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.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Left Hand Brewery Pair & Share

Left Hand Brewery had a Pair & Share recipe contest last week. You had a create a dish to pair with their seasonal beer, St. Vrain Tripel Ale. The beer did not necessarily have to be included as an ingredient.

According to the Left Hand Brewery website , this beer 'Opens with a spicy aroma with hints of wild flower honey and orange blossom. Sweetness from the malt makes itself known immediately, progressing to bittersweet honey and dried fruit flavors, and finishing out with lingering earthiness from the hops.'

I entered my Orange Chili Pork Tacos and came in 4th (out of 10). I thought that was pretty good for my first food contest. ;)

Here's the recipe:

Orange Chile Pork Tacos
Created by Jennifer Morrison

Makes 8 soft tacos


4 boneless pork chops, chopped into bite-size pieces.
2 Tbs red chili powder (I used ground guajillo chili powder)
¾ cup reduced Orange Juice (see below for instructions)
3 Tbs olive oil

1 cup chopped sweet onion (like Vidalia)
2 cups diced (quite small) Yukon gold potatoes
1/3 cup roasted, chopped poblano peppers
Salt and pepper
3 Tbs Olive Oil

Orange, Honey Sour Cream sauce:
¾ cup Sour Cream
3 Tbs reduced Orange Juice (see below for instructions)
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp Honey

Flour Tortillas

12-pack of Left Hand Brewing Company’s St. Vrain Tripel Ale

Prep work (Do Ahead work):

Reduce Orange Juice:
Pour 2 cups of Orange Juice (I used Valencia Orange Juice) into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Let it come to a small boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer (high-simmer) for about 20 – until reduced by ½. Let cool.

Roast Poblano Peppers:
Broil 3 medium size poblano peppers on top oven rack until charred, turning every 5 minutes (total time is about 15 min). Place in plastic bag to steam off skins (~5 min). Open bag, let cool slightly, de-skin the peppers. Remove veins and seeds, slice into narrow strips and then chop each strip into small pieces.

For Pork:
Combine chili powder and reduced orange juice. Add a pinch of salt. Combine with meat cubes in a bowl. Stir to coat all pieces of meat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.

Orange, Honey Sour Cream Sauce:
Combine all ingredients with a spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Potatoes, Onions and Peppers:
Heat oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add potato pieces and cook until mostly crispy (turning periodically) – about 14 minutes. Add onion and chopped roasted poblano peppers. Cook until onion is softened – about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Build Soft Tacos:
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat with olive oil. Add meat and cook about 5 minutes, turn meat over and cook another 5 minutes until slightly browned/charred (that is the sugar from the orange juice).

Add cooked pork cubes to the potato mixture.

Heat up 8 flour tortillas (I used the 8” size). You can wrap in foil and place in oven for a few minutes to heat up.

I used my Santa Fe School of Cooking grill. This gives the tortilla a fresh grilled flavor. You can also use your grill to get this flavor. Don’t walk away – these heat up quickly over a medium heat.

Place 1/8 of the pork/potato mixture in the middle of each warmed, flour tortilla. Drizzle each taco with 2 Tbs of Orange, Honey Sour Cream sauce and then top with a few chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve with Left Hand Brewing Company’s St. Vrain Tripel Ale.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Beer Tasting Party

Niwot Eats had a Beer Tasting party last weekend. Blaine led us through a tasting of 14 different beers/beer-like beverages.

My favorite one that I wasn't familiar with was the Framboise Lambic. This is so delicious! It would never be my everyday drink but I really liked it. It had a delicious Raspberry flavor and would go great with brie cheese or cheesecake.

I purchased a few flyers on how to pair foods with craft beers from the Brewer's Association. I have a few leftover .. if you want one, let me know.

Tonight is my Ales for Females group at Lefthand Brewery - we get to drink our homebrew from last month. I am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer is here!

Geez, it is June 24th already...Summer is here (and so is the heat).

I just returned from a long weekend in N. Virginia - visiting my sister and her family.

They don’t have much Mexican food in N. VA and my sister misses it terribly. So, I almost always take her Deli Cioso burritos and green chile when I go out for a visit. This time I took her 6 breakfast burritos and a quart of medium green chile. I buy them the night before I leave and stick them in the freezer overnight. My sister, Jill and her husband were so excited to have Mexican food!

After picking up the burritos, I swung by the Cheese Importers in Longmont. They had a few cheeses to taste but the big find was some wine biscuits – they were all made with wine and pepper. American Vintage Wine Biscuits offer Red Wine w/Black Pepper, White Wine, Shallot & Cayenne Pepper and Chianti, Oregano and Crushed Red Pepper. The cheese importers only offered the latter two flavors which I bought and took on my trip to N. VA. Both the White Wine and Chiati flavors were delicious but my favorite was the Chianti. I would love to try the Red Wine crackers – I might have to order them.

I have been on a pretzel kick lately – not sure why but my favorite snack right now is pretzel rods. The last time I went to pick up some pretzel rods from the store I found that Snyder’s of Hanover has a new pretzel flavor – Pumpernickel and Onion. These are short pretzel rods with a lot of flavor. They are very good. Give ‘em a try.

