Strawberry, Herbs, and Beer

Posted on 06/18/10 in Past Events, Recipes, No Comments

If there’s such a thing as a strawberry overdose, I like to think we came close. Not every dish had berries though. The walleye dish contained NO berries. It was grilled Ontario style (wrapped in a tinfoil pouch with butter – grilled over hot coals).

Colorful artwork and balloon art by Alexis Nido-Russo.

New Discovery: Best use for a strawberry, wrap it in bacon and grill it.

I used strawberries from Vicki from Genesis Growers in St. Anne, IL. Very sweet and tart berries.

The strawberry beer was especially fun. I consulted the same recipe that I used to make the rootbeer for the Whole Hog Dinner. But instead of extracts and such I used strawberry puree. Basically, you take a 2L soda bottle, add 1/4 tsp quick rise yeast, 1 cup sugar, then the flavoring agent. Add 1 cup of very warm water, seal the bottle, and shake to dissolve the sugar and yeast. In the case of the rootbeer, I used strong tea made with fresh anise hyssop and mint leaves, anise extract, and vanilla. (For the strawberry beer, I pureed 2 pints of strawberries and vanilla with 1 cup of water, then strained the puree.) Then add cold water to fill, leaving about 3 inches of room at the top. Gently squeeze the bottle to get rid of air space in the bottle and the liquid is almost to the rim. Put the cap on the bottle and tighten. The bottle will be squished. Put it in a dark place at room temperature. In 1 day, the bottle will fill out and you’ll notice tiny air bubbles hanging out with the liquid. The yeast is consuming the sugar and turning it into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Allow the liquid to ferment for 3 days to 1 week. You will have to slowly untwist then re-twist the cap once or twice a day to release some of the gas. If you leave your bottle unchecked for more than 2 days, it will explode. So purge the bottle regularly to avoid a giant mess all over the place. After 3 days, (in my estimation) alcohol levels are less than or equal to 1%. After a week, you will have around 4%. Tasty at both times, just less sweet the longer it ferments. VERY IMPORTANT: When you are satisfied with the fermentation time, put the soda bottle in the fridge while it is still pressurized. Let it hang out and chill overnight. This helps the bubbles stay in the liquid. When you are ready to drink, SLOWLY untwist the cap to release some gas. Don’t untwist it all in one shot or you WILL spray everyone around you. Enjoy.

Amuse: Bacon-wrapped strawberry w/ aged balsamic
homemade bacon courtesy of our friends from entre underground in St. Louis MO

Lake trout gravlax, cilantro-tequila cured, homemade totopos, chipotle crema, pickled radish and cabbage
rhubarb tequila shot

Al Dente noodles, w/ arugula and green garlic pesto, fried shallots
vodka lemonade

Spinach and strawberry salad, bacon-thyme vinaigrette
Strawbery Mint Mimosa

Grilled Walleye w/ pistachio oregano butter, english peas and tendrils, grilled mashed potatoes
Two Brothers Domaine Du Page

Strawberry shortcake ice cream sundae
Homemade strawberry beer

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