market yesterday. I'm happy to say it did not disappoint...

The recipe, courtesy of the lovely Ms. O:
Raw Brussels Sprout Salad with Almonds and Parmesan
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Place almonds on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, slice Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible. In large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper. Add Brussels sprouts, almonds and Parmesan cheese. Toss until combined.

I found that it needed 15 minutes in the fridge after mixing, to let the lemon juice work on the sprouts a bit. Also, if you have a mandoline, it makes quick work of the slicing operation.

This got a solid "It's alright" from Ben, sworn enemy of all things Brussels or Sprout.

Friday, July 10, 2009

summer libation project, a la zac

Inspired by Zac's summer beer project, I thought I would report on my own summer consumption of adult bevvies. Seriously, this summer has been the best. And I haven't even gone on vacation yet! Anyway, I'm totally in love with this summer and I think I've sampled some tasty drinks, especially for a grad student on a budget.
  • Magic Hat Wacko. A librarian friend of mine recommended this to me in light of my love of beets. This beer is delicious and beautiful. I don't really have the vocabulary to describe beer like Zac does...and I don't have one in front of me at the moment to sip and be inspired by so this is just to say: I really enjoyed it. All Magic Hat beers are vegan.
  • Dogfish Head Aprihop. I thought this was the beer Zac recommended but then I got home and realized it was the Peche. Damn. I'll have to buy the Peche next time. The Aprihop is good but not amazingly delicious, in my opinion. It does taste like summer, though, so I definitely recommend it. Dogfish Head can't really go wrong by me. Note to self: try all their beers instead of always getting Raison D'Etre and 90 Minute IPA.
  • In the comments to Zac's post we discussed cream ales and recently I was reminded of one of my favorites: Buffalo Bill's Orange Blossom Cream Ale. I think this is a great summer beer and I just picked some up for our upcoming Minnesota lake vacation.
  • Boulevard Wheat. Zac posted about this beer and his plans to mix it with lemonade. Wheat is my favorite beer and I can't get it on Ohio. Instead of drinking it, then, I wax nostalgic about it. For example, many fabulous evenings of my life have been spent sharing pitchers of Wheat at Minsky's on Main in Kansas City, where each pitcher is ringed with half a dozen lemon wedges. Any time my family in Missouri visits me they bring me some, bless them. I'm sure my parents will bring me some of this at the lake. Perhaps we'll try this lemonade thing.
  • Tucher Helles Hefeweizen. My sister loves this beer and she introduced me to it. She first had it at Das Stein House in Jefferson City, MO. It's sold at Jungle Jim's so I often get her some (I import German beer and IKEA items to Missouri on a regular basis.)
  • Left Hand Milk Stout. I have a bottle of this in the fridge right now. One bottle. I first drank this beer at the Old Mohawk Bar in German Village, Columbus, OH. It's rich and delicious and refreshing and awesome. It's not a summer beer. It's a year round beer, a dinner beer if you will.
  • Chimay. I had my first bottle of this at Myra's Dionysus last weekend after J, J, and I went to see the new Woody Allen movie. Where has this beer been all my life?! Where have these Trappist monks been hiding?! In a monastery or something?! A new favorite for sure.
  • Now for bevvies beyond beer. If you haven't had a Bellini you really must treat yourself. Bellinis are served in Venice and drinking it really takes me back. Combine peach nectar (I like the tall glass bottles from the grocery store) with Prosecco sparkling wine. Please use Italian Prosecco, please. I'm begging you. Bellini-makings are fun to take to a dinner party, which is one of my favorite things to do. At the end of the evening, after dessert and when the conversation is getting really good, it's nice to have this refreshing taste of summer. If I can't go to Europe, at least I can drink it.
  • I also had Trader Joe's sake for the first time. It's really good and it may surprise you how tasty it is. They also have a "sparkling" sake, which in my opinion is just wrong, so make sure you get the non-sparkling variety.
I think that about covers it. Beyond my knitting night Shiner Bocks and pints of Guinness that's what I've been tossing back these days. I think next summer I will fulfill my longtime desire to make Limoncello but I didn't get it together earlier in the spring to have some for summer evening, after dinner sipping. What have you been drinking lately?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

For all the CSA fans in the house...

