Category : Recipes

Beer Reviews Goose Island Ipa

The term IPA or India Pale Ale describes a beer that was designed to withstand the long voyage to the far reaches of the British Empire. To survive the often harsh journey to the four corners of the earth, particularly the Indian sub-continent, a much higher level of hops was used in the brewing process than more traditional ales – hops act as a preservative. This is what gives us the typically bitter and powerful flavour of IPAs.

But….

On the Goose Island website, they state: “Because no preservatives are used in the process and the beer is not pasteurized, Goose Island feels it’s important to remain close to home despite their huge success.”

PIFFLE! I can buy this in my local supermarket and the only thing near here that slightly resembles Wrigley Field is the minefield-like gloops of discarded chewing-gum adhered to the pavements everywhere.

What we have here is a paradox. If their beer is for consumption close to the production site, why are they brewing India Pale Ale? – That’s a rhetorical question by the way.

To tell the truth, I don’t give a hoot. As long as they mistakenly think Scotland is close to Chicago, they can ship as much beer here as they like. Let’s just hope they are better at brewing beer than reading maps!

GIPA pours to a slightly hazy, pale golden to amber colour with lots of bubbles rising to a long-lasting, but thin and whispy, white head which doesn’t leave a tremendous amount of lacing on the glass. On the nose, it’s very flowery with a strong aroma of pine resin, a heavy fruit presence of orange peel and lemon, with hints of honey and a residual, sweet sherberty feel.

It’s medium bodied with a moderate carbonation that adds some crispness. Upfront, there’s a nice hop twang that smacks you square in the face with spicy, herbal zest. It doesn’t feel overly carbonated and has a pleasant, smooth mouthfeel. It does turn a little sweeter as the malt makes its presence felt with just a little toastiness. The finish is long, dry, hoppy and faintly bitter.

At 5.9% ABV, I like it….BIG TIME! I don’t know if it is in fact a hop lover’s dream, but if it is, don’t wake me up! It’s not very similar to many IPAs I’ve had, in fact it reminds me more of a wheat beer because of the big fruity flavours. But, let’s not be pedantic, when it tastes this good, who cares what it’s called.
I really haven’t given a thought to food pairings, for me, this is a beer for drinking just for it’s own sake…. oh all right, BBQ’s, burgers, pizza etc.

Reference:
1. Goose Island Brewery
2. India Pale Ale | Goose Island Beer Co. | BeerAdvocate


Chicken Caesar Salad

A very healthy recipe. If you would like to have lunch or dinner on the light side, then you should try Chicken Caesar Salad. The salad makes a perfect lunch or dinner, either alone or as a side dish. It is very easy to prepare. This recipe calls for Romaine lettuce, but Iceberg lettuce may be substituted. Romaine lettuce is favored the most for Caesar salads because it is traditional. You may also find this salad made at many restaurants. It is a very popular salad. This will become a family favorite. It is an easy to make recipe that can be made in fifteen minutes. It is perfect for a snack between meals. This salad goes with any main dish. You may also fry the chicken to add crispiness to the dish. By grilling the chicken you will have a low fat salad. Also available is low fat dressing. What an excellent choice to add flavor to any table. Chicken Caesar Salad is an excellent choice to serve at a banquet or party. This dish is awesome for the summer meal or picnic. It is light.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Ingredients:

1. Eight cups of Romaine lettuce, prepared and ready for salad.

2. One pound of boneless-skinless chicken breasts, grilled, and cut into chunks.

3. One cup of seasoned croutons.

4. One half cup of Parmasean cheese, shredded.

5. One half cup of Caesar Italian dressing.

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix lettuce, chicken, croutons, and cheese.

2. Add dressing before serving.

Substitute:

Iceberg lettuce may be substituted in place of Romaine lettuce.

