Project Food Blog Challenge #3 – Keeping It Classy: A Beer Filled Dinner Party

Three months ago, I moved from my small Atlantic Canadian hometown to the country’s largest city. My first time ever living away from my home province of New Brunswick. Apart from learning a lot about other cultures here in the self-proclaimed “multicultural capital of the world,” I’ve also learned a lot about my own Maritime culture. Or rather, people’s perception of Maritime culture.

IMG_2498
At first, I was taken aback to hear that the rest of Canada stereotypes Atlantic Canadians as heavy drinkers. I mean, we just love our beer as much as the next Canuck!

However, over the past three months, I have learned the stereotypes are in fact true. Us Maritimers really do love our booze more when compared to the rest of Canada. These Ontario folk have two glasses of wine on a Friday and call it a night. Meanwhile, that’s just a usual weeknight in New Brunswick!

IMG_2501

When reading through the third challenge of Project Food Blog, I immediately became weary…

Challenge Prompt: Celebrate! You’ve made it this far, and the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family (at least four guests, you can include yourself in the 4 person count). Whether you’re an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors. 

First things first, I still live like a college student. I have never thrown a dinner party. Any parties I have thrown have been far from “luxurious.”

Secondly, the majority of my friends in Toronto are all Maritimers such as myself. The type of people who blow through a case of Keith’s and end up gathered in the kitchen for a traditional “Maritime Kitchen Party” by the end of the night.

With this in mind, I decided to create a “luxurious” menu with a little bit of kick. Something that would take the class up a notch and yet make us still feel right at home.

image 

That’s right my friends, a menu where every dish features beer as an ingredient. 

Who said beer can’t be luxurious? ;)

Because I worked both Saturday & Sunday this weekend, I opted to do the majority of my food preparations Friday night. Then have everyone over after work on Saturday night. The Friday night in the kitchen was kind of fun!

I began by baking a loaf of Beer Bread with Guinness & Molasses.

IMG_2508

Recipe found here with a few changes.

4 cups flour (I used 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 whole wheat)

1/4 cup sugar molasses 

2 Tablespoons baking powder

12 ounces beer (NOT light beer) (I used Guinness draught)

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

IMG_2511 IMG_2513

IMG_2515 IMG_2522

 

While that puppy was in the oven, I got to work on baking project number two: Guinness Stout Brownies.

IMG_2525

Recipe found here.

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter, cut into cubes

8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 6oz bittersweet, 2 oz semi-sweet)

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

4 large eggs, at room temperature (I used cold eggs and it didn’t explode or anything)

1 cup superfine or granulated sugar

1-1/4 cups (10 ounces) Guinness Extra Stout beer, room temperature

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/8 cup (about) confectioners’ sugar for dusting

IMG_2527

IMG_2529 IMG_2532

Adding the Guinness to the brownie batter…

IMG_2536

 

With the baked goods out of the way, I got to my cold salad that would sit in the fridge overnight: Pale Ale Cabbage Slaw.

IMG_2538

I was deeply disturbed when this recipe called to boil the beer right off the bat. Boiling beer feels so wrong!

1 pound red cabbage, finely shredded

1 pound green cabbage, finely shredded

1 package (1 pound) carrots, shredded I cheated and bought bagged slaw

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup sugar

½ tsp celery seeds

1 bottle (12 oz) Pale Ale Beer I used Bud Light Lime

1/3 cup grape seed oil canola oil

¼ cup cider vinegar rice vinegar

1 TBLS honey mustard

1 ½ tsps salt

½ tsp black pepper

IMG_2541 IMG_2540 
Buying the bagged slaw made the prep for this so easy! By then my bread was done, rising quite a bit thanks to the yeast in the beer. I couldn’t help myself – I had a slice right away!

IMG_2557

The bread powered me through the last bit of Friday night prep. I put the brownies in the oven then got started on the sauce for the Chicken & Tofu in a Peanut & Beer Sauce.

IMG_2543
Beer and peanut butter. Two of my favourite things!

The original recipe comes from here and is meant for chicken wings. Chicken thighs were on sale and tofu is cheap! What can I say, I’m a frugal hostess.

24 chicken wings, tips removed 5 chicken legs/thighs and 1 block tofu

1 12-oz can Lager Beer  used Brava Lager (local!)

½ cup molasses

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley Forgot this step – oops!

 

IMG_2546

I’ll admit, it felt very odd mixing those ingredients together all in one pot as I see them being so different. But it smelled heavenly!

I prepared the raw chicken and sauce so I could pop it in the oven come party time.

