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The idea for this dessert happened in stages. I knew I wanted to do a beer caramel sauce, and while I have a great caramel sauce recipe, I wasn’t quite sure what amount of beer to incorporate. I went online and found a beer orange caramel sauce on foodnetwork.com that also had cardamom in it. I left out the orange and cardamom, but otherwise followed that recipe exactly. But, I didn’t want to just do a caramel sauce. So, I started thinking about things to put caramel with, and decided to make my go-to blondies, swirl in the caramel, and add some pretzel pieces. They turned out great; make some this weekend!
---Karly

BEER & CARAMEL SWIRL BLONDIES

For the beer caramel sauce:
1 bottle beer (I used Sam Adams Summer Ale)
1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of sea salt

For the blondies:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter (about 11 tablespoons)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ to 1 cup pretzels, broken in pieces
½ cup beer caramel sauce

First, you need to make the caramel sauce. Put the beer in a large saucepan and heat to a boil over medium heat. Let it simmer while stirring for 10 minutes, until it’s reduced to one cup. (I accidentally let mine reduce down to ¾ cup, and the caramel was still divine. And yes, I measured to be sure.) Add the sugar and butter and stir over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken and get syrupy, about 10-12 minutes. You want it to get to the soft-ball stage. I used a candy thermometer to be on the safe side, but if you don’t have one, you can test it by dropping a drop of the caramel into some cold water; if it forms a soft ball, it’s ready. Also, I noticed that it really seemed to bubble up a lot and get noticeably thicker. At this point, CAREFULLY add the cream (it could spatter, that’s why you want to use a large pot and pour the cream slowly). Then, let it cook, stirring, for about 5 more minutes, until it thickens a little bit. Take it off the heat, stir in the vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. As it cools, it will thicken up a bit more. It will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

After you’ve made the caramel sauce (and if you’re like me, eaten several spoonfuls once it’s cooled enough to eat), make the blondies. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stir in the brown sugar until dissolved, and then turn off the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Beat the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the pretzel pieces. Spread out the batter (it will be thick) in a greased 13x9 pan, then pour the caramel evenly over the top. Take a knife and swirl it around the batter to swirl in the caramel. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges have pulled away from the pan a bit.

Now, for the hard part….let the blondies cool completely. They really are better once they’ve cooled and set. Once they are cool, cut into squares, put some on a plate, drizzle or pour some more caramel sauce over them and enjoy!!

NOTE: The caramel sauce is so very, very good, and you will have plenty left over, so use it for ice cream, over brownies, or just eat it by itself with a spoon!!

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This is something I make for dinner when I have leftover pork tenderloin and I want a quick and easy meal. It’s also a great way to “transform” your leftovers into something very different so it’s not the same old thing.
---Karly



PORK TOSTADAS

3 cups chopped, cooked pork
½ medium onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Fresno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bottle beer (I used Dos Equis Amber)
Olive Oil
Cumin
Chili Powder (Ancho chile powder is nice in this)
Salt and Pepper
Corn Tortillas
Canola Oil

Put a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the pork. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then add the onion, garlic, and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, then add the beer. Let it come to a bubble, turn the heat down a little, and let simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

While, the pork is cooking, get your tortillas ready. You can brush them with a little canola oil and bake in an oven at 375 until golden and crisp, or you can heat a little canola oil in a skillet and fry them a minute or two on each side, until golden and crisp. When the tortillas are done, salt them while hot.

To serve, top the tortillas with pork and toppings of your choice. I used lettuce, chopped jalapeno, chopped tomato, crumbled Queso Fresco cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped black olives, and Sriracha hot sauce.

NOTE: I’ve also used this recipe with leftover chicken, so if you don’t have pork leftovers or if you don’t eat pork, chicken is also fantastic.

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So I saw this recipe on www.BeerAdvocate.com, submitted by some guy named Todd. I made the recipe exactly to his specifications, but there's way tooo much onion in this recipe for my taste, and I love onions. I omitted the eggs, but only because I didn't have any.
My suggestions: cut the amount of onion by half. And the beer dressing is good, but I think it would have been even better with a lighter beer (I used a Boston Lager), maybe a pale ale, and possibly the addition of sour cream or heavy cream.


Warm Potato Salad with Beer Dressing
2-1/2 pounds red potatoes 
6 bacon strips, cooked (not too crispy), drained and chopped 
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped 
1 small red onion, finely chopped 
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped 
Chives (for garnish), chopped 
Salt and pepper 

Beer Dressing:
1 bottle (12 oz) of German lager or pils 
Olive oil 
4 tablespoons cider vinegar 
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped 
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1/2 teaspoon sugar 
Salt and pepper


To make the salad:  
Bring salted water to a boil, add whole potatoes and cook for about 25 minutes or until a knife can pierce the potatoes (do not over cook).
Remove and let cool for a few minutes, then slice them into 1/4 round pieces.  Gently mix in the onions, parsley, cooked bacon and eggs ... then mix in the beer dressing, taking care to not break the potatoes into small bits. Salt and pepper to taste, topping with chopped chives. Serve immediately; while still warm.       
                                                 
 To make the beer dressing:   
Heat some olive oil in a pan; medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the beer, vinegar, and sugar and boil for about 5 minutes. Put the above and mustard into a food processor and process, while at the same time slowly blending in 5 tablespoons of olive oil (this will thicken the dressing). Salt and pepper to taste. Add to potato salad as directed above.

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   Wow! This was an adventure. I was watching a show on The Food Network one day and saw a lady pour beer and coffee on wood chips and use the poured-off solution to make a barbecue sauce. That sounded awesome. But I couldn't find a recipe for it anywhere! I did find a recipe for MIllionaire Brisket with Coffee and Beer Mop Sauce, so I fashioned this recipe after that. But I couldn't help putting my spin on it! I'm very unhappy with my gas grill, however. It's very unreliable, so I ended up overcooking the beef a bit. But the flavor was great! The family loved it, and they are picky about their brisket!

---Jenny


Start Here:
6 cups coffee, brewed
1 beer ( I used a Samuel Adams Light)
2 cups each of Mesquite and Hickory wood chips

Soak beer and coffee in the wood chips for 4-5 hours. Drain and set aside solution. 

MOP SAUCE
1 cup beer/coffee solution
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup beef or chicken stock
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco hot sauce
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix everything. Use to baste brisket. You can also inject the brisket with this sauce.

Jenny's BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1/4 cup beer/coffee solution
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4-1/2 tsp smoked salt (if you can't find this, just use regular salt)

Dissolve sugar in broth over medium-high heat. Add tomato paste and stir in well. Add other ingredients and simmer about 20 minutes, minimum.

Brisket Rub
1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 tablespoons pure chili powder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Mix everything and rub meat on all sides. Grill at appropriate temperature for size and cut of meat. Baste with mop sauce. Complement with Jenny's barbecue sauce!

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This is a recipe that I saw a couple of months ago in Food and Wine magazine. I was intrigued when I saw it, and I knew that this was something I had to make for beer week. It’s excellent. It’s very citrusy and light, and there’s not an overwhelming beer taste. The recipe calls for an India Pale Ale (IPA); unfortunately, I couldn’t find one here, so I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and I think it worked well. The recipe also calls for serving the vinaigrette with a salad of bitter greens, pecans, and orange segments. I opted to use what I had and made a salad with red and green leaf lettuce, toasted pecans, bell pepper strips, cucumbers, orange segments, and homemade croutons. The folks at Food and Wine know their stuff—try this recipe, it’s fabulous!!
---Karly

Orange-and-Ale Vinaigrette
(from Food and Wine magazine)

3 ounces India Pale Ale
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk the ale, shallot, orange zest, honey, and mustard. Gradually add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE: As I was typing this, I realized that I misread the recipe and I used 1 Tablespoon orange zest instead of 1 teaspoon…I thin
k it turned out great!!

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Whew! This cake is a doozy! Photographing can be intense, especially when I want to show you some of the steps along the way. Then, of course, I have to process them in Photoshop, and all of a sudden, it's later than I thought!

Enough. Suffice it to say that all the effort is worth it on this cake. The Bailey's icing is delicious, and the dark chocolate drizzle just makes it over-the-top. The husband and the kid loved it!

Note: You need two cake pans for this recipe. I didn't have two, and I had to make an adjustment: By the time 30 minutes had elapsed for the first cake to bake, the leftover batter for the second layer had "deactivated", I guess you could say. Twenty minutes into the second bake, I had to insert something in the middle to make it cook so it wouldn't burn on the sides and be raw in the middle. If I had had two cake pans, it would've been easier.


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Melting the butter into the beer...
CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE 

1 cup Irish stout beer (such as Guinness®)
1 cup butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
 
Bailey's Icing

3 cups confectioners' sugar, or as needed
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur (such as Baileys®), or as needed
 
Dark Chocolate Drizzle
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Pour the beer into a saucepan, add the butter, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the cocoa powder until the mixture is smooth. Allow the mixture to cool. In a bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream together until smooth with an electric mixer, and stir in the stout mixture to make a smooth, thick liquid.
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Eggs and sour cream...
      3. I a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pour beer mixture into flour mixture; gently combine with a spatula. Pour batter into prepared pans.
      4. Bake until cakes are set and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (About 30 minutes.) Remove and let cool in pans about 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks to finish cooling.

      5. Mix together the confectioners' sugar, butter, and Irish cream liqueur until the mixture forms a smooth and spreadable frosting (add more sugar or  liqueur as needed to create the desired consistency). Spread half the frosting on top of each cake.

