Monday, July 30, 2012

Drinking like the Queen

Even though we weren't having a big get together for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies this year, we still wanted a special cocktail to enjoy while watching. Well, I was watching "The Monarchy at Work" on PBS and the bartender at Buckingham Palace gave us the answer. We would drink what the Queen drinks, Dubonnet and Gin.
Drinking like the Queen
Now, we aren't drinking out of special engraved crystal cocktail glases, but beyond that we tried to stick to the drink as was told by said bartender.

Dubonnet and Gin
Drinking like the Queen
1 slice lemon
2 ice cubes
1 part English gin
2 parts Dubonnet

Remove any pits from the lemon slice (the Queen does not spit out lemon pits). Put the slice at the bottom of the glass. Top with two ice cubes (the most perfect cubes in the freezer). Add gin and Dubonnet. Mix.

Makes 1 cocktail

Dubonnet is a French aperitif (some stores keep it with the vermouth). It has an herbal flavor to it which blends well with the juniper flavor of the gin. I found it an easy drinker, but a strong little cocktail, just one went to my head. Bravo, to Betty for drinking something a little more interesting then a glass of sherry.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Friday, July 27, 2012

Going for the Gold Ice Cream

I love the Olympics, especially the spectacle that is the opening ceremonies. Typically, I have a party where I ask people to bring food and drink from various countries. This year we are keeping things a little more low-key, but I still wanted to make something special to enjoy while watching. With the hot weather we've been having, ice cream seemed to be the way to go.
Going for the Gold Ice Cream
I wanted to celebrate England with this ice cream, so the base is flavored with Hobgoblin Dark English Ale and then studded with pieces of honeycomb candy (what you'd find inside a Cadbury Chunchie bar). The ice cream has a nice strong malty beer favor (with just a hint of banana from this beer). The honeycomb candy melts into sweet, golden caramel/toffee flavored bites. Together they make a winning team.

I use the ice cream base recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Jeni's is in Columbus, Ohio, but our local higher end grocery store has recently started carrying her small batch ice creams (all the pints are hand labeled in Sharpie). We fell in love with flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Brown Butter Almond Brittle. When we saw that she had a book out on how to make her ice creams at home we grabbed it! You can get her basic ice cream base recipe on Saveur too.

Going for the Gold Ice Cream
The beer is not cooked down in this recipe, so the final ice cream does have a small alcoholic content.

Ice Cream Base:

2 c whole milk
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 oz cream cheese
1/8 t fine salt
1 1/4 c heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
2 T light corn syrup
1/2 c Dark English Ale (a stout or porter would be good too)

Make the ice cream base:

Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch and set aside

Put the cream cheese and salt into a large bowl, whisk and set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, add the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Let boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to heat and bring to a boil again. Let boil whole stirring, for one minute. It should be smooth and slightly thickened.

Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese. Stir in the ale.

Cool in the fridge overnight or put into an ice bath to chill completely.


Honeycomb Candy:
from Wikihow though I added the bits about reaching the proper candy temperature.

5 T white sugar
2 T golden syrup (I've seen some recipes that just use honey, but golden syrup is traditional in England)
2 T honey
2 t water
1 T baking soda


Make the Honeycomb:

Have you water and baking soda measured out and ready to go. Grease a baking sheet or cover the bottom with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Put the sugar, golden syrup and honey into a heavy saucepan. Melt over medium-heat. Bring to a low boil, stirring quite often. Boil until the mixture reached the hard crack point, just above 300F. The mixture should caramelize to a slightly darker brown. Remove from the heat and add the water and baking soda. Stir in quickly. The mixture will foam up (this created the honeycomb). Pour out on to prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. Break into small pieces, smaller than a nickel. (Don't worry if your honeycomb isn't completely crisp, mine wasn't. It'll melt in the ice cream so just needs to be stiff enough to break up.)

Freeze the Ice Cream:

Freeze the ice cream according to the directions on your ice cream maker. Package it in an air tight container, layering in pieces of honeycomb candy. Let sit in the freezer for at least a couple of hours to let the candy to soften.

