Monday, January 5, 2015

Stone Smoked New Year





























Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A chewy, medium-bodied dark brown brew with aromas of smoky malt tinged with orange.  Cocoa nibs and caramel soon follow in the flavor, not far behind another hit of orangey citrus, that finishes long with hoppy bitterness balancing zingy orange zest.


 







RECIPE PARTNER FOR 
STONE SMOKED PORTER WITH CHOCOLATE & ORANGE PEEL


How about a Porter to carry you into the New Year?

No, not those guys who help you ascend Mount Everest or scale the heights to your lofty penthouse suite atop the Vegas strip.

I'm talking about the one that some claim was the favored drink of England's 18th century porters.  And I'm told, they were a hard-working lot who labored from dawn to dusk and carried, well, just about anything.  From furniture to cargo or dishware to machinery, if something needed schlepping, these guys were the wheels.
 
But wheels with a thirst for a drink potent enough to carry them through a long and arduous day.  Then along came some enterprising English brewer who created a strong, dark brew made from new ales blended with sour or stale mild ones.  Just strong enough to be fortifying, but yet not strong enough to be immobilizing, this 18th century version of an energy drink took off like a charm and quickly adopted the name of its most ardent supporters.

Well, since that time, Porters have waxed and waned in popularity, but today, they’ve been reinvigorated by the craft beer revolution – as is apparent in Stone’s chocolate and orange accented holiday offering.



For here, the traditional chocolate and orange pairing gets the full Smoked Porter treatment, and what results is a blend of complementary flavors just screaming to be added to a full flavored dessert.  And my full flavored answer is a slice of Chocolate & Orange Smoked Porter Pie with its intense chocolatey flavor and a mouth filling texture lying somewhere between dense fudge and cakey brownie.

And with a healthy splash of Stone’s Smoked Porter with Chocolate & Orange, the pie gains an extra depth of flavor, as butter, bittersweet chocolate and orange zest meets smokey malt and bittering hops.

So, welcome to a New Year tempered with both bittersweet and citrus, that’s all wrapped up in a jolt of energizing Porter.



CHOCOLATE & ORANGE SMOKED PORTER PIE
  
Serves 8 – 12

4 tablespoons butter
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (8 oz.) bittersweet chocolate

3 large eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest (grated or finely chopped)

 
Set oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325°F.

Butter sides and bottom of a 6x2 cake pan, then line the pan bottom with buttered wax paper.  Place the prepared pan on a sheet pan or within a larger oven-proof container and set aside.

Combine the butter and salt and melt together in a small saucepan placed over medium heat.  Once melted, remove from heat and add the chocolate, stirring until mixture is completely smooth.  Cool to room temperature. 

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the eggs, then add the vanilla extract, beer and orange zest.  Whisk briefly, before adding the cooled melted chocolate and butter mixture.  Whisk just to combine so as not to incorporate too much air and pour into the prepared pan.

Transfer the prepared pan and sheet pan or larger pan to the oven.  Carefully pour about ½-inch of boiling water into sheet pan or larger pan, then close the oven door and bake for 60 minutes until pie is firm in center

Transfer the prepared pan to a rack to cool.  Once cool, chill in the refrigerator until firm.

To unmold, place cake pan atop stove burner set to low heat for about a minute, then invert pan over a plate and tap bottom to loosen.  Peel wax paper off bottom of pie, then place another plate atop pie bottom and flip over to present the pie top side up.

To serve, cut into thin slices with a long, thin knife.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Cooking with Sea Cider Prohibition – Dessert II Recipe





























Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A bourbon barrel aged cider full of aromas and flavors of caramel, molasses and rum with a note of toasted oak, that’s all wrapped up in tart-sweet heirloom apples.  Mouthfilling, full-bodied and gently effervescent, Prohibition finishes dry and crisp, with a pleasingly lingering warmth.



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Entrée recipe?


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Side Dish recipe?


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Side Dish II recipe?


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Dessert recipe?






RECIPE PARTNER FOR SEA CIDER PROHIBITION
PROHIBITION PARFAIT


The perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Ah, Parfait.

Yes, I think I said that already. 

It's Parfait.  Which is just “perfect.”  In French.  But, since perfection is always in the eye of the beholder, what do you see when you think of Parfait?

Is it what you'd receive when ordering in Paris’s late 19th century – a frozen dessert made from cream and eggs, sugar and syrup, that's then topped up with a layer of fruit?

