Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Vietnamese Pork Ribs and Pho..

I found this recipe off of a Whole Foods Video Podcast called "The Secret Ingredient", which is overall a great podcast once you get around the fact that they are obviously selling you Whole Foods products :)..maybe its my sales background that makes me sensitive to this..but hey everyones got to pay the bills right??

On with the recipe, its pretty straightforward-cure some baby back pork ribs for a few hours (sprinkled with kosher salt and peppercorns then wrapped up and set in the fridge), juice some coconuts (if you can find em-3 small/medium sized should give you 3.5 cups or so), add some dark sugar (1 table spoon), Vietnamese fish sauce (1/2 cup), garlic (5 cloves), and chicken stock (1 cup)..then braise for 1 hour at 350 degrees at which point you add some hard boiled eggs, cut ribs into 2 piece sectionns, and braise for an additional 30 minutes. Easy! And trust me its...delicious.

What you end up with is your ribs..which simply melt off the bone..but your also left with this amazing broth. What to do with it? Well thats your call..but here is what I did.

Take some fresh Star Anise, nutmeg, Cinnamon, and dark sugar, dump into a mortar and mix (about 1 tsp per for 2 servings), split up between 2 large soup bowls...cook some Pho noodles (rice noodles found in your local Asian market). Cut up some green onions, mushrooms, or whatever other veggie you think would work well (but does not require a long cook time) add to your bowls and pour the liquid left over from the ribs on top for each bowl, making sure that the broth is hot from the oven (this will release the flavor and fragrance from spices/veggies). Dump noodles on top, slice the hard boiled eggs in 1/2 and you've got your own version of Pho soup to go along with your ribs...good stuff.

The next time around I plan on using a sweeter beer (possibly a home brewed one) to replace the coconut milk..stay tuned.
Tips for this recipe...I wouldnt worry too much about having those exact spices on hand for the soup...think in terms of pumpkin pie spices and you'll be just fact you'll be making your own soup that need to get hung up on the details :)
Also, I would focus on the quality of ingredients here (i.e. fresh coconut milk) but dont let that dissuade you..use what you have on hand and you'll soon be creating your own version of this dish. Take care!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mixing it up!

..So I'm a big beer geek..also a big foodie..who loves to travel. I had given the idea of creating a new blog dedicated to only food/cooking/travel...but to be honest I would rather be able to park everything right thats what I'm going to do!

I would expect one cooking entry to each homebrewing entry..maybe somthing like 1.5:1. My apologies to my handfull of homebrewing buddies in the blogosphere...but I promise to carry my homebrewing street cred during this small change to the site.....and will be striving to do my share of recipes that include beer..

Working in these new subjects brings me much joy....

Friday, February 8, 2008

Man its silent around here!

Just a quick update, as I've been crazy busy with other things lately and have not given the ole blog the attention she so richly deserves, I've brewed one additional brew recently (and set to brew in both the next weekends-chamomile wheat and a argentinian cascade apa), which was an APA..weird I know considering the hop shortage..but well..fuck it I felt like having a nice apa around for a while :)

Stay tuned for a facelift on the ole blog, I would expect even a name change...I'm going to be working on the blog with my buddy Anthony who recently just picked up homebrewing in a big way....guy doesnt brew anything under a 1.080 in about 7 months we'll be reverting back to the "Daily Ikura" after his liver craps out.

On that note does anyone here even know what "Ikura" is...I'm suprised I've never gotten a comment on that..anyhow I'm looking forward to working on the same blog with my buddy and would even venture to guess the site overall improves as a result.

Well do some pretty randomn stuff on this blog..just taking some chances ya know?


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Oatmeal Stout AKA-Bumpaddle Oatmeal Stout

This will be a real quick post..essentially what I did is brewed my first Oatmeal Stout (Aka "Bumpaddle"), bottled my English Bitter ("Miracle Elixor") and pitched the Stout wort right onto the yeast cake in primary last Sunday (but I did do this on a massive hangover from hitting up the hopleaf the night prior I've got that goin for me..which is nice).

You can see my tempory "3 tier" system to the right, also I would like to note that I'm a knucklehead and have figured out why my mashes have been getting stuck so frequently with the last few batches...I've been batch sparging (which I prefer) but I have also been opening up my drain valve all the way..which obviously (well now anyway) has been compacting the grain bed and not maintaining the inch or so of liquid I should have over the grain bed when sparging. Needless to say this time it went great by allowing 30 minutes to sparge.

This is the second time I have re-pitched onto an existing yeast cake, the first was with my Barley Wine (onto a American Ale yeast used for a pale ale) which worked out well. With this batch I am able to say it worked just as well, if not better.

Primary fermentation was pretty much wrapped up within 3 days, which still amazes me. I plan on sitting this guy down in Secondary for at least a few weeks as it did come in a little heavy (1.068OG-above style guidlines..border line "imperial stout") before bottling..and then an additional 3-4 weeks to bottle condition might be necessary.

So this was a pretty full brew day, not only did I bottle my English Bitter (which is amazingly well balanced I must say) but I also brewed up an Oatmeal Stout, and finished the morning off by dropping 2oz of American Oak chips into my Belgiam Wild ale, which has been in tertiary for 4 months and will continue to be there for at least another 8 months prior to bottling. To the right you will see a close up on this batch in tertiary close up, you can somewhat make out a chunk of oak floating in there...just thought it was kinda cool looking..
This weekend I plan on JUST bottling my Saison...well thats the plan anyway....I will say I do have the grain and hops on hand for a pretty kick ass all cascade APA..which of course is a hop that will likely not exist in 2009.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Flemmish Beer Stew

What you see to the right of you is my second attempt at a Flemmish Beer Stew...and they are only getting better. Usually I would not bother with putting up a recipe onto the beer blog, but considering the time of year and the use of beer I say my way to rationalize doing so. This is one of my favorite dishes at a local belgium beer bar..or gastropub-The Hopleaf in Chicago ( and I have long thought about making it at home. Then one day came along on Basic Brewing Video ( and lo and behold the fellas were throwing down a Flemmish Stew! That did it for me, within a week I had made my own (first attempt which was great) and now I am getting around to evolving it even more.

I'll keep it brief..but here is the tie in-RODENBACH :)

Various pics below, if you would like the recipe give me a shout and I'll post it up.

Here is the recipe folks..

This is based on a recipe for 6 people, so adjust where necessary:

4 pounds meat, such as chuck, diced into cubes, a teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 cup white flour, 1/2 stick unsalted butter,2 large onions, thinly sliced, 20 oz of your choice of belgian beer ( I prefer a sour brown ale)2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme, bay leaves 1/2 tablespoons red currant or other jelly you prefer (try to make it tart though)1 tablespoon vinegar

1. Season the beef cubes with the salt and pepper and dredge with the flour. Shake off any excess.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the meat cubes and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Work in batches so as not to crowd the beef cubes, or they will steam instead of sauté. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, if necessary. Transfer the beef cubes to a heavy Dutch oven.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally, until browned, about 15 minutes. If necessary, raise the heat toward the end of the cooking time. It is important to brown the meat and the onions evenly to give the stew its deep brown color. The trick is to stir the onions just enough to avoid burning the but not so often as to interrupt the browning process. Combine the onions with the meat in the Dutch oven.
4. Deglaze the skillet with the beer, scraping with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits, and bring to a boil. Pour the beer over the meant. Add the thyme and bay leaves.
5. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the meat is very tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Before serving, stir in the red currant jelly and vinegar; simmer for 5 minutes. This sweet-and-sour combination will give this hearty stew its sprigs and bay leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

