Salsa Verde Braised Pork Shoulder

Salsa Verde Braised Pork Shoulder

That's right. It's another recipe meant to help you turn Taco Tuesday into Taco Wednesday Through Sunday. This one is great for a crowd. If it's just you or two, go ahead and freeze the leftovers for a rainy day. 

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Need a braising sauce for a pork shoulder? This salsa is on it. Need a labor-light supper that involves merely heating things up? Throw this salsa in a slow cooker with chicken thighs for 3 to 4 hours. Did your local grocery store stop carrying the salsa morita that had the power to right all wrongs in your life, no matter how sad or pathetic you were feeling? This salsa will (almost) get that job done.

Smoky Greens Tacos with Fresh Cheese and Chorizo

Smoky Greens Tacos with Fresh Cheese and Chorizo

Smoky meat is irresistible. That's seems to be hardwired into our evolutionary biology. These smoky, melt-in-your-mouth greens are out of this world. We've folded them in soft corn tortillas charred over open flame and sprinkled them with salty, firm queso fresco and spicy Mexican chorizo. Each bite is juicy and satisfying. They make a perfect family supper and work just as well as snacks around a kitchen island with cold beers.

Most recipes for greens rely on bacon or ham hock to impart their rich flavor, but we've just used a rich chicken broth and some dried chiles, which you can find at any Mexican grocery store. This recipe is great for using up chiles that have maybe been sitting in the back of your pantry for several months. Though, because chiles lose their flavor over time, you may want to add an extra one to make sure the greens get good and smokey. 

We like these tacos with morita salsa, but a chipotle or guajillo one will do just fine. (That morita salsa recipe is coming soon!)

Be sure to buy Mexican chorizo. That's the fresh, crumbly version. If you end up with Spanish style chorizo (dry, hard, and aged), you should save that for a charcuterie plate and head back out to get the Mexican stuff. Here's some more background reading on the difference.

 

Smoky Greens Tacos with Fresh Cheese and Chorizo
Serves 4

3 lbs of greens such as spinach, kale, chard
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp neutral oil (such as Canola)
2 cups chicken broth (use something rich and flavorful)
1 dried guajillo pod (seeds removed)
2 dried ancho chiles (seeds removed)
salt

fresh cheese
Mexican style chorizo

12 corn tortillas

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic. Add the greens. You may have to do this in batches as the greens wilt. Stir to goat with the garlicky oil. Add the broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then add the chiles.

Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour over very low heat. Uncover the pot and increase the heat to medium to evaporate the liquid.

Remove the chiles, then taste and season well with salt. 

In a 12-inch frying pan, fry the chorizo. Then heat the tortillas over a direct flame.

Serve with queso fresco and morita salsa. 

Chipotle-Lime Shrimp with Charred Corn Slaw

Chipotle-Lime Shrimp with Charred Corn Slaw

Lots of people like shrimp. Shrimp are likable! They are sweet and snappy, appealingly pink, and soak up flavors quickly. But people also think shrimp should be super cheap, and super cheap shrimp is almost definitely caught and processed under miserable conditions. For human beings.

This recipe calls for a pound of shrimp. Buying good/better shrimp might set you back close to twenty bucks a pound, but when you consider it makes a filling dinner (and cabbage and tortillas are awfully cheap), it’s not too bad. Hell, it’s still cheaper than two tickets to a movie these days. 

Review these tips on buying better shrimp from fake fake-news outlet, the Washington Post. (See what we did there?)

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. large or extra-large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. chipotle chili powder

SLAW
1 ear of corn
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1/2 tsp salt
2 scallions, sliced
2 Tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice

SPICY LIME CREMA
1 cup crema
Zest and juice of 1 (fairly juicy) or 2 (fairly dry) lime(s)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
8 flour tortillas, to serve

1) Mix up your marinade.  Pour the marinade over the shrimp and set a timer for 20 minutes.

2) In a cast iron pan, char the corn on the cob.  Don’t use any oil, just throw it in the pan, let one side brown a bit, then roll around so you get a nice char on several sides.  Set the corn aside to cool.

