Esta's Kitchen: Beer Roasted Veggies

Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.
Don Parkinson - Esta stocks up on her favorite ingredients.

Do you ever have one of those days where all of your problems are solved by the first sip?

(If you have to ask what “first sip” means then you have never had this happen to you, so should probs leave now and go read another column.)

But for the rest of you, my lovely little Estas-in-training, you know what I mean. You crack open that beer bottle or pop the cork on that wine… you raise the glass to your lips… the alcohol hits your tongue… you close your eyes.

Maybe there is a moan, and suddenly your long-ass, non-stop 10-hour day disappears.

Next to the opening credits of Star Wars, it is truly one of my favorite feelings ever.

I know some people in my life might take issue with this being one of my favorite feelings (cough-The Jackanator-cough) but in my defense... I just don’t care.

I cook with beer because days like this exist. Sometimes, if you are lucky, the recipe includes these directions: “Drink rest of beer while veggies are cooking.”

Beer Roasted Veggies

(Recipe can apply to any vegetable)
  • 12 oz fresh green beans, tips removed
  • 2 T to ¼ cup olive oil, depending on your diet
  • ½ cup beer (I used Sam Adams Winter Lager)
  • 1 T (at least) garlic powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium-sized bowl, mix veggies with oil, spices, and ¼ cup of beer. Mix well so that all the veggies are coated.

Spread mixture on a cookie sheet (make sure you have cookie sheet with sides, as there will be plenty of liquid). Cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Green beans roast fast, but a more sturdy vegetable like carrots, parsnips or potatoes might take longer. You are looking for the vegetables to be a caramel brown color and soft, but not mushy.

Important: Drink the rest of the beer while the vegetables roast!

After the pan comes out of oven add the rest of the beer (1/4 cup) right away. With a wooden spoon or spatula toss the vegetables around in the beer and scrape up the juicy bits from the bottom of the sheet.

Leave on the sheet ‘til ready to plate up and serve.

Chances are one of “those days” happens during the dark week of stupid Daylight Savings Time. Who thought up this dumb ass holiday anyways? That was a rhetorical question: I don’t really care. I would like to share with you a few lines from a text that I received from The Jackonator earlier this week that I believe perfectly sum up my feelings on the subject:

“It’s just evil and there’s no purpose to it. If I could get my hands around the throat of the person who started this, they wouldn’t last long...”

I’m now calling her “Jackafierce.”

Vegetarians anonymous

Moving on from why from Reason #4897 Why I Should Be In Charge of This Country, this week I decided to play “vegetarian.”

HEY! I can cook without meat. It’s a lifestyle choice. I dig it. I’m all about vegetables, especially when they are covered in cheesy sauce and sautéed in bacon grease (remember this like you remember the Alamo).

Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. It’s quick, it tastes awesome, and it makes people think you are very elegant. Even if you cooked them whilst in your underwear. Also a valid lifestyle choice.

The recipe for roasting veggies is pretty universal, regardless of the kind of vegetable you use. It usually involves olive oil, some spices and sometimes vinegar cooked at a high temperature in the oven. Of course, in my case it also involved beer.

I used green beans, but there are a lot of options: carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes. This is a very versatile recipe but I do have one stipulation: you must use fresh veggies. If you try to roast frozen green beans, you are an idiot. I’m not saying frozen veggies don’t have their place in the world, but roasting them in the oven is not one of them.

A little swig will do ya

My problem arose after I roasted the veggies. There wasn’t enough beer taste. Which is kind of my gig. I solved this problem by throwing a couple of swigs of beer on the pan after it came out of the oven. It both deglazed the pan—which is always a good thing—and it added more beer flavor.

I didn’t want to add too much liquid before the pan went in the oven, lest I boil the veggies. Adding the beer at the end added the flavor I wanted without overcooking the vegetables.

‘Cause that’s what I do, people: solving problems...one beer at a time.

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  • thinking radish

    here's a recipe from Sur La Table for St Patrick's day: Guinness Ice Cream with Chocolate Bacon Bits Serves: 1 quart ice cream, or about 8 servings Ingredients: 12 ounces Guinness Stout, or other dark stout beer 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups whole milk ¾ cup sugar 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 6 large egg yolks 1 pound thick-cut applewood smoked bacon 1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped Procedures: To prepare the ice cream, pour the Guinness in a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Simmer the stout until reduced to 4 ounces and reaches a syrupy consistency, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely. Combine cream, milk, and sugar in another large saucepan. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a lengthwise slit in the vanilla bean. Using the back edge of the knife, scrape the vanilla bean seeds out of the pod and into milk mixture, along with the pod itself. Heat milk mixture over medium heat until it boils, then remove immediately from heat. Prepare a large mixing bowl with an ice-water bath. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until thick and pale yellow in color. Rapidly whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream back into the hot cream while whisking constantly. Cook egg mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the reduced stout to the thickened egg mixture, whisking well until to blend. Transfer the ice cream base to a heatproof medium mixing bowl and place inside ice-water bath. Stir ice cream base often and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate ice cream base for at least 4 hours or until cold. Pour cold ice cream base into the bowl of an ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Because of the stout, the ice cream will only reach a soft-serve consistency. Remove ice cream from machine, cover, and freeze until ready to use. To prepare chocolate-covered bacon bits, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bacon strips on prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch of space around each piece. Place a second rimmed sheet directly on top of the bacon and weigh down baking sheet with a heavy ovenproof skillet. Transfer to preheated oven and cook bacon until well browned but still pliable, about 25 to 30 minutes. While the bacon cooks, fill the bottom of a double boiler with 2 inches water and heat over medium-low heat until simmering. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler and set over the simmering water. Heat gently, stirring often, until completely melted. Keep warm over low heat. Once the bacon is cooked, transfer the slices to a heatproof wire rack set over another rimmed baking sheet, spacing the bacon at least 1 inch apart on all sides. Using a silicone pastry brush, coat one side of each bacon piece with melted chocolate. Transfer pan with bacon to the refrigerator for 8 to 10 minutes to let chocolate set. Remove pan from refrigerator and carefully flip the bacon pieces. Coat the second side of the bacon with melted chocolate and return pan to refrigerator for another 8 to 10 minutes, until ready to use. To serve, use a sharp chef’s knife to chop the coated bacon into ½-inch pieces. Scoop ice cream into chilled bowls, sprinkle chopped bacon over ice cream, and serve immediately.