Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beer and Food Pairing with Chef Dionisio Esperas

What a fun class this was pairing beers from North Coast  and Eel River Breweries.  As always Dio did an outstanding job making some delicious dishes.  As always there were some goodies to nibble on at the table. Tonight it was a mix of olives and also some mixed nuts, a good way to start the evening.
Dio explained the foods we would be having and also introduced the representative for the breweries.
Both Eel River and North Coast are organic breweries.  Both have some great beers.
We started off with the Smoked Mussels with Rouille (recipe to follow).  Wow, the slight smokiness of the mussels with the Rouille was so good.  The mussels were paired with the North Coast Scrimshaw a pilsner style and the Eel River Blonde Ale.  The Skrimshaw was dryer while the Blonde ale was a little fruitier.  I preferred the Blonde but both paired well with the mussels.
Smoked mussels with Rouille
The Carnitas with Guacamole and Fire Roasted Salsa was up next.  I loved the preparation of the carnitas.  Most recipes that I've seen, the pork is cooked in lard.  This recipe the pork is slow cooked in milk and spices until falling apart tender then crisped up in the oven.  An easy preparation.
The beers paired with this was the Eel River Amber and the North Coast Red Seal Ale.  Both were great, I didn't have a preference on these two.
Carnitas with guacamole and fire roasted salsa
Beef Satay with Peanut sauce and cool cucumber salad was next. Beef slices marinated in coconut milk and spices then skewered and grilled.  Served with a spicy peanut sauce and cucumber salad.  Strange as it is I've never had beef satay.  I've made chicken satay hundreds of times, I think I kind of like the beef better.  The cucumber salad was a sweet and tangy salad of sliced cucumbers and red onions, kind of like the Sunomono you get a Japanese restaurants.  The beers paired with the satay were the Eel River IPA and the North Coast IPA.  Both were very similar.
Beef  Satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad

Yes, more food..next was the the Samosas with Tamarind Mint Chutney.  A flavorful fried dumpling filled with a delicious potato filling.  So good especially with the spicy chutney.  And what better to cool the palate than the North Coast PranQster which is a Belgian style Ale.  This was my all time favorite beer of the evening.
Samosas with Tamarind Mint chutney and Cilantro Chutney
 Of course there has to be dessert.. a Chocolate on Chocolate truffle from Le Grand Confectionary.  A deep dark chocolate truffle paired with the North coast Rasputin.  The Rasputin is a stout..chocolaty, kind of a hint of coffee..wonderful with the chocolate.  What a great finish to the meal.
These beer pairing classes are a lot of fun and we had a great group at our table.  I think I can say everyone enjoyed the food and beer and as always Dio was fun and funny and did a great job.
Here is the recipe for the smoked mussels courtesy of Chef Dionisio Esperas.

Smoked Mussels with Rouille

1C smoking chips
3lbs very fresh mussels in their shells, well cleaned and debearded
3Tbs olive oil
3 green onions thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
1C pilsner or your favorite lighter style beer
2Tbs. chopped flat leaf parsley
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Metal saute pan or metal baking dish that can fit on your grill
1.Clean mussels prior to cooking, soak in salty water (3Tbs salt to 2quarts cold water) for a good half hour to purge the mussels of grit and sand.  Rinse mussels well afterward, scrub and remove beards.
2. Preheat grill to medium high heat (about 400-425 degrees).  Wrap smoking chips in foil and poke 3-4 holes in the top.
3.When grill is up to heat, place smoking chip packet directly onto the heat source and allow chips to start smoking (8-10 min).  Place saute pan over chips on the top of the grell and let heat for 3 minutes with cover on grill.  Remove lid and add the olive oil, green onions, and garlic and heat ingredients on grill for 2 minutes or so.  Add inthe mussels, beer and parsley, mix well.  Cover grill and let mussels cook for 3-5 minutes or until the begin to open.  Stir and cover again and let cook another 7 minutes or so allowing some of the cooking liquid to reduce.  Discard any mussels that do not open.
4. Taste cooking liquid and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle the rouille over the mussels.  Serve with sliced baguette.
1 inch thick slice of baguette or French bread, cubed and soaded in 1/4C water
2 cloves garlic peeled
1/4tsp parika
cayenne pepper to taste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1C mayonnaise
lemon juice or white wine vinegar to taste
In bowl of a food processor or blender comgine ingredients and process until thoroughly blended.
Can be made the day before, refrgerate.

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