Beer Reviews Ofallon Pumpkin Ale

As the summer begins to wane and the sights and smells of autumn are just around the corner, my thought turn to beer, of course. They turn that way a lot, as my friends would be quick to point out, but the end of summer marks a special time for beer-lovers. On the way out are the light, easy-drinking wheat ales and lagers that are so well suited for hot weather and on the way in are the darker, more robust ales that readily warm the soul on a chill fall evening.

One of my favorite fall seasonal ales is a pumpkin ale. Generally an amber ale with actual pumpkin (in whole or extract form) and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove added. A well-crafted pumpkin ale is rich with the splendor of fall a cornucopia of harvest scents and flavors in a bottle. Spiced beers are not for everyone, but if you enjoy something different and are a fan of “holiday” seasonings and spices, like I am, you can really appreciate the festive spirit these ales evoke.

I am fortunate enough to live in an area of the country that produces one of the better Pumpkin Ales available in the craft beer market O’Fallon Brewery’s Pumpkin Ale. O’Fallon has been in the brewing business since 2000 and they have managed to produce some truly fine and distinctive ales in their relatively short history. Most notable of these is their Smoked Porter winner of a Gold Medal at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival. O’Fallon also has the distinction of producing one of my very favorite summer standby beers they call Wheach a peach infused wheat beer that is subtle yet flavorful and refreshing.

Despite the cartoon-like label depicting a Halloween jack-o-lantern, O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Ale is not a novelty beer. With a solid malt backbone and a disciplined amount of spice in the nose and palate, this beer is a terrific accompaniment to a hearty fall feast, or all on its own.

Here is my review of their 2006 batch:

Pours a slightly hazy medium orange color with a thinnish almond head. Good carbonation. Nose is terrific … cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pumpkin … all of what you’d expect. There is a slight doughy aspect in the nose as well, from the roasted malts, that make this beer seem like a fresh pumpkin pie. Palate is consistent with the nose … nice spiciness and subtle malt sweetness. There is a distinctive hop “bite” in here as well, almost ginger-like. This one is really quite well balanced. Mouthfeel is maybe slightly thin, but very good over all for the style. Residual spiciness lingers on the tongue. Slightly sweet finish. This is a very drinkable pumpkin ale. One of the better ones I’ve had. Another very good offering from O’Fallon … I just wish they had better labels … the jack-o-lantern, like the Wheach label, just looks a little low-brow to me, but that is strictly a personal preference and in no way takes away from the great beers that O’Fallon produces.

Look for O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Ale at retailers in September and get ready to spice things up with a great fall seasonal!

Source:
1. Pumpkin Beer | O'Fallon Brewery | BeerAdvocate
2. Stop Eating Too Much & Eat Less Healthy Guidelines
3. O'Fallon Pumpkin Beer – RateBeer

Image Credit
www.frothnhops.com

Beer Recommendations for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving, a time for fine food and celebration. The food is always at its best, the mere thought of the mouth-watering aromas, floating through the air is enough to stir the palette into a crazed ecstasy of delight. But more often than not, the drink can be a bit of an afterthought. Often it is a last minute decision that usually is settled by choosing a wine that you believe is “quite nice”. This year why not combine and complement the meal with various fine beers from around the world? This will not only take your meal far above the ordinary, but such drinks will actually intensify the meal itself. What follows is a suggestion of the types of beers in which I would recommend to go with each course, however it is just a suggestion to give you a general idea, after all it is your meal not mine.

Why not start your thanksgiving dinner with a beer? What could be better than a light aperitif while the turkey is in the oven? For an aperitif you need something extra light and refreshing, something that will make you eager to start as opposed to blow you out. Try a gentle crisp lager to start something like Tiger beer would work well. With that drunk we are onto the starter.

If you are having a spiced soup for a starter you could choose worse than a tangy brown ale or rich pale ale, the choices here are almost endless, bear in mind though we don’t want anything too strong at this stage. Why not choose Stone Pale Ale which possess a delightfully robust full flavor, but the choice is really up to you, as long as it is rich and full-bodied you can’t go wrong. You could even opt for British ale; check out Hobgoblin or Bishop’s Finger both go down well with soups.

