Friday, December 22, 2017

Have a Very Beery Christmas

By Carl Weiss

When I started Man Cave Munchies 5 years ago, I made 2 promises to my audience:
           1. I would provide easy-to-cook recipes.
           2. At least 25% of the recipes featured would have beer as an ingredient.

Living up to both these standards has never proven to be a problem.  From the very first episode I produced , Beer Bread, both these requirements were met.  So simple is this recipe that I comment during the video that it isn't so much a case of cooking as chemistry.  Stir in the proper ingredients and bake the dough at the proper time and temperature and you will produce a loaf of crusty, flavorful bread every time.

During the same video session, I also demonstrated how to make Beer Cheese Soup, which goes well with Beer Bread.  This recipe has gone onto become the fourth highest viewed video on the Man Cave Munchies YouTube channel.  Therefore, the proof is in the pudding.  Beer recipes rule!  With that in mind, I decided to dedicate this week's blog to providing my loyal fans with a holiday present they will all appreciate.

Can You Have Beer for Breakfast?

While I have never specifically created a breakfast item that called for beer, I did demonstrate how to make Beer Crumpets, otherwise known as Brumpets.  Something along the lines of an English Muffin, Brumpets are delicious with jam, or you can fry up some eggs and bacon or ham to place in them.  (They also make killer burger buns.)  Best of all, this light and airy bread gets made atop the stove, which means you won't heat up your kitchen in the process.

When it comes to lunch items, this is where beer is best.  You can start off with a hearty bowl of Bacon, Bean and Beer Chowder, followed by beer biscuit wrapped Pigs in a Blanket and a side of beer infused Boston Baked Beans.  Or, if you're more into fish, how about some Beer Battered Cod?  For dessert you have your choice of Beer Brownies or Beer Cupcakes.

Of course, where beer-based cuisine really comes into its own is at supper time.  Over the years, my friends and I have shown how to make Beer-infused Cajun favorites such as Cajun Meatloaf and Jambeerlaya.  Instead of shrimp on the Barbie, I recommend such barbecue greats as Beerfalo Wings and Beer Butt Bird, both of which go great with Boilermaker Chili.

A Taste of Italy

If you're into Italian cuisine, everything from Pizza to Pasta can be made with beer.  Even spaghetti sauce such as Bolognese can be improved with the addition of beer.

Beer Pasta

2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/s cup semolina)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup beer

Pour the flour, semolina, and salt in a bowl.  Stir to blend.  Form a well in the center into which you
will crack 2 eggs and add the  beer. Then begin mixing the dough either with your hands or with a spoon.  (If you use a mixer, use the cough hook.)  Once the dough forms a ball, knead it on a floured cutting board for about 5-minutes.  Coat the dough ball with the olive oil, place it back in the bowl and cover with a towel.  Let the dough rest for 30-minutes.

Image courtesy Wikimedia
Once the dough has rested, cut the ball into 6 equal pieces, being sure to cover all but 1 of them with a towel, so the pasta won't dry out.  Use a rolling pin to flatten the first piece into an oval, then pass the pasta through your roller set to the thickest setting.  Repeat the process several times while gradually reducing the setting until you have a long ribbon of pasta. (If you use semolina in the mix you will be surprised at how thin you can get the pasta.)  Last but not least, run the ribbon of pasta through the cutter, before draping the finished pasta onto a pasta drying rack, or over opened cupboard doors.   Let dry for 15-minutes.  You may then gather the noodles into several gallon Ziplock bags and freeze.

To cook, boil a large pot of water and empty the content of a bag or 2.  Unlike the store bought variety, fresh pasta will cook in about a minute.  Do not overcook.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The beauty of cooking with beer is that it adds flavor while turning every meal into a party on a plate.  If your friends are like mine, they'll love being invited to a meal that has been fortified with beer.  Not only does beer enhance the flavor of a meal, just the very thought that beer is "in here" brings a smile to their face that no ordinary cuisine can match.  If you're looking to wow the crowd this Christmas, I suggest that you experiment with adding a brewsky or twosky to your traditional holiday recipes.  Can you say Beer Cookies?  After all, cooking with beer is the gift that keeps on giving, especially if you are looking to have a very beery Christmas.

Look for Carl's Beer Cookie recipe in an upcoming YouTube episode.
If you have a favorite beer-infused recipe that you would like to share with Carl, email him at

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