Ginger Beer

DSC08724I really like ginger. Like, a lot. I’ve added it to pretty much every meal I’ve cooked this week. Which you’d think would make me an afficionado of ginger beers – not without some exceptions. Today I’ll primarily discuss the alcoholic varieties, with a few exceptions.

I can handle the occasional Crabbie’s, but I usually tap out after half a glass – I just can’t handle the high sugar content. This is my usual complaint with ginger beers – either they are too sweet or the ginger flavour isn’t “kick-in-the-face” sharp enough. The contrast to this is Fallentimber’s Ginger Mead – it’s refreshing and surprisingly dry, considering the prominent honey flavor, though it is without the other spices that we associate with a “ginger beer”. Learn more about Fallentimber’s meads here.

RobinsonsOldTomGinger
http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/

My current favorite though, is Old Tom. No, not your crazy neighbor that wears ten different hats at the same time. Nor the cat that wanders your neighborhood yowling for lady-cat affection. Originally labelled as Ginger Tom, Old Tom is a traditional ale mixed with a ginger beer – the best of both worlds. This way you get the flavors of a lemony, herbal ginger beer cut with a crisp traditional ale.

The Phillips brewing company also makes a legitimate beer with (that bears little to no resemblence to the aforementioned varieties). This one is a legitimate beer brewed with ginger. Much like the thinly sliced pink pickled ginger, this stuff is great with sushi. Not a fan of that pink stuff? This might not be the beer for you.
CNB-original-label

Are mixed drinks more your style? Traditionally served in a copper mug, a Moscow Mule is made with ginger beer, lime, and vodka. Headframe Spirits out of Butte serves up their own version, the Montucky Mule, with their signature Neversweat Bourbon and Cock and Bull Ginger Beer. Not in the area? Fentiman’s Ginger Beer makes an excellent mix for any of the above spirits.

20100601_gochujung2
Image sourced from Serious Eats

Korean cuisine is rife with ginger and strong, spicy flavors. This recipe literally translates to “mixed rice and vegetables” – creative, I know. But incredibly tasty. Keep in mind this is a non-Korean girl’s boozy attempt at Korean food, and it should not be considered authentic in any way. FYI, Gochujang is a spicy fermented bean paste that is pretty indespensible in this recipe. It’s pretty easy to find at any Asian Grocery store if you know what the container looks like – they’ll probably have this kind there (see image left). If not, good luck reading Korean!

Bi Bim Bap with Ginger Beer Sauce

Marinated Beef

  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb steak, thinly sliced

Sesame Steamed Bok Choy

  • Bok Choy
  • 2 tsp sesame oilIMG_20150924_204238
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin

Other Ingredients

  • Matchstick carrots
  • Pickled radish
  • 4 serving portions of steamed rice
  • 4 eggs

Ginger Beer-bim-bap sauce

  • 3 Tbsp gochujang
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup ginger beer
  • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp vinegar – I used apple vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced ginger

Directions:

  1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add steak; toss to coat. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
  2. Combine sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin in a wok and heat over medium. Add bok choy and stir gently. Add 2 tbsp water (or ginger beer, if you have a bit extra). Cover and steam until dark green.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add one-quarter of beef and cook, turning once, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat in 3 batches with remaining oil and beef.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce.
  5. Divide rice among bowls. Assemble steamed bok choy and beef overtop of rice, along with additional vegetables.
  6. Right before serving, fry one egg (over-easy) for each portion. Top each bowl with a fried egg and serve with bi bim bap sauce.

Serves 4

References

Recipe adapted from: http://mykoreankitchen.com/2013/07/12/bibimbap-korean-mixed-rice-with-meat-and-assorted-vegetables/

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/robinsons-old-tom-with-ginger–ginger-tom-bottle/91576/

Advertisements

The Best of the ‘Wurst

oktoberfest-info_logoI have recently been informed that some family members were planning to attend Oktoberfest in Munich. Without me! Naturally, I was a jealous mess for several weeks leading up to the event. However, I did manage to pursue a similar experience (or as close as I could get) without leaving the province.

Oktoberfest began as a celebration of the wedding between the Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The festivities were held on the fields in front of the city gates, while all of Munich’s citizens were invited to attend. The festival grounds which were thereafter known as the Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) or “weisn” to the locals. Somehow this morphed into an anniversary party, then a public festival and has since become a tradition to consume fermented grain.calgary-oktoberfest-new2015-v1

The website offers some helpful information on planning your visit, as well as some interesting facts and numbers about the event. This year 5.9 million guests attended this year, while the Lost and Found collected 600 passports, 580 wallets, 320 mobile phones, 220 bags and “rucksacks” (or backpacks, whatever you want to call them), 18 cameras, 230 glasses and 45 pieces of jewellery or watches, among other more unusual items.The Calgary Oktoberfest is more or less an extension of the Calgary International Beer Fest – numerous local breweries get together, brew some special casks and flaunt their delicious wares. There are however a few more costumed attendees. And live music.

IMG_20150927_140230

I was impressed by the food offered there. Last Best put on a delicious pot of Elk Meatballs with a double-smoked bacon tomato sauce (I might have gone back for seconds). However, I was disappointed with the lack of German food. Where were the bratwurst? The schnitzel? Naturally, the next day I concocted the German food I’d missed. Starting with the following soft pretzels.


Bavarian Beer PretzelsIMG_20150927_135741

1 bottle (12 ounces) pilsner or Oktoberfest-style beer

1 package (1 tbsp.) active dry yeast

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

4 – 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon water

Kosher Salt

  1. In a small saucepan, heat beer to 110°F. Remove from heat and sprinkle yeast overtop.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups flour. Pour in yeast mixture and beat until smooth.
  3. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft, sticky dough.
  4. Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 425°. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide and shape into ten balls.
  7. Roll each into a long rope, approximately 20-24″ long. Curve ends of each rope to form a circle; twist ends once and lay over opposite side of circle, pinching ends to seal into a pretzel shape.
  8. Fill a large pot with 10 cups water. Stir in baking soda and heat to a boil.
  9. Drop pretzels, one or two at a time, into boiling water. Cook 30 seconds.
  10. Remove each pretzel with a slotted spoon and drain well on towels, removing as much moisture as possible.
  11. Place at least two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk and water. Brush egg mixture over pretzels and sprinkle with coarse salt.
  13. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to a wire rack to cool.
  14. Freeze option: Freeze cooled pretzels in resealable plastic freezer bags. To use, thaw at room temperature or, if desired, microwave each pretzel on high 20-30 seconds or until heated through. Yield: 8 pretzels.
  15. Divide and shape dough into eight balls; roll each into a 14-in. rope. Starting at one end of each rope, loosely wrap dough around itself to form a coil. Boil, top and bake as directed. Yield: 8 pretzels. To Make Pretzel Bites: Divide and shape into eight balls; roll each into a 12-in. rope. Cut each rope into 1-in. pieces. Boil and top as directed;
  16. Bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 10 large pretzels. Serve with mustard for dipping.

References

http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberfest

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home. http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/soft-beer-pretzels