What is Beer Made of?
Reading The Complete Handbook of Beers and Brewing by Brian Glover, my eyes were opened to the key role each ingredient plays in making a good beer. Even the minerals found in the water that goes into beer can have drastic effects on the color and flavor of the end product. Minerals like bicarbonate can affect acidity which changes how much sugar is extracted from the malt. Magnesium found in water is a nutrient yeast depend on for fermentation. For these reasons, breweries truly treasure their water sources. Some believe Guinness made in Ireland tastes better than Guinness made in other countries because of the water. The Coors Brewery here in Colorado boasts that snow melt from the Rocky Mountains gives their beer a better, more refreshing flavor.
According to The Complete Handbook of Beers and Brewing, malt is “the body and soul of a brew.” Malt determines much of the color and body in beer. Several cereal grains can be used for malt, such as wheat, oats, and rye, but barley is most commonly used because it provides the most sugar. To make malt, barley is dried for storage, then taken as needed and steeped in water to promote germination. The barley is removed from the water and spread onto a large area. It must be aerated regularly to allow the barley sprouts to grow. Germination produces sugar which will later feed the yeasts for fermentation. To preserve the sugars the malt is baked. Malt comes in several varieties depending on how much it is cooked and how strong the flavor is.. READ MORE...
Each week I contribute an article to “Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder” website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I shared a recipe for Shellfish in German Beer Broth. Shrimp and mussels are cooked in Weissbier, a German wheat beer. It’s a casual appetizer or meal where guests peel their own shrimp and dip rye bread in the flavorful juices. The dish takes only minutes to prepare and makes for a generous platter of seafood to be shared family style. For the full article and recipe, click on the icon below.
I’ve got creative ideas for cooking with beer in autumn:
1. Beer is for Braising
Dave Lieberman’s recipe for Ale Simmered Chicken with Dried Plums was created to use up leftover beer from a party. Affordable but flavorful chicken pieces like thighs and drumsticks are braised in beer until the meat is falling off the bone. The stew develops depth as prunes soak up the beer, becoming plump and juicy. Ale contributes a malty and slightly bitter taste to the stew which is perfect for autumn. Ale also goes well with pork, as in this recipe from Martha Stewart for Braised Bone-In Pork Shoulder.
2. Beer-and-Cheddar Soup
I found a rich and hearty recipe for Beer-and-Cheddar Soup (by Chef Jonathon Erdeljac of Jonathon’s Oak Cliff in Dallas) in the Thanksgiving issue of Food & Wine Magazine. He flavors thick and creamy Beer-and-Cheddar Soup with spicy jalapeño and salty bacon. Use a lager or pilsner for this recipe, which will play off the smoked cheddar without overwhelming it. Serve the soup with a fall salad of bitter greens.. READ MORE...
This week at la Domestique, we take a look at the magic that happens when malted barley and hops combine and ferment, resulting in beer. We’ll cover the spectrum from light, crisp and refreshing lagers to full-bodied, hoppy ales with a bite. It’s a world adventure spanning the globe from Irish stout to Belgian ale to German wheat beers and micro-brews from the United States. As fall settles in and the last of the golden leaves drop from the trees, I begin to crave a good beer with a nice foamy head. I seek a nice warm pub and a pint to escape the misty gray days. But beer isn’t just for drinking. The unique flavors found in beer (just as in wine) are well suited to autumn stews. Beer adds body, herbal notes, and a bitter edge to steak pies and braised chicken. Beer is used in sweet as well as savory dishes. The Irish add their beloved Guinness to cakes and breads. Join me this week to explore the many ways to cook with beer inspired by cuisines across the world. Learn the different types of beer and recipes they are best suited for. Understand how beer is made, and expand your palate by trying something new- maybe a seasonal brew by a small, local producer? I’m excited to cook in the moment with you here at la Domestique!. READ MORE...
In honor of Halloween, this past week at la Domestique was dedicated to the somewhat scary blue cheese. Some people are a bit freaked out by blue cheese, with its iridescent blue-green veins and pungent smell. For the timid there were recipes utilizing blue cheese in pastry and soufflés. For the brave, there were fresh cheese plates and blue cheese based pasta sauces. We explored types of blue from all over the world, including the U.S., Britain, Australia, France, and Spain.
In case you missed anything, I’ve got a recap:
Monday: Announcing blue cheese as ingredient of the week.
Tuesday: 10 Ways Tuesday! Creative ideas for cooking with blue cheese during autumn.
Wednesday: Cook in the moment with a recipe for Irish Blue Crackers.
Thursday: The story behind blue cheese- making, purchasing and storing, cooking, plus food & wine pairing.. READ MORE...