Archive for October, 2011

October 29, 2011

The Pint is Mightier: Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

From the shores of Everett, WA comes our next brewery review…

Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.

The brewpub is located a hop, skip and a jump away from the naval base on the Everett waterfront. From the outside a very modern looking building, the inside of Scuttlebutt is rather generic. Eric and I slid into a booth near the window as it started to pour outside and readied ourselves for Everett’s best.

I chose the Dirty Blonde Ale for my first pint. Expecting some variation of a Hefeweizen, I was quite surprised when I took my first sip – in a good way. The roasting of the wheat and other grains created an entirely new flavor profile I had never tasted in a beer. Even after Eric tried it and we deliberated for some time, we couldn’t come up with a good way to describe the taste. There were notes of caramel interwoven lightly with vanilla and faint hints of root beer. Despite all the different components it came together in a surprisingly cogent way, extremely well balanced between malty, roasty and wheat flavors. I highly recommend this beer, it’s delicious and I haven’t tried anything else like it before or since.

Eric’s first pint was the Scuttlebutt Porter, a very dark colored brew that arrived with no head to speak of. His first sip revealed the flavor to be very roasty. As he progressed through the beer, Eric notice light chocolate notes in the profile. The porter tasted creamy, with earthy malts that added some character to it. Coming in at 20 IBUs, this beer lacked any sort of real bitterness. The maltiness was even more pronounced in the aftertaste, leaving the beer with a strong finish. This Porter was nothing remarkable, but was well crafted, full bodied and worth checking out.

Eric moved next to the Tripel 7 Belgian Style Ale. A seasonal ale at Scuttlebutt, the Tripel 7 was a a very true New World Style Belgian Ale. This brew was quite alcoholic, coming in at almost 9% ABV. It was light in color with some opacity and a mild, yet pleasant, sweet aroma. The esters in the beer came through to provide a sweet, somewhat fruity flavor that had definite hints of raisins and bananas. However, you shouldn’t let that description fool you into thinking this beer is some sort of fruity tropical bonanza; it still has a strong, fundamentally beer-y taste. It lacked a discernable aftertaste, which took away much of it’s depth. Overall it was somewhat boring compared to other Belgian Eric had tried, particularly those from native Belgium. Though not the best Belgian Eric has had, he noted that it is a good example of an American Style Belgian and might be good for someone wanting to try something new.

My second pint was the Tell Tale Red Ale. It was a coppery color, and the lack of head belied the mild carbonation of this beer. The flavor was akin to an amber ale combined with a pale ale; medium-light bodied with mild bitterness and nice malts. Typical of a red ale, there were noticeable rye notes in the flavor profile. This beer was a good example of a red ale, slightly above average for its class. If you enjoy the style, you will enjoy this beer.

All in all, Scuttlebutt was a nice brewery. The atmosphere was somewhat lacking, but the staff was friendly and they had several standout brews. Although irrelevant to the beer, they also have some ornate and awesome looking – although expensive – growlers that are definitely worth checking out. If you find yourself in Everett, or even in the general area, it would be worth your time to step in for a pint or two.

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October 14, 2011

Almond Crusted Chicken with Dijon, Curry, Tamarind Sauce

If I started this blog writing mostly cheat dishes – ones that look and taste great but are actually exceedingly easy to make – then lately I have definitely moved towards those that actually require some work and finesse. Although this one is only moderately challenging, it does require a bit of work to pull off.

The almonds need to be chopped finely enough to act as bread crumbs, otherwise they won’t bind well enough to create a solid coating. Steam cooking the chicken with broth will ensure that it is cooked through but still juicy and tender. However, if the almond crust isn’t fulled sealed then the steam will cause it to crumble.

All things considered however, the effort required for this dish is completely worth it. If done correctly, the outer crust of the chicken will be crunchy and seared with a light almond flavor. Those almond notes will pair perfectly with the sauce, a unique fusion of flavors from a variety of different cuisines. The tamarind provides a tart base, the Dijon and curry powder give it verve and spice, while the honey, soy sauce and mayonnaise smooth the edges to create a sauce like you’ve never taste before.

While this dish takes some skill, don’t let that dissuade you from trying it. Even if the almond crust doesn’t work, you’ll still have a well cooked chicken breast with delicious sauce. The only way to become a better chef is to challenge yourself!

(And if you’re still feeling nervous, don’t worry. I completely screwed up this dish the first time I tried to make it.)

Almond Crusted Chicken with Dijon, Curry, Tamarind Sauce

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup almonds, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

  1. Heat a pan to medium-high heat and coat lightly with butter. Dip the chicken breast in the egg mixture and dredge it in the chopped almonds. Lay the chicken breast in the pan and sear both sides. Empty the chicken broth into the pan, cover, reduce to medium heat and continue cooking until done, approximately fifteen minutes.
  2. In a bowl, combine the curry powder, Dijon, tamarind, soy sauce, honey mayonnaise and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
  3. Plate the chicken, drizzle with sauce and serve.
October 8, 2011

Truffle French Fries with Basil and Parmesan

Everyone gets cravings for junky, greasy food every once in a while, nothing wrong than that. It doesn’t mean it can’t make something tasty and classy as well.

For those of you who haven’t made your own french fries before I definitely recommend it. It is a bit of work – you have to cut all the potatoes, towel them dry, deep fry them and then towel them off again – but the benefits are well worth it. You can cut them to any shape you want, cook them as crisp or well done as you like and, most importantly, top them with whatever you like.