Or perhaps, your idea of perfection is more what Parfait morphed into in America 100 years later, when it rode a wave of popularity as a yogurt and granola fueled health food treat.

Whatever your definition, it's somebody's Parfait of perfection, and I think that’s really what makes it one of its charms.  Part architecture, part improvisation, part colorful and flavorful treat, and it's all wrapped up in the layers of Parfait.

But don't limit your search for Parfait’s perfection just to desserts, for the French serve many other foods “en parfait” or Parfait-in-style.  Think of seafood parfaits or ones made with vegetables and you get the idea.  And even foie gras parfaits are not out of the question, inhabiting the most elegant menus.
For all that’s needed to achieve Parfait is a layering of different ingredients, some with a creamy consistency, and then a tall, clear glass in which to show it all off.

It's perfect.  It's Parfait, and it’s elegant or casual.  Sometimes savory and sometimes sweet, but always a fleeting statement of edible perfection in the moment that it's served.

So, let's get a crack at perfection, however fleeting it may be, by wrapping up our cider themed holiday menu with some Prohibition Parfait. 

It's a finish, with citrus meeting tang, that's designed to really wake up those taste buds.  With layers of zippy lime curd alternating with a slightly sweetened tart apple whipped cream.

I'd call it an edible creamy palate cleanser designed to whisk away the richness that preceded it.  And it would probably be doubly perfect with a glass of Prohibition cider.



PROHIBITION PARFAIT

Serves a crowd

⅔ cup fresh lime juice (about 3-4 large limes)
½ cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
4 ounces (one stick) unsalted butter (soft, cubed)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (finely chopped)

1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Prohibition cider

Fill a large saucepan ⅓ full of water and bring to a simmer.
In a metal bowl large enough to fit over a saucepan, whisk together the sugar and eggs, then add the lime juice.  Place the bowl atop the saucepan and add the cubes of butter.

Stir mixture constantly until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Remove bowl from top of saucepan and empty the pan’s simmering water into the sink.
Set the pan in the sink and fill it up with cold water, then set the bowl of lime curd back atop the sauce pan and stir gently (about 5 minutes) until cooled.



Stir in the lime zest, then place a piece of plastic wrap atop curd’s surface to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate until cool.

Once the curd is cool, prepare the cider whipped cream by combining the cream, sugar and cider and beating with a whisk or mixing with a hand blender until cream forms stiff peaks.

To serve, alternate layers of lime curd and cider whipped cream in a tall, narrow glass, finishing with a layer of whipped cream atop.  Garnish with additional lime zest and a thin slice of lime, if desired.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cooking with Sea Cider Prohibition – Dessert Recipe







Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A bourbon barrel aged cider full of aromas and flavors of caramel, molasses and rum with a note of toasted oak, that’s all wrapped up in tart-sweet heirloom apples.  Mouthfilling, full-bodied and gently effervescent, Prohibition finishes dry and crisp, with a pleasingly lingering warmth.



Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Entrée recipe?


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish recipe?


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish II recipe?


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert II recipe?
We'll wrap up the series and 2014 with this December 26th post.

 




RECIPE PARTNER FOR SEA CIDER PROHIBITION
SWEET POTATO PIE WITH CIDERED MERINGUE


Meringue.

Egg whites.  Sugar.  And, of course, air.  That's all it takes to make edible clouds.

And just like clouds, they’re magical and mysterious and appear in any number of whimsical shapes.  As light as a breath, some crunch at first bite, while others melt away like warming snow.

Spooned onto lemon meringue pies and Baked Alaska or piped from pastry bags into fanciful mushroom or floral shapes.  Quickly baked till browned on the outside and soft on the inside or left long in a slow oven until they’re firm, crisp and dry. 

Flavored with vanilla or lemon or mixed with ground nuts, meringue puts the silky in frostings and makes cakes like clouds.  Supposedly originating in Switzerland, but most likely the "white bisket bread of beaten egg white and sugar" found in an early 17th century English cookbook, the confection was simply irresistible to Marie Antoinette, whose Italian chefs brought its sweetness to the opulent French court.

But, even magic has its science, so, if you don’t mind, here’s a peek behind the curtain, where clouds are made.

When egg whites are beaten, their proteins unfold and recombine around the air beaten into them, increasing their volume. 

And when sugar is then added, they're not only sweetened, but stabilized, for the sugar helps the proteins hold onto their greatly expanded, new shapes.

But, those shapes, they haven’t finished growing yet and are in for another growth spurt, which happens when the meringue hits the oven's heat.  For then, the eggs’ moisture, it turns to steam, which again swells up those air bubbles, but this time to as much as 8 times their original size.

