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Instant Pot BBQ Ribs If you’ve ever made BBQ ribs before, you know it can be a long process if you want fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, meat.  Thanks to Instant Pot, you can shave 4-5 hours off this process now!  Using the pressure cooking component of the Instant Pot, you can pressure cook your ribs for 30 minutes and get the same effect you would have if you had slow cooked your ribs in the oven for 4 hours.  I seasoned my ribs with a dry rub, and refrigerated
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Bourbon & Sea Salt Caramels

8 January, 2014, 0 comments, on

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    Average: 2 (2 votes)

As the New Year dawned, I decided I wanted to add something new to my repertoire of classic desserts; enter Bourbon & Sea Salt Caramels!  I discovered this recipe in my December 2013 Bon Apetit magazine, and decided to give it a try. Upon the recommendation of my bourbon expert I used Maker’s Mark 46.  First thing I would advise is to buy yourself a candy thermometer if you don’t have one, and make sure to do this when you can give your undivided attention to this recipe. I started by caramelizing the sugar, corn syrup, and water. 

This should be done in medium sized heavy saucepan over med/high heat.  This takes time, and careful attention to avoid burning.  Once it starts to caramelize the color begins to change rapidly, so careful attention is a must!

In other words, do NOT under any circumstances answer a text message from your sister, this resulted in having to start over again! Once it reached that gloriously amber color, I removed it from the heat and added the cream and butter.  I had to graduate to a larger pan before I added the cream and butter because it would have spilled over (the pan I started with was too small).  

Constant mixing is a must at this point to avoid uneven color and little flecks of overcooked caramel, and definitely employ the candy thermometer.  I did not have a candy thermometer and had to use the bowl test.  To use this method, fill a small ball with very cold (but not ice cold) water.  When you think it is getting close to temperature take a small amount of the caramel and drop it into the cold water, using your fingers to form a small ball.  The consistency of this ball that forms is what the caramel will be like when it cools.  When it has reached 235 (the soft ball stage) I removed it from the heat and poured it into the prepared pan.  Note on pan preparation, be sure to liberally coat the pan and parchment paper with Crisco or cooking spray, to make for easy removal of the caramels. Once you have poured the caramel, it is necessary to let it cool before sprinkling with the sea salt, otherwise it will just melt. 

After it had sufficiently cooled I was able to cut it into bite size pieces.  I was delighted by the consistency and flavor of these delightful little mouthfuls.  One or two of them may or may not have been dropped into a cup of hot chocolate, resulting in a delicious new way to serve hot chocolate!  Sit back and enjoy.  They should be stored in the refrigerator once they are cut, and do not stack them as they have the tendency to stick to each other, so spread them out in one layer.  Hope you enjoy as much as I did! 

- Emily

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Best Bubbles for New Years, Suggested Toasts & More!

30 December, 2013, 0 comments, on

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    Average: 2 (1 vote)

champagne for New Year'sNew Year's Eve is almost upon us...and that means bubbles are bound to be poured. Have you chosen which sparkling wine you'll be ringing in the new year with?

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Top 5 Cookies - Holiday Cookies We'd Love to Get!

23 December, 2013, 0 comments, on

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The holidays are a wonderful time to slow down, eat, drink and relax and one of the best ways to do that is with a little baking for family and friends.

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Chicken Fricassee by Emily

18 December, 2013, 0 comments, on

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After a long day at work I decided to treat myself to a nice homecooked meal!  Being a single gal it’s sometimes hard to cook for one.  I made a few adjustments to the recipe, which I found in my bonapetit magazine, or online. There was no way I wanted to cook a whole 3 lb chicken for just myself!  I instead opted for a 4 pack of bone-in, skin-on organic chicken thighs.  A 4 pack of chicken thighs I have found is perfect as far as amounts go.  If you’re really hungry you will eat two and still have leftovers, but not a fridgefull!

I started by prepparing the onions, garlic, and fresh thyme.

Once these were prepared I began by sautéing the onions in my grandmother’s cast iron skillet.  Granny D’s skillet has never let me down.  A family heirloom that’s not only sentimental, but extremely practical!

I then proceeded to chop up the baby bella mushrooms (the recipe called for shitake, but baby bella is what I had available).

