Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fancy Pants Beans on Toast

I've long held an ambivalence toward beans. They're something I know I should like and I should eat more often but I can never get excited about it. That being said I have been looking forward to making some homemade baked beans for a long time now and tonight was just the night to make that happen.

I had some beans leftover from August and I knew I had to use them soon before they gave up the bean ghost.

Laurel Hill Heirloom Bean Blend (Pre-Cooking)

To start I soaked them overnight, then I cooked them this morning, and after an exciting trip to a New Jersey Ikea, I threw them in the oven. I added a little water, ketchup, mustard powder, salt, pepper, molasses, Worchestershire sauce, and brown sugar. I also chopped up some of the skin side of the leftover ham stead from the other night and added the skin, fat, and leg bone before throwing them in the oven for three or four hours.

Fancy Pants Beans on Toast

When they were done I served them on a slice of toasted cornbread. Since I'd started out with these precious little heirloom beans I had the idea to turn them into beans on toast. However, since they were fancy pants beans I could not simply use a slice of white bread. No, this called for something decidedly more fancy pants, thus the cornbread.

Roast Chicken with Broccoli

To accompany the baked beans I roasted a chicken and served it with some steamed broccoli and a salad. That's right, the chicken was an accompaniment to the beans! That's just how fancy pants they were!

Sixpoint Diesel

For beer I enjoyed this Diesel from Sixpoint Craft Ales. I've been eyeballing this one for a long time and I finally got around to cracking one open. This is a truly unique beer, kind of a cross between a porter and a stout with delicious notes of bitter chocolate and coffee. Normally I'm not a huge porter or stout guy but this beer certainly hit the spot.

Adding Sixpoint Diesel to Baked Beans

In fact it was so good that I also added about a third of the can to the beans before cooking them.

Sumo Mandarins

For dessert I served up this Sumo mandarin. These mandarins have been all the talk lately. At least they've been all the talk in circles where people stand around talking about citrus. These are the kinds of circles I generally travel in. You may think that sounds exceedingly lame but I assure you I'm a terrifically wild and exciting guy.

I'm great at dinner parties. I drop all kinds of produce knowledge all over the place. For example: did you know that Sumo mandarins are from Japan and are extremely silly looking?

I bet you didn't. In my circles we'd refer to you as a classic Fruit Fool.

Good night, folks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cartoonishly Fat Tuesday

Every year for Mardi Gras (or Shrove Tuesday, depending on your preference) we try a different take on the bastardized "breakfast for dinner" theme. This year was no different, but I had to put a spin on it.

Ham Steak

That's when I came across this three-and-a-half pound ham steak at my local butcher shop. That, I thought, is what I'm making for breakfast. The only problem, of course, is that there are only two of us.

No matter, I thought. We would be able to use the leftovers and it would be well worth it to feature this cartoonishly large ham steak complete with bone.

I rubbed on side with salt and brown sugar before placing it in a hot pan with some butter, while it cooked I rubbed the other side, flipped it after it browned nicely, then finished it in the oven until done.

Scrambled Eggs with Feta and Dill

While it cooked I made up some scrambled eggs with feta and dill.

Pancake Stack with Butter and Maple Syrup

Also, I made a short stack of pancakes -- Jen's favorite part of the meal -- with syrup and butter.

Founders Breakfast Stout

To accompany this breakfast I chose the hard-to-find Breakfast Stout by Founder Brewing Company. This is a pretty hard beer to find around here but I spotted one lone bottle at the beer shop and snatched it up. I don't think I'm as skilled a stout drinker as I need to be to fully appreciate this one but it was very tasty and I enjoyed it immensely. This is the second stout I've had in the past three nights which I think is a new personal best.

The only way we get stronger is by setting goals for ourselves.