Makes 1 quart

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cream Cheese and Pepper Burger

Just a quickie to share last night's tasty burger toppings with you.
There were a couple sweet peppers ripe in the garden and half a package of cream cheese in the fridge, so I thought I'd try them on my burger. I sautéed the peppers until soft and creamy. Yum, this was a surprisingly good combination. I would do this again any day. It would be good with a little spicy pepper too.

I do have to admit though it's not quite as good as cream cheese and green olive on a burger...

What are your favorite, slightly strange burger toppings?

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Easy Gazpacho

When the tomatoes are ripe and the temps soar into the triple digits, it's the right time of year for gazpacho. Really, there is nothing like a bowl of this cooling soup with some crusty bread when the thought of turning on the oven, or even the grill, seems unbearable.
Easy Gazpacho
Ok, you do have to turn on the stove for this, but just briefly to blanch the tomatoes to remove the skins. Do it in the morning before the house heats up.

I just winged it with this version using what vegetables we had on hand and adding things I thought sounded good. Funny thing is, it's probably the best version of gazpacho I've ever made. All the flavors blend together so one vegetable doesn't over power the rest. The balsamic adds some depth and the red pepper flakes a litte zing. The color is a gorgeous deep red. Cilantro, while not typical in gazpacho, really goes with it beautifully, but if you are one of those people who can't eat cilantro leave it out. I can't recommend topping it with sweet corn more, the crunch and sweetness it adds is really something special.

Easy Gazpacho

1 c peeled, seeded and roughly chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1 large sweet white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
handful of fresh cilantro (optional)
1 11.5 oz can of tomato juice
1 t kosher salt
1/8 t - 1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 T balsamic vinegar

Put everything in a blender or food processor. Process until everything is chopped but the soup still has a little texture. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

Makes 4 cups

Optional toppings:
cooked corn kernels (To cook an ear of corn easily, peel the husk without removing it. Remove all the silk you can. Push the husk back up around the corn. Microwave on hight for 3 minutes. Perfectly done corn)
diced cucumbers
diced onion

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Farmers Market Finds and Weekly Menu 6/15 - 6/21/12

It's hot, just nasty hot. Even a simple trip to the farmers market requires a shower afterwards. Luckily, that summer weather means the produce is looking beautiful at the market right now.
Mainly, we stuck to the basics...

Eggs
Sweet Corn
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Garlic
Beans
Sweet Onions
Fingerling Potatoes

And here is how we'll use them this week...

Swedish Shrimp Sandwiches - with hard boiled eggs
Gazpacho topped with sweet corn - using the first of the tomatoes from our garden
Quiche with sweet onions and zucchini
Hamburgers with roasted potatoes and green beans

Really a pretty easy menu, but one that works well with the weather.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Colorado Beercation

Did you all have a fabulous Fourth? Matt and I decided to get out of town and head to Colorado for some beer tasting and perhaps a little cooler weather. We started out in Denver which was hot and smokey from the wildfires in Colorado Springs. We cooled off at downtown brewery Great Divide.
Great Divide Brewery Great Divide Brewery
Quite the popular place on a Thursday evening. Matt and I each enjoyed a 3 sampler flight for $3 with the proceeds going to charity. I had the Wild Raspberry Ale, which I wish had more raspberry flavor, the Wolfgang Doppelbock, yummy, and the Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, perfect.
The next day we made a quick drive through Golden to wave at the mammouth Coors Brewing Co. on the way to the beer mecca of Ft. Collins. On the route to Ft. Collins we stopped at Longmont for lunch and beers at Oskar Blues.
Oskar Blues
Oskar Blues has three beers on the American Homebrewers Association's top 50 beers list from 2011. Matt has been working on trying them all, but these beers weren't available here in Minnesota. This was his chance to try them all and eat some great Southern food (my shrimp po-boy and Matt's bbq pork were fabulous).
Oskar Blues Oskar Blues
I had a sour wheat called Berliner Weisse Ale from Crabtree Brewing that was fabulous. I'm a sucker for a good sour beer, if only I could get this one at home.

