A Rose by Any Other Name: Valentine Quiz

Great balls of chocolate! It’s nearly Valentine’s Day! Are you ready? Take the quiz below to find out if you’ve got the right stuff to select the perfect gift for your paramour. For each listed name, decide if it’s a rose variety, a type of dessert or a brand of wine. These are tricky, but if your results are better than chance (33%), consider yourself Cupid-ready.

  1. roseVelvet Devil
  2. Lady’s Navel
  3. Honky Tonk Blues
  4. Etoile de Hollande
  5. Purple Cowboy
  6. Floating Island
  7. Croquembouche
  8. The Poet’s Wife
  9. Mad Housewife
  10. Poire Belle Hélène
  11. Golden Wings
  12. The Wolf Trap

Don’t scroll down or click continue until you’re ready for the answers. Continue reading

Singing the Brews: Racism and Craft Beer

Garrett-Oliver-Fermenter

Garrett Oliver, Brewer, Black Dude

It’s almost February, Black History Month, which means as a beer person it’s time to start saying, Hey, where are all the black people? I went through my internal roster of Beer Folk and found one black dude, who is the same black dude everyone finds: Garrett Oliver. Oliver is the brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and known for his prize-worthy beers and drool-worthy pairings of beer with food. He is also known for being the Black Dude in beer.

I could throw statistics and charts at you if I was industrious enough to find them, but we all know what’s up: there aren’t many black people in the craft beer industry. The enthusiasts are also few and far between, which is what I am primarily concerned with. Just out of personal experience I can say that in my small Ohio town, where almost a quarter of the residents are black, I can remember seeing groups of black people in my local brewery twice. And I’m there a lot. At the closest bodega to my old apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on the other hand, I was lucky to find some of Oliver’s own Brooklyn brews. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal in the Slow Cooker

sweet potato pie oatmealWhen I was in high school, my neighbor Mr. Androw used to save his dessert to eat the next morning for breakfast. “I don’t see any real difference between coffee cake and regular cake,” he insisted. I always admired him for this stance, and if I haven’t followed suit, it’s probably only due to social convention. I hope he’s still out there fighting the breakfast powers that be.

If you’re not ready to embrace a slice of pie as part of a healthy breakfast, this oatmeal will provide an excellent compromise. It is stick-to-your-ribs hearty, plus it allowed me to use my crockpot which had somehow gone unused for an entire blizzard, plus it helped me plow through our generous supply of CSA sweet potatoes. Did I mention it was delicious?

I used almond milk, and I liked the way the flavor worked with the oats, but you can also use regular milk or soy milk or whatever your favorite milky substance happens to be. It’s your call.

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal Continue reading

Wasabi-Soy Sweet Potato with Ginger-Kale Chowder

IMG_2531Soup, soup, soup, soup, SOOOOOP. I’ve been waiting for seasonally-appropriate weather for at least six weeks, largely to take the edge off the panic induced by a 70-degree Christmas Day in Ohio, but also to fully sink into winter grub. Winter grub includes soup. And thus we have here a tale of two soups.

The first is a variation on the carrot soup Shannon shared a month or two back. In this version, she braised the carrots in soy sauce before putting them in the food processor, replaced the onions with garlic, and added ginger and sesame oil. Boom. I have nothing against carrots, but I do get tired of the aggression of their sheer profusion these months. I could not get enough of this soup, though. I mean, some kind of lovely chemical in my brain drained away when Shannon told me there was no more. I didn’t care what Slippin’ Jimmy was dealing with in Better Call Saul. I sat there and secretly wished Shannon would give me some of hers.

Which she did on her own volition! “No, no,” I said, “you finish your soup; I’m okay.”

“I sampled a lot while making it; I’m full,” she said.

And so I destroyed the few tablespoons left.

And thus inspired, I decided to do my part to work our way through our stockpile of root vegetables by inventing another soup that would satisfy a craving that I realized was significantly a craving for sesame oil.

So I worked up what I’ll call Wasabi-Soy Sweet Potato with Ginger-Kale Chowder. Continue reading

Facebook and Other Hazards of Drinking

The warning label on beer bottles is pretty brief: no drinking if you’re preggers and don’t be an asshole by driving a car. Below are more helpful, more realistic warnings, born of years of experience.

BukowskiPK|BF Warning
(Not) According to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages may rob you of obvious common sense. 1) You probably shouldn’t play the knife game. 2) You really shouldn’t try to ride a unicycle. 3) And really, don’t put an unopened can of beer in a bonfire: that’s what YouTube is for.

Using alcohol can impair your ability to operate a smartphone. 1) Remember: autocorrect is not your fiend. 2) Incidents of ExTexting may increase. You are vulnerable to sending unwise texts to your ex — you don’t really miss him; you’re just drunk and lonely. Own it and put more sad songs on the jukebox. 3) Phones may prove more slippery. Esp. for ladies: remove your phone from your back pocket before hitting the women’s room. They absolutely will dive into the toilet and they will die there, and you will have to stick your hand in there one way or another.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is discouraged around social media. 1) Your comments will not seem so witty tomorrow morning, after everyone has lol-ed at you. 2) Photographic evidence (Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, thank you for being such a young mutt that Facebook was not around when I was in undergrad. Those 3x5s of my tomato-red, this-is-my-first-time-drunk! face are a lot easier to light on fire than a digital copy.) 3) Duck face. Continue reading

Superhero Breakfast Bowls

mexican sunrise

A Mexican Sunrise in Brooklyn

I’m usually not a big breakfast eater, especially when I’m rushing around on weekday mornings. When I do take the time to eat a big breakfast, though, it makes me feel imbued with superhuman powers. I noticed this recently when we visited Richmond, Virginia and went to a restaurant called Lunch, where I ordered the Mexican Sunrise. The Mexican Sunrise was basically a big ol’ bowl of cheddar cheese grits, topped with all variety of yummy Mexican ingredients. After polishing off one of those, I felt ready to take on practically anything, even the Greyhound bus back to New York.

winter breakfast bowlI tried my hand at my own version of the Lunch specialty, which was delicious, plus it inspired me to experiment. Below is a breakfast bowl I invented to use some of the goodies from our winter CSA shipment. I love layering just about anything (sweaters, sandwich ingredients, meaning), so putting one of these together provides a nice laidback kind of task that’s perfect for the weekend. Go ahead: face the morning (and the new year) like the superhero you really are.

