Apr 8, 2014

BEER... love drinking It and cooking with it.

According to local Hawaii brewers, Hawaii is the biggest beer drinking state per capita in the country, but according to the lady who drives the Budweiser beer truck here on Moloka'i, you can narrow it down to Moloka'i being the biggest beer drinking island in the state per capita, and my golfing buddies up at Ironwood Golf Course may be the ones holding that honor. There are some terrific  brewers in Hawaii that produce great beer, Maui Brewing Company, Kona Brewing Company, and Mehana Brewing company are three of my favorites. 

Most people love a cold glass of beer, but you can also cook with it. Beer is like any seasoning, it adds complexity and depth to recipes. There are literally hundreds of recipes from beer pizza to tipsy chicken. The truth is that all of the alcohol in beer is cooked off leaving only the flavor of the beer, so choosing the right beer to cook with does matter. Naturally the more flavor the beer has the more flavor your recipe will have. If you like a certain kind of beer then try that, but I find that American Pale Ale works great in most recipes, there are lots of brands to choose from out there. I happen to be a big fan of the Sierra Nevada brand, but like wine, beer is very personal.
Kona Brewing Company "Castaway IPA"

Hawaii has a new India Pale Ale (IPA) being released by Kona Brewing Company called Castaway IPA. It should not only be great for drinking, but for cooking with. The citrus, tropical and mango influences combine to create a beer with island flavor. It should be available on the islands April 14, just in time for my birthday. 

Here is a link to where to find good beer in Hawaii. That includes bars and restaurants, breweries and brewpubs, and stores. You will notice on the map that Moloka'i is not listed, but I happen to know that Moloka'i Wines and Spirits has a nice selection of beers to choose from in Kaunakakai.

Check out these delicious beer recipes from my collection:

"Pot of Love" Tripe Stew
This low and slow recipe takes about 4 hours of cooking time, plus 1 hour of prep time, but it makes a "pot of love" to remember, sometimes known as comfort food.

3 pounds cleaned white honeycomb tripe, fat cut out and cut into small bite sized pieces
6 large fresh pigs feet, cleaned and cut in halves by the butcher
1 pound dried garbanzo beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in water
2 large sweet Maui onions diced small
1 1/2 large green bell peppers diced small
2 small cans tomato sauce
6 cloves fresh garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh diced parsley
1/4 cup fresh diced cilantro
2 large dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 small (little box) dark raisins
4 to 5 large red potatoes peeled and quartered
8 ounces good white wine
4 ounces water
6 ounces beer
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1- 8 ounce jar of green olives stuffed with pimento
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons corn starch

The night before rinse and soak the garbanzo beans in cold water. Next day drain and put aside to cook with the tripe. Next cut out any fatty deposits the tripe may have on the underside. make sure your tripe is cleaned and it should be nice and white. Cut into small bite sized pieces, soak in some salt water over night next to the garbanzo beans. Next morning drain and rinse and set aside. The pigs feet should also be rinsed and cut in halves. Set aside.

In a large deep heavy pot add the olive oil, heat until shimmering then add diced onions, fresh garlic, green peppers, diced parsley, diced cilantro, raisins, the (2) two ounces of the white wine, all of the olives, capers, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, vinegar, paprika, and the tomato sauce. Over a medium heat, saute all of these ingredients for about 10 minutes.

Next add the the rest of the wine, beer, and water, mix well add the cut tripe pieces, garbanzo beans and the pigs feet. Mix well, cover with a tight lid and on a medium low flame and simmer for four hours. Check every hour to make sure the stew has enough liquid. If the water goes down, add more wine or water and continue to cook on a low flame until the tripe and garbazos are almost fork tender. After 3 hours of cooking, add the quartered potatoes, mixing well in the sauce, cover and continue to cook for another hour until they are fork tender.

By the time the potatoes are done the stew should be a little thick. if it is still watery, remove some of the liquid from the pot (about a half cup). Now add about 2 tablespoons of corn starch to a half cup of cold water or beer and mix well with a fork. Add this mixture to the hot liquid in the cup and mix well again and then add to the pot, mix gently so as not to break up the potaotes. Simmer on low for 10 minutes until the stew liquid has thickened. Taste for extra seasoning if needed. Serve on top of white rice with a nice crispy salad on the side, with a really cold beer and crusty bread. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Pork Ribs with Beer
I love pork ribs, and this is an excellent recipe that can be finished off on the grill for added flavor.

1- 3 pound package of pork spare ribs, or extra meaty baby backs

Ingredients for spice rub:
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar

2-12-oz. bottles of beer
A bottle of your favorite brand of BBQ sauce, or homemade (see my recipe for "Tropical BBQ Sauce").

Preheat oven to 200-225˚F. Blend spice rub together in a small bowl.

Prep the ribs by rinsing and then drying them well with paper towels. Remove the silver skin from backside of the ribs. Rub both sides of ribs generously with the spice rub, then place meat side up in a foil-lined roasting pan.

Pour both bottles of beer over the ribs, cover pan tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Roast 3 hours or until ribs are done. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce.

Alternatively, you can brush ribs with BBQ sauce when they are done, then finish them on the grill for about 5-10 minutes to give them that charcoal-grilled flavor.  Serve with fried onion rings (recipe below) and a nice potato salad on the side (see recipe index for recipes). Makes 2-3 servings.

Beer Battered Onion Rings
4 pounds large yellow onions, peeled
2 eggs, beaten
1 quart whole milk
1 bottle cold beer
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons baking powder
canola oil for frying

Preheat the oven to 250˚F. Crosscut onions into 1/2-inch rings, discarding onion hearts for another use. In a separate container combine eggs, milk, and beer. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper thoroughly in a separate container. Soak onions in milk mixture then coat onions in flour. This step is repeated a second time, and may be done a third time to insure that the entire onion is coated with mixture. Fry onion rings in a 12 inch frying pan with 1 inch of canola oil heated to just before smoking, approximately 360˚F. Fry until golden brown. Transfer rings as browned to a lightly oiled, shallow (1-inch deep) baking pan. Sprinkle with salt to you taste, then put in a 250˚F oven. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Island Beer Battered Fish
Everybody loves fried fish. This simple recipe makes a delicious, thick island beer batter for your next island fish fry.

canola oil, for frying, about 2 to 3 cups
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons seafood seasoning (I use Old Bay seasoning)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bottle cold beer
2 pounds opakapaka fillets or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt for sprinkling

Skin fish fillets and cut diagonally into 1-inch wide strips, about 5 inches long, and season with 1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning. This is true of shrimp as well, just leave the tails on.

Heat the oil in a large deep pot or wok over medium heat. Bring the oil to 375˚F. Regulate the temperature with a candy thermometer. Preheat the oven to 250˚F to hold the cooked fish while frying in batches. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, seafood seasoning, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and gently stir in the cold beer. Mix until just combined. When the oil is preheated to the correct temperature, dip the fish fillets in the batter mixture. Coat the fish generously. 

When adding the fish to the oil, dip about 1/3 to 1/2 of the fillet into the oil and allow the batter to start puffing and then gently slide it into the oil. Fry the fish until they are golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes turning the fish over during the cooking time. 

When the fish are done, remove from the oil and put immediately on paper towels to blot the excess oil. Sprinkle with salt to your taste. Arrange the fish on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Hold the fish in the preheated oven until serving. Work in batches and be sure not to crowd the oil. Serve with cole slaw. Make 4 servings.

Note: Old Bay seasoning contains a huge amount of different seasonings, and is highly recommended. You can make something similar yourself, but it's much easier to buy it already made. Here's an online recipe. Also note that this batter will work as a tempura batter for vegetables.

Beer Shrimp & Bread
3 to 4 pounds shrimp, with tails on
2 French or Italian baguettes
2 cups butter
6 ounces pale ale
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon or lime, halved
2 tablespoons spice (any combination of 2 parts garlic, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, and 1 part chili powder and onion powder)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Season shrimp with 1 tablespoon of spice; set aside.
Melt 1 cup of butter in a large, deep skillet or cast iron pan.
Add onion and saute for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and saute 1 minute.
Add beer, Worcestershire sauce, remainder of spice, lemon zest, and juice, and stir.
Add shrimp to mixture and cook 3 to 4 minutes, flipping shrimp once, until shrimp are pink and sauce thickens. Remove shrimp and set aside.
Add 1 cup of butter and shake pan until butter is fully melted and blended with the mixture. Add shrimp back to pan.
Serve hot from pan with sliced baguettes. Makes 8 servings.

Easy Beer Beef Stew
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound stew meat, 1-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 beer, 12 ounces (I use a dark beer like Sierra Nevada Torpedo)
1 can beef stock
1 cup water
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups baby carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 large yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks

Heat oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown meat the remove from pot and set aside on a plate when brown.

Add diced onions to the pot. Stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened, then add garlic for another minute.

Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The gravy will thicken as it cooks. If it gets too thick, add additional water as needed.

Add carrots and potatoes, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve in bowls along with warm crusty French bread and a cold beer. Makes 4 servings.

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