The Cure For What Ales You

Have you ever heard of Vodka Sauce?

I mean I’ve been sauced on vodka, but I’ve never had vodka sauce.

I didn’t even know it was it was acceptable to go around throwing 100 proof liquor in with your dinner.

Well, if we’re going to be adding alcohol to pasta sauce, I’ll do you one better.

I’m going to COOK the pasta in alcohol too.

Except I left vodka behind with my penchant for trash can punch in my freshman year of college.

Bring on the beer.

Pale Ale Pasta with White Bean Beer Sauce

1 (12 oz) pale ale

1 (13 oz) box of  whole wheat corkscrew pasta

1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

salt, to taste

1/2 cup chopped green onion

Add 8-10 oz. (a generous cup) pale ale and 4-5 quarts of water to a large stock pot. Add a generous pinch of salt and heat water to boiling.

Meanwhile, add a can of (undrained) cannellini beans to a blender or food processor.

Add remaining 2-4 oz. of beer, olive oil and black pepper.

Process until smooth.

Pour into a small sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil and then gently simmer while pasta is cooking.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions.

Drain pasta (reserve liquid) and then add white bean beer sauce to the pasta.

Toss gently until all the noodles are coated.

If the noodles are dry, add some of the reserved pasta water.

Stir in the chopped green onion.

You’ll be glad to know this doesn’t taste overwhelmingly “beer-y.” It’s more like a creamy casserole with a warm, bready flavor.


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Gold Rush

Is there some sort of competitive sport on television right now?

I wouldn’t know.

I’ve been too busy getting ready for the beer olympics.

I’ve been training really hard for the past three months.

Meet the competitors.

Dogfish Head: Festina Peche

Shiner: Ruby Redbird

Twin Lakes: Pale Ale

Sam Adams: Imperial White

Rogue: Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Dogfish Head: Chicory Stout

The criteria:

Each beer will be judged on aroma, color,  flavor, body and mouthfeel.

Let the games begin.


Description: Malt Beverage Brewed with Peach Concentrate

Aroma: Fruity and flowery

Color: Pale yellow

Flavor: Tangy, tart, like white wine

Body & Mouthfeel: Light and bubbly

Judges notes: One judge loved its crisp and bubbly mouthfeel and thought it would be delicious mixed with fresh fruit a la sangria wine. Other judges were less impressed but drank it anyway because its beer and who turns down beer?


Beer brewed with Texas ruby red grapefruit juice and with ginger and natural flavor added

Aroma: Lemony, light, citrus-y, ginger-y

Color: Cloudy, pale

Flavor: Tart, ginger, citrus

Body and Mouthfeel: Light, bubbly, and tingly

Judges notes: A judges favorite. Strong ginger notes with a crisp finish make this a summer drinking staple. Reminiscent of ginger ale but with a spicy adult kick.


*Disqualified for making derogatory comments about the Dogfish team and West Nile Virus.


Wheat beer brewed with orange and coriander spices.

Aroma: Syrup-y, honey-ish

Color: Golden

Flavor: Caramel, sweet, honey, slightly bitter after-taste

Body and Mouthfeel: Thick, coats your tongue like honey

Judges Comments: Many judges were turned off by the bitter notes at the end. One judge drank every drop of the other judges glasses and declared this one of the best of the games.  This particular judge loved the thick, rich, sweet beer so much that it was automatically given an honorary gold medal.


Ale with natural hazelnut flavor

Aroma: Syrup-y, caramel

Color: Dark amber

Flavor: Sweet, syrup-y, coffee-ish, smoky

Body and Mouthfeel: Rich and smooth

Judges comments: A coffee lover’s beer. Sweet, nutty, and smooth. Would be perfect for cool Autumn evenings and seasonal apple desserts.


The Summer games require a good summer beer.

The gold medal goes to Shiner Ruby Redbird for its light, citrusy flavor and its crisp, refreshing kick of ginger.

The judges were really hungry after an afternoon of competitive beer drinking.

They refueled with fresh peach salsa served with crispy blue-corn and flax seed tortilla chips.

There’s no need for a recipe here.

Add fresh, ripe peaches to your favorite salsa recipe and serve in halves of avocado.

Add whole grain tortilla chips for a meal that will fill you up with heart healthy grains, healthy fats, and enough antioxidents to replace any nutrients lost during extreme beer drinking.

Go for the Gold.

Tasty, golden amber beer, that is.


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Date Night

I had a date for Valentine’s Day.

Actually I had a double date.

It was kind of an affair to remember.





Everything I am looking for in a hott date with beer and the remote.

My date shamelessly tried to get me drunk.

I got so chocolate wasted that I agreed to a threesome.

We took the party to a bar.

It was so crowded we were practically on top of each other.

We partied pretty hard.

I’m not going to lie.

