Friday, July 24, 2009

Doug's Nut Brown Ale Unveiling Dinner: Asparagus Risotto, The Very Best, Mammut, The Temper Trap, and The Blakes

Doug over at cocina de dooglas... has masterminded the production of a homemade nut brown ale. With help from Fede, CC, SS, BTreotch, Karen, and HF, the month long process culminated last night with the unveiling. Dubbed Bust a Nut Brown Ale and decorated with pull away labels that may start appearing throughout the greater Tampa Area, the beer was met with pleasantries such as "I can't believe this is drinkable" all the way to "This is the best beer of the night." My quote went something like this "Beer is gross, it makes my stomach warm" but that's neither here nor there. The unveiling took place at Fede and Karen's place in Clearwater. To accompany it each of the guests brought a dish. HH created a wonderful looking salad topped with Feta and Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette, CC baked a fish pie, Doug grilled veggies basted in different sauces, Fede unboxed Dim Sum Dumplings, I slow cooked an Asparagus Risotto, and Karen produced a 16th century gingerbread. Along with ice cream, fresh fruit and veggies, hummus and pita, and tabouli these dishes served as excellent accompaniments to Doug's first batch of Brown Ale. My dish was concocted like this:

Asparagus Risotto
Printable version
-1 1/4 lb of Asparagus
-4 tbsp butter
-1 1/2 quarts Veggie stock
-1 onion finely chopped
-2 cups of Brown Rice
-6 tbsp. dry white wine
-4 tbsp Milk (or cream)
-1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
-White pepper, to taste

1. Cut the tips of the Asparagus away from the stalks. Set the tips aside.

2. Coarsely chop the asparagus stalks. Saute in 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan for 2-3 minutes (low heat).

3. Pour in 1 cup of veggie stock and bring to a boil. Cook the asparagus for 10-15 minutes, until the asparagus is tender.

4. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

5. Using the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, saute the onion in a large saucepan, until softened.

6. Stir in the rice and cook for two minutes. Stir constantly.

7. Add the 6 tbsp of white wine. Continue to stir. When the wine has been absorbed begin adding stock to the rice 1/2 a cup at a time.

8. After 25 minutes add the asparagus puree and tips to the rice. Add more stock. Continue to cook until each addition of stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender. This will take somewhere around 45 minutes.

9. Add the milk, the Parmesan, and pepper.

Now eat.

A note: arborio or risotto rice cooks much faster, probably about half the time. I just prefer the taste of brown rice.

To accompany my long, repititous afternoon of dumping stock, stirring rice, and tasting for tenderness I listened to the sunny song, "Basket", from Seattle's The Blakes. Here they are performing it at Chicago's Ribfest.

I love the stair stepping guitar that makes its presence known sometime after the first minute. It is a little hard to hear on the live version so check out the recorded version on their MySpace page.

Something a little dancier is The Very Best featuring Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend) and their single "Warm Heart of Africa." I tried hard not to like this song but it got stuck and wouldn't let go.

Thanks to Indie Soup Runner my rice got a little chewier to the sounds of "Svefnsykt" from Iceland's Mammut.

And as I grated the Parmesan and poured in the milk, Australia's The Temper Trap finished things with a "Fad(er)."