Author Archives Hank Watson

Fall. I love fall. Pumpkin everything. My version of Thanksgiving comes around – “Hanksgiving”. And, Terrapin Pumpkinfest. This beer looks and smells like pumpkin. As it should, since it’s made with real pumpkin! You can smell the spices of fall; nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger, as well as hints of caramel and graham crackers. It’s truly a beer that makes you visualize everything great about the fall. Once you taste Terrapin Pumpkinfest Spicy Crab Bisque, you’ll feel the same. I’ve incorporated all those beautiful fall flavors in this off the charts bisque. Paired with the Terrapin Pumpkinfest Salted Caramel Crusted Beer Bread, your tummy will be very happy. In fact, I’d say you’ll “fall” for it!

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I grew up loving root beer. What kid didn’t? While I rarely drink it these days, every once in a while, it’s a little piece of nostalgia that I greatly enjoy. And, well, a little piece of nostalgia is exactly what Small Town Brewery excels at creating.  Small Town Brewery Not Your Father’s Root Beer tastes just like root beer, all while boasting a 5.9% ABV (trust me, you’ll want a case of this!). I thought about my favorite treat as a child; a root beer float. How do I make magic happen with the two? Small Town Brewery Not Your Father’s Root Beer Float Cake, of course! The cake, like Small Town Brewery Not Your Father’s Root Beer, gives the touch of nostalgia, without all the sugary sweetness (there’s some, don’t get me wrong!). The cake is light and tasty, not too sweet, and the perfect complement to this flavorsome ale.

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Harpoon UFO White AleBarbeque sauce – the staple of summer cooking. I grow weary of the same ole ketchup/tomato based sauces. On a day when the early morning temp was already 85, I decided to challenge myself with creating a light, unique barbeque sauce recipe deserving of the Harpoon UFO White beer. To be honest, the lightness of the Harpoon UFO White, with notes of orange & coriander (and I swear I detected a hint of banana! Some say a note of hay – I’ve personally never tasted hay!), I felt this was the perfect beer to meet this challenge. Warning: this is such a fabulous summer beer, you’ll have your own challenge to not drink several while you’re making this!

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Irish or not, you had the grand idea of making Irish Soda Bread for your St. Paddy’s celebration. Then you started looking up recipes. By the time you figure out what’s what, it’s already next week!

You say you see recipes with Raisins or Currents? Butter? Sugar? Nope. Nope. AND NOPE!

  • That changes it to “Spotted Dog”, “Railway Cake”, or just a “Tea Cake”. It’s no longer Irish Soda Bread.

Okay, now that we cleared that up…. Would you believe there’s a secret Irish Soda Bread society? “The Society for the Preservation of Soda Bread” actually exists! Okay, so maybe it’s not a secret society.

Back in the day, famine and poverty in Ireland was a real problem. Most of those in dire circumstances had no oven. Soft wheat (less gluten than our heard wheat) was cheap, and a basic bread baked in covered iron pots (bastibles) was born.

I baked mine in a cake pan, but it can be baked on a cookie sheet. The X cut into the bread may seem like a way to be sure it’s baked, it was originally thought to release fairies that can curse the bread (ward off evil). [Continued...]

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Seasonal beers are one of the great things about the change of seasons. Samuel Adams Octoberfest is one of the best tasting and best selling seasonal beers around. It’s one of my favorite things about fall….. right up there with pumpkin doughnuts! This Octoberfest twist on the traditional Sauerbraten will only make you love Octoberfest season even more. This  Samuel Adams Octoberfest Sauerbraten is also a great recipe to brighten up your tailgate party. I’ve added a few twists to this recipe; I’m always looking for ways to use juniper berries. Serve it over egg noodles, potato dumplings or spätzle.

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I’m known for my mac and cheese. I mean REALLY known. It occurred to me that I hadn’t made a Cookin’ with Craft version. What better time than March with Rogue Irish Lager. I’ll admit, I have way more Greek in my bloodline than Irish, but I celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as if I had a double dose of Irish in me (I KNOW there’s a dirty joke or two in there!). Erin go bragh! Rogue Irish Lager has a mellow flavor with a crisp apple finish, & a hint breadiness – and prefect for, and made for, floating Guinness. What am I thinking?????  Black and tan, of course.  Rogue Irish Lager Mac & Cheese is born. Revolutionary!

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I’m one of those people who starts searching for something on line, and I end up miles away; no where near my original intent. Maybe it’s because my mom bought Encyclopedia Brittanica for us as kids. My brother, Bill, and I would just pick a volume and start reading. Yes, Virginia, this was well before the internet. So, this morning, I started looking for St. Patrick’s Day cover photos for my Facebook page, and somehow I ended up reading up on the history of one of my favorite holidaze.

Did you know……

  • St. Patrick wasn’t Irish.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in the United States on March 17, 1762, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City.
  • There are seven places in the United States named after the shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland including Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV; Shamrock, TX; Shamrock Lakes, IN; and Shamrock, OK.
  • Irish is the US’s second most frequently reported ancestry, ranking behind German.
  • Irish ranks among the top five ancestries in every state in the US except Hawaii and New Mexico.
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Who doesn’t love chocolate? Coffee? If you’re a fan of both, you’ll love Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout Mocha Flourless Torte. Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout is smooth and creamy – the way I like my chocolate AND my coffee! Go ahead; take a sniff. You’ll smell espresso and chocolate. Go ahead; taste it. You’ll taste a creamy mixture of espresso, chocolate and a little bit of smokiness. How perfect is that for a cold winter’s night in front of the fire? This mocha torte takes full advantage of the beautiful, rich flavors of this hearty stout. The prefect fire cuddle combination.

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This year, a rum version of horchata has become all the rage. And for good reason! It’s quite the yummy concoction. So, natch, a pumpkin pie using it has popped up. And it’s off the chain pumpkin pie. Be careful, folks are copying the recipe from RumChata.com, and most have it wrong and/or missing key ingredients. I’ve done a little tweaking to the recipe, but it’s based on the RumChata.com recipe.

The great thing about cooking with any liquor like this? I put it in my coffee! THAT is how you start the day right!

I’ve also added my pie crust recipe, ’cause that’s how I roll! 🙂

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It’s beginning to look at lot like…..  Whoops. Getting a little ahead of myself. It’s TURKEY TIME! One of the things I strive to do is take the mystery out of cooking. Well, and have a few cocktails. Folks have mentioned to me that turkey brining seems so complicated. Or so many cooking shows have led them to believe. Yes. turkey brine. I’m here to tell you, brining is EASY! Brine is simply a mixture of salt and water. Then add what floats your boat. I love my sweet and spicy bring the best, but they are all wonderful. Or make your own. Just remember, keep that turkey cold!

Here are a few recipes of mine. Kinda fun to look back at my first video and see how awkward it was. 🙂  Check out the Sweet & Spicy Brine video here!

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