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theisenm85

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Everything posted by theisenm85

  1. For me, that means there has to be some tomato sauce - something to cut the fattiness of the cheese. I keep it simple and like to go straight garlic confit, lightly broiled bread, if I have time. A little bit of salt if needed, but that depends on the bread. Easily spreadable and stores well! If it's a quick thing, I rub garlic on the crust (after toasting), and do olive oil/parm on the flesh.
  2. theisenm85

    Lunch for 40

    Also... if you're really intent on pickled onions, I wouldn't mention that. Most will love the extra acidic bite, and most to none of the extra squeamish will be the wiser.
  3. theisenm85

    Superbowl Food

    Ok - so.... I've got 60% of the food planned out for the superbowl (4 friends, 6 people total). I'm making Ropa Vieja (braised/shredded beef with spices/veggies) from Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World - with sides, probably guac, cheese, sour cream and corn tortillas. (If it's not traditional with those sides, at least it's delicious) My girlfriend has a mean cheese/hot pepper/alcohol mix that is perfect for chips. There will be 1-3 other dishes, and one gluten intolerant guest.... what dessert do you make? Bonus points for 80-90% prepared in advance/no gluten, or simple ideas. Fruit over ice cream is my favorite right now, something more elaborate would be awesome - I like to cook, and will be doing 90% of the ropa vieja the night before, so advance prep is preferred... Also, wouldn't mind hearing any and every Super bowl snack food - I live for this stuff!
  4. That's a really interesting question... I think that there's a issue with wine (and other things) that doesn't pop up as much for food critics in that - not everybody is a winemaker every day. Most people make food every day - from one level to another (from microwave to haute cuisine). However, a very small percentage of people make wine. While wine critics should obviously be well versed in winemaking techniques to reach the height of their profession - it's not like they're adjusting sulfite/TA/pH or choosing yeast/bacteria strains to use regularly. It's much more likely that they're salting their food or choosing between sauteeing and braising on a daily basis. I would bet that many critics can't explicitly explain why a wine is unsatisfactory - to a winemaker's satisfaction. Subjectivity is a big issue here. If a wine doesn't taste good to a critic, but it tastes great to the winemaker - and the critic can't explain in winemaker's lingo why they don't like it - then what use is it to the winemaker? He still believes he's making the wine he wants to. Obviously, the winemaker can be wrong as well - but if the critic can't identify that this yeast did this, or the sulphite management was crap, or the Total Acidity was too low - there isn't a lot to go on. That said, the winemaker should be ready to decipher the comments of the uninitiated - way more often than not, they're the customers. I guess it comes down to - if the winemaker has a clear vision - he needs to follow his vision. If his vision isn't working (sales), then he needs to figure out what somewhat cryptic feedback is telling him. In either case, I believe a really great critic probably needs to be pretty darn familiar with the winemaking process - but since that's gonna be relatively few people - you still need to listen to critics of all shapes and sizes.
  5. I was the one who got looks from the family when I ate Bisquik pancakes with no syrup/butter. Frankly, they were sweet enough for me as is... I have no idea if the ingredients on that include sugar, but I swear I tasted it. Then again, it's been at least a decade since I've had the stuff. Every once in a while I'd get the hankering for syrup.... but not often. I'm definitely on the savory side - I do get the craving for non-savory, usually if it's around and delicious looking, but not too often.
  6. Belgian yeast strains are known for having high ester/phenolic profiles. Esters created by Belgian yeast strains often represent a wide variety of fruity tastes from bananas to apples to cherries to pears to whatever. Phenols created by Belgian yeast can represent smokiness, clove, vanilla, black pepper and other things. Basically, Belgian yeasts will create fruity/spicy flavor profiles - often referred to as "funky". Many Belgian Beers (Blond, Tripel, Golden Strong) have very simple malt bills, little to no hopping, creating a blank canvas for the yeast to create most of the flavor of the beer - quite the opposite of America where hops tend to play the star, England where many beers are malt forward, or Germany where balance and simplicity is championed. (Yes, there are exceptions to all of these gross generalizations). Brettanomyces (Brett) is a "wild" yeast strain that can eat sugars that traditional yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) can't - as well as produce a fair amount of acetic acid. (think vinegar) In small (and sometimes larger) quantities, acetic acid can have a positive affect on a beer. Brett also has its own set of ester and phenolic profiles - usually creating tastes slightly less "accessible" than most common brewing yeasts, even compared to many Belgian strains.
  7. Stone/Jolly Pumpkin/Nogne Holiday Ale BuckBean Orange Blossom Ale Kostrizer Schawrzbier Buckbean Scharzwbier Spaten Oktoberfest Spaten Optimator Paulaner Salvator Krusovice Dark Warsteiner Dunkel other.... I was falling off my chair! Just kidding. Most were part of a Beer Judging Certification Program class. All were just tastes, so no real alcohol intake.
  8. I suppose that it's possible. However, profits in the wine industry are pretty hard to come by - especially for smaller wineries. And honestly, if the bottles maintain close to the same resistance to breakage, what's wrong with going with a lighter more eco-friendly bottle?
  9. I'd be amazed if people still fell for that. Good stuff.
  10. theisenm85