3) Mix the shredded cabbage with the salt. Let it sit while you make the crema. (You can definitely substitute sour cream for the crema. They're pretty similar. But if you've never had crema, look for it in a well-stocked grocery store that usually has Mexican ingredients. We really like this one.)

4) Stir together the ingredients for the crema.  Taste and adjust the salt and lime.  Set aside.

5) Slice the charred corn off the cob.  Add the corn to the bowl with the salted cabbage.  Add the scallions, cilantro, and lime juice.  Mix well.

6) Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil over medium high in a large non-stick skillet.  Take the shrimp out of the marinade and place them on a paper towel.  

7) Add the shrimp to the hot oil, cooking in batches so you only have one layer of shrimp at a time. Cook the shrimp about 1 minute per side, turning when the shrimp is lightly browned. Wipe out the pan between batches to prevent any leftover marinade from scorching.

8) Heat your tortillas over the flame of a burner, keeping a close watch and turning with tongs. They'll puff up and then collapse when you pull them from the heat. And if you crank up the gas, you can char the edges nicely. Place the hot tortillas in a clean, folded dish towel to keep them soft and warm.  

9) Assemble your tacos: tortilla, shrimp, slaw, and crema. Have at it.

BEER PAIRING: We recommend a bottle of Super Pils from this super brewery. 

Here's another pic of these really pretty tacos for you to salivate over until you make them:

Paloma Punch

Paloma Punch

Palomas are so hot right now. So why not serve them by the pitcher. 

Hop Dusted Root Veggie Chips

Hop Dusted Root Veggie Chips

Hop dusted root veggie chips: another recipe to file under "bar snacks for overachievers." 

Mushroom Barley Beef Stew

Mushroom Barley Beef Stew

This ain't no set-it-and-forget-it I-found-it-on-Pinterest recipe. It's the real deal. A delicious, go-to standard. There are many steps, all worthwhile. Don't let your meat fall apart into sad, dry shreds. Leave it in tender chunks that, because you didn't cook the bejeezum out of it, should melt with each bite. Like Twizzlers, it makes mouths happy, but with nutritional value and low risk of tooth decay.

OH! Our beautiful photos this month were all shot by the talented Sarah Derer! So you can blame her when you can't stop thinking about beef stew all afternoon.

Mushroom Barley Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
4 pounds beef chuck roast
4 carrots, divided
2 stalks celery
2 onions
1 head garlic
1 12-ounce bottle of brown ale
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup water
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
8 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 parsnips
3 largish red potatoes, cut into 1/2” chunks
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

Trim your chuck roast and cut it into large 1 1/2-inch cubes.  Peel two of the carrots and cut them in half. Peel and quarter the onions. Wash the celery stalks and cut into 4” lengths.  Slice the whole head of garlic in half, leaving the skin on.  

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot. When the oil is shimmering hot, season the beef and brown it deeply on at least 2 sides. Set the browned beef aside. Dump the prepared carrots, onions, celery, and garlic into the pot and stir a few times.  Quickly add the beer and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom. Add the quart of chicken stock and the water. Return the beef to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and barely simmer, covered, until the beef is fork tender.  This should take about an hour and a half. You want the beef to be at a stage where it can be easily pulled apart, but is not falling apart on its own.  

When the beef is tender, turn off the heat. Scoop most of the beef out of the liquid, then strain the remaining liquid, reunite the remaining beef with its friends, and discard the mushy vegetables who have given their flavors to the cause. Save the liquid and the beef only.  

In the same pot you braised the beef in, heat the remaining vegetable oil. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the mushrooms and stir to coat with oil. Let the mushrooms cook until they are softened and beginning to brown. Add the parsnips and red potatoes, then pour back in the braising liquid. Bring the pot to a simmer, then add the barley. Let the stew cook for about 20 minutes, then return the beef to the pot. Continue to cook until the barley is just tender (it will continue to absorb liquid as it sits in the stew, so don’t worry all that much about undercooking.) Stir in the frozen peas and the red wine vinegar. Taste, adjust salt if necessary, and serve hot with some good bread. And a good, hearty stout. OBVIOUSLY.