Preparation time is about fifteen minutes, this dish makes four servings.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 275

Calories from fat 125

Total fat 14 g

Saturated fat 4 g

Cholesterol 85 mg

Sodium 450 mg

Total carbohydrates 7 g

Dietary fiber 2 g

Protein 32 g

Reference:
1. Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe : Food Network Kitchen : Food …
2. Chicken Caesar salad | BBC Good Food


Are Soft Drinks really as Healthy as they Claim

I drink a lot of pop, always have. What can I say? I just love the taste of it. Or, maybe I’m addicted . . . who knows.

You could probably call me an expert on pop. But the interesting thing is, although people say pop is the unhealthiest drink for you, I’m as healthy as a racehorse. Pop seems to have no effect on me or my health. Because of that, this topic is a hard one. Honestly, have you ever heard of someone dying from drinking too much pop? Have you ever heard of someone having a heart attack because of a lifetime of soda pop?

You probably haven’t. And once knowing that, you’d probably reach the conclusion that soft drinks really may be healthy for you. Well, that statement is still wrong.

The thing is, soft drinks are absolutely unhealthy. I don’t care what anyone else says – pop is not good for you. Now, I drink it and remain healthy because I take care of myself. I brush my teeth everyday. I shower, I visit my physician. I eat healthy, I exercise. Doing these things have kept me healthy, not drinking pop.

Like me, you can drink pop and remain healthy, as long as you take care of yourself. When it comes down to it, pop is just another drink. You consume it, you enjoy it, and that’s the end of that.

If you didn’t take care of yourself, though, drinking pop would be a terrible thing. Just think of the all the sugars pop has to offer. With every sip of pop, those sugars are going into your body. They could deteriorate your teeth and ruin your health. Then, there’s the caffeine. Caffeine is naturally unhealthy, causing things from bone deterioration to quirky effects and an over-increase in energy.

The additives in pop also make it highly unhealthy. Additives are the chemicals in soft drinks used to bring out and preserve its flavor. They are what gives pop its special tastes, and they’re unhealthy for you. Some say diet pop is healthy for you. Well, that statement would also be wrong. Even though diet pop doesn’t have the sugars, it has double the additives in order to increase the rather-blah flavor diet pop would have.

There’s no way soft drinks are healthy for you. There is absolutely nothing in them that can make them the slightest bit healthy. But, they don’t have to be unhealthy either, as long as you keep up your health and take care of yourself. I don’t blame you for enjoying pop. I love pop. I couldn’t see my life existing without pop, and I have never had a problem with it . . . neither should you.

Reference:
1. 11 reasons to stop drinking fizzy drinks – The Telegraph
2. 5 Reasons Why Vitaminwater is a Bad Idea – Authority Nutrition


Chainsaw Cocktail

We have all heard the legend of (or at least seen the trailer for the movie about) the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This horrifying film features a story of terrifying crimes, committed by a serial killer known as Leatherface, who ambushes a group of Texas teens to feed his cannibalistic needs. While that story might not exactly put you in the mood for a party, there is a chainsaw-themed cocktail that would be perfect to serve at any Halloween bash. Your guests will love the creativity and the dark humor behind the drink, and more than anything else, they will love the way it tastes!

The Chainsaw cocktail is one that strikes a balance between hot and sweet, tart and bitter. The recipe is sure to satisfy any cravings and suit just about any preference. Serve this shot to get the party going and to get everyone into the spooky, creepy Halloween mood. This is also, appropriately enough, a great drink to serve to people who are seeing the film “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, whether for the first time or if they are seasoned veterans of the iconic horror flick. Just don’t make it a “drink when you see chainsaws!” game or you will need to have an ambulance on standby. 

-Chainsaw Cocktail Shot Recipe-

Ingredients:
1 1/2 measures tequila
10 drops Tabasco hot sauce
Splash of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice
Splash of lemon-lime sour mix
Dash freshly ground black pepper

 Directions:
1. Chill a shot glass until it is icy cold and frosted. To do this, put it in the freezer for a while before serving. Alternatively, you can try using shot glasses made of ice. 