Things got kind of hazy at one point.

I had my non-blurry eye on someone special.

Sadly, the night came to an end.

We broke up.

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My heart is shattered.

We were a recipe for greatness.

 Date -Night Bark

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 cup dates, chopped

1/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Melt chocolate in a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave. If using the microwave, be sure to stop and stir the chocolate every 30 seconds until melted.  Spread melted chocolate in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Top with dates, cherries, and almonds and gently press into the chocolate.  Allow chocolate to harden completely and then break into pieces.

I’m not too sad about the break up.

I’ve already got another date lined up for next weekend.

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Pumpkin + Beer = Winning

Beer and books.

Two of my favorite things got together for a party.

Fordham Brewing Company celebrated their fall release with a pumpkin packed event that supported the local library.

The festivities included a brewery tour, punkin’ chunkin’,  pumpkin carving, taste testing, and a pumpkin recipe contest.

I’ve been drinking working hard to come up with the perfect pumpkin dessert.

A peanut butter cookie base

meets a thick, rich spiced pumpkin filling

and gets topped with peanut butter cookie crumbles, roasted peanuts, and peanut butter chips.

.In case you weren’t aware, peanut butter and pumpkin go together like beer and books.

There are quite a few ingredients and steps to this recipe, but once you taste these squares, you will be hooked!

The layers of peanut butter cookie and pumpkin collide to make a soft bar that adds a new twist to traditional pumpkin desserts.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Squares

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

For bottom layer:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

½ cup  peanut butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add egg and mix thoroughly. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to peanut butter mixture and stir until combined. Dough will be soft. Spread half of dough in bottom of 9 X 9 inch pan.

For Pumpkin Filling:

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 egg

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree

¼ cup maple syrup

                                                                                                   ¼ cup evaporated milk

Combine sugar and pie spice. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Stir in pumpkin and maple syrup. Gradually add evaporated milk. Pour over peanut butter crust.

 For topping:

Combine remaining half of dough with ½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup chopped peanut butter chips and  ¼ cup ground peanuts. Dough should be crumbly. Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture.

Bake 45 minutes or until topping starts to crisp.

The salty, buttery bars paired perfectly with the mildly spiced harvest ale and I’m proud to say they were awarded third place in the recipe contest.

It was a night of good beer, good conversation and a lot of local love.

It was a night of pure beerfection.

Happy Beer Day!

My husband just joined the “officially old” club.

It was the birthday that signifies that you can no longer blame your idiocy on being in your early 20’s.

And for one glorious month, we are the same age and I don’t feel like a cougar.

I asked husband what he wanted for his birthday dessert.

Answer: Beer.

He treated himself to a build your own six-pack.

I stole the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and treated him to an alcohol infused cocoa cake with chocolate stout sauce.

He ate three servings just to make sure it was good.

We continued the celebration during dinner at the beach.

The real appeal for us was the extensive craft beer selection.

I started with Schlafly Pumpkin Ale.

Beerday Boy enjoyed a dark, rich Belgian Brew.

Dark and deceptively sweet, this was almost like drinking wine.

Dinner commenced with a roasted beet salad for the lady and a burger for beer boy.

Red and golden beets, crunchy pickled radish, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese drizzled with a balsamic reduction.

The henlopen city burger gets smothered with mushroom and gruyere gratin, tomato bacon jam, and locally grown lettuce. The bacon for the jam is smoked on site! Just the sight of this burger had me questioning my non-meat eating status.

For round two of the beer tour, I wanted to compare the Schlafly to Dogfish Head Punkin Ale.

Even though both brews were pumpkin ales, their flavor profiles were quite different. The Punkin Ale had an intense pumpkin flavor and a more delicate balance of spices compared to the prominantly spiced Schlafly.

Another Belgian brew was on tap for BB.

This version was much lighter and hoppier than the first one.

BB is so cute. He thought his birthday present was the chocolate stout cake.

During dinner, I surprised him with this.

A coffee and cream stout beer kit for his home brewery and custom labels.

Our delinquent dog, Stella, adorns the label.

Next time you’re visiting, ask for a Black Dog from the Stellar Brewing Company.

Then whip up a batch of Chocolate Stout Sauce to top your favorite cakes, brownies and ice creams.

Chocolate Stout Sauce

1/4 cup chocolate stout

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 can (14 oz.) fat-free sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

In a small sauce pan, warm beer on low heat. Add cocoa powder and stir until dissolved.  Whisk in sweetened condensed milk. Combine cornstarch and water in small dish to make a slurry. Add  slurry to the milk and beer, increasing heat to medium. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Transfer to jar and allow to cool completely. Refrigerate any unused portion.

Tidbit: The condesned milk will carmelize very quickly so make sure you stir constantly to avoid turning your sauce into a sticky mess.