Sarah Derer

Sarah Derer


Sake pickled radishes

Sake pickled radishes

Pickles make the perfect project for a day off. A little chopping and dicing of vegetables, some whisking of water, salt, and sugar, and in a few hours you've got a snack for later or a sharp foil to an otherwise too-rich dish (hopefully involving pork belly, eggs, or the like). They're even better when you need a distraction from that mysterious headache you woke up with.

This recipe is delicious with most vegetables you can eat raw, including cucumbers, hakurei turnips, and green beans.  

Two of our favorite pickled radish uses:

On a bacon sandwich: sriracha mayo, good crusty bread, arugula, pickled radishes, thick-cut bacon

In a rice bowl: white rice, sautéed spinach with a little sesame oil, pickled radishes, runny egg on top (extra points for seared pork belly, lardons, sausage, or whatever bits of indulgent cured meat parts you've got hanging out in your refrigerator/pantry/temperature-controlled meat cellar)

Sake Pickled Radishes

12 assorted radishes, washed, halved, and sliced about 1/4” thick into half moons
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1/4 cup sake
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 small yellow or red finger hot chile
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar

Toss the radishes with 2 teaspoons of the salt and place them in a colander. Put a small plate and a few heavy cans on top of the radishes. Allow the radishes to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse well with cold water and set aside to drain again.  

In a small bowl, combine the sake, ginger, scallions, and chiles. In a small pot, mix the rice wine vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Heat to boiling, swirling to make sure all the sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat.  

In a medium heatproof bowl, stir together the rinsed, drained radishes and the sake/ginger/scallion mixture. Pour in the hot liquid, mix well, and let stand until everything is room temperature. Refrigerate the pickles until well-chilled. The pickles will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, but they will start to lose some snappiness after a week or so. If you're a human being with working taste buds, we cannot imagine a situation in which they would last longer than a week.

The Sake Dog

The Sake Dog

Inspired by one of our favorite drinks, The Salty Dog, the sake in our version makes for a lighter, lower octane cocktail. We've replaced the salt on the rim with an umeboshi syrup which has the added benefit of giving The Sake Dog a pale pink hue. Bitters and lime juice add spice and brightness.

(The lovely photos of our first Drinking Woman cocktail are by the talented Sarah Derer whose photography skills surpass ours. Like in a big way. You'll be seeing more of her shots in January.)

The Sake Dog

Makes 2 cocktails (or one very large one)

6 ounces junmai sake
4 shakes grapefruit bitters
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce umeboshi syrup (recipe below)
1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Shake with ice, strain, and serve. Makes 2 cocktails (or one very large one.)

Umeboshi Syrup

INGREDIENTS
5 umeboshi plums
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small pan and place over medium heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is simmering. Stir and muddle up the plums until the syrup is pinkish and cloudy. Allow to cool to room temperature.  

Strain syrup through a fine sieve. Keep the syrup in the refrigerator; it should keep for 1 week.  

Smoked Gouda Gougeres with Creamy Ranch Filling

Smoked Gouda Gougeres with Creamy Ranch Filling

When we asked Umami Mart's Yoko Kumano what she likes to eat when drinking sake, she told us she was making her way through a block of gouda, which she was nibbling on while sipping Hakkaisan Honjozo and watching Sons of Anarchy. Kayoko Akabori said her favorites sakes are Junmai, which she drinks while snacking on super savory snacks, like dried squid. 

We heard gouda and immediately wanted wanted to make gougeres with smoked gouda, taking the umami quotient up a notch. Tasty snacks that pair well with champagne, we thought they'd go especially well with a sake with more savory notes. We were right--but when our gougeres came out of the oven, they were missing something. So we kept heading down that savory highway and piped in a cool and creamy ranch-style filling. The result was strangely nostalgic, like the kind of hors d'oeuvres you had at your grandmother's dressy Christmas party back in the 80s. We're not speaking from experience or anything. 

Smoked Gouda Gougeres with Creamy Ranch Filling

Gougeres

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup grated smoked gouda

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the paprika, mustard, and salt.  

In a medium pot, heat the milk, water, and butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is simmering. Add all the flour mixture at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is cohesive and smooth and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, leaving behind only a film. Remove from the heat.

Turn the dough out into a bowl and stir for a few minutes until it has cooled slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. The dough will break apart and come back together. Don’t worry if it looks broken temporarily.