English Bitter-Ye Olde Time Miracle Elixir

Another "semi planned" brew session here. I find myself doing this more frequently nowdays..I will get a loose idea of what I want to brew, grow up an appropriate yet starter and crash it out in the fridge with the plan in mind to brew at some point within the following week.
Pic of Ye Olde Miracle Elixer to the right...directly in front of my Sanyo 4912 fridge...guess what thats going to turn into :)
And thats what I did here with the Ordinary Bitter (aka Ye Olde Time Miricle Elixir). It was a late Friday brewday which included 2 stuck sparges (yep I have forgotten my cardinal rule of no mashing without rice hulls) which I have found to be the most frustrating thing that can happen to me while brewing. On a side note my next hardware project will be a way to reinforce or apply a seal around the perimeter of my steel false bottom, or by opening up the diameter of my fittings round the drain valve. Anyhow...

This is basically Jamil Z's award winning recipe for his bitter and hopefully I can come close to that version (but I wont really have any other way of being able to tell if I do or not), the main intent of this batch is to get some homebrew back up on the shelfs here at home in a short time frame-I plan on bottling directly from primary in 1.5 weeks.


-6 lbs Maris Oter

-.5 lbs Caramel 20L

-.35 lbs Special Roast

Hops: All US Kent Goldings-4.2% AA

-1oz U.S. Kent Goldings 65 minutes

-.75oz U.S. Kent Goldings 30 minutes

-.25oz U.S. Kent Goldings at flameout

Yeast: White Labs WLP002 English Ale Yeast

-Pitched 400ml slurry, decanted prior to addition.

Stats: 80 minute mash. Water to Grain Ratio 1.25 : 1 -Batch sparged
-154F at mash in -148F after mash-Sparge water temp 179

**Batch may be more fermentable than planned, after 2 stuck mashes.

-65 minute boil

04A. Bitter And English Pale Ale, Ordinary Bitter

4.0 %

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Hands down one of my favorite beer styles to enjoy..and has been for some time now. I've been looking forward to brewing my own version of this Belgian/French Farmhouse ale for a long time now..and coming off of both an insanely busy work week and a very interesting culinary week-we went to Anthony Bourdains book talk and signing earlier in the week..which was a great experience-I was ready to get some brewing done!

This beer is loosely based on Ommegangs Hennipin (which by the way is both one of my favorite Breweries-Ommegang, and favorites of this style- this Saison is amazing), a little more complex in terms of malt bill and process than a Saison Dupont, which is said to be made of only 1 malt-Belgian Pilsner, but was not by any means a complicated beer to make.

Knowing that the malt bill is fairly straightforward (Belgian Pils, Belgian 2 row, cane, and Belgian candy sugar my focus was primarily on getting the wort down to the mid 60's F and very carefully control the fermentation temps..starting mid 60's and ramping up to as close to 90F I can around day 10 in primary..this should be much easier to accomplish in the cold (and snowy as of today) winter season of Chicago (as should all my temp issues) than it was all summer here..which was brutal and a true challenge to keep temps under 80 in most cases.

I will update as primary moves forward. Cheers!

-7 lbs Belgian Pilsner -
-2 lbs Belgian 2-row (it came uncrushed so I had to take the roller pin to it...)
-1lb Belgian clear candy sugar
-1 lb Cane sugar
*Sugar accounts for 18.2% of the fermentables.

-2oz Czech Sladeck 7.8%AA-80 minutes
-.15 oz of Bitter orange peel

-Wyeast Belgian Saison, 400ml yeast slurry started for primary.
80 minute mash. Water to Grain Ratio 1.25 : 1
-Batch sparged
-152F at mash in
-148F at sparge
-No Mash out
-85 minute boil
-Irish moss added at 5 minutes to flame out
-Final Volume 4.5 gallons
-SRM-5 *This is one point below the low end for style.
-Original Gravity: ??? You tell hydrometer went tits up and started letting in water..but according to my calculations we should be right around 1.070.