Olive Cheddar Beer Bread

This is merely a riff on a standard classic.

bread1Beer bread is one of my favorite things to take to someone’s house for whatever event we happen to be celebrating: birthdays, baptisms, Thursday–it always works. Chances are they will not have made some themselves (unless you’re coming to my house) and it won’t be competing against the food they’ve prepared. Others will bring chips and hummus and cookies, and it’s an item that stands on its own.

bread2Of course, I know I’ve posted a beer bread before. This just shows off how endlessly and effortlessly adaptable beer bread can be. Sláinte!

Olive Cheddar Beer Bread

Adapted from Simon & Garfunkel Beer Bread

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup green olives, chopped

12 oz. (1 bottle) beer

1 egg

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, parsley, garlic powder in a medium/large bowl. I like to aerate it at this time and just stir it all together with a whisk. Add in the cheese and olives and stir, covering all pieces with flour to assure they don’t stick together in a clump. Pour in the beer and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter in a greased loaf pan, spreading it out evenly. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a little tap water. Brush the egg glaze over the top of the bread batter. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Jalapeno Cheddar Pull-apart Beer Bread

I am quite the active yeast novice. Which sounds gross.

But I just haven’t yet mastered the art of working with yeast doughs. They end up being sticky messes that I can’t control. And I end up saying choice words and throwing things around the kitchen. (Truth. Ask my husband.)

These breads intimidate me with their mystical rise and we never get to develop our relationship because I’m too scared and I’ve been beaten too many times. But this bread. This bread. I had to try. How could one not?

And what happened? My dough was a sticky mess. I said some choice words and banged some stuff around the kitchen. But I didn’t give up. I covered my dough back up and put it in the refrigerator to work its magic overnight. Well, magic didn’t happen. But enough of a spark was there that my bread still puffed up nicely in the oven. And it was still tasty. Was it tender and flaky and perfect like I want it to be? Yeah, right. But we’ll get there. Was it worth it? Oh, yes.

Jalapeno Cheddar Pull-apart Beer Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup beer divided

2 cups plus 1/2 and 1/3 cup flour, divided

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

Heat the butter and the first 1/4 cup of beer together in a small saucepan until the butter has melted. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of beer and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend together the first 2 cups of flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. On the lowest setting, mix in the butter and beer mixture until it is just incorporated. Add eggs on at a time, then add the remaining flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour.

Filling

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon mustard

3 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

fresh ground peppper

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 jalapenos, diced

Melt the butter, mustard, and cream cheese together in the small saucepan. Take off of the heat and whisk in the seasonings.

Assembly!

Prepare your loaf pan by greasing it with method of choice. Roll out your dough on a well floured surface to approximately a 20×12 inch rectangle. Brush your filling all over the dough. Cut your dough (I use a pizza cutter) lengthwise into five 4×12 inch strips. Sprinkle one strip with approximately 1/4 cup of cheese and diced jalapenos. Place another strip on top and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of cheese and jalapenos. Repeat until all the dough strips, cheese and jalapenos have been used.

With a serrated knife, very gently cut the stack of strips in 6 two-inch segments. (I find it easiest to cut the entire strip in half, then cut the two halves into thirds.) Stand the loaf pan up on its short end so it stands vertical, and stack all of your segments on top of each other. Cover loosely with saran wrap or towel and let rise for another 30-45 minutes.

Cook!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. After its final rise, cook for 25-35 minutes. Wait at least 5 minutes for it to cool, then pull that deliciousness apart and enjoy!

See Smitten Kitchen for another look at assembly and baking instructions.

Garlic and Beer Scalloped Potatoes

I made scalloped potatoes for Easter-it just seems like an Easter dish, doesn’t it?-and then I had all these leftover potatoes sitting around my house on the verge of sprouting. So I decided to make scalloped potatoes again! With beer. Good decision.

Normally, scalloped potatoes are baked in some sort of cream mixture. Some of the cream absorbs into the potatoes and some combines with the cheese to make a sinfully delicious sauce. Why wouldn’t you want to add beer to that happy combination? You totally should.

Beer? Potatoes? Cheese? As I’ve shown before, they’re meant to be together.

Beer and Garlic Scalloped Potatoes

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1 cup cream

3/4 cup beer

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 pounds of potatoes (I used organic Russets)

dried thyme

salt

pepper

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 dish. Slice your potatoes as thinly as possible.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream, beer, and garlic to a simmer, but do not boil. Once it has come to a simmer remove from the heat and set aside.

Cover the bottom of your dish with a layer of overlapping potatoes. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat this process with two more layers. Stir up your beer cream mixture and pour evenly over the whole dish. Sprinkle all of the remaining cheese over the top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes have cooked through.

Ultimate Irish Macaroni and Cheese

While I have become increasingly obsessed with craft beer and homebrewing, there is still a special place in my heart for Guinness. It’s dark-but light!-and velvety and smooth. It’s comforting. Guinness is good for me. Especially when combined with chocolate. Or cheese!

I decided to make the ULTIMATE macaroni and cheese by starting with Kerrygold butter, spiking my bechamel with Guinness, and using Kerrygold’s Aged Cheddar and Dubliner as the chosen cheeses to melt in. Combined with whole wheat pasta, it made for an extremely earthy macaroni and cheese. I topped with panko, but it probably would have been even better with toasted Irish soda bread crumbs…

Ultimate Irish Macaroni and Cheese

1 box whole wheat pasta (usually about 13.25 oz. Cause that makes sense…)

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 bottle of Guinness (it’s ok if you sneak a few sips)

1 cup of whole milk

1 teaspoon mustard (dijon or spicy brown)

1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

7 oz. Dubliner

7 oz. Aged Cheddar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get your water boiling for the pasta. Whenever the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and let it cook together for a few minutes, until the butter has become a thick paste. Whisk in the Guinness and milk and cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened, about 7 minutes. Turn the heat down low and add in the mustard and worcestershire sauce. Slowly add in the cheese, melting each batch completely before adding more. Adjust seasonings.

Take off the heat and combine with the pasta in a 2 quart baking dish. Top with panko and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Beer Cheese Dip

To continue the trend from last week’s Corrupted Soup, I may still be on a beer and cheese kick.  Well, let’s face it–when am I not on a beer and cheese kick?!

But here it is-your quintessential party snack. I’ve been making this for years because it’s delicious, addictive, and ridiculously easy.  I guess that’s what happens when you take cheese, add more cheese, and then pour in some herbs and beer.

In my past life, I used to make it with those dry ranch packets. Ranch anything makes me happy. The only way fries are to be eaten are when doused in hot sauce and dipped in ranch dressing. Fact. But did you know those packets have msg in them? Gross. So I now take the 1-2 extra minutes effort to measure out my own spices. Worth it.

This dip is great with tortilla chips, regular chips, hard pretzels, bread, vegetables, and my personal favorite-soft pretzels fresh out of the oven. Do it.

Beer Cheese Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened room temperature

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

beer

Throw all ingredients except beer into a food processor and blend until fully combined. Start by adding 1/4 cup of beer and pulse; add more to reach desired dipping consistency. (I usually don’t measure, but I believe I usually end up using about 1/3 cup.) Drink rest of the beer and dip away!

*Note: This can totally be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Just be sure to let it sit out at room temp for a while before you need it so the dip becomes soft again.

Corrupted Soup

Beer Cheese Soup made with DC Brau’s Corruption IPA. Cause I don’t mess around.

We live within walking distance of a brewery. And driving or biking distance of another (one of my most favorite places!). This is both a glorious, and a very dangerous thing.

They have not yet been open for a year, and we have already spent more than our fair share of time at their growler hours on Saturdays. Perhaps way more. But it’s all good-we’re just supporting local business!

Although I like the Public Pale Ale, the Penn Quarter Porter is delicious, and I’m really enjoying the limited release of Thyme After Thyme, I immediately fell in LOVE with the Corruption IPA. Being a lover of all things hoppy, it was pretty much made for me.

And me being who I am, for months now I have wanted to make a good beer cheese soup using DC Brau’s Corruption. And here it is. Hoppy, cheesy goodness. Not for the faint of hop heart.

If you haven’t yet been down to DC Brau for growler hours, please do so. Free tastings, good eats from friendly food trucks, cool swag, and most importantly-AWESOME LOCAL BEER! We’ll probably see you there…

Corrupted Soup

Adapted from Emeril

4 tablespoons of butter

1 medium-large carrot

2-3 celery stalks

1 medium-large onion

4 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup flour

2 bay leaves

3 cups broth

2 cups beer (or a 12 oz is fine)*

1 cups milk

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon mustard

4 cups cheese (I used sharp cheddar, although blue cheese would be an interesting addition if you are using an IPA)

Chop the carrots, celery, and onion and saute over medium heat until completely cooked and soft. While sauteing, season it up with salt and pepper. Mince the garlic, add to the other vegetables and saute a minute at most. Add the flour and stir to coat all of the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, slowly at first, whisking the entire time. Pour in the beer and milk. Let the mixture simmer for about ten minutes, whisking/stirring occasionally as needed. Turn the heat down to low. Fish out the bay leaves. Add the worchestershire sauce and mustard. Add the cheese one cup at a time, stirring and melting the cheese entirely before adding any more. Check for seasoning. Garnish with spicy popcorn like I did, or croutons, bacon, or whatever you’d like!

*I used two full cups because I had a growler full of beer. If you’re making this soup from a bottle or canned beer, that 12 oz. is plenty. Also, this soup can easily be made with almost any style of beer: pale ales, lagers, stouts, seasonals-whatever flavor you want to impart. If you don’t groove on IPA’s, it’s all good. I just love me some hops.