...sharing food...

i am currently sharing food pictures from Belize and travels in Latin America.... i hope you enjoy!
i have started this blog with a number of ideas in mind. i love to cook, bake, and otherwise play with food, so i thought sharing what i do might be fun. i am also going to use this as a means of recording the various dishes that i do come up with. i try to use all organic and as much local food as possible, and i am vegetarian, although a fish dish or two may pop up on here at some point along the way. i'll try to describe what i do to make the food, but if you want a recipe, email me at cocinadooglasATgmailDOTcom. i will also offer up some restaurant reviews from time to time, and share food that i eat on my travels. otherwise, enjoy, and make some food!!!

oh yeah... i like beer too!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sweet and Sour Stirfry

I haven't posted on cooking in a while, and that's largely because I've been living on sandwiches and Amy's frozen meals. Well I finally had a few things in the fridge that I wanted to use up, and decided to put something together - a pepper and onion sweet and sour stirfry. I've had some trouble in the past finding a good balance between the sweet and sour, but this one turned out pretty good. The tamari and pineapple juice complement each other fairly well, and the chili flakes add a nice bit of spiciness. If I had some, I would have added some tofu. Here's the recipe:

2 medium carrots
2 green peppers
2 small yellow onions
garlic to your taste (I like to use a lot)
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
6-8 oz pineapple juice
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp red chili flakes

Start by cooking the chopped carrots over medium-high heat for about 1-2 minutes. Add onion, garlic and peppers, cook for 5-7 minutes. Add pineapple, juice and tamari, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add cilantro and chili flakes, cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, serve over rice.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bust a Nut Brown Ale!

As I noted in a previous post, I finally broke down and purchased the equipment to start making my own beer, and about 1 month ago, a group of friends and I brewed our first beer - a nut brown ale. It turned out to be a great decision. It has given us another fun reason to get together, as there were six of us at the brewing, then eight of us at the tasting. If you enjoy cooking and creating in the kitchen, and you also enjoy craft beers, then homebrewing is a natural extension. I picked up the recipe and ingredients from Southern Brewing in Tampa, and the guys there have been friendly and helpful ever since.

Here's the tasting impression of the first brew of our recently dubbed "Greenbriar Artisan Brews" followed by the recipe:

Bust a Nut Brown Ale
Malty aroma - a slight smell of yeast
pours with a big head - well carbonated; doesn't hold that long.
a mild tasting malty brown; almost creamy with notes of walnut; slight hoppy finish.
aftertaste is a bit nutty.
not at it's best right out of the fridge. i didn't temp check it, but it seemed to be best at what i think was about 55 degrees.

Ingredients (for a 5-gallon, extract brew):
Yeast - Nottingham dry yeast
Malt - 5 lbs Amber Dry Malt Extract
Steeping Grains -
- 1 lb Briess Carmel 40L
- .5 lb Briess Victory
- 1 lb Briess Flaked Oats
- .25 lb Fawcett Pale Chocolate
Hops -
- 1 oz Fuggles (60 min)
- .5 oz EKG (15 min)
Priming Sugar (Dextrose) for bottling

Heat 2 gallons water to between 165 & 175 degrees and remove from heat. Place steeping grains into a mesh bag and steep for 30 minutes. Remove bags, strain, bring pot to a boil. Remove from heat, and add malt extract, stirring constantly until dissolved. Return to heat, and slowly bring to boil, being cautious of boil over. Boil for 5 minutes. Add Fuggles hops, boil for 45 minutes, add EKG hops, boil for 15 minutes more. Remove from heat. This is your wort.
Place the pot in an ice bath to drop temperature to about 110-120 degrees. Vigorously pour wort into fermenting bucket, add cold water to the 5 gallon mark. Wort should be below 80 degrees, add yeast, cover with airlock in lid.

The beer must now ferment for at least 10 days, but 2 weeks is probably better. I use a water bath in a round plastic keg holder that I purchased at the Home Depot garden center. It must be temperature controlled and kept in a range of about 60-74 degrees. I add ice bottles once in the morning and once at night, keep it covered, and that seems to do the trick.

After fermentation is complete, it's time to bottle. Dissolve the priming sugar in about 1 cup of water, add to bottling bucket. Carefully and slowly siphon beer into bottling bucket, causing as little oxygenation as possible. Bottle the beer. Five gallons gives you about 25 22oz bottles or 52 12oz bottles.

