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Lesson #1. Cooking with Beer


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OR. The Intoxicating Chef

Lesson #1----What Beer can add to a recipe

I use to think of titles for cook books. Once I thought I was so clever and thought of a cook book using just pressure canning recipes. I wanted to call it Cooking Under Pressure! I thought it was so clever. Then I found a recipe book with almost the exact title. I am now under the opinion that I can never think of anything that has not already been thought of. I have a library of cookbooks and I have so many fond memories of dishes shared, memories made and recipes tweaked. So many of the recipes have stars by the name of the dish. One star for okay if this is all you have in the pantry to 5 stars that prove a way to a mans heart is through his stomach. These recipes have a sentence to remind me of what was said and who liked it. I hope to always have these precious keepsakes for they are more than a recipe book but little glimpses of a life gone past....

I am constantly amazed at the endless variety Jehovah extends to us in absolutely everything. Understanding the properties of beer and how it works in cooking can unlock your inner creativity and help you use it to the fullest.

For example, close your eyes and think back to the best fried fish you ever ate. Okay, do you remember? The batter was probably light and crunchy while the fish was moist, tender, rich and flakey. There is an excellent chance that fish you recall so fondly was made with beer. The reason beer enhances a batter so is because when the hot oil encompasses the fish, the CO2 in the beer is released creating air in the coating. This chemical reaction produces a nice light crunch without having to overlook the fish inside. Now think of all the things you could use that same batter on. Eggplant, okra, veggies, zucchini, even cheese sticks.

Who doesn't love a good beer bread? The dense, tender, sweet flavor and nice chew. The beer in this type of bread makes the end result. As you mix the dough the proteins in the flour become hydrated and gluten strands form. Sugar in the beer counteracts this process as it fights for the liquid. This process keeps the bread from rising too much and helps create this tender, tasty texture. In addition, the yeast in the beer is a natural leavening agent without having to add yeast.

Now, let's put behind us the tasty bread, and sweet, crunchy fish and move in another direction. Simply put, beer tastes good and can elevate the level of your cooking. It just makes food better! I would rather cook with it than drink it. Well, except for a few favors out there.

Using the right beer can intensify the flavors already present. A malty brown ale can bring out the sweet flavors of carrots and onions in your stews and casseroles and helps to tenderize the meat. A hoppy IPA sauce can create a bright note with just enough bitterness to balance a fruit stuffed pork roast and dressing. But be careful if you plan on reducing your sauce for a reduction because a hoppy beer can get more bitter if you over cook it.

A sweet stout with lactic sugar or chocolate and Caramel flavors make excellent cakes and brownies. By replacing half of the milk with a flavored sweet stout really makes the chocolate linger on your palate. And who doesn't want to linger longer with chocolate? Am I right Vernalee and Dustparticle? Remember that barrel aged stouts are rightly more intense due to the aging process so they can over power the chocolate. And I don't want anything overpowering my chocolate.

Don't forget about using the wildly, popular, trending sour flavor combinations beer such as Michelob Raspberry-Pomegranate beer as the vinegar portion in your homemade salad dressings. For all you cheese makers out there you can substitute a sour beer in place of the lemon and change the flavor profile of your cheese.

Just have fun! Let your imagination kick in and come up with your signature profile combination! Substitute a variety of beers for wine, stock, or water. The combinations are endless! But remember to keep a notepad with you and don't commit your creation to memory otherwise you'll remember the best dish you ever made and no way to recreate it!

I plan on hoping to dedicate this tread to all of us enthusiasts who love to cook and try new things and probably more important to stimulate ones who have not experienced how rewarding cooking a meal can be. Our recipes contains spirits can be found here.

I hope this encourages you to experiment with something new. And please let me know what you come up with! Bon Appitite!

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If you like books about cooking with beer I really enjoy:

 

    The Best of American Beer & Food by Lucy Saunders

 

It gives some great info on beer and food pairing and the recipes are amazing. 

 

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Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Best-American-Beer-Food-Pairing/dp/0937381918/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442602273&sr=8-1&keywords=the+best+of+american+beer+and+food+pairing+%26+cooking+with+craft+beer

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I've used beer for brat's which was very smokey and sweet.  I reduced it till it was actually a syrup and the brats were all sticky with it. YUM!

 

Then the bell peppers and onions were caramelized and a little beer added to make a sweet jam for the condiment for the brats.  Served on buttered and toasted hoagie rolls.


Edited by LeslieDean
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Oh Mandi, please share with us (me!) about your son's excellent opportunity to take the cooking course.  I love to learn and especially if if is about Jehovah, cooking, home ideas and animals.  I find that cooking is so much science too which has increased my appreciation and desire to learn about science.  Tell me about some favorite dishes or family dishes you love to make.  I really want to now the tradition and history connected with them! 

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