Pesto Couscous Salad

So I actually just made this recipe up as I went along and it turned out to be pretty good, so I decided to put it up on the blog. Sorry I didn’t take any prep pictures, but… it’s a salad.

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Pesto Couscous Salad

2 cups couscous
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, hot
½ bunch of kale, tough stems removed, chopped
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (or more to preference)
¼ cup basil-arugula pesto
1 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a 2-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast the couscous for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned, then add hot chicken broth. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 12 min, or until all the liquid is absorbed. The couscous should be firm but tender, like the Old Spice guy. Or like al dente pasta.

As soon as the couscous is cooked, and while still hot, add the chopped kale and toss until it is wilted and bright green. Add all the other ingredients and toss, season with salt and pepper, serve at room temperature.

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Maine Beer Company Mean Old Tom

Maine Beer Company Mean Old Tom Stout

NAME: Maine Beer Company Mean Old Tom
TYPE: Stout (aged on vanilla beans)
ORIGIN: Freeport, ME
ABV: 6.5%
REVIEW: Jet black pour with a creamy, khaki head. Roasty, malty smell, medium-light bodied stout. Toasty, slightl burnt taste with subtle coffee notes and just a hint of vanilla at the end. To be honest I expected a little more, but still I’d choose this over Guinness. And yes, it would go well with my wife’s delicious chocolate chip cookies.

goodwilltasting grade: B-

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Maine Beer Company Lunch

Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA

NAME: Maine Beer Company Lunch (draught)
TYPE: American IPA
ORIGIN: Freeport, ME
ABV: 7.2%
REVIEW: Golden Brown color with crisp head. Pine on the nose, hoppy citrus notes, crisp mouthfeel, slightly more viscous than a San Diego IPA. Feels like a hybrid of English and American style IPAs if you ask me.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Maine Beer Company Another One

Maine Beer Company Another One IPA

NAME: Maine Beer Company Another One
TYPE: American IPA
ORIGIN: Freeport, ME
ABV: 7.0%
REVIEW: Golden wheat color, slightly opaque, beautiful foamy head, fresh lemony pine aroma, nice and bitter up front, then gives way to grapefruit, lemon, and a tart finish. Very crisp mouthfeel but no overly carbonated. This would be a great summer IPA to go with pizza or BBQ chicken, but I’ll take it in the fall anyway. Better than MBC’s lunch IMO.

goodwilltasting grade: A-

Rising Tide Ishmael Copper Ale

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NAME: Rising Tide Ishmael American Copper Ale
TYPE: Altbier (German-style Brown Ale)
ORIGIN: Portland, ME
ABV: 5.1%
REVIEW: Dark copper color, foamy head. Bready smell, subtle hops aroma, nice biscuity mouthfeel with strong malty backbone, bittersweet caramel flavor, smooth finish with little aftertaste. Solid subtly hoppy brown ale that would go well with fried seafood and chowdah that Portland does so well.

goodwilltasting grade: B

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City Steam Innocence IPA

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NAME: City Steam Innocence
TYPE: American IPA
ORIGIN: Hartford, CT
ABV: 6%
REVIEW: Golden caramel-y color, creamy head, sweet grassy smell with citrus notes. Pretty aggressively hop forward, kind of a palate wrecker but the bitterness mellows out as it warms and gives way to a floral sweet finish. Nice mouthfeel with good carbonation. I wouldn’t say this would be a session-able beer but an otherwise good effort on an American IPA, Hartford.

goodwilltasting grade: B

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Stone 12.12.12 Vertical Epic

Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12

NAME: Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12.
TYPE: Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ale
ORIGIN: Escondido, CA
ABV: 9.0%
REVIEW: Dark color, minimal head. Sweet, roasted smell. Crisp full mouthfeel, slightly overcarbonated. Sweet on the tongue with a piney floral finish. Well done Stone!

goodwilltasting grade: A-

 

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21st Amendment Hop Crisis

21st Amendment Hop Crisis Imperial IPA

NAME: 21st Amendment Hop Crisis
TYPE: Imperial IPA
ORIGIN: San Francisco, CA
ABV: 9.7%
IBUs: 94
REVIEW: Golden color with frothy head, very citrusy on the nose with a hint of pine. Very smooth beer with nice grapefruit and apricot notes, medium bodied with a slightly flat mouthfeel. Sweet, caramel finish. It’s no Pliny, but that’ll do pig. That’ll do.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Wings: 2 Ways

Taking a break from this stupid game to post my baked wings recipe. Hashtag Worst Super Bowl Ever.

