Thursday, August 23, 2012


It's that time of year again.

It's tomato season.
This is the eight pounds of tomatoes I picked yesterday.

I'd love to give you some new tips on storing your tomatoes, but honestly I'm using the methods I told you about last year.  They are very good, and very easy.  Read about them in my post What to do with all those Tomatoes.

And those jars in the background?  That's sourdough starter.  I'm excited - I haven't used it yet.  I'll let you know how that comes out.

I'm thinking about making a marinara sauce today.  What are you doing with all your tomatoes?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Green's Endeavor Dubbel Dark Ale

Green's Endeavor Dubbel Dark Ale is one of my favorite gluten-free beers.  I rated it #2 among all gluten-free beers on my Beer Guide.   Despite its deep, rich dark color, this beer is not like a stout or a porter.  It takes its flavor profile from its Belgian roots, offering a fruity contrast to the roasted gluten-free malt flavor that is surprisingly light and refreshing.
The Green's US website describes the beer as:
In the classic dubbel fashion, a hint of dark-sugar and toffee flavor; and a traditional Belgian yeast bouquet.

I have to agree with this description.  The beer is actually very dry - it has zero sugars - but it has a toffee flavor.  That fruity, floral, sweet nose makes it a very unusual and sophisticated beer, but this is a drink that does not always pair well with food, which is possibly why it doesn't make my #1 ranking.  Here are some suggestions for pairings with this beer:

- A nice charcuterie plate
- Salmon Fish and Chips
- Dark chocolate
- Bourbon (if you do that sort of thing)
- a nice Malbec or Bordeaux
- S'mores

Yes, I had it with gluten-free S'mores while camping a few weekends ago and it was amazing.  The roasted sugars in the marshmallow really complemented the toffee flavors of this fine dark ale.  I also once tried it with both a glass of Malbec and a shot of bourbon, but that was a mistake.  I recommend sticking to one to two drinks at a time.  Green's comes in a 500 ml bottle so it's like two servings already - no need to go overboard, though this lovely dark beverage might inspire you to do all sorts of things you wouldn't otherwise do.  It's that good.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Estrella Daura Gluten-free Lager

Daura is one of my favorite gluten-free beers.  It's in my top three in my Beer Guide.  Why?  Because it tastes like beer.

I didn't miss much when I went gluten-free.  I felt so good, I couldn't wait to rid gluten from my life forever.  There was one little thing, though, that I couldn't get from the gluten-free lifestyle, and that was beer.  Way back in 2005 when I swore off gluten for good, the GF beer selection at the grocery store didn't have much to offer.  Eventually there was Redbridge, which filled a function.  But something was missing.

Before I went gluten-free, I loved a good stout.  Why stouts?  I think it was the roasted barley flavor that got me.  So rich and creamy, that barley malt just spoke to me in a way the hoppy ales never did.  I was just starting to get over this loss of barley malt flavor, just starting to forget what it even tasted like after five years, when Daura came onto the scene.

I tried it, and suddenly I remembered what barley malt tasted like.  This award-winning lager is so clean.  It's nothing like a stout, really.  It's refreshing.  But it reminded me of a stout or a porter because it has a beautiful barley malt flavor.

It's not complex.  It's not remarkable among other glutenous lagers.  It is, however, distinct among gluten-free beers in that it tastes right.  It tastes like barley because it's made from barley.  The gluten is extracted afterward to give it a low enough gluten content to be acceptable for most celiacs.

It's beautiful.  If I'm looking for hops, I'll go elsewhere.  But if I'm looking for a beautiful barley malt flavor, I'll get an Estrella Damm Daura every time.