    Triscuits

    Personally, I find the Sun-Dried Tomato crazy overpowering.... and not in a good way. Lately, it's been a common theme for me... can't do manufactured flavors. The only one I can think of that I like is Cool Ranch Doritos.... However, original triscuits are amazing... I can't eat just one. Therefore, I try to never buy them... because the box is gone way too quick.
  11. Yeah, the "Honey Scam" is a fun one. People who come to my shop are often surprised to hear that honey is useful for drying stuff out, upping alcohol, and whatever - but it won't really add the expected honey flavor. Then again, most things that are basically 100% fermentable without too many other chemicals (like grapes) just won't taste like much once yeast get a chance. "Honey Wheat" just sounds like music to the ears of most (Which, in the right hands, it probably can be)
  12. I'm gonna try and play around a little bit today with some Sumatra coffee - other than cedar woodsiness, the flavor most reminds me of strawberries. Is anyone aware of a strawberry liqueur I could use to make a drink with this coffee? Or maybe other ideas?
  13. Possibly... I'm a little suspicious that the distributor in our area isn't good at getting these things fresh... I've had a couple that were more hoppy than others. I'm relatively certain DFH 90 wouldn't hit the hoppiness of PTE or Ruination.... but I'm pretty sure it's hoppier than I usually taste it. Oh well. edit: I should say... the distributor in my area isn't terribly good at selling craft beer - so it probably sits around for a while.
  14. Maui Brewing Coconut Porter Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA Maui Brewing Big Swell IPA Very good stuff. The Coconut porter has a lovely coconut taste, very nice beer. DFH is not as fresh as it possibly could be out here on the west coast... but still nice beer. For a malt forward imperial ipa, not much better out there. Big swell is a nice "restrained" ipa. I say "restrained" because being on the west coast, ipas that aren't pretty dry and ridiculously hoppy aren't that common. I can imagine it being awesome on the beach, very smooth drinking, pleasantly hoppy without being overbearing.
  15. Don't be too jealous... you guys have more than plenty of stuff we can't get out here.
  16. I'm probably spoiled in California - so I don't think Torpedo is an amazing beer. It's good for Sierra, and I have enjoyed the Celebration and Anniversary ales that were recently released... but for my money, I'd reach for Firestone Union Jack, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Russian River Blind Pig, Bear Republic Racer 5, Drake's IPA, or Stone's IPA before the Torpedo. That's not counting double IPAs... and that's all in California. Not to mention that I've got 3-4 IPAs to try from legit California micros that I'm somewhat confident would come in better. I've also had IPAs at couple of brewpubs (no bottling) that surpassed torpedo - for me. (Didn't know much about beer when I lived out of state) So... while it's a good beer, and a nice step forward for Sierra, not something I'm going to buy on average, since I generally don't shop in stores that don't stock at least something from one of the above breweries. However, I am smack dab in the middle of IPA country - I wish beer distribution wasn't so absurdly regulated. That way on the west coast we could get all of the great things the east has to offer and vice versa - ah well.
  17. Hey Chad, (or anyone!) Bought the book a couple of weeks ago and I love it... slowly but surely learning to sharpen my knives on waterstones. I know someone who isn't going to go with a manual system anytime soon, but was looking at electric sharpeners. Basically, it looks like there are some new electric ones that will go down to a 15 degree angle from Chef's Choice - are these the real deal? Or is there a catch I'm not seeing? I just wanted to see if anyone had experience with these before I recommend something like that. Again, really loved the book!
  18. theisenm85

    Adding sugar to wine?

    For wine that's 3 days old and exposed to oxygen? Definitely not an issue. For me, adding sugar to fresh wine unless it's to make a specific drink.... probably not something I'd do. However... who cares? It's up to you! Put butter and mustard in there if it makes it better for your palate.
  19. Sadly, you won't be able to buy Bell's in Chicago. Unless the laws have changed, Bell's can't currently sell beer there.
  20. I love my i-roast 2. It is small quantity, so I generally only use it for cupping a large variety of coffees rather than drinking. (I buy coffee for a green bean retailer) That means relatively light roasts. That said, I've more than put the thing through its paces (25 basically back to back roasts - done on 2 side by side machines, one roasts while the other cools to not trip the circuit) and not had a problem with it. With proper use and cleaning, it should last quite a while. I'm not sure of the comparison between models for smoke... but I have set off smoke alarms roasting inside, so I generally keep it outside. If you have a hood or a dryer vent, like someone else mentioned, I have heard that will fix any smoke issues. As far as learning curve, I don't think it's all that bad. A couple of roasts should do it. It's much more about learning how coffee roasts than physical operation of the machine. A few tips: Always clean out the chaff collector, no matter what. Air roasters depend on good air flow to work, not doing it will mess up roasts and probably your roaster. Don't trust the 5.3 oz that the label claims you can roast. I have had my machine for a while now, but I generally go with 4.3ish oz per roast on regular size non-decaf beans. Your mileage may very, but 5.3oz is quite high in my experience. If you wipe down the inside of the roasting chamber with your hand or some sort of paper towel with every roast, you'll rarely ever have to clean the thing. I don't want to turn this into a personal advertisement, but if you want info on where to get green beans, you can toss me a pm. Also, there are some great green bean retailers mentioned in this thread, as well as elsewhere in the forum.
  21. theisenm85

    Beer and Food Pairings

    Silliness. Beer has such a cornucopia of possible flavors. If anything, beer is better paired to food than wine. Temperature is a consideration, but there are a number of beers that benefit from some warmth, if not a considerable amount. Speaking more in generalities I like to pair: Spicy - West Coast IPAs or Pilsners, best bitters, Bocks, Koelsch Steak - Brown ales, porters, altbier Pizza- Best Bitter, Munich Helles - Just about anything Salad- Saison, Biere de garde, American hoppy pales Fish - Pilsners, sours Pasta - Tough one... would depend on the pasta - I'd probably go amber/brown/altbier ales for tomato based sauces, and helles or pilsner for lighter stuff Dessert - For chocolate stuff.... imperial stouts or porters - any darker beer with a higher specific gravity than normal - (Gravity is a measure of density, in beer, higher gravity beers have more sugar leftover that yeast didn't eat) For fruity type stuff, there are a number of fruit based lambics or even fruit beers that would be fine
  22. How inconsiderate that they don't fold it in half beforehand.
  23. Stone Double Bastard+ Lagunitas Brown Shugga + Homebrew Best Bitter The double bastard seemed lighter hopped than last year, was a little disappointed, but stone brew is stone brew.... always amazing The brown shugga was extremely young. Drinkable, but I'm laying down 3 for next year. The best bitter went down real nice. A little over hopped, but i'll take care of that next time.
  24. I agree on the can for beer. For me, I actually like drinking out of the can. There's some aesthetic difference that I can't quite identify yet... but other than drinking beer where I have to get the aroma, I like the can. Drinking an ipa out of a can is a huge trip, and really amusing... I love it! I like soda out of the can as well, again, silly aesthetics.... but a glass suffices in either situation. To me, cans aren't evil, but that's given my experience with nearly all foreign beers getting skunked.
  25. Like cdh has pointed out... 2 row, or a similar base malt is required for mashing other grains in most cases. The proteins in the base malt will convert the starches in the oats to the stuff you're looking for. "Mini mash" or partial mash brewing is generally the name for it. Heating roughly 1.2 quarts of water per lb of grain to around 162 degrees and dumping your grain into that for an hour should should do it. The tip about using the airlock for a blowoff is one of my favorites. I've had people try to stick huge tubing into the mouth of a carboy, only to create a bad seal. Just take a 3 piece airlock, 1/2in. ID (inner diameter) tubing, and stick that on the middle post of the air lock. The need for a blowoff will change somewhat on the strength of ferment, and the type of grain used. Wheat has strong protein structure in the krauesen (or so I've been told), and will necessitate a blowoff more than other grain. That said, I had an airlock hit the ceiling 7 feet above the ferment with 4oz of wheat in a 5 gallon batch.... it could happen to anything.
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