With today’s popularity of craft beers, bringing out a cookbook full of Canadian craft beers and recipes made with them was a genius idea.
Published by Whitecap Books and written by food writer and beer aficionado David Ort, The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook is out just in time to pick up for your favourite beer lover who also loves to cook, for Christmas.
Looks like there is a good selection of different recipes using a wide variety of craft beers, from Beer Fondue to Stout-braised Lamb Shanks and even Brownies with Spiced Ale Chocolate Sauce, in addition to the two recipes I’m sharing with you here.
My one criticism about this book has nothing to do with the writing or the recipes, but is the fault of the layout designer, who chose to put the recipe ingredients in pale red on a coloured stock, and in an even smaller type than the body copy. What’s wrong with black on white and a decent-sized typeface so everyone can read it? In fact, it seems to me if this is a cookbook, then the ingredients list is just about the most important part of the book, so why not boldface it?
Perhaps you can tell this is not the first time I’ve run into the problem of a designer of a book ruining its readability…There’s simply no point in it being cute or pretty if it can’t be read.
Otherwise, the photos are attractive, the writing clear and informative and the recipes look pretty good.
Many people have also told me the recipes are really good in my book, Jude’s Kitchen, published by the Okanagan Institute. The book is organized by the seasons to help you make the most of what’s fresh and local, throughout the year, and it includes 200 recipes for every meal of the day. It’s available at bookstores, wine boutiques and at The Lakehouse on Bernard Avenue downtown.
It would make a great gift.
Chicken Liver Pate
While brandy is a classic ingredient in pate, this changes the whole flavour profile, taking it up a notch with the use of a strong-flavoured beer called barley wine, but it’s important to use an English-style barley wine that’s low in bitterness, rather than its American counterpart.
1 lb. (500 g) chicken livers
3 tbsp. (45 ml) unsalted butter
1 branch of thyme
4 tbsp. (60 ml) barley wine, divided
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly-grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) white pepper
4 tsp. (20 ml) olive oil
1 tsp. (5 ml) kosher salt
Use a sharp paring knife to clean the livers of any membranes, nodes of fat or generally any bits that don’t look like dark reddish-brown liver.
Finely mince the shallot and remove the leaves from the thyme and mince.
Set a pan over medium heat and melt the butter. When foaming subsides, add the minced shallot to the pan and stir to coat with butter. Cook until the shallot becomes translucent and softens, about four minutes.
Add pieces of liver and minced thyme and toss to coat in hot butter. Cook for three minutes and then flip all of the pieces of liver.
After another two minutes, start removing the smallest pieces. Larger ones may need an extra minute or two. The liver should still have a pink blush on the inside.
Pour three tablespoons of the barley wine into the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze.
Transfer the cooked liver and shallot mixture to a food processor fitted with the slicing blade.
Add the nutmeg and white pepper. Process on high speed until a smooth paste forms.
While the processor is running, pour in the additional barley wine and the olive oil and salt, and let the processor run until enough air has been integrated into the pate to make the colour noticeably lighter.
Use a spatula to transfer the pate to a serving dish, cover tightly and refrigerate.
Serve with lightly toasted baguette rounds.
Korean-style Scallion Pancakes
This is a savoury pancake which could include grated carrots or zucchini, minced mushrooms or kimchi instead of the onions. Instead of scallions, I used green onions, and doubled the amount. I cooked the pancakes in butter instead of oil too. I used the recommended amber ale: Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale by Tree Brewing of Kelowna.
Because I wanted to serve them as an appie, I made little tiny ones that could be popped into the mouth. A dip would be great with them.
1 c. (250 ml) flour
2/3 c. (160 ml) rice flour
pinch of kosher salt
1 1/3 c. (330 ml) amber ale, cold
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. (15 ml) oil
oil, for cooking
Pre-heat the oven to 250 F to keep the cooked pancakes warm.
Cut scallions on the diagonal into slivers.
Whisk both flours and the salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the very cold beer, beaten eggs and oil and whisk to form a smooth, lump-free batter.
Fold in the sliced scallions, reserving just a few as a garnish.
Heat a non-stick pan with a little oil and butter over medium heat until the oil begins to shimmer and the butter is melted.
Ladle enough batter into the pan to make pancakes the size you want, then cook undisturbed for three or four minutes, or until the batter has set. Flip over and cook for two or three minutes more.
Hold finished pancakes in the warm oven while you finish the rest of the batter.