Saturday, November 7, 2009

Left Hand Beer and Food Pairing (with Slow Food Boulder)

I attended a Beer and Food Pairing event at Left Hand Brewing earlier this week. The event was sponsered by Slow Food Boulder,

Josh, the head bartender at Left Hand, did a great job of walking us through the beer and food pairings and why they were paired up together. I didn't take notes so you will have to call Josh.

All beer was provided by Left Hand and the food was from a Terroir Restaurant , Haystack Mountain, and Belvedere Belgian Chocolate Shop.

Here's what we had:
Bruschetta with Cannellini Bean, Rosemary, Truffle Oil and Haystack Mountain Goat Cheese paired with Left Hand Brewing Polestar Pilsner - South German Style Lager (5.5% ABV)

Haystack Mountain Snowdrop: Cultured, Pasturized Goat Milk Cheese paired with Left Hand Sawtooth Ale: Extra Special Bitter (4.8% ABV)

Haystack Mountain Red Cloud: Washed Rind, Raw Goat Milk Cheese (Aged 60 days) paired with Left Hand Brewing 400 Pound Monkey: English Sytle IPA (6.6% ABV)

Belvedere Raspberry Truffle: Milk Chocolate Filled with Raspberry Flavored Chocolate (34% Cacao) paired with Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout: Sweet Stout (5.9% ABV)

Belvedere Royal Truffle: Dark Chocolate Filled with Cognac Flavored Dark Chocolate Ganache (53% Cacao) paired with Left Hand Brewing Imperial Stout: Russian Imperial Stout (10.4% ABV)

It was all delicious! I was particularly fond of the Bruschetta (fabulous!!), the Snowdrop ( I think I preferred this cheese over the Red Cloud, even though the Red Cloud is more aged and more expensive) and the Dark Chocolate was delicious.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Party and Black Bean Salad

My friend, Nancy, is having her annual pumpkin carving party this evening. This party is usually pretty fun - some good artists that know how to carve pumpkins, a few fellas with guitars that can also carry a tune, a bon fire, good food and drinks and of course, fun people.

This evening's food includes enchiladas and guacamole. So, I thought I would whip up something complimentary ... Black Bean and Corn Salad.

Black Bean and Corn Salad
2 cans of Black Beans, drained and washed
1/2 cup of Grilled Corn from the cob (I grill corn in the summer and then freeze it)
1/4 of a Red Bell pepper, diced
3/4 of a Jalapeno, diced
1/2 cup chopped Red Onion
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Lime zest

Combine all of the above.

Make the dressing:
Juice of a Large Lime (~1/4 cup of juice)
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt

Toss dressing with salad. Chill and serve.

I have to say the toasted pine nuts make the dish! Yum!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cheese Straws and Goat Cheese Toast

My sister, Jill, and her 4 yr old son, Wade, will be visiting me this coming weekend. Wahoo!

As a special treat, I usually try to make her a batch of cheese straws. So, I ended up spending a couple of hours this afternoon, making cheese straws. Shh, don't tell her. ;)

By the time I finished, I wasn't up for cooking dinner. So, I made a simple and delicious appetizer that I love: Goat Cheese Toast (well, that's what I call it anyway).

Goat Cheese Toast

Bread, fresh - I like to use a baquette or ciabatta
Goat Cheese, fresh
Chili oil (I used Villa Toscana Chili Oil - flavored, exra virgin olive oil)
Piquillo peppers (I used Fire Roasted Piquillo Peppers from Lodosa)

Slice bread.

Lightly brush 1-side of bread with the chili oil and broil the oiled side until lightly toasted. Flip bread over and toast another few minutes. Try not to burn it.

Let cool slightly. Then spread on goat cheese and top with sliced peppers.

Yummy! This is extra delicious! The chili oil I used is pretty spicy and the peppers are so awesome.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Great American Beer Festival

I attended the Great American Beer Festival this past weekend. What a blast!

I volunteered to help with setup on Saturday morning (in exchange, I got a free admission ticket). I got up at 5AM on Saturday, drove to Denver, parked my car at my hotel (Burnsley hotel), walked about a mile to the convention center to start working by 8AM. The work wasn't too bad - actually kinda fun to see how it all happens. Worked until about noon and then started tasting all sorts of good beer.

