Tag Archives: beer

Pumpkin Beer Pretzels

As you can see from the photo above, fall in The South hits us later than the rest of the country. Yes, we have pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin beer, but we also have vine-ripened watermellon and ripe peaches fresh in the farm stands.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still get into the seasonal mood, with an amber pumpkin ale and a yeasty pretzel to enjoy with fall football. I never really watch football, but I love just having it on in the background on the weekends. A great backdrop when I’m making rich curries or wine-soaked beef short ribs with bacon and wild mushroom polenta (THAT was amazing, recipes to come!).

These pumpkin beer pretzels are not really pumpkin-flavored. Or beer flavored. But while you’re making them, you can sure smell it. Originally from We Are Not Martha, I had to tweak this recipe quite a bit to make it work – adding way more flour and kneading more than it originally called for. Actually, they were kind of a pain and made a huge, sticky floury mess. But they baked up nicely and were tasty with a side of grainy mustard and a frothy beer in an iced glass. I snuggled into my new sectional couch with my steaming pretzel and a weekend game, and I was set.

Pumpkin Beer Pretzels


  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
  • 1/2 C warm water, plus 2 C warm water
  • 1/2 T sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 1 C pumpkin beer of your choice
  • 5-7 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2-3 T coarse salt
  • 1 T butter, melted
  1. In a large bowl, whisk yeast with 1/2 cup warm water. Let rest for about 5 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Stir in sugar, salt, and olive oil. Pour in the beer. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour in one cup at a time.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes, adding more flour to keep it from sticking. It is done when it becomes a smooth, elastic ball. Put dough into a lightly oiled bowl, place in a warm spot, cover with a kitchen towel, and let sit for an hour or so to rise.
  4. Punch the dough down and divide into 12 balls. Roll each dough ball into a rope and shape the rope into a pretzel by forming into a “u” and crossing one end down, followed by the other end.
  5. Mix your remaining 2 C warm water with 1 t baking soda in a baking pan or other shallow dish. Dip the formed pretzels in. Place on a greased baking sheet. Continue with remaining dough balls. Cover with a kitchen towel again and let rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.
  6. Brush each pretzel lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
  7. Right when they come out of the oven, brush them with a little melted butter for an extra yummy taste.

The crust is crunchy and the inside is nice and chewy. These aren’t as good as those ones you get at the mall, but still…

Spoon some spicy mustard into a dish for serving, or just eat away! They would also be good sawed in half for a sandwich.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Jalapeno Beer-Braised Shrimp

Shrimp seared and then braised in a mixture of jalapeno, garlic and stout beer … yet another reason to drink while you’re cooking. I’d like to think that the first person to cook seafood with alcohol really just spilled some of her wine in the pan and went with it. There’s something about the complex flavors of good beer or wine that make certain seafood – notably shrimp – just bloom with flavor.

I’ve adapted this recipe from an old one of Rachael Ray’s – her magazine, not her show – and it’s a popular staple whenever I’m craving shrimp cooked with unique flavors.

This dish truly does taste different – the beer is strong and comes at you fast, along with the pepper, garlic and bay. Yet the shrimp still tastes nice and buttery, served over brown Basmati rice (or any rice).

Jalapeno Beer-Braised Shrimp


  • 2 pounds prawns or jumbo shrimp—peeled, deveined
  • Grill seasoning, such as McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning (or just salt and pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 bottle of dark stout beer, such as Guinness (we used a dark Indian beer) – about 1 1/2 c.
  • 1 bay leaf, dried or fresh
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, a palmful
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving

Coat the prawns with the grill seasoning. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the olive oil is very hot, place about half the prawns in the skillet in a single layer and quickly sear them, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and reserve. Repeat with the remaining prawns.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet, then add the chile pepper and the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beer and bay leaf. Boil over high heat to reduce the liquid by half.

Return the prawns to the skillet with the sauce and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with cilantro (if you have it) and serve over rice!

Yum, I had my leftovers for a tasty, healthy lunch. Make sure you use a beer that you really love – that means if you don’t like Guinness, my goodness don’t use it! And if you don’t like any stout beer, I’m sure that an equally high-quality amber ale would work, too.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Beer-butt chicken

On certain occasions, it is appropriate to seek a Paula Deen recipe. An All-American Party is one such occasion. Beer-butt chicken, or beer-in-the-rear chicken, is an ingenious way to cook a juicy and flavorful chicken for a crowd. I looked up a few recipes before settling on my own version, taking pieces of Paula Deen with me.

To go with the chicken, others brought boiled peanuts:

Green bean casserole, pigs-in-a-blanket and Frito pie! Frito pie is a gut bomb of epic proportions. I’m not exactly sure what’s in it, other than ground meat, Fritos, cheese and something spicy. It tastes exactly as you’d imagine….delicious!

Someone else brought this sweet-tea wine, which tastes sweeter than Cheerwine:

And my main course…

Write Gal’s Beer-Butt Chicken


  • One 4-5 lb. chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon, cut into chunks
  • 1 can Budweiser
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • Smoked paprika

Preheat grill (if using gas grill, heat to 350). Season inside of chicken with salt and pepper. Drink 1/4 c. of the beer, then push the garlic and rosemary sprigs inside (they can stick out the top. Place the beer on a foil baking pan or anything else that can go on the grill. Sit the chicken on the can. Push the lemon through the neck cavity. Drizzle EVOO all over the chicken, spreading with a brush or your fingers. Salt and pepper liberally. Sprinkle paprika over the skin, to taste.

Place the pan on the grill. Cover and cook for 1 hour, or until juices run clear. Remove from heat (the juices will be bubbling like crazy on the bottom of the pan). Carefully remove chicken and pull out can – watch out, it will be shooting steam like a beer volcano. Let chicken rest 10 minutes…

Then carve and serve! The skin was crispy and salty, the meat was juicy and well seasoned with all the herbs and lemon. I spooned the pan drippings over anything – you could make a great gravy with them.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Road food

I’ve always been one of those people who forms travel plans around food. Even while I’m eating at one great local haunt, I’m planning my next fantastic meal. Some call that a food obsession, I call it culinary tourism.

As many of us are traveling this weekend, this post is a tribute to some great out-of-town food I’ve enjoyed this summer.

First up, this funny little place in Greensboro, N.C. The line of silver-haired Southerners with sweet accents was out the door. I heard one guy order 1 lb. of barbecued pork, with a side of hush puppies.

"Try our salad"

I ordered the fried pork sandwich, weighing in at about 5 lbs. on a buttery biscuit with some wilted vegetables making it “healthy.” Had I finished it, I probably wouldn’t be here to tell the story.

A few weeks later, I was on a North Carolina road trip. Along the way, we stopped in Asheville to meet up with some college friends at the Sunnyside Cafe (I think that was the name). Cari got this amazing fried-green tomato sandwich:

I, of course, was on a health kick, so I ordered this cobb salad, with the best maple-syrup bacon I’ve ever had:

We had to support the North Carolinian microbrews, of course…

Jack of the Wood - Asheville, N.C.

Foothills beer in Blowing Rock, N.C.

Last meal was in Boone, N.C., at an organic/hippie breakfast place that I loved. We had the eggs florentine:

And this really yummy fruit/granola bowl:

Even more recently, I enjoyed a family dinner in Spokane, Wash. at The Queen of Sheba, a new Ethiopian restaurant in the old flour mill. It was one of those places with no utensils and you use that fermented spongy bread to sop up the curries. So tasty and spicy. This plate had the lamb, beef and chicken. Note the boiled egg!

More curry was on its way.

We also enjoyed sweet-potato fries. Glad these exist.

The evening ended at one of those boutique ice cream shops with crazy flavors. I had molasses, which tasted like gingerbread cookies!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer, friends! xoxo