Lactalis Brie Le Petit

Since we'd had so much sweetness for dinner, mainly in the form of maple syrup, I decided to put out some cheese for dessert. I put out this petit brie from Lactalis. I'm not sure if it was intentional but it seemed to be a bit on the stinky side. After a few bites I decided to move back to my stout and some chocolate from our giant salad bowl full of chocolate that remains, perpetually full, in our living room all year round.

No one knows where the chocolate comes from but not matter how much we eat it is always full.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rest and Relaxation (and Chocolate Smuggling)

We spent yesterday at a spa relaxing, something I've gotten into in 2012. I didn't really make any resolutions but I have begun figuring out what it means to relax. It turns out it's pretty good. You should try it sometime.

After returning home and taking a nap (more relaxation) Jen was lying on the couch and reading a book when she said, "It's going to be summer soon, we should have a nice pasta that is like the summer."

It's been a mild winter but February in New York is not exactly the best spot for summer temperatures or ingredients. However, I was on the case, and I put together something anyway.

Jasper Hill Harbison - Aged 2 Months

The other night when we had the Montenebro cheese I bought an extra cheese for Jen, this Harbison from Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. The reason I bought it was because I found out that Montenebro was rubbed with penicillin and Jen is allergic to penicillin. I thought that fact would freak her out enough that she wouldn't want any. It turns out she was brave and I was wrong.

I thought this cheese was safe given its creamy texture.

Leftover Pasta with Grilled Artichoke Hearts, Roasted Red Peppers, Kalamata Olives, Arugula, Capers, and Feta Cheese

For the main course I made this pasta which is vaguely summery. I mean, it contains only leftovers and they're mostly items which are canned and jarred. Let's just pretend that all these canned or jarred items were things we'd grown and jarred ourselves.

The pasta was made with spaghetti, grilled artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, capers, fresh baby arugula, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Shmaltz Brewing Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale

I didn't really have any summer beer (as it has long since been consumed) so I poured this Genesis Dry-Hopped Session Ale from Shmaltz Brewing Company. This was an aggressively bitter ale with floral notes from the hops, despite the bitterness. It was very sessionable. (This is the part where I wait for you to ask what the hell that is supposed to mean.)

Oh! You don't know what sessionable means? You must be terribly uninitiated into the world of craft beer! It means that you can drink multiple of them in one drinking session.

I'm sorry. I thought you were of higher beer intelligence than that. The word sessionable, like so many, was created to identify and embarrass people who don't know its meaning.

That, my friends, is what true food appreciation is all about.

Munson's Chocolate Sampler from the Spa at Norwich Inn

Last night we couldn't quite fit in dessert at the spa so we made the ill-informed decision to get room service late in the evening and have a huge delicious slice of chocolate raspberry cake and a plate of little local Connecticut chocolates brought to our room along with tea.

We ate the cake, then moaned for a while. The chocolates we let sit on the coffee table overnight before carefully packaging them and bringing them home for dinner tonight.

As far as I can tell they were from Munson's Chocolates and they were fantastic. Even though we paid for this I feel like I was doing something wrong by wrapping it up and smuggling it off the premises in my backpack.

I think this is just a testament to how boring and unadventurous my life is.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pink Peppercorny

On another rainy, not-quite-winter, night I decided that the fridge needed a little emptying. As we won't be dining at home tomorrow night I wanted to eliminate as much of the remaining leftovers that I could, even after yesterday's assault on all that was both left and over.

Montenebro Goat Cheese

To start off I put out this Montenebro goat cheese from Spain. This cheese is sort of like if they made a giant fist out of cheese then punched you in the face with it then sprayed cracked black pepper into your eyes.

I'm not sure from that description if it's clear that I loved this cheese. While that may not sound great to everyone I can assure you that this cheese was incredible. It had a slight grassy taste too. I'm not sure if that's violent enough though. Okay, so after you get pepper sprayed in your eyes it's like someone rubs grass into your brand new white jeans until they stain.

This cheese is that good!

Arugula with Roasted Red Pepper, Grilled Artichoke Heart, Kalamata Olive, and Feta

For salad I put together this little number with arugula, feta, kalamata olive, and some grilled artichokes I'd given to Jen for Christmas. I topped it all with a little arugula. I didn't realize until writing this that I didn't put any salt or pepper on this salad. With everything going on it really didn't need any.

Pink Peppercorn Crusted Pork Tenderloin

For the main course I crushed up some pink peppercorns with my mortar and pestle. I trimmed and lightly salted a nice pork tenderloin and then applied the lightly crushed peppercorns like a crust before searing it and throwing it into the oven for about ten minutes.

Pink Peppercorn Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Baked Sweet Potato and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I also baked a sweet potato in the oven and roasted some halved Brussels sprouts to serve along with the pork tenderloin. Pork tenderloin is one of my all time favorite cuts of meat and this preparation was a new favorite. I've never crusted pork with pink peppercorns before but tonight I thought it would be fitting and I was right. The inspiration, I admit, came to me from the beverage I chose to serve.

Birra Almond '22 Pink Peppercorn IPA

I cracked open this Pink IPA from Birra Almond '22. I'd been looking forward to having this for a while. The Pink IPA is an Italian beer which comes in a beautiful bottle and with a fairly large price tag. It's also an odd volume at 37.5 centiliters (12.7 ounces).

I didn't get too much pink peppercorn from this beer. Sadly, to me, it tasted like an average IPA. After eyeballing this one for the past five or six months, observing the packaging, and paying ten dollars for a little more than twelve ounces I was expecting more.

Admittedly this was not the freshest bottle on the planet. I would like to give it another try if I could find it fresher. Of course with no dating on the bottle I don't know how I'd really know.

So, if you are looking to try a nice single bottle of IPA I'd recommend going with the Rayon Vert last night over this one. It's an astonishingly good beer and it probably costs about a quarter of what this does.

Hey, it may not have been the best beer ever but at least the trains ran on time!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Prison of Leftovers

Today could have been a great day for new culinary adventures at home. It could have been a great night for having dinner out on the town. Instead we are trapped, trapped in a prison of our own design. This, my friends, is my tale and it is called:

A Prison of Leftovers!

Beef Tenderloin Sandwich with Provolone, Roasted Red Peppers, Mashed Potato, and Tarragon Mustard

It's hard to justify making something new or going out for dinner when you are swimming in leftovers. So it was that I made this sandwich for lunch out of leftover beef tenderloin and mashed potatoes from Valentine's Day, provolone from the super bowl, roasted red peppers from the pineapple salsa the other night, leftover baguette, and tarragon mustard.

Maraschino Cherry Cake

Later on I settled down with some tea and the remainder of a maraschino cherry cake Jen had made last week. I expected it to be stale after all that time but it was actually delightful.

Butter Lettuce and Arugula Salad with Radishes, Roasted Red Pepper, Roasted Almonds, and Dill

After Jen returned home from work I took advantage of our remaining butter lettuce from Valentine's Day, arugula, roasted almonds, radish, roasted red pepper, and some more of Jen's homemade vinaigrette with fresh dill.

Shrimp and Potato Stew

Next I made this shrimp and potato stew. First I rendered two strips of bacon in a pan then added some crushed garlic, chopped onion, and Russett potato. I cooked these down then added some of the leftover seafood broth, continued to cook it down, and finished it by tossing in some shrimp, leftover peas from Valeninte's Day, arugula, and fresh dill. Finally I thickened it with a small amount of roux and served it with some sliced baguette.

Ommegang Seduction Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce

For dessert I tried to dress up some of the leftover cheesecake from Valentine's Day. This may have been the best tasting cheesecake I've ever made but what it had in flavor it lacked in structural integrity. Unfortunately it was nearly impossible to get it to look at all as intended. Chocolate sauce, I find, is a good way to try to mask poor dessert appearance.