When all the eggs have been added, the dough should be a smooth, thick paste that droops instead of standing up stiffly. Stir in the grated cheese. 

Put the mixture into a piping bag and pipe it onto a lined pan, making slightly-less-than-tablespoon-sized mounds. Smooth the tops with a wet finger if they are pointed. This recipe makes a party’s-worth of gougeres, so you may have to make a few batches. You can pipe them pretty close together, though, so you can get plenty on a baking sheet.

Bake the gougeres for 10 minutes at 425 F, then lower the heat to 350 F and bake for 25 more minutes. The gougeres should be puffed, golden and crispy. Allow to cool slowly in the hot oven, propping the door open. Allow the gougeres to cool completely before filling.

Creamy Ranch Filling

1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Make sure the texture is right: It should be just thin enough to pipe from a piping bag, but not runny. If your mixture is too thin, add a little more cream cheese to thicken. Put the ranch mixture into a piping bag and chill the bag until you are ready to use it.

When you are ready to fill your gougeres, poke a small hole in the bottom of each gougere. Pipe in about a teaspoon of the ranch. Be careful not to overfill. The goal is a little creaminess, not a giant mouthful of cream cheese. Serve with champagne or a Hakkaisan Honjozo sake.

Oysters with Cucumber Mignonette

Oysters with Cucumber Mignonette

Serving oysters is a cool party trick. Trot out a tray of a dozen of them and expect oohs and ahhs from your guests. They've got a reputation for being elegant, but we think oysters keep it real. They have to be dug from the sand, making them literally as down to earth as root vegetables. Potatoes and oysters: separated at birth? 

While they're perfect for intimate gatherings of 2-10 (you'll need more than a dozen for numbers above 6), it's perfectly acceptable to shuck a dozen for yourself, open a bottle of sake, and rewatch season 3 of the Gilmore Girls. We recommend that you do that. If you don't already know how, once you learn to shuck them--so much easier than anyone lets on--there's no going back. Like riding a bike, you can use the invaluable skill as often or as infrequently as you like. We hope you'll make like a Chicago voter and do it early and often. 

This mignonette is inspired by the clean flavors found in certain styles of Japanese cuisine. Bright rice vinegar and crisp cucumber offset the richness of the oyster and sesame oil, while sweet and salty come together enhancing the experiencing of the single bite. 

Oysters with Cucumber Mignonette

INGREDIENTS
1/2 Persian cucumber
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
12 oysters

Dice the cucumber very finely and combine with the vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the sesame oil.

Shuck the oysters, top with a touch of cucumber mignonette, and enjoy with chilled sake.

Leek & Shallot Confit

Leek & Shallot Confit

You’re going to your partner’s/best-friend’s/roommate’s/person you’ve just started dating’s family’s Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve been asked to bring a dish. Or, you’re a vegetarian or a vegan and you have this sneaking feeling that everything is going to have some kind of butter, chicken broth, or cream in it and you’re pretty sure you’ll 1) have to explain why you’re abstaining from everything but the booze and cranberry sauce and 2) be starving by the time you head home.

We can’t help you explain your dietary restrictions, but we can help to make sure you don’t go hungry. Bonus: This dish is also a good way to divert others’ attention away from what you’re not eating and toward more intriguing topics of conversation such as What exactly is confit? and Did you know that leeks, onions, and garlic are members of the lily family?

Bring it along with a crusty loaf or round of bread and a bottle of Spanish sidra, and now you can discuss the sudden rise of hard cider and how you at least haven’t gone gluten free! (Which, if you have, no judgments. Just swap out that bread for some spendy GF seed crackers.

Leek and Shallot Confit

INGREDIENTS
2 leeks
4 shallots
8 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Split the leeks in half lengthwise, wash well, and slice 1/4” thick.  Peel and coarsely chop the shallots. Peel and halve the garlic cloves.

In a medium pot, combine all ingredients. The oil won’t cover everything, but don’t worry. Give it time and let it do it’s thang. Slowly. Place over low heat and let the confit cook (and cook and cook), stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. When the leeks are melted, the shallots are buttery soft, and the garlic is completely softened (about 40 minutes), remove from heat. Pour into a glass jar and cool completely.

Eat at room temperature with crusty bread. Leftovers can be saved in the refrigerator for probably longer than you’ll take to polish them off (a couple weeks).

Cashew Coconut Granola Bars

Cashew Coconut Granola Bars

We’re not gonna lie. This recipe took a few tries. And a lot of oats. So many oats. We even had to fight off squirrels wanting to sample our cooling bars when we weren’t looking. The result of our hard work, though, is a granola bar just right for

sweetness
saltiness
chewiness
toastiness
sturdiness.

You know, everything you want in a granola bar but don’t think about until they’re not at level 100 perfect, which they are in this recipe. And they’re vegan* to boot. Bring them home for Thanksgiving to eat the morning of. Tote them to the office for on-the-go breakfast. We like them with a coffee stout like Off Color’s Coffee Dino S’mores for a Sunday afternoon snack.

*Vegan, you ask? Why, you should read both parts of our interview with Metropolitan Brewing’s Tracy Hurst, who inspired our recipes for this month.

Cashew Coconut Granola Bars

Ingredients

DRY:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup roasted, salted, chopped cashews
1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup roasted, salted pepitas

WET:
1/3 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a 9”X9” pan with either parchment or foil, then spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  

Add all wet ingredient to a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until you see bubbles at the edges. Turn off the heat and stir vigorously to get the mixture as smooth as possible.  

Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  

Pour the combined mixture into the prepared pan. Pat the bars down until they are as compact and even as you can make them.

Pro tip: small, gentle, repetitive pats with a silicone spatula are more effective than heavy pressure. If you press very hard, the mixture will just stick to the spatula or your hands. Say it with us: pat pat pat pat pat, then smooooothe everything over to get into the corners.

Bake the bars for 30 minutes, then remove and let them cool (all the way) in the pan.  Yes, they smell delicious and yes, you are great with a knife, but if you don’t let them cool, they will crumble when you cut them. If you wait, they won’t!  End of story.  

When the bars are fully cooled, cut to your desired size with a sharp knife.

Store the cut granola bars, tightly covered, at room temperature. Snack away.


Mushroom Pot Pie

Mushroom Pot Pie

Tricky little things, vegan recipes. One minute, you’re all “Yay! I’m gonna eat delicious veggies!” Then suddenly you’re in an aisle at Whole Foods scratching your head, wondering what to do with ingredients like nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten, and xanthan gum.

While we were inspired by our interview with Tracy Hurst to create four vegan recipes, we were also challenged: We didn’t want to create vegan versions of non-vegan favorites. In other words, no seitan Buffalo chicken bites, no cheese-free mac and cheese.

Tracy told us her favorite foods are hearty and rich: “I really like winter foods, things like pot pies, stews, curries, soups. Or a big sloppy stew with mushrooms, potatoes, seitan, and a dark roux. A dark sauce is great with a pilsner, a bright, hoppy beer.” She’s a full-time vegan, so she gets a pass on the seitan.

We made a mushroom pot pie, one that’s rich and satisfying in the way only a comfort food can deliver when the weather is gray and cold. Lately, as we hunker down and prepare for yet another Chicago winter (mild this year, but still Chicago in the winter), we’ve been reading about the Norwegian concept of koselig. That’s the idea behind this pot pie: Think wool blankets and blazing fires; candles at twilight and mugs of hot chocolate. This pie is cozy like that. You should probably invite some friends over for a pajama and pot pie party. We just made that a thing.

Pie crusts, whether topping a savory or sweet filling, should be tender, flaky, and buttery. That’s a problem when you’re avoiding butter. So we relented a bit on our no-substitutes rule and made a vegan crust using Earth Balance. We found it was a pretty decent substitute for the rich flavor of butter. Of course, if you’re so inclined, you can just substitute butter back in. And while we’re fans of an all-butter crust, it’s hard to deny the fool-proof flakiness a little vegetable shortening like Crisco can offer. Balk if you must. We honestly don’t care. We’ll just be here in the corner shoveling pot pie in our mouths, ready to share when you’ve finally come around.

Serve this dish with a crisp salad. Take Tracy’s advice and go hoppy and bright with your beer. Darker beers work well too, especially if you can get your hands on a mushroom stout.

