Tag Archives: Belgian


11 Jan

I have the best brother in the whole world.  Christmas started off with the proper glassware I needed for different styles of beer, since I’d been roughing it at school with a shaker, a double-handled mug and a sampling glass.  Without even remembering to ask for it, my wonderful brother had slipped an equally wonderful surprise into my stocking: my very own triple beer hydrometer.  This giant thermometer allows me to measure the weight of a liquid in relation to water (the gravity) and calculate the abv — essential to any homebrewer.

I woke up accidently way too early on Christmas day, which is never the case in my house, and so half way through presents I was melting down the armchair and pinned under wrapping paper and an assortment of gifts…all because I was too tired to move them to the floor.

By the time my brother gave me his last present to me, it was so heavy and situated directly under my chin I not only had trouble breathing but I couldn’t unwrap it.  This was the present, in more ways than one, that made me sit up and take notice.  The insides: Delirium Noël, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Dogfish Head Theobroma, Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, my all time favorite Rochefort Trappistes 10, St. Bernardus Tripel and Southern Tier UnEarthly IPA.  Oh, and just for funsies and to share, he brought home a 750 of Dupont Avec les Bons Vouex, a Belgian saison to die for: pours a really beautiful hazy orange/amber with an enormous super-fluff off-white head. Laces a teeny bit at the beginning. Seems like a saison/geuze hybrid because of the nice yeastiness and white grapes but is balanced with a sweetness.

A treasure trove of craft beer!  What more could a girl ask for?!  Well, about a week later a dear friend brought me a beer I’ve been waiting to get my hands on for a long time.  Back from Chicago, he came armed with Three Floyds Behemoth Barleywine.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this brewery, start doing your homework because they have been giving the Midwest something of which to be truly proud and for the rest of the world to salivate over.

Carbonade Flamande

29 Dec

Today we got hit by a lot of snow which really effed up my gargantuan To Do List (an unending, multifarious list for which I am famous in my Art History Senior Seminar).  I fishtailed around some streets and got stuck trying to haul ass up a tiny mole hill in my little Mazda 3 Hatchback, and finally got so pissed off that I went home and started my first carbonade flamande thanks to a recipe from Carlo, on Ratebeer, of De Struise Brouwers.  He is Belgian and therefore, I figured he’d know this Belgian beef stew and he obviously knows his beer.  My sincere thanks for a great, very do-able, recipe!  I whirled around the kitchen in a newly discovered apron that belonged to my great grandmother Grace and to the beats from a nice long set, Live @ Sensation White 2006 (David Guetta).  The beginning of this awesome set made me wish I was sweating in Ibiza rather than freezing and fuming in Ohio winter:  “Last night I had a dream that I lived in a speaker.  And the sky was a smoke filled room in Ibiza.  The sun was a crystal ball shining 24 hours a day.  My air was the wind of the woofer bouncing off the walls.  My soul was the spirit of all the children dancing.  My rain was the sweat that rolled off their faces.  My lightning was a strobe that filled the room like a tropical storm.  This is my world.  This is my planet.  And my planet ROCKS”.

The Recipe Stateside:

2 packages of beef stew tips, already cut up — browned in pan with butter, then transferred to stockpot

4 small yellow onions+1 large shallot+4 small garlic cloves — browned up in pan that used to have beef tips

Added the onion/shallot/garlic contents to stockpot with a tablespoon of white flour

Next: 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 3 bay leaves, 4 cloves, several sprigs of thyme

Ok then, 4 slices of white bread (I used Great Lakes Baking Co. Rustic French) slathered on one side in dijon mustard, place mustard side down on top of the beef/onion concoction

Pour over bread stuff, 2 small tupperware thingies of homemade chicken stock (Carlo says 25cL) and a BIG honker of Chimay Bleu (you can use the Chimay Red/any abbey dubbel/any Flemish sour)

Let it simmer for 150-180 minutes on the lowest possible heat.  The slow cooking yields very tender beef and an interesting sweet/sour combination.  It’s a tasty dish but I found it a little heavy for my tastes, so I don’t know if I’ll repeat it.  But if I did, I feel like it could benefit from some parsnips and carrots but then I guess it wouldn’t be a true carbonade.  I served it over penne rigate because I had some and was too hungry after coming back around 10 from seeing Invictus (which EVERYONE should see), to do anything else.  One of the odd joys of making this dish is the cute little sounds it makes throughout the process.  Before stirring in the soggy bread slices, I was tickled by the weird little heavy breathing bread bubbles huffing and puffing away, struggling under the pressure to keep the stew from breaching its crust.

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