2. Chill the tequila until it is icy cold. To do this, put it in the freezer for a while before serving, or submerge the whole bottle in a bucket of ice the same way you would chill a bottle of champagne.

3. In a cocktail mixer, combine the ice-cold tequila, ten drops of Tabasco hot sauce, a splash of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice, and a splash of lemon-lime sour mix.

4. Pour the drink into the chilled shot glass. If you are using an ice glass, make sure that you do not take it out of the freezer until you are ready for this step. 

5. Garnish the shot with a dash of freshly ground black pepper, then serve. 

Reference:
1. Chainsaw recipe – Drinksmixer
2. Scary Movie-Inspired Cocktails | Texas Chainsaw Massacre …


Birds Nest the Hard Truth

The Chinese have known for many centuries that the rich gel secretion from swifts that goes to make up their  ‘nests and are a source of great nourishment. 

The little birds have toiled away for all these years, totally oblivious to the fact that they are assembling something that is not only beneficial to many but also a great delicacy in many places.

This was the truth about birds’  nests in 1480 AD when they first arrived in China, courtesy of an intrepid navigator, but the facts about birds’ nests in modern society is a little different.

The birds’ nests of centuries ago were pure and not interfered with, but today big business has taken over and where there is a buck to be made, then you can be sure someone is making it, and because the benefit to pregnant women, premature babies, children and the elderly is well
documented it is a commodity in great demand.

The fact about birds’ nests is this, it is nearly, but not completely impossible to get a 100% genuine, natural birds’ nest today.

The harvesting of the little swift’s nests is a hazardous task and so the price of the genuine article reflects this and because of the demand, poachers have also found it to be a lucrative side line.  All this has sadly added to the decline of supply.

The poor little swift is decreasing in numbers and although far from extinct at the moment, it is heading that way and because of this you can expect to pay a lot of money for the real thing.  You won’t find buy one and get one free!

The true facts about birds’ nests is that most on the market today are full of chemicals and they are bleached and do not have the same nutritional properties as the real thing.

They lack the vitamins, proteins and many other minerals that people are looking for when they purchase them. There is also a real danger of becoming infected due to bacteria being introduced during the process.

Many a retailer has no comprehension about what a real birds’ nest is all about and they will most likely believe they are selling you a genuine article. Because after all they are there to make money and if some character comes along offering them something that is the real deal as far as they can see, then who are they to argue?

But the fact is that real birds’ nests do not come in packs of ten, they are not odourless and perfectly white and they are not uniform in shape and size. The strands are long and thick and should have the capacity to swell when placed in milk or water. 

It is still possible to get the genuine article but research is needed and you need to know what you are looking for and have all the birds’ nest facts to hand before you start your mission.  You need to familiarise yourself with the truth and know what you are looking for. 

Reference:
1. Warning: Do Not Buy Any Edible Bird's Nest Before Watching This …
2. Bird's Nest Soup: Savory Delicacy or Gourmet Cruelty? – TableAgent


How to cook chicken on skewers

Chicken on a stick is easy, portable and so delicious. In this article, you will find a few easy recipes for this fun food. Flying Chix-On-Stix, EZ Sweet and Sour Chicken on a Stick and Hibachi Sesame Yakitori are all recipes are tried and tested for taste and ease of preparation.

Flying Chix-On-Stix

1 pound chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry

Sauce:

1 bottle of your favorite Italian Salad Dressing

1/3 cup hot pepper sauce

2 cups blue cheese Crumbles, or Blue Cheese Dressing

2 tbsp. olive oil, for grill

Pour the dressing into a large non-aluminum bowl. Place chicken wings into the bowl. Toss to coat. Let these wings marinate in the dressing for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to 375-400 F.

Thread chicken wings onto metal skewers, about 5 per skewer.

Grill on an oiled rack until cooked through and golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Brush generously with hot pepper sauce in the last 5 minutes of grilling time.

