beer beer beer beer, and Gluten free homebrew!

I have been a busy gardener lately. Lots of tomato canning, tomatillo canning and freezing beans. My eggplants still have a tinge of green around the purple, so to me that means not ripe. I am going to attempt to freeze those some how as they are always all ripe at once. I must have bought a different variety than last year.

I attempted to save some seeds from 5 different heirloom tomatoes for next year and was quite unsuccessful. I ending up creating a moldy fruit fly breeding habitat instead. Last year it worked. I planted the little seeds. They came up and then I fried them in their little green house containers. So I ended up buying plants. I guess I will just buy seeds instead and give it one more go next year. Eventually I want to have a little hoop house for lengthening my season.

I mowed the lawn for what I hope to be the last time of the year. We even had a fire in the wood stove. Now, it is 81F again. Tonight it is our Firkin beer club meeting and we are all meeting at a friend’s house on a lake – a bonfire will certainly be part of the evening as will my new Green’s beers. They are tasty and have a great, true Belgian flavor. The bottles are 16.9 oz and run about $7 in my area. You might think that is a lot, but my boyfriend – who is also a home brewer, buys bombers (22 oz) of specialty beer (I think Stone is his favorite) all the time when he has no home brew around. So, if you appreciated good beer, real ale, before becoming gluten intolerant or Celiac, then this might be the beer for you. If you appreciated Labatt before hand, then New Grist or Red Bridge is for you. I haven’t decided where to place Bard’s Tale. Probably with New Grist and Red Bridge. Ramapo (sorry guys) shouldn’t even be purchased. It was nothing like beer and nothing like what I want to drink. Maybe they were shooting to make a barley wine, but turned left at the wrong spot.

I did make a gluten free beer – actually two. They are still in my basement and still untasted. I will change that right now. I am going to march down there and pour a sample. Clear or not. Please pause for the cause and I will return.

Well, they are tasty if you can get past the bitterness. I used far too many hops for the sorghum to stand up to. The IPA has the right bitterness if it were to have the malt balance, but the balance is lacking. It has a sort of pineapple nose without the sweetness. I could tone it down and make a fine pale ale with some practice. New Grist, Bard’s Tale and Redbridge are all lagers. I am an ale girl.

The porter, well, it has a really nice roasted flavor that deepens the taste, but still no malt to balance the hops I used. It is not as hoppy as the IPA of course. I think I roasted whole GF oats that I shoveled out of my cousin’s storage barn. He raises oats for the chickens they have. I also roasted some rice and millet. I will need to look the recipe up, but we are on the way. Thank you for all the silent thoughts of “she said she was going to post about that beer and still hasn’t done it”. Actually, I think it was finally tasting a good GF beer that motivated me, gave me hope.

This post started out to be one about the perfecting of Vietnamese spring rolls and end of year gardening. It will have to wait. I have perfected them, you will be happy to know, using the dried rice wrappers. Patience and a good fryer are needed.

So, time to work on more beer. I eventually want to brew a spelt beer, since I can now. However I have had difficulty hunting down malted spelt – the key ingredient. I never liked wheat beers (wiessen or weizen or hefe) that much, so if my spelt beers taste like that, I will stick with sorghum.

We did take our mead and cider to Wheatland with us. The mead needs to mellow another year. The hard cider is a bit on the acidic side because I am a lazy brewer and let it sit on the yeast bed for too long. Once it is finished fermenting, ale and cider yeast falls to the bottom of the container. At this point, one should transfer (rack) the beverage to a new container, leaving the yeast behind so you don’t get off flavors (like I did) and to have better clarity (not from drinking said beverage, but to see through it).

Here are the pics from brewing(click through to see the photos):

a whole world awaits….
i’m out

Farm markets, goat cheese, knitting and finally Wheatland is here!

veggies at the market

Well this started out as a food, knitting and brewing blog and got a little side tracked by all things food. I just started a new knitting project. People all around me seem to be in baby having mode, so I have started a baby blanket for my good friends who think they are pregnant with a hairy squid. They are two people who have lots of hair and are worried about the end result – the baby. It will probably be bald for the first two years out of spite for it’s nickname. None the less, I have chosen a sex free color that is water themed (baby should be an Aquarius too). As soon as I have more than 2 inches I will post a pic, right now it just looks like the beginnings of anything.

Oh and I read Harry Potter. Finally it was my turn. I was number 523 on the library list and my turn finally arrived. It’s a good one folks, but most of you have already read it. Now we need a new series like that, one that is magical and can transport you away with a few words, even if it is a kids book.

We visited the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and Zingerman’s Deli on Saturday and will post about my recent round of farm market trips soon. I have been doing some local research. We managed to spend way too much money on cheese, salted capers, cured sausages and smoked paprika. We did purchase wedges of about 10 goat or sheep cheeses (research again).

heirloom garlic at the farmer's market

Heirloom garlic

Tonight for dinner:

Homemade naan (with spelt)

Dal with garden tomatoes (the one pint out of 48 that didn’t seal this weekend while canning), red beans, curry leaves, fenugreek leaves, black mustard seeds, onion seeds, coriander, black cardamom, onion, ginger and garlic ( I just got it cooking so thought it best to write up the recipe right now)

Indonesian Beef Redang ( I know the rest of the meal is Indian, but I wanted to try it.)

Pakora’s with cilantro mint chutney – this time I really will post the recipe for the chutney. Mint, Cilantro, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, yogurt, salt, lime juice and a splash of oil to emulsify.

The naan turned out wonderfully, flaky, soft and tender with a bit of tang. Thank goodness for my little toaster oven as my gas oven heats the entire kitchen. The Saag was great too, best batch yet. Beef Rendang – tasty, a bit too spicy hot (and I like it hot) and a bit to heavy on the coconut oil. Dal – creamy, spicy and healthy to boot.

OK, we are off to Wheatland Music Festival this weekend – a nice long, well deserved weekend with many of our friends. There probably will be about 8 different homebrews on tap and one cider for me, so we may never leave the camp as from our site we can hear all the mainstage music. We volunteer so in turn receive early passes in for camping on Thursday. I might even play my mando. Certainly I will knit. On the menu, Carne adovada, chicken curry, hash browns and various snacks, including my white bean truffle spread – all our friends like to cook up a batch of something to bring.

Whappy heatland (happy wheatland for those of you unfamilar with the fest greeting)

i’m out and i’m festing….