I was perusing Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools blog as I am wont to do when I stumbled across this recent review of LocalHarvest, a CSA/co-op/community agriculture/farmer's market/restaurant search tool that helps you locate such offerings in your area. I'm fascinated by the almost natural synergy (excuse the hackneyed term, but it's early) of back-to-basics movements and new social networking technologies. Many of the locations we're familiar with came up with a simple zip code search (North Star, The Sipples, Wayward Seed, North Market, and many more), so it passed my rigorous testing, at least.

On an entirely unrelated note, for the gastronomic sadists out there: FancyFastFoods is a site dedicated to helping those Cheesy Gordita Crunches and McRib Sandwiches realize their culinary apogee (well, aesthetically... certainly not nutritionally or taste-wise). The food photography, incidentally, is incredible. Like tapas? Here's what you can do with cheap, greasy White Castle fare:

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Cried at Lunch Today, But For All The Right Reasons...

Fans of street food, Mexican cuisine, budgetary constraint, and the porcine flesh, do take note: Worthington is now home to a new restaurant dubbed Taco Al Pastor. It's an unassuming little joint that doles out the usual Mexican fare (burritos, quesadillas, etc.), but is also one of the only places in the area that serves its eponymous dish: street tacos filled with spit-cooked pork made tender by the enzymatic caresses of pineapple, plus an assortment of spices, herbs, etc. They're all the rage in Mexico City (more here)... Three tacos and a can of Diet Coke for under $5. Go get some.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Will single-source chocolate be the next food item to go extreme?

Our friend Alan at Patric Chocolate introduced his new chocolate bar today. It's sooooo EXTREME!!! 70% Madagascar bar with freakin' nibs! This may blow any candy bar on the market out of the water. As I told Alan, this bar is ridunculous, for sheez. Buy one and get the 411 here.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

beautiful & delicious

Being friends with Jason offers a multitude of benefits. And many of them are edible! Here's his take on summer snacks before a movie. All ingredients are local.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

books for foodies: got a recommendation?


To declare the completely obvious, I love foodie-ish books. In the spring I read Molly's book A Homemade Life. Earlier this summer I breezed through Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires and 2008's Best Food Writing. I'm looking for more. Do you have an suggestions, foodie books you've loved beyond the super popular titles (like the important work of Michael Pollan or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle)?

Libation: A Bitter Alchemy caught my eye today. What else do you have for me?

You Scream, We All Scream

R and I have been ice cream-making fools as of late. My mom gave us the ice cream attachment for the KitchenAid mixer for our birthdays. (Remember that R is older than me.) So, we've put it to good use.

Actually, R has put it to good use. She's made lavender, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla (with real vanilla bean) ice cream so far. All have been excellent. It's not Jenni's, but it's good. And R made it all.

Until now.

I made a ice cream with Bell's Expedition Stout using a recipe from Perfect Scoop. The original actually called for Guinness Stout which is little on the weak side for me. An imperial Russian stout like the Bell's Expedition is more than twice as alcoholic and infinitely more flavorful.

Due to the extra alcohol, the ice cream was soft, but it was very good. Chocolate, roasted malt, hops, coffee all assaulted my taste buds. It was great for my tastes, but R complained of bitterness. That may have been the hops. Pairing this ice cream with some vanilla would probably cut the bitterness.

So, for your own Bell's Expedition Stout ice cream, here's what you do:
  1. Turn to page 32 of Perfect Scoop.
  2. Follow the directions using high-end, organic milk chocolate and substituting a Russian imperial stout for the Guinness.
  3. Mix and chill.
  4. Drink the rest of the beer.
  5. Churn in your ice cream maker. (Here, Ziplock bags, salt, and ice will probably not do.)
  6. Freeze.
  7. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For Your Reading Pleasure...

From the WIRED SCIENCE blog, an article on an upstart web service called FarmsReach used to coordinate farmers' market vendors and area (Bay area) restaurants specializing in local, sustainable food. We could use something like that here in Columbus, so... yeah... somebody get started on that.

Food Web, Meet Interweb: The Networked Future of Farms

By Alexis Madrigal

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