Friday, December 4, 2009
Unwanted Beer Recipe 1: Drunken Noodles
Ever get a six pack only to find that the beer's taste sadly disappoints? This is a dangerous side effect of being a beer connoisseur such as myself. But after you've dumped so much money on a craft beer, you can't just throw it away, right?
Well now you won't have to. This is the first segment of a multi-part series chronically my adventures of cooking with beer. Surprisingly, some of the worst tasting beers to drink, actually end up being pretty good when put into cooking. Although, sometimes it isn't the beer that fails; it's the recipe. But, if it works 80% of the time, cooking with your unwanted beer is well worth it--much better then throwing it away.
Oddly enough, my first recipe differs from the norm a bit. As appose to a sub-par craft beer, this recipe calls for an American/Euro macro lager. "What?" you say, "How can Josh have macro lagers in his fridge!!??" Well, despite my extreme love of delicately made craft beer, and my problems with big-beer companies caring only about money and not about taste or their employees, I also have an extreme fear of something else: losing all my money. So, when a father-in-law offers a plethora of left-over macro lagers to take home after a vacation, a thrifty man such as myself takes it.
I also care for my visiting friends, who often aren't nearly as picky as me when it comes to beer. So, through the later summer months and early fall months, we slowly picked at the many cans of Red Dog and Heineken until we were sick of them and only a few were left. So I asked myself: "What can I do with these beers?" The answer came indirectly from a fellow-foodie full-time co-worker. "Now, when any recipe calls for water, I use beer. Chili, stew, you name it!" he says. "I'll keep that in mind," I say. And I did.
What popular, cheap college dish calls for two cups of water? You guessed it: Ramen Noodles. So, I decided to cook Ramen Noodles with beer. It's a pretty simple, manipulatable, and interesting recipe. Here we go:
1 can cheap lager
1 Pack Ramen Noodles
Soft boiled eggs
and so on...
Pour the beer into a small pot (carefully! it's carbonated). Add a little water (to round the liquid off to two cups). Boil, add Ramen Noodles, and cook for 3 minutes.
NOTE OF CAUTION: Be careful boiling the beer and when you add the ramen. This stuff tends to bubble up, and sometimes out. You may have to take it on and off the heat, take the lid on and off, etc.
And that's it. That's the base of the recipe. Basically, it's just a different way of cooking Ramen. From their, you can go in about 20 different directions depending on your tastes, time frame, and stuff in your fridge.
One of my new favorite things to do is to use the ginger-scallion sauce of a popular New York chef. You can use it in a Ramen soup, or you can strain the noodles out of the beer and saute/stir-fry it with the ginger-scallion sauce. The possibilities are endless.
If you're going to do soup, I suggest tossing that high-blood-pressure-in-a-foil-packet that comes with the ramen noodles. You can make your own flavors, and if you need an instant soup base, just add a packet of sodium-free bullion packets. Cheap and healthy... okay, healthier. Also, try out some soft-boiled eggs in the soup. They taste great with the noodles, and the runny yolk adds an extra something to the soup.
I plop the eggs in an electric kettle that shuts off automatically when it boils. As soon as it shuts off, I start a two-minute timer and put the eggs in an ice bath right afterward. Electric kettles are AWESOME. I've been trying to rig it so the button that switches off on the electric kettle hits the start button on the timer, but haven't had success so far. I'll let you know if it works out.
Well, that concludes Unwanted Beer Recipe 1: Drunken Noodles. Expect a lot more from this series, including Aprihop bread, Cappuccino stout mustard, and maybe even some beer desert recipes. Thanks for reading, and remember: Don't be afraid to drink it, eat it, or cook with it. But always drink it in moderation while you cook it.