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Archive for the ‘beer’ Category

We eat pretty healthy around the homestead, but every once in a while we get a hankering for something a little naughty in the food department.  Last night it was onion rings.  Mr. Homesteader asked for them; I made ’em.

Onion Rings by Ozark Homesteader

Ozark Homesteader's Onion Rings

Like my incredibly easy cheese sauce and way-too-quick chocolate sauce, I hesitate to post this recipe. (I’m starting to wonder if I need a junk food category for the blog.) The good news is that these onion rings are not that quick if you do them right, so maybe you won’t make these rings too often.

You’ll need one good-sized yellow onion, cut into rings about 1/3-inch thick each.  The ends will probably be a bit thicker; that’s okay.  Dry the onion rings.  Set up a dredging station with three bowls:  (1)  corn starch with seasoning (pinch of salt, cayenne pepper) ; (2) egg beaten with beer (about 2:1 ratio, so 2 eggs would take 1/4 cup beer); (3) panko bread crumbs.  One or two rings at a time, dredge the rings first in the corn starch, then the egg-beer mixture.  Let the rings drain from a fork before moving them to the panko crumbs using same said fork and pressing the panko mixture lightly into the rings, one ring at a time.  If you do too many rings at once in the panko, you’ll mess up your crumbs.  Now set the rings aside on a baking pan until you’ve battered them all.

To bake:  In a single pan sprayed with oil, lay out the rings and bake them at 350-375 degrees F for about 20 minutes, flipping half way through.  Season and enjoy!

To fry:  Heat two or three inches of high-temp vegetable oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven or similar pot.  You’ll want a fairly hot fry–350 degrees to 375 degrees F, to keep the oil from absorbing.  Fry rings a few at a time for a minute or two on each side, draining well before transferring the rings to a holding platter.  Season and enjoy!

We had our rings both ways the other night, and we like both ways almost equally.  Yes, it was the fried ones we liked a little more.  Maybe a quick spray of oil on the top of the baked rings before we baked them would have done the trick.  What makes these rings good are their combination of crisp and tender.  The cornstarch helps to dry the rings and lets the egg-beer batter adhere, making it possible for the panko crumbs to hang on.  The panko crumbs will remain crumbs instead of clumps because you’re breading just one ring at a time.  The results are disgustingly divine, if I do say so myself.

What junk food do you occasionally make at home?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  All rights reserved.

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Among the seeds that I grew for the first time this year was a fresh-eating soybean (edamame:  pronounced Ed-uh-mommy) called “beer friend.”  “Beer friend” grows on compact bushes and can be harvested in two relatively painless rounds.  My single seed packet yielded two big, full gallon bags of edamame, blanched in salted water and quickly frozen.  Of course, I’m not confessing to how many of the salted, blanched soybeans I munched while I was blanching the rest, plus we ate a whole bunch freshly blanched too.  I will not only grow “beer friend” again; I’m planting twice as much as I did last year.

“Beer friend” soybean is supposed to be a favorite snack in Japan, and I can see why.  To eat the edamame, give it a quick blanch in salted water and then let it cool enough to pop the beans out of the pod.  These are definitely finger food!  They are sweet, buttery, and so fresh flavored that I’m sure the whole family will love them.

Soybeans, as beans, will grow best if you pre-soak them (to give them a little head start on sprouting) and then coat them in an inoculant of helpful bacteria before you plant them.  For that reason, I recommend that you let your younger children calculate how many feet of planting you’ll have for the number of seed and prepare the row but not do the actual planting.  (You can do that!)  At least in our climate, “beer friend” edamame needed nothing more than planting and harvesting.  Since these are a bush bean whose swelling pods will make it clear when it’s time to harvest, I think they’re perfect for little hands to come back in the end and gather.  Let your children harvest them and wash them, and then help them with the blanching.  Then it’s snack time!

If you have soybeans that you’d like to save to enjoy through the winter, dip the soybean pods in boiling, heavily salted water for a minute.  Then drain them well and put them on a cookie sheet to freeze individually.  As soon as the exterior is frozen, put them in containers and try to eliminate the air.  Now when you want a little bowl for an appetizer, just pull out however many you need, microwave them for about 30 seconds (per small bowl), and serve.

Your soybeans can also help the rest of your garden grow.  I interspersed my soybeans among some of my corn, a heavy nitrogen feeder, so that the beans helped return nitrogen to the soil.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL for this site and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.