However, before you can head for the oven, you’ll have to get beating, and that’s when you'll discover the three stages of meringue:

First is “foamy,” where the eggs are still liquidy, but large bubbles have formed.

Next is “soft peaks,” where the eggs are now snowy white and gently fluffy, and this is when you’ll begin to slowly whisk in your sugar.

And if you keep beating, you'll reach the full volumed "stiff peaks," with the eggs smooth, thick and glossy, and when your whisk lifts from the bowl, the peaks will completely hold their shape.

So, now it's time to put a cap of creamy clouds atop our cider themed dessert.  And of course, I’ve flavored it too with a splash of Sea Cider’s Prohibition.




SWEET POTATO CIDER PIE WITH PROHIBITION MERINGUE


Serves 8 – 10

2 cups ginger snaps (crushed)
4 tablespoons butter (melted)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled, finely chopped)

2 cups sweet potatoes (roasted, peeled, mashed)
2 tablespoons Sea Cider Prohibition
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
½ teaspoon powdered sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream

2 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar


Set rack to mid-oven and preheat to 325°F.

Butter a 7-inch springform pan, then covered the bottom and sides with aluminum foil and set aside.
Combine the ginger snaps, powdered ginger and butter, then press into the bottom of the prepared pan and transfer to the freezer while preparing the filling.

Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a skillet set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the brown sugar.  Stir until dissolved before adding the fresh ginger.  Allow to cook briefly until fragrant and bubbling.

Cool slightly, then add to the sweet potatoes along with the cider and nutmeg.
Mix to combine before adding the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the heavy cream and mix again.

Remove the springform pan from the freezer and transfer it to a sheet pan, before pouring the filling into the frozen shell.

Transfer the pie to the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until firm in the center.

 About 15 minutes before the pie is done, prepare the meringue by combining the egg whites and cream of tartar and beating until they reach the soft peak stage.

Continue beating and add in the cider, followed by the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Continue mixing until the meringue holds stiff and glossy peaks.

When pie finishes baking, remove it from the oven and spread the meringue over the hot pie to the crust edges.

Return the pie to the oven and increase the temperature to 350°F.
Bake an additional 15 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

Cool on a rack before chilling completely, unmolding and serving.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Cooking with Sea Cider Prohibition – Side Dish II Recipe





























Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A bourbon barrel aged cider full of aromas and flavors of caramel, molasses and rum with a note of toasted oak, that’s all wrapped up in tart-sweet heirloom apples.  Mouthfilling, full-bodied and gently effervescent, Prohibition finishes dry and crisp, with a pleasingly lingering warmth.



Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Entrée recipe?


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Side Dish recipe?


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert recipe?
You’ll find it in next Thursday’s post.


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert II recipe?
We’ll wrap up the series and 2014 with this December 26th post.







RECIPE PARTNER FOR SEA CIDER PROHIBITION
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CIDERED BROWN SUGAR GLAZE


In this season of celebration, let me tell you a winter’s horror story.

Imagine a golden, roast turkey or a beautifully glazed ham, sitting alongside brilliant red cranberries and fluffy, deep orange whipped sweet potatoes. And then, nestled beside all this bounty are the greens of the season.  Small, miniature cabbages, waterboarded into a pile of mushy, bitter, green blobs.

Well, I've got news for you.  Halloween’s over and torture is out.  These little cabbages shouldn’t be the black sheep of the season.

So, to rescue you from an unnecessary horror, I'm here to make it all go away.

No, not the cabbages.  Just their tortured preparation.  And to top it all off, they’ll get a boost of flavor from the season’s cider.

But, before we spill the beans about our little cabbages, are they really from Brussels or is that just a marketing ploy?  Most likely yes to the first, and probably yes, to the second, since although sprouts had been cultivated in Italy since Roman times, they weren't grown in large quantities until the late 16th century in Belgium.



And with their growth in popularity, they eventually spread to the US in the early 18th century, when French settlers brought them along with them to Louisiana.  While Thomas Jefferson, another fan, would later grow them at Monticello.

And not only is their resemblance to larger cabbages no mistake, they’re members of the same mustard family called “cruciferae” (which is Latin for “cross) as full-size cabbages, a name they earned because their four-part flower is in the shape of a cross.

Grown on two to three foot tall, thick, long stalks with 20 to 40 bulbs per plant, their peak season arrives in autumn and takes them through the winter, which is why they probably haunt holiday tables regularly at this time of the year.

