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Did I mention one of my recipes was published? No?? Okay, well..
Just over a year ago I moved back to San Diego after 7 years elsewhere. To be completely honest, I dreaded it. The San Diego I remembered was one as an underage scene kid who knew nothing more than all ages venues and late night coffee shops. But at least I had a great job waiting for me! Or so I thought. A cubicle in a windowless sea of cubicles is not the route to happiness. Dang.
Then I received an email from Chef’s Press. They wanted to publish one of my recipes, Quad Braised Osso Buco, as “Dr. Bill’s favorite” in a new book about “beer inspired food” from Chefs and Brewers in San Diego. I was thrilled – so much so that I called in sick to attend the Stone Job Fair the following week (Because the email was a sign, right? Okay, maybe not, but it was a great motivator!). The turnout was unlike anything I could have prepped myself for, but good gosh am I glad I went. The experience confirmed what I already knew, but wasn’t previously ready to embrace – I needed to find a job in the craft beer industry.
A bizarre series of events later and I found myself where I am now: Production Planning at Green Flash Brewing Company. I can honestly say that I’ve never loved a job so much. To anyone thinking about making the leap into craft beer: go for it! I’ve never worked with such extraordinarily passionate people. Shift pints don’t hurt, either.. San Diego life is certainly on the up and up. It’s funny how a job can change your outlook, but then again, don’t we spend more time with our coworkers than our loved ones? Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
A mid-March walk on the beach with Adeline the Basset Hound. And it was totally 80F. In the middle of freaking Winter. How is that possible?? Yeah, I can get used to this. (Warning: Instagram’d cuteness below.)
So here’s a recipe from that book I mentioned, Brew Food, that turned out ah-maze-ing. The muffin tops don’t rise and spill over the cups, but the end result is a tender, moist crumb packed with cinnamon apple deliciousness that’ll leave you licking your fingers.
Recipe adapted from Rachel King’s Apple & Ale Muffins in Brew Food.
1/2 cup + 3 tbs. unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. + a pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Nut Brown Ale (preferred: Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown)
Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups or thoroughly grease with your choice of fat.
Melt 3 tbs. butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add apples with a pinch of salt and a couple of pinches of cinnamon. Saute until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using a standup mixer, or using a bit of elbow grease, cream together 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined.
Whisk (or sift) dry ingredients together (including all those yummy spices).
Add to the butter mixture and mix until there are no lumps. Slowly add the beer and mix until just combined then fold in the apples.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way and bake for 12 to 15 minutes; they’re done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.