Serve with blue cheese crumbled over top, or Blue Cheese dressing for dipping.

EZ Sweet and Sour Chicken on a Stick

Sauce:

3/4 cup apricot preserves

3/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 pound fully cooked chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut in two

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the apricot preserves, Dijon mustard and the pineapple juice. Cover with saran wrap to prevent spattering. Heat in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes on high power.

If using wooden skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes before grilling.

Drop the chicken pieces into the sauce and stir gently to coat all pieces.

Place meat on skewers and grill until hot through and then turn grill to low and cook until sauce is browned.

Serve these with a cold rice salad.

Hibachi Sesame Yakatori

2 bunches green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cups Sake

1/4 cup Mirin

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 tsp. dried ginger root

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, pounded to flatten

3 tbsp. sesame seeds

Charcoals for Hibachi

(15) metal skewers

Fire up your Hibachi!

Combine soy sauce, Mirin, sugar and ginger in a sauce pan, heat enough to melt the sugar, add the sesame seeds. Reserve a small bowl of sauce.

Place meat on skewer alternating with green onion pieces. Pour the remaining sauce over meat/onions after securing to skewers, 3 pieces meat for each skewer.

Place skewers on hot Hibachi and grill 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Brush with sauce while cooking.

These make great appetizers!

Do experiment with these recipes, making adjustments and posh it up all you want! Have fun, it’s your life!


How to Cook a Hearty Beef Stew

Many of the recipes that were highly fashionable years ago are now making a comeback. Years ago stewing beef was not expensive to buy and beef stew was regularly served as a budget meal. Today diced stewing beef is not a cheap option but it certainly makes a delicious warming winter meal. Shin of beef makes a tasty casserole or stew but beef shin or stewing steak should be cooked for hours to get the full favour from the meat. It is far easier to prepare all of the ingredients for the dish before starting to cook it. A hearty stew deserves the best ingredients and a traditional beef stew would contain diced beef, carrots, onions, swede and parsnip. Naturally every cook would make a stew that contains vegetables that their family enjoy to eat.

Ingredients for a Warming Beef stew:

One pound of diced stewing steak or diced shin of beef

One large onion – peeled and finely sliced

Four large carrots – peeled and cut into rings

A small portion of swede – diced into very small chunks

One medium sized parsnip – peeled and cored and cut into small chunks

One litre of beef stock – fresh stock or made with stock cubes

A dash of oil

Plain flour

Seasoning to taste

Method:

Spoon two tablespoons of plain flour into a large dish. Lightly season the plain flour. Place the diced beef into the seasoned flour and coat the meat with the plain seasoned flour. Place a dash of oil into a large saucepan and heat the oil very gently. Put the finely sliced onion into the hot pan and add the flour-coated diced beef. Take a spatula and keep turning the diced beef and onion over in the pan until the meat is sealed. Sealing the diced beef in this way helps to retain the flavor of the meat.

Add the sliced carrots and the diced parsnip and swede to the meat and onion. Use the spatula to blend the meat and vegetables together. Cover the meat and vegetables with the beef stock. Bring the stock to the boil and when boiling turn the heat down quickly. Place the lid on the pan and allow the beef stew to simmer very gently.

Diced beef needs to be allowed to cook very gently and very slowly. As the meat cooks it tenderizes and the meat juices infuse the beef stock. The sweet carrots will add further flavor to the meaty stew and the diced swede and parsnips will add yet another dimension. Allow the beefy stew to simmer for an hour before testing the meat. If the stewing steak is not properly cooked it will be tough so do test the meat a few times whilst it is cooking. This can be done by spooning out a chunk of beef and putting it onto a plate. When the meat is fully cooked the blade of the knife will slide through it with ease. In general diced beef takes between one and a half and two hours to cook until it is tender.

