Wednesday, October 30, 2013

IPA Pizza Bites

Happy 30th Birthday to my buddy, Jess!! And no, I am not talking to myself here, I just so happen to share my name with my bestie!

In honor of her big birthday today, I recreated a memorable dish that we shared in San Francisco during our trip this bites!!

IPA Pizza Bites

Jess and I share a common palate, one for fine foods and wines...well, most of the time. This quickly changed when she introduced me to the pizza bites at Russian River Brewing Company. They incorporate the beer in the pizza dough. Life changing!! 

Needless to say, we threw our "refined" palates out the door for some good ole' fashioned pizza and beer. However, recently I have felt that beer is just as versatile as wine, especially with microbreweries popping up everywhere and restaurants staring beer in their recipes. 

IPA Pizza Bites

I took a few short cuts for this recipe since I am not much of a baker and can honestly say that I have NEVER made bread from scratch. So, I purchased the pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe's, brushed a little IPA-goodness on top and loader 'er up with cheese and herbs. 

Voila....IPA pizza bites! 

Happy Birthday Jess, wish we were there to celebrate with you :)

IPA Pizza Bites

Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Pre-made pizza dough (I like to use Trader Joe's)
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup IPA beer
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450F and place a pizza stone in the oven to warm up.

On a clean, dry surface, liberally sprinkle out flour and roll out the dough to desired size. Move the dough to a pizza peel if you have one. Brush the IPA all over the dough, don't be shy!

Spread both cheese on top of the dough and sprinkle seasonings and garlic powder. Transfer the pizza to the hot pizza stone and bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and brown a bit.

Cut into bites and serve with your favorite marinara immediately.

IPA Pizza Bites

Sunday, October 27, 2013

5 Beers You'll "Fall" Head Over Heels For

Special treat to start off your week, a guest post from the Hubby!! At least one thing will cheer you up on a Monday...Fall beers!

5 Beers You'll "Fall" Head Over Heels For |

Hey there Kettler Cuisine readers! Ryan aka “The Hubby” here. Hope you’re enjoying everything that comes along with the Kettler household’s favorite season, FALL!!

Color-changing leaves, football, bonfires, Halloween, and hoodies aren’t the only things that I look forward to. I also anxiously await the release of the many glorious Fall seasonal beers that some of my favorite breweries put out!

5 Beers You'll "Fall" Head Over Heels For |

These beers span the autumn flavor spectrum. Typically you’ll see A LOT of pumpkin and marzen (the traditional oktoberfest beer) along with some lesser known flavors like maple. 

More darker beers such as stouts, porters, and browns come into the equation. These Fall beers are usually higher in alcohol content so they have a nice warming effect on cooler evenings. Dark beers tend to be smoother because of their dark malt characteristics (think of the velvety consistency of a Guinness as opposed to the crispness of a pilsner for example).

One thing’s for sure: there’s something suitable for even the most fickle palette. 

Today I would like to share with you 5 of my favorite fall seasonal beers, so sit back, pour a cold one (or a hot toddy), and enjoy!

Warlock - Southern Tier Brewing Co.

This imperial pumpkin stout gets us started with a bang. At 8.6% abv, it’s not messing around.  I was able to try this one the other day and boy, was it delicious. The vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon characteristics made it taste like a liquified s’more. No joke.

Commercial description: Imperial stout brewed with pumpkins Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own and also to counterpoint our Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet. Dark and mysterious, the Blackwater Series is serious about high gravity. Reanimate your senses with Warlock’s huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation and spicy pumpkin pie aroma.

Food pairings: Particularly tasty with spicy BBQ, smoked or roasted foods. Try it as a float with a scoop of organic vanilla ice cream, or paired with a slice of carrot cake.

Pumking - Southern Tier Brewing Co.

I couldn’t mention Warlock without giving a nod to its flavorful cousin, Pumking! Another must-have fall ale if you can’t get enough pumpkin flavor. This beer contains a whopping portion of pumpkin puree and according to the brewery, is “bewitched and brewed with pagan spirit”. 

