Archive for January, 2016

Beer Jelly Recipe

Jan 21

In the world of gourmet oddities this little ditty is one that tends to take people off guard.. Beer jelly is something that was thought up partly as a joke and partly as something new to try. See there was a friend who lived on the other side of the country. He very much liked a local beer here. So the beer jelly was born as a funny Christmas gift to send cross country. Since it was first made it has been made with home town hero’s favorite brews and shipped over seas to war zones as well as packaged up and given as gifts here at home.  Though most exclaim in surprise to see what type of jelly has been given it has not yet happened that someone did not like the sweet, even those who do not like beer seem to be quite fond of this tasty treat.

The recipe is quite simple and contains only a few ingredients. Any beer can be used, though fuller flavored beers hold up better to the sweetness. Color varies per brew so if making as gifts several different hued brews make for a striking display.  When it all comes down to it though it is best to use your favorite beer.   A citrus is used as the acid for this recipe and again choose which flavor you like best though it  will really be nothing more then a hint in the background. This recipe makes about 4, 8 oz. jars. Make sure jars have been sterilized and warmed to avoid contamination or cracking.

Ingredients:

3 cups favorite beer

3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

3 cups sugar

1 (3 oz) package of liquid pectin

In a non reactive pot bring the beer to a boil, put to simmer and add sugar one cup at a time making sure each amount has fully dissolved before adding the next cup. Once sugar is all dissolved add pectin and bring back up to a simmer and let cook for 3 minutes. Add juice and pour into warm sterilized jars. Clean up rims and place on lids, loosely tighten bands so they will hold but will not leak, turn jars upside down for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes has passed turn jars right side up and let finish cooling. Most of the time you will hear the bing of the top sealing but sometimes they will need to be gently pushed down or it may happen a little later as the jelly cools. If the jar does not seal put in fridge.

Oh no it didn’t jell! Relax this happens  for many reasons as jelly really can be temperamental. Reasons can vary from the acidity in the liquid used to temperature of room or altitude of area. No worries though there is an easy fix besides using the unjelled jelly as a topping for ice cream. Simply re-heat jelly until simmering and add half a punch of pectin and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Re-jar and so forth. This trick works with pretty much any jelly that decides not to jell.

Now one might wonder what to use beer jelly on.  Well it is very pretty in a bowl served up with plain or cracked pepper crackers and cheese.  More unusual applications would be to use it on hot dogs or burgers. It also makes a good glaze for chicken and pork as well as gamier meats such as elk or venison.

Filed Under: Life

Japanese Style Summer Salad

Jan 20

Summer is here and the best dish to enjoy a hot day is a nice bowl of cool fresh salad.

Here’s a simple recipe for a Japanese style salad using wakame seaweed, daikon radish, soy sauce and lime juice. This is also quite a versatile salad that you can add in almost anything you like into the recipe.

Ingredients (for a medium bowl):

– 1/2 head of a lettuce, shredded

– 1/4 of a daikon radish (medium to large size), thinly sliced

– wakame seaweed

You may add any other vegetables to your choice.

Dressings:

– one teaspoon of sesame oil

– one tablespoon of soy sauce

– one tablespoon of lime juice

You may also add a small pinch of wasabi paste for a sharp fresh aftertaste.

You may also adjust the measurements according to the amount of your salad.

How to make:

1. First, the daikon radish. Thinly slice the daikon radish using a slicer. Soak them in water for about 10 minutes and squeeze afterwards to get rid of the bitterness.

2. Next, soften the wakame seaweed. If you bought the dried uncut ones, cut them into squares with scissors about 1 cm in size and soak them in water for about 10 minutes or until soften. One long stem or a few short stems should be enough. If you bought the pre-cut ones, simply follow the instructions on the package to soften. For the amount, I usually take one huge pinch with my fingers and that should be enough.