     6. Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to almost boiling in a small saucepan, and pour over the chocolate. Stir in the butter, and stir the mixture until the chocolate melts and the mixture is very smooth. Allow to cool until the mixture is pourable but not thin or overly runny, 10 to 15 minutes. Stack a cake gently on top of the other, frosting sides uppermost, and carefully drizzle the chocolate mixture over the cake, allowing decorative drips to run down the sides.
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My fix to the flub...
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Mmmm, nom, nom, nom!
 
 
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Lately, I’ve been seeing various recipes for raw chocolate pudding. They use a variety of fruits for the base, and there are some that use avocado. I’ve been both intrigued and somewhat skeptical about it, but since it’s avocado week, and I needed a dessert, I simply had to make some. I love dark chocolate and I wanted to add a hint of coffee to it, so I came up with this version. After I had made it, I got out a spoon to try it. Guess what? It’s absolutely fantastic!! Even if you’re a little bit doubtful about using avocado in chocolate pudding, give this a shot…you will be pleasantly surprised.
---Karly

RAW DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA PUDDING

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/8 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
½ teaspoon instant coffee (I used Starbucks via Italian Roast)
¼ cup natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until well combined. Chill for about an hour before serving.

NOTE: If you don’t have Dutch process cocoa, or you don’t like dark chocolate, then use regular cocoa powder. Also, feel free to sweeten with honey if you prefer and to adjust the sweetness to your taste.

Next time, I might add a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt to it.

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Typically, I have found that mango has a sort of peppery taste to it, but in this recipe, the vinegar must cut it a little, because all I taste is sweetness! This is a perfect little salad to accompany barbecue chicken or something... maybe an outdoor gathering.

MANGO, TOMATO AND AVOCADO SALAD

1 medium mango, seeded, peeled and chunked
1 medium tomato, in chunks
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 medium avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks

1. Combine mango, tomato and onion in a medium bowl. For dressing, get a screw-top jar and put everything but the avocado in there. Toss gently. Give it a good shake and pour over bowl contents. Cover and chill for 1-4 hours.
2. Just before serving, stir in avocado. If you want, you can serve with lettuce leaves...

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Sopes. Ahhh, what shall I put in them??
I have a lot of Mexican friends, and I've eaten a lot of their food. But I always happened to be missing when Sopes were on the table... So I figured I'd make them for myself! And how can you have Avocado Week without some Mexican food?!! This recipe came from a Better Homes and Gardens Special Issue on Mexican recipes, but I used my own filling...

SOPES

1 1/2 cup masa harina (in the baking isle)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening, melted (I used butter)

1. For dough, combine masa harina, flour and salt. Stir in water and egg. Add melted shortening; mix well. Gently knead until it is moist but holds its shape. Cover and chill for one hour.
2. Divide the dough into 24 portions. Roll one portion into a ball. On a well-floured surface, flatten into a 2-3-inch round. Form a shell by pinching up the edges. Repeat with the other portions. (OR: divide dough into 12 portions and make BIGGER ones!!!)
3. Pour about 1/2 inch of oil into a saucepanHeat on medium heat to about 365 degrees (I just dropped a little crumb into the oil to make sure it was hot enough...) Fry one or two at a time first upside-down, 30-60 seconds until crisp, then flip over to fry another 30 seconds or so.
Drain upside-down on a paper towel.

Filling: 
3 breasts chicken, cooked and shredded
1 can beans, black or pinto
1/2 can green chiles
cheese (ideally, Queso Fresco)
avocado, sliced
tomato
lettuce
salsa
sour cream

Cook over medium-high heat: chicken and beans, and green chiles; then spoon into sopes. Top with other ingredients. Done!

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I love a good, hearty salad for a meal, especially in the summer when it’s hot. Today, I went to a local farmer’s market and found some wonderful heirloom tomatoes, super sweet corn (seriously, so sweet that you can eat it raw and it’s fantastic), a great loaf of bread with roasted peppers and goat cheese in it, and some other goodies. By the time I got home, I knew I wanted a salad, so this is what I came up with for my main dish this week. Be forewarned, this is not a very defined recipe (except for the dressing) …after all, a salad is a salad, use what you have and what you like.
---Karly

SUMMER SALAD WITH CREAMY AVOCADO DRESSING
Lettuce 
Pan seared shrimp (see note)
Fresh marjoram, chopped
Half of one red onion, sliced
Heirloom tomatoes, chopped
Kernels from one ear sweet corn
1 avocado, sliced
Crumbled blue cheese
Homemade croutons (see note)

For the dressing:
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Milk
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing, put the avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper to taste in a blender. Puree and add milk slowly while blending until you reach desired consistency. (I started with ¼ cup, but added more.) Arrange salad ingredients on plates and top with dressing.

NOTE: For the shrimp, I used 1 ½ pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined. I put olive oil, salt and pepper, and Old Bay seasoning on it and cooked in pan on high heat until pink and opaque, about5- 7 minutes (they were large shrimp). For the croutons, I cubed bread and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic and baked in 375 degree oven until golden and crunchy.


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