Main course time, the moment we have all been waiting for, by now your taste buds really should be buzzing and you will be eager in the anticipation of the feast ahead. But what beer to choose here? Well, what we don’t want here is quantity; we want to save room for the meal after all don’t we? So maybe it is time to spring a special treat. If you can get hold of a real quality Belgian beer here, served in its own unique glass, you will really be the toast of the celebration, and a real connoisseur of taste. A Leffe Blonde should be the easiest to get hold of, but perhaps you could go with a golden Chimay, very intense but should complement the turkey no end.

If you have still got room for the pumpkin pie you will probably be want a much lighter beer after the main selection. A nice touch would be to return to the aperitif, or if you and your guests are feeling adventurous maybe a fruit-infused beer or even a wheat beer. The best thing to offer is choice at this stage as no doubt your guests will fall into one of the two camps.

By this stage most of the guests will want to sit down and relax, perhaps clutching the beer in which they favored the most, so the perfect host has plenty to spare, with maybe one or two new beers to keep the options open. All of this may sound like to much hard work, after all you have the meal to prepare, but don’t forget the beers can be bought weeks in advance so it need not be a issue on the day. If it all still sounds too much trouble then you could always get someone else to do the cooking! Happy thanksgiving.

Source:
1. The Serious Eats Guide to Thanksgiving Beer Pairing | Serious Eats
2. Sacred Heart Diet for Losing Weight
3. Randy Moshers Thanksgiving Day Beer List – CraftBeer.com

Image Credit
www.vegetablegardener.com

Beginners Guide to Buying Wine

If you are a novice wine-drinker and have enjoyed a glass of wine with friends or in a restaurant setting, it can be quite challenging to go out and buy wine when there are literally thousands of choices, and perhaps even dozens of choices in local supermarkets.  Here are a few suggestions that will serve you well as a basic guide to buying wine. 

*Finding out What You Like

The key to buying wines that you will enjoy is to know what kind of wine you like.

For this purpose, your best bet is to go to a wine specialty shop.  The advantage to this is that most good specialty stores have tastings on the weekends where you might be able to try 6 to 10 wines at their tasting table and be assured that you will go home with the wine that tastes good to you. 

The second reason is that the staff in wine specialty shops are generally far more knowledgeable than in your local supermarkets and shopping clubs. 

A good sales person can steer you towards good bargains and even assist you in wine pairing for dinners or parties. 

If there isn’t a good wine shop conveniently located near your home, then organize a wine tasting party and invite good friends to bring one or two bottles of wine each and taste them side by side in a casual, friendly environment. 

The best way to do this is to taste the same grape varietal in a similar price range to see which brands and wine growing regions stand out. 

You can make it a game by covering the bottles with brown paper bags and marking them with letters or numbers and have people vote for their favorites. 

A simple buffet of bread, cheese and deli meats is all you need to have with your wine to see which ones go best with food. 

You can choose the wines from a similar price point, let’s say $10 to $20, all from the same growing region (California, Australia etc.) or across regions to begin to understand the difference between Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile or California.

Keep a list of favorite wines you discover and have them handy as your own personal “house wines”. 

*Where Do You Start?

According to Andrea Immer, award winning sommelier and author of the book, “Great Wines Made Simple”, 80% of all wines are made from the “Big Four” wine grape varietals.  They are two red wine grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and two white grape varietals, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. 

As you taste, you will find that the Cabernet Sauvignon will be more robust and have more “mouth feel” because of the tannins from that grape and the Merlot will taste slightly fruitier and silkier. 

Chardonnay will generally taste  richer and have a fuller “mouth feel” and Sauvignon Blanc will taste lighter and slightly more acidic.  However, the effect of the contact between the wine and oak, either from barrel aging or the addition of wood chips to the wine (in cheaper wines) will give a softer, even buttery quality to the wine.  It is an interesting experiment to try oaked and un-oaked wines made from the same grape varietal side by side to illustrate this. 

Because of the heartier, more tannic quality of red wine, they are all usually barrel-aged to bring out the maximum flavor in the wine. 

