Pair Up - Beer Here
A cold, refreshing beer is a frequent “go-to” beverage when the weather is warm. Like sparkling wines, the effervescence in beer gives you a textural experience on the palate. Beer is a terrific match for food because of the complexity of its flavors and its ability to complement many foods. Even before the meal, the hops in the beer stimulate the appetite by opening up the taste buds. For these reasons and more, beer is a great pairing beverage.
The Blue Moon Brewing Company makes a wide variety of beers with interesting flavors like fruits, spices, and even pumpkin! Their flagship Belgian White wheat ale is brewed with Valencia oranges and coriander, the seed of cilantro plant that has a bright, herbal flavor. The coriander flavor makes the perfect pairing with a green salad dressed lightly with the Coriander Vinaigrette here. Consider including some blue cheese and bacon to match the slightly heavier weight of the ale, as well as a meaty, earthy quality. Additionally, adding Mandarin oranges and candied walnuts will complement the sweet citrusy flavors of the beer.
India Pale Ales (IPAs) are fresh and herbaceous, and they often have a very high level of bitter hops. Blue Moon’s White IPA will serve as a classic pairing for the all-American hot dog. As an added bonus, unlike wine, beer can handle more intense flavors. So, load up your dog with almost any topping you like. One possibility is this Quick Pickled Onion. The earthy flavor of the onion matches the herbaceous notes in the beer, and the sugar in the pickling liquid balances the bitter hops.
For a sweet, spicy ending, try the Cinnamon Horchata ale. This beer got its inspiration from the ancestral roots of the brewmaster at Blue Moon. His interpretation of this delicious Latin beverage has flavors of cinnamon and caramel and is brewed with natural long-grain rice. The spicy cinnamon flavor and creamy texture of the beer is fantastic with this crunchy, nutty Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
So, go on. Pair Up!
Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. www.LaSommelierre.com
1 1/2 tablespoons crushed coriander seeds
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In a small skillet, toast the coriander seeds until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a medium bowl and add the vinegar, shallot, garlic and cilantro. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Yield: 1¼ cups
Quick Pickled Onion
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Whisk first three ingredients and one cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for one hour. Can be made two weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Drain onions before using.
Yield: ½ cup
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
3 large carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1 cup pecans, chopped, divided
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350°F and prepare cake batter as directed on package; stir in carrots, pineapple and 3/4 cup nuts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch pans sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Fill and frost layers with frosting. Sprinkle reserved nuts on frosted cake, if desired. Store in refrigerator.
Yield: one, two-layer cake