But, we’ll put an end to all that haunting with my brussels sprouts recipe, by avoiding the water treatment, and roasting them instead.  Crispy and browned, they’re then tossed in a light dressing of brown sugar, citrus and cider, making them unrecognizable to their soggy counterparts that are often bitter and drab.

So, here's to putting the green back again on your holiday table, with a cider themed recipe for brussels sprouts that really celebrates the season.


ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CIDERED BROWN SUGAR GLAZE

Serves 6 – 8

1 pound brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper (freshly cracked)

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon orange zest (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon Sea Cider Prohibition


Set rack to mid-oven and preheat to 400°F.
Aluminum foil a sheet pan and set aside.

Rinse the brussels sprouts, drain well and remove any damaged outer leaves and slice in half, lengthwise.

Place in a bowl, then add the salt and pepper and drizzle in the olive oil.
Mix gently to coat, then transfer to the prepared sheet pan and slide into the oven to roast for 15 minutes, turn over and roast an additional 5 minutes until crispy and tender. 
Transfer to a serving bowl.

In a small skillet set over medium low heat, combine the brown sugar and orange zest, heating until sugar begins to melt.  Add the cider and reduce slightly, before drizzling over the roasted sprouts.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cooking with Sea Cider Prohibition – Side Dish Recipe





























Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A bourbon barrel aged cider full of aromas and flavors of caramel, molasses and rum with a note of toasted oak, that’s all wrapped up in tart-sweet heirloom apples.  Mouthfilling, full-bodied and gently effervescent, Prohibition finishes dry and crisp, with a pleasingly lingering warmth.



Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Entrée recipe?


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish II recipe?
You’ll find it in next Thursday’s post.


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert recipe?
It’ll be following the Side Dish II post.


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert II recipe?
We’ll wrap up the series and 2014 with this December 26th post.







RECIPE PARTNER FOR SEA CIDER PROHIBITION
SWEET POTATO, PEAR & WALNUT GRATIN


“Le Gratin.”  It’s the upper crust. 

But, of French society.

And they’re neither crunchy brown nor delicious – unlike traditional gratins, whose tops are often covered in breadcrumbs or grated cheese and sometimes filled with eggs, butter or cream.  But there’s one thing that’s for certain.  They’re both rich.

But don't think gratins are only for “Le Gratin."  Far from it.

Gratins are scrappy creations, popping up in many guises.  Coming from the French verb “gratter” meaning "to grate or to scrape," it’s the usual "scrapings" of bread or of cheese that give gratins their irresistible crunch.

Potatoes, pasta, seafood, meats or vegetables – they’ve all been known to get the "gratin” treatment.  Potatoes with cream and garlic or potatoes with cream and cheese, pasta with vegetables, breadcrumbs and cheese or chicken coated in a white sauce (called a béchamel) or in a Mornay (a white sauce with cheese), while vegetable gratins sport leeks or asparagus draped in creamy sauces topped with buttery crumbs.

I'm not trying to make you hungry.  Or maybe, I really am.  But there's a lot of flexibility in the universe of gratin.  However, no matter how many different ingredients, there's always one guiding principle, and that is that gratins need to deliver the crunch.

So, in that spirit, I've devised a gratin to satisfy this prime directive, but it’ll deliver the crunch in a whole new way. 

And it's made with sweet potatoes and pears wrapped up in a nutmeg scented cider butter.  However, the crunch isn't baked in, but is sprinkled on after baking, with crisp pears added to the bubbling gratin along with toasted walnuts as a crunchy topping, as it leaves the oven and heads for the table.

So, if you can't wait any longer, well, neither can I.  So, here's my Sweet Potato, Pear & Walnut Gratin, and it's a great cider themed accompaniment to my Honey Glazed Ham main course.


SWEET POTATO, PEAR & WALNUT GRATIN

(Serves 6 – 8)

4 large sweet potatoes

3 tablespoons butter (softened)
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon Sea Cider Prohibition
salt to taste

1 large Bartlett pear (cut crosswise into disks)
¼ cup walnuts (toasted, coarsely chopped)

Set rack to mid-oven and preheat to 400°F.
Rinse the sweet potatoes’ skins, then pierce the skins in two or three places with a knife.
Set them atop an aluminum foil covered sheet pan and bake for about 1 hour until nearly tender.

Allow to cool slightly, then slice into ½-inch disks and shingle in an ovenproof container.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and cider, then distribute over the potatoes.
Transfer the container to the oven to bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.

