Cranberry Beer Bread

sacranberryRound-about Christmas time I start to see the Samuel Adams Winter Classics Mix Pack on store shelves.  I love all but one of the 6 selections in the Mix Pack (especially the Old Fezziwig Ale – the Christmas cookie of beer).  The one that I don’t care for is the Cranberry Lambic.

The Samuel Adams website descibes the Cranberry Lambic this way:

Samuel Adams® Cranberry Lambic is a fruit beer that draws its flavor not just from the cranberries it is brewed with, but also from the unique fermentation character imparted by the rare wild yeast strain. The result is a flavor rich in fruitiness and reminiscent of cranberries and bananas, cloves and nutmeg. The yeast fermentation also will create a slight sourness on the sides of the palate, a signature of the original Lambic style which, with the subtle cereal note from the wheat malt, remind its drinker that, as fruity a beer as this is, it is still a beer.

I found the brew to be just too juicy and sweet and as a result always end up with several bottles tucked into the back of the kitchen cabinet.  I tossed a couple this past September that were left over from the previous year’s Yule celebrations, and let me tell you….. phew…. a super sweet fruit beer just doesn’t keep.  I nearly gagged as I poured the thickened, chunky, and just plain spoiled beer down the drain.  And it broke my heart.  I hate waste, especially a wasted beer.

I was poking around in the kitchen last weekend for some tasty treats and found a couple of bottles of Cranberry Lambic from this past Christmas.  Determined not to let them go to waste I quickly came to the conclusion that the best thing to do with them would be to bake – Beer Bread.  A Google search yielded a recipe (I’m just not creative enough to make one up on my own).  The recipe is simple:

Cranberry Beer Bread
3 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 c sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz cranberry lambic
0.5 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF and lightly grease a loaf pan.
In very large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Stir in cranberries. Make a well in the center and add vegetable oil and beer. Stir just until no streaks of flour remain. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 55-60 minutes, until top springs back when lightly pressed. Turn out of the pan and allow to cool on wire rack.

I didn’t have enough dried cranberries in the cupboard, so I went halfsies with the raisins.

The result: a nice sweet bread that was enjoyed with breakfast, and again with dinner.  The kids loved it too.  I have one more bottle of Cranberry Lambic in the cupboard, so I’ll be making another loaf soon.  I plan to use the same recipe for similar breads this summer: I am thinking that apricot beers, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (this is a Sam Adams fruit beer that I CAN get behind!), and even a chocolate raspberry stout could be used for some great baking experiments.

Merger

I have merged https://iknowthings.com and https://joshuatownsend.com. https://joshuatownsend.com has received a face lift as part of a stimulus package at tax-payers expense. https://iknowthings.com has been redirected to https://joshuatownsend.com and content from the pathetic posting history of https://iknowthings.com has been imported to https://joshuatownsend.com. https://joshuatownsend.com has become the new hub for things about me on the interwebs.

Grape Pie

Concord GrapesI just finished the last piece of my grape pie. For those of you who have never experienced it, Concord Grape Pie may be the most special treat of the fall season. The hearty taste of concord grapes are sweetened with just enough sugar to let you know that you’re eating dessert (although I have been known to serve it for breakfast as well). I thought I would share the recipe with all of you so you too could partake in Concord Grape Pie goodness.

We all know that a good pie starts with a good crust. I like to keep the crust on my grape pie simple to prevent the pie from being too rich. Here’s how I do it:

Cut together 2 cups of flour (1 whole wheat and 1 white) with 1 cup of shortening.
Add 1 egg, 1 Tbsp vinegar
Add about 5 Tbsp of water with a fork (fork keeps it fluffy)
Roll out the crust on a floured surface. This recipe makes 2 crusts, and the grape pie only uses a bottom crust so save the 2nd for another pie or make some cinnamon pinwheels with it.
Lay the crust in a pie plate and sprinkle it with sugar and milk.
The crust does not need to be pre-baked for a grape pie, but if you ever want to use this for another pie that needs a pre-baked crust, you can bake a single crust of this at 450F for 10-12 minutes. Poke some holes in it before baking to keep it from bubbling.

 

As for the good stuff, preheat the oven to 400F and gather up 4 cups of clean fresh concord grapes (that’s about 2 dry quarts or 1 1/2lbs).

Slip the skins from the grapes, setting the skins aside. If you don’t know how to slip a skin, it’s simple. Squeeze the little bastards until the pulp and seeds pop out where the stem was attached. It’s fun and the kids can help (but the grapes do stain).

Throw the pulp with seeds into a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Transfer the pulp to a sieve or colander with small holes to strain out the seeds. You may have to mush the pulp through the holes with a spoon – don’t waste any pulp, just get those nasty little seeds out. Once you are done, add the skins to the pulp.

Mix 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour (white) and 1/4 tsp of salt. To the dry mixture add 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 Tbps melted butter, and the grape pulp/skin mixture. Pour all of this into the unbaked pie crust in the pan. Bake it at 400F for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift together 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cut in 1/4 cup of butter until crumbly. Sprinkle atop the pie and bake it for another 15 minutes.

I like grape pie chilled with Cool Whip (but it is also good warm with Vanilla ice cream).

I am working on variations to the pie. I am thinking of making a thin peanut butter pie with the grape filling on top – peanut butter and jelly pie. What do you think? Do you have other creative uses for Concord grapes? Let me know in the comments.

Another Installment of Maybe I Can Help

Apparently the cops in Lebanon, PA need some help this time.  Apparently, “they have no idea why [the man] was in the toilet with his clothes off.”  Maybe I can help.  Here’s some idears to get them started.

1.) He was hot as balls.  I mean, it was really hot up there in PA this weekend.  As a mud bath is to a pig, so is a poo-plunge to a man.  Keeping poo from the skin with a layer of clothing only defeats the cooling effect.

2.) He was drunk.  Everyone knows that drunks crave comfort.  I am always more comfortable without clothes, especially when I am hot.  And drunk.

3.) Poo-ing with clothes on is bothersome.  I have never been able to poo when clothed – I just can’t get comfortable.  That is why I poo nowhere but my own house – an affliction that makes road trips, visits to the grandparent’s house, and work so very difficult for me.  This poor fella must have suffered from the same condition.  I suspect that the devil-water gave him the confidence needed to poo in a place other than his own home.  Porta-potties have always lacked hooks to hand your trousers when you poo, and who wants to put them on the nasty sticky floor?  He probably just sat them on the bench and knocked them into the pit as he contortioned his body to reach a poorly placed roll of T.P. 

And when you are hot and drunk and needing to get your pants before anybody realizes that you can’t poo while clothed the only reasonable thing to do is go in and get em.  Comeon folks – We’ve all been there.  Let’s not spend too long noodling through this pot of soup.

Bonus feature:  How I Help

From time to time I like to offer insight into how it is that I came to know things.  Today’s hint: Draw on past experience.

Maybe I Can Help

Seeing as how my give-a-damn is busted, and I just don’t have enough energy to write substantive content, I hereby announce a new I Know Things Series: Maybe I Can Help.  I am always amazed at the stupid things the people struggle to figure out – and pay other people to figure out for them.  Kinda like the official studies of why prisoners want to escape from prison.  Really?  You had to commission a study to work through that one?  Maybe I can help….

The first installment comes from here: https://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN2634668020080526?sp=true.  It seems that Mexico has a shark problem and the Mexican Navy is trying to help out.  Fair enough – the ocean’s got a people eating shark, the Navy has guns (or harpoons or something that could kill a shark) – seems like a no brainer.  But read to the last sentence: “The Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo government is consulting with experts to determine what could be causing the attacks.” 

Maybe I can help: Hungry Sharks.  Shoot em & move on.

Things We Know Now (That We Didn’t Know This Time Last Year)

Found this fun little read while watching the snow fall through my office window today: https://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/01/in-case-you-missed-it—2007-50-things-we-know-no1/?imw=Y

 

In Case You Missed It – 2007 50 Things We Know Now (That We Didn’t Know This Time Last Year)

Published: January 1, 2008

It’s been a busy year. But, then, you already knew that.

After all, you were probably busy submitting video questions to presidential candidates on YouTube. Or infiltrating the audience at a John Kerry appearance. Or, you know, having a real life.

There were wildfires to worry about, iPhones to buy and water to suck from the ground in Georgia. The white noise of life gets pretty loud when you add Imus, Baldwin, Rosie and Trump to the conversational bouillabaisse.

You tend to miss a few things going on in the world when the news focus is on which goofball might have parented Anna Nicole’s baby.

To help you catch up on developments both great and small that you might have overlooked, we spent the year casting our net into the stream to catch some tasty info nuggets. We’ve pushed them into a giant news pill for you to swallow in one gulp.

Consider this list – pulled from dozens of news stories from 2007 – your chance to catch up.

* * * * *

1. A giant fossilized claw found from an ancient sea scorpion indicates that when alive, it would have been much taller than the average man. This find, from rocks 390 million years old, suggests that spiders, insects, crabs and similar creatures were much larger in the past than previously thought.

Read About It

* * * * *

2. Skin cancer is 20 percent more common on the left side of the body.

Read About It

* * * * *

3. Men who have only daughters have a higher risk of prostate cancer than men with at least one son, suggesting a chromosome defect.

