Thursday, January 29, 2009

CSA Week 8 / Leftover Wrapup

So it's been a while between updates. School, life, busy, etc. Mojito in hand we trudge on.

Here's what we got for Week 8!

  • Zucchini 2
Honestly, I still have the two from a week ago. Normally I just slice and grill them with some oil and herbs, but I haven't really gotten around to them yet.
  • Head Lettuce
With M out in the field for most of last week, it was rough going on the head of lettuce we had. Still, big Greek Salads will finish this one off in no time.
  • Lacinato Kale (extras bin!)
  • Russian Red Kale
The two kales...I may try Kale Chips with some of them for a party tomorrow night. Otherwise, a braise of some sort.
  • Komatsuna
is really growing on me. I've been chopping it and adding to salads, just as good as when blanched with some sesame oil.
  • Sweet Bell Pepper
It was small. Half went into coleslaw. Other half into salad.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
I've really started to like the tops. Been adding them to salads.
  • Assorted Herbs 1 small bunch
This was small and kinda useless. I'm making Moule Marinier tomorrow, I may add the bundle.
  • Avocado
The one from two weeks ago is finally ready to eat. This one, well, will be ready in two weeks...
  • Strawberries
The newsletter said *EXTREMELY RIPE– EAT IMMEDIATELY*. They weren't kidding. Went bad in about two days, before I could eat them. :(
  • Canistel 2 + 2 extra
After the Canistel Ice Cream fiasco, (curse you UPS!) I was hot to try again so I picked up some from the xtras box. If they are ripe by tomorrow, they'll be Canistel Cream filling for crepes for dessert at the party.

Uses and Leftover Wrapup:

Canistel Ice Cream Fiasco

So Canistel Ice Cream is delicious. There's a local company that makes it, and it is really good (You can get it at Fairchild, among other places. Also try Eggfruit Smoothies at Robert Is Here!). So I set out to make the Norman Van Aken recipe and met with, at best, mixed success.

As many of you know, when you're making ice cream there is a period of frantic activity when you are tempering the eggs and bringing everything up to a simmer. Unfortunately it was at that exact time that UPS decided to deliver a package to my doorstep. Dog going crazy, eggs in mid-temper, I went to the door and brought it inside. As much as I wanted a custom set of window blinds addressed to someone who lives on the other side of town, this package was not for me. Back to the eggs and the simmering pot. Two more scoops in, and *ding*, back to the door to exchange the errant package for some brewing ingredients I had, in fact, ordered. The tempering was a disaster, on adding the eggs I got a pot of scrambled eggs and cream. >:( But I ran it through the ice cream maker regardless, having sacrificed the cost of nine eggs and a vanilla bean to the disaster.

Verdict? Taste: A+. Really good. The canistel gives it an interesting egg custard but faintly fruity taste. Texture: D-. Grainy and weird from the eggs. Also, the recipe has you grind a fresh cinnamon stick and half a nutmeg. While I applaud Norman for encouraging fresh spices, you better grind the bejesus out of those spices! I was getting unpleasantly large chunks of nutmeg...

Moral? Try the recipe, it is really good, but if the UPS man comes, ignore him.

Cold Noodle Salad with Braised Greens

This was a 'use all the braising greens you have' meal. And it was actually quite good. The recipe begins with these two sauces from Jean-Georges Vongerichten's TriBeCa restaurant '66' which I think is now 'Matsugen Soba House'. Anyway, make the broth and peanut sauces more or less as directed (I halved the broth, it's plenty.) The peanut sauce clump is a little dark on account of I ran out of white sesame seeds and had to use black ones... Still tasted good.

Take whatever braising greens you've got, in my case it was the leftover braising mix, some backyard bok choi, some tatsoi, etc. Stir fry with some garlic and ginger, then braise in shaoxing rice wine until done. For noodles I used both udon noodles, boiled then cooled, and rice vermicelli, with boiling water poured over and cooled (pictured). I liked the udon better, personally. Had more body and flavor. Plating is: a bed of noodles, ladle on some broth, pile of veggies, a scoop of peanut sauce, sprinkle of sesame seeds, cilantro and peanuts. Enjoy.

