The food abides…

Cullinary Experiments

Happy New Year from the Tampa Food Dude!

Currently enjoying a little New Year’s Day charcuterie and an Einstock Icelandic Dopplebock. Nice, malty, holiday brew and I’m digging the viking bottle art with the reindeer antlers and red nose. Hope everyone is enjoying the last bit of the holidays before we all go back to the grind…

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Turkey Sausage and Kale Italian Wedding Soup!

When you send your girlfriend’s mother home with the turkey carcass and she returns a week later with an incredible homemade Turkey Sausage and Kale Italian Wedding Soup…

Incidentally, this paired incredibly well with the aforementioned Triple-Smoked Gouda Beer Bread.


Post-Turkey Day Triple-Smoked Gouda Beer Bread!

I’ve mentioned my attempts at Alton Brown’s Cheddar Dill Beer Bread before. Decided to whip up a couple of loaves for my friends’ Post Turkey Day Bash again. However for my second loaf I experimented a little and came up with a something new.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Triple-Smoked Gouda Beer Bread. Basically the same format as the Cheddar Dill Beer Bread with three changes.

First, instead of a Pale Ale I used a Smoked Roggenbier. Any smoked beer will do but this is what I was able to get my hands on. Second I substituted a Smoked Gouda for the sharp cheddar. This added a warm and creamy depth to the bread. And last, instead of the dill weed, I just added a few drops of liquid smoke just to kick that smokey flavor up a notch.

I was really impressed by how this came out. That smokey undertone was present but not overpowering and when you toast this up and just add a little butter, it’s makes for a great breakfast. It’s also the perfect compliment to a hearty meal like a soup or a chili.

Have a favorite beer-bread recipe? Leave a message in the comments section!

And remember… beer is freedom… and the food abides…


Thanksgiving 2018!!!

This year we played host for the Thanksgiving feast. First time we’ve done Thanksgiving together and cooking for eight was a fun challenge but it turned out to be a hell of a meal.

 

My girlfriend cooked an amazing turkey this year using a compound butter with sage and thyme. It was an incredibly juicy bird and she really outdid herself.

I also tried my hand at carving the roast beast for the first time ever. I think I did a pretty good job with it, but I’d like to practice a little bit more for next year. Presentation is everything and a better carving job makes for a better look on the plate.

As if her turkey wasn’t enough, she made a decadent Asiago and Garlic Mashed Potato Bake. These may be the best mashed taters I’ve ever eaten.

We left our guests in charge of the veggies and they showed up with some sauteed Green Beans with Garlic and Toasted Almonds. I know green bean casserole is the tradition this time of year. However I’ve never been fond of such a rich veggie dish when everything else is as heavy as it is. Needless to say, I really appreciated these.

Another veggie, the baked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash were simple and a perfect side dish for our meal.

Of course it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my Sage Turkey Sausage and Cranberry Stuffing. It’s a staple this time of year and I even froze a couple bags of cranberries in case I want to make it again over the holidays.

This is what I love. No frills, no weird tofurky substitutions and no wacky global sides. Just a simple, traditional Thanksgiving meal with great people.

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This has been a truly great year and I’m glad I got to set aside a day to show some gratitude for that. I hope everyone had plenty to be thankful for and is ready to enjoy the holiday season.

And remember… the food abides…


Trader Joe’s Garlic Chicken Pesto w/Cauliflower Gnocchi

Made a run to Trader Joe’s this past weekend and among some other great items (cough, cough… Cookie Butter… cough, cough…) it turns out that their Cauliflower Gnocchi combined with their Garlic Pesto Chicken makes for a pretty badass meal…


Breakfast Avocado Toast…

Somehow I found myself on the Avocado Toast-for-breakfast bandwagon and I have no earthly recollection of how that happened. By the way, try it with just a dash of smoked paprika. You’ll thank me later…


2017 Holiday Wrap-Up!

Once again it was a hell of a busy season. I had made a conscious decision to get out and experience as many holiday events as possible and I made sure to take lots of photos.

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Putting up the Christmas tree at the beginning of the season saw the addition of a new beer-themed ornament and I’m really starting to appreciate these things.

After Christmas Tree decorating, we hit up Menchie’s to try their new holiday flavors. In the bowl is a swirl of Egg Nog and Gingerbread Cookie and it made me irritated to know I’ll clamor for this stuff for the next 11 months.

One evening we decided to catch the Christmas Light Display in North Straub Park. While the photo doesn’t do it justice, the City of St. Pete did a good job with it this year. And it afforded us the chance to grab dinner at 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse where we ate outside and enjoyed a great park-side view as pictured above.

From 400 Beach Seafood & Taphouse, the Manchego Artichoke Fondue. I never thought of Manchego as a melty-cheese but they somehow altered the laws of physics to make it so.

Also from 400 Beach, Asian Seared Scallops on a Soba Noodle Salad with a Ginger Plum Sauce.

And a Rod Bender Red Ale from 3 Daughters Brewing Company hit the spot while we enjoyed the lights.

The night before Christmas Eve, we also managed to take in the Holiday Boat Parade from the Sail Pavilion in Downtown Tampa. I’ve never attended before, but dockside drinks and a really impressive display from the participants made this an event I’ll want to attend for years to come.

Entertained about eight guests for Christmas Eve Dinner this year which was a perfect size for my table. The Christmas Crackers are becoming a fun little holiday tradition.

Christmas Eve Dinner saw my first attempt in years to make Stuffed Mussels. These take a long time to prep which I usually can’t waste if I’m working during the day on Christmas Eve. But since it fell on a Sunday this year I took a shot. The entire batch was gone so it’s safe to say my guests loved them.

Christmas Morning always starts with leftover Linguine in White Clam Sauce eaten cold, right out of the container. It’s kind of like eating cold leftover Lo Mein but much more flavorful.

Christmas Day was spent at my at my friends’ house in Westchase and included lots of homemade Limoncello. There were literally bottles of this stuff everywhere and each sip was worth the calories.

This is the kind of thing that makes you really appreciate Christmas in Florida; a lakeside beer at sunset on Christmas Night.

And speaking of beer and Florida, Abita Brewing’s 2017 Christmas Ale was a really good brew this year and the Santa/Gator bottle art just seemed far too appropriate not to showcase.

The Christmas Toast. Can’t say enough about how much I love scenes like this.

I’m a Turkey Junkie and my friends did not disappoint. Christmas Turkey Dinner with Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes, Stuffing and Pear & Bleu Cheese Salad. Those potatoes were the highlight.

The day after Christmas saw a Boxing Day hike with the canine at Flatwoods Park as my attempt to burn off some of the holiday calories.

The hike was followed by a nice lobster roll at Prime Bar which kind of negated the calorie-burning but hey, I’m on vacation.

It’s not the holidays without a care package full of homemade baked goods from Mom which also arrived the day after Christmas. Spritz Cookies, Candied Pecans, Gingerbread Cookies, White Trash and Fool’s Toffee.

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Of course no holiday wrap-up is complete without the cataloging of some beer-themed loot and my friends are excellent gift-givers.

Homebrewed Beer Soap made with IPA! This isn’t going to be one of those fancy soaps you only put out for guests. I’m using this bad-boy.

Cenoscillicaphobia metal placard . It’s a fear I can relate to so I found this amusing.

Can’t go wrong with new glassware. I love my state. I love beer. These glasses scratch both itches.

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One of my friends visited California in December and was cool enough to pick me up a stainless steel pint glass from Black Plague Brewing.

I’m not a fan of Belgian beers but some of the holiday ones are able to mask the Belgian yeast funk with the correct blend of spices. Barrel of Monks Father Christmas Holiday Ale is something I wanted to try but couldn’t get my hands on. Fortunately my friends saved the day with this bottle.

By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around I was hovering on the brink of exhaustion so I had no complaints about a relaxing night with some Tuna Croquettes for dinner and a few good holiday brews to close out the season.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company’s Gingy Imperial Gingerbread Porter may have been my favorite seasonal beer this year. And it went great with the aforementioned cookies as a way to ring in the new year.

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Last but not least I leave you with the traditional but rare photo of the Tampa Food Dude in a funny Christmas hat. Because nothing says “Christmas Lunatic” like a guy in a shiny red fedora. Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays as much as I did this year and I wish you all a fond Merry Christmas and a Happy New Beer!

And remember… Beer is freedom… and the food abides…