All hopped up for the holidays

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 - 20:00

The purpose of these recipes is to introduce you to a variety of different ways you can use beer in your cooking. Like wine, it can leave a specific set of tastes that enhance various foods. Protein-based foods are the best, and make for a different style of cooking.

Good facts to know about cooking with beer:

Beer has lots of extra vitamins — especially beers that are home-brewed

You can substitute beer for most recipes that call for wine. Use a lighter style of beer for white wines, darker, heavier beers for those calling for reds.

Though the flavor is left, the alcohol, which is volatile, has been released and only a flavor will remain if the food is cooked.

Beer just poured into a dish afterward will still pack a punch.

Don’t drink the marinades.




Beer butter shrimp

In a sauce pan, heat the following:

One pound (2 sticks) butter — do not substitute

3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

1 cup finely diced onion

12 ounces beer (best choices are a pale or golden ale)

2 cups thin sliced mushrooms

Fresh ground pepper

Juice of one fresh lemon

2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash seasoning mix


Heat over low heat until butter bubbles and onion and mushrooms are soft but not soggy.

Thaw, rinse and drain two pounds 31-40 count shrimp (frozen is fine) with no tail. Place shrimp into sauce pan, just to toss and heat. Do not over cook or shrimp will be tough.

Serve as appetizer or as a side for other meats. Also good tossed with pasta or as a ceasar.


Cracked pepper meatballs

In large pot, place one bag of precooked meatballs. Add:

2 bottles dark beer (brown ales, stouts or other bold beer)

2 medium onions, sliced thin

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 cups water

Let simmer until onions are soft and meatballs are plump and hot. Add:

1 cup catsup

2 teaspoons powdered mustard

1 cup dry brown gravy mix, stirred into cup of cold water

Cracked pepper (use either straight black peppercorns or 5-pepper mélange, as much or as little as you like)


Serve as appetizers in a chafer or as a main entrée over noodles or rice.

Tip: Peppercorns are very hard to crack. Using a lolling pin is not always the best option. I suggest that you use a chunk of muslin with the pepper tied inside, placed inside a heavy brown paper bag and crush with a hammer or mallet. Send the kids to the garage concrete floor and let them whack away.


Beer marinated mushrooms

2 pounds fresh mushrooms, sliced thick

2 cups beer (lighter styles)

1 cup vinegar

1 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sugar

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons lemon peel (if jarring for gifts, use long strips of rind)

2 teaspoons thyme

2 bay leaves


In large pot, combine all ingredients except the mushrooms and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and let simmer for approx. 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to bowl and serve as appetizer or place mushrooms in a jar. Top with liquid and store in fridge for up to six weeks.

You can also make mixes of the following:

— Thin sliced onions and mushrooms

— Mushrooms of various types

— Mushrooms, peppers and onions

— Mushrooms, peppers, and green beans cut into 3-inch pieces

— Zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and onions



Everyone has heard of the beer can chicken. But if you don’t want to get out the greill, here is a way to make tasty tidbits in your kitchen.


Citrus Dunko

1 cup orange juice or apple juice

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 bottle beer (12 ounces)

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon tarragon

1 tablespoon thyme

Will marinate 2-3 pounds of chicken, fish or shellfish


Curry marinade

2 teaspoons red curry paste

2 tablespoons catsup

1 bottle darker beer

1 teaspoon five spice

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Several dashes Worchestershire sauce

Hot sauce to taste

¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Will marinate 2-3 pounds of beef, lamb or chicken. Cubed meats for skewers are great with this.


Beer, butter and blue cheese

1 cup butter, soft

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, soft

4 ounces beer (you can drink the rest!)

Place all cheeses and butter in a mixing bowl, turn on and, as it is processing gradually add the beer to incorporate. This is great topping on grilled vegetables or steaks. Store leftovers in fridge — if there are any.


Extra quick queso

4 cups cheese sauce (from the can if you shot at Costco)

12 ounces beer

1 cup each chopped bell pepper, tomato, onion

1 small can diced green chiles,

1 bunch green onion, chopped

¼ cup fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 cup good Mexican hot sauce, to taste


In skillet, combine peppers, tomato, onion, lime juice and beer. Bring to hard boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until about half the liquid is gone and the veggies are just tender. Stir mixture into your cheese sauce and garnish with green onions and cilantro.


Chef Mary Helms claims to have no talent with musical instruments, singing or dancing, no ability with drawing or painting, but when it comes to food she says she can produce a symphony for the senses and a picture of delight with her food creations. She has cooked all over Alaska, from oil camps to fishing boats, corporate franchise houses to independent owners. She has cooked in such events as the Jammin Salmon at Bear Paw Festival, various chili cook offs, Alaska State Fair, Alaska Market and Festival and independently sponsored competitions requiring original recipes. Known also for her upbeat cooking seminars, she has been billed as a “food educator” for her knowledge of food and food history. She has published certified recipes with Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks and Gold Medal Flour, which include Choco Orange Diamonds and White Chocolate Raspberry Pecan Chiffon Cake in a mass market cookbook printings. Cooking for her is not only a career but is also a hobby that she said fills her life with adventure and “leaves a legacy written in food.”

“I find that even after 40 years of cooking for others I still wake up with new ideas buzzing through my head each day,” she said. “My problem is not enough time to try everything I want to cook or bake though there is a waiting list for food samplers.”

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