Horiatiki Salad

The classic Greek salad has been the receptacle for a lot of my greens recently. And why not, they're easy and tasty. Importantly, a lot of the longevity that's been ascribed to the "Mediterranean Diet" owes its basis to these salads. Throughout the Eastern Mediterranean these salads are made of whatever can be picked locally, and these are often wild greens, like dandy lion and purslane. For our CSA purposes, I interpret that as including whatever weird tops or greens that don't need to be cooked to death to be edible. So radish tops? Oh yeah. Tatsoi, komatsuna? Yep. Lettuce? Obviously. Cabbage? Sure.

The trick to making a really good horiatiki is one I learned in Cyprus: Herbs. Always always add some parsley at the very least. Flat leaf is preferable, but you can chop curly parsley finely and it will work. For a Cypriot twist, add cilantro. (I always do!) Mint and basil give it a twist. Throw in some tomatoes, cucumber, kalamatas, and feta and you're golden.

As for dressing: juice of half a lemon for two, a whole one for a family. Drizzle a little olive oil and grind some pepper on top. Done. Makes a good meal on its own, but I served it with some baba ghanoush (last week's eggplant!), hummus, and tzatziki with some pitas.


The cabbage finally went the way of all cabbages. Which is to say: coleslaw! Honestly it's pretty much the only thing I do with them. Here's my favorite recipe, from Steven Raichlen's "BBQ USA":

Mustard Slaw

1 pound and a half-ish head of cabbage. Cut in half, remove stalk. Cut into 8 sections, food processor one or two at a time till finely chopped (this is not a shredded slaw). Add about 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper. (I used the green one we got this week)


1/4 cup Mayo
1/4 cup French's Mustard
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp celery seed
ground black pepper and salt to taste. Mix it all up and add to cabbage/bell pepper. Done.

Smoked a pork shoulder, made pulled pork sandwiches. Delicious. And plenty of leftovers...
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CSA: Edible Collards / Duck Tacos with Carambola Salsa

Midweek wrapup of what's been going on with Week 7's ingredients.

In short: I made collards edible. Really! My thought process was this: traditionally collards are cooked with a lot of pork bits, usually smoked ham hocks and whatnot. But it's usually just kindof overcooked, and vegetal, and blech... So I thought, what pork bits do I have? Answer: several pounds of homemade Andouille sausage and Tasso ham, some leftover roast pork belly, and some jars of homemade Trotter Gear. The solution came in a sortof hybrid collard-gumbo!

Process: This is a rough description, I didn't actually measure anything. I trimmed the fat bits off the roast belly, and rendered them in an enameled dutch oven until there was a fair bit of bacon fat going on in the pan, then added the rest of the belly (cubed) until everything was crispy-crunchy, and removed. In goes the Trinity, in this case a 1/4 yellow Bell Pepper, an onion, and two celery stalks (diced). In retrospect, you could add flour and make your roux before adding the trinity if you wanted to. But I figured I'd get my unctuousness from the trotter gear and okra. If I had it to do again, I would probably go with a roux. Once the trinity had sweated, I added three cloves of garlic (minced) for a minute or two, and then two tomatoes (peeled, chopped) and some of the fresh thyme from a couple weeks back. Cooked everything for a bit, then added about two cups of chicken stock, then the washed and roughly chopped collards to the top of the pot, on with the lid, and steam 15 minutes. Then stir in. At this point I added one of the Tasso steaks, cubed, into the mix and stirred the whole mess together. The tasso should be enough seasoning (it's wicked hot, but also has allspice and other things going on), but I added a bit of salt and Tabasco for good measure. In went six okra, chopped, and simmered for about 15 more minutes. Tasted and adjusted seasoning, then in went about 1/3 a jar (i.e. quart mason jar) of trotter gear. Once heated and stirred, in went two andouille sausages (sliced) and some garlic chives and green onions (thinly chopped). Add back crunchy belly bits. Served over rice.

Verdict: awesome. Collards are there, but don't have that musty grassy, rotting vegetation thing they get going sometimes. Mostly fresh and kinda crunchy. Admitted you mostly get porkey and spicy. But it's filling and pretty great. Mmmm...

