To be a whizz kid at creating homemade pasta is a blessing, one I sadly lack so far. To compensate, I used Bertagni porcini mushroom tortellini — only my favorite style/shape of pasta ever. The sauce was on a whim and happily turned out AWESOME. The usual shallots and garlic with olive oil and butter browned in a pan but with the added bonus of a tablespoon of red curry paste, about the same amount of balsamic vinegar, quick squeeze of a lemon and heavy whipping cream. Once the tortellini were ready they joined the sauce in the pan for a quick coating and then topped with a pinch of shredded gruyere. The curry isn’t overwhelming but mellow, interesting and gives the dish nice color. I paired this with a Southern Tier Gemini — kind of a sweeter, less hoppy version of most IPAs, what they call a “blended unfiltered ale”, which played nicely off the bite of the shallots and sweet spice of the red curry. I think it took 15 minutes max, to the beats of Hot Chip and La Roux (hipster version of Tilda Swinton?).
I’ve visited the Great Lakes Brewing Co. two or three times and taken the tour each time in hopes that the next will be better than the last. Alas, alak they insisted on being a full 15 minutes long. Highlights included talking about the history of the place, looking at sealed bags of barley and malts and empty mashtuns, then popping out a quarter for a quarter sized sample of their most lack-luster beers.
I’m confused and disappointed by this, the largest regional brewer in Ohio presenting such a downer. Even Sam Adams in Jamaica Plain, Boston can put on a tour that shows you the difference between various hops and barley – taste, smell and feel them – then wind up the tour with communal and bountiful samples of multiple beers. Why must the largest Ohio brewer be such a bummer?
So ok, my girls and I just put together our grill with no man help and then grilled some mad delicious burgers, dogs (Hebrew National all beef franks are great) and zucchini. Real talk. We used lamb for the burgers — and may I just say that these beat bison burgers any day. Delicious. And knockin’ em back with a Fort Collins Big Shot brown ale wasn’t so bad either. Grilled up some zucchini and made the RAG salad and s’mores to finish. Life isn’t so bad as a senior in college right now…until I realized that I actually have work. Wee womp.
While I adamantly loathe the era of the celebrity chef and next Food Network stars, I actually turn to Martha Stewart occasionally. I learned this behavior from a boss of mine when I was working as a special-events intern at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Whenever I was stuck on decisions for little things such as napkin holders, she told me that she often went to the MS website to get an idea and then mold it to the MOCA aesthetic.
Together with my roommate in Milan, we threw many dinner parties so I turned to the site for some fresh ideas towards the end of our time in Italy. The recipe I found and followed without elaboration was a simple summer treat that fit perfectly with our Italian life: strawberries, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground black pepper.
as many strawberries as you want to eat, cut into quarters and piled high on a plate
drizzle balsamic vinegar over top without drowning the fruit
fresh ground pepper over top
*I like to serve it in the middle of the table with forks for everyone to eat off the communal plate*
This plate also lead me to drizzling balsamic on fresh orange slices for a party. Within minutes the plate was empty.
Now then, beer. What goes best with the tangy zip of balsamic, the sweetness of strawberries and the spice of pepper? My thought is a nice porter, perhaps a stout: Smuttynose Robust Porter or Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura. You get the bitterness of roasted coffee notes with a mellow mouthfeel to play off the bite of the vinegar and fruit, everybody wins!