Once you find individual wines from the grape varietals you like, start trying them side by side with other varietals to see which you like best. 

Learning about the “Big Four” will give you a strong wine background, considering how many wines are made worldwide from these four grapes. 

Once you get a good feel for these wines, there are many other wines made from other grapes that are worth trying and are quite delicious.  Try red wines made from Pinot Noir, Pinotage, San Geovese and Gamay, then whites made from Viognier, Pinot Grigio And Riesling. 

*Exploring Wine Regions

There are many famous wine growing regions around the world that specialize in local grape varietals, such as, Malbec from Argentina, Zinfandel from California and Shiraz from Australia.  These are unique and tasty wines that should not be missed.  Though, some can be pricey, like good Zinfandel from California, there are some great values like the Argentine Malbec from Mendosa and the Australian Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. 

Inspired by the great wines of Bordeaux in France, the “Super Tuscans” in Italy and the wines of the Rhone river valley, many wines are made from blending grape varietals to create unique regional wines.  Once you have been acquainted with the single varietal wines, try some of these regional wines for their unique attributes.  Here is where a good wine salesperson can help to guide you to a wonderful wine tasting adventure. 

*Specialty Wines

All the wines mentioned above are dry wines, meaning the sugars that occur naturally in the grapes have been fully fermented to create the alcohol in the wine.  They are generally drunk with food or at social gatherings with savory snacks. 

In the making of champagne or other sparkling wine, a second fermentation is induced to create effervescence in the wine. 

Such “sparkling” wines make any occasion feel special and can be paired with savory or sweet foods.  Be sure to choose a sparkling wine that is clearly marked “Methode Champagne” on the bottle, or any true Champagne made in the Champagne region of France.  The best examples from France can be quite expensive, but the Moet Chandon White Star can be found for around $20.  This is an excellent entry-level French champagne.  The korbel Natural is a California sparkling wine made in the true “method Champagne for around $12.  This is a good introductory wine for the California style of this sparkling classic. 

There many varieties of fortified wines for after dinner or evenings by the fire.  These fall under the heading of port and Sherry.  These are generally made by adding neutral grape spirits (alcohol) to the fermenting wine while there is still some residual sweetness to stop the fermentation process, yielding a sweeter, after-dinner wine with a higher alcohol content, usually around 20%.    They are delicious sipping wines for sharp cheeses, nuts and fruit.  They are a truly elegant way to end a fine meal or just relax by the fire with good friends. 

This is a simple beginners guide that will get you on your way to trying and developing a love for good wine.  Remember that the best definition for good wine is wine that you like.  So get out there and start trying as many kinds of wines as you can, and you will have a great knowledge base in no time. 

Source:
1. Wine Basics – A Beginner's Guide to Drinking Wine | Wine Folly
2. How to Get Off Coffee
3. Best Wines for Beginners – LoveToKnow

Image Credit
www.cbc.ca

Beer Reviews Goose Island Matilda

Once in a while I come across a beer that genuinely surprises me. I sample a lot of beers, from a lot of places, and I really try not to build expectations too high for a beer that I’m familiar with, and have read glowing reviews for, but never sampled myself. That’s not fair to the beer. Seldom has a beer with a lot of hype surrounding it lived up to that hype, in my experience (with a few exceptions, of course. Westvleteren 12, for example, is as good as they say it is!).

When it comes to Belgian-style beers, I’m even more cautious. Belgian beers are, for me, the pinnacle of brewing excellence. The brewers of Belgium, particularly the Trappist breweries, are the very best in the world …Sorry Germany. Because I hold the great beers of Belgium in such high regard, I’m always wary when an American brewer attempts a Belgian-style beer. Not that the results are necessarily bad, but there is almost always a qualitative difference between a “Belgian-style” beer and the genuine article. There is an elusive quality to the great beers of Belgium that cannot truly be duplicated elsewhere even in the most masterful of brewing hands. Don’t get me wrong, there are very good Belgian-style beers out there from other countries … several beers from brewers like Ommegang, Allagash, and Unibroue (Canada) come to mind … but they’re still not Belgian beers.

That’s just my opinion, anyway.