The weird Asian braising greens? Chinese Spiced Duck Breast with Braised Greens. M cooked it all up as I was still down with a headcold. Marinated and wok seared, oven finished, duck breast served over the braising greens, the leftover heirloom beans from last week, and some bok choi from the back yard, all stir fried in the wok with some shaoxing rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. It was very good, but the braising veggies contained what looked like Mustard Greens (or Rapeseed/Canola stalks!). Were we supposed to cook the whole thing, or just the ends? The flowers and softer bits were very good, but the stalks were woody and unpleasant... We used about half, so I've got another round of experimenting to do.

So that killed the duck breasts. How about the legs? The bones went into a brown duck stock that spent Inauguration Day simmering. And there were still lots of CSA things leftover. Solution: Duck Carnitas Tacos with Chipotle Carambola Salsa.

Procedure: Make Duck Stock. Got that? Good. Seriously, it's real easy. The rest of the recipe is adapted from a recipe for Duck and Mushroom Chile Rellenos in Mark Miller's excellent Coyote Cafe cookbook. Take two duck legs, debone and skin them (bones and skin can go in stock). Chop. In a sauce pan: the duck bits, a clove of garlic, toasted and in: (1/2 tsp mexican orenano, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds (ground), 1/4 tsp coriander seeds (ground)), 1/2 tsp cinnamon (canela if you've got it), 1 1/2 T New Mexican Chile powder (I used about 1 T med New Mex and 1/2 T Nambe Pueblo chile powder), 1 1/2 cups duck stock, 3 T of duck fat (I used some fatty bits from the duck carcass) and salt and pepper to taste. Cook this at a simmer for about an hour, then up it to high and boil off all the water. Once it starts getting thick, start stirring or it will burn. Like beyond the point of no return, ruined for eternity, throw out the pot burned. Stir until everything is a bit crispy and fried, or until you're hand hurts and you're hungry.

Meanwhile make the salsa. Chop up and seed two carambolas, dice about half this weeks' cherry tomatoes, maybe 1/4 cup of the cilantro, maybe 1/4 cup red onion, juice of half a lime, some salt and pepper, and about 1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder. Stir, adjust to taste, let sit.

Now make tortillas. Or go to the store and buy them if you're lazy. It will take longer than making them. Mix masa, water, and a dash of salt. Let sit a bit. Devide dough into golf ball sized lumps. Heat skillet to very, very hot. Roll out some plastic wrap. Place dough on plastic wrap. Fold other half of plastic wrap over. Take spare pot (or tortilla press) and smash the hell out of dough. Like the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but with a saucepan not a femur. Peel off, throw into dry skillet, cook 45 seconds to a minute a side. Pile on a plate with a damp paper towel on top.

Assemble tacos. You are capable of assembling tacos, I presume. Add some shredded cabbage if you're feeling frisky and you have lots of leftover cabbage like me.

Verdict: Awesome! Good use of the entire duck, and various elements from the CSA box. This dinner was made up on the spot entirely with things I had on hand, and not having to go to the store is its own reward.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Aww it's raining iguanas again!

Once in a while we get a cold snap harsh enough that it causes iguanas to fall out of the trees... Poor little guys are usually not dead, just cold-blooded and comatose. When they warm up they're usually just fine.

Oh Florida.
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CSA Week 7

Here's the haul for this week:

  • Lettuce
Salad of some sort, one night when we don't feel like cooking.
  • Collards
I have yet to ever find a way to cook collards so that they're edible. Nope, sorry, they're terrible. But I found a way to cook callaloo that I liked, so there's hope yet. I've got some roast pork belly leftover, and a half jar of Trotter Gear. Will combine these somehow into a braise of sorts. Maybe with some onions and cabbage.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
Either in a salad, or I'm thinking of making a salsa with the tomatoes, starfruits and cilantro for something. Tacos or fajitas maybe?
  • Asian Braising Greens
These will be in tonight's dinner, which Meredith is cooking because I have a cold so I'm not sure of the details. I know it involves the greens being braised in the wok with Chinese spices and some leftover cabbage and a bok choi from our garden. Served with Chinese spiced seared duck breast. (We've got a whole duck to break down.)
  • Tatsoi
Side sometime this week, probably wilted like the Komatsuna from Week 5. Thinking of serving with some soba noodles and miso/ginger dressing.
  • Black Sapotes
Are green and rock hard. It'll take some patience, then I'm thinking: muffins?
  • Carambolas
The tart kind eh...probably into a salsa? No need for lime juice... Maybe I'll just make a martini or two and call it good!
  • Cilantro
Between the kind we grow (some freaky varietal I can't remember the name of that doesn't look like cilantro but tastes great!) and the amount we generally have around, it will be used in various places. Salsa, maybe a Chile Verde of some kind.
  • An Eggplant
Again? Ok. We're having a debate about whether to make baba ghanoush again, or try to do something else, like an Eggplant Parmesan. My experiences cooking it in the past have always been a bit underwhelming, but who knows. We do have all those tomatoes...
We've still got last week's avocado (still hard as a rock). It may go into guacamole or something if it ripens this week.

The canistels from last week are still ripening, one is good and in the freezer but two need more time. Going to be great ice cream when they're ready.

Cabbage. Boy do we still have cabbage. I had some pork belly trimmings (about 2lbs) from my whole belly for the pancetta, so I gave it about 3 days in a brine of salt, sugar, cloves, bay leaves, thyme, and a bit of pink salt. Then roasted it, and served on a bed of Colcannon that used some of the cabbage and all the garlic chives we got last week. The belly was good, but the skin didn't get crispy enough, largely due to the irregular shape of the trimmed end. The parts that did get crispy were tasty though! The leftovers will be used with the collards somehow. Will probably leave the pink salt out next time, it probably wasn't necessary and gave it a bit of a corned beef edge. Some of the cabbage is going in tonight's braised veggies. Otherwise I'm thinking shredded in fish tacos with the starfruit salsa? I love it when a plan comes the docks!

The heirloom beans were good. Half went with some ground beef and lots of pepper, stir-fried Thai style and served with some Basmati rice. The rest will go into the big stirfry tonight.

Our little container garden is humming along nicely. The bok choi went from frail little starters to monster cabbages over Christmas, and we picked the first one today. Into the wok you go! The tomatoes and peppers have started flowering, and our sad, crippled little squash and cucumber plants have either died or are flowering. It's interesting to see the impact of different sized pots on the various plants. Apparently bigger really is better...

I spent some time last week and redid the front planter bed. It had been supporting a healthy Thai basil plant, which died over the break. So I ripped everything out (there wasn't much, mostly rocks and bamboo leaves 4 inches thick) and mixed in whatever potting soil I could find, and some composted barley from brewing. Then I planted all the odd starters and remaining seeds we had around. Everything seems to be doing ok. The freaky cilantro is there (pictured below), and some mint, Thai basil, rosemary, chives, and six mystery chile plants. Planted some tomatillos, but who knows if they will grow. They were backordered and delivered late (much to my forgetful surprise!) They take a while to germinate too, and I didn't have the time or patience to start them inside now. So godspeed little seeds, victory or death wot wot. One of the cucumber seeds sprouted today, and so long as I water it every day (the soil is very sandy, and drains quickly) it should do fine. Who knows if the Shiso seeds will start growing, they certainly didn't like the backyard or the starter pots inside...

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CSA daikon: Banh Mi!

A couple weeks back we got a daikon radish in our box and though there are many uses for them there is but one in my mind: Bánh !

Bánh are Vietnamese sandwiches, which like many truly great foods reflect a colonial fusion of French Baguettes (and often pate) with Viet ingredients. The result is an amazing combo of sweet-spicy meat, tart and crunchy pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, mayo, fish sauce and more, on a crunchy-but-also-soft-inside-and-partly-rice-flour baguette. When we were undergrads these were a staple of our diet, usually from Thanh Vi, running about $2 each with a coke. At CHID department meetings we would send someone out to order about three dozen of various fillings (noted by different color rubber bands) and we'd spill them out on the table and continue with the meeting. Needless to say we are fans.

