Beer & BBQ: MFEO

 Beer Braised Brats with Beer Braised Caramelized Onions

Beer Braised Brats with Beer Braised Caramelized Onions

Barbecuing and beer are perhaps the world's most perfect pair.

If you too are an avid fan of sipping on an ice cold lager while you flip burgers, char steaks, and grill any and everything, these beer braised brats and beer caramelized onions are just what the doctor ordered.

Done completely on the BBQ with a little help from a couple of cast iron skillets, I guarantee these will become a regular on your grill.

Beer Braised Caramelized Onions

Makes about 1 cup    

3 medium yellow onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1 cup lager, divided

Set a large cast iron skillet onto the grill of your barbeque and set the heat to medium. Allow the pan to preheat while you peel, halve, and thinly slice the onions. Add the butter and onions to the pan and allow them to cook, undisturbed, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until they start to colour. Season the onions with salt and pepper, stir in the honey and half of the beer, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue cooking the onions, stirring frequently, until they are golden and caramelized.

Pour in the remaining beer, give the onions a stir, and allow it all to bubble and cook away until the alcohol cooks off and the onions are deeply golden. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

*These onions can also be made on your stovetop.


Beer Braised Bratwursts

Serves 6

1 small yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2­–3 cups lager
6 bratwursts
6 sausage buns
Beer Braised Caramelized Onions

Set a cast iron skillet onto your grill and toss in the sliced onions, smashed garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Carefully pour in the lager and turn the heat on to medium. Close the lid of the grill and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, nestle in the bratwursts, close the lid of the grill, and allow the sausages to poach for 4 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the sausages are about halfway cooked.

Remove the sausages from the poaching liquid and grill on the preheated grill until the casings are crisp and browned and the sausages are cooked through, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

Allow the sausages to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving on buns with Beer Braised Caramelized Onions.

PANNA-MA!... Cotta... with Goat Cheese... scream sang à la Van Halen

 Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Am I the only one who involuntarily starts singing Panama by Van Halen every time I see panna cotta on a menu? Well, even if I am, it remains a stinking delicious treat with or without the tune.

This is my take on the classic Italian dessert. By adding buttermilk and goat cheese to the mix, it makes for a tangy sweet delight that is oh-so perfect topped with a dollop of lemon curd, whipped cream, or your favourite jam!

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

Serves 8

1 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar
¾ vanilla bean, scraped and pod reserved
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon unflavoured gelatin powder
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup buttermilk

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, vanilla bean pulp and the pod to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the crumbled goat cheese until melted. Remove the mixture from the heat.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let it stand for about 1 minute to soften and bloom. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds or until melted and add to the cream and goat cheese mixture. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes then whisk in the buttermilk.

Pour the panna cotta mixture into 8 serving glasses or ramekins and cool to room temperature. Place the panna cottas in the fridge for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

Serve the set panna cottas topped with your favourite jam, some lemon curd, fresh fruit, or a big spoonful of Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam.

It's Jammer Thyme: Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

 Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Who doesn't love jam? It's pretty much the perfect sweet saucy thing for everything from smearing on toast to dolloping over heaping bowls of ice cream. 

But, like, let's be honest here. Have you ever actually made your own jam? I don't know about you but classic jam making just doesn't fit in the square footage of my teeny little kitchen and picking up a jar from the farmers market or grocery store just seems 18,000x simpler.

That is, until now! 

Meet freezer jam, you're new favourite Springy/Summery thing to make. It's filled with fresh fruit flavours, stores beautifully in the fridge and freezer, and is a cinch to make!

This strawberry thyme freezer jam is the perfect recipe to use up all of those beautiful berries that are just about to pop up at markets and that little hint of thyme, lemon, and vanilla is a freaking dream!

Strawberry Thyme Freezer Jam

Makes three 250ml jars

4 cups trimmed and sliced strawberries
¾ cup sugar
½ lemon, zested and juiced
1–1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or ¼ vanilla bean, split and scraped

In a large pot over set over medium heat, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and thyme leaves. If you are using a vanilla bean, add the scrapings and the pod now but if you’re using vanilla extract, save that to add at the very end.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently with a spoon and mashing the strawberries slightly. I like to use a potato masher for this. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes or so or until jammy.

Remove the jam from the heat and add in vanilla extract, if using. Allow the jam to cool slightly then divide into your jars. Allow the jam to cool completely then seal with lids and pop one jar into your fridge to chill and two into your freezer for later use.


Pretty in Pink: Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu makes Sprinter somewhat bearable

 Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu

Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu

Sprinter: that horrible time between Winter and Spring where the weather is completely blah and there seems to be both mud and ice freaking everywhere.

While there are approximately 18 zillion things to loath about this time of year, the one saving grace is the wonderful crossover of the tail end of citrus season with the first signs of my favourite tart stalk, rhubarb.

The sweetness of an orange and the tangy sourness of rhubarb play so well together in this oh-so untraditional take on tiramisu. It's the perfect "I'm totally over Winter, bring on Spring" dessert.

Roasted Rhubarb Tiramisu with Orange, Ginger, and Pistachio

Serves 8

For the rhubarb:
½ cup sugar
1 orange, zested and juiced
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
6 cups rhubarb, sliced on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces
One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

For the tiramisu cream filling:
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons dry Marsala wine
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 cups mascarpone cheese
¾ cup chilled whipping cream

For assembly:
¼ cup boiling water
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ cup orange juice
½ cup liquid from roasted rhubarb
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
20–24 store bought ladyfingers
1 cup chopped pistachios

To prepare the rhubarb, stir together the sugar, orange zest, and the pulp from the vanilla bean in a medium mixing bowl.  Add in the rhubarb, sliced ginger, scraped vanilla bean pod, and the juice of the orange into the bowl and stir well to combine.  Allow this to sit at room temperature for 25–30 minutes to allow the rhubarb to release some of its juices.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.  Roast the rhubarb, tossing once about halfway through, for 20–25 minutes or until tender and juicy.  Allow the rhubarb to cool to room temperature.

For the tiramisu cream filling, in a large glass or metal bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, powdered ginger, marsala, and orange liqueur together.  Place over a pot of simmering water and whip using a wire whisk or handheld electric mixer until the mixture has tripled in volume (this should take around 4-8 minutes).  Remove the bowl from the heat and beat in the vanilla and mascarpone.  Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature then fold the whipping cream into the mascarpone mixture.

For assembly, stir together the boiling water and powdered ginger in a shallow dish.  Add in the orange juice and orange liqueur.  Set out 8 individual serving dishes and quickly dunk the ladyfingers in the orange ginger mixture until they are lightly soaked.  Break a ladyfinger or two into each serving dish, top with a generous helping of the mascarpone mixture, a spoonful of the rhubarb, and a scattering of pistachios, and then repeat the layers.

Serve immediately or place in the fridge to firm up before serving.