The tasty beef stock will need to be thickened to turn it into rich hearty gravy and this is very simple to do. Place a couple of dessert spoons of plain flour into a cup and add some cold water. The flour and water mixture should then be poured into the warm stock. As the stock is thickened with the plain flour and water mixture it should be stirred continuously.

The pan will be filled with an aromatic meaty beef stew and it can be served with mash potatoes, boiled potatoes or dumplings.


Bean Ham Soup come in from the Cold

Cold brisk days call for a hearty meal that leaves one feeling filled up and satisfied.  These weather conditions appear as autumn turns to winter, which ushers in numerous recipes that have been carefully stored in the recipe box with the sign do not open until its cold affixed to the top. When that hint of cool fall air begins to hover over the United States, and the cold chill of winter lurks just around the corner, this brings to mind a flavorful soup recipe to rustle up. Its called Bean and Ham soup, and it has warmed many a weary family member coming in from the cold. Take a look at the ingredients that are needed to make this body warming concoction a reality for a waiting family:

1 cup dried Navy beans
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups of water
1 – Ham bone with meat left on it (For those that could ham on the holidays, take the ham bone from the the time it is cooked and put it in a large ziploc and freeze it until the time arises to make soup. This works out quite nicely, as long as the bone is still meaty!)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Now that seems like a pretty quick and easy set of ingredients to make some soup with now does it not? Ok, well now that all the ingredients are front and center, here is the process to undertake to bring these ingredients together so that everyone can enjoy this hearty soup.

First, one will need to prepare the beans before starting the rest. To do this, rinse the beans off, then place them in a sauce pan with the water.

Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and let them go like that for about 2 minutes. Quickly remove them from the heat after this. Put a cover on the beans and sit them aside for about 45 minutes.

After the 45 minutes are up, drain and rinse the beans. Once done with that, add 4 new cups of water to the beans.

Now add in the Ham bone, Celery, Onion, Thyme, Salt, & Pepper.

Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat , cover, and let that simmer for about an hour or until the beans begin to feel soft and tender when you taste them.

Now carefully (because it will be hot!) take the ham bone out of the water, and again carefully slice the meat off the ham bone and try to chop it up into little cubes. Take the meat and return it to the pan, while finally getting rid of the big ole ham bone. Heat for about 5 more mins, then this wonderful soup should be good to go.

One other note: Although not always added, sometimes one can add in a cup or so of white rice, which can also add a nice taste to the soup. Folks try this one out and the family will be glad because it will warm them up inside and put a smile on their faces!


Easiest Desserts to Make for new Years

When you are in charge of making the dessert on New Year’s Eve, the last thing you want to do is to spend all evening in the kitchen whilst everyone else has fun elsewhere!  Try choosing one of these easiest desserts to make for New Year’s Eve so that you have more time to enjoy the festivities with your family and friends.

Many people make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.  Whilst it hardly ever stretches past January, you could always start healthy eating on New Year’s Eve.  Fruit is a very quick and easy dessert to prepare.  Choose the more seasonal fruits if you wish such as oranges, or choose any other fruit that you can purchase in your local grocery store.   You can serve the fruit on its own or with cream or sugar.  If you are entertaining guests and want to wow them with your presentation, then choose a few different kinds of fruits and arrange them in a colorful platter.  You could even make a fruit salad and use orange juice as a preservative to stop the fruit from reacting with the air before you come to serve it.

A quick recipe for homemade ice cream is to use frozen fruit, sugar and heavy cream.  10 oz of strawberries and a half-cup of sugar should be chopped together in a food processor.  With the food processor still running, slowly add two thirds of a cup of heavy cream.  As you add the cream, you will notice it mixes with the fruit to make a beautiful strawberry ice cream.  Chill for an hour or freeze for up to a week and this will be a great dessert to serve with cream or cake or even on its own.

Although trifle is a little outdated now, it is still a popular and traditional dessert to prepare at this particular time of the year.  It requires no baking and you can prepare it within half an hour.