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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Beer Baron - With a Little Help from My Friends

The craft beer community is just that: a community. While it is a community full of big beards, countless beer-based puns and people who would proudly try a pumpkin peach ale, it is absolutely a community and has always felt welcoming and supportive to me. Apart from the fact that I believe you could strike up a friendly conversation at a craft beer bar or festival easier than just about any place in the world, collaborations between craft brewers is another example of how strong the sense of community is.

While I can’t imagine macro brewers AB InBev and Molson Coors ever collaborating on a beer and what that hell spawn might actually taste like, I’ve been looking forward to a collaboration between my local London brewery, Forked River Brewing Company, and one of my favourite Ontario craft brewers, Sawdust City Brewing Co. for quite some time.

When the Sawdust City team headed down to London from Gravenhurst, Ontario on October 8, 2014 for Arts & Draughts, a beer tasting event in support of a local theatre, they stopped by Forked River and tweeted a picture of the two brewers working together to create a collaboration beer.

Now, after months of waiting, their first collaboration, a 9.1%, bourbon-barrel aged imperial brown ale called Deforestation, has finally been released.

Like the best porters and stouts, an imperial brown ale has enough body and character to stand up to barrel aging, which could easily overwhelm lesser beers. Deforestation has strong roasted malt notes and a nice touch of caramel and chocolate that balance wonderfully with the vanilla and oak of the bourbon barrel.

Unlike the oily blackness of an imperial stout – like Forker River’s own Weendigo, which is also barrel aged – Deforestation has a lot more carbonation and a luxuriously creamy head. Despite the fact that it is a pretty hefty 9.1%, it is a really approachable and downright quaffable beer… just be sure you are in for the night or have a designated driver before said quaffing.

With an enticing mix of aromas from the beer and the barrel aging process as well as a wonderful balance of caramel sweetness and both hop and dark chocolate bitterness, Deforestation was worth the wait and is further proof that collaboration and community and great taste are worth being celebrated and even…

*This post comes from Matt, the Beer Baron.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Steak with Miso Butter, Asparagus & Shiitake Mushrooms

In the summer we cook steaks on the grill. We do it in the winter too, usually. But this winter the snow and cold has made cooking outside impossible so this is a great way to get your steak fix indoors. 

Sirloin steak is diced into quick-cooking cubes and seared in a pan while asparagus and shiitake mushrooms roast in the oven. Then the steak is coated in miso butter for a rich and tasty sauce. Served over rice this makes a wonderful, meaty meal. 

This recipe comes from Cooking Light. You should be able to find miso paste in any large supermarket or Asian market. Look for white or yellow soybean paste in a plastic tub on the shelf. Refrigerate after opening and it lasts for months. 

Here's what you need for this tasty dinner:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tart of the Month: Chocolate Tart

chocolate tart

Perfect for February when you need a chocolate pick-me-up. This tart is very rich with a buttery crust and caramel-chocolate filling. 

This recipe comes from David Lebovitz, an awesome American pastry chef living in Paris. 

Chocolate Tart

I've learned so much from my tarts of the month. I used to be afraid of making pie crust, but I learned last month how easy it can be. This is a whole new way to make crust that reminded me of the pâte à choux I used to make gougères, except with no eggs.

butter, sugar, chocolate, eggs

Here's what you need for this chocolate tart:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Italian Chopped Salad

Sometimes you need a really hearty salad. Winter is an especially good time for this because all the ingredients are widely available all year long. 

This salad has everything: lettuce, cheese, meat, chickpeas, onions, peppers, and a dressing packed with oregano and garlic. It's a real treat. An excellent meal on its own or a great side dish with soup or a sandwich.  It will serve 4 as a meal or more as a side.

The recipe comes from Nancy's Chopped Salad in the Mozza cookbook, via Smitten Kitchen.

Here's what you need for this delicious salad.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Road Trip: Trader Joe's

A couple of weeks ago, a generous friend invited me to a show at Caesars Windsor, near Detroit.  We decided to take the day off work and make a day of it. Instead of shopping for clothes, we went decided to go to Trader Joe's, since we don't have access to it in Canada.

This isn't a sponsored post or anything, I was just very excited to visit Trader Joe's in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and check out all the exciting products they have. Trader Joe's is famous for their store brand products.  They have a particularly great selection of nuts, grains and dried fruit at great prices.  They also have some awesome cookies and snacks.

I love dark chocolate almonds as a snack. Both of these versions are very delicious. Coconut, chocolate and almonds is a wonderful combination.