Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flying Fish Exit 8

No, LightFare is not dead, I just have an infant and I spend all my time taking photos of her.  This blog post also happens to be almost as delayed as the beer.  Flying Fish intended to release Exit 8 Chestnut Brown Ale around when we all roast chestnuts: December, but some issues with their bottle supplier delayed the release multiple times until March.  I finally got my hand on a bottle a few weeks after the release and opened it a few weeks after that. Here is the description from the website :
"To celebrate Exit 8, one of our big farming areas, we’ve brewed a beer that uses a lost local ingredient: chestnuts–and a popular current one: local honey. This full-bodied hybrid Belgian-style brown ale brings forward a nutty character from the chestnuts, accented by the flavors of honey, roasted barley and oat flakes. There’s a nice spiciness from the Mt. Rainier hops while Chinooks add a touch of pine. Fuggles and Columbus round out the hop profile."
Exit 8 rolls in at 8.3% alcohol and is no slouch in the bitterness department, however the roasted malt and nut flavor dominates the pallet.  I don't sense much impact from the honey, except a thicker mouthfeel than I expect from a brown ale.  Exit 8 feels more like a stout and would pair nice with meaty comfort food: steak, meatloaf, roast port, etc.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crab Manicotti

I used to hate making manicotti.  I found it impossible to cook and stuff the dried tube things without tearing them.  It would often take three or four boxes of shells, just to get a dozen manicotti..  Then I learned a wonderful fact: real manicotti aren't extruded tubes, but crepes.  A simple four ingredient blender batter and a small frying pan is all it takes for a quick dozen non-tearing manicotti shells which can be made ahead of time and even frozen.  Wifey loves it when I make these for Valentine's Day.

  • Shells
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 cups flour (188g)
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Butter
  • Filling
    • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
    • 2 cups ricotta
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 minced garlic clove
    • 2 tablespoons died basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 8 ounces lump or jumbo lump crabmeat
  • Final Dish
    • 1 quart pasta sauce
    • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Shells
    • Blender
    • Small non-stick frying pan
    • Parchment or wax paper
    • Stovetop
  • Filling
    • Large mixing bowl
    • Mixing Spoon
  • Final Dish
    • 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish
    • Oven

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat.  Put the eggs, water, four and salt in the carafe of a blender and mix on low speed until smooth.  Melt about a quarter teaspoon of butter in the pan and wipe it out. You just need a thin coating to prevent sticking and it will last for two to three shells.  Pour two to three tablespoons of batter into the pan and tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly over the pan.  Cook for about one to two minutes.  Lift one edge of the shell with a rubber spatula and flip.  Cook for a minute.  Stack the finished shells between layers of parchment or wax paper.  

Mix the cheeses, garlic, egg and seasoning together in a large mixing bowl.  Fold in the crabmeat gently, trying not to break it up too much.

Final Dish
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Spread about a quarter cup of sauce over the bottom of the pan.  Take each manicotti shell and place a thick line of filling across the center of the shell.  Roll the manicotti and place in the baking pan.  When all the shells are cover with a layer of sauce, then spread the mozzarella and parmesan over the top.  Bake for 25 minutes.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

BBQ Sauce

Does anyone remember the local restaurant chain Rib-It. I loved their ribs, especially on Mondays for all you can eat. What made the ribs so good was their BBQ sauce. They even used to sell it in local supermarkets, and it was the only BBQ sauce we used at home. When Rib-It went out of business we struggled to find a decent BBQ sauce until Mom found her mother's (Mommom's) BBQ sauce recipe. Apparently we ate Rib-It's sauce because it was the closest tasting sauce to Mommom's.

Mom and I did some test batches, including a night where we made four different sauces and ate a LOT of chicken, and made some tweaks to the original recipe. I've also made some of my own "unauthorized" changes to get the recipe below. The recipe makes about a gallon of BBQ sauce, which I freeze in quart containers. I use so much I make three to four batches per year. You can easily half the recipe for a trial batch.


  • 2 cups minced onion (about 1 large onion)
  • 1 cup minced green pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 2 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 - 8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Tobasco Chipotle sauce
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil


  • Knives
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • 8 qt Stockpot
  • 6 qt Stockpot
  • Blender
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle

Heat oil in 8qt stockpot and sauté onion, green pepper, and celery until soft (about 3 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and simmer for two hours. Liquify in blender and move to 6qt stockpot. Simmer until desired thickness (about an hour or two).
Then get to the grill and Enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Flying Fish Exit 9

Exit 9

Exit 9 in a Glass
Making their next exit of the NJ Turnpike, the Flying Fish beer bus rolls off at Exit 9 and into the campus of Rutgers University. In 1869, Rutgers beat Princeton in the first ever college football game. To differentiate the teams, Rutgers players wore scarlet hats and handkerchiefs which in 1900 became the school's official color and eventually led to their current nickname of the Scarlet Knights. To celebrate Rutgers' red heritage Casey and the boys made Exit 9 a "Hoppy Scarlet Ale" and they aren't kidding about either part. Exit 9 is hoppy and scarlet.

Exit 9 pours bright red with a slightly tan head that dissipates almost immediately. Hopped with four different hops (Amarillo, Centennial, Chinook, and Citra) Exit 9 smells amazing; floral and citrusy, it practically begs you to drink it. On the pallet, however, the hops pummel the tongue with bitterness. Rolling in at a staggering 9% ABV, Exit 9 makes no attempt to hide it's alcohol either. The first taste is bitter and hot. Fortunately Exit 9 aslo has a strong backup of malt which smooths out the bitterness before you finish your sip. I really enjoy pairing wine and beer with food and the side label of the Exit 9 bottle recommends paring with sharp cheddar cheese, which I did. WOW!!! I've never had a beer's flavor change so much. The beer is good on it's own, but for my money, I might never drink Exit 9 without cheddar again.

Overall, Exit 9 is a really good beer, but not for everyone. I liked it; friend Angel liked it; Pop and Wifey did not. But Pop did like it more with cheese.


P.S. Instead of my FF pint glass, I pulled out the Phillies glass since I plan on drinking Exit 9 when I watch the opening day game where one of these guys will be pitching.