Tag Archives: Sommeats

How to Make Sommbeer Mustard

When it comes to condiments you could make a strong case that mustard is the only condiment that is actually necessary.  It’s perfect for sausages, hot dogs, sandwiches, pretzels, and countless other delectable morsels that beg for a bit of a tangy savory sweetness to  enhance a meal. Of course when it comes to mustard there are endless varieties, yellow, brown, honey, Dijon, etc. However the best mustard by far will always be beer mustard!  I started making my own mustard a few years back and over time it has developed into a craft. Is it perfect? Probably not, in all honesty I doctor the recipe a little with each batch, still this mustard constantly comes out as a success.  So without further adieu let’s make Sommbeer Mustard!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups malt vinegar
  • 2 cups beer, preferably a porter or stout
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup dry ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

This mustard recipe is pretty easy to complete but there is some prep-time involved.  To start you are going to want to take your all your mustard seeds, and pour them in a jar or bowl with the vinegar and about 1 1/2 cups of beer. These are going to have to chill out in your fridge for at least 12 hours.  This is going to soften up the seeds and of course absorb up some delicious flavor from whichever beer you choose for your Sommbeer Mustard.

When it comes to picking a beer you’re the master of your own mustard destiny.  Personally I like to use a porter or a stout that ranges in the 5-7% ABV range and is more traditional to the style.  If you pick a beer with chocolate or fruit in it those flavors will peak out in your mustard, so if you would like chocolate mustard go nuts but that’s not what I usually go for.  Really any beer that you would enjoy along with food that you put mustard on is a good candidate to make mustard with.  I’ve had good results with Oktoberfests, Red Ales, Scotch Ales, and Vienna Lagers (Sam Adams is actually a really good option for making mustard with).

After your seeds are sufficiently subdued in their beer and vinegar cocktail take the mix out of the fridge and grab yourself a blender and a medium-sized sauce pan. In the sauce pan you basically want to throw in all remaining ingredients and let this mix simmer. This is where you have the option to get creative, if you like a little bit of heat in your mustard maybe add some red pepper flakes or cayenne to the mix for example.  For me it’s not uncommon to add just a little more beer or honey in the mix. I would recommend that you keep the heat low though, with this much sugar in a pan it will bubble up quick and burned sugar and beer smells pretty gnarly.  Let that simmer for a few minutes than remove the mix from heat and put it into the blender.  Add in your jar of seeds and beer from the fridge and blend every thing together until your mustard is your desired consistency.

The end result is a golden brown delicacy fit to adorn your favorite pretzeled bread or tubed meat! Smear it on a sandwich with gusto or include it on a rub as you move some meats into your smoker.  No matter what you like using mustard for this will replace your go to squirt bottle in the fridge and will get the attention of any family and friends that you choose to share with.

 

Enjoy and cheers!

Keurig vs. Tassimo – A side by side comparison

Keurig vs. Tassimo – How to make bad coffee slightly better

Oh now stop it. We’ve all lowered ourselves for a quick caffeine fix. These single serve coffee makers are perfect when you want a quick cup of ordinary to awful cup of dark hot liquid.  They are on the same shame level as a foodie going to McDonalds or a beer nerd drinking a macro beer. It happens. It’s shameful but sometimes convenience trumps good taste.

I already have a Keurig, but when a friend (Random Ron) dropped off his german designed Bosch Tassimo I had to do a side by side comparison.

Looks:
Winner: Tassimo
The Tassimo is compact. It artistically shines a beauty light on your coffee mug for goodness sake.

Sound:
Winner: Tie
The Keurig sounds industrial the Tassimo spits and sputters. Both models fail the 5am sound check.

Cost:
Winner: Keurig
Keurig dominates the US market for single serve coffee makers. As a result, there’s more economic support for the replacement k-cup market. I purchased a box of k-cups at Costco that was the size of a microwave once. I also wonder if design has a part to play in this pricing equation.

The Keurig k-cup is a shining example of design simplicity. Coffee grounds are packed on top of a paper filter, all of which is packaged inside a thin walled cup. The Tassimo disk just seems to have more plastic packaging complexity and heft.


Keurig
Machine range: $80-$180
Cartridge: $0.35 – 1.00

Tassimo
Machine range: $80-$190
Cartridge: $0.50-$1.00

Ease of Use:
Winner: Tassimo
I always seem to be flipping the Keurig handle to reset the machine in an attempt to trigger a brew. Up, down and pushing buttons until something happens. The Keurig dance works until I realize the reservoir is empty.

The Tassimo machine reads the barcode on the top of the cartridge and determines how to brew the coffee for you. Granted there are less options, virtually none in fact, but I crave early morning simplicity. Also, the cleaning function is unreal. Put the yellow disk in place (stored in back of machine) and then push the button. The machine will automatically run through a short cleaning cycle or a 20 minute descaling routine.

Flavor:
Winner: Tassimo
I believe additional testing is required and would welcome additional feedback from our readers. For a fair test, the same roaster brand should be evaluated on both machines.

From my limited sampling, the Tassimo had a richer tasting brew that smelled good. The Keurig coffee had limited flavor and aroma, almost as if the water didn’t spend enough time in the grounds.

I do marvel at the k-cup design simplicity (again). Water is pushed through the top and exits at the bottom. Contrast that with the disk which demands that the water enters and exits the same side of the cartridge ( a water circuit best described as in-up-around-down). The water’s straight forward route in the k-cup leaves much less residual moisture in the grounds. Why is this important? I have no idea. 

Overall:
The flavor, ease of use and aesthetics are superior for the Tassimo. However cost and vast coffee variety will continue to make the Keurig the market winner for the US market. If I were to choose between the two, I would choose the Keurig. Nothing from either of these singe serve machines will taste as good as coffee from a full pot maker. It’s all about convenience here. The Keurig allows consumers to buy their refill k-cups just about anywhere at an affordable price.

Vivant – Can a Brewery have good beer and good food?

From David- Founder of Sommbeer:
I love my daughters.  They just aren’t’ too crazy about brew pubs.  When we announced we were going to Brewery Vivant after we saw the Museum in Grand Rapids, Emm’s response was “you’re going to drink beer while we eat warmed up frozen food”.  I bristled at her harsh response but knew it could be true.  Good breweries do not always measure up when it comes to food.IMG_3759
We walked into Vivant just a few minutes after they opened up for the day (no I wasn’t banging on the door).  We were immediately greeted by a hostess and seated in a booth.  I was already impressed as the interior was a beautifully renovated church.  She handed us all menu’s and I immediately panicked.  Nothing looked familiar. It was all “high end” French food, for the most part.  We coaxed Emm into trying some new stuff and then waited.
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Food: The waiter was super friendly and talked to my family as I researched the beer menu.  Along the conversation, he suggested to Emm, that when she grows up and goes to college she should always remember to go back and visit her parents (Dude! I thought to myself, you just earned yourself a nice tip).  We ordered our food, beers and pops.
The appetizer showed up – Duck Confit Nachos (a mountain of chips smothered in sauce and duck meat).  We couldn’t be happier.
My wife and youngest ordered a hamburger and grilled cheese, both outstanding.
Emm ordered a bowl of wild mushroom soup.  Something she never had, trust me. She loved it.
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I ordered deer sausage.  Fantastic earthy flavor, I even ate my brussel sprouts.   All the food is super high quality and unique.  In fact it was unique to the point that they took more than a few culinary risks – and succeeded.  Only issue was the cost $$$.  Our bill for two adults and two kids hit around $100.  That said, it was a great meal and we will be going back.
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Beer: Our hostess explained later that Vivant is all about the Belgian wild yeast style of beer.  Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of this style.  Hard as I try it just does not register with me.  Yet when I ordered a glass of their Egoiste and followed it with one last glass of Dubelicious – I enjoyed them.  Here’s what I learned about this style, I had to prepare myself for it.  Belgian wild yeast style is kinda tangy like sour dough bread.  Doesn’t matter the variety they make it still has that tangy flavor.  If beer is like music (a post on this later) then this tanginess is a high pitched trumpet. My wife ordered their Fat Paczk beer that arrived in a tulip glass.  That beer was out of this world good!  It’s been a week since our visit and she still talks about that one beer.
When we walked out, our hostess greeted us again (the service here is unreal).  My family took this opportunity to start shopping at the gift shop.  I grabbed a souvenir glass and the hostess recommended I purchase some Vivant beer (Acidulated Trip) to pair with my glass!  What an up-sell.
Emm and I avoiding Paparazzi
Emm and I avoiding Paparazzi
Brewery Vivant surprised me.  I have been in search of a brewery that has both great beer and food.  What I found was great food, beer and service.  My daughters are the toughest critics believe me and they were happy.  We will be going back.
Sommbeer – John Fahner @fahrn13 also reviewed some beers from Brewery Vivant.
– David
Check out this beer review for Brewery Vivant –> Solitude

