Friday, April 25, 2008

Hobo Dinner & Goose Island IPA

Fun with Photoshop filters! I liked this one because the food looks like those silly painted styrofoam chunks they used as "alien" food on Star Trek: TOS.

Over the past few years, we've gone camping with our lovely friends, The Beaumonts, every Spring and Fall. This Spring, we are too busy opening a brewery to go camping. Bummer, but... yay! Brewery!

Anyway, in honor of the Great Camping Trip Loss of 2008, we decided to cook our favorite camping dinner at home tonight. We paired it with one of our favorite camping beers, natch.

Goose Island India Pale Ale
Chicago, IL
5.9% ABV, 58 IBUs

-- paired with --

Hobo Dinner @ Home

For reference, the way you make hobo dinners whilst camping:
lay flat a piece of foil, about 18"x18" and then layer...
little olive oil or a pat or 2 of butter
potatoes cut into 1" chunks
Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters™ Grillers® Recipe Crumbles™
chopped onions
chopped garlic
spices, pretty much whatever you want
chopped zucchini
chopped red and green bell peppers
any other chopped veggies, one of the many joys of camping is a comfortable lack of rules
shredded cheese of any kind

Then, fold the whole thing into a pocket and toss'er onto the grate over the campfire. The edge of the fire ring, inside the stones, is also a great place to slow-cook your hobo dinner. No offense to hobos, by the way.

Okay, so here's how we made hobo dinners at home. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray olive oil to coat the bottom of a baking dish. Then, layer...
potatoes, chopped into 1" chunks
cold Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters™ Chik'n Strips (we had some left over, hanging out in the fridge)
4 strips of Morning Star Farms® Veggie Bacon Strips (we fondly refer to it as "facon")
Morningstar Farms® Meal Starters™ Grillers® Recipe Crumbles™ (spray just a little more olive oil onto the recipe crumbles)
chopped onions
diced roasted garlic (my clever scheme for roasting garlic is below)
shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
salt & pepper
ancho chili powder, or any other kind of chili powder
Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
chopped Portobello mushrooms
chopped zucchini
chopped red & green bell peppers
shredded Parmesan cheese

Cover the baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes.

To roast garlic: preheat a toaster oven to 400°. Slice the tops off of a complete head of garlic, but try not to pull the cloves apart. Spray the tops with a little olive oil. Wrap the head in foil, keeping in mind that you'll check its progress by peeking at the tops of the cloves. Bake them in the toaster oven for about 50 minutes. Once the tops of the cloves are browned, you're in business.

Onto the feasting and drinking.

Hop aroma abounds in the IPA. The head is just slightly off-white, thick, and tasty. You can tell right from the start that there is going to be lacing on the glass. Plenty of flowery hop flavor, of course. The mouthfeel is smooth and light. A malty sweetness greets you first, but then drops off. Randy Mosher wrote in his article "What's On Your Menu?: Dazzle Them with Beer & Food Pairings," (The New Brewer, Vol. 25 No. 1) that hop bitterness emphasizes spiciness. The Dugg's damn-near-professional spicing skills were requested for this particular dish. He fiendishly leaned over the baking dish for quite some time, shaking this jar, taking pinches from that jar, and blopping copious amounts of Tabasco sauce to and fro. Call it a premonition, but I think our palates are about to be spanked.

Indeed, the combination of the beer and food allows the spices to linger in the mouth for a long, long time. That's right, quench the spice heat with nice cold beer. Oh boy. Good thing we aren't going anywhere tonight.

The multitude of flavors in the dish are rinsed clear with the beer. Spices are tasted throughout the entire experience, but the veggie flavors are fresh and clean every time after sipping the beer.

Head-bobbing to a new-found band, Fu Manchu, we lapsed into a silence and enjoyed our dinner. The Dugg uttered the first word after many long minutes: "more."

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