Ommegang Seduction

And, finally, it was time to settle down with the remaining Ommegang Seduction porter. As it was the end of the bottle this meant I got a good amount of the sediment but I was happy with how well my champagne stopper preserved the beer over the past few days as I settled in for a relaxing evening.

Prison life, it turns out, isn't all that bad.

Mac & Cheese & Hops

When I'm out of ideas for dinner Jen usually comes through with some recipe she found on a blog that features better food, actual recipes, and far superior photography from this one. Normally I don't execute these recipes by the letter but rather wing it and add my own touch.

Last night I got home around 8:00 PM and had roughly 45 minutes before I had to pick Jen up from the train. Jen had shared this macaroni and cheese recipe with me earlier in the day and since we had most of the ingredients already I figured I'd give it a shot.

Cauliflower and Rainbow Chard Mac and Cheese

I started off by slicing out the stems form some rainbow chard, chopping them up, and cooking them in a pan with some onion, olive oil, and butter. When they were tender I added the chopped chard greens and cooked them down with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

I then sprinkled the cooked vegetables with flour, mustard powder, and drizzled a little Worchestershire sauce on top.

In a separate pot I boiled some fusilli and cauliflower together in salted water for about seven or eight minutes until the cauliflower had softened slightly. After that I drained them both, returned them to the pot, added a little milk and half and half, brought it back to a boil and added it to the floured rainbow chard mixture to thicken. I grated a little nutmeg into the mixture, put it into a casserole dish, and topped it with crumbled bread crumbs from an old loaf of bread which I'd tossed with olive oil, oregano, and basil.

Initially I wanted to add some rendered bacon and shrimp to the dish but as I was pressed for time it was just about everything I could do to be able to get this in the oven before I left for the train.

Green Flash Brewing Co. Rayon Vert

To accompany this dinner I had one of the beers Jen got me for Valentine's Day, this Rayon Vert Green Flash Brewing Co. This is a beer I passed up on numerous occasions because I didn't really know much about it. Then I stopped seeing it around and then I started hearing about how amazing it was and how scarce the supply was.

Of course.

Jen picked it up not knowing any of this so I was very grateful. I made this the first of my Valentine's beers to have since it should be consumed fresh. It was every bit as good as I've been hearing. It was a cut above your normal nice west coast IPA with similar characteristics like a nice fresh grapefruit juice finish. It calls itself a Belgian Pale Ale but I didn't really pick up much Belgianness from it.

Perhaps this is because my palate is not as refined as a beer expert's. I only have three tasting notes: good, bad, and hoppy.

And I don't really know what hoppy means.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Proper Valentine's Day

This blog has had a wholly inadequate number of Valentine's Day dinners. Mostly this is because we haven't really had that many Valentine's Day dinners together.

In 2008 we were just a couple of months from starting this blog. In 2009 we were traveling to Rhode Island to see my Father for his birthday. In 2010 I was working and Jen was home sick and made herself creamed salmon on toast. In 2011 we had the first time since starting this blog nearly four years ago that we had anything resembling a nice meal. I made a non standard surf and turf of lamb and sea scallops.

This got me to thinking of some Valentine's Days past. There was 2003 where I surprised Jen in New York and presented her with a menu to choose from any one of a number of dishes I couldn't actually afford to buy the ingredients for. In 2004 I made a nine course dinner in Rhode Island with expensive ingredients kindly donated by some restaurant friends of mine. In 2005 or 2006 (I can't remember which) we ordered pasta take out and watched a documentary on Russian Mail Order Brides. We remember this as both our best and worst Valentine's Day ever. The sadness has mellowed and turned into charm in the charred oak barrel of time.

Butter Lettuce with Radish and Dill

As was the case last year I had about twenty-five minutes to prepare dinner. I had to do something simple for a salad while the pans heated up so I made this salad with butter lettuce, radish, dill, and some of Jen's salad dressing from the fridge.

