Tag Archives: ESB

Tuscan Breakfast

21 Jul

My mother raised my brother and me in a household that was ethnocentric — we grew up knowing all the names of different spices, we knew what a wok was, we were accustomed to curries, etc. — but the one that stood out the most was Italian.  My mother and father spent some quality time in Italy and it stuck with them for a very long time.  The simplest recipe my mother loves to prepare to this day, and I love to wow friends with, is the tuscan farmer’s breakfast of fettunta and red wine.  If you’re doing a breakfast of champions a different way, I would go for a nice bitter or even a sour ale if you’re game to compliment the salty/garlic beauty of this simple fare.

garlic to fettunta

FETTUNTA:

Grab a loaf of some good thick rustic french bread (I love Italian food but the bread I will leave to the French, they are the masters): the kind with a dusting of flour and a basic ingredients list, we are NOT looking for a sourdough.

Cut a few thick 1/2 inch slices then cut in half and pop into the toaster.  If you don’t have a toaster improvise and toss it into a hot skillet or even hold over a gas stove flame (try not to burn down the house).

Once out of the toaster golden brown, you’ll want a big garlic clove or two, with the skins off.  Take the clove and start rubbing down that piece of bread, it’ll start to shred with the vigor of the rub but that is ok, this is the desired effect.

Next drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, do not soak it with the stuff.

Then just take some sea salt and sprinkle over top. This is the basic recipe but you can get creative with pepper and other spices if you so choose.

This is not the shitty creamy garlic soaked bread you get at the grocery store, so be prepared to fall in love and wish you were a Tuscan farmer.

Baby’s First Beer Dinner

6 Jul

A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at pairing an interesting beer list around a dinner prepared by a friend.  I knew my audience: 11 friends and some family, a few winos and some dedicated but uneducated hopheads.  The menu was a delicious hodge-podge: Cambodian chicken rice (details below), bbqed thick cut steaks, chickpea salad and for dessert crepes with homemade walnut frangipane.

To whet our appetites I started the diners off with a personal hop favorite, Bell’s Hopslam (only downside is the pricey nature of a 6-pack so go singles and mix it up with other hoppy friends like Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus, etc.).

Beer truly made its place known at our table and garnered the attention of everyone.  To compliment the juicy chargrilled steaks: Lakefront Organic ESB.  For the spicyness of both the Cambodian chicken rice and the chickpea salad a bottle of Saison Dupont Vielle Provision and a Cantillon Gueuze – the tartness of both played off the spicyness and citrus aspect complimented the ingredients of the salad well.  Dessert was incredibly rich and very sweet, so in order to pay respect to this classic French sweet I served up small doses of Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout.  LIke a shot of coffee as an aperatif, this brew is lavish but bitter enough to stand beside the crepe.  Hell, you could pour this over vanilla ice cream and call it a night.

CAMBODIAN CHICKEN RICE:

Saute in a large and decently deep skillet one large yellow onion and a large garlic clove in olive oil over medium heat

Over the sauteed onions and garlic toss in 3 large chicken breasts cut in bite size pieces

As soon as the chicken starts to turn from pink to white start coating the surface of the entire pan with turmeric, cayenne, ground or fresh shredded ginger and black pepper.  Alter the spice amount depending on your spice threshold.  Add in about a cup of fish sauce (you can find this around the soy sauce at any large grocery store) and half a bag of frozen or fresh peas.

At the same time you start the process of the chicken and spices, start making a few cups of white rice depending on how much or how little rice you want to eat with your creation.  Once this is prepared (the simplest way I’ve found is just taking another large skillet over medium heat, throwing in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Cook the rice until it starts to turn translucent around the edges and then start adding water, let it cook out and then add more until the rice is al dente).

Once the rice is complete turn back to your chicken stew and toss in a can of coconut milk and the rice and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  Serve up with some lime wedges and cilantro.

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