The beer is then ready in about 2 weeks. Some people try it after 1 week. I've heard it peaks at 3 months, and then deteriorates after about 6 months. Most important, enjoy your fresh yummy homebrew!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beer in Tampa Bay: Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

Another Dogfish Head treat to share - this time around it's the World Wide Stout - a crazy dark 18%+ stout from one of the coolest breweries on the planet. I am so happy to be able to buy their beer down here in Florida. It poured nearly black to a medium head that dissipated quickly, but still held a nice laciness on top throughout the drinking. As expected with such a high alcohol stout, the initial taste is of the sweet sweet barley. The sweet gives way quickly though, to complex flavors of slight smoke, a little caramel, maybe even some molasses and what I think tastes like cherries in there too. The warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach betrayed the high alcohol content which was surprisingly absent from the taste. For a single twelve oz bottle I paid $9, but after trying it out, it won't be the last one that I drink. Cheers to Dogfish Head for giving us such interesting and yummy brews to keep us warm (even in steamy hot Floriday) and happy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Beer in Tampa Bay: Humidor Series Ale from Cigar City

Living in the Tampa Bay area has recently gotten a whole lot better with the addition of Cigar City Brewing and their numerous unique ales. A bit hard to find, and only available in large bottles (and on tap at some area bars), Cigar City's brews have been well worth the search. While picking up some lunch at an Italian market in St Petersburg, I spotted a variety I have yet to see or try: the Humidor Series Ale. This is the first bottled edition of what is to be a rotating series of beer that will be aged in special (and rare) cedar-wood tanks. From Cigar City's website:
Cedar has a more subtle effect on beer than more traditional woods like oak. But, we think that once you taste it you'll agree that cedar deserves a place along side oak in the brewer's wood-aging toolbox. Humidor series beers will vary due to style, but are always a good option for pairing with a fine cigar.
This first edition to the series takes their Jai Alai India Pale Ale (7.5% ABV) and puts it in that special cedar tank. What can I say but yummmm!
The beer poured to a nice big head that was easily resurrected with a simple swirl of my glass once I began drinking. The Jai Alai is a hoppy IPA with notes of citrus that mixed and mingled surprisingly well with the hints of cedar culled from the tank. The floral aroma and initial mouth feel bring on the taste of an IPA, and then the cedar slides in and mellows it all out. This is a really nice beer made unique by the cedar casking - highly recommended!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Beer in Tampa Bay: Immort Ale by Dogfish Head

As may be noticed, posts on my unique kitchen creations have been lacking for a while now, and I must admit that I have struggled to put much effort into my meals these days. One thing I have continued though is drinking beer. And after all, I figure beer does resided in the kitchen! When I first moved to the Tampa Bay area 5 years ago, I was shocked at how poor the beer selection was here - especially coming from the beer mecca of Philadelphia. Lucky for me (and all the other beer fans in the area), things have picked up down here in America's wang. Along with the increased variety, I have even commenced my first attempt at brewing: a nut brown ale about which I will post soon. So, the point of this little diatribe? I've decided to share some of the beers that I've been able to enjoy down here, along with some of the places from whence they have come. In other words: a little Tampa Bay Beer Love...

And so... first to be shared?

Dogfish Head Immort Ale
What we have here is a twelve oz bottle of 11% abv (alcohol by volume) goodness.
I first drank this with a few friends, and most of them didn't really like it, and I have to admit it does have a 'unique' taste when it first enters your mouth. Still, there was something interesting there, so I had another, and that's when I realized how unique - ly good this beer really is. It pours to a nice creamy head that lingers throughout the drinking. The label tells of the maple, vanilla, and oak notes of the beer, and strangely, each of these tastes boldly linger until the nice smooth finish after you swallow. At first taste, I felt like I was drinking a sweeter beer - similar to a barley wine perhaps - but it finishes so smooth and almost light, it becomes a highly drinkable high-alcohol beer. In fact, I liked it so much I had to go out and buy myself another 4-pack. If you enjoy beers that are a bit unique, go get yourself one of these tasty brews from one of my favorite breweries in the country these days.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Peter Jennings on "How the Food Industry is Deceiving You"

This series of five 8(ish) minute videos is from 2007, but you may still find it very informative and certainly pretty interesting. Two years later, virtually nothing has changed...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Emerging Issues in the U.S. Organic Industry

Read this new report from the USDA which includes details on the new incentives for farmers to transition to organic practices.
The abstract:
Consumer demand for organic products has widened over the last decade. While new producers have emerged to help meet demand, market participants report that a supply squeeze is constraining growth for both individual firms and the organic sector overall. Partly in response to shortages in organic supply, Congress in 2008 included provisions in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (2008 Farm Act) that, for the first time, provide direct financial support to farmers to convert to organic production. This report examines recent economic research on the adoption of organic farming systems, organic production costs and returns, and market conditions to gain a better understanding of the organic supply squeeze and other emerging issues in this rapidly changing industry.

Click here for links to the entire report >>>

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Find Your Farmer

An article in the NYTimes shares a new effort by a company from the western U.S. to help and encourage consumers to connect to the sources of their food.
The underlying idea, broadly called traceability, is in fashion in many food circles these days. Makers of bananas, chocolates and other foods are also using the Internet to create relationships between consumers and farmers, mimicking the once-close ties that were broken long ago by industrialized food manufacturing.

Visit the site @ findthefarmer.com>>>

Continue reading the NYTimes article>>>

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No More High Fructose Corn Syrup!

A handful of popular beverages are reportedly removing HFCS from their products, including Snapple, Mountain Dew and Pepsi. Apparently the move stems from consumer preferences that appear to be wising up to the dangers of the federally subsidized product.

Read the rest of the article here>>>

Sunday, February 22, 2009