I had the pleasure of sampling a beer from a fine brewery right here in Illinois last evening that I felt compelled to write about. You see, this was one of those beers that surprised me … in a good way. I’m talking about Goose Island Brewing Co. in Chicago.

I’ve had many of the Goose Island beers, and enjoyed them all. I’ve never questioned that Goose Island brews quality beer. I have never, however, come across a Goose Island beer that impacted me the way this one did. I can honestly say that this beer is not only the best beer I’ve tried from Goose Island; it’s very possibly the best American-made Belgian style beer I’ve tried in a long while.

That’s saying a lot.

The beer I’m referring to is Goose Island Matilda. Matilda is part of a “reserve” series of beers Goose Island produced that were inspired by a brewery trip to Belgium, some construction issues, and other meaningful events. The black and white bottle labels tell the story of each beer. Along with Matilda, look for Demolition (a Belgian Strong Pale Ale), Pere Jacques (a Belgian Dubbel), and Bourbon County Stout (an American Double Stout). Matilda is the most conservative of the four in terms of ABV … at only 7%.

Here’s my formal review of the beer, as found on Beer Advocate:

Pours a beautiful orange gold color with a bubbly off-white head with good retention and a nice lacing inside the chalice. The nose is very spicy and fruity, and has just a slightly musty character that is extremely pleasant. I can’t stop sniffing this beer. The palate is lush – tropical fruits, Christmas spice, candy, and do I detect a bit of tart, gueuze-like zing here? I think I do. Very, very complex. The mouthfeel is silky, and finishes dry with some lingering bitterness that leaves the mouth watering for more. This beer floored me, quite frankly. I like Goose Island beers, but this may just be the best Goose Island beer I’ve ever tried. In fact, this may well be one of the best American-made Belgian style beers I’ve ever tried. Truly world class if you ask me. I need more of this beer.

I have not seen this particular brew anywhere in Southern Illinois, so far, but Goose Island does have distribution affiliation with Anheuser-Busch, so it is possible that a helpful retailer, Like Jimmy at Pinch Penny, might be able to order it for you. Trust me, if you’re into Belgian beer, and the Strong Pale Ale style in particular, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, if you get your hands on this gem and don’t like it for some reason, email me and I’ll buy what you have left!

Well done Goose Island!

Source:
1. Goose Island Brewery
2. 4 Alternatives to Sports Drinks
3. Matilda | Goose Island Beer Co. | BeerAdvocate

Image Credit
extras.mnginteractive.com

Beer Reviews Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu

Those that know me well know that I have an affinity for “extreme beers.” I enjoy beers that push the boundaries and defy styles. Sometimes these beers are just “big” versions of classic styles, like Double IPAs or Imperial Pilsners, and other times they don’t fit into any known category cleanly. I am not one of those people, however, who go “big” or don’t go at all. My first and greatest love is still a well-crafted, balanced session beer you can enjoy without doing extreme violence to your palate.

But sometimes it’s just fun.

Because of my fascination with beers that push the limits and defy categorization, I have come to consider the Milton, Delaware craft brewer Dogfish Head among my very favorites. I’ve sampled virtually every beer from Dogfish Head I’ve been able to get my hands on and I’ve enjoyed every one if not for the sheer quality of the beer then certainly for its unashamed spirit of adventure. These are rebellious beers and that’s a good thing for the hardcore beer lover.

What may be Dogfish Head’s most ambitious experiment yet is a beer that finds it’s origins in ancient China yes, China. The recipe for DFH’s Chateau Jiahu is based on the residual ingredients found in clay pots unearthed in the Neolithic village of Jiahu in northern China. The recipe is said to be over 9,000 years old. Based on the chemical compounds found in these ancient brewing vessels, Dogfish Head set out to reproduce this ancient brew as closely as possible to what the original might have been like almost ten centuries ago the result may not be precisely the same, and modern technology certainly gives the brewer of today a decided advantage, but the spirit of the brew is alive and well in Chateau Jiahu.