IMG_2547

Meanwhile, I MacGyvered a tofu press to work its magic overnight.

IMG_2569

Soon the peanut butter sauce smells were overtaken by chocolate smells indicating the stout brownies were done…

IMG_2560

What?? You’ve got to test this stuff before you serve it to other people ;)

IMG_2564

Dense, fudgy, rich. A definite stamp of approval.

 

On Saturday, I had two more people confirm they’d be coming. I started to worry that I might not have enough food. Plus, not everyone was scheduled to arrive at the same time. Thankfully, my roommie was on the ball and prepared a Cheesy Beer Dip while I was away at work.

IMG_2566

I’m told the dip was Cheez Whiz, cream cheese, and beer. Bam.

IMG_2594

Along with some Vodka Tomatoes.

IMG_2574
Made by poking holes in tomatoes and letting them soak in the goodness. Thank you Megan!! Both munchies were a hit!

Meanwhile, I still had one last dish to make: Cheddar and Beer Soup.

IMG_2571
The veggies, to offset the butter, beer and cheese of course.

IMG_2577

Recipe found here.

2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)

2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)

1 (12-oz) bottle ale such as Bass I used Kronenbourg – a French ale.

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb extra-sharp Cheddar (preferably English; rind removed if necessary), grated (4 cups)

4 bacon slices (3 1/2 oz total), cooked and crumbled

IMG_2587IMG_2581

When buying the cheese, I didn’t really clue in to the fact that I’d be adding the whole pound to the soup.

IMG_2583

To put it in perspective, the volume of cheese was equal to the volume of liquid in the pot!

IMG_2606

 

Before I knew it, my guests had trickled in and the dishes were ready to eat!

The Starter

IMG_2607

The cheddar and beer soup was very hearty. Mostly cheesy with a slight hint of beer. We briefly discussed how many servings of cheese there were in one bowl, then decided it was in our best interest not to know. I toasted the beer bread and it made for a perfect dipper! The Guinness and molasses flavours definitely shine through.

 

The Main

IMG_2630

The sauce for this was uh-mazing. You must make it. Sooner rather than later.

IMG_2636

With the coleslaw. This was a hit as well. The flavours were very subdued and it was a nice light side dish to go with the heavier dishes. I think the Bud Light Lime was a great choice for this.

IMG_2635

 

The Dessert

IMG_2641

The ice cream was actually a last minute thought. After trying the rich brownies, I knew they needed to be paired with cool and creamy vanilla ice cream. You can’t taste the Guinness in the brownies at all, although I dare to say it brings out the intensity in the chocolate flavour. I saw people go back for seconds on this one!

 

The Cast of Characters

IMG_2588

Megan, my roommie, hostess extraordinaire. Living together for three months and already our kitchen has turned into a foodie paradise.

IMG_2614

Amanda, the only non-Maritimer present, but adopted as one of our own.

IMG_2620

Billy and Jer, keeping up the “luxurious” standard.

IMG_2619

Tom, always ready with an inappropriate comeback.

IMG_2622

Colin, who says “no” to mix or ice.

IMG_2597

Me! After pulling off my first ever “luxurious” dinner party for my decidedly un-classy group of friends from back home. We ate, we drank, we ate what we drank. Proof that we Maritimers may like our drink, but damn it, we know how to do our drink well. Thank you to Foodbuzz for inspiring this gathering. My lush friends and I had a blast!

 

Voting for the third challenge opens Monday, October 4. Vote for my booze-infused dinner party here!! And remember to keep it classy blogland!

About these ads

Posted on October 3, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Totally fun! Such a genius idea and so YOU! I love it! You know you’ll have my vote! ;)

  2. With an Irish father and a German mother, you had me at ‘beer’. The menu looks amazing. I will definitely be trying a few of those out in the future!

  3. Love it!!! Lots of great ideas. We used to make beer bread in college, but haven’t done it lately. Good luck!!! Mm…guiness brownies!

  4. Now BEER is something I can get behind!! :)

  5. Hilarious!!!! ;)

    This is by far the most light hearted of all the entries I’ve read. I like it!!!

    BTW – I’m in town the week of the 18th. Meet up?

  6. Love it! I’m not a beer fan but I could definitely be tempted by the Guiness brownies. I’m also strangely tempted to try the vodka tomatoes as well!!

  7. Awesome, susan! Way to make this challenge your own! Love it all but plz send brownies immediately…

  8. Holy sh*t this is an epic post!!!

    Beer and working with what you have and your skill set, budget, and the fact you’re an early20s with similar friends, yeah, no white tableclothes and gloves necessary :)
    Just bring on the beer!

    the peanut sauce, actually those flavors sound amazing to me and since i make my own peanut sauce already that just kicks it up and adds a notch!

    the tomatoes/vokda…nice

    The coleslaw dressing sounds awesome on paper for me but i am sensing it was a little meh in reality? not bad just not amazing…lmk if i should boil up some beer or not! haha!

