Seafood

Belgian Beer Mussels…. You’re Welcome.

Belgian Beer Mussels

We have been having some truly strange weather in San Diego these past few weeks. I’ll wake up to a chilly sea mist and drizzling skies. By late morning, it becomes overcast, muggy and humid. The sun may peak out for an hour or two before sunset. By bedtime it is hot has heck, that if you don’t crank up the AC or turn on the fans, you’ll be drenched by morning.

Eww.

It’s the type of weather that makes you feel a little scattered and you definitely don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen over a hot stove.

But a gal has got to eat. So I need dishes that are quick, light and still bring the feelings of summer. Since seafood, particularly shellfish, take practically no time at all to cook, mussels are the perfect choice.

Belgian Beer Mussels

Although I haven’t made my way to Belgium yet (but you know I definitely will!), I have a very strong feeling that I would be spending a good amount of time in friteries –little spots you can pop into to grab cones of piping hot fries. And what else will I be consuming with my Belgium fries? Lots and lots of mussels!

This little number is so simple and quick, you’ll be wondering why you don’t have it every week. Instead of white wine, I cooked the mussels with a Belgian wheat beer. Once the mussels release its liqueur, the salty sea flavor mixes with the rich, hoppy beer. Fantastic.

If you don’t want to crack out the deep fryer to make the fries, serve the mussels with crusty, toasted baguette to soak up all that goodness and enjoy the plump little shellfish. The cherry on top? This dish can be done in about 15 minutes.

You’re Welcome.

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Belgian Beer Mussels
Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ cup diced shallots
½ cup diced leeks, washed and thoroughly dried
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 ounces Belgian wheat beer
¼ cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
2 pounds black mussels, scrubbed and debearded
kosher salt
black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges

Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Once the oil is heated and butter is melted, add in the shallots, leeks, garlic, thyme, and red pepper. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes until the aromatics are softened but not browned.

Add in the beer and tarragon. Once the liquids come to a boil, add in the mussels. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the mussels have opened.

Leaving the liquid in the pot, transfer the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large serving dish. Remove and discard any mussels that have not opened.

Turn the heat to high and whisk in the remaining butter to finish the sauce. Season with salt and pepper before pouring over the mussels. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with toasted baguette or frites along with lemon wedges.

Drinks · Pork · Sponsored

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos with Fat Tire® Chavelas

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos and Chavelas

I don’t indulge in beers too much these days. Let’s face it—without my college metabolism, it just doesn’t sit that well with me (or my hips!) anymore. But I do make exceptions for an occasional New Castle® or Fat Tire® from time to time.

So you can imagine my delight when, as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I was challenged to create a dish that featured and paired with a New Belgium Brewing Company beer. Which includes Fat Tire®! 🙂

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas

I immediately knew that I wanted to incorporate the “hoppy” amber ale into a slow braise pork—ultimately to create Carnitas. By adapting David Lebovitz’ recipe, I was able to achieve tender, flavorful pork that was beautifully crispy on the outside. O…M…G.

Wrapped in warm tortillas and topped with a few spoonfuls of pico de gallo, salsa negra and a squeeze of lime—the Carnitas were Delicioso!!!

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos

I confess, I turned to the local mercado for the fresh tortillas and salsas. I had every intention of making them myself but when I went to the mercado for some ingredients, I encountered these fabulous women making it all from scratch for a fraction of the cost it would take me to make.

Yep. I opted for the shortcut this time. But for the record……this gal can fix up some yummy salsas. 🙂

To wash it all down, I whipped up an homage to Taqueria Tlaquepaque’s Chavelas. Tlaquepaque was one of my beloved taquerias in San Jose that served up AMAZINGLY fresh and delish food. But the food was only 1/2 of the reason why my dear gal friends and I would congregate there. The other half was for the Chavelas —Mexican beer mixed with fresh lime juice and salt. Very few things in life are more refreshing than a frosty goblet of Chavela. True Story.

Fat Tire® Chavelas

Turns out that Fat Tire® in a Chavela is PDA.  (Translation: Pretty. Darn. Amazing.)

Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas Tacos & Chavelas

Incorporating Fat Tire® in a dish? Not as difficult as one would think  🙂

And as luck would have it—just in time for Cinco de Mayo!!!

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Fat Tire® Braised Carnitas
Adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

5 Pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
2-3 Tablespoon Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons Vegetable oil
2 Bottles Fat Tire® Ale (24 ounces)
1 Cup White Onion, diced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Garlic, finely diced
1 Teaspoon Chile Powder
¼ Teaspoon Paprika
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
2 Bay Leaves

Using paper towels, dry off the pork and generously season with salt.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the pieces of pork in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches. Be sure to take your time to get a deep brown color as it enhances the flavor. This usually takes me about 30 minutes to properly brown all the meat.

Once all the pork is browned, remove them from the pot and blot away any excess fat with a paper towel. Discard all but one tablespoon of the grease that remains in the pot. Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions to the pot and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional one to two minutes.  Then pour in the beer, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release all the brown bits.

Heat the oven to 350F degrees.

Add the pork back to the pot and add the remaining of the seasonings and spices. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3-3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.

Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces discarding any big chunks of fat. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized.

Serve with corn tortillas and your choice of salsas and toppings.

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Fat Tire® Chavelas
Serves One

Ingredients:

1 Bottle Fat Tire® Ale (12 ounces)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
Sea Salt
Lime Wedges

Chill glass in the freezer for 15 minutes. Rim the glass using a lime wedge and dip into sea salt. Pour the lime juice in the bottom of the glass and pour well chilled Fat Tire® Ale  over it. Serve and garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy!