My friend Erin came over last week with her friend, photographer Bart Gregotowicz to join Neil and I for a little late summer supper.
Erin is the Beer correspondent (my title not hers) for the Bushwick Daily, we had been talking for months about having a dinner where we could do a beer tasting with the food. Traditionally I like wine, and even though I like beer, I like wine more 😉 This evening really was very surprising to me because Erin had done her work and made a very smart selection of beers to go highlight and contrast with the meal. Especially impressive was the beer with desert, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
All the beer was from Hops and Hocks in Bushwick, the selection was as follows: Maine Brewing Company, Victory Brewing Company, Evil Twin Brewing and Stillwater Artisanal. In retrospect it’s kind of cliché that I made Asian food. Given that beer is the an accompaniment of choice with both Indian and Asian food, at least here in North America, in Thailand, for example, often a dinner a bottle of Thai Whiskey and a bucket of ice are ordered and consumed. And as for the beer, most people drink Pilsner type pale beer not is not heavy on flavor. The thing that most worried me and surprised me was how was it going to work having beer as flavorful as the food?Turns out great! Erin gives a great rundown of it all in her article. I was most impressed with how the big dark almost thick King Titus Porter managed to not overwhelm dessert. Yesterday I wrote about making candied orange peel which I added to the below Honey Ricotta Ice Cream with Salted Pistachio and (you guessed it) candied orange peel (click on the link for the Ice Cream recipe as well). Thanks to Bart for these great pictures, but especially this one showing off the Ice Cream.The Galette is an easy recipe which is a summer time favorite for those not too juicy fruits like Apricot, Cherries, Plums and Nectarines. So easy you don’t even need a pie pan!
Everything else I made was straight pretty straight forward. I have yet to publish the Tek Tek noodle recipe, they are a variation of sesame noodles made with the addition of peanut butter and spice and served warm. The pan-fried chicken thighs and vegetables (which I stir fried) I served all separately but they could easily be mixed all together – I like giving people the choice. My favorite Thai dipping sauce can be found here – try it, you will like it! And finally here is the recipe for the peanut sauce. I wasn’t thrilled with the summer rolls so when I get them where I want them I will ost a recipe.
This was a fun dinner that got me out of my comfort zone: I would have served light red wine, and I would have drunk mine on the rocks with seltzer. The idea of serving craft beer with a menu already overloaded with flavor seemed heavy to me and yet it wasn’t at all. Instead it added an interesting complexity to the dinner and made it less predictable, so next time you think: Oh I’ll just get a bottle of wine, think again.
My only word of caution is to not get beer that is too bitter, like a lot of the artisanal American IPA’s. I think they would not be a good match for this food as the bitterness I think is overwhelming.
And while we are on the topic of drinking, I thought this would be a perfect moment to commemorate one of the greatest ladies of the Broadway stage who recently passed after a very long and colorful career: Elaine Stritch. May she rest in piece, I feel so privileged and very lucky to have been able to see her perform live.
Here she is doing the classic song from Stephen Sondheim’s Company: The Ladies Who Lunch.