Pineapple Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños

 

When I’m in the need for recipe ideas, I go to my Granny J. She’s one of the best cooks I know and she has also lived/traveled all over the world. This has endowed her with quite a bit of experience that I can learn from. This particular recipe, pineapple-cream-cheese stuffed jalapeños, hails from the good ol’ state where bigger is better – Texas. From these ingredients, I can tell those Texans love big flavor without too much hassle. As for the beer, it didn’t take long to think of the perfect addition. Anniversary Ale 2 popped into my head within a few minutes due to its bright, tropical sweetness. When mixed in with the pineapples and cream cheese, it added a yeasty component that made this recipe even more special.

Continue reading Pineapple Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños

Explore: River North Releases Canned IPA

Red. Hoppy. Portable.

Last night we went over to River North Brewery to grab a 4-pack of the brand new River North IPA cans. Once again, they have created another fantastic brew. The IPA is a spin-off of BPR and it is a citrusy, hoppy delight. I planned on saving some for cooking, but I guess I’ll just have to go grab some more because we drank them all. Don’t wait, go try it out.

Continue reading Explore: River North Releases Canned IPA

Instagrammin @drinkandspoon – February 2014

Orabelle is a delish Belgian from @greatdividebrew Tastes like oranges and coriander. Really drinkable but will definitely get you buzzed at 8.3% ABV. It was the perfect way to start the night. #drinkandspoon #drinkup #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #orabelle #greatdivide #food

“Orabelle is a delish Belgian from @greatdividebrew Tastes like oranges and coriander. Really drinkable but will definitely get you buzzed at 8.3% ABV. It was the perfect way to start the night. #drinkandspoon #drinkup #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #orabelle #greatdivide #food”

Trying the Scotch Barrel J. Marie at @rivernorthbrew It’s super oaky and smokey, I loved it #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #rivernorth #barrelage #beer

“Trying the Scotch Barrel J. Marie at @rivernorthbrew It’s super oaky and smokey, I loved it #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #rivernorth #barrelage #beer”

Great beer (Redpoint - Belgo-American Red Rye Double IPA) at Jagged Mountain with some amazing live music #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #beer #jaggedmountain

“Great beer (Redpoint – Belgo-American Red Rye Double IPA) at Jagged Mountain with some amazing live music #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #beer #jaggedmountain”

Thank you @copperkettlebrewing for making the Saison Savoureux. It’s sooooo good #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #colorado #copperkettle #instabeer

“Thank you @copperkettlebrewing for making the Saison Savoureux. It’s sooooo good #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #colorado #copperkettle #instabeer”

Catching a flight at Funkwerks. Drinking some award winners : Saison, Tropic King, Brett Trois, Quad, Solenna #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #beernerd #beer #alcohol #beerporn #funkwerks #brewery

‘Catching a flight at Funkwerks. Drinking some award winners : Saison, Tropic King, Brett Trois, Quad, Solenna #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #beernerd #beer #alcohol #beerporn #funkwerks #brewery”

Celebrating over 400 Facebook followers with a bottle of Eastern Candle that I picked up the other day at @trvebrewing ! now if only I could get 400 Instagram followers…. #drinkandspoon #beerporn #craftbeer #brettbeer #easterncandle #beer #instabeer #beerpic #alcohol #drinks #colorado #craftbeercommunity #trvebrew

“Celebrating over 400 Facebook followers with a bottle of Eastern Candle that I picked up the other day at @trvebrewing ! now if only I could get 400 Instagram followers…. #drinkandspoon #beerporn #craftbeer #brettbeer #easterncandle #beer #instabeer #beerpic #alcohol #drinks #colorado #craftbeercommunity #trvebrew”

Anniversary Ale #2 at @rivernorthbrew #happyanniversary #craftbeer #beer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #follow #beerpic #beerporn #beer #alcohol #drinks #drinkandspoon

“Anniversary Ale #2 at @rivernorthbrew #happyanniversary #craftbeer #beer #craftbeercommunity #instabeer #follow #beerpic #beerporn #beer #alcohol #drinks #drinkandspoon”

Celebrating 500 Facebook followers of Drink and Spoon by cracking open Mischief by @thebruery Thanks you everyone for the support on all my social media. #drinkandspoon #craftbeer  #craftbeercommunity #craftbeerporn #beer #beerpic #instabeer #instagood

“Celebrating 500 Facebook followers of Drink and Spoon by cracking open Mischief by @thebruery Thanks you everyone for the support on all my social media. #drinkandspoon #craftbeer #craftbeercommunity #craftbeerporn #beer #beerpic #instabeer #instagood”

Explore: River North Brewery – Anniversary Ale 2 Release

I said in my review I would return to River North…. and I did. River North Brewery in Denver released their Second Anniversary Ale this weekend and I was lucky enough to try it out. The bartender described it as “tropical” and I agreed. Its like Belgium meets Hawaii. Anny Ale #2 has those good farmhouse flavors you would expect in a Belgian Golden but it is also sweet. The sweetness tasted sort of like a pineapple but without the tartness. The other pictures are of BPR, which I’m now addicted to, and Hello, Darkness which is also delish. If you want to read more about those, check out my review of River North from a few weeks back.

 

Happy Anniversary River North Brewery!