Once this was accomplished dinner practically made itself! I browned the chicken in the oven on a rack placed over a cookie sheet.  I baked until the skin was beginning to brown and it was almost cooked through.   

As the chicken was baking I added the wine and the chicken stock and reduced to half. The kitchen at this point smelled heavenly, and I’m pretty sure my neighbors within sniffing distance were probably pea green with envy!

Once the liquid had reduced I removed the skillet from the heat and added the greek yogurt and the sour cream. Next time I think I will just opt for using all sour cream instead of half yogurt, half sour cream.  I am guessing that the greek yogurt is supposed to make it a “healthier option”, which at this point I say if you’re going decadent go all the way!  

At this point I added the chicken into the pan and put it back over the heat to cook until heated all the way through.

Lastly, I turned off the stove and added the chopped celery leaves.  The recipe suggest serving this with rice pilaf, but as I didn’t have any rice on hand I cooked some egg noodles to serve it with instead.  The results were marvelous!  

My only suggestion with this delightful meal is make sure you don’t have plans after dinner.  This meal is to be savored.  I had made plans with a girl friend for a glass of wine after dinner, and had to rush through my meal!  Next time I make this I will invite someone over and ask them to bring a bottle of wine with them.  Perhaps not fit for Julia Childs as far as french cuisine authenticity goes, but certainly fit for a single gal living in Baltimore.


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Brew Drinks at Home. Drink Brews at Home. Get Started Homebrewing.

4 December, 2013, 0 comments, on

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Kicking back in your favorite chair with an ice cold beer and your desired TV show on seems like the perfect way to unwind after a busy day at work. You get home from a long day and are pumped to just sit back, put on the DVR and crack open your favorite brew but then something seriously goes wrong. You open the fridge and realize you are out of beer! This tragedy is a major setback in the plans you had for your evening of unwinding. So what do you do? Put off your plans for another day and surrender to an evening of TV without beer? No! You run to the beer store and grab your beloved six pack and then you find out how to create your own beer at home so that you don’t run into this problem again!

Seems simple enough right? If you like to drink beer at home why not make the beer right there so that you never need to run to the beer store again! Nearly 1 million Americans are homebrewing while you read this post so don’t be afraid to jump into the process.

Please note that homebrewing is completely legal for you to do in all 50 states however, it is illegal to sell your homebrews. So keep the goods to yourself!

I bet your wondering … Do I have the skills to make my own beer? The answer is if you can heat up a can of baked beans, make easy mac, or even do your own laundry then you already have too much knowledge for this process.

Now I know what you’re thinking again … How much money am I gonna have to dish out for this new found hobby? Basic beginner’s equipment kits start at around $80 and the ingredients cost around $25-$45 per 5 gallon batch. 5 gallons makes roughly 2 cases of beer. So if we average that out you will be making each 12oz. beer at anywhere from $2.10 to $2.60. Compared to the prices of craft beers on the market today that is a huge savings and think of all the money you will save not having to tip anyone but yourself. Oh and taxes? Ha you get to keep all those pretty pennies to yourself instead of paying off the alcohol tax gods.

Now our plan does have a slight problem …. That problem being that it takes 2 hours to brew the beer and 2 weeks to ferment. This in addition to the 1 hour it takes to bottle the beer and then 2 -4 weeks it takes to condition the beers in the bottles. Overall the process takes roughly 4 weeks.

Now I know what your going to say – Holy Crap! I have to wait 4 weeks? Well the bottom line is that if I had written this post 4 weeks earlier or you had read it 4 weeks earlier then you wouldn’t be thinking that! Sorry friends but we promise you that it will be worth the wait because not only will you sit back in your favorite chair with your favorite TV show on but the ice cold beer in your hand will be one of a kind and hand crafted by the coolest person you know … yourself!

So take on the challenge and learn to brew your own beer at home so that you can drink it at home whenever the heck you want!

Stay tuned here because we are going to start brewing our own beer and wine right away. We have a homebrew store located right across from our office and are taking a walk over to get ourselves set up with some equipment. We will let you know how it goes!

For more information on homebrewing and how to get started visit www.homebrewersassociation.org

Cheers & Good Luck Brewing!




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