Remove the gratin from the oven and insert the pear disks between every other potato slice before sprinkling with chopped walnuts.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cooking with Sea Cider Prohibition – Entrée Recipe




























Recipe Pairing Flavors:
A bourbon barrel aged cider full of aromas and flavors of caramel, molasses and rum with a note of toasted oak, that’s all wrapped up in tart-sweet heirloom apples.  Mouthfilling, full-bodied and gently effervescent, Prohibition finishes dry and crisp, with a pleasingly lingering warmth.
   

Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish recipe?
You’ll find it in next Thursday’s post.


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Side Dish II recipe?
It’ll be following the first Side Dish post.


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert recipe?
It’s on the way after Side Dish II.


Want the Cooking with Sea Cider
Dessert II recipe?
We’ll wrap up the series and 2014 with this December 26th post.





RECIPE PARTNER FOR SEA CIDER PROHIBITION
HONEY GLAZED HAM WITH DRUNKEN CRANBERRIES & APPLES


Celebrations are festive – they come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are grand and some informal, but usually they're all about saying "thanks."

So, when you feel grateful, do you think of cranberries?

Probably not.

But, if you were a starving English settler in early 17th-century Massachusetts, I bet you would.  And you'd be pretty grateful when Native Americans showed up on your doorstep holding out those pretty, deep red berries.

The Native American Algonquians, they called them “Sassamanash,” and used them not only for food, but as a medicine to treat arrow wounds as well as a dye for rugs and blankets.

And once the Pilgrims said thanks and brought them to their table of Thanksgiving, they became a permanent fixture of a thankful meal. 

But, the berries not only held a place at their annual celebration. They also made them their own with a brand-new name.  "Craneberries,” the Pilgrims called them, after the vines’ small, pink blossoms that to them, resembled the head and bill of a Sandhill crane.

And today, those cranberries have now become inseparable from Americans’ late November Thanksgiving feast.  So now, that we’re celebrating with cider this holiday season, let's once again say thanks to cranberries and toast them with a very big drink.

But for now, they’re the ones that'll be doing all the drinking, since I started by pouring on all the hard cider my dried cranberries could hold.  And after several hours in the drink, they were fattened up and juicy, and ready to be dropped into my softly cooked apples, along with a dash of maple sugar and a splash of hard cider.

So, let's begin the celebration, for here's a holiday entrée that I guarantee will sure deliver the thanks.  And it's one that gets some sparkle from a special hard cider that was aged in bourbon barrels which were soaked in rum.

HONEY GLAZED HAM WITH DRUNKEN CRANBERRIES & APPLES

Serves 8 – 10

8 – 10 pound cooked half ham (shank end)                            
1 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated, preferred)
⅔ cup honey                                                  
½ teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
½ cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)

⅔ cup dried cranberries
6 tablespoons Sea Cider Prohibition, divided
8 apples (Gala or Fuji – peeled, cored, cubed)
½ teaspoon maple sugar

Combine the dried cranberries and 4 tablespoons of the cider in a medium bowl.
Cover and let soak for several hours or overnight.

Once cranberries have soaked, set a saucepan over low heat and add the cubed apples along with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Prohibition cider.  Cover and cook until apples are very soft, then mash with a slotted spoon or a potato masher to a coarse consistency.

If your mixture has excess water, return the saucepan to the heat and briefly cook uncovered until the extra liquid evaporates.

Off heat, stir in the soaked cranberries and any remaining soaking liquid.  Cover and set aside.


To prepare the ham, set rack to lower third of oven and preheat to 325°F.

Remove excess fat from ham and place, fat site up in a shallow roasting pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Score top of ham in a crisscross pattern, then bake, uncovered until meat’s internal temperature reaches 115°F.

Brush the honey over the ham, then combine the brown sugar, nutmeg & cinnamon and press this mixture onto the top and sides, coating the ham thoroughly.

Return to oven and bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes until the ham's internal temperature reaches 135°F.  Let the ham rest 10-15 minutes before slicing (its temperature will rise to 140°F).  Reserve the baking liquid to serve as a sauce over the ham.

(If using an uncooked ham, follow all of the directions above except, after applying the honey, cook the ham until its internal temperature reaches 135°F.  Then, once coated with the brown sugar mixture, bake until internal temperature of meat reaches 155°F.  After ham has rested, its temperature will rise to a fully cooked 160°F).

Serve ham accompanied by Apple Cranberry Cidersauce.