This past week our filter failed on us. Hard. Thankfully, we have a friend whose superheroism never ceases to amaze. Our good pal and reliable drinking buddy Pete Crowley down at Rock Bottom State/Grand was kind enough to loan us his filter *again* as a stand in for ours as we made repairs. We were able to filter our first batch of Krankshaft and make an 11th hour delivery to our distributor. Whoo hoo! We win! So, when you're out drinking Krankshaft (available only in kegs right now; bottles will be available later this month), surely you'll taste the effort, the dedication, the utter triumph infused within. I said TASTE IT...
So after several weeks of balls-out, punk rock, non-stop days of hard production labor, we enjoyed a day of domestic chores yesterday and are enjoying day of quiet domestic projects today. Of course, the beer fridge and liquor cabinet have been wide open throughout.
This may not come as a surprise, but nothing brings tears of joy to a lager brewer's eyes like the onset of Oktoberfest season. In celebration of our days of relaxation and the launch of the best beer-drinking season ever, this morning I sautéd up a dish inspired by a Polish meal my paternal grandfather used to make. Mine uses a meat substitute, olive oil instead of butter, and as I recall his dish... I think I use more fresh peppers. And we paired it with Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest.
- cut 2 red potatoes into thick slices
- chop 2 bell peppers (any color) into 1" sq pieces
- chop 1 medium onion into 1" sq pieces
- finely dice a few cloves of garlic (7? 8?)
- finely dice a Serrano pepper (I ditch the seeds because this dish doesn't need to be really hot, but the pepper spice is awesome)
- for the protein, I used a package of Morningstar Farms Italian Sausage
Start the sauté with the fauxage and potatoes. Use just less than a tablespoon of olive oil to start, but keep it nearby. You may need to add a splash of oil here and there. When the fauxage softens up and the potatoes start to brown lightly, add the onion. Today I had a revelation: no matter what it is you're cooking, stuff doesn't start really happening until you add onion. Anyway, once the onion softens, add the garlic, the Serrano pepper, and some spices. I used basil, oregano, a dash of celery salt, and a little lemon peel. Since the potatoes and peppers will gladly take on any flavor, I try to match my spices to whatever I use as the protein. Keep stirring everything up with a spatula - the fauxage may break up into a few pieces.
Once it looks like the dish is almost done, cover everything with the bell peppers. I like them warm and crisp, so I just try to steam them over the fauxage, potato, onion, spice mix. Serve it up with toast; and I like using ketchup with horseradish as a dip.
Ultimately, this dish is all about the peppers. The light Italian herbal spices, ratcheted up a notch with the Serrano pepper, topped with the bright flavors of the steamed fresh peppers... it's a pepper-lover's bliss-out.
So then, the beer. The strong malt aroma really leaps out at you after you've had your nose hanging around the peppery food. The dry maltiness of the Oktoberfest + the savory comfort food = yes. As you eat, the Serrano pepper spice will collect on your lips. The toasted malt flavors soothe the burn. And then you'll enter that delicious cycle: "mmm, spicy peppers... oooh, malty beer... mmm, spicy peppers... oooh, malty beer..." Enjoy. We'll leave you alone now.