 

Mushroom Pot Pie
Serves 6

Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 stick (or 8 Tablespoons) Earth Balance (original)
2 ounces all-vegetable Crisco
1/2 teaspoon salt
approximately 1/3 cup ice water

Filling:
1/2 large onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced 1/4” thick
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4” thick
1 medium fennel bulb, diced
1 medium turnip, diced
1.5 pounds mushrooms, quartered (cremini, white button, or any combination of mushrooms)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
5 Tablespoons Earth Balance (original)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups vegetable broth or mushroom broth (We like the mushroom base by Better than Bouillon)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Dice the Earth Balance and put it in the freezer. Let the Earth Balance chill for 15 minutes.  

In a large bowl, whisk the flours and salt. Add the cold Earth Balance and the Crisco to the flour mixture and cut them in, using either your hands or a pastry cutter. (This can also be done by pulsing the mixture in a food processor, but we would rather wash our hands than a kitchen utensil. Bonus: the process is as soothing as sipping on beer, which you should also be doing while prepping this kick-ass pot pie. Do what works for you!) Continue until the mixture resembles coarse meal and clumps temporarily when squeezed in your hand. Add cold water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and fold gently together until you can gather the dough into a clump.  

Turn dough onto a board or countertop and fold a few times to bring it all together, being careful not to overwork. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes while you make the filling. You can do this ahead of time, using the dough in the next day or two.

FILLING
In a large pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, celery, fennel, and turnip and stir to coat everything with oil. Add a healthy pinch of salt to help the vegetables release some liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened (about 8-10 minutes).

Pour the softened vegetables out of the pan into a large bowl. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil. Turn up the heat to high. Wait until the oil is good and hot (just about smoking) and carefully add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown and the liquid they’ll release begins to cook off. Add a good pinch of salt. Add the garlic and chopped thyme. Stir to combine. Add the cooked vegetables back to the pan and toss it all together. Set aside. (Yeah, this recipe has a lot of steps. But it’s gonna be worth it. Just think koselig.)

In a medium saucepan, heat the Earth Balance until melted. Whisk in the flour and allow to cook until slightly toasty, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the vegetable stock (this can be cold or room temp--not warm). Continue whisking until the sauce boils and thickens. Crack in some black pepper. Taste and adjust salt. Some vegetable broth can be salty, so make sure you take that into account when seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the cooked vegetables and stir together. Pour the whole mess into a 9” x 13” glass baking dish. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

ASSEMBLY
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out to a little less than 1/4” thick. Shoot for a rectangle slightly bigger than your baking dish. Lay the dough on top of the filling and roll the edges under. Crimp the edges and poke slits in the top.

Put the pie directly into the hot oven. Bake until the pie crust is puffed and browned and the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool 20-25 minutes, then serve.

Beer-battered Curried Cauliflower with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Beer-battered Curried Cauliflower with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Pass on the pretzels and reach for this beer snack instead. Light, crispy batter surrounds tender cauliflower in a spicy, savory bite that pairs perfectly well with lager. Plus it's vegan, just like this month's interview, Tracy Hurst.


INGREDIENTS
1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (or a little bigger than bite-sized)

2 tablespoons sweet curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Batter:
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12-oz lager or pilsner

oil for deep-frying

Start by heating the oil in a large, heavy pot.  

In a large bowl, combine the raw cauliflower with the curry, salt, turmeric, garam masala, and ground coriander. Set it aside while you prepare the batter.  

To make the batter, whisk the flours, baking powder, cumin seed, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the beer, whisking constantly, until the batter is smooth and thin and falls in ribbons from the whisk. If it seems too thick or too thin, adjust using either a tablespoon or two of water or a tablespoon or two of rice flour. Crack open a second beer and take a swig. Continue to drink during the next step.

When the oil reaches 375 F, dunk individual cauliflower florets in the batter, completely coating them, then carefully lower into the hot oil.  Fry, turning occasionally, until the batter is crispy and a deep golden brown.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Cilantro-Mint Chutney (recipe below) and a crisp lager such as Metropolitan's Dynamo. 

Cilantro-Mint Chutney

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, packed
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup water

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until you get smooth, but still textured, sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.