Read About It

* * * * *

4. Baking pizza dough at higher temperatures for longer periods enhances levels of antioxidants that researchers believe reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer and heart disease.

Read About It

* * * * *

5. Scientists have discovered dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than red wine.

Read About It

* * * * *

6. People who are optimists do better in most avenues of life, whether it’s work, school, sports or relationships. They get depressed less often than pessimists do, make more money and have happier marriages.

Read About It

* * * * *

7. Scientists have figured out that a unique bacterium is what makes the sea smell like the sea. They’ve also found a way to capture the aroma and bottle it.

Read About It

* * * * *

8. Minorities from low-income areas are at increased risk for having a leg amputated as a result of severe peripheral artery disease, or PAD, a type of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, of the legs.

Read About It

* * * * *

9. A survey of 25,000 Americans found that 62 percent said they do not eat any fruit on a typical day, and 25 percent said they do not eat vegetables. All told, 11 percent ate the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables, it found.

Read About It

* * * * *

10. Owls try to sound more macho by lowering the tone of their hoots.

Read About It

* * * * *

11. Electronic noses used in the food industry and for sniffing out explosives can perform better with the addition of artificial “snot.”

Read About It

* * * * *

12. Wild herds of African elephants communicating by vibrations in the ground can determine which animal produced the vibrations. The seismic system is so sophisticated, scientists describe the elephants as having their own version of “caller ID.”

Read About It

* * * * *

13. A new species of sea anemone has been discovered in the deepest parts of the Pacific Ocean, living in the unlikeliest of habitats: the carcass of a dead whale that had sunk some 1.8 miles below sea level in a region called Monterey Canyon, roughly 25 miles off the coast of Monterey, Calif.

Read About It

* * * * *

14. Scientists have discovered particles of cocaine and marijuana, as well as caffeine and tobacco, in the air of Italy’s capital. The concentration of drugs was heaviest in the air around Rome’s Sapienza University, though officials warned against drawing conclusions about students’ recreational habits.

Read About It

* * * * *

15. Some people’s features match their monikers so well that it makes them instantly more memorable. For example, when people hear the name Bob, they picture a large, round face, but when they hear the name Tim or Andy, they imagine someone far thinner.

Read About It

* * * * *

16. Ocean surface currents can be chaotically changeable. Two identical items released at the same location and at the same time can end up in vastly different areas. Severe storms that alter normal weather patterns also play an important role in the movement of drift items.

Read About It

* * * * *

17. Dolphins living off the coast of Wales whistle, bark and groan in a different dialect from dolphins off the western coast of Ireland.

Read About It

* * * * *

18. Scientists are breeding cows that can produce skimmed milk and butter that is so soft, it spreads straight from the fridge. A team in New Zealand has identified a cow, named Marge, who naturally produces lower levels of saturated fat in her milk.

Read About It

* * * * *

19. For small- and large-stature adults, automobile airbags may do more harm than good, new research indicates. A detailed look at crash data spanning 11 years for more than 65,000 front-seat passengers found that while airbags are “modestly” protective for people of medium stature (5-foot-3 to 5-foot-11), they appear to increase the risk of injury to people smaller than 4-foot-11 and taller than 6-foot-3.

Read About It

* * * * *

20. U.S. military troops rarely consume all the components in MRE provisions, particularly when they are preparing for missions where reducing the amount of weight and bulk in their packs is essential. Instead, they “field strip” the rations, choosing their favorite items and tossing out the rest.

Read About It

* * * * *

21. Fetuses are able to mount their own specific immune response to flu vaccines received by their mothers.

Read About It

* * * * *

22. Women who enjoyed strong childhood relationships with their fathers prefer to have a male partner who physically resembles him.

Read About It

* * * * *

23. A race of 36 million-year-old, extinct giant penguins (over 5 feet tall) marched to equatorial South America during a time when the world was much warmer than it is now. Remains of the penguins found on the southern coast of Peru challenge previous conceptions about penguin evolution and expansion.

Read About It

* * * * *

24. Icebergs hold trapped terrestrial material, which may be released far out at sea as they melt. This process produces a “halo effect” with significantly increased nutrients, chlorophyll and krill out to a radius of more than two miles. Scientists also have begun to suspect that icebergs may play a role in global climate regulation by removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Read About It

* * * * *

25. Fish use the threat of punishment to maintain stability in their social order. Small goby fish at Lizard Island on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef use the threat of expulsion from the school as a powerful deterrent to keep subordinate fish from challenging those more dominant.

Read About It

* * * * *

26. Ape-men ancestors began walking on two legs 6 million years ago because it used far less energy than clambering on all fours.

Read About It

* * * * *

27. Some office printers emit a dangerous amount of toner in the air, possibly causing health concerns ranging from respiratory irritation to cardiovascular problems. Some of these floating microscopic particles may be carcinogens.