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Wings are pretty easy to make and pretty cheap too.  Usually around Super Bowl time you can find huge packs of wings like this for like 50% off. You can cook them whole, but I like eating my wings the classic wing and drumette way. Here’s a quick primer on how to divide the wing:

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I don’t know what a butcher would call those 2 views but for the sake of simplicity I’m calling the thicker skinned side “outside” and the thinner skinned side “inside.”

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Start by cutting off the wing tip by placing the wing “inside” up and finding the joint. You can feel the joint with your fingers, it will feel bony and protrude like a knuckle (Fig 1). Find the middle and cut straight down (Fig 2).  If you have a good knife, it should cut through pretty easily.  If not, you’re probably on a bone and you need to try again. Flip the wing over so the “outside” is up, find the knuckle between the drumette and the wing (Fig 3), and again cut straight down. I like to cut through the skin between the two sections first and spread them apart to allow for a cleaner cut (Fig 4), but it’s not really necessary.

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Season with Lawry’s and toss with vegetable oil

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Line a baking sheet with foil and put a cooling rack on top. The rack will allow the dry heat in the oven to contact all surfaces of the wings and let it get nice and crispy all around. Here’s a tip: spray the rack with some non-stick cooking spray before putting the wings on.

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See you boys later.

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50 minutes later… skin crispy, kitchen smelling awesome.

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Now for the sauces. This is my Buffalo Bacon sauce. Yes that is 1 tbsp of bacon grease on the right. GO BIG OR GO HOME! DON’T YOU EVER TALK ABOUT ME!

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Here’s the other sauce. Not much of a secret here, except that The Salt Lick makes some mighty fine sauce.

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Once the wings come out, coat half in the Buffalo sauce, half in the BBQ sauce.  Throw the BBQ sauce wings back in the oven for 8-10 minutes so the BBQ sauce becomes a little caramelized and more like a glaze. Serve the Buffalo wings right away (no need to bake again).

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Packed up and ready to head out for the game!

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DIRECTIONS:

Bacon Buffalo Sauce

1/3 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Texas Pete’s)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp bacon grease, melted
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
In a warmed bowl, whisk all ingredients together.

BBQ Sauce

1/3 bottle of Salt Lick Original BBQ Sauce

Wings

5 pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Set a wire rack over a large rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread wings on the rack in a single layer and as evenly spaced as possible. Try not to let pieces touch.

Bake wings until cooked through and skin is crispy, 45–50 minutes.

Add half of wings to BBQ sauce in a large bowl and toss to evenly coat. TIP: Use a large spoon to toss so you don’t break the skin. Place wings back on the rack in a single layer and bake again until sauce is glossy and lightly caramelized, 8–10 minutes.

Toss remaining half of wings in Buffalo sauce. Serve immediately (no need to bake).

(Adapted from bon appetit)

Beer pairing recommendation: Racer 5 IPA.  Is there anything better than wings and IPAs? Yes. Pizza and IPAs.

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Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA

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NAME: Bear Republic Racer 5
TYPE: American IPA
ORIGIN: Healdsburg CA
ABV: 7.0%
REVIEW: The IPA that started it all… For me anyway. For real this is the beer that got me into IPAs in the first place. Fresh grapefruit, slight pine smell, darkish golden amber color, nice citrusy grapefruit notes up front, really fresh, crisp tasting with slow slightly sweet finish. Super refreshing and drinkable. This is a beautiful beer.

goodwilltasting grade: A

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