But I haven't found a place that makes them in Miami. Vietnamese restaurants that are pretty ok? Yes. But this is quick and cheap street food, and I miss it. So we make our own, as best we can, adapting to local conditions. For example, Cuban bread? Soft yes, but doesn't have the outside crust it needs. Go for a normal baguette. Anyhow, here's a great website to start with: Battle of the Bahn Mi. A simple recipe is here, including for the pickled carrot and daikon, as well as more images like the one above.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

CSA Week 6

Here's this week's CSA box:

  • Lettuce
Will go into a salad sometime this week.
  • Tomatoes (2)
Sandwiches, salad, who knows.
  • Zucchini (2)
Probably sauteed as a side one night.
  • Mizuna
Crispy Pig's Ear and Headcheese with Mizuna, Pei Tsai, Parsley and Chive Salad. Inspired by Fergus Henderson's Crispy Pig's Ear with Sorrel and Chicory from The Whole Beast. When I made the headcheese I took the ears off after about an hour and saved them. Sliced them thin and deep fried. There was massive popping and splattering, avert your eyes! Thank you splatter screen! Made a salad with the greens, dressed with a simple vinaigrette and capers. Added small slice of headcheese, topped with crispy ear crunchies, and garnished with the last of the breakfast radishes. The vinaigrette gave the headcheese a bite it really needed. The ears were crunchy and also chewy and very...porkey? This was really tasty.
  • Cabbage
My first thought was sauerkraut, but we already have some and I was thinking of making Choucroute this week. So I was thinking maybe try to make actually good Cabbage Rolls? They're always so horrible, but there must be a way to make them good, right? I'm thinking heavy cream and demi glace should help... I've got some ground beef and could grind some pork if necessary. Meanwhile M seems intent on making cabbage and seafood pancakes, maybe okonomiyaki style. Which I am also down with. Could break out the takoyaki pan too!
  • Heirloom Beans Trio
Donno, thinking a braise? Maybe with some trotter gear. I've got some pork belly that I'm brining and will roast later in the week, maybe they will be a side?
  • Curly Parsley
Half went into salad.
  • Garlic Chives
  • Avocado
The ice cream recipe in the newsletter seems interesting...
  • Canistel (2 + 1 extra)
Thinking ice cream as well. There's one of Norman Van Aken's here that I'm going to try.
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CSA weeks 4 and 5

We missed week 4 because we were in Seattle, but arranged for some friends to benefit from our loss. Here's what we missed:
  • Red Round or French Breakfast Radishes
  • Red Round Tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Parsley
  • Monroe Avocado
  • Sugarcane
  • Salad Mix: pei tsai, red kale, tatsoi, frisee, mixed lettuces
  • Acorn Squash
  • Carambola
  • Green Beans
Aww, we missed Sugarcane!

Here's week 5:
  • Corn (2)
Grilled, served with butter and rough Inca salt that our old housemate brought back from Peru.
  • Pei Tsai
  • Eggplant
Once again, excellent baba ghanoush. Until Ase jumped up and started scarfing it during M's birthday party. Bad dog!
  • Komatsuna
This was really good. Wilted for about 10 seconds in boiling water, dressed with mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili paste, and black and white sesame seeds.
  • Callaloo
We've finally found a way to make Callaloo taste good!!! Adapted from this. Cook up some onion and garlic, with a 1/4 habanero and some thyme. Add a can of chopped tomatoes, then place the chopped Callaloo on top to steam, stirring after about 5 minutes, for a total of 15 minutes, then rest 15 and enjoy. This was served as a side to a West Indian Goat Curry. Also: pressure cooker worked much better on the goat than last time's braising.
  • Chard
Cooked up with bacon and linguine in a pasta. Was good but not great. Actually, too much bacon!
  • French Breakfast Radish w/tops
At most of them with a bit of butter and salt in the morning. The rest went into salad.
  • Scallions
Went into various things. Some leftover actually. Go Green Bags! (sound)
  • Grapefruit (2)
M ate. I don't really care for them.
  • Green Bell Pepper
Sliced and cooked with some garlic, chili powder and onion in UFO Hefeweisen on the grill with some brats. Very good.
  • Carambolas (2 + 1 extra)
Not sure, I've been meaning to make some fancy desert but haven't gotten around to it. Probably will just slice and serve over ice cream. Will make a coulis if I can.
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Charcuterie Projects: Sausages, Headcheese, Trotter Gear, Pancetta

So I had some time on my hands during the break. For Christmas I received Fergus Henderson's amazing The Whole Beast: Nose To Tail Eating and Beyond Nose to Tail. These are two VERY British cookbooks, and Henderson is famous for making simple preparations with underused parts of the animal. Anthony Bourdain has called Henderson's Roast Marrow and Parsley Salad his 'death row meal'. Anyway, since we were snowed in in Seattle I sat around reading these books and dreaming of pigs heads. But not in a Lord of the Flies kind of way.

