Moon in the 6th

Posts Tagged ‘Recipes

Our story so far: A Serious Eats newsletter about infusing beers in a French press came on the heels of my deciding to try infusing wine. Wine project shelved; beer experiments leaped to the front burner.

Experiment #2 in infusing beer. (Read about Experiment #1 here.)

What You Need:

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Grapefruit. Ginger. Peeler. Knife. French Press.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Grapefruit. Ginger. Peeler. Knife. French Press.

Remove the peel from the grapefruit. Recipe creator Luis Tovar says to use a vegetable peeler. I couldn’t get any traction so cut the grapefruit in half, which led to juice squirting from the pressure of my holding the fruit as I peeled. I peeled in a bowl to capture everything.

Cut the grapefruit in half. (Beat you to it, Skippy.) Remove one section of the grapefruit, squeeze the juice, and put the peel, the section and juice into the carafe. I dumped in everything in my peeling bowl and threw in two sections of the fruit, just because.

Peel and chop 2″ of ginger and place it in the carafe.

Infuse for at least 3 minutes. I let it sit more than 5.
2013-05-26 20.01.04

The results: Definitely grapefruity. Can’t detect the ginger. Refreshing — hardly seems like beer. Round two is brewing with more fruit and more ginger.

For the past two summers I have been happily infusing vodka with all manner of dried fruits, spices and botanicals. A recent brush with infused wine has opened the floodgates to other possibilities.

The door-opener was Pinot Grigio, which I usually ignore, transformed into drinkable magic with lemon, ginger and chopped fresh mint. Before I picked up the ingredients to attempt a recreation of that, a Serious Eats newsletter spotlit beers infused in a French press.

I bought one before the sun went down.

Two experiments are on tap for the Memorial Day weekend. The first: Belgian Trippel Ale with Lime and Mint.

My first tinkering was with the base brew. Serious Eats’ contributor Luis Tovar had based his recipe on fruity New Belgian Trippel Ale, which I could not locate in semi-rural New Jersey. Instead, I picked up Green Flash Brewing Company’s Trippel Ale.

I’ll cut to the chase: This infusion is refreshing. And a keeper.

What you need:

Trippel ale. Mint. Lime. Zester. Knife. French Press.

Trippel ale. Mint. Lime. Zester. Knife. French Press.

Zest half the lime. Squeeze the juice from 1/4 of the lime.

Put in the carafe:
The zest
The lime juice
What’s left of that lime quarter
A handful of torn mint leaves
The whole bottle of Trippel ale

Tovar says to let the infusion sit at least three minutes. I went more than five and would leave it longer the next time.

Cue the Jeopardy theme..

Cue the Jeopardy theme..

Push the plunger down carefully. Pour. Sip. Marvel.

Ahhh.

Ahhh.

It’s mildly acerbic from the lime. The mint is barely a background note. I squeezed the other quarter lime into the glasses and added more shredded mint. Next time — and there will be one — or more — I will double the lime from the start, and also rip up more mint.

Now excuse me. I’ve got a beverage waiting.

UPDATE: The reason I was inspired to up the ingredients may have had something to do with … uh … the size of the bottle. Which, it turns out, was at least double size of what the recipe used. Once again, the importance of actually reading directions comes to the fore….

I used to see Martha Stewart as a tormentor of womankind, her minutiae-focused approach to modern living prescribing an impossibly manicured standard so unattainable that it would only add to the reasons modern media give women to feel bad about themselves. Her mature, responsible and community-bettering handling of her jail sentence turned my opinion into respect. Her Martha Stewart Living is one of my few remaining print subscriptions, and the only publication I continue to hoard. The recipes are part of the reason. They exist in the real world, with ingredients that are reasonably easy to acquire (unlike the rarities-to-absurdities that Gourmet often invoked), techniques that are within the grasp of mere mortals, and results that both work and taste good. Which leads me to the Double-Chocolate Brownies in the April 2010 issue.

The issue’s been with me less than four weeks and I’ve already made them that many times. They’re spectacular, one of the best brownie recipes I’ve used and definitely the easiest. The double whammy consists of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder, and the ease comes from whisking all the eggs and dry ingredients directly into the pan containing the melted chocolate and butter. The result comes out of the oven so wonderfully moist that jostling it (by prematurely lifting the parchment out of the pan or, say, um, cutting away a nibble) causes the perfect crust to to crackle with a landscape of canyons. These brownies require patience, though; the true wonder of their taste does not shine through until they’ve cooled completely. One recipient pronounced them so good that he wondered whether eating them behind the wheel constituted driving under the influence.

I can’t link you to the recipe (it’s not on Martha.com)(yet), but I can walk you through a variation I made when the urge for another batch surfaced late yesterday evening. I went into it knowing I was out of bittersweet chocolate, but did I run out to the store? No. Impulsiveness met laziness and improvisation ensued. Semi-sweet morsels and espresso powder made an acceptable substitute for the bittersweet chocolate. Light and dark Kayro syrup were an experiment, when the sugar ran a half a cup short. The changes required more time in the oven and the dark syrup made for a molasses-y punch when the brownies were warm. Once cooled, these have a harder, crunchy crust, top and bottom, satisfyingly strong chocolatey goodness and an ever-so-slight sweet aftertaste. Try these, then run out and buy the issue while it’s still on the stands.

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat in a double boiler (or a pan/bowl over a pan with water):
I stick unsalted butter, cut up
6 oz semi-sweet morsels
1 TBS espresso powder

Remove from burner. Whisk in:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup dark corn syrup (leave out corn syrup if you have 1 1/2 cup sugar on hand)
3 eggs, one at a time
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
sprinkling of salt (target is 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS all-purpose flour

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Pour in batter. Bake 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out close to clean. Let the pan cool about 15 minutes. Lift the parchment from the pan (here’s where the MSL recipe cracks), place it on a wire rack and let it cool completely.