These french fries use one of the most singularly spectacular ingredients in the culinary field: truffles. If you haven’t had anything that incorporates truffle before, then there is really no way to explain it. It’s as delicious as difficult to describe. The only way to get a real sense of the rich, lingering, umami flavor is to try it.

This recipe pairs the flavors of truffle with earthy, nutty Parmesan and crisp basil for a dish that will satisfy your junk food cravings in a deliciously upscale fashion.

Truffle French Fries with Basil and Parmesan

  • Enough vegetable oil to fill a medium-sized pot (approximately 3-5 cups)
  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 packed cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup truffle oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

  1. Cut the potatoes into desired size (personally them somewhere between normal and steak fries, about 1/2 inch on either side)
  2. Pour the vegetable oil into the pot and heat to medium hot. You can tell the oil is ready by dropping a breadcrumb in and seeing if it sizzles.
  3. Begin cooking the fries in as large of batches as you are comfortable managing. Place them in the pot and allow them to fry for several minutes after they begin to float to the top of the oil.
  4. Once each batch is done cooking, place it on a paper towel and allow it to drain briefly. After a few minutes toss the fries into a large bowl and toss with a small layer of Parmesan. Repeat this process until all the potatoes are fried.
  5. Drizzle the truffle oil over the top of the french fries. Add the basil, salt and pepper and toss gentle. Plate the french fries and serve.
October 2, 2011

The Pint is Mightier: Foggy Noggin Brewing LLC

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

Today we review a whole different kind of brewery. Tucked away on a suburban side street outside Bothell, WA is…

Foggy Noggin Brewing LLC

Foggy Noggin can’t even be called a microbrewery – it’s a nanobrewery. Owner Jim Jamison converted the garage of his residential home into a tasting room, and his actual brewing equipment is in a shed in his back yard.

The brewmaster boasted that he has one of the smallest full production breweries in the world. Foggy Noggin has only four beers on tap at a given time, all in their signature style of traditional English ales. Don’t let the small size fool you though, these beers are bold and distinct and some of the best we’ve have to pleasure to taste.

After several free samples, Eric and I both opted to get the Christmas Duck Porter; his regular, mine on nitro. This beer was very dark with a small caramel colored head. It was very opaque; light did not penetrate this beer. The beer had a pleasant roasty porter aroma as expected. At first sip Eric and I both knew it was a winner. We both spent the next 45 minutes sitting in the driveway/taproom trying to articulate the different nuances. The malt flavors hit the tongue and gave way to a slight bitterness that lingers perfectly. This porter had no apparent chocolate or coffee flavors in the roast, but there were hints of molasses and other notes that even after our long discussion we couldn’t identify. It was also stronger than most other porters, weighing in at 6.6% ABV. After conferring we do recommend getting it on nitro, even though it takes about ten minutes to pour. The added smoothness perfectly compliments this porter and the extra head captures the flavors perfectly. Overall, the original English style made this ale memorable, distinct, and delicious. We both recommend that anyone reading this step away from the computer immediately, go find someplace serving this porter and bask in its glory. Yes, its so good we even recommend you stop reading this blog mid-post.

Eric wanted to keep drinking the Christmas Duck Porter for the rest of the afternoon, but his duty to review more than one beer compelled him to get the Bit O’ Beaver English Bitter as his second pint. A bitter is a very English style ale, one that is uncommon around here, though many of you reading this will be familiar with the related style Extra Special Bitter, or ESB. The Bitter has a very low ABV at only 3.6%. It poured a cloudy amber color with no head. Eric could only discern a very minor malty aroma. The beer was very light-bodied and the flavor had a malt profile very similar to an amber. The bitterness was slight, but apparent. It had a lot of similarities with an American Amber style ale, however this Bitter possessed much more character and complexity than any Amber Eric had ever tasted. A unique and interesting brew unlikely to be found elsewhere, Eric recommended this as another beer by Foggy Noggin very much worth checking out.

I had similar feelings for the Porter, but opted instead to get the Rufus IPA for the sake of the blog. Being a true pacific northwest boy, I’m accustomed to the hyper-hoppy, in your face IPAs that we’re famous for out here. The Rufus was of a decidedly different pedigree. By appearance it was similar; coppery-amber colored with no head. However, one sip revealed the classic English stylings of this beer. The hops – all English variety – were unlike any other I had tasted before. In contrast to the bitter, floral and citrus flavors found in American IPAs, the hops in the Rufus were earthy and rustic. There were also a number of ester-like notes interwoven with the hops, giving the beer some characteristics of a Belgian ale. This beer was nothing like any IPA I had tried before, but I certainly enjoyed it. If you’re an IPA fan looking to change things up a little then this is the beer for you.

Whenever we get houses of our own, Eric and I will be opening breweries like this one. Jim is living the dream of every aspiring homebrewer; what started as a hobby has become a burgeoning business. He’s passionate about his beer, and it shines through with every sip of every pint. Foggy Noggin is only open for tasting on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 (though the hours change sometimes, stay up to date here) but their beers debut across the Puget Sound at places like Rooney’s on the Eastside in Woodinville and at Naked City in Seattle. This nanobrewery may be a little bit out of the way, but these highly unique and stunningly tasty beers are worth traveling from absolutely anywhere to try.

Good luck Jim, we’re rooting for you here at Rosemary Renaissance.

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