Sunday, November 27, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: Bacon and Beer Party!

Beer Braised Chicken & Salad with Lager Vinaigrette 

I was so excited to be chosen to host a Foodbuzz 24x24 party! Since I knew we'd be stuck at home with the new puppy, I wanted to host a fun and laid back evening featuring two of my favorite things in the world: bacon and beer. I decided to create a variety of dishes using both bacon and beer. In addition, I chose some delicious seasonal and local beers to compliment the menu and provide a fun tasting experience for my guests. This was an extra special occasion because it was our first opportunity to introduce our 8 week old labradoodle puppy, Archer to all our friends. He is a handful, but sooo adorable.

In designing the menu, I decided to try some new things I had never done before. This was my first time making chowder, biscuits and cupcakes, and it was so much fun. I spent Friday, the day before, experimenting with a bunch of different recipes, some of which didn't make it to the feast but I may still post later in the week. I am going to put up all the recipes this week, so bear with me.

Bacon and Beer Biscuits & Ale Clam Chowder with Bacon
Read all about my 24x24 after the jump!!

The Place: 
My apartment in Somerville, MA. We live in a house that is a historical landmark! It was built in 1635 and there is evidence that George Washington once slept here. We fell in love with the place when we saw the beautiful, yet crooked chimney, and all the lovely exposed beams and pine floors. We lit a fire, pulled up some stools to the kitchen island and feasted on a variety of bacon and beer creations.
My Kitchen - This is where the magic happens

The Guests:
A mix of family, friends and colleagues. Craig and I hosted with the new addition to our family, Archer, who enjoyed all the attention.
Jeff and Archer
Kyle and Amy

The Beers:
I chose a variety of local and seasonal beers for our feast. I wanted a variety of different styles that would compliment the various dishes I created.

The Bacon:
I chose a few different varieties of bacon to make my dishes. I used my absolute favorite, Vermont Smoke and Cure Bacon. The New York Times said this was the "the finest on the planet." What I love about this company is that they sell strips of bacon, as well as large blocks, which make cooking with bacon really easy. I also got Welshire Black Forest Dry Rubbed bacon, which has an incredible smoky flavor. I used this on the pizza and added some to the chowder for more flavor. 

The Menu: 
I created a menu around bacon and beer. Each recipe includes bacon and beer in the preparation. 
  • Lager Clam Chowder
  • Bacon and Beer Biscuits with Jalepenos
  • Green Bean, Bacon, Tomato and Field Green Salad with Beer Vinaigrette
  • Bacon, Ricotta and Pistachio Pizza
  • Beer Braised Chicken with Bacon and Thyme
  • Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Frosting
A variety of goodies!
Pumpkin Ale Cupcake with Maple Bacon Frosting
Bacon, Ricotta and Pistachio Pizza

Recipe: Bacon and Beer Biscuits
(makes approx. 12 biscuits)

2 cups flour, plus a bit extra for rolling
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup wheat beer (I used Sam Adams Coastal Wheat)
3 tbsp butter, softened
1-2 medium jalepenos, seeded and minced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup chopped crispy bacon
2-3 tbsp bacon grease (from cooking bacon)

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. "Cut" butter into the flour. I used a fork and smashed it into tiny globules, but you could also use an electric mixer.
3. Mix in baking powder, salt, jalepenos, and cheese, set aside
4. In a separate bowl, mix together beer and bacon grease
5. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture, making sure to only mix lightly, I used a spatula to do this
6. Mix in crumbled bacon
7. Carefully roll dough out on a floured surface
8. Ideally, you want the dough between 1-1.5" thick
9. Using a cookie cutter or other round instrument, cut out biscuits
10. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes, until flaky and golden brown

Recipe: Salad with Lager Vinaigrette 
(serves 4-6)

Given the inherent unhealthiness of a bacon and beer extravaganza, I wanted to include a yummy salad that would incorporate both ingredients in a light and fresh way. I decided to make a delicious salad of field greens, lightly blanched green beans, cherry tomatoes and some crumbled bacon. I topped it with homemade croutons and a lager vinaigrette I invented on the spot.

Homemade croutons could not be easier to make: I had some slightly stale sourdough bread lying around, so I cut into into 1/2 - 1" chunks and just threw it in the oven at 350. After about 8-10 minutes, they will be a nice golden brown. Cool and throw on your salad. I stored the extra in a ziplock baggie and will bring to work with me this week.

Lager Vinaigrette Recipe:
1/4 cup lager, I used Sam Adams Boston Lager
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp stone ground mustart
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika

Instructions: Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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At November 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM , Anonymous Winnie said...

What a fun party! Awesome recipes, as well :)

At November 28, 2011 at 9:45 PM , Blogger Kim Bee said...

Everything looks so good. I am really fond of that salad. Your kitchen is gorgeous. Love the counters and backsplash!

At November 28, 2011 at 9:50 PM , Blogger Sandra said...

Looks like a great party!!! Congrats on 24x24!

At November 30, 2011 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Jay @ Local Me said...

Bacon, Ricotta and Pistachio Pizza?!? Pumpkin ale cupcakes! Oh yes, please.

At December 14, 2011 at 9:56 AM , Anonymous (what runs) Lori said...

Oh my! What should I try first? Everything looks so good. Maybe the pumpkin ale cupcakes with bacon frosting... or the pizza... or just drink the beer, it's easier. ;) Great recipes!

At December 16, 2011 at 12:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! YUM! I will be trying these....


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