River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2 River North Anniversary Ale 2

 

Explore: River North Brewery

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Can you imagine a tiny little beer haven where they play Alt-J through the speakers, have beautiful bartenders, and a surprisingly large barrel aging program? This sounds kind of like a beer dream doesn’t it? Well, its real and its called River North Brewery. Tucked away in a small building near Coors Field in Downtown Denver is this somewhat small Belgian inspired brew palace. Although it is slight in size, it pumps out beers with big flavors. Maybe you’ve heard of some of them like Hoppenberg Uncertainty Principle or J. Marie. If you haven’t, you should try to get your hands on some of them. If you’re in town, visit their intimate taproom (which is no larger than my living room and kitchen combined) and grab a seat at the bar. You won’t be disappointed. We tried every beer on tap that night. When we left we were slightly tipsy and very happy with our overall experience.

Continue reading Explore: River North Brewery

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella and J. Marie Saison

Panzanella is one of the easiest recipes to make and the most delicious. Every bite will taste like a bit of summertime. Since it’s been so cold and groggy lately around the country, I figured I’d post something to cheer everyone up. It is not always possible to find heirloom tomatoes this time of year, but if you can, definitely grab them! Heirloom tomatoes are like the beauty queens of the tomato world. They are colorful, sweet, and just overall better than all the other tomatoes.  This quick fix will surely become one of your favorite meals.

Continue reading Heirloom Tomato Panzanella and J. Marie Saison

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella and J. Marie Saison

Tomato panzanella is one of the easiest recipes to make and the most delicious. Every bite will taste like a bit of summertime. Since it’s been so cold and groggy lately around the country, I figured I’d post something to cheer everyone up. It is not always possible to find heirloom tomatoes this time of year, but if you can, definitely grab them! Heirloom tomatoes are like the beauty queens of the tomato world. They are colorful, sweet, and just overall better than all the other tomatoes.  This quick fix will surely become one of your favorite meals.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

How pretty is that?

 

Serving size: 3

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Ingredients:

3-4 Heirloom tomatoes, depending on size

1 red onion (it can be small, you will only need a few slices)

10-20 leaves of fresh basil (a package from the grocery store will do if you aren’t growing it)

2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar OR 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Olive Oil

Ricotta cheese (you will need 3 big spoonfuls)

1 Loaf of day old French bread

Garlic powder

Cracked pepper

 

Directions:

Croutons:

Turn the oven on to high broil. Slice up the loaf of bread and then cut those slices into chunks. You will probably only need half the loaf to make enough croutons for this recipe. Drizzle the bottom of your dish or baking sheet with some olive oil and spread the bread chunks on top. Drizzle the tops of the bread with olive oil and then shake a bit of garlic powder and cracked pepper on top. Pop the bread chunks in the oven until they become golden brown. Make sure to watch carefully because these little babies can go from golden brown to burnt very quickly and no one likes burnt croutons.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Salad:

Cut up the tomatoes into chunks. Julienne the basil, which means cut it into thin strips.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Cut a few thin (3-4) slices of red onion and then chop into small pieces. If you love red onions, add another slice or two. Throw the veggies and basil into a large bowl. As for the vinegar, not everyone has red wine vinegar lying around the house so you can substitute balsamic if that is easier. I made this recipe twice (as you will read later) and I used a different type of vinegar each time. I think balsamic is amazing but it can be a bit stronger tasting than the red wine vinegar, so just use a little less. Cooking is more about tasting and less about measurements so I gave a range for the vinegars. Add a few tablespoons and taste. If you would like more acidity, add another tablespoon or so. Next, add the olive oil. You can also measure this, but I just pour around the bowl twice and it seems to work out just fine. Toss the ingredients until everything is well coated.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

When you’re ready to serve, scoop a good amount of the tomato mix into each bowl. Then, add the croutons to the top. Finally, add a big spoonful of ricotta cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste and its ready to eat!

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

 

 

Beer Pairing: J. Marie Saison/Farmhouse Ale by River North Brewery

This beer pairing was my first fail. When I made this recipe to begin with, I bought Hereafter by Perennial Artisan Ales. I was excited about it because it was from St. Louis, my hometown. I guess I let the excitement and the interesting bottle design cloud my judgment because the flavors did not mix well with the meal. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good tasting ale, it just didn’t add to the dish. Instead of the flavors working together, they were just sitting around, not getting along. On its own, Perennial has a strong taste of pear with a more subtle hint of sage. I was hoping for a bit more sage and dryness out of this one, but was left with too much sweet. It was also a bit sour at first, which I could’ve done without because I already had sourness coming from the vinegar in the dish. In the future, I will buy this beer again but pair it with a more savory meal. In this case, the sweetness of the tomatoes combined with the sweetness of the brew was just too overwhelming.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

This is my beer fail ^

 

I chatted with some friends and decided to try again, this time with a farmhouse ale. First of all, this meal looks like it came right out of the garden so I should’ve bought a farmhouse ale to begin with. I went into the beer cave and came out with J. Marie Saison/Farmhouse ale by River North Brewery. According to the reviews on Beer Advocate, people weren’t loving it all on its own. I wouldn’t know. I drank the entire bottle with the meal and it was the best beer pairing I’ve done so far. I mean it was literally PERFECT.  The first thing you will notice is the explosion of basil flavors going on in your mouth. Seriously, this beer takes tomato panzanella to the next level. It also accentuates the pepper on the croutons and the spice of the onion. I found the ale to be refreshing and citrusy with a bit of honey. The small amount of sweetness blended well instead of masking the flavors of the dish. Overall, I would probably eat/drink this combo everyday of my life if I could. It was that good.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella