Archive for June, 2012

June 30, 2012

Eggs Benedict with Mushroom and Brussels Sprout

You have been mislead your entire life. Brussels sprouts are delicious.

Don’t boil them, don’t leave the ends on. Chop them up, season them with a little salt and pepper, and saute them in a little butter and you will be astonished at how delicious they are.

And they’re particularly delicious in this recipe. They develop a faint caramelization that melds hints of sweetness with the natural flavors of roughage. When paired with the umami notes of seared mushrooms, the two form an alliance of earthy flavor. Combined with rich hollandaise, a runny poached egg and an English muffin to clean your plate of all the leftover goodness, you can’t go wrong.

This recipe is vegetarian, but if you’re feeling carnivorous it would be perfectly suited to the addition of nice, crispy bacon. Serve it up with some hash browns or country friend potatoes and bask in scrumptious glory.

Eggs Benedict with Mushroom and Brussels Sprouts

  • 7 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 6 crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 7 Brussels sprouts, finely chopped
  • 2 English muffins
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • pepper, to taste

 

  1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a steady simmer. Take three eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Combine the yolks, lemon juice and cayenne in a stainless steel bowl and whisk together until thickened.
  2. Place the stainless steel bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the the volume has increased by half. Remove from the heat.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add the butter and allow it to cook until it just begins to brown. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the mushrooms and add them to the skillet, tossing until evenly coated with butter. Cook until one side of the mushrooms are seared, approximately 3 minutes, then toss and repeat for the other side. Reduce the heat to medium, add the Brussels sprouts and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add enough water to fill the pot, add the vinegar and bring it to a soft boil. Poach the four remaining eggs so the yolks are still slightly runny.
  5. Lightly toast the English muffin. To serve, dish the mushroom and Brussels sprout saute over each English muffin half followed by a poached egg. Top with a couple spoonfuls of hollandaise sauce and garnish with a sprinkle of pepper.


June 28, 2012

Coming Soon: The Pint is Mighter Bracket!

Okay, we’re about four months late to the whole bracket game, but it makes a little more sense when we explain it.

One year ago (more or less) we started review breweries. It’s taken us all over the state, to old spots and places we never would have imagined going to, to dives and swank joints. Most importantly, it’s taken us to a lot of good beer.We could think of no better way to celebrate our beeriversay than to pit our favorites against one another.

That’s right, we’re putting together a bracket.

There are only two rules: neither of us can have the same beer and no two beers can come from the same brewery. Beyond that, no holds barred. We’re going to have guest judges, an audience to provide the heckling, and live blog the whole showdown right here on this humble blog.

The lineup is still being set, but here’s a preview of a few of the competitors!

    

Look forward to the full lineup, bracket, a competition soon!

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June 20, 2012

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Hazelnut

Back during my stint at the Crepe Cafe, we had one of the most delicious desserts you could imagine. Before they would teach me to how to make it I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, a non-compete clause and several other contracts I’d never heard of, but finally I was inducted into the chosen ones and learned the secrets.

I can’t give away too much, but it involved crepes, chocolate, whipped creme, and these delicious caramelized bananas. It was such a decadent dish that I would eat it only occasionally, and only when I had nothing else to do the remainder of the day

Make no mistake – this recipe is still probably the richest I’ve ever posted to this blog. Each soft, sweet, banana-y bite will probably cut a minute or two off your lifespan. But hey, a life without caramelized banana french toast isn’t a life worth living. The french toast is chewy on the inside, crunchy on the outside with hints of vanilla, while sauce is heavenly fugue of banana, butter and sugar. It’s richer than the Kennedy family, but just as charming.

This french toast probably isn’t the best choice before a busy day at work or an action-packed Saturday. But if you have a nice Sunday morning where you don’t need to move and can bask all day in the afterglow, you can’t go wrong here.

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Hazelnut

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4-6 slices of stale french bread, 3/4 in thick
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts

 

  1. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, sugar and vanilla extract. Soak each slice of french bread in the egg batter for 1-2 minutes, then set aside.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium with a small pat of butter. Sear each side of the french for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown but not burned.
  3. Turn the skillet to medium-high. Add the butter and wait until it just begins to brown. Add the sugar evenly, then quickly add the sliced banana and toss vigorously. Continue to cook, tossing frequently, for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. To serve, top the slices of french toast with caramelized bananas and sprinkle hazelnuts over the top.
June 9, 2012

Mole Pizza

When making this dish I stumbled into a food blogging ethical dilemma: If you make a dish and photograph it one way, but decide it would actually taste better another way, do you post the version that you made or the modified recipe?