The plan was to make some headcheese. ('Brawn', if you're British) Why? Because I'd never cooked a pig's head before. (Obviously!) Also some sausages for a birthday BBQ and so we'd have gumbo gear ready. Pancetta because we're fresh out. Trotter Gear (one of Henderson's big things, it's pigs feet cooked forever in Madeira, then jarred and added to things to make them lip smacking good.) And Guanciale if I could score pig cheeks (nope).

I called up the butchers at Laurenzo's and had them order some things for me. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, I want to order some strange things.
Butcher: Ok, what can I get you
Me: Ok, first I need a pig's head.
Butcher: What size?
Me: They come in sizes? Um, average I guess.
Butcher: Ok, what else?
Me: A cryo of pork butts, a whole belly skin off, sixteen trotters...
Butcher: Are you a chef?
Me: No, just a gifted amateur with too much time on his hands.

It would take a while for these things to come in so I just grabbed the cryo of butts (always available) and made sausages. Brats, Weisswurst, Andouilles, and Tasso steaks. The recipes were from Ruhlman's Charcuterie. I'm still not sold on his recipe for the brats, I have another recipe for Sheboygan brats that is better, and his andouille needs a kick and some extra paprika for color. The Weisswurst is very good though, though I'm not sure if it's better on the grill or poached and eaten Bavarian style (which has a special name, zuzeln, in which you suck the sausage out of the casing which you then discard). It's extremely tasty either way.

A few days later I picked up the head (which due to a recap-mishap ended up being two suckling pig heads instead) and the trotters. Two boiling cauldrons of piggy goodness and lots of sticky gross removal of bones and nastybits later I had a terrine of head cheese and four mason jars full of delicious trotter gear. I've got more grisly photos, but sadly Blogger seems to have some kind of problem and doesn't want to accept any more photo uploads... Lucky you. :)
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Brew Day: Buckwheat Honey Black Braggot


Not actually a brew day, more of a celebration. I put the last remainders of the keg of Buckwheat Honey Black Braggot on tap and it definitely deserves a mention. This is easily the most laborious, experimental, and otherwise extreme beer I've ever made. It took about a year, and tastes like no other beer I've ever had. It's a love/hate beer, some people scowl and twitch when they try it. But I'm very happy with it. It's won a fair amount of things, and the buckwheat beers do tend to be crowd favorites. On the right is the bronze it took in the 'Other Mead' category at the 2008 SAAZ competition, a very mead heavy competition in a state full of mead masters.

It begins with Buckwheat honey, which is quite unlike any other honey out there. It's jet black, looks like molasses, and has a honey-molasses sortof funk about it. I've made several batches of beer with it, most notably the annual Buckwheat Honey Stout for St. Patrick's day. But that only uses a pound or two. I wanted to see what happened when I used a lot of it.

So here's the recipe:

Buckwheat Honey Braggot

Type: All Grain

Date: August 06

Batch Size: 5.00 gal

Brewer: Russell Everett
Boil Size: 7.18 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50):
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
7 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 46.64 %
10 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 4.20 %
6 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 2.53 %
1.00 oz Summit [18.00 %] (90 min) Hops 52.7 IBU
7 lbs Buckwheat Honey (60.0 SRM) Sugar 46.64 %

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.090 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.090 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.023 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.020 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 8.84 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 9.18 %
Bitterness: 52.7 IBU Calories: 417 cal/pint (mmmm...)
Est Color: 49.0 SRM Color:

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body Total Grain Weight: 8.0 lb
Sparge Water: 5.04 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Single Infusion, Medium Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 2.50 gal of water at 165.9 F 154.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 1.40 gal of water at 196.6 F 168.0 F

Here's the instructions for fermenting it:

So it was Mead Day about two years ago. The club was together making meads, teaching new folks, and so on. I was gearing up to make a braggot, which is a beer fortified with honey, or a mead fortified with beer, depending on how you look at it. (More the second sense, really). Though usually they are more traditional ale + clover or orange honey. This one was going out on a limb.

