Monday, August 29, 2011

Spent Grain Bread

As I'd posted earlier, I am learning about beer, and particularly about craft homebrews. Today, I spent most of the day actually observing and photodocumenting the process, and I couldn't help but wonder to what purpose the spent grain might be put. Ah, yes - breadmaking. 

A quick search yielded this recipe for Spent Grain Beer Bread, from Jasmine at Beer At Joe's

If you like, veganize it by using almond milk instead of dairy; I used applesauce instead of the egg. I halved the recipe and free-formed the loaf into an oblong, baking it at 350F for 25 minutes.

This bread was THE BOMB. It was yeasty and caramelly, sweet and dense. I'm so glad I saved even more of the spent grain in zip baggies and froze it for later use!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oso Burrito, Lincoln, NE's mobile app is awesome, and I use it to find somewhere to eat wherever I travel.

I kept seeing Oso Burrito pop up as a veg-friendly option in Lincoln, so today was the day. I ordered the tofu burrito, no rice, add black beans, with ginger garlic salsa.The thing was huge - almost too big!

Although I didn't ask, I'm reasonably sure they soak and cook their own black beans, because they were too firm for my liking (beans should mash with light pressure); and the burrito kind of fell apart as I was eating it. Next time I'll add guacamole to help paste the ingredients together. However, it was very fresh-tasting and a healthy option.

Oso has a surprisingly nice beer selection for a little burrito shop.

More here at the Lincoln Journal Star.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beer Quest

And now for something completely different. Well, maybe not completely, as it does fall into the food category. 

I've been learning a bit about beer - most importantly, that I don't dislike it, as I had previously thought. You see, I tried very, very hard in college to like beer, and yet despite trying it again and again, I could never choke down more than about three-quarters of one really cold beer. I just didn't like it. It tasted rotten and watery; and the stronger stuff tasted rotten and strong. (Strangely, I found whiskey and Scotch acceptable.)

My feelings about beer changed recently, as I was introduced to the world of craft beers and homebrewing, and gently nudged into sampling. Surprise! Much different. Flavor, nuance, and even some brews with big bold tastes. To be sure, I don't like them all, but I was intrigued enough to learn and sample more.

Unexpectedly, I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to help steward at the semi-finals for Empyrean Ales Beer Quest in Lincoln, NE, where 21 homebrewers' brews were narrowed down to a list of ten by six judges. Today was the public judging of those ten - and a chance to meet and talk with the brewers. (Also of great interest was simply listening to the public talk about the beers and what they were noting.) There were some interesting flavors: maple, chocolate-orange, pumpernickel/caraway, molasses, peach cobbler, orange "creamsicle", and rhubarb, just to name a few.

What I took away from it all, is the striking similarities between brewing and cooking. Some of the brewers had a particular goal in mind and planned for it ("I want to make something that uses ginger; how should I go about it best"); while others were inspired somewhat on a whim by a particular ingredient or idea ("Hey! I wonder what these wild raspberries would taste like in a beer; I'll buy a few pounds and take them home") . This is not unlike cooking or even baking - sometimes I will have something very specific in mind and go shopping for ingredients; while other times, I improvise based on what I have on hand and end up with something really remarkable.

Congratulations to Belding & Anciaux on their lovely rhubarb witbier and also their rhubarb saison, and to Watson on his orange blossom rye (one of my favorites; the type I could drink all-around as a general beer). But, the real winner was me, for expanding my horizons. 

In the future, look for suggested beer pairings with the dishes I serve up for RQT.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where did RQT go?

That's a great question. Landed a day job! Struggled with some personal life stuff. Seeing somebody special. Will be updating more regularly, sorry for being a cad.

Made the most amazing veggie korma the other day from allrecipes, but got so caught up with my company that I actually forgot to photograph it and blog it. It's not vegan, but could easily become so by substituting your favorite non-milk cream or coconut milk. I served it with dahl, flatbread brushed with olive oil (my local store didn't carry naan this time around), and cucumber raita.

I love photographing food I've made. The fact that I didn't shoot this meal should say something about the quality of the company I was keeping... :)