Thursday, June 9, 2011

Good music, good food, and good beer (or cider)!

Oh the joys of being 21, something that I am newly acquainted with.  I turned 21 almost 2 months ago, and the past 2 months have definitely flown by (maybe an effect of alcohol?). Regardless, I have found a new love for something I wasn't expecting to happen: beer.

So when the email was sent out to us Tennessee Foodbuzzers to design a "broo" paired meal for Bonnaroo (a local music festival), I was ecstatic.  There's a local bar here that, on Tuesdays, does $2 pints. Aka: I've tried nearly everything on the Broo'ers Festival website.

Unfortunately, my camera was not on the same level for me, so I don't have any lovely pictures for you. BUT! I can guarantee the food was delicious, and the beer was even better!

I decided to pair my meal with Woodchuck Hard Cider, a fabulously sweet, but delightfully nostalgic hard cider that, with only a little bite of alcohol, reminded me of apple-stuffed roasted chickens growing up.  My mom, every Sunday, would get a big roasted chicken, clean it out, and stuff it with more apples than I could count.  The sweetness would soak into the chicken and add such a supple flavor that my young taste buds could not understand. When I first tried Woodchuck a couple weeks ago, my mind was swimming with ideas of what this would go with (that's normally what I do when I try a wine or beer, for some reason. Gosh! This would taste good with [insert yummy food here]).

But alas, Bonnaroo is not just sweet beer and nostalgia, Bonnaroo is a musical melting pot of amazing melodies, great guitars, and up-and-coming artists.  As I'm on a nostalgia kick, I wanted to listen to some artists from the list that would take me back to a place where the sun was hot, the cool grass was beneath my bare feet, and all I cared about was how I was going to climb up the tree in the backyard.

I stumbled across Aaron "Woody" Wood, which I found completely appropriate to pair with my Woodchuck cider.  But as I listened to his music, the sweet guitar and blues-y melodies definitely landed a hand to my dire need to remember. Thus, I came

I decided to go "surf and sky," as I called it when I was a kid (little did I know, chickens don't really fly. Gosh I was so naive).

Ginger and Apple Marinated Chicken and Shrimp
2 large chicken breasts, cut into about 2 inch tenders (I got about 6)
16 shrimp, deveined, shells removed

1 bottle Woodchuck Hard Cider
2 tbsp white vinegar
3 tsp powdered ginger
Juice of 1/2 large navel orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp chili paste
Mix above thoroughly

Marinate chicken and shrimp (separately) in above mixture for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes.

Grill chicken and shrimp until thoroughly cooked. I, unfortunately, can't have a real grill at my apartment, so I settled with an indoor grill. But! If you have some good charcoal, throw it in a grill and call it an evening, because that would have definitely helped the flavor.

Kickin' Green Beans
Green beans (however many you want, I used about 1 lb)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste (I actually used soy sauce, but that's just a personal preference)
1/2 tsp Habanero sauce

Heat oil in large skillet or wok.  Add green beans and garlic, stir (I use tongs for this), and turn heat to med-high heat. Add salt, pepper, and Habanero sauce.  Cook until beans are done.

I just had chicken, shrimp and green beans (trying to stay away from starch). You could totally make some good rice noodles or something and go that way, too. :)

Drinking a Woodchuck and eating this was fantastic - the sweet flavor with a little bite of vinegar was awesome.  I didn't want to just pair a beer with food, I wanted to incorporate the cider with the food, as well.  So there ya go! Cook and enjoy :)