Brewed using pre-gelatinized rice flakes, honey, Muscat grapes, hawthorn fruit and chrysanthemum flowers is enough to solidify the claim that Chateau Jiahu is one of the most unique beers ever brewed … or at least in the last 9,000 years but add to this the fact that sake yeast was used to ferment this “beer” and you’ve certainly got something that defies every extant beer style known to man. Leave it to Dogfish Head to convert something old into something completely new and innovative. This it truly one of the most unique and unusual beers in the world. Antiquity meets modernity the result? Here’s my tasting notes:

Poured from a 750ML bottle, this strange fluid pours a medium yellow color, with highlights of light honey. Active carbonation bubbles soar to the surface of the liquid in the large white wine glass I’m using to review this beer. The rather thin head is tight and quite sticky, leaving spots of lacing inside the glassware. The nose is quite simply otherworldly is this beer or possibly a complex white wine? The Muscat grapes used in this beer are present right from the start and lend a very unusual wine-like bouquet to the nose, making you think you might be drinking a sparkling white wine instead of a (technically) beer. Slightly sweet on the nose as well, the wildflower honey is evident and makes one think a bit of a mead. This is either one of the most complex beers ever, or it has a serious identity crisis. Slight floral notes, which I can only assume is from the chrysanthemum, are very inviting as well. The nose is, quite honestly, more like a wine or a mead than a beer, on first blush. The palate does not pale in comparison to the nose, but grants a fuller picture of what the nose only hints at. Again, a sparkling white wine comes to mind, but the mouth feel is obviously thicker and the initial flavor substantially sweeter. The sweetness subsides a little bit as the beer sits in the mouth, and yields to a spicier, fruitier composition that reminds me of a good Belgian tripel. Without a doubt though, the honey and the grapes are dominant on the palate. The finish is moderately dry, and the carbonation is just adequate to keep this beer from being sticky and cloying. In a nutshell, this beer has a lot going on all at once. I’m a little bit torn whether it all melds together masterfully, or it’s just a little outside the realm of congruence. Whatever your take is, however, this is clearly a well-crafted and seriously complex beer that defies style and stretches the palate in a very good way. I think if you really like a Belgian Tripel, or maybe even a saison, you’ll at least appreciate this beer. For me, I genuinely like it and would like to revisit it again. Like anything new, a beer that is this unique takes some getting used to. Dogfish Head does it again.

So, there you have it. Chateau Jiahu is definitively one of the most unique, and challenging, beers you can find. While it doesn’t hit you over the head with a ridiculously high ABV (although it is at 8.0%), or scorch your palate with an IBU level that could peel pain off the wall, it challenges you with unique ingredients and resulting flavors that are known in no other beer at least no other beer I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a few.

If you can find this one it is a limited availability beer you may want to give it a try. If you haven’t tried any Dogfish Head beers, by all means find them. Dogfish Head is legendary for their unique ales and any craft beer lover needs to include this great brewer’s beers on his/her “tried that” list.

Source:
1. Dogfish Head Brewery
2. Does Flaxseed Lower Cholesterol
3. Chateau Jiahu | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery | BeerAdvocate

Image Credit
www.jorymon.com

Beer Reviews Belhaven 60 Shillings

It’s strange, but considering all the beers I’ve tasted from all over the world, one which I hadn’t until very recently was Behaven 60/-, a fairly local brew. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because it has a fairy low alcohol content and I was afraid I wasn’t going to get a decent ‘buzz-for-the-buck’. Whatever. That state of affairs ceased to exist when I tried a foaming pint of the stuff at a Belhaven Pub where I paid the not unreasonable price of £1.95 for the pleasure.

Belhaven Brewery is situated on the shores of the Firth of Forth in Dunbar – around 30 miles east of Edinburgh. It was founded by Benedictine monks around 1415, although the present brewery dates from 1719. It’s the largest regional (and independent) brewery in Scotland, and is one of the oldest in Britain.

They brew a wide range of beers, among them: 90/-, and this one, 60/-.

THE SHILLING (/-) SYSTEM

Traditionally, the price a hogshead barrel (54 gals) determined the categorisation of Scottish ales. All the way from 40/- (a very light, low alcohol beer) right up to 12 and 15 Guinea ales (a guinea was 21/-).