Pan Roated Beef Tenderloin with Lobster Tail, English Peas and Seafood Broth Butter Sauce

While last year I went with a non standard surf and turf, this year I decided to go with the classic: beef and lobster. I seasoned a beef tenderloin steak with salt and pepper, seared it in a pan, then threw it in the oven for about five or six minutes. After it was cooked I let it rest then threw some butter in the pan, cooked up some green onion, tossed in some English peas, the lobster tail which I'd previously boiled, and added some seafood stock and a little extra butter at the end. I served this all on top of mashed potatoes. I was going to drizzle a little truffle oil on the top but I made an assumption that Jen would hate that idea. During dinner I confirmed this assumption when Jen wrinkled her nose at the thought of truffles.

It's unfortunate but it does save a bit of money.

Valentine's Day Beer Present

Money that can be spent on Jen getting me awesome beers! She is well-tuned to my beer aesthetic which is to say any beer that I haven't had before. She even bought me a beer that the guy at the store specifically warned her against because it was "too strange."

That's my girl!

Ommegang Seduction

Speaking of beer, tonight I poured this limited release Seduction porter from Ommegang. There aren't a whole lot of Valentine's Day beers out there but this is sort of one of them. A lot of beers talk about having chocolate notes but this beer actually has chocolate in it. I was expecting something quite a bit fruitier and, dare I say, girly, from a beer called Seduction. What I got was something a bit more complicated.

It's a good thing that I asked Jen to be my Valentine and not her father. I'm pretty sure that once he reads about this beer he will start looking into ways to have our marriage annulled.

Ommegang Seduction Cheese Cake with Chocolate Sauce

Pairing dark heavy stouts with cheesecakes is nothing new but I was recently very impressed with one take on this using Young's Double Chocolate Stout from one of my favorite food and beer blogs, The Beer Cook. (Recipe here: Young's Double Chocolate Cheesecake).

I set out to make my own version of this but I decided to use the Seduction beer. I made this last night and let Jen taste the batter which she did not like. Tonight, however, after it had baked and chilled overnight she actually went in for seconds. The beer worked quite well in the cheesecake even if it did look like an unholy mess.

There you have it: another Valentine's Day that was better than the time we watched the documentary about Russian mail order brides.

And yet, not quite as good.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Man, A Plan, A Trout

I had absolutely no idea what I should make for dinner tonight. I was moments away from declaring it a buttered noodles night when I spied this beautiful trout from Panama at my local purveyor of fine fish. I had also recently seen the Panama episode of No Reservations so I fancied myself something of an expert on this country that I've never visited.

Pan Roasted Panamanian Brook Trout with Pineapple Salsa, Coconut Rice, and Sauteed Spinach

I pan roasted the trout to get the skin nice and crispy and served it over a bed of coconut rice with cilantro. I also sauteed up some spinach and made a simple pineapple salsa with pineapple, roasted red pepper, red onion, cilantro, cayenne, rice vinegar, and salt. I have no idea if this is the sort of thing that they'd do in Panama but it seemed entirely possible. I'm pretty sure Anthony Bourdain mentioned something about coconut rice in that episode so as far as I am concerned this is a 100% truly authentic Panamanian dish that would have been served to Noriega's dinner guests as they listened to him tell them about how much he hated the music of Bruce Springsteen.

Unita Brewing Golden Spike Hefeweizen

Long before I started making this quick dinner I cracked open this Hefeweizen from Uinta Brewing which I've been mistakenly calling Unita for the past month or so. I recently had their pale ale which was one of the best beers I've ever had. The hefeweizen was not quite at that level but it was decent. It was bottled a little less than three months ago so I probably could have had it a little fresher. I'm just not sure February is the right month for hefeweizen. However, it did snow today and we got an accumulation of a little shy of two millimeters before melting twenty minutes later.