Winter Breakfast Bowl (makes 2) Continue reading

Top 10 Beers of 2015

New Year’s Day is a time to sit back and reflect on the year, contemplate some of the big questions: Why am I here, What the hell am I doing with my life, and At what point did I finally drink my weight in beer. What follows is a list of my favorite beers of 2015. Why give a flippin’ firkin about what one hop head in the middle of Ohio drank this past year? Same as why you read any end of the year list: to judge yourself against popular taste and declare yourself the winner.

skeletonred10. Skeleton Red Rye IPA, Four String Brewing (Columbus, OH)
I was disappointed to learn this is only a fall seasonal, because it’s my favorite Four String beer so far. The beer is hoppy, fresh, almost citrusy, and yet seriously dry — attributes I strive for, myself. Skeleton was a favorite this fall and made me proud of Ohio’s beer integrity.

WheelingBrewing

Wheeling Brewing: This is how we get by–all right!

9. Nail City Porter, Wheeling Brewing (Wheeling, WV)
Within a square block in the city of Wheeling I purchased: an armload of fantastic used books for $1 apiece from a used bookstore that specialized in towering, dusty stacks of novels; a vintage red leather jacket with rabbit fur collar from an antique shop specializing in the Confederacy; a growler of rich, roasty Nail City Porter from a bartender who looked like Britt Daniel of Spoon. I’m sure that had nothing to do with my attraction to it.

A Tuesday

Your average Tuesday

7. Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Lagunitas Brewing (Petaluma, CA) / Celebration, Sierra Nevada (Chico, CA)
Based solely on the volume of certain bottlecaps in our collection, these two beers earned their spot on this list. Both are go-tos: Little Sumpin’ year-round; Celebration from November to January. They remind me of each other in character, a bit. Each is dangerously, deliciously easy to drink and not of such an obnoxious abv that you can’t have two or three in an evening.
Continue reading

Luck o’ the Carrot to Ya

carrot soupThere are all sorts of foods people eat on New Year’s Day to ensure prosperity for the coming year: greens because they look like cash, cornbread because it’s golden, black-eyed peas because they look like pennies (a stretch, I know, but whatever). What if, however, it’s not money you seek in the new year, but curly hair? When my mom was a kid, that’s how those meddling adults in her life got her to eat carrots, which was a lie so blatant that it would make me feel bad for her except that I’m pretty sure that she once told me carrots would make my eyesight better. Years later, I still have straight hair and glasses, but no lie: this carrot soup is delicious and might make a great addition to your New Year’s meal.

This is also perfect if you have a big bag full of carrots on hand, since they’re one of those vegetables that rarely get a starring role. You can adjust the spice to suit your taste, though you shouldn’t add so much that it drowns out the carrots’ own earthy sweetness. And is it just me, or do they not look a little like pennies when you chop them up to roast? Bring on the prosperous new year.

Zesty Roasted Carrot Soup Continue reading

Butter-Sage Squash & Pomegranate Orzo

The winter CSA comes in, and lo it is again the time of year for JIMG_2465ay to work magic on roots and gourds typically scorned in the household. The following took about 45 minutes to make and feeds four, though it did take more than a single pot. Where You Been and Eagle Rare were the accompaniments.  As usual, measurements are guestimated after the fact.

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 4 small or 2 medium turnips or other root vegetables
  • orzo
  • 1 can cannelloni or white kidney beans
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 4 tbs mustard powder (or mustard, I suppose)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup crushed sage leaves
  • 3 tbs butter
  • dash of vinegar (balsamic or apple cider)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

First, chop the turnips into 1/4″ cubes.  Drizzle with olive oil in a baking dish, then stir in Continue reading

The Case for Christmas Beer: One Curmudgeon’s Begrudging

Great Lakes Christmas Beer Goggles

Great Lakes Christmas Beer Goggles

I have a well-documented disdain for Christmas beers, winter warmers, and other beers with cutsie holiday-inspired names like Silver Beers and Jingle Beers and Have Yourself a Beery Little Christmas. But around this time of year it is hard to avoid them. They take up half the craft beer cooler at my favorite corner store. The Bollywood music playing in the background adds a certain confusion to the scene, but the store owner certainly knows what brings in money.

Now well into my thirties, I understand that from Thanksgiving to December 25, and perhaps from well before, my life will be invaded by Christmas. The music I hear, the ads I see, the food and drink I buy, the clothes in stores, the shows at theatres, the urges to donate, the urges to buy, the insistence of want, the stupid shit people stick on their heads, cars, children, and pets, even the way people bid me farewell. After all these years, I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be okay with it.

I’ll especially not be okay with the replacement of my favorite IPAs and… IPAs with The Nutcracker Wheat and Rudolph the Red Nosed Rainbeer. Because, let’s be honest: this curmudgeonliness has little to do with my personal religious beliefs and everything to do with what I want to drink after a day of playing retail Christmas Elf to dozens of customers, all equally pissed off that they have to spend their hard earned money on siblings they never really liked anyway. And that beer I want to drink is one made of water, grain, yeast, and hops. Please hold the nutmeg. Continue reading