Sometime early this year.....or perhaps late last year but at some point in the past I cannot exactly pinpoint...we gathered a few friends to a challenge. My Mr and a guy friend started to chat about beer and somehow ended up on cooking and the two fell together into a vote I wasn't there for.
We had our first Beer Dinner challenge - the Beta test. I know, the name is entirely too creative. Not entirely sure how well it would go, we moved forward and everyone was asked to come up with a dish, dessert or whatever they could think of, that they could infuse beer into. The Beta Test was a Surly challenge. It was all about one brand of beer and using any of the flavors they make. The results were outrageously, ridiculously amazing. People drooled and raved and broke out in the meat sweats and fell into swollen belly comas while laughing way too hard. A second event was demanded.
You're curious aren't you.....you want to know what on earth was so good we needed to do it a second time. Here's a list to the best of my memory: Bender beef stew, Coffee Bender chili (I think), beer bread, Chocolate cake with bender frosting, Coffee Bender Chocolate Cheesecake, Furious Glazed Salmon Puffs (Profiteroles were also made with Furious), Bender Bacon Mushroom Meatloaf (pretzels instead of bread crumbs), Coffee Bender marinated steaks rubbed with a coffee brown sugar dry rub, Abrasive Jello Jigglers, salad with....a dressing made with beer I can't remember and I know there's more I'm forgetting. But you get the point.
This weekend will be Beer Dinner 2.0. Any beer is fair game and the guest list doubled. The Mr and I get a tad carried away....our list has topped out at 8. So far I have Hell Fire Pickles and Furious Peanut Brittle. The Toffee kinda went all wrong so attempt #2 will be today along with the much demanded Bender Bacon meatloaf I made last year, the sober-Vegan Sloppy Joes and Amazeballs. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me....for the rest of the week. Tomorrow I clean the house, make the jigglers and any last minute cooking things I can think of. Then Saturday will be the Rogue Doughnut pork sliders, the 21+ Mac n Cheese and decorating the garage for the event.
Here's the funny part.....ya know all those food issues I have? I can't eat any of the food with beer in it. Thus...the "sober" vegan sloppy joes and Amazeballs. I'm actually thinking I'll be doing a gluten free Apple Slab pie too since one of our friends is gluten free and I'm not sure how much she will be able to eat either. So the challenge for me is to cook things I can't eat or taste and have them actually turn out not only edible but tasting of awesome.....because, lets face it, I do have a reputation to uphold.
On other challenge notes......what do you do when you don't really own table cloths (I know, I know, my membership to womanhood should be revoked, but I'm okay with that) but are trying to make a party in your garage not look like.....a party in your garage.... You opt for creative solutions. Knowing that this party will most likely become an annual event I made the executive decision that I need to get supplies that will be reused so I am not spending a fortune on disposable table stuff every year. I was on a mission to find some nice table cloths I could use over and over in fall-ish colors. Much to my dismay I found that all table cloths of any decent size were at least $16 and I need at least 3. Time to employ creativity. I found 3 clearance curtain panels in chocolate and eggplant for less than $10 a piece, a clearance set of napkins (to use under candle centerpieces) for $5, 3 different kitchen towels for $4 and a few candles from the dollar store will get things looking a bit nicer and smelling a bit less "garage". A bag of cranberries, some tea-light candles freed from there little metal containers, some raffia and mason jars will be the center pieces along with the tiny little pumpkins I got last week.
I will do my best to take pictures......but we know I suck at doing that.
I'm excited to see if we can pull this off......well.....okay I know we can easily pull it off but I'm actually excited to see if I can pull off making a garage look nice for a party and not have everyone freeze to death.
Blessings of fall fun to each of you,