Read About It

* * * * *

28. Yawning may be a kind of low-tech air conditioning for the brain.

Read About It

* * * * *

29. Onions contain a sulfur-based antioxidant that binds with harmful toxins in the brain and flushes them out of the body, helping to prevent memory loss.

Read About It

* * * * * *

30. The Asian Cyprian honeybee kills its nemesis, the Oriental hornet, by smothering with other honeybees as a mob, causing the hornet to asphyxiate.

Read About It

* * * * * *

31. Sex among African bat bugs is a violent affair. During copulation, males of the species pierce the abdomens of their mates with their genitals and ejaculate directly into their blood.

Read About It

* * * * * *

32. Diners at restaurants enjoy their wine and meals more if the wine has a special label, even if it’s really only a $2 vintage.

Read About It

* * * * * *

33. Small children stress out about starting kindergarten up to six months before school starts, suggesting youngsters may take cues from their anxious parents.

Read About It

* * * * * *

34. Shoppers prefer stores’ scents to match their sounds. Participants in a research study who were exposed to a Christmas scent in combination with Christmas music gave the store higher ratings than those who experienced a Christmas scent with non-Christmas music.

Read About It

* * * * * *

35. A giant underwater current sweeping past Australia’s island of Tasmania toward the South Atlantic is a main contributor to regulation of carbon dioxide gasses in the atmosphere.

Read About It

* * * * * *

36. Ultra-hardy bacteria species collectively known as “extremophiles” have been discovered in NASA “clean rooms” used by scientists and engineers who are assembling spacecraft.

Read About It

* * * * * *

37. Fruit flies love the carbon dioxide fizz from beer. The insects have special taste receptors that are sensitive to the gas.

Read About It

* * * * * *

38. Overweight women who face employment weight bias could be victims of sex discrimination. Women are 16 times more likely than men to report weight discrimination in the workplace.

Read About It

* * * * * *

39. The mangrove killifish, found in the Caribbean, can modify its biological makeup so it can breathe air and live in trees for months at a time.

Read About It

* * * * * *

40 Two-thirds of women older than 40 are the primary providers for their families.

Read About It

* * * * * *

41. A derivative of broccoli-sprout extract protects the skin against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Read About It

* * * * * *

42. The first prehistoric fish that made its way onto land saw a full range of colors, including wavelengths of light that human eyes cannot see.

Read About It

* * * * * *

43. It takes business people twice as long to enter text messages on an iPhone as on conventional cell phones.

Read About It

* * * * * *

44. A survey of tendencies among approximately 1,000 car owners age 18 and older showed that U.S. men and women demonstrated an equal interest in upgrading the quality of their tires and wheels. Women who responded to the survey tended to spend less than men when doing so.

Read About It

* * * * *

45. The therapeutic, relaxing effect on the arteries provided by drinking a few cups of ordinary black tea is wiped out if milk is added to the drink.

Read About It

* * * * *

46. About two-thirds of students play video and computer games – 82 percent of male students and 59 percent of female students. Only about one quarter said they play games often with someone of the opposite sex.

Read About It

* * * * *

47. Infants born to mothers who eat fruits while breastfeeding will be more receptive to eating those foods later in life.

Read About It

* * * * *

48. While lunging toward krill and fish with an open mouth, a single-fin whale can engulf up to 2,900 cubic feet of the ocean soup, which is almost equal to the volume of a large school bus.

Read About It

* * * * *

49. The parasitic jewel wasp uses a venom injected directly into a cockroach’s brain to inhibit its victim’s free will and its motivation to walk. Unble to fight back, the “zombie” cockroach can be pulled into the wasp’s underground lair, where an egg is laid in its abdomen. The larva later hatches and eats the still living but incapacitated cockroach from the inside out.

Read About It

* * * * *

50. Mercury has an Earthlike molten core that wobbles like a raw egg does when spun on a countertop.

Read About It

Reporter Jeff Houck can be reached at (813) 259-7324 or jhouck@tampatrib.com.

 
 

 
Find this article at:
https://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/01/in-case-you-missed-it—2007-50-things-we-know-no1/?imw=Y

 

Bender Brewer

I caught this fun little project on Slashdot today.  Mr. Wood and I have been complacent in our brewing lately.  Maybe a brewing robot is just what we need to kick start a new batch – this is about the right time to get a nice light spring ale started.  I’ll get right on it as soon as I finish the kitchen, bathroom, & living room remodel, the basement cleanup, the baby room build-out, actually have (well, not me so much as Stephanie) Michael, and get through new-born hell.  Come to think of it, a new batch of beer may be just what I need to get through this busy season.