We did it again! another month, another theme – the CookUp Club meets again. This time we gathered together in my kitchen for an evening filled with Beer Bread, Bourbon Maple Glazed Pistachios tossed over salad, Sake Soaked Clams, Drunken Pasta, wine-drenched Stuffed Mushrooms, and Guinness Chocolate Whiskey and Irish Cream Cupcakes for dessert – we basically cleaned our liquor cabinets dry. With alcohol as the inspiration, it seeped its way into every dish. Being together in the kitchen not only brightened our spirits, it also inspired us to try new recipes, cooking methods and ingredients; some of the many perks of cooking together as a group. If you’re curious for a taste, snapshots from the evening and recipes courtesy of the CookUp Club are below.
Not part of her usual repertoire, but for the evening Tal of Eva Sweets baked a moist beer bread. Slathered with butter, it’s a treat and a great way to kick-off the evening.
Here’s the recipe:
375 grams of flour
375 ml beer
1 tablespoon of salt
15 grams fresh yeast
50 grams sugar
75 grams chopped walnuts
Grease and flour a loaf pan. Combine the yeast with half of the beer in a bowl and place aside for 10 minutes to rest. When the yeast has bubbled, add the flour, salt, sugar and the rest of the beer to the yeast and mix until all the ingredients are well combined (take care to not over-blend). Add the walnut and gently fold into the batter. Pour the mixture into the pan and let rise for at least an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.
Bourbon Maple Glazed Pistachios
As we all chopped, sliced, diced, mixed, and poured we nibbled while we worked and tasted Bourbon Maple Glazed Pistachios. Tricia who whips up the blog Cheeky Attitude made the pistachios ahead (see top right photo) and then tossed them into the salad. Whether added to a salad or as a snack, it makes a fun bite.
Sake Steamed Clams
To add some fun to the kitchen, Beth who dishes up OMG! Yummy brought a couple bottles of sake to sip on, and sake was also an ingredient in her Sake Steamed Clams recipe. The clams surprised us all at how relatively easy they were to prepare (once they were cleaned) and a small bite made a big impression. Served over steamed rice drenched with the broth, it was wonderful to try with a shot of sake. I believe in Japan before eating a meal one says ‘itadakimasu’ and to toast with a drink ‘kampai’ — cheers!
Things started heating up in the kitchen when the clams went on the stove and water and wine started boiling to make the Drunken Pasta. Yes, you read that right, water AND wine. It was an interesting preparation; for many Drunken Pasta elicited thoughts of a vodka cream sauce, but this was a new take on cooking with alcohol. Drenched in a butter sauce that would make even Julia Child blush, this dish warmed us up and was welcome on the plate.
2 cups of flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water (approx)
Mix everything to a firm dough, then use a pasta roller to make the fettuccine, and let dry for 2 hours.
For boiling the pasta:
Mixture of 50% red wine and 50% water
1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 chopped onion
1 cup of white wine
1/4 cup Parmesan for sauce, and another 1/4 cup for plating
1/4 cup sage
Salt and pepper
Bring the red wine mixture to a boil. In a separate large pan, melt the butter, and add the onion, cook until soft, but not brown. Add the white wine, and continue to cook. Add the pasta to the boiling wine-water, and let it cook for at least 3 minutes, to release the starch. Strain pasta and move it to the pan. Coat the pasta well with the sauce, and add Parmesan, sage, salt and pepper to taste before serving. Sprinkle more Parmesan on top before plating, and voila!
While friends were preparing the pasta, I was busy cooking wine-drenched mushrooms. Playing host and cooking has it’s disadvantages. Not fully paying attention to my pan, I grabbed a Côtes du Rhône red for the recipe, but don’t try this at home, opt for a dry white wine instead to enhance the earthiness of the mushrooms. This classic appetizer is delightful, full of flavor and indeed worth a bite. Here’s the recipe for scrumptious Stuffed Mushrooms.
Guinness Chocolate Cake Whiskey Ganache and Irish Cream Cupcakes
If bowls of creamy gooey chocolate, luscious whipped cream and rich chocolate cake makes you swoon — brace yourself. No doubt the sweet smell that wafted through the kitchen while preparing the batter and cream for the cupcakes overwhelmed us all. It was impossible not to catch a whiff of the whiskey and crave the Irish cream as these were being prepped by Tal with a little help from us all. If sweets are your thing, this recipe takes the cake.
Recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cake, Whiskey Ganache, and Irish Cream Cupcakes:
140 gram flour (1cup)
½ cup beer
pinch of salt
120 gram butter
200 gram sugar (1 cup)
35 gram cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
½ cup sour cream
120 gram bitter sweet chocolate
40 ml heavy whipping cream
15 grams butter
1 tablespoon Whiskey
Irish Cream Topping:
120 grams white chocolate
100 ml heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoon Irish cream
250 ml whipping cream
Irish cream topping: melt the chocolate with the whipping cream on a ‘bain marie’, add the Irish cream and mix well. Let cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
In a small pot mix the beer and the butter until well blended, add the cocoa powder and mix until smooth, set aside to cool down. In a bowl mix the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt. In the mixer, mix the sour cream and egg until well blended than add the beer mixture – mix well. Fold in the flour mixture. Divide evenly and pour into a cupcake pan (fill each mold ¾ full). Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Melt the chocolate, butter and whipping cream on a ‘bain marie’, add the Whisky and mix well. Let cool down. Add the Irish cream mixture to the remaining whipping cream and mix until you get a soft cream. Cut out the middle of the cupcake in order to make a small hole. Pipe a teaspoon of the Whisky Ganache inside. Decorate with the Irish cream topping.
Finally after all the cooking, we sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor and savor a meal together. Thank you for joining us for a taste, and hope you get to try the recipes in your kitchen!