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Beer and food: Holiday dinner menu

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Obviously, this holiday feast, and subsequent recipes, would be a logistical nightmare for even a seasoned culinarian to accomplish solo. Tracking down and preparing ingredients for an individual dish may prevent biting off more than one can chew, so to speak. Here’s a comprehensive list of what each recipe calls for, and relative cost.

Serves: You + Special Guest        What It’ll Set You Back: $65-$75

Prep Time: 1.5 hour            Cook Time: 1.5 hour

Difficulty: Mussels, 6    Sea Bass, 8    Asparagus, 3    Sweet Potatoes, 5    Bread Pudding, 10

 

Shopping List(s)

Mussels:            $10-$12

1 lb. mussels            $6/lb. (try Galleria Market)

1 12 oz. can            $2/can (6-pack from Bevmo)

1 bunch scallions        $.50

1 head garlic            $.50

1 French baguette        $2

4 T. unsalted butter        *on hand

1 T. Old Bay Seasoning    *substitute smoked paprika/cayenne

 

Poached Sea Bass:        $21-$25

2 4 oz. sea bass fillets    $2-3/oz.

1 22 oz. bottle            $9/bottle

1 bulb shallot            $1

1 lemon            $1

6 sprigs thyme        $2/pack

1 tbs. unsalted butter        *on hand

1 tbs. olive oil            *on hand

 

Asparagus:            $4-$6

1 lb. asparagus        $2-4/lb.

2 sprigs rosemary        $2/pack

2 tbs. olive oil            *on hand

 

Sweet Potatoes:        $12-$14

1 lb. sweet potatoes        $2/lb.

1 22 oz. bottle TREAT    $9/bottle

2 sprigs rosemary        $2/pack

1 cinnamon stick        $1

2 tbs. vegetable oil        *on hand

1 tbs. ground cumin        *substitute coriander or dried parsley flakes

Bread Pudding:        $18- $20

1 loaf brioche bread        $3

1 22 oz. bottle Autumn Maple    $9

½ lb. bacon            $2

4 oz. pecans            $2

6 large eggs            $2

2 pint heavy cream        $2

4 oz. sugar            *on hand

 

Recipe Instructions:

Mussels:

1. Clean mussels under cold, running water with a scrubber or toothbrush and remove “beard.” Discard any shells that don’t close— test by pinching together shell with index finger and thumb on opposite ends.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt butter; reserve half for bread

3. Slice scallions and finely dice six bulbs of garlic; peel two extra bulbs for bread

4. Once butter has melted, quickly sautee garlic before adding mussels and Old Bay Seasoning

5. Toss mussels to coat in butter/garlic then add one can of beer; cover and reduce heat to medium

6. Cook mussels 5-6 minutes or until they open; serve in a bowl and garnish with scallions

7. Leave skillet over medium heat and add reserved butter

8. Slice baguette diagonally into two-inch segments and brown in the butter; rub garlic on to bread

 

Poached Sea Bass:

1. Preferably, have the fishmonger debone your fillets– if you forget, grab a set of tweezers and carefully remove any small bones, running your hand opposite the direction of the spine.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt butter with olive oil

3. Slice shallot lengthwise into small rings and cut lemon in half, removing any seeds

4. Add shallots, lemon and thyme sprigs to the skillet and saute for two minutes then pour in beer

5. When the poaching liquid just begins to boil, reduce to medium heat and gently add the fish

6. Poach fish for 7-8 minutes or until cooked throughout; liquid can be reduced to make a sauce

 

Asparagus:

1. Rinse off the asparagus under running water and properly trim by grabbing each end of the stalk and bending– the woody end will snap off, leaving you with the edible part.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat

3. De-stem and finely chop the rosemary and place into a small bowl with the olive oil; Salt & pepper optional.

*This can be done an hour in advance for a more pronounced rosemary-infused flavor

4. Blanch the asparagus for 1-2 minutes; shock in ice water to preserve flavor, texture and color

5. Place a large saute pan over high heat and cook asparagus in the rosemary olive oil blend

6. Drain any excess oil by placing cooked asparagus onto a paper towel-lined plate; Salt & pepper optional.

 

Sweet Potatoes:

1. Wash, peel and cube the sweet potatoes into approximately 1”x1” pieces– the smaller the cube, the shorter the cook time; preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

2. On a medium-sized baking sheet toss the sweet potatoes in the oil with rosemary and cumin

3. In a small sauce pan over high heat, reduce the beer to one-fourth volume its original volume with the cinnamon stick

4. Roast the sweet potatoes 20-30 minutes or until fork-tender; remove from oven and let cool

5. Toss the sweet potatoes in a bowl with the beer reduction; remove cinnamon stick and stems

 

Bread Pudding:

1. This is by far the most difficult recipe of the bunch, but it has the highest payout– research what an anglaise is and go from there.

2. Place a medium saute pan over high heat and quickly toast the pecans with a dry heat (no oil)

3. Dice the bacon into large, even pieces and add to the pecans; cook until caramelized

4. In a small sauce pan over low heat, gradually warm the heavy cream until it begins to simmer

5. In a large mixing bowl, separate the egg yolks from the whites and discard the whites

6. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until mixture is a light/opaque yellow

7. Gently pour in warmed heavy cream in three separate additions, whisking the entire time

8. Return the new mixture to the sauce pan and continue whisking over low heat until thickened

9. Add the bacon-pecan mixture to the sauce pan and combine; remove from heat and set aside

10. Cube the brioche into approximately 2”x2” pieces; preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit

11. In a separate mixing bowl, toss the brioche in the anglaise and half of the beer

12. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let brioche soak up the beer anglaise for at least one hour

13. Cook bread pudding for 10-12 minutes or until the brioche has absorbed the beer anglaise

14. Enjoy with a scoop (or two) of vanilla bean ice cream and the remained of the beer!

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Jake Fredericks

Jake Fredericks is a senior reporter and copy editor for the Daily Sundial. Jake graduated culinary school in 2011 and has been working in professional kitchens for 6 years. His enjoyment for cooking and creativity in writing has given him a unique skill set, which he has applied wholly to his goals as a food critic and eventual restauranteur. When he is not working or in class, he finds solace in writing, surfing, traveling and riding his motorcycle.

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