Drunken Marinade

I’m not a chef and I’m not even the primary cook in my family.  Honestly, I think my family keeps me around just for the spare kidney and my grilling/smoking skills.  My primary cooking function is to take the workload off my wife.  So I do it for fun and I have a lot of freedom to mess around.   While my wife has to worry about making a balanced meal for the kids with vegetables, meat, fruit etc… I focus my energies on things like making a good marinade.
When John started this site, this was the first food item I thought of. Problem is I don’t really know how to make it.  My marinade is usually made the day before I smoke or grill.  Usually this occurs on a Friday evening when I’ve had a few beers and I’ve forgotten to make the marinade.  I have attempted to recreate this beer recipe inspired and created by beer.  There are no measurements and the ingredients change every time, because again – I’ve had a few beers.
Why use marinade?
Marinade infuses the meat with great flavor but also tenderizes the meat.  This is especially true for the rougher cuts that are prized for the ‘low & slow’ cooking method used while smoking.  The acids in the marinade make the meat tender, the salt pulls in the moisture and the spices add flavor.
Base ingredients
My base ingredients are apple cider vinegar, mustard and salt.  Everything else is added to make it unique or fun, or because I’ve had a few beers.
– Apple Cider Vinegar
– Mustard (nothing fancy required)
– Salt
Here’s how I have fun making my “Drunken Marinade”
  1. Grab a bowl and add the cider
2. Add the mustard and salt.  Easy chief, you’re tipsy so go heavy on that cheap mustard not so much on the salt.
Additional Additions – Beer is my Inspiration
This is the fun part.  Beer, wine, liquor removes inhibitions so I tend to explore and find new marinade flavors I otherwise would never consider.  One sobering word of caution: If it doesn’t taste good by itself it will not taste good as a marinade.  I used a bad beer once and the meat tasted like stale bad beer, not good.
I’m drinking a spicy IPA and I’m drawn to the label on a bottle in my fridge.  Turns out lemon juice tastes great in marinade and helps to tenderize the meat.
Uh, well now I’m drinking some fine wine but I’m immediately bored with it.  I’m a beer guy so this is going in.
This is where things can get stupid. I like sriracha sauce, it has a funky chicken on the bottle.  I add it but it’s a big gamble (turns out ok).  Soy sauce is added for flavor and salt and I’m drunk.
Marinade – it’s not pretty
Add the meat since that’s why I’m making this marinade.  Yes, I bought some “clearance meat”, leave me alone.
The bag of meat goes into my 30 degree winter garage over night.
Tomorrow we grill…..

 

The Sommeats Food Rules

Food is just like anything else in life, in order to really enjoy it there are rules. Granted, enjoying food isn’t really the most challenging task in the world, but these rules are designed to help you achieve a more in depth love of your culinary delicacies.

  1. First thing’s first, NO FAST FOOD!  I know I know, this is a view point that is controversial and many of us prefer our quick fix solution for a “meal” but this stuff is just gross. In fact many times I’m not even 100% sure that this food can really be considered food.  If you have to eat on the go try to hit somewhere with more local ties.  Not only will the food taste better but you’re also helping your community. Win win.

2. Easy on the condiments.  There’s a time and a place for condiments but in reality their use is massively over killed in our society.  Ranch on pizza…. GET OUT! In fact let’s just get rid of Ranch dressing all together.  Condiments are fine when used in moderation, but at no point should they be used to mask the flavor of the vessel they’re going on.  A sausage requires mustard, a chicken wing requires blue cheese (NOT RANCH) and there’s a wide variety of applications for hot sauce.  There’s no need to cover a perfectly good steak with some random goop found in the salad dressing aisle at Walmart.

3. Embrace the weird! When it comes to eating don’t be scared off by something that looks like it might be weird.  There’s no shortage of weird looking items in your produce aisle and all those bizarre fruits and veggies might open your eyes to a truly blissful food experience. Have a friend that is offering you durian encrusted fried chicken?  Fear not! Eat that bird right up, it might be amazing! Remember, when you eat it should be the food that’s afraid of you!

4. Food and Booze are friends! Whether you’re using a wine to deglaze a pan or marinating some chicken in a summer wheat ale the applications for booze in cooking are almost limitless.  Plus whatever you don’t use for cooking you can drink, a definite benefit!

5. Cook for yourself! You don’t have to cook every night, or even every day. But you should have a few, or a bunch, of dishes that you can whip up for yourself.  Maybe your forte is smoking meat in the middle of winter, or maybe it’s whipping up a pot of chili to graze on over the course of a weekend. Cooking for yourself will make you appreciate food in restaurants more and you’ll figure out little nuances that make each meal your own.  Sure, the cleaning up after part kind of sucks, but the end result of a well cooked meal is an extremely rewarding simple pleasure in life.

 

Cheers!