Here's the list of beers I remember tasting:

Bell's Brewery - Bell's Wild One, Bell's Two Hearted Ale
Brewery Ommegang - Ommegang Adoration
Brooklyn Brewery - Brooklyn Local 1
Brugge Brasserie - Tripel de Ripple
Cascade Brewery - Cascade Kriek, Vlad the Imp Aler
DogFish Head - Theobroma, Pangaea
Kona Brewing - Coco Loco
The Lost Abbey - Inferno Ale
New Belgium Brewing - Transatlantic Kriek
New Glarus Brewing - Wisconsin Cranberry Ale
Pizza Port Carlsbad - Trigger Hoppy, 20th Anniversary Imperial Red Ale
Pizza Port San Clemente - Killer Dana
Samual Adams - something awful - oak barreled moonshine!
San Diego Brewing - Hopnotic Imperial IPA
Shorts Brewing - The Liberator, Ale La Reverend, Anniversary Ale 2009
Sierra Nevada - Belgian Trippel
Spencer Brewing - Abbey Triple
Stone Brewing - Stone IPA
Three Floyds Brewing - Dreadnaught IPA

So, that is 25 1-oz shots of beer and there were more. :)

Anyway, fun was had and I am looking forward to next year.

Busy, Busy September

I attended Virgilio's Italian Festival (The Children's Hospital benefit) on 9/20. I had a slice of cheese pizza, a couple of garlic knots and a couple of small links of italian sausage.

Everything was delicious but the sausage was exceptional. I found out that they get their sausage from Carmine Lonardo's Italian Meat Deli. Carmine Lonardo's is located in both Aurora and Lakewood.

Since I am on vacation today (one day thing), I drove to Lakewood just to pick up some of their sausage. I stocked up and bought 3lbs of hot italian and 1lb of sweet italian. I also bought a lb of their homemade ricotta cheese.

Tonight is Ales for Females so the sausage and cheese will have to wait until tomorrow. Yum!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Slow Food - Spanish Tapas

I attended the Tapas Party that Slow Food Boulder hosted at the Highland City Club (in the garden) this past Thursday evening. It was a really nice party and the weather was perfect.

They had 6 tables set up, each with their own food and beverage pairing.

This was the menu:

Cava paired with a platter of cured meats and Spanish cheeses

Sherry paired with spicy roasted nuts, olives, and grilled peaches

Albarino paired with seared scallops served with a roasted Catalan vegetable sauce

Monastrell paired with mushroom and leek tarts with zucchini and white bean puree

Pompano paired with chilled potato and tomato loaf served with a Spanish vinaigrette

Grenache paired with roasted chicken with saffron and seasonal vegetables served on crostinni

Rioja paired with minted lamb meatballs served with marinated gigande white beans

The beverages included:
Cava - Gran Gesta Reserve Brut from the Penedes region of Spain.
Albarino - Orballo from the Rias Baixas region
Monastrell - Merum from Jumilla
Verdejo (Pampano) from the region of Rueda
Grenache - Vina Alarba from Calatayud region
Rioja - Dominio Heredia from Rioja Alta region of Spain.
Fino Sherry - Barbadillo from Jerez region.

YUM! My favorite food table was the cured meats and spanish cheeses. One of the cured meats was a Honey Smoked Trout that was extra delicious. I am not a huge trout fan but this was really good. The Serrano Ham was most excellent along with the Manchego Cheese and the most delicious blue cheese!

There were a few Niwot Eats members in attendance and I met some really nice people.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

July Ales for Females - Belgium beer

On Monday, July 27th, I attended the 'Ales for Females' monthly meeting at Left Hand Brewery. This meeting focused on Belgium-style and Belgium beer tasting. We tasted (in order) Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - Bam Biere, Left Hand St. Vrain Tripel Ale and Duchesse De Bourgogne.

According to the Jolly Pumpkin website, the Bam Biere
is a 'Farmhouse Ale that is golden, naturally cloudy, bottle conditioned and dry hopped for a perfectly refreshing balance of spicy malts, hops and yeast.' This was paired with a slice of smoked salmon/cream cheese roll. It was delicious.

The St. Vrain Tripel Ale was paired with Gertie's Finest Pickled Green Asparagus - which apparently had been purchased at Costco. These were delicious and went very nicely with the St. Tripel.

Next was the Duchesse de Bourgogne from the Brouweij Verhaeghe. According to their website Duchesse de Bourgogne is a traditional Flemish red ale. It is 'matured in oak casts; smooth with a rich textture and interplay of passion fruit, and chocolate, and a long, dry and acidic finish.' This beer was paired with dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. These were delicious and really went well with the Duchesse.

I am really enjoying the Ales for Females group.