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Whew! I made it back from the Craft Brewer’s Conference in one piece! My flight home from Washington D.C. landed at 11pm last night only for me to unpack my suitcase and find a casualty. The TSA ‘inspected’ my suitcase and, well, fare ye well Breakfast Stout; my clothes will smell of you in memory (at least until they make it to the laundrymat). Luckily, it was a single 12oz. bottle and the rest of the East Coast loot made it back intact.
This was my first ‘official’ CBC. I may or may not have crashed events while it was in San Diego last year. There is truly nothing quite like it. Days began at 8am with seminars, luncheons, expos, and more then proceeded into the wee hours of the morning compliments of tap takeovers, concerts, and late night dining in China Town. Did I mention the surplus of amazing beer?? I’d post a picture or two, but I conveniently left my camera at home. There are only a few criminalizing photos floating around (maybe). I did, however, manage to snap a few with my iPhone. You can find the rest on the good ‘ol Instagram, if you so desire, just check out @beerbitty or @greenflashbeer.
I think it goes without saying that there hasn’t been much cooking going down in my kitchen recently. I genuinely miss it and can’t wait to jump right back in, after I get around to catching up on life (aka filing my taxes and unpacking). So here’s a recipe from the archive. It’s one from Love2Brew, a website I write for every couple of weeks, and it’s delicious.
The other day my boyfriend’s mom dropped off about 6 very large heads of broccoli from her garden; it’s quite the impressive array of fruits and veggies so I never refuse. But what on Earth can one possibly make with 6 very large heads of broccoli before they go bad?? Needless to say, I’ve been trying to work my way through as much of it as possible. This recipe is incredibly simple and used up a sixth of the supply. I should note the head of broccoli I used was quite large – you may need two if the ones on your grocery store shelves aren’t quite as humongous. Think of this as a Beer and Cheese Soup with the added benefit of a green vegtable – that makes it healthy, right?? The beer adds a nice bitter malt flavor that compliments the soup quite well. I ditched cream in favor of goat cheese for a tangy richness that’ll offset the bitterness in the broccoli and beer. The lemon juice further brightens and lightens what may otherwise be a heavy dish, but doesn’t compromise the heartiness of it. The only catch? Eat it fresh. This is not a soup that likes to be reheated.
1 large broccoli head, ~3/4 to 1 lbs.
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. butter
4 tbs. all purpose flour
1 ½ cups sharp cheddar, grated
½ to 1 cup mild cheddar, grate
⅓ cup goat cheese
24 oz. chicken stock
8 oz. Rye IPA or California Common
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
Heat olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat; add onion and cook until translucent. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, and lots of freshly grated pepper. Stir occasionally until fragrant; sprinkle flour over the onion mixture. Cook an additional 2 minutes to remove any raw flour flavor.
Pour beer and stock into the pot; bring to a simmer. Add broccoli and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the florets are fork tender. Add cheese; stir until fully melted.
Puree away! This step is a matter of personal preference. I prefer a pulverized soup with a few broccoli chunks. Use a stick blender, regular blender, or food processor to puree to the desired consistency.
Return to the soup pot; reduce heat to low. Taste! I like to add a splash of fresh lemon juice for a bit of acidity. The seasonings may also need to be adjusted.. more salt, more pepper? Hell, maybe it needs more cheese! Want a richer flavor? Try adding a splash or two of heavy cream.