Some of the beers in this unique categorisation were:
54/- and 60/- for light and mild beers, and 70/-, 80/- and 90/- for progressively stronger heavy, and export quality beers.

Naturally, inflation means that the cost of a hogshead cask is considerably greater than 40/-, or 60/- etc, but the shilling system has remained, and in fact is the legal terminology denoting an ale’s quality and strength in Scotland.

A 60/- could be said to be similar in style to an English mild, and is usually sweet, malty and dark, which is why it’s strange that they’re sometimes called light. This has nothing to do with the shade of the beer though, rather it’s the original gravity which is light, usually around 1030.

A 60/- is usually brewed with Scottish pale malt with a little roasted barley, crystal or chocolate malt and English hops. It has a long, cool fermentation which lends itself to a clean, malty character.

Phew! That was a bit longwinded.

This beer pours a heavy, dark brown colour although there are traces of amber when held to the light. It’s topped by a thick and creamy half-inch or so of off-white foam that sticks around all day while sticking around all the glass leaving a pretty good lace pattern.

The aroma is relatively fruity but definitely malty, with a hint of spice for good measure. There’s little to no hops on the nose, just a little leafiness, but you’ve got to sniff like a bloodhound to find it. Nope, this is sweet and sticky with maybe a touch of chocolate in the background.

It’s medium-to-light bodied, not highly carbonated and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. The initial taste is sweet, with vinuous fruit and a good sense of caramel although there are some more heavily roasted malts in the background. Malt dominates this one, but there’s just enough hop bitterness to hold it in balance and prevent it from becoming cloyingly sweet. There are some faint toasty flavours, and the chocolate is present on the palate too and, if I’m not mistaken, a plume of smokiness. As you can imagine, it finishes on the sweet side, with a sticky, syrupy aftertaste.

At 3.5% ABV, this is quite a nice pint, although it’s not really to my taste. It’s noticeably weak. It’s not that I want to drink beer that’ll blow my head off…usually, but I like to taste the alcohol, y’know? Having said that, the good thing is that you could sink a few of these and still feel pretty sober, although I personally think it’s a little too rich and sweet to drink all night.

It’s not bad, and certainly worth the occasional pint, but I don’t think it’d become a regular for me.

Would I drink it again? – Yes…but not regularly!

Source:
1. Beer in Scotland
2. Rice Diet Menu
3. Belhaven 60/- (Cask) – RateBeer

Image Credit
micro.magnet.fsu.edu

Alternative Methods of Food Preservation

Food preservation utilizes any number of techniques to preserve food. Whether it be meats or vegetables, there are many options available for food preservation. Learning the alternative methods will expand any food pantry and help the cook to make delicious choices without relying on the same meal on a daily basis.

Smoking

Meats are frequently smoked as an alternative method of food preservation. There are many different methods for smoking meats with the most frequent method being a device similar to a barbecue that is set up outdoors. Meats are placed inside on racks and a low fire is built delivering smoke tot he meats to preserve them. One of the original methods of preserving meats, smoking is a delicious way to preserve food.

Drying

Vegetables and meats can be dried. Dehydrators can be commercially purchased or built from items the person has on hand. Food is sliced thinly and laid on trays and then allowed to dry for up to 18 hours (each food has a different drying time and each dehydrator has a different drying time). If using the power of the sun drying times will take a bit longer. Dried foods can be eaten in their dry state, or they can be soaked in a broth or water to rehydrate them. Dried foods go great in soups, stews, spaghetti’s and other such dishes.

Salting

Before refrigeration, salting was a frequent method of curing meats. Meats were heavily salted and placed in containers to be eaten at a later time. When it was time to eat the meats the salt was brushed off and the meat was often soaked to reduce the salty taste. Ham is a form of a salted meat.

Freezing

With modern day appliances freezing is a frequent method of preserving foods. Vegetables are par boiled (boiled for a few minutes) and then cut into small pieces and frozen for later use. Meats can be frozen in a cooked or uncooked state. Frozen foods can be thawed and easily used in many recipes. Frozen raw meats should be thawed and fully cooked prior to eating.

Fermenting

Allowing fruits to ferment gives them a tangy flavor such as cider. The longer the fermentation the stronger the drink.

Pickling 

Fruits, vegetables and some meats are often combined with vinegars and pickled. These are great additions to any meal. 

Food preservation has many alternative methods that most gardeners explore freely. Enjoying a bountiful harvest lends many opportunities to try out any of the above methods for the gardener and hunter alike.

Source:
1. Food preservation
2. Benefits of Diet Food Delivery Services
3. Alternative food-preservation technologies: efficacy and mechanisms.

Image Credit
www.cis.upenn.edu

2 Baked Chicken Recipes

Chicken Diablo

3# of cut up chicken

1/2 c honey

1/4 c prepared mustard

1 tsp salt

1tsp curry powder

Non- stick butter spray

Wash the chicken pieces, pat dry and remove skin if you wish.

Spray a 9X13  cake pan with non-stick butter spray

Mix honey, mustard, salt and curry powder.

Roll chicken in above mixture to cover both sides of chicken and arrange meaty side up, single layer in the pan.

Bask at 375 degrees for one hour or until chicken is tender and richly glazed.

This recipe makes a tangy and sweet baked chicken. Serve with a fruit salad and some muffins and you have a delicious and easy meal that is low fat for an extra bonus.

Home Made Chicken coating

Find unseasoned corn flake crumbs (Safeway usually has them)

Use ¾ c. crumbs

1 TBSP poultry seasoning

2 tsp garlic salt (I use Lowrys with the parsley in it)

3# cut up chicken, any parts you like and with or without skin

Place the crumbs and seasonings in a plastic bag and shake to mix.

Add the washed chicken pieces and shake to mix.

Arrange single layer in baking pan and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees or until chicken is tender and juice runs clear when pierced with a fork.

This is like an economical recipe very similar to “shake and bake” for a fraction of the cost. You may vary the herbs you put into the corn flake crumb mixture but the garlic and poultry seasoning are always good. Try it with curry powder if you like the curry flavor or something like rosemary to vary the flavor. It is great with mixed Italian seasonings in the recipe. Serve this with a tossed salad and rice dish for a dinner the whole family will love.

Source:
1. How To Bake Chicken Breast | Healthy Recipes
2. 3 Tips for Digestive Problems
3. Simple Baked Chicken Breasts Recipe – Allrecipes.com

Image Credit
images.lifesambrosia.com

Beer Microbrewery Pub Pint must Drink Australia new Zealand Canada us

When one is travelling the world there is a plethora of activities and aims that usually fill the mind of the excited adventurer who is setting sail into unknown waters for the first time. That long list of attractions, monuments, museums, sights, parks and other popular hot spots no doubt includes some local pubs. If one asks “why?” to this final item on the must see/do list, then clearly they aren’t a fervent lover of the fine beverage known the world over as beer; an ancient beverage produced from the fermentation of starches which are derived from cereal grains and flavoured with hops.

Trying new local beers fresh out of the tap is like cold heaven, dripping and frothing down the side of a chilled pint glass and waiting to be consumed, exciting the mouth and mind alike. This lovely image is one of the most exciting things that can occur when travelling to new lands; especially after a day of sightseeing or exploration. After an afternoon of inspiration due to new surroundings, nothing tops some good food, conversation and quality beers unique to the region while under the sun or stars and relaxing on a patio. If the weather isn’t of the welcoming and accommodating type, then by a fireplace in a pub surrounded by fine decor is often a memorable setting.

Nearly every country has a unique beer that defines it; although this stereotype is often much to the chagrin of her citizens. The Australian beer lover cringes every time they are associated with Foster’s for the most part, much like an American beer lover is baffled into disbelief after being attached to Coors Light or Budweiser as their beer of choice. The list goes on and on, seemingly into oblivion’s darkest alcoves. Molson Canadian in Canada, Beck’s in Germany and Heineken in the Netherlands are all beers that fall into this judgemental category as well. The truth to the matter is however, while these beers are drinkable and enjoyable, the true bounty is usually found in the beers that microbreweries found inside each particular country offer.