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Today was a long day off the homestead, but I came home to a wonderful dinner of organic, free range, local chicken roasted with organic apples, green onions, and carrots, with  a side of roasted potatoes with rosemary and goat cheese.  As we cleaned up the dishes, my husband blurted out, “Okay, I made supper.  What’s for dessert?”  I had nothing on hand.  I absentmindedly wandered into the pantry.  Hmmmmm.  There was a bottle of microbrewery root beer, the root beer that I bought with my father when he was visiting.  And I knew we had a really good container of organic ice cream hidden the freezer.  Neither one is local, but the combination is like magic from childhood come to bless adulthood.  I made root beer floats tonight.  We took no prisoners.  I took no pictures.  I still hope it inspires you to reach back to the simplicity of the past.

Tall glasses.  One bottle.  Scoops of ice cream.  Put the scoops of ice cream in the glasses.  Pour on the root beer.  Slurp.  Eat using a long spoon.  Mmmmmmmmm.

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Today is Robert Burns’s birthday, and since I’m both of Scottish descent and lacking meal ideas, I decided to dedicate tonight’s dinner to Scottish traditional food.  We’re having rumpledethump (onion, mashed potato, and cabbage casserole), smoked salmon, and oat bannocks alongside Bellhaven Scottish ale.  I may also add leek and tattie soup–better known as potato-leek soup.  Let me know if you are interested in recipes.  I’ll post them if they’re good!

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Given that Arkansas has an award-winning brewery and darn good locally produced raw-milk cheddar from cows that get to eat real grass, I thought a variation on Wisconsin’s renowned cheese soup might be in order for our Ozark croft.  The recipe is easy, and you should be able to make your own local, organic version just about anywhere in the country.  The only thing in our soup last night that wasn’t local was the celery, which was at least organic.  Note:  recent studies have indicated that much of the alcohol does not cook out in baking and other cooking.  Keep that in mind if you are planning on serving this soup to kids.  To serve to kids, increase the mashed potatoes and chicken broth, and eliminate the beer.  If you want to serve it to the guys for a Super Bowl Party, go ahead as is!

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1 cup leek, stalk portion only, cut in half, cleaned, and finely sliced (or 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped)
  • 1 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup mashed potatoes (nothing fancy added):  less for thinner soup, more for thicker soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • optional:  a few dashes of soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup beer* (depending on how much you like beer)

Begin by finely slicing and dicing the vegetables, adding each to a heavy pot on low heat (I used a 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven), lightly coated with oil (and maybe a thin pat of butter), as you finish chopping each vegetable.

Saute the vegetables over low heat with the pot covered for about 10-15 minutes. Now stir in the mashed potatoes.  They’ll make the mixture look a bit disgusting, but they are there to thicken the soup, so don’t leave them out.   Next, add the chicken stock and worcestershire sauce.  Taste everything.  If it needs a bit of salt, add a few dashes of soy sauce.  Let the mixture simmer on low heat until the vegetables are soft and the soup starts to thicken, about another 10 minutes. Now add the beer, starting with the lesser amount.  Finally, as the beer stops foaming, add the cheddar cheese, a little bit at a time.  Serve with good bread, maybe a nice hearty sandwich.  (We served it with homemade pumpernickel buns with fresh mustard greens, turkey salami, and a spicy pickle spread I made as well as a Diamond Bear Paradise Porter that we split.)

Our cheese came from the Daley Dairy near Rose Bud, Arkansas.  Daley Dairy markets its raw-milk cheddar under the name Honeysuckle Lane. You can purchase it at area stores such as the Ozark Country Market in Heber Springs and Liz’s health food store in Conway.  You can also purchase it through markets similar to CSAs such as Conway Locally Grown. To be frank, a bit drier cheddar would have worked better in the soup, as this cheddar tended to clump and get a bit sticky.  Still, the flavor was amazing.

What kind of beer? We selected Diamond Bear’s Pale Ale for our soup. Diamond Bear is a Little Rock brewery that has won national awards. We like pale ales, and we especially like Diamond Bear’s. Use what you ordinarily drink, as long as you stay away from the hoppiest and most citrusy beers.  Even though we went with the Pale Ale for the soup, we chose a darker beer–Diamond Bear’s Paradise Porter–to drink with dinner.  It worked well with both the cheddar-beer soup and the pumpernickel bread.

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