I’m a gadget minimalist in the kitchen – thoroughly in the camp that believe a sharp knife is all you really need.
However, there is one lone kitchen uni-tasker, that for approximately $3, is worth every penny to me.
No, I’m not talking about a garlic press. Those things are way too annoying to clean. Plus, in the case of minced garlic, a good slap of your chef’s knife will get that pesky skin off no problem (and get you halfway minced too).
But what happens when you don’t want to mince your garlic? You want it thinly sliced and golden, sauteéd with green beans or as a garnish for creamy cauliflower soup. For even the most adept cook, it’s difficult to get just the right amount of knife pressure with the slap technique to avoid pulverizing the whole thing.
It’s been a while, so let me give you a quick re-cap on life before we delve into this heavenly recipe.
First off, I moved to Maine! The hubs and I have been plotting our return to New England for a while now. We chose Portland for many reasons, but among them are proximity to family just a couple hours away, reasonable cost of living as compared to the insane rent of Boston, and a beer and food scene that rival anywhere in the nation. I’m dead serious on that last point. Beer and food for dayyyyyyys.
As you can imagine, life has been a little crazy lately with re-locating, unpacking, settling into a new job, etc. but I’ve been having this nagging urge to get back into writing and photography. I could think of no other recipe that I’ve been making as frequently to share with you all as I attempt to re-enter the blogosphere. I seriously cannot get enough.
I’ve been making a variation on this potato salad for a year or so now and I never get sick of it. It’s fantastic year round, but it’s PERFECT for the summer since it’s non-mayo based. Plus, it’s better to make ahead of time anyway, as the flavors mingle and merry in the fridge overnight.
Start by sautéing your onion in 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, with a large pinch of salt on medium heat. Reserve the rest of the olive oil for later. Stir frequently. By the end, the onion should be golden and slightly caramelized.
Next, starting with cold water and a tbsp of salt, boil the potatoes until a knife easily pierces the skin but the potatoes aren’t falling apart. When the potatoes seem close, add the green beans to the boil for ~ 3 minutes or until al dente.
When the potatoes and beans are done, drain and combine with the onion. Stir in the rest of your olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and lots of fresh cracked black pepper. Serve after cooling slightly, or store in the fridge for the perfect bbq potluck side dish.
I couldn’t resist pairing this beer with our newest 12 oz release, our yearly Belgian IPA, Hugh Malone. This year the brewers used Nugget as first wort hops, and Chinook as the wort comes to a boil. Amarillo, Cascade, and Mosaic were added in the whirlpool, plus Amarillo, Cascade, Mosaic, Azacca and Idaho 7 to dry hop the beer.
Unlike some IPAs, this delight pairs extremely well with foods due to it’s fruity Belgian yeast character. I’m obsessed. The dryness of the beer and the kick of humulone (get it???) cuts through the richness of olive oil and sweetness of the caramelized onions.
Now that we’re settled, I’m hoping to make this a permanent foray back into writing so stay tuned for more recipes and beer goodness!
One of my favorite tools in the kitchen, a cast iron skillet, is inexpensive and will literally last forever. It will help you in so many ways you never even thought of – ever tried reheating pizza in a cast iron? Or french fries? It’s perfection. I haven’t found a tool better for making bacon either.
Having a well made Dutch oven will change your life. Soups, sauces, whole chickens (!), even artisinal bread will be in your reach with this one pot work horse. It’s worth buying a nice one with a good warantee, like a Le Creuset, because again, you will probably have it forever.
4. A great knife
No kitchen is complete without a really sharp knife. It is your best tool (other than your bare hands) in the kitchen.
My favorite knife is this 5.5″ Santoku from Crate and Barrel. It’s small enough to take care of every day tasks and can handle larger items as well. The handle is extremely ergonomic which I love. Crate and Barrel is doing a 15% off full price online orders that ends today so jump on it!
Keeping your knives sharp is critical. You’re much more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife than a sharp one. While there are a variety of sharpening tools out there, I recently purchased a knife sharpening stone which does a phenomenal job.
If you’re been reading along with Love Beer, Love Food for a while then you know my feelings about beer glassware. But just a quick refresher, it’s important!!! Impress your favorite beer nerd with a set of nearly every glass they could want in their collection.
7. A double walled growler
With the craft beer boom, growlers are becoming an ever important mode of beer purchase. Many beers are simply not available in bottle or can, but your favorite local brewery may offer growler fills. Keep your beer cold and carbonated with a double walled stainless steel growler like this one.
There are some super awesome books out there for those wishing to improve their beer knowledge. When I was studying for the Cicerone exam I found Tasting Beer to be one of the most easy to read and most educational out there. It’s perfect for someone who is just getting into beer or even a more advanced beer nerd.
The IPA, or India Pale Ale is the most popular craft beer style these days. The good folks at Dogfish and Sierra Nevada teamed up to create the perfect glass for this iconic style. The etching at the bottom releases bubbles for enhanced aroma, while the shape and base optimize flavor, slowly warming your glass for optimal hop POW!
Refract – oh whatsit? A refractometer is the easiest way to get a gauge on your beer’s initial gravity (the amount of sugar) and therefore potential alcohol content. It’s a great, inexpensive tool for the homebrewer in your life. Just be warned, this great tool does not work for FINAL gravity, which the hubs and I learned the hard way. Still best to use a hydrometer for that one.
For the advanced, all grain homebrewer, a sparge arm can increase efficiency and consistency in your beer. Plus it just looks so cool in action. Ours spins, releasing a steady stream of hot water over the grain bed, rinsing off all the wonderful malty sugars into your wort.
This unique fermenter will make your life so much easier. You don’t even have to transfer the beer! Just remove the yeast ball at the bottom after primary fermentation has finished and voila! You can mount it to the wall or get a stand, but I recommend the wall mount technique for ease of use.
If you keg your beer, the Blichmann beer gun is the perfect tool for you to bottle just a handful of beers for friends, family, or perhaps even a beer competition or two. It’s extremely easy to use, and a super fun toy.
I hope that gives you some good gift ideas for the beer and food lovers in your life! What other fun gift items do I need to give away (or need for myself)?
There is truly not enough caps lock in the world to describe my insane infatuation with this holiday. If you are like me, which, since you are reading this website means you are at least a little, then you probably love Thanksgiving too.
Or even if you don’t love the holiday part, because your great Aunt Betty really bums you out, or your super crazy cousin Karen always complains about the lack of vegan options, then you certainly love the food, right?
Right. I’m glad we’re on the same page.
In the past four years since moving to Cincinnati I’ve had some weird, non traditional Thanksgivings. This year though, this year I get to make my own feast for my family and I am beyond excited. Not surprisingly I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what beers to pair with my classic feast.