Category Archives: Cooking


The Art of Beer Cooking: Kale

I have been obsessed with the leafy green kale lately but have pretty much only baked them into crispy chips. So when I came across this recipe for kale with garlic and ale from Rachel Ray I was ready to change-up my routine. Personally I don’t care for anchovies so I left them out and compensated with a little more garlic and salt. This side dish pairs well with some baked tilapia or seared scallops. Healthy and tasty.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 chili pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and thickly shredded
  • 1 cup ale
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the anchovies and let them melt into the oil. Add the chili and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the kale and let it wilt, turning it in the chili and garlic with tongs. Douse the pan with the ale and toss for 1-2 minutes more, than add nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the kale to a serving bowl and serve.


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The Art of Beer Cooking: Mussels

I’m back home in Chicago for Easter and my mom surprised me today with a trip to Burhops! I have been craving seafood lately and Burhops has some of the best fresh seafood right in Hinsdale, IL. We stocked up on shrimp, scallops and mussels for a delectable dinner. On the menu for tonight are beer steamed mussels for an appetizer followed by spaghetti with shrimp and scallops. I just can’t wait! Here is a quick and easy recipe for beer steamed mussels. We are using 312 but any beer you like would be great.


  • 1-1/2 pound mussels
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 (or 3) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tb fresh parsley
  • 2 tb butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil

In a medium saute pan, add the olive oil and bring to medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute a couple of minutes. If you like heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Rinse the mussels well in cold water in a colander. Make sure that any opened mussels you tap a couple of times and if they do not close, they are bad (dead) and make sure to toss those out. Add the beer and mussels to the pan and reduce the heat to medium and cover. Simmer approximately 5-7 minutes until the mussels begin to open. Turn the heat off and add the butter and parsley and stir well. Don’t over cook the mussels, you just want to make sure they all open well. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up all the delicious broth.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Spaghetti Squash

It’s been my goal recently to expand my horizons and try vegetables I’ve never had before. One such veggie that has intrigued me but I’ve never tackled is the spaghetti squash. Well, it finally happened this week and it turned out delicious! Many recipes I found for spaghetti squash literally treat it like pasta with a traditional tomato sauce. To infuse beer into this dish, I baked the spaghetti squash with beer and also used it in a simple sauce.

First order of business is to tackle the squash. From my research there are 2 ways you can do this. Cook it whole, which takes a lot longer but easier to handle after or cut it in half before cooking. I decided to cut it first so I could really get that nice beer flavor in every bite. Cut the squash in half, length wise, and scoop out the seeds. Put the cut sides down in a baking dish and add 1 cup beer to the bottom of the dish. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until it’s nice and tender. Let sit until cool enough to handle and start scraping out the inside with a fork. It really starts to look like spaghetti!

To make it a complete meal I served it with a simple tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Yum!


  • Spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups beer (1 for squash, 1 for sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cans puree tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Follow directions above for cooking the spaghetti squash.

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beer, basil and oregano. If you want a little heat add some red pepper flakes. Let simmer without lid for about an hour. This will let the moisture evaporate and condense the sauce to make all the flavors stand out.


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The Art of Beer Cooking: Caramel

While perusing my new favorite site (or some may call obsession), Pinterest, I came across this picture titled ‘Ale and pretzel caramels’. The creamy sweetness of the caramel with the bitterness of the ale and salty pretzel sounds so intriguing. I haven’t had a chance to make this recipe yet, but can’t wait to try it! The recipe is courtesy of Sprinkle Bakes.

1 12 oz. bottle of brown or pale ale, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 8 oz. package pretzel rods

1 roll of wax paper

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of ale to a simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy.  This will take about 20 minutes and yield about 1 tsp. of concentrated ale flavoring.  Set aside.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan or 2 -9×9 inch pans and set aside. Combine remaining beer and all other ingredients except ale reduction in a heavy 4-5 quart pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Butter will melt and mixture will begin to boil.

Continue to cook until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees, this will take about 30 minutes.  You can test your caramel in a bowl of ice water to check the consistency.  It should form a firm ball.

When the correct temperature has been reached, stir in the ale reduction and remove from heat.  Pour into prepared pan(s) and top with pretzel rods.  Let cool for several hours or place in fridge until firm.  Remove caramel block from pan and turn pretzel-side up on a cutting board (if refrigerated, let caramel block warm up a little for easier cutting).  Cut between pretzels and then into 1″ pieces.  Cut wax paper into approx. 5 x 5 inch squares and wrap caramels.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Chili

The holidays are in full force and with that comes a plethora of Christmas beers. If you are trying to find a good use for your favorite holiday brew, try this amazing chili recipe. These seasonal beers have a roasted, toasted, spicy taste which adds an interesting layer of flavor to the chili. I would suggest using Delirium Noel in this recipe to spread the holiday cheer!

  • 24 oz holiday brew
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • red, yellow and green peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 jalapeno, finely minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 Tbs paprika
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 (8oz) cans of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato Paste
  • 1 can Black Beans
  • 1 can Pinto Beans
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat oil in a large soup/stew pot over medium-high heat. Sauté on medium heat garlic, jalapeno, onions and peppers until vegetables begin to soften (about 10 minutes). Add beef and sausage, breaking up with a spoon while cooking. Mix in the smoked paprika, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Pour in 24 oz of beer and allow to simmer on medium heat and marinate for 20 minutes. Then add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste. Depending on how thick you like your chili, feel free to add more beer or broth if needed. Bring chili to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

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The Art of Beer Cooking: Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and pepper sandwiches are a staple in any Italian-American family. My grandfather can smell them cooking from a mile away and devours them before the rest of us have even had a chance to sit down. This recipe takes the traditional italian sausage and pepper sandwich and elevates it with a delectable beer glaze. Lagers tend to pair well with Italian sausage so I would suggest using Capital Brewery’s Supper Club or choose your personal favorite. Buon appetito!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large onions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle of beer
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Italian rolls

Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Cook sausage until browned on all sides. Remove sausage from pan, and set aside. Pour in 1 bottle of beer to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Place the green peppers, onions and garlic in the pan. Stir in the remaining beer and the tomato paste. Season with oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cover, and simmer until onions and peppers are tender. Add the sausages to the peppers and simmer until sausage is cooked through. Take an Italian roll, add a sausage and a generous helping of the peppers and onions.


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The Art of Beer Cooking: Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Soup, soup and more soup seems to be all I’ve been cooking and eating lately. This curried apple and sweet potato soup is perfect for the season. The apples, raisins and cinnamon add a sweetness while the curry, soy and pumpkin ale add a salty taste to perfectly balance it all out. Enjoy!

  • 1/4 cup dark raisins
  • 1 bottle pumpkin ale
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tart apples, unpeeled, cored and diced
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger root
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 to 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup thawed frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Plain greek yogurt, for garnish

In a bowl, soak the raisins in beer for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

To make the soup, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it starts to soften. Add the diced apples and saute again until softened. Sprinkle with the curry powder, turn down the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook 2 minutes longer.

Sprinkle the flour over the apple mixture and cook over low heat and continue stirring for about 1 minute. Gradually add the beer, stirring to smooth any lumps. Continue to cook over low heat for 5 more minutes for all the flour to dissolve. Transfer this mixture to a food processor. Add the raisins (that have been soaking in beer) and buzz until smooth.

Combine the stock, apple juice concentrate, cinnamon stick, and soy sauce in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, add the sweet potatoes, and turn down the heat. Simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the hot stock and stir in the apple puree. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Simmer over low heat for several minutes more to meld the flavors.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with some plain greek yogurt to give the soup a creamy texture.

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