Monday, August 31, 2009

Auggie the doggie!

We got a dog on Friday.  His name is Auggie (short for August).  He keeps us very busy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

beta ALPHA fish.

Travis and I bought our first pet together and named him Napoleon.
He is beautiful and smarter than your average fish, I swear!

I have some beerific recipes planned for this week including slow cooker chili and provençal beef stew.  I spent the last year cooking dinner for my parents almost every night with no real food budget.  It was wonderful to be able to experiment with all sorts of ingredients and dishes.  Cooking on a very tight budget (a just found out we're looking at $21,000 worth of loans budget) has proven to be a blast in an entirely different way.  Boneless beef chuck and our slow cooker have proven to be my best friends.

Life is stressful to the max, but good.  I miss my friends.  You're the only missing parts in this most excellent equation.  By the by, the picture at the top of this post is another from our honeymoon.  We were at Pride Mountain Vineyards on top of Spring Mountain outside of St. Helena.  Super beautiful.  

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm Back.

The wedding and the honeymoon are over.  Life has resumed.  We are in Indiana, and I am beginning the job search.  We have 4 cases of beer with us, all left over from the festivities.  Life is good.  Also, we went on a hot air balloon ride.  It was badass.  

I cut my hair, and it feels great.

Our new apartment is full of love and beer.
-1 case Victory Prima Pils
-1 case Victory Lager
-1 case Victory Whirlwind Wit
-1 case of mixed (mostly La Fin Du Monde)
-assorted bottles of whatever we could grab before we left

I reiterate, LIFE IS GOOD.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

chicken, sausage and shrimp etouffé

In addition to the beer thing, my other (probably larger) hobby is cooking.  When I can combine the 2, it becomes a giant Voltron of joy for me.

Tonight Travis and his parents are coming in from Ohio for the wedding.  Side note:  one week until we're married ohmygoodness!  I'm making etouffé, which is a sort of similar to gumbo, but sort of not.

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Etouffé


-2 T extra virgin olive oil
-2 pounds andouille, chorizo or any other smoked sausage links
-1 whole chicken, skin on, broken down into 8 pieces
-20-25 medium shrimp with the tails left on, peeled and deveined
-kosher salt and pepper to taste
-4 T unsalted butter
-1.25 cups of all-purpose flour
-2 medium onions, roughly chopped
-1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
-1 poblano pepper, roughly chopped
-4 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
-8 cloves of garlic
-2 twelve ounce bottles/cans of beer
---I like a darker, full-bodied beer for this.  Nothing to heavy or malty, so steer clear of stouts and porters.  I'm using a doppelbock.
-8 cups (64 oz) low-sodium chicken broth
-4 bay leaves
-4 T paprika 
-1 t cayenne pepper
-1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
-4 scallions (whites and greens), diced


Get out your largest pot/dutch oven and set over medium to medium-high heat, depending on the strength of your burners.  Add the olive oil and let heat.  Add all of the sausage links and brown while some of the fat renders out.  Remove the links before they're cooked through and set aside.  Season the chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper, add to pot skin side down.  Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes to render the fat from the skin.  Flip the pieces and continue to cook until they brown.  Remove pieces and set aside.

Keep pot over medium to medium-high heat and add the butter to the fat in the bottom of the pot.  Add the flour and whisk to incorporate, then switch to a flat whisk or wooden spoon.  Cook the mixture, stirring often, until it is brown, about the color of peanut butter.  A good brown roux should take about a beer or 10-12 minutes.

Get out a large capacity food processor and add onion, celery, poblano, bell pepper, and garlic, pulse to roughly chop.  Add this mixture to the pot with the roux and stir with the flat whisk/wooden spoon.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, then deglaze the pot with the beer.  Add the stock, bay leaves, paprika and cayenne.  Return the chicken pieces to the pot and simmer for one hour or until the chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken pieces and shred the meat.  Discard all the bones and return the meat to the pot.  Cut the sausage into 1 inch chunks and add to the pot to heat through.

While the sausage is cooking, place a skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and let heat.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook in the skillet.  Add the shrimp to the pot with everything else just before serving.  Season the etouffé with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and garnish with parsley and scallions.

Serve over rice.  Tonight I'm serving this with homemade cornbread and a simple salad, with plenty of hot sauce options on the side.

Pair this dish with a crisp, floral beer.  Slight acidity or citrus flavors present would be preferable.  Try an IPA that's not too harsh on the IBUs or a wheat, saison, or belgian tripel.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

promises, promises.

Ok, so I lied.  I will not be updating with pictures or reviews of the beer I purchased today.  Instead I am watching Ghost Hunters International on the SyFy (what is that all about?) channel and drinking wine.  Yes, wine.  Red wine.  Delicious wine.  Funky, old-world delicous red wine.  See how multidimensional I am?

a message to kimbo slice:

Dearest Kim,

You must get better soon!  I need to see you the maximum amount before the wedding.  I'll be back in PA on Friday evening, so get ready.  
I also want you (and C-Bear) to visit us in Indiana.  Good beer, good friends, and good times are all here.  I miss you.


bonuses, bonuses!

Sahara Mart East in Bloomington, Indiana has the best selection of beer I have ever seen, and their prices are good to boot!

I bought four 750ml bottles of some of the best beer ever made for $31.00 total.  Supreme excellence.

I will update with pics of said beers and reviews later tonight.  

In other news, our apartment is looking great!  I put up a bunch of family and friend photos.  Now it truly feels like a home.  I also found out that auto insurance is much cheaper in IN than in PA.  Bonuses, bonuses!