Monday, July 26, 2010

Flying Fish Exit 6

The next stop on Flying Fish Brewery's trek up and down the New Jersey Turnpike is Exit 6 Wallonian Rye. Flying Fish released the beer last month and should still be widely available for purchase. Here is the description from the Exit Series site:
For our fifth stop, we journey to Exit 6. This part of Burlington County was settled by Dutch Walloons (now Belgians) whose first order of business was to build a fort–and then a tavern. The area has always had a rich agricultural heritage and we’re using locally grown rye as an appreciation of our farmers past and present.

Exit 6 starts out as a deceptively simple recipe–pale malt augmented by 20 percent rye, fermented with a classic Belgian yeast. But then it gets interesting with the hops: English East Kent Goldings, Slovenian Styrian Goldings and Japanese Sorachi Ace.

The result is a rich saffron color with a spicy character from the rye and lemony citrus notes from the unique Sorachi Ace hops.
The beer poured with a beautiful golden color with a small head which dissipated unsurprisingly quickly considering Exit 6 is 7.5% ABV. The beers I poured for Wifey and I stayed rather cloudy, I'm not sure if that was because of the rye or if my pour included most of the yeast used in bottle conditioning.

For taste, I did get a light citrus taste, but didn't get any of the spiciness Flying Fish described above. The most distinguishing taste characteristic we both found was a slightly sour finish. Again, not sure if that comes across normally with the beer or if my yeasty pour brought the sour to the table. Overall a good beer, and one which should pair well with summer foods.

Update August 1, 2010

I tried another bottle today and got a better pour, without any yeast sediment in the glass. The beer still had a cloudy, medium straw color and a slightly sour taste. While I like it, some people may not. I took a photo of today's pour, below, and you can see the coudiness. Also, I poured the beer so the top of the head reached the top of the glass, and I took the shot below about 90sec after the pour, so you can see how quickly the head dissipates.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What to do with all those Blueberries

I can't believe how good this year's blueberry crop has been. Big, plump, and well... BLUE. The wet, cool spring (which yielded to a balmy summer) gave us great berries. While Wifey just likes to eat them right out of the package, I had to cook with them. So far, we used over 30 pints, and here are three simple, yummy ideas.

Blueberry Vodka
As promised, I brewed up some infused blueberry vodka. I used the exact same recipe as my strawberry vodka so I won't repeat it here, except blueberries don't need to be cut so, you don't need as much prep time, but they are better after a week and a half to two week soak. For some unknown reason I seem to prefer drinking the blueberry out of a snifter over a martini glass.
Blueberry Muffins
Obviously the standard thing to cook with blueberries are muffins. I base my muffing recipe on the "Old School Muffins" in Alton Brown's baking cookbook. For today's blueberry batch, I wanted healthier muffins so I modified the recipe to make whole wheat muffins and used Sugar in the Raw instead of white sugar.

  • All purpose flour
  • White whole wheat flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Large egg plus one egg yolk
  • Blueberries
  • Regular size muffin tin (12 muffins)
  • Mixing bowls
  • Oven (pre-heat to 375F)
  • Kitchen scale
  • Pam for Baking
Muffins are one of the simplest things you can bake. Since they are chemically leavened (baking powder reaction) they don't require proofing yeast. You simply mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ones in another, pour the wet into the dry, stir, and scoop. For this and many baking recipes sugar counts as a wet ingredient since it liquefies when it gets heated. Also, only stir just enough to mix all the flour in. Over-mixing leads to flat muffins because the bubbles being formed by the baking powder/soda escape. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes before scooping into a lubed muffin pan

Dry stuff:
163 grams (1 1/4 cup) all purpose flour - The most accurate way to measure flour is to weigh it because it can get compressed in the measuring scoop and you can add too much and get dry muffins
140 grams (1 cup) whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Egg and egg yolk
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
1 cup blueberries

Mix, let stand, scoop and bake for 18-20 minutes at 375F. I turn the pan around after 10 minutes to make sure the cook even. The next time I make muffins I plan to use only whole wheat flour (315g) since you don't need any gluten in the muffins.

Blueberry Sauce
Without a doubt, Bryers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream is the best ice cream you can buy at a store. The off season standard for toppings is, of course Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, or maybe Magic Shell. During berry season, I make a fruit syrup with either strawberries or blueberries (same recipe) that really compliments the already great vanilla ice cream. The syrup would also go great with some of the Whole Wheat Pancakes from Alton's baking cookbook.

  • Blueberries
  • Sugar
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Saucepan
  • Stovetop
Combine a pint of blueberries (or cut strawberries), a half cup of sugar, and a teaspoon of vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar melts and the juice starts to cook out of the berries (about 8-12 min). Reserve 1/3 - 1/2 of the fruit and blend the remaining fruit/sauce in either a blender or with a boat motor stick blender. Put the liquefied sauce and reserved fruit back together in the pan, lower the heat to medium low and simmer until desired thickness.