    God I love this post and am fwd’ing it to 2 of my WI and MN homegirls who can drink beer and appreciate!

    • The coleslaw wasn’t anything to get SUPER excited about. There’s only the slightest hint of beer in there, you could probably get away without it. Now the peanut beer sauce is a MUST try!

  9. I think I just died and went to beer heaven. You win, hands down. I don’t care if there are more challenges. You win.

    I mean seriously, beer in everything?!?!? You are my hero.

  10. Yes, yes, yes! Susan – amazing dinner! Seriously great ideas here. :) It looks fabulous and I find that classier friends aren’t as fun ;)

  11. WOW that’s a lot of beer!! Looks great Susan, you did a fantastic job!

  12. Girl, you know how to bring it home. I want to try everything here, no joke. Do you think my profs would mind if I brought beer brownies to class to share for snack time? :)

    Great job. I’ll for sure be voting for you!

  13. Love it!! Looks like an incredible feast. I had a Guinness chocolate cupcake the other day and it was gooooood so I bet those brownies were delicious.

  14. awesome,.everything looks so good,..

  15. Such a cool idea well done you! Everything sounds so good and looks delish x x

  16. Wow this is so original. I am voting for you. :) I love your brownies and the cheese is so divine-I had it at a party once.

  17. This is amazing! I haven’t voted in the past, but this post had me hooked – I just made an account and voted for you :)

    I love cooking/baking with beer (or any alcohol for that matter..) because there’s always just a little left over that’s not worth storing :)

  18. This brings to mind a song that Aussies like to sing…”more beer, more beer, more beer…”. Fun party and I want guiness brownies! Voting now :)

  19. Hey good luck, that chicken I will definately try.

  20. Looks like so much fun! Great photos! Love the beer theme.

  21. you are the cutest thing ever. i only wish i could be at this party to celebrate with you – see you in san fran in a month :)

    muah!

  22. I have voted for you! what a dinner, next time I’ll come over ;)

  23. Your theme cracks me up (in an awesome-sort-of-way). That soup, and your entire menu for that matter, looks delish! Good luck in round 3!

  24. Anyone who loves beer as much as I do gets my vote!
    ~ Mary

  25. You get my vote. First of all your food looks amazing and I love the theme. Secondly I would kill to be at that dinner party as it looks like you had so much fun. Third, your friends look like a great crowd to spend and evening with. Cheers!

  26. Yay! Another beer broad! A nice Belgian is a wonderful thing…….so needless to say I LOVED your dinner party idea. This would be one I’d actually go too, LOLOL! Cheers girlfriend, you got my vote, hope we both make it through! http://bit.ly/cNNCrR

  27. Your menu looks great! Yum! Hope we both make it to the next round! :-) You have my vote!

  28. fun post and very creative!

  29. Jacob's Kitchen

    Great post! I love the beer theme, and your photos are really lovely. the food sounds amazing. I voted for you!

    Good luck, fingers crossed for us both to go through to the next round! =)

  30. Oh man, beer cheese soup! That takes me back to being a kid!!! Hmm, it’s raining out… sounds like the perfect night to put on a pot of it! Thanks for the reminder– great post!

  31. I love that you infused beer into every dish! The beer bread looks especially moist and delicious! Great job with this challenge and good luck!

  32. If for nothing else, you would get my vote for using the word McGyver as a verb, but then you had to go and add in vodka tomatoes *and* that beer filled menu – nice job!

  33. Beer is a sadly under-utilized ingredient. I think you may have single-handedly brought it back! I’d have loved to have been at this party! You have my vote:)

  34. A beer filled dinner party? I’m coming over to your house (with a vote)

  35. Great food!!..and alot of the folks here look…hmmm…somewhat..familar!! Good Luck!!
    //p

  1. Pingback: Mumbo Jumbo + A Breakfast Oatcake Recipe | The Great Balancing Act

  2. Pingback: The Food That Doesn’t Make The Blog | The Great Balancing Act

  3. Pingback: Things I Learned The Month That Wasn’t | The Great Balancing Act

  4. Pingback: Foodie Celebrations | The Great Balancing Act

  5. Pingback: Top Toronto Moments | The Great Balancing Act

  6. Pingback: The Great Fundraising Act

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 486 other followers

%d bloggers like this: