A meal with friends…
Craft cooking works much like craft brewing, we do not follow a lot of the prescribed rules for style, and pilot batches are really helpful in working out the nuances before serving it up to friends. For our pairing with Woodcut No.3 Oak Aged Crimson Ale, Krystal and I wanted to do something completely different from anything we have ever cooked before, or anything we have ever thought of pairing our beer with before. This approach did require a few ‘pilot batches’ in the nights preceding our meal, but ultimately ended in a delicious 3 course pairing we were able to share with our friends Brendan, Odell Brewing Co’s Production Manager, and his wife Katie, New Belgium Brewing Co’s Quality Control Extraordinaire…
…Enter a Vietnamese inspired Lemon Chicken entree with an appetizer consisting of Shrimp Summer Rolls, Asian Meatballs, and Crab Rangoon, all followed by a sampler of Raspberry Citrus and Dark Chocolate sorbets. As we did before, with our Mountain Standard Reserve ’09 ‘At Home Beer Dinner,’ we have provided full recipes, preparation notes, and our thoughts regarding the pairings as inspiration for your own at home beer dinners. Krystal and I hope you and your friends enjoy this ‘craft pairing’ as much as we did!
Woodcut No. 3 Oak Aged Crimson Ale
Woodcut No. 3 Oak Aged Crimson Ale satiates the palette with a soft vanilla nose and delicate mix of dried cherry, apricot and malt sweetness on the tongue. This beer is the harmony between sweet vanilla, contributed from our virgin oak barrels, and a Strong Crimson Ale. The nose provides the consumer with a sensory lesson in oak barrel aged strong ales-velvety vanilla with dried fruits and subtle residual malt sweetness. Copious amounts of Munich, along with Cara and Crystal malts provide a strong malt background to the dried cherry and apricot in the nose. A slightly cloying sweetness mixed with raisin and vanilla balances the higher alcohol, leaving the palette satiated and dry. As this beer ages you will notice notes of black licorice and dried fruit (particularly cherry, apricot, and currant) coming to the forefront and blending with the vanilla. Young, this beer will pair well with bright, sharp foods-lemon chicken, berry sorbet, and Stilton cheese. As this beer ages it will pair better with hearty meals that bring out, but do not mask, the delicate dried fruit and licorice flavors-spicy greens; bourbon glazed, red meats; and bitter chocolates.
# 3: Sampler - Shrimp Summer Rolls, Cilantro Meatballs, and Crab Rangoon.
Shrimp Summer Rolls:
1/2 package Chinese Rice Sticks
1 C. fresh cilantro leaves
1 C. matchstick size strips (julienne) of peeled carrot
1/4 C. matchstick size strips (julienne) of radish
1.5 C. shredded iceberg lettuce
3/4 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 C lime juice
1/4 C. sugar
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. chopped cilantro
2 cloves of garlic, minced (finely chopped)
1 jalapeno finely chopped WITH SEEDS
Fort Dipping Sauce:
~Combine and whisk all ingredients together. Cover. Chill.
For Summer Rolls:
~Cook shrimp in 1 tsp olive oil until they turn pink.
~Soak rice paper in shallow bowl of warm water until soft and pliable.
~Place a pinch of each: rice sticks, lettuce, carrots, cilantro, radish and two or three shrimp in a line across the rice paper. DO NOT OVERFILL; it is difficult to roll overfilled Rolls!
~Pull in ends of rice paper, and then roll until roll is closed.
*Note: If not serving right away, place a damp paper towel over the rolls to keep from dying out.
Cilantro Meatballs with Lime-Sesame Sauce
1/4 C. milk
1/4 plain breadcrumbs
1 lb. ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1/2 can water chestnuts, diced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
5 T. soy sauce
4 tsp. sesame oil
2 T. lime juice
2 T. water
2 tsp. sugar
For Lime-sesame Sauce:
~Combine and whisk all ingredients together. Cover. Chill.
For Cilantro Meatballs:
~Pre-heat oven to 500˚ F.
~Combine milk and breadcrumbs, let sit for 5 min.
~Add ground pork, egg, water chestnuts, salt, cilantro, 1 T. soy sauce, and 2 tsp. sesame oil to breadcrumb/milk mixture.
~Roll 1 T. meat mixture into a ball.
~Place in/on baking dish or cookie sheet, about 1/2 inch apart from each other.
~Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
(Klassic) Crab Rangoon
8 oz. krab meat
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestshire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, finely chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Approx. 36 wonton wrappers
3-6 cups Oil (for cooking)
~Combine ingredients, breaking up Krab and blending cream cheese thoroughly.
~Get a small “finger bowl” of water ready for the assembly line
~Create the Assembly Line (Henry Ford would be so proud):
-Place a long strip of wax or parchment paper on the counter.
-Put however many wonton wrappers can fit on the parchment paper, make sure to not overlap.
-Put a small dollop (1 teaspoon-ish) of Krab cheese mixture onto each wonton.
-With your finger, wet the outer edges of the first wanton wrapper.
-Like a diaper, fold the bottom corner up to the top.
**Press to close tightly, make sure to release ALL of the air from the pocket of joy**
-Fold the outer corners into the center, squeezing the corners together to secure.
-Continue with the rest of the wontons.
~If deep-frying, set your fryer to 375˚ F.
~If pan-frying, heat your oil over Medium to Medium High heat.
~In batches of about 5-7 wontons (depending on fryer/pan size) fry wontons until golden brown.
~Place on baking sheet covered with paper towels.
**To keep wontons warm while frying the rest, put in the oven on “warm” until ready to serve.
Serve with prepared Plum Sauce and prepared Sweet and Sour Sauce
Pairing Notes: What I really like about a sampler is that you can get a sense of how the beer pairs with a variety of flavors, thereby allowing you to taste the many different complexities of the beer. The complexity of Woodcut No. 3 allows for a more ‘postmodern’ interpretation, or a more individual and personal experience. It also opens up conversations about the beer itself. Each different appetizer allowed for a slightly different flavor to come out from the beer-as one of us talked about how the cilantro of the summer rolls cut the sweetness in Woodcut No. 3 allowing the dried fruit characteristics to stand out, another one of us commented on how the fried rich characteristics of the Crab Rangoon complimented the sweetness of the beer. These multiple, overlapping, and interlaced conversations helped us all to gain a much better immediate understanding and appreciation of Woodcut No. 3′s complexities.
#34: Lemon Chicken over Jasmine Rice
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
1 C. soy sauce
2 Eggs, beaten
1/2 C. potato starch
1.5 C. flour
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2/3 C. sugar
2 C. chicken broth
6 T. lemon juice
4 T. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. salt
2 lemons, sliced into thin circles
4 T. vegetable oil
For the Chicken:
~Marinate chicken “strips” in soy sauce for 10 minutes.
~Combine potato starch and eggs.
~Combine flour, salt and pepper on a large, flat plate.
~From the soy marinade, dredge the chicken in the egg potato starch mixture. Then dredge in seasoned flour.
~Place, GENTLY, into fryer/frying pan, cooking thoroughly until center is no longer pink.
**At the beginning, cut one piece up to see about how long it takes to cook through.
For the Lemon Sauce:
~Whisk all but oil together.
~Add oil to medium saucepan on medium/medium low.
~Slowly add mixture to pan.
~Whisk constantly until thickened, shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
**Add more lemon juice if desired.
Serve family style either with Lemon sauce over chicken or on the side.
Garnish with lemon slices.
Serve with Jasmine or Basmati rice. Prepare rice according to package recommendations.
Preperation Notes: When we first tasted this beer we were immediately curious of what citrus could do for it. The next day we went off to taste Fort Collins’ best Viatnamese offerings for inspiration. We settled on developing a Lemon Chicken recipe which emphasizes citrus over sweetness. But this was only the beginning of the journey…
Our first ‘pilot batch’ tasted pretty bad. We won’t go into the details, but let’s just say it tasted a bit like the particles from your nose you may have tried when you were little …(read: boogers). But, after a couple more tries, we came up with the recipe above, and we are really happy with the end result.
Pairing Notes: With a satiating mouthfeel and a great depth of flavors we found the citrus from the lemon sauce allowed this beer’s more subtle characteristics to come forward-characteristics which are often harder to notice in higher alcohol beers. The light, crispy, yet hearty and starchy batter of the chicken helped to balance the malty richness of the beer, while also providing a complimentary (as opposed to similar) flavor to the slight residual sweetness of Woodcut No. 3.
#45: Raspberry Citrus Sorbet and Dark Chocolate Sorbet
Raspberry Citrus Sorbet+
4 C. frozen raspberries
1 C. orange juice
1/3 C. lemon juice
3/4 C. sugar
3 T. orange liqueur
Puree the berries in a food processor/blender. Press mixture through a sieve to get rid of the seeds. Stir in the juices and sugar until dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for about 3 hours.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. When the ice cream maker is almost done freezing the sorbet, add the liqueur. Serve immediately, or put frozen mixture into an airtight container and freeze until solid, about 2 or 3 hours.
Dark Chocolate Sorbet+
1 c. sugar
3 C. water, divided
3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. dark rum
Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water.
Combine the sugar and 2 T. of the water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar melts and caramelizes to a light amber color, about 5 to 7 minutes. (DO NOT STIR). Be careful, as the sugar is very hot. (If the sugar should krytalize on the sides of the pan before melting, put a lid on the pan to help wash down the sugar krystals, rather than trying to stir them in). When the sugar is completely melted, carefully pour in the remaining water and continue to heat, stirring, until the caramel dissolves. Whisk in the cocoa and salt. Immediately place the pan in the ice bath and stir the mixture occasionally until it cools to room temperature. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate for about 3 hours.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. When the ice cream maker is almost done freezing the sorbet, add the rum. Serve immediately, or put frozen mixture into an airtight container and freeze until solid, about 2 or 3 hours.
+From Pappas, Lou Seibert. (2005). “Ice Cream & Sorbets: Cool Recipes.” Chronicle Books: San Francisco.
Pairing Notes: Upon first tasting this beer, one unique flavor we noticed was dried cherry. So, we wanted to bring that flavor to the forefront with the dessert. The citrus in the sorbet, like with the Lemon Chicken, slightly dries the beer, allowing the dried fruit flavors to come out. By providing the palette with the tartness of Raspberry it becomes much easier to taste the soft vanilla, contributed from the oak aging, and dried fruit complex. The Dark Chocolate Sorbet compliments not only the flavors (vanilla, dried fruit, and Munich Malt) but also the velvety mouthfeel, again, contributed by the virgin oak barrel aging process.
The ‘Fortune Cookie’
Woodcut No. 3 is an extraordinary beer and the complexities of it provide many options for pairings. One thing this beer should always be paired with, however, is good company; whether it be family during this holiday season or friends in the years to come when you pull a bottle (or three) from your cellar. As far as food pairings go, we just happen to enjoy it with a Vietnamese inspired meal that took a ‘pilot batch’ or two before we were ready to share it with our friends… you’re welcome!
No. 3, 5, 34, 45, 90