As I envisioned – and original cooked – this pizza, it had tequila-candied kumquats on it. Kumquats are slightly sweet, tangy little fruits with edible skins and seeds. They were intended to bring an extra hint of sugar and infuse a hint more Mexican flair. They would being way to sugary and a poor match for the dish. Because they were simply a topping on a pizza, however, I picked them off and had a perfectly delicious meal

After arduously weighing the pros and cons, I decided to leave the candied kumquats out of this post. Maybe I need to take blogging ethics course, but whatever. When it comes to the recipe, it’s better this way.

The mole-tomato sauce is sweet and robust, with mild notes of dark chocolate and chili woven in. The cotija (also known as the greatest cheese to grace the face of this earth) is sharp, salty, and crisps to a delightful golden brown when roasted on the pizza. Finally, the tomatillos provide a tangy and slightly bitter balance to round out the dish. It’s simple – even more simple if you buy a pre-made crust, although I wouldn’t recommend it – but remarkably flavorful and unique.

If you’re looking for pizza that’s out the box (figuratively, not literally) then this is perfect for you!

Mole Pizza

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 packet of yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chorizo
  • 1/2 cup mole sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups cotija
  • 2 tomatillos, diced

 

  1. Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Allow it to stand until frothy, approximately ten minutes.
  2. Combine the yeasty water with the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil. Knead until firm. Shape into a ball and cover for 30 minutes, or until increased in size by 1/2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. While waiting for the dough to rise, heat a pan to medium-high. Add the butter and saute the onions until they just start to become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chorizo and saute until thoroughly cooked.
  4. Once the dough has risen, use a rolling pin or your hands to flatten it out and set it on an aluminum-covered baking tray or pizza stone. Combine the mole sauce and tomato sauce and coat the dough. Build the pizza from there by adding the cotija, tomatillos and cooked chorizo.
  5. Place the pizza in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and crusts are golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Let cool, cut and serve.
June 2, 2012

The Pint is Mightier: Chuckanut Brewing Co.

(Beer Connoisseur Eric Peters contributed to this post)

After night one at Boundary Bay, we traipsed over to the other side of Bellingham to check out the city’s other major brewery…

Chuckanut Brewing Co.

Often overshadowed by Boundary Bay, Chuckanut Brewing Co. is the spot of some splendid brews. Unlike most breweries in the region that specialize in the Northwest styles we know and love, they stocked a wide variety of German inspired and styled beers. We settled into a booth

The first beer we tried was their Alt. It poured a small head and was not cloudy at all. It had a pleasantly zesty hop aroma, not as strong as an IPA but more akin to what one might expect from a pale ale. The beer itself had a classic German filtered taste and a crisp finish. The hop notes were evident, but not overpowering, while the bitterness lingered ever so slightly on the tongue. We found this beer to be light-bodied but rather refreshing with its somewhat carbonated mouthfeel. Overall it was a pleasant German-style beer with a bit of a Northwest Hop twist.

We took a shot at the Smoke Porter after that. Now introducing smoke flavor to a beer is a tricky thing to do. Much like adding fruit or other flavor additives, it’s very easy to go too far, overwhelming and ruining the original profile of the beer. Smoke, in particular, is very powerful. But Chuckanut got it right with this porter. The smoke flavor was subtle and seamlessly woven into the roasty profile of the beer. It carries through in the scent and in the aftertaste, but never too strongly. In profile, this porter was quite dark with a light white head. We found this to be an exceptionally well-craft and well-balanced beer.

Next up was the Chuckanut Pilsner. What Chuckanut lacked in creative naming it more than made up for in crafting very drinkable beers, in styles we don’t enjoy no less. This pilsner is one of the best we’ve had in our illustrious drinking careers. It poured a small head and had no opacity. The color was golden, while the taste had just a hint of a bite at the end. The beer was straightforward and simple, which are not necessarily bad things and served this style particularly well. The Pilsner had a very crisp, clean finish and was quite refreshing – definitely a reason to check out this brewery.

The final stop on our tour de Chuckanut was their IPA. It poured uncharacteristically for an IPA, with a reddish amber hue and no hop aroma. Despite lacking any strong smell, the flavor profile was hop-heavy with a decidedly earthy and floral lean. The malt influence was very minimal, although hints of rye peaked through into the flavor palette. As you transition to the aftertaste, the flavors peel away leaving just faint floral notes. We thought the IPA was solid, but nothing exceptional.

If you’re looking for a little break from traditional Pacific Northwest brews, then Chuckanut is a great place to stop by. Their German-influenced beers are quite a pleasant, and the pub friendly and inviting. It may not have the same reputation as Boundary Bay, but its worth swinging by if you’re in the area.

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