We pulled into Ft. Collins as the monsoon rains hit, but that didn't keep all the breweries from being absolutely packed! Our first stop was one of Matt's favorite breweries, Odell.
Odell Odell
Another wheat sour! I was a happy girl. The Cutthroat Porter was great too. Next stop was right around the corner, New Belgium.
New Belgium New Belgium
Definitely the biggest and most popular of the breweries we visited, it also had what could be our favorite beers of the trip. We have really enjoyed the Lips of Faith series and the two we tried here did not disappoint. I had the Tart Lycee which is an amazing summer beer, luckily their libation locator shows I can get it at home. Matt went nuts for the Cocoa Mole Ale. He described it as the best spice cake you ever had, a bottle of this went home with us.

The final stop for the day was back in downtown Ft. Collins, the little Equinox Brewing.
Equinox Brewing Equinox Brewing
We had never heard of Equinox until someone mentioned it at Great Divide. Their tasting room was a popular place with the locals on a Friday evening, probably also due to the live music that night. Their beers were enjoyable with the Rockbiter Steinbier and Rockbiter aged in bourbon barrels being the most interesting.
Beau Jo's Colorado Style Pizza
After all that it was time for some Colorado Style Pizza at Beau Jo's and another pint from New Belgium. So this Colorado style pizza, every Beau Jo's we saw on our trip was packed, we figured we had to try it. You order your pizza by the pound, a good portion of which is crust. Every table has a bottle of honey on it and once you have eaten the part of the pizza with the toppings you put honey on the crust for dessert. It was so good, especially if there was a little bbq sauce from the pizza left on the crust too.

A few other tips of places we enjoyed in Colorado...

In Denver we stayed at The Curtis Hotel, a Hilton that is more like a boutique. Every floor has a theme like big hair, scary movies or dance music. It's bright and fun plus is an easy downtown location. Bonus the attached restaurant/martini bar, The Corner Office, is much better than your average hotel eats. The menu has a lot of ethnic flavors and dishes as well as creative cocktails. Their happy hour is pretty popular.

Also in Denver we ate at Rioja. The chef there is a James Beard nominee and the restaurant is considered one of the best in Denver. Matt and I both had pasta dishes which were so beautifully made. His was a deconstructed carbonara and mine an artichoke ravioli in broth. We cannot recommend this place enough.

Finally, we spent a day in Rocky Mountain National Park. What an amazing place! The day was cloudy with looming rain but didn't ruin any of the beauty. I'm so glad I finally got to see this part of the US.
Rocky Mountain National Park Rocky Mountain National Park
One tip, if you plan on spending a day in the park bring your own food. The only concessions at the alpine summit and it was packed. We stopped at the Safeway in Estes Park and picked up a picnic lunch and snacks. Picnic areas with amazing views (and fearless chipmunks) are around every corner of the park.
Rocky Mountain National Park

Now, we are busy planning our next big trip, Iceland and Denmark!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Old Fashioned" Pork Chops

We're only around for dinner for a couple days this week, so no need for a weekly menu or farmers market trip. Instead I'll start your week off with Matt's latest grilled concoction, "Old Fashioned" Pork Chops.
"Old Fashioned" Pork Chops
These are not old fashion pork chops, these are pork chops marinated in the ingredients for Matt's favorite cocktail, an Old Fashioned. Sometimes I feel like you can't really taste the flavors of a marinade in the finished meat, but that is not the case with this one. It's not they they are over-powering, instead you can taste the different components and how well they compliment the pork. I don't particularly like to drink bourbon, but apparently I really love it on pork. Plus, no dry pork here, these chops came out juicy even thought a little more well cooked than we planned.

"Old Fashioned" Pork Chops

1/4 c orange juice
1/4 c bourbon
couple dashes of bitters

2 boneless, double-cut pork chops

salt and pepper

Mix the juice, bourbon and bitters together. Pour in a ziplock bag and add chops. Seal getting as much air out as possible. Marinate in the fridge for 4 - 6 hours.

Remove the chops from the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness.

Makes 2 servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2012 Kathy Lewinski
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