So while I was outside, in August, slaving over a hot burner, the rest of the club was inside in the airconditioning mixing honey and water. Which takes about as long as you would think. I spent about 4 hours outside making the braggot. So start by brewing outside in Miami in the height of Summer. Stir in the honey near the end, the last 5 minutes or so, to try to keep the aromas around.

Fermented initially with two packets of American Ale yeast. They took off and chugged for a while. Then stopped at 1.040. And stayed stopped. So I added some Wyeast Belgian Strong yeast. Which it killed. And some Champagne yeast. Which it killed. By this point it had been maybe three months. So I left it to see if something would keep going for another couple months. Nope. I also added some oak chips and left them in for a while, at least two months. Somewhere in the time I went away for a while and the airlock went dry. Ooops! So it oxidized a bit. Which I actually like, it took on a sherry aspect (rather than wet cardboard, whew!).

Eventually I discovered that Buckwheat honey has a very, very low pH for honey: 3.83. With all the dark grains, my hunch was the pH had dropped too low and the yeast couldn't take it. So a bit of Potassium Bicarbonate later and poof: it started up again! Eventually stopped at 1.020 which was fine, not cloying anymore. Kegged and bottled, then let sit for a few months.

In the glass it pours opaque black, with a tan head, garnet highlights. Aromas are port/sherry, some stone fruit (like sour cherries), just a hint of chocolate and roast, alcohol, and the sortof weird, musty, sour, honeyish aroma I now just associate with buckwheat honey. Body is a little thin for a stout (due to honey). Flavor hits you all at once, then tails off to a lingering warming finish. Honey, some tartness, alcohol is there, a bit of complex sugars, a bit of roastiness. Easily one of my best beers ever.

It just took a year to make!
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Brew Day: Smoked Porter

And we're really back. Broke the first rule of blogging: never, ever, promise updates...

So I'm trying to use up my stockpile of grains before we move, and I had three and a half pounds of beechwood-smoked German rauchmalt. Fresh from scoring a bottle of 2004 Alaskan Smoked Porter in Seattle over the break, I decided to shoot for a smoked porter. I've made one before, using actual alder-smoked malt like Alaskan does, and it was great. Also, this month's club competition style is porters, which happen to be one of my least favorite beer styles. That said, those I do like area bit on the hoppy side, and Willamettes go great with darker beers, and EKGs are just traditional, so I used those. I used Maris as the base for no particular reason other than I had more of it than I had Pale, which you could switch for no problem. Gravity came out a bit low, but otherwise seems to be chugging away. Will go into the secondary in a couple days.

Smoked Porter
Robust Porter

Type: All Grain

Date: 1/5/2009

Batch Size: 5.25 gal

Boil Size: 7.48 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: Brew Pot (15 Gal) and Igloo/Gott Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
6 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 50.00 %
3 lbs 8.0 oz Smoked Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 29.17 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 8.33 %
12.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6.25 %
8.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 4.17 %
4.0 oz Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 2.08 %
1.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (90 min) Hops 26.8 IBU
0.75 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (30 min) Hops 10.6 IBU
0.75 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (15 min) Hops 6.8 IBU
0.50 oz Williamette [5.50 %] (0 min) Hops -
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
1 Pkgs SafBrew Ale (Dry SA-05) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.058 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.056 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.015 SG Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.56 % Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 44.2 IBU Calories:
Est Color: 41.4 SRM Color:

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body Total Grain Weight: 12.00 lb
Sparge Water: 3.90 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Single Infusion, Medium Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 3.72 gal of water at 165.4 F 150.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 2.10 gal of water at 206.9 F 168.0 F

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Friday, January 09, 2009

And we're back...

So finals and a snowbound Christmas vacation ate my life for the last few weeks...but now I'm back and tomorrow will be a major writing and posting day! Topics include:
  • Brew Day: Smoked Porter
  • Charcuterie: Brats, Weisswurst, Andouilles, Tasso, Turducken, Trotter Gear and Headcheese!
  • CSA roundup weeks 4. 5. 6.
  • The End of Zima, and the end of alcopops?
  • Woodinville's new craft distillery: NW Absinthe!
  • Washington's new craft distiller license: have they just recreated Bacchus?
  • Maybe more...
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