I wish I had a picture to go with this, but as you know, nearly all pictures of food, especially those taken with one’s phone, are unappetizing. So I’ll just have to talk about it. Friday night we did a beer tasting dinner with some friends. Each couple contributed two dishes and two matched beers. It was quite the dinner - it took about six hours to get through all six courses, and it was delicious too. Here’s what our menu ended up being:
- Chicken Liver Pate - with caramelized shallots, whole grain mustard, crostini and cornichons. Paired with Scaldis Noel, and also a semi-vertical tasting of Sierra Nevada Celebration (2004, 2006, 2012).
- Lentil soup with knockwurst and fennel. Paired with La Rulles La Grande 10.
- Brussels sprouts salad - with dates, pomegranate seeds, feta, arugula and aged balsamic vinaigrette. Paired with Auburn Alehouse’s ZZ Hop.
- Cajun spice-encrusted halibut - with dirty rice, collards and a spicy persimmon chutney. Paired with The Bruery’s Five Golden Rings.
- Roast pork tenderloin - with pine nut spaetzle and a blackberry reduction. Paired with four different beers: Aventinus, Optimator, another bock of some kind and a fourth I can’t remember (not for the reasons you think!)
- Interlude - another semi-vertical tasting, this time of Anchor’s Our Special Ale (2001, 2005, 2007, 2009).
- Rice pudding. Paired with a New Glarus Wisconsin Cherry and a kriek of some kind.
Like, whoa, right? Who are these people?
I was super proud of how our dishes - the salad and the halibut - and their matched beers turned out, since we took a total shot in the dark across the board. The fish dish was super spicy (I would de-spice it a little next time) and went really well with the sweet holiday beer, and the fruitiness of the IPA was a nice compliment to the spicy/bitter/sweet salad stuff. I had sort of developed a fixation on cooking with persimmon, and I wasn’t sure if it would go well with the other ingredients, but it was really yummy (FYI I cut the vinegar from the recipe, above, in half). It would be really good with pork, or on a sandwich. I was also pleasantly surprised by the dirty rice. I hadn’t made it before, and I was slightly intimidated by the fact that it called for chicken livers. (Chicken livers, btw, are SO CHEAP. $2.30 for .77 lbs. The only problem is I only used about 1/3 of them, so now I need to buy more and replicate the chicken liver pate from this same dinner.) But the rice was so easy to make, so flavorful, and so good leftover with fried egg on top…
As for the title of this post? I’m just hoping this is the first edition of many…