Local Cortland, Jonagold, and Crispin Apples

I got these New York State Cortland, Jonagold, and Crispin apples so I figured I'd make a giant pot of applesauce since it's one of Jen's favorite things in the world to eat.

Local Cortland, Jonagold, and Crispin Applesauce

I used equal parts of each apple, peeled and chopped them, and cooked them down with just a little water. Jen and I have completely different tastes in apples. The Jonagold was my favorite of the three while the Cortland was her favorite. Our only common ground was in ranking the Crispin as two out of three.

Want to know the secret to a long marriage, folks? I'll tell you. It's all about finding your apple common ground.

And never go to bed angry.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thomas Keller's Roast Chicken (By a Far Inferior Cook)

I've roasted a lot of chickens in my personal and professional life. Well, mostly in my professional life. Mostly because one of my first jobs in the culinary world was as a chicken roaster. That's right, I spent most of my 12-to-17 hour shifts cutting, seasoning, panning up, and roasting chickens for a restaurant that served predominantly roasted chicken.

Spending years with the smell of chicken grease on my hands, clothes, and hair got me to a point where I didn't like chicken any more. In fact I went at least ten years without voluntarily having chicken after that job. I just never had any sort of craving for roast chicken.

After meeting Jen and hearing her talk, for years, about how much she loved a simple roast chicken I finally gave in and decided to give the dish another go. Since then I have found it to be quite enjoyable to have a nice roast chicken from time to time.

So, tonight, I set to work to make roast chicken for dinner!

Jen's Kitchen Disaster

Then I saw the state of the kitchen. Jen had made a cake last night. Tornadoes are generally easier on kitchens than Jen is when she is baking. This is a mixed bag because on the one hand I have to clean up a huge mess but on the other hand there are usually delicious baked treats for me to eat.

The interesting thing is her statement this morning: "I thought I did a good job cleaning last night after I was done baking. Apparently I was wrong."

The morning sun casts its light on the truth.

I decided, after watching a recent episode of No Reservations to break with my traditional way of roasting a chicken and go with Thomas Keller's method. I figured that it just might be possible that Thomas Keller could possess a better technique than even I had for roasting chicken.

I know, this was a long shot, but life is about taking risks.

Thomas Keller's Roasted Chicken (Not Actually Cooked By Him)

It seemed to work pretty well. The main differences from my normal technique were really that this technique requires no oil, removing the wishbone, and involves a figure eight truss around the legs. Since my trussing skills are around the level of your average third grader this didn't go particularly well but once you remove the twine no one is the wiser.

Lake of Bays Brewing Company Pale Ale

What did I pair with this dinner? Why this pale ale from Lake of Bays Brewing in Baysville, Ontario. There is a lot on the bottle boasting about how it is a northern beer. I assumed the bay it was referring to was the Hudson Bay but it's actually less than three hours north of Toronto and an impossible distance south of the Hudson Bay. According to Google Maps there is no actual way to get to the Hudson Bay from where Baysville, Ontario is. I know that this is unlikely to be true but let's just say it's not an afternoon trip.


To accompany the chicken I also made this couscous with dried fig, carrot, green onion, almond, olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper.

Roast Chicken with Couscous

It was interesting to try an alien technique for roast chicken. I think next time I'm going to give Heston Blumenthal's roast chicken a go.

All I need is a chicken and six days of prep time and I'm trying this technique out!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Most Awesome Sports Dinner Ever

Hey, Folks! You know we love those sports games and tonight was shaping up to be a great one. There's nothing we love more than the grid iron and the pig skin and . . . the goal post.

As hard as it was to tear myself away from all the action on the turf I somehow found the strength to tear myself away from the big game and make some food.

Lime Cilantro Salad with Guacamole and Tortilla Chips

I started with this salad with baby greens, cilantro leaves, lime, olive oil, salt and pepper. I used this salad as a base to serve some guac and chips. Not guacamole, mind you, guac.

