Category Archives: Kitchen DIY

15 gifts for your favorite beer and food lover

In honor of Cyber Monday and the various deals out there in the interwebs I wanted to share some of my favorite things for the beer nerds, brewers, and home cooks in your life, or for YOU!

For the home chef:

 

1. Cast Iron Skillet

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.

2. Microplane

I use my microplane nearly every. single. night.

Be it finely grating garlic, zesting a lemon for citrusy risotto (or one of my favorite soups), or getting the perfect hit of ginger in your stir fry, the microplane is where it’s at.

3. A really nice Dutch oven

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!

While you’re at it, check out these other Robert Welch knives on Amazon.

Speaking of sharpness…

5. knife sharpener

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.

For the quintessential beer lover:

 

6. A great set of beer glasses

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.

8. Books!

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.

9. Shakoolie

Oh the Shackoolie. Because shower beer is a thing, didn’t you know? If not, I’m sure I can get my brother-in-law to perform a highly rehearsed diatribe on why the shower beer is THE thing to do.

10. The IPA Glass

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!

And finally, for your homebrewer friend:

 

11. Refractometer

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.

12. Magnetic Stir Plate

A magnetic stir plate may sound ultra nerdy, and it it is, but it will do WONDERS for a yeast starter, a critical aspect of homebrewing. Help take your friend’s homebrew to the next level.

13. Sparge Arm

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.

Dee-lish.

14. FastFerment Conical Fermenter

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.

15. The Blichmann Beer Gun

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)?

Cheers lovahs!

Spicy Garlic and Herb Pizza Sauce

Hi loves!!! It’s been a little while – we have much to discuss!

First, let me catch you up on the life stuff.

I am absolutely loving life as a beer rep. In addition to meeting lots of new, awesome people, I’m the first to know about and try new beers plus every hour/day/week is completely unique which suits my ADD tendencies just right.

I have to say it is a bit tougher these days when I am living beer all day to come home and write more about beer.  But, I love it! So I’m just going to make it work! In fact, I’m working on a post about my lessons learned in these first six months since taking the leap. I think you’ll find it eye opening to what the beer biz is really like. Back in June I really thought I knew a lot and boy was I wrong. Continue reading Spicy Garlic and Herb Pizza Sauce

Tartine Bread: Tips for Successful Sourdough

I freaking love bread.

Not the flimsy, spongy white stuff that comes pre-sliced.I’m talking about real, crusty, glorious bread.

You might remember that I’ve been playing around with a basic and easy no-knead bread for a while. Over the past year I’ve been  making all sorts of little variations and generally just changing it up for fun.

Stout Bread
LBLF version of the classic ‘no knead’ bread

Though it truly is awesome, and an excellent place to start as a bread-baker, I decided recently it was time to step up my game.

While wandering around Portland, Maine on our recent vacation, me and the hubs sought shelter from a stray rain shower in a quaint book store. He picked up this great book all about the history of, and how to make cocktail bitters (don’t worry I’ve commissioned him to write a guest post all about it), and I found the new love of my life.

Enter the Tartine Bread book.

Using the Tartine Bread book

Continue reading Tartine Bread: Tips for Successful Sourdough

Crispy Cauliflower Pakora & Raita {Chef CollaBREWation #4}

To start off our most recent collaBREWation meal (you remember, that obscenely delicious and fiery lamb curry), we started out with a heaping platter of these crispy cauliflower fritters, aka pakora.

Cauliflower

We served up these wonderfully spiced, fried pakora with tangy raita – an easy as cake Indian condiment. I was surprised at how much I LOVED this yogurty goodness. The cooling cucumber, subtle spices and onion, plus tangy yogurt work wonders together.

I piled a mound on top of each bite of spicy pakora and happiness ensued. Continue reading Crispy Cauliflower Pakora & Raita {Chef CollaBREWation #4}

Authentic Lamb Curry {Chef CollaBREWation #3}

As you know already, Dan, our chef collaBREWator has worked at some pretty fantastic restaurants, including Straights of Malacca, a Malaysian fine dining restaurant. One of his absolute favorite dishes to make and eat is this ridiculously tasty, authentic curry. “A sure thing on my future restaurant menu,” he exclaims with aplomb.

His take on the dish is spicy, complex and oh so delicious. Filled with fresh lemongrass, ginger, curry leavesturmeric and Galangal, this beautiful red curry is not just delicious, but truly legit. It sounds a little scary, but these authentic ingredients can be found. Locally to me in Cincinnati, I was able to find all of these (except the curry leaves) at Jungle Jim’s. You can also try an Asian market or specialty store for all plus the curry leaves, or you can try and order them online.

Chef Dan Higgins
Chef Dan Higgins enjoying a 21st Amendment Lower DeBoom Barleywine

After trying the dish myself, I assure you that if I ever fulfill my own lifelong dream of owning a brewpub (girls can dream), I wholeheartedly agree that it would have a spot on the menu. Continue reading Authentic Lamb Curry {Chef CollaBREWation #3}