3. Then while the daikon radish and wakame seaweeds are soaking, prepare the dressing. Mix all the dressing ingredients into a bowl. Adjust accordingly  to your taste and amount of salad. If you wish to add wasabi paste, add it now so it will be thoroughly mixed in.

4. Hand-shred the lettuce into bite-size pieces. Prepare them into your salad bowl.

5. Now the daikon and wakame should be ready. If the wakame is still too hard, wait a while longer. Meanwhile, squeeze the daikon slices and set them into the salad. Squeeze the wakame as well and set into salad.

6. If you wish to add more vegetables, do so now before adding the dressing.

7. Toss them lightly, drizzle the dressing, and toss again until mixed well.

And there you have a nice bowl of Japanese style summer salad.

Extra tips:

– Diced watermelon is also a nice addition to the salad. The taste of salty soy sauce with the juicy crunchiness of the watermelon really hits the spot on a hot summer day. You may want to reduce the amount of sesame oil for this addition though.

– Crunchiness is also a nice texture to the salad. You may add croutons, crushed sour cream and onion flavored potato chips (yes, even junk food works), or dry fried garlic chips. To make garlic chips, simply slice them thinly then fry. It would be best to dry the slices before frying by patting them with kitchen towels or light bake in the oven.

Filed Under: Life

Is a Stainless Steel Coffee Scoop better than a Plastic Scoop

Jan 20

This is a hotly debated topic for some coffee drinkers; stainless steel coffee scoop or plastic? Some aficionados vehemently argue in favor of plastic and some scoff and claim stainless steel is the only way to go. Then there are some coffee lovers who do not care about such trivialities as long as they can have their cup of coffee. This article is not for them, this piece aims to shed some light on which scoop is better for home use.

Stainless steel

One of the major benefits to any kitchen gadget being made from this durable material is the fact that germs cannot live on it. Another plus for stainless steel is that it does not absorb odors or stain (hence the name “stainless”). Most coffee drinkers know all too well that coffee actually can leave some pretty nasty stains, even in ground form. stainless steel does not corrode or rust so you can feel good about leaving that scoop in the bag/can of coffee grounds. One final positive note about stainless steel scoops is that they just look clean and nice. The shine on that scoop will not become dull or fade any time soon. As mentioned earlier, stainless steel is very durable and will not break after only a few months of scooping out coffee grounds.

Now to the downside of stainless steel coffee scoops. The first is the weight; stainless steel can be rather heavy when you are talking about a little bitty scoop! Another downside is the cost. Of course it depends on where you purchase your coffee scoop from, but for the most part, stainless steel can run a little on the high side.

Plastic

Where to begin on the advantages of plastic coffee scoops … how about with the affordability? Plastic scoops are inexpensive so when the time comes to replace it, you do not have to cringe. The fact is, plastic scoops are often given away free with some new coffee makers and once in awhile you will even find one in a can of coffee! Plastic scoops are available in a wide variety of fun colors and you can have one for each of your favorite types of coffee.

One bad side to using plastic coffee scoops is weakness. Plastic is a rather soft material and can actually break after enough use. Picture this: you scoop out your coffee grounds and when you put your scoop into the can of grounds and push down slightly … the handle snaps. Not only is this frustrating, it is inconvenient because you now have to buy another scoop! Another bad quality of a plastic scoop is the fact that it will absorb the aroma of your coffee. This is okay if you drink the exact same type of coffee all the time, but if you like to try something different once in awhile, you may want to get a second/third scoop.

As you now know, there is not a definitive answer as to which coffee scoop is best. It really comes down to personal preference and ease of care. stainless steel is favored because it does not become weak and break nor is it prone to holding onto germs and contaminants. The latter is why many kitchen appliances and tools are made from stainless steel. On the other hand, plastic is light weight, and very easy to clean. Another plus to plastic is it tends to be rather inexpensive. One suggestion is to obtain one of each material (brand new if possible) and try them both out in your coffee making process at home.

Filed Under: Life