I have a few favorite food items from N. VA that I try to eat while I am there or bring back with me. Usually, we have food from my favorite Indian restaurant Raaga Restaurant but we didn’t make it there this time. My favorite dish there is their ‘Kofta Lajawab – croquets made with homemade cottage cheese, potatoes and vegetables, stuffed with raisins and cashew nuts and then cooked in a cashew nut sauce’ – ah, so yummy!

I was totally set on having Ledo's pizza while I was there but my sister is tired of eating of pizza since it is one of the few foods her 4-yr old son will eat. My backup plan was to bring a pizza home but that didn’t happen either. Their pizza is shaped in a rectangle and has a very flaky crust.

I ended up buying a few favorite food items from the grocery store to bring home – Utz potato chips and Hellava Good Dip - French Onion. Neither of these products are available in Colorado – they both want their products to be eaten fresh so only east coasters get them.

I hardly like potato chips – usually they are too greasy and salty for me but these are good and dry and delicious. The dip is to die for and is not made with Beef broth (a plus for me since I don’t eat beef). I packed them all up in my carry on and was excited to bring them home. However, TSA/airline security decided that my dip may be hazardous and took it – it falls into the ‘paste’ category. How ridiculous! I now have some delicious chips that need a dip, I will be making dip soon.

All for now!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

5/31/09 Normal Day

The End of May....

So after spending the morning doing yard work (since I played most of yesterday), I had a late brunch at The Full Belly Company in Boulder.

I ordered the Long's Farm Pork Benedict, which was extremely yummy. If you know me well, you will know that I skipped the eggs (but kept the hollandaise sauce - that's enough egg for me). It was served with a pretty large helping of potatoes. They were very good but I am not much of a potato eater. Full Belly proudly supports our local ranchers and farmers. All of their ingredients are free-range, organic and natural whenever possible. I will definitely go back to try more of their scrumptious foods.

Next door to Full Belly is Arugula's Restaurant- Northern Italian. This restaurant recently opened by Chef Alec Schuler - formerly at Treppeda's Restaurant in Niwot. Many items on the menu at Arugula's were my favorites when dining at Treppedas ... like the Dover Sole in an arugula pesto or the current offering of roasted tomatoes with a hazelnut pesto, the Belgium Endive Salad and the Arugula Salad. While I have only visited Arugula's once I will definitely be going back. I hope that you'll try it too. I believe you will have an awesome meal.

Later in the afternoon, I stopped by Borders bookstore and bought two new books:

The Big Book of Preserving The Harvest by Carol Costenbader
Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon

I partially chose the above books due to a class I am taking next weekend on Canning and another class (the weekend of 6/19)on making butter and bacon (2 of my favorite things). Again, if you know me, I don't eat much meat and then there is bacon...Yum! :)

5/30/2009 'Ales for Females' Homebrew Day

Left Hand Brewing Company in Longmont is my favorite local brewery. They have a monthly group called 'Ales for Females' - trying to get women more interested in beer.

They don't have to talk me into it.. :)

This group meets at the brewery the last Monday of the month for beer tastings and other educational meetings. Since the last Monday of May was memorial day, they had us all come on Saturday morning.

Niwot Eats' Member Kristin and I spent most of the day there making our own homebrew along with Brewmaster Bryce and Sue. We made two 5-gallon batches of a red ale. They served us Abo's pizza and someone brought homemade brownies, someone else brought cheese and bread and I brought chips/salsa (from the Longmont Farmer’s Market) for sharing.

I would guess there were about 20 of us there??? We had a great time. When we go back on the last Monday evening in June, we will drink our beer and give each batch a name.

5/25/2009 Windsor Dairy Farm Tour

The Truffle Cheese Shop in Denver sponsored a tour of the Windsor Dairy Farm. Niwot Eats member, Anne and I met a bus load (~50) of people from Denver at the farm.

The Windsor Dairy farm has about 1,400 free roaming chickens (all named Henrietta), two roosters (both named Henry), 70 milking cows (a variety of types but all grass-fed), 70 calves/bulls, many goats and sheep.

Their Colona Reserve cheese is excellent!

We had a chef-prepared lunch of lamb/beef kabobs with yogurt and fresh herb sauce, frittata with sauteed greens (asparagus, spinach, spring green onions, dell mushrooms) with fresh cream and red salt, tomatoes with fresh cheese, basil and olive oil, green salad with choke cherry vinaigrette, flour tortillas (from the farmer's market), strawberry-rhubarb cobbler and ice tea with fresh mint. It was all very delicious.

They also brought out pints of their fresh milk for all of us to try. It was the most amazing milk I have ever had.

Their milk is unpasteurized so they are not allowed to sell it. But, they do sell cow shares. This allows the owners of the cow shares access to the milk and butter from these grass-fed cows. Lucky people!

The owners of this dairy are both veterinarians and farmers. Very nice family!

You can visit the Windsor Dairy Farm on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 pm-5 pm. Their cheeses are also sold at the Boulder, Longmont and Ft Collins' Farmers' markets.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

5/24/09 Day 1

What I am eating today:

Little Fig Baking Co. - Chocolate Cherry Pepper Cookies. Oh my, they are fabulous. Dark chocolate cookie, very crunchy, not too sweet, delicious chewy cherries & a nice peppery flavor. YUM!

What I am reading today:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Books I am interested in reading:
The Food of a Younger Land by Mark Kurlansky.