Beer adds flavor, depth to these Father’s Day recipes

Yes, it tastes as good as it looks!  Dad will love a homemade beer and chocolate Bundt cake. BY JACK CLEMONS
June 19, 2011

Sunday is Father’s Day, and like many holidays, this celebration has murky origins. Some people credit the desire to ensure equal treatment for fathers after Anna Jarvis succeeded in having the second Sunday in May dedicated to honoring mothers in 1914. Others believe a 1907 mine disaster in Monongah, W.Va., gave a local pastor inspiration to honor the nearly 400 men who perished in the explosion, most of them beloved fathers.

Of all the theories, one name that appears most often is Sonora Dodd. She organized the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Wash., in 1910 to celebrate her father’s sacrifice in successfully raising six children by himself after the death of his wife. However, it was a long wait for fathers to earn the same status on the holiday calendar: President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation in 1966 designating the third Sunday in June, and President Richard Nixon made it official in 1972.

In addition to the delay in securing their special day, fathers also get short shrift in the gift department. Mother’s Day falls while school is still in session, when children have time to make colorful cards and special projects. Dads, on the other hand, typically find their day lost in the commotion of graduations and weddings throughout the month of June. Fortunately, the greeting card industry provides helpful reminders, and most golfers appreciate a new sleeve of balls.

This Father’s Day, we’ll follow the example of the Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company, which last year brewed a special Papa's Pale Ale for the occasion. For our Father’s Day, every meal on Sunday will feature beer as a key ingredient.

Beer can add a range of flavors and textures to your recipes, offering a balance of sweetness and bitterness from malted grain and hops as well as a yeasty effervescence.

While you may not typically reach for a bottle of beer first thing in the morning, the combination of malt and bubbles makes beer an ideal ingredient for Belgian waffles. These don’t taste or smell “beery” (like the remains of a fraternity keg party) but have light, nutty hints and a malty aroma Dad will find delicious.

Lunch offers several alternatives for incorporating beer in the menu. An easy summer choice is simmering hot dogs or bratwursts in a rich brew, giving them a juicy bite. Avoid cooking anything with beer over a high heat or for too long, to avoid it becoming bitter as the liquid reduces. To simmer sausages, keep the flame as low as possible just long enough for the flavors to be absorbed, about 15 or 20 minutes.

Another lunch option is to serve sandwiches on puffy, beer-lightened rolls. These have a texture similar to a cream puff pastry and work as miniature sandwich buns, perfect for a filling of tuna or chicken salad. Surprisingly, although there’s no sugar in the recipe, these buns can also become dessert, filled with whipped cream and fruit or a silky custard.

Beer can be used as marinade the same way you would use wine mixed with flavorings. And cooking with beer should be done with the same caveat as cooking with wine – if you wouldn’t drink it out of a glass, don’t cook with it either. For Father’s Day dinner, consider serving grilled flank steak marinated in a dark beer with sharp flavors like garlic, cayenne and chili.

Our favorite beer is Dogfish Head Pale Ale, which is the star ingredient for the cake in the photo.

The moist texture is complemented by a sprinkle of crunchy toasted coconut, and the flavor is difficult to describe - rich and deep and complex - just like a good beer. Happy Father’s Day!

Beer Batter Waffles
2 1/4 C flour
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
2 T sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
5 T butter
3/4 C milk
1 C beer

Preheat a waffle iron. Sift the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl; set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a measuring cup or small bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over a low heat. Stir in milk and beer; keep over low heat until mixture is warmed through. Remove saucepan from heat and slowly pour in eggs, whisking constantly. Form a deep depression in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the mixture from the saucepan into the well, whisking at the center and gradually widening until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Ladle batter into a preheated waffle iron and cook until lightly golden.

Puffy Beer Rolls
1 C flour
1/2 t salt
1 C beer
1/2 C butter
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour and salt together into a small bowl; set aside. Pour beer into a saucepan and add butter. Cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts. Reduce heat to low and add flour and salt. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides and forms a ball. Remove from heat and let rest for a minute or two. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly until the dough is shiny. Spoon the batter into a zip-top bag; cut off a corner of the bag and pipe out one-inch rounds onto the lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 F, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Turn off the oven, crack open the door, and let puffs become dry and slightly cool before removing to a serving platter. Yield: 5 dozen

Beer & Chocolate Bundt Cake
3/4 C sour cream
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3/4 C cocoa powder
2 C flour
1 T baking soda
1 C pale ale
1/2 C butter, chopped
1 3/4 C sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat the inside of a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs and vanilla until fluffy; set aside. Sift the cocoa into a small bowl; set aside. Sift the flour and baking soda into a bowl; set aside. Pour beer into a saucepan over medium heat. Drop the chunks of butter into the beer, stirring occasionally until melted. When the butter is melted, whisk in the sifted cocoa and sugar, stirring until smooth. Pour the chocolate mixture into the sour cream mixture and whisk together until creamy. Add the flour and baking soda, stirring just until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Loosen the cake edges from the pan and invert over a plate to remove from the pan. Frost with a cream cheese icing or sprinkle with roasted coconut flakes. Yield: 12 to 15 slices.

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