Commercial description: All Hallows Eve is a time of the year when spirits can make contact with the physical world, and when magic is most potent. It is thought that we harness this magic to brew our powerful pumpkin ale. Not so, but it is with great respect to the magic of their trade that our brewers produce this fine beer. Take a whiff of this complex ale and your journey has just begun. At first sip, a magical spell will bewitch your taste buds, yet another victim enraptured by the Pumking.

Food pairings: Particularly tasty when paired with traditional thanksgiving dinner, a compliment to pumpkin pie, desserts. 

Marzen - The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery

I’ll go ahead and apologize to all of you reading this in a state other than North Carolina. The Duck-Rabbit is an awesome brewery located in tiny Farmville, NC, about an hour and a half east of Raleigh, so their scale doesn’t allow them to distribute nationwide. 

If you ever make it to NC during the Fall, be sure to pick one of these gems up. It’s a wonderfully balanced marzen, which is the traditional style of beer that is served at most German beer gardens during Oktoberfest. 

Dark brown, full-bodied, and bitter, marzen is often kept in the cellar until late in the summer.

There’s no corporate description for this beer yet but it’s dark amber in color, smells of caramel and fruit, has a slightly sweet and bitter taste. Wunderbar!

Food pairings: Fried chicken with white gravy, roast leg of lamb, roast pork, chicken cordon bleu, sausage, and pretzels.

Punkin Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

This easy-drinking ale is more accessible to the general populace, and that’s great because it’s very tasty! I actually had it on the 1st of October when Jessica and I went to our favorite Raleigh restaurant, Poole’s Diner, for our 2nd anniversary!

Most beer connoisseurs would consider this to be more of a “harvest” beer instead of a pumpkin because it isn’t very heavy on the pumpkin flavor. You will get a lot of spice aromas and a really nice sweet aftertaste that lingers pleasantly. Nicely balanced overall. 

Commercial description: A full-bodied brown ale with smooth hints of pumpkin and brown sugar. We brew our Punkin Ale with pumpkin meat, organic brown sugar and spices. As the season cools, this is the perfect beer to warm up with. 

Food pairings: Turkey, roasted duck, lamb, stuffing, dessert dumplings, sharp cheddar.

Smashed Pumpkin - Shipyard Brewing Co.

In case you couldn’t tell already, I’m a huge fan of pumpkin. If you share my sentiments, then this beer will not let you down. 

This ale is considered by most beer knurds to be in the top 10 of pumpkin beers because of it’s intense pumpkin flavor and brown sugar sweetness. That sweetness combines with the exceptional malt giving it a buttery pie crust flavor. Now who wouldn’t like that?

5 Beers You'll "Fall" Head Over Heels For |

Commercial description: Smashed Pumpkin is a big-bodied beer with a light coppery orange color and pleasing aromas of pumpkin and nutmeg. The Pale Ale, Wheat and Light Munich malts combine with the natural tannin in pumpkin and the delicate spiciness of hops to balance the sweetness of fruit.

Food pairings: roasted turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, brown sugar squash pie.

Be sure to keep your eye out for these beers in your local grocers or craft beer shops as some (especially Warlock & Pumking) are in very high demand and therefore sell out quickly. The word “seasonal” infers you won’t be able to have the opportunity to try them again until next Fall! Don’t fret though, there’s always a new season right around the bend. WINTER BEERS ARE COMING!

I hope you all have enjoyed reading about the 5 spectacular beers. Do you have any Fall seasonal beers that I didn’t mention? I want to hear about them, so leave a comment below! Cheers!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NY Times Purple Plum Torte

Oh Smitten Kitchen, you did it again! You brought a wonderful recipe to the surface and to my attention! I saw this and thought, this would be a good "cheat" recipe. 

I have been so good about getting back into my gluten free diet since returning from Costa Rica (and yes, those posts are coming soon). I just knew this recipe was going to be the one to throw me off, and it was! I behaved though, I only had a little bit and shared the rest of the cake with Ryan and friends. 

NY Times Purple Plum Torte

Since I wasn't born when this recipe first appeared in the NY Times, I was excited to try it for the first time considering the praise it received from Deb herself and millions of NY Times readers!

NY Times Purple Plum Torte

Deb wasn't lying when she said this was an easy, no-fail recipe. It has simple ingredients, minimal dishes and utensils needed, and cooks perfectly every time! I couldn't find the Italian plums that she refers to, but used regular plums instead and it turned out fine.

This would be a great early Fall dessert or a nice sweet brunch addition. For the recipe and story behind it, hop over to Smitten Kitchen.

Happy plumin'!

Purple Plum Torte

Yields: 1 9-inch round cake
Recipe found at Smitten Kitchen

NY Times Purple Plum Torte

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash

Sometimes you just need a hearty breakfast. I finally made it back into the running circuit after several broken toes and flare ups. Ryan and I ran the Bull City Race Fest 5 Miler yesterday and had a blast! I was supposed to do the half marathon, but decided to drop back and not push myself. Best decision I have made yet!! When I got home, my stomach started growling instantaneously, and made me think of this amazing hearty breakfast I made a few days prior.

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash |

I always have sweet potatoes in my kitchen now, especially being gluten free. I still crave carbs and since bread doesn't cut it, sweet potatoes fill that void. I usually bake a few at a time, so I have leftovers to eat during the week. I just happened to have one already cooked in the fridge, so chopped it up and made a hash. If you plan ahead, you can bake the potatoes the night before for a quick breakfast the next morning.

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash |

In my opinion, a breakfast hash isn't complete without a fried egg (runny yolk of course) on top! I tossed a little kale in there for some color and Vitamin A, C and K!!

Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Hash

Yields: 1 serving 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

1 small sweet potato, cooked and cubed
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil, split
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
1 cup fresh kale, chopped
1 slice favorite cheese
1 organic egg
salt and pepper

Over medium heat, saute the onion in 1/2 oil in a medium saute pan until translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir in the kale and cook just until wilted, then add in the sweet potato and heat through. Transfer the hash to a plate, top with a slice of cheese right away to allow this to melt. 

Add in the remaining grapeseed oil and fry the egg to desired style. I like an over-easy egg so the yolk is still runny. Place the egg on top of the hash and salt and pepper to your little hearts desire! Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash |

Friday, October 11, 2013

Dolores Dirty Hippie Martini

My girl, Jess loves her some dirty martinis! Who can blame her? There is something sophisticated and refreshing about sipping on a fancy martini.

A drink like this is a Friday afternoon thing for me...after a long, hard week of work. There is nothing like that first sip that helps you dive right into a relaxing weekend. Many times during the weekend, I find myself dreading Monday morning. But Friday afternoons, you don't think about this. There is an infinity of time ahead of you until Monday. It is the perfect time for a dirty martini, or what we are calling in this post for Jess, a "Dolores Dirty Hippie."

Dolores Dirty Hippie Martini |

One could consider this sort of an add-on from the last post about San Francisco and our favorite part, the Mission. In the center of the Mission is Dolores Park, a great spot for people watching. In an extremely liberal town, this park is about as liberal as it gets. A hot bed of hippies and hippie activities.

Dolores Dirty Hippie Martini |

In the early days, a martini was made of equal parts gin and dry vermouth. However, over the years, the amount of vermouth has decreased, the gin increased, and in many cases changed to vodka. This is how we like it, mostly vodka, a little dry vermouth and either olive juice (Hubby) or a twist of lemon (Me).

Everyone prefers different types of vodka, here are our favs:

Top Shelf - Belvedere
Mid Shelf - Stolichnaya (Stoli)
Bottom Shelf - Pinnacle

Since it is Friday, and my dear friends birthday month, we here at Kettler Cuisine present the Dolores Dirty Hippie...Cheers!

Dolores Dirty Hippie Martini |
Drawing by GreenGirlCanvas on Etsy

Dolores Dirty Hippie Martini

Yields: 1 cocktail

3 ounces top shelf vodka
splash dry vermouth (coat the glass) + 1/2 ounce
1/2 ounce olive juice (or more)
2-3 Queen green olives stuffed with pimentos

Place the martini glass in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Fill a martini shaker with ice and pour in the vodka, vermouth and olive juice. Add a splash of vermouth to the chilled glass and coat the glass. Shake the vodka mixture vigorously and pour into the prepared glass. Spear olives on a pick and enjoy!

Dolores Dirty Hippie Martini |

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3

Ok, its about time I got around to this.....the final installment of Ryan and I's trip to San Francisco is by far the most important! The food! 

Unless you've been there, it is hard for me to explain the scrumptious cuisine at every turn in San Fran. From fresh cherries, to homemade ice cream, to authentic Sicilian cuisine, we left about 5 pounds heavier, and a whole lot happier :) 

The breweries and wineries might bring people to CA, but the food makes them stay. 

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

Even though it felt like we spent an entire day just to get to San Fran, only to arrive at 10am, Ryan and I were energized when we arrived! We were pumped to be there, to see our friends, to explore, but most importantly, we were HUNGRY! After settling in a bit, we walked around the corner to The Plant, Jessica's favorite organic spot (with some damn good juices too)! We munched on delightful fish tacos, kale salad, coconut tempeh and udon noodles while planning our weekend together.

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |         Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

After our rather large meal, and weekend plan, we started walking back home and spotted a little gelato spot. We suddenly realized we had to fill the hollow spot in our legs, so we stopped in...

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |
Black cherry pastrocchio and lemon gelato

Then it was off for our beer tasting at Lagaunitas and Russian River in Santa Rosa. I thought Ryan was going to cry, he was so happy to be there. We couldn't waste another moment, so decided to all try different beers and share. (And yes, as you probably figured out, I was NOT very good about my gluten free diet that weekend).

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

At Lagaunitas, I tried Etwas kolsch, Brandy Barrel Aged Stout, Lucky 13 and Schemed Saison. The saison was my favorite! At Russian River, we ordered the ridiculous 16 sampler and these amazing pizza bites made with their signature Pliny beer. Yes, these were worth EVERY calorie!

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

After several beers and stuffing ourselves with pizza bites, it was bedtime for the Southern travelers.

Jessica thought it would be a great idea to run the Lyons Steps the next morning...not so great after about 22 hours awake, plus many drinks. This straight up kicked my butt, and Corey's!! Jessica and Ryan were running circles around us. (Sorry to call you out Corey, but I couldn't be alone on this one)!

We picked up coffee and treats at Chestnut Street Coffee Roastery and got ready for our trip out to wine country. After a few wedding venue stops (which were amazingly gorgeous), we stopped into Healdsburg Bar & Grill for a much deserved cocktail and late lunch.

I should pause to explain that bar food in wine country is VERY different than in the South. They actually have local wines and produce on their menus. And, not everything is deep fried or covered in cheese! I enjoyed a refreshing John Daly cocktail and a grilled asparagus salad with green goddess dressing, pea shoots and radish (apologize for the picture qu.

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |         Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

Ok so maybe there was some deep fried food (like deep fried bacon and truffle fries) :)

We then headed over to Jessup Cellars, which we all know about already, to taste the finest of Napa! Afterwards, we rushed home, threw on a jacket (because San Francisco is about 20 degrees cooler than wine country) and ran out the door to the Giants game, with a quick stop into 21st Amendment.

This was our second Giants game...the first was the day after we got engaged. Always a blast, mostly because I can find gluten free nachos and good wine there.

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

The next day was left open to explore the city a bit more. We headed over to our favorite area, the Mission for the country's best ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. As we turned the corner and saw the very long line, we popped into Bi-Rite Market for a few snacks while we waiting in line. I picked up small bag of vibrant cherries and a beet salad, perfect for a little picnic in Dolores Park, which was the happening place that Saturday!

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |      Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

Then, the moment I had been waiting for...Omnivore's Books on Food. Who would have thought that a little simple book store would get me so excited. Well, folks you don't know me very well then! This book store only has cookbooks, books about food, books about drinks, historical books on types of cuisine, and more. We spent over an hour in there perusing through these mouthwatering pages.

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

Then it was the moment that Jessica (other Jessica) had been waiting for...our special dinner. Pause for a second to discuss my little friend here. To say she loves to surprise he friends is a HUGE understatement. This girl lives off of them, and she always finds a way to make it amazing and thoughtful. She made reservations at La Ciccia for my birthday dinner. My mouth is watering just thinking about this meal!

The restaurant is barely visible from the street. You walk through the door and can't even see into the restaurant because of a large curtain. There was so much suspense leading up to it, that when I finally walked through the curtain, I felt like I was literally walking into Sicily. Most of the staff didn't speak a lot of English, just enough to recommend the perfect wines and menu items. The place probably sat about 50 people and was packed the entire time we were there. 

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

Some of the dishes that we endulged in:
  • Baby octopus stew in spicy tomato broth
  • Squid ink pasta with lemon
  • Semolina gnochetti with pork and aged pecorino
  • Seared lamp tenderloins drizzled with cooked grape must
We dined like royalty that night, and I will never forget it! (Sorry I don't have a lot of pictures, but it was a very small restaurant with even smaller amounts of light.)

Before our sad departure, we made one more stop, Fort Mason Farmers Market. It was packed full of colorful and vibrant produce and tasteful treats, one of which was a gluten and wheat free bakery, Flour Chylde Bakery.

Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |        Kettler Travel Journal - San Francisco Part 3 |

Bye San Francisco....for now :) See you next year :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spiced Apple Sauce

It feels so wonderful to be back in my kitchen! I have been a busy bee today, cooking away, motivated by the Fall spirit. Fall flavors are everywhere...apples at the Farmer's Market, pumpkin spice coffee at Trader Joe's, cinnamon candles at Target! Fall certainly has become a trendy season.

Spiced Apple Sauce |

I am ok with this, especially when it comes to apples. Even though apples are available all year round, there is something about the healthy fruit during it's peak season. I decided to attempt apple sauce for my first Fall recipe this month. It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be!

First, the apples. I don't think I realized how many different types of apples there are! I chose to mix a few different types for the sauce, Magna Bonma NC Heirloom, Virginia Beauties and Jona Gold.

Spiced Apple Sauce |

During this season, I think any apple would do as long as you like the flavor. Be sure to taste the apples before you cook with them....same concept as only cook with wines that you drink!

Spiced Apple Sauce |

Then, the added flavors. I have always been a fan of cinnamon apple sauce, so decided to add a cinnamon stick. After making the first batch, I don't really think the sauce needed any sugar since the apples are so sweet by themselves. However, I added a little maple sugar to add in a little extra comfort!

Spiced Apple Sauce

Yields: 4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 1/2 hours, plus warming time

8 cups sliced apples, skins on
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon maple sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 whole cinnamon stick
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Add all the ingredients into a slow cooker and place on high for 3 and 1/2 hours. Stir the apples every hour to prevent the skins from sticking to the bottom a bit. Keep the apples on warm for an hour to let them cool down a bit.

Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the apples and liquid into a blender or food processor and mix up. We like chunky apple sauce here, so only pulse a few times. Let the apple sauce cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze.

Spiced Apple Sauce |

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Anniversary and Fall Flavors

Happy Anniversary Hubs - 2 years :)

Anniversary |
Honeymoon in Costa Rica!!

October 1, what a great day of the year!! Besides reminding me of the best day of my life, it marks the beginning of Fall, our favorite season in the Kettler home! Since there seems to be this obsession with pumpkin flavors...

Fall Flavors |

...we decided to be Fall-flavor agnostic this year and will post a series of Fall-inspired recipes this month. Yes, this will include the occasional pumpkin-flavored-something since I am one of the many that fall into the trend :)

But for now, we want to share our amazing Anniversary meal at Poole's Diner - our favorite restaurant! Never disappoints!!

Anniversary |
Arugula salad with Marcona almonds, buttermilk blue cheese, Honeycrisp apples, red onion and maple dijon vinaigrette. 

Anniversary |
Beef carpaccio with crispy okra and horseradish creme fraiche.

Anniversary |
Local rabbit confit with trumpet royals, pink eyed peas and ricotta gnocchi.

Anniversary |
Short rib au poivre with braised cabbage, currants, tobacco onions and shallot gravy.

Anniversary |
Local green beans with toasted chili flakes and white wine.

Anniversary |
The Famous Macaroni and Cheese.

Anniversary |
Dark chocolate torte with Rye whiskey caramel and fleur de sel.

Anniversary |
Leftovers :)