Monday, February 27, 2012

Little Indiana

I recently did an interview over at Little Indiana:

Check out the site for extremely useful articles on what to do and where to go!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What I'm Drinking-Winterfest Edition

I attended Winterfest a few weeks ago, one of the two large beer festivals in Indiana put on by the good people at the Brewers Guild of Indiana.  If you have never attended, I highly recommend it.  Not only did I try some amazing beers, I learned a lot from the brewers taking time to actually talk about their beers as well.  It was fantastic.

In case you have not heard, Indiana cleaned up this fall at the Great American Beer Festival.  By “cleaned up”, I mean won more medals than any other state.  That’s impressive no matter how you spin it.  I’ve become more familiar with some of the breweries in the state, and it’s been quite a pleasure trying out the new varieties they offer.  Here are a few of my favorites, and most can be found at local bars or stores.

Sun King Osiris Pale Ale: Best “everyday” pale ale of any that I drink. It's dry hopped but not to bitterness. It's refreshing and extremely balanced (also, for the record, everything Sun King brews is awesome).

Bier Brewery Fuggit Stout: This won last fall's Brew Bracket II event. It's rich and creamy without being dry or overly sweet

Triton Stout and IPA: This brewery just popped up about a year ago, and I'm loving their beers. Their stout is especially good, and it's nice to see a brewery brew a stout as a house beer. Their IPA is citrusy and easy to drink. I think we can expect bottles in the near future.

People’s Hopkilla: Lafayette's own! I was hard on them when they first started up, but they have really come a long way. This is a double IPA that's easily one of the best brewed in the state. It's aggressive and full of flavor.

Upland Gilgamesh: I learned at Winterfest that I enjoy sours. Sadly, this was a one-shot only tasting for me, as this is a very in-demand and rare beer, but man was it good! Sour and fruity, it gave me the same feeling when eating grapefruit.

3 Floyds Gumballhead: A wheat beer with a nice hop flavor at the end, this is one of the best year-round beers they produce. Good for people looking for something a bit lighter.

Brugge Harvey: Another sour (I was on a roll), quite delicious and tart. Only offered at the Brugge restaurant, but you know, they have great mussels and beer, so it's easy to make an excuse to go here.

Sun King Cream Dream IV: This beer starts as a cream ale but then gets the hell hopped out of it. Not only is it amazing and flavorful, I was lucky to have it out of a firkin, which gave some more complexity from the yeast.

Figure Eight Ro Shampo: I just discovered this brewery, and this red ale is my current favorite. It's slightly bitter, which I enjoy, and the malt on it is quite good.

Flat 12 Walkabout Pale Ale: A single hop pale, this ranks up there with Osiris as my favorite current pale ale. It's wonderfully fruity and bright.

That's just a sampling of what Indiana beers are great. Next time you're out, pick one up, you certainly won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Three Bean Soup

Over the holidays I was fortunate enough to have some delicious food, and a lot of it not prepared by me (win win). For Christmas eve we had smoked turkey from D&R market. It was delicious, and thanks to my tendency to get sick during the holidays, I got to take the bones home as a consolation prize.

It’s tradition for me to make stock from some leftover Christmas animal, and turkey is no different. Stock making is something that is simple, easy, and yields healthier stocks you can freeze and use whenever you want. To make this stock, I browned the bones, added 1 quartered onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, 4 cloves of smashed garlic, 2 bay leaves, parsley stems, 2 sprigs of thyme, a bit of salt (not much, it’s already smoked and therefore has some salt), and enough water to cover (10-12 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours. Drain, let sit to skim off fat, and use for soups, stews, etc.

While searching for a quick, warm dinner, I came across this recipe from The Other Side of Fifty, another Indiana food blog. I love the idea of using the refried beans as a thickener! It turned out great, though I did add a cornstarch slurry at the end to get a bit more body out of the soup.

Three-Bean Smoked Turkey Soup
Adapted from The Other Side of Fifty

1 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T chile powder
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely diced
1 T tomato paste
6 cups smoked turkey broth or other poultry broth
1 15-oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 16-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16-oz. can non-fat refried beans
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 5 tablespoons broth or water
salt and pepper (if using smoked turkey broth, you may not need salt)
Sour cream

Add olive oil in a large pot heat over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook for 7-8 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chili powder, chipotle, and tomato paste, cook for another minute. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Add half of the cornstarch slurry and check consistency to your liking. Add the other half if needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with sour cream.