Microbreweries provide passionate brewing made by beer drinkers who love what they do and must love what they drink. In Australia, Cooper’s has been making wonderful crafted beers for over a century that often fall into the mainstream due to their immense quality and taste, but don’t be misled, this is still one beer not to miss. A selection of Sparkling Ale, Pale Ale, Extra Stout, Lager, Mild and Light are the main drops in the Cooper’s repetoire, but a special blend is also available with a high alcohol content of 7.5% and a rich, chocolatey palate. The Sparkling Ale’s cloudy mist of sediment left behind, floating suspended in the delicious liquid and a high alcohol rating of 5.8% makes for a surprisingly refreshing drink and is definitely a high point in the catalogue. The Pale Ale which is the most popular drop of the beers is alot like the Sparkling Ale minus the rich flavours and extra zing.

Across the pond in New Zealand, Monteith’s is responsible for a lovely catalogue of beers, with seasonal ales and specialty beers that suit the different times of the year. The Summer Ale, a herb and honey tinged brew of citrus and cinnamon is as refreshing as a lemonade on a warm Summer’s day, while the Winter Ale is a doppelbock styled beer with a lovely thick consistency that truly lives up to the term “Liquid Bread” which Benedictine Monks christened the Bock centuries ago. The Original Ale, a standard brew and the most well rounded in the catalogue, along with the self explanatory; Pilsner, Dark Ale, Red Ale and Lager round out this stunning selection.

Every country has a myriad of breweries to discover and this continues as we travel further across the great divide that is the Pacific Ocean, arriving in North America. In Western Canada, Big Rock makes high quality beers that know no boundaries in creativity and quality. The Steam Whistle brewery makes fine beer of a micro style available to the masses in Eastern Canada, and in Portland, Oregon the Alameda Brewing Company makes a memorable drink that must be tried.

To list all the possible beers provided by the hard working folk at microbreweries the world over would be impossible in one article. Hopefully this small but credible listing provides a jump start to the traveller going through Australia, New Zealand or North America seeking that next beer fix. In the next article, we’ll look at beers of tradition and quality in Europe. Cheers, and enjoy that next pint.

Source:
1. Microbrewery
2. How to Control Cottage Cravings
3. The Growler List: 125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die – All …

Image Credit
irishpost.co.uk

Ban Tipping in Restaurants – Yes

Some issues in life certainly have gray areas when viewing an argument. Sometimes there is no right or wrong. That is not the case however with regard to tipping when dining out in restaurants. It is almost a form of social blackmail that belongs in a bygone era far removed from present day life.

Eating out is expensive enough for most people with a limited income, to expect them to pay extra to just be served is unfair and immoral. There are very few jobs which require tipping, on the basis of the culinary world we should all get a little extra just for getting out of bed and going to work in the morning. Prices on everything would instantly go skywards and the economy into a far greater meltdown than is seen at present. Yet we all give in to our ethics when taking out our nearest and dearest to local eateries. If you do not leave a little something for the staff at said establishments then you are viewed as tight and selfish. Almost like an invisible form of peer pressure that has you leaving some of your hard earned money behind as a thank you for being served in the first place.

We are expected to to subsidize a waiter or waitress’s paycheck because apparently they do not get paid enough by their employer. With minimum wages being set in place in most modern countries this is not as much of an issue as before. Said workers should be looking to their employers for a rise in wages if it does not meet modern outgoings rather than as customers being fleeced for the privilege of eating. Some people argue that you should only tip when you receive good service so as to promote a better standard all around. A rational response is that if you can not serve food and drinks to a reasonable standard then you have no business waiting on people regardless. Imagine working in a department store and expecting a bit extra just for handing someone clothes in bag with a receipt. The shop would have no customers before the week is out. People in many sectors earn more or less than the same as people in the restaurant industry, albeit without that extra 15 % thrown in.

We do not live in the wild west anymore where daylight robbery is accepted. Only when as customers do we vote with our wallets will there be a change for the better when out dining.

Source:
1. Should restaurants ban tipping? (Opinion) – CNN.com
2. South Beach Diet Foods Review
3. Should restaurants ban tipping? Our EconoMeter panel advises …

Image Credit
cdn.24.co.za