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Monthly Archives: June 2012

The word “and” as well as ampersands mean a lot to me. I’ve never been able to identify myself as just one thing or from just one place: I’m a reader, a writer, a baker, a golfer, a beer-lover, so on and so forth. I’m from Muncie, Georgia, Italy, and Paris. I’m composed of pieces from each place I’ve lived, different identities…I’m quite a few long sentences filled with lists. This leaves me open to a lot of different experiences in life, and I’m constantly looking around the corner for something new to learn. Right now I’m extremely happy to call myself a baker, but recently I’ve closed myself off to the possibility of being better at cooking, and I want to change that. I want to keep learning and growing in as many directions as possible.

My friend Ashley created a list of 25 things to do in her 25th year, which inspired this idea. My goal is to make 25 different dishes using ingredients I have never cooked or baked with, before I turn 25 (next May). I have started this small list (some are simple and inexpensive, some are pricier), I may remove or add ingredients/dishes, and I’d really love your ideas on what to make with these! My plan is to list the next ingredient with each of these posts so I can get some input and recommendations on how to use them.

I can’t wait to share this with you. And for my friends who live in the area – let’s do some of these together, yeah?

How is your sumer to-do list coming? Have you played in a sprinkler yet? Made popsicles? Had a summer fling? Have you found any beer infused recipes to tackle? Was that even on your list? Well it should be.

My weekend was spent crossing things off that list, and we’re going to consider Thursday night as the beginning of the weekend. Thursday I went bowling for the first time since high school, and sang karaoke for the very first time (TLC “No Scrubs,” in case you were wondering). Then Sunday I spent the day with great people out at our local reservoir, playing in the water, laying under the sun, jumping off docks. There were sunny times had by all. And then there was chocolate covered fruit.

We’re going to soak almost ripe strawberries in Founders Cerise, a beer brewed with cherries, and dip them in melted semi-sweet chocolate. The beer is going to take your still-crisp strawberries, deepen and fill out a full, rich flavor. That richness is also then going to balance out the semi-sweet chocolate so that you have the perfect semi-sweet strawberry. And then we’re going to eat them all.

Before the recipe, though, I have to tip my hat to the Beeroness, whose Beer Soaked Chocolate Covered Cherries inspired this experiment. This girl knows her stuff.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries infused with Founders Cerise

1 pint fresh strawberries, just barely ripe
1 bottle Founders Cerise*
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

1. Use a fork to poke holes two – three times in each strawberry.

2. Layer the strawberries in a small bundt pan and cover with Cerise. I used a bundt pan because the strawberries fit perfectly in the roundness of the pan. *If you have to use another pan that is more level, you’ll need another bottle of Cerise to cover the fruit.

3. Let soak for twenty minutes, rotate the strawberries, then soak for another twenty minutes.

4. Drain the beer, and pat dry on paper towels. Let air dry for one hour, or until the strawberries are just a little sticky to the touch. You may need to pat dry every so often to help the process along.

5. Melt and preferably temper your chocolate over a double boiler, dip strawberries and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. If you have not tempered the chocolate, store in the refrigerator for up to one day.

If you can manage, share these with others…you’ll get a lot of smiles.

Drunk texts from famous authors. Yes.

And I thought the peach cobbler I was making was kick-ass…

Is this real life? Westvleteren is finally coming?

Have you ever heard about the history of Chartreuse?

Everyone has a first time

Ladies, five really awesome bike-friendly hairstyles

The Beeroness’s beer soaked and chocolate covered cherries inspired some strawberries I’ll be posting about this week

Which craft beer personality are you?

Have you seen life in a tiny apartment? A really really tiny apartment?

I’m not very skilled at DIY jewelry, but I think I could rock this

Do you go through phases of preferring one style beer over others? I’ve been wanting hefeweizens and lagers recently, and this became very evident when I cracked open a Chaka the other night. I was extremely excited to try it as an Oskar Blues/Sun King Collaboration, but it just was not what I wanted at the moment.

Are there any styles of beer that you’re never in the mood for? Always in the mood for? I’m always in the mood for an IPA or pale ale, yet I’ve never found myself in the mood for a cream ale. I very sparingly really want a stout or porter, but I did go through a phase last November of wanting to try a lot of winter warmers.

Then there are times when you just want to try some bourbon instead.

How about we play some Haruki Murakami bingo?

A very well executed overview of current food photography styles (I love the chiaroscuro)

I’m never going to get tired of beer can packaging

I actually really want to try these brussels sprouts

What does your drink look like?

Lovely & small piece about Caravaggio’s “Madonna di Loreto”

An Anheuser-Busch bourbon-barrel aged lager? I’m definitely interested in hearing more about this thing.

Would you try ordering from a rugbeer?

I’m repeating listing the Times, but this article on up & coming malting companies was fascinating

Scotch and the “band-aid” smell. Anyone ever notice this? I heard about this aroma in some parts of the brewing process, but hadn’t heard of this present in Scotch before.

Have you ever been on a solo vacation before? I went on my first one last week after visiting family in Atlanta, and I have to say it was an interesting experience. For a few days I was at Jekyll Island, Georgia, for some real rest and relaxation, and while I enjoyed having “me” time, I’ll do things differently on my next vacation.

I still enjoyed being with my own thoughts, having my own agenda, and having alone time. I’m a very independent person, and truly need a lot of that, so this was perfect in that respect. But looking back on all the other trips I’ve taken, real R&R doesn’t help me relax the same way that more active vacations do. Several trips to North Carolina for kayaking and rafting, a week-long kayaing “camp,” a trip to Colorado for skiing, and a river trip in Utah have all been the best and most fun vacations I could imagine. After each of them I felt energized, and totally rested! And I learned that while a hotel is a huge relief and luxury after a long day of driving to and from a destination, camping is still the way to go (for me) on a trip.

Overall it was still great. I read so much, wrote regularly, and went on a lot of bike rides and runs. It had ups and downs, and in case you’re thinking about trying out your first solo vacation, here are a few things that helped things stay upbeat.

Be prepared to kill bugs yourself. They’ll be in your hotel room, and if you’re in Georgia, the spiders will be huge. Yell “sorry!” to the neighboring hotel room for screaming profanities after seeing said spiders.

Go to the complimentary breakfast/coffee bar. Even though you’re groggy and sleepy, say good morning and chat with a few people there.

Plan where you sleep, and have a fairly structured day. I really need this, because even if I am on vacation I have to have some sort of plan or goal for the day. Reserve a hotel room or campsite beforehand – getting stuck without a place to stay can be an adventure when you’re with someone, but not so much of a fun adventure if you’re solo.

Try not to schedule your sleepy vacation at the same time as a National Guard convention. Because then, one night at 1:30 am you may be woken by a fellow yelling outside the hotel “FORGGHETT ABOUT THE CHAIR I JUST WANT MY BEER.” I swear to goodness I almost got up to throw one of mine down to him.

Bring your bike or running shoes. Stay active! Get outside, go on a walk, go on a bike ride. Come across some “Don’t feed the alligators” signs and ride very quickly in the other direction.

Go to the attractions and historical sites listed on brochures and pamphlets. They can be really interesting (say hi to the house made of seashells below), and it’s another thing to add to the activity list.

Stay connected. I stayed connected through the phone and internet to keep some social activity, though long-distance, in my day. It’s solo vacation, not complete isolation.

Don’t follow the small dirt paths into the woods leading to who knows where. They’re pretty, but they’ll freak you out, and make you start remembering scary Law & Order: SVU episodes.

Check in with someone each night. Just have one person whether it be a friend or family member, who knows you’re on vacation and who you text or call each night to check in. Just for safety purposes. Maybe the Law & Order episodes made me think of this one…

And of course, enjoy yourself. Try not to feel guilty for taking a few days off from everything and everyone. Sit back, have a beer, and enjoy the quiet. Except for when helicopters fly over the beach. Then it’s a little loud.

THIS GUY. Smoothest “Oh hey I’m on TV move ever”

Comprehensive list of cans for your summer! I can’t wait to get Hazed & Infused again.

Are these the most perfect looking cookies or what?

I’ve never been sold on quinoa, but I may give this Watermelon, Feta, and Basil Quinoa salad a try

Have you read Simple Mom before? I found her this past week, and I’ve enjoyed her writing quite a bit and perspective as a cross-cultural family

What? No…really, what? A monkey orchid?

Ooh! Printstagram!

Okay this made me chuckle this morning

A strawberry rumshake sounds like a great idea for summer

How do you feel about these state-shaped cutting boards? I haven’t made up my mind yet. An Indiana one would actually be very practical, though.