Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Obama Ale

Dun dun dadun dun dadun dadun dadun dun.

That's right, hail to the motherbrewing chief. Let's get one thing straight: Barry O'Brewer is not a good brewer. He leads the free world, so I don't hold it against him, but he's got a ways to go before he brews like Tommy K. You can find two of his recipes here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/09/01/ale-chief-white-house-beer-recipe. Behold the true power of the Freedom of Information Act.

Anyway, I frequent two homebrewing stores; one down here in Austin and then the one where I used to work when I'm back home. Both of them say that orders for Barack's brews are flying off the shelves. Unfortunately, his recipe is meant for beginning brewers and you can tell that they were made by some homebrew shop or beginning book and need some tweaking. Also, who boils the Honey with the Malt? Wow.

I made my own version. I wanted it out for the election, but was too slow so I only recently tapped it. I don't like my version very much. Technically it's fine, but the recipe needs a lot of tweaking and Honey Ales aren't something I crave very often, so it's likely I won't brew it again for a long time. Anyway, mine's too dark. It has a pretty copper color, but I wanted it lighter and I should've know that my Specialty Grains were too dark. It's also too sweet. It either needs more Hops to balance, or I shouldn't have used the 1 lb. of Honey in the secondary. Really, the Honey Malt imparts all the Honey flavor this beer would've needed. Similarly, it's too strong. President Obama's is strong too, clocking in around 5.8% if I remember correctly. Mine's pushing 7%. It's too much. Simmer down, remember that Honey Ales should be light, slightly sweet, and refreshing, and don't try to one up the Commander in Chief.

President Tommy K's Honey Ale

11 lb. American 2-Row
1 lb. White Wheat
12 oz. Crystal 40
8 oz. Biscuit
8 oz. Honey Malt

1 oz. Kent Goldings 6.7% AA 60 min.
0.5 oz. Fuggles 4.8% AA 10 min.
0.5 oz. Fuggles 4.8% AA 5 min.

Safale US-05

1 lb. Honey

Mash at 149 for 60 minutes. Collect 7 gallons batch sparging. Ferment at 68. Add the Honey when racking to the secondary.

Brewed: 10/19/12
OG: 1.060 (1.060 on Hydrometer and 15.5 on Refractometer)
This is before adding the 1lb of Honey.  

Racked: 11/2/12
SG: ???
Added 1 lb. Honey with about 1 quart of water

Kegged: 11/17/12
FG: 1.009

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baked Ziti

A long while ago one of my closest friends suggested I post a recipe for Baked Ziti. I did a little research and felt like Baked Ziti was boring and below my skill level. I made something else and posted it and that was that.

Or was it?

So I've been dating this chick and we get along really well and I like her very much and she's pretty much the best baker that I've ever met and cooks really well, too. She's a little more devoted to measuring cups and such than I am, though, which makes sense since she's a baker. I think it's cute. If she reads this, she might be all like "what are you talking about?" It might be in my mind and I might just not want to admit that she's a better chef than I am, too, and has intuition in the kitchen every bit as good as mine if not much better.

As usual, I digress. The point is that we made Baked Ziti together and it was some of the best stuff I've ever had in my life. The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated originally and was reposted on this site: http://thefloursack.blogspot.com/2012/07/baked-ziti.html. We changed a couple things.

As a practical manner, I normally buy the HEB brand tomato sauces. HEB, as you've seen me write before, makes some damn tasty stuff. But I saw Newman's Own for $1.88 a jar. I thought that this was a really good price, because for some reason I'd thought these were normally $4.98 a jar. So we use this stuff and it's pretty much world-dominating. For all I know, the Baked Ziti recipe sucks and Newman's Own salvaged it. I'll make it with Newman's Own again.

Just so you know: Blogger is doing something funky with the design of the ingredients. I'm too lazy to correct the html. TLDR: I'm lazy.

Baked Ziti

1 lb. Cottage Cheese2 Eggs beaten
1.5 c. (or much more) Grated Asiago
0.25 c. Kosher Salt

1 lb. Ziti
2 tbsp. Olive Oil

7 Cloves Garlic Minced
24 oz. jar Newman's Own Tomato Sauce
8 oz. can Tomato Sauce (store-brand relatively bland rubbish, it is!)
14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Sea Salt
0.5 tsp. Pepper
0.125 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Sugar
Big Bunch Basil
1 c. Heavy Cream 

1 tsp. Cornstarch
10 oz. Low-Moisture Mozzarella cubed

Boil the Ziti with 0.25 c. Kosher Salt. When Pasta is close to completion, pull out. Of the heat. Drain and set aside.

Mix Cottage Cheese, beaten Eggs, and 1 c. Asiago Cheese in medium bowl.

Fragrantize the Garlic in the Olive Oil for about 30 seconds. Don't brown. I was trying to brown it and then my lady hit me and said "don't brown it. Can't you read!" I can read. I just happened not to have. Stir in Newman's Own Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Oregano, Salt n Pepper, and Cinnamon. Allow to thicken for a few minutes, remove from heat, and stir in the Basil and Sugar.

Whisk Heavy Cream and Cornstarch and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat add Cottage Cheese medley, 1 c. of the Tomato Sauce, and 0.75 of the Mozzarella. Add Pasta and mix well.

Pour everything into a baking dish or Dutch oven and pour the remaining Tomato Sauce and Cheeses on top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, if you dare, and then gorge.