I love guac. It's guactastic.

Avocado Pretzel Finger Sandwiches

It's hard to tell in this photo but these are tiny little finger sandwiches made with avocado, tomato, and red onion on mini pretzel rolls with Sierra Nevada stout mustard.

"Filly" Cheesesteak

Jen had mentioned she might want a Philly Cheesesteak. Since I'm a bad listener I made this which is not really anything of the sort but rather some thinly sliced, seared sandwich steak with carmelized onion and melted provolone on a grilled bun. I call it a "Filly" Cheesesteak because if fills you up. That was even lamer than my initial idea of naming it the Phily Cheesesteak after Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy but I wasn't able to determine how to make a Thin Lizzy-themed cheesesteak. Presumably with a large spherical tuft of parsley.

Oven Baked Potato with Avocado, Sour Cream, Tomato, and Cheddar

After the cheesesteak I served up a baked potato. A real baked potato done in the oven! Sure it takes about an hour-and-a-half longer than in the microwave but the texture difference is actually quite pleasing. I topped the baked potato with sour cream, cheddar, tomato, avocado, salt, and pepper.

Mill St. Brewery Organic Lager

For beer I decided I wanted to do something as traditionally American football as possible. I selected the only lager in the fridge, this Organic Lager from Mill St. Brewery in Toronto, Ontario. Sure, a beer from Canada might be viewed as an abomination for an American football game but I couldn't decide between Canadian lager or some sort of American craft stout or something. The latter seemed somehow less traditional.

This lager impressed me quite a bit. It tasted every bit like what you'd expect an American (or North American) lager to taste like except there was a prevailing crisp and clean taste. Maybe it's the Canadian touch, maybe it's the organic ingredients, maybe it's the fact that it's brewed in small batches. Something about this lager was just tasty.

Maybe it was merely enhanced by the goal-scoring, punt-kicking, pigskin-having excitement that has been blasting from our television screen for the past few hours.

God, I love soccer.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Split Pea Saturday

On our recent Lentil Lundi I was in a lentil sort of mood so I also put together a split pea soup because I knew Tuesday would be busy and this would be a nice quick dinner.

Split Pea Soup with Ham Hock

I started by cooking some onion, garlic, celery, and carrots in a little butter then tossed in some yellow split peas, a bay leaf, a smoked ham hock, the remaining chicken leek stock, and let it cook for a couple of hours.

Then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday got away from us and brought us to tonight where it was finally time to have some of this soup from the fridge. They say that soup is always better the next day. If that was the case then by my calculations tonight's meal would have been 500% better than if we'd enjoyed it on Tuesday!

Math has never been my strongest subject.

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Smoked Ham Hock

The soup did turn out quite well. Despite the lengthy cooking time the peas were quite "toothsome" according to Jen. I was surprised by this as well. Traditionally I suppose I should have pureed half the soup then added it back to give it a little more of a broth however I've never been one for tradition.

I've always been a much bigger fan of laziness.

Queso de Vare and Sourdough Boule

My local cheese monger recommended this Queso de Vare, a hard goat milk cheese from Spain as an accompaniment for split pea soup with ham. If you are looking for a cheese to pair with split pea soup (the odds are probably low) I'd get behind this one. Great stuff.

Arcadia Ales Sky High Rye

I decided to be brave and have my first beer in about a week with this Sky High Rye from Arcadia Ales. Their website is listed as currently under construction and if that means they're too busy making beers like this to update it then that is just fine with me. This beer was extremely delicious, loaded with lots of floral hoppiness and a nice soft bitterness that was a nice complement to the smoky pea soup. I don't think I've ever had a Rye beer before, surprisingly. If this is any indication of how good they are I just may have to start buying them more often.

That is, of course, after I've gone through the fifty-some-odd beers in my overflowing beer cellar. I wouldn't want to be wasteful.

Or get yelled at by Jen. Cheers!