The Chives Have It

I am not a beer drinker. In fact, from the very first time I tried beer (at the tender and illegal age of four), I’ve found it to be rather gross. The smell, the taste, the after-taste all make my taste buds want to run for the hills; or at least that part of my tongue that doesn’t detect bitterness. If all my buds could gather at the side where salty, sweet, or even sour thrives, my beer-drinking experiences would be a lot more tolerable.

I really would rather be one of the cool kids who likes, even loves beer. My life would be so much more… chill. Oh well.

One thing that I do like beef for: baking. What did I bake, you ask?

Bread. Delicious Cheddar Chive Beer Bread.

When I was in Korea, I made Jason and myself a yum bread I found… somewhere. Unfortunately, I have NO idea where I got the recipe. I have it written on a scrap of paper that I managed to save. When I made it in Korea, I made plain ol’ white bread, and I used a light beer (more palatable).

Now that Jason’s taken up blogging, there is a steady supply of beer of all colors in our pantry and fridge.

IMG_3585Another thing I did while living is Seoul was scour the YouTube cooking channels. We discovered this lovely Kentucky-based woman sometime in 2010. She recently did a beer bread which incorporated one of my favorite foods–cheese. Her recipe also calls for a good amount of chives.

I made this recipe for the first time with a bottle of Jason’s Shiner Blonde, as well as extra sharp cheddar.

My Recipe:

Preheat to 375*F / 190*C.

3.5 c all-purpose flour, 3 tbsp white sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 cups finely grated cheese, 2-3 tbsp chopped chives, 12 oz beer of your preference, 1 egg (beaten).

Add all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-combined. I added a small amount of the flour to the cheese before mixing it in to coat it. This helps distribute the cheese more evenly. Then pour in the beer. Mix until doughy. Pour dough onto floured surface to knead first (if your dough turns out dryer) or directly onto a baking sheet to free-form, or into a bread pan (if your dough is wetter).*

*I’ve played around with this: Cold beer is better than warm beer. 3 cups of flour is better than 3.5 (I actually think the 1/2 cup was for sprinkling and kneading, but I never transferred the directions… my bad!)

Betty’s bread dough was wetter than mine, and she uses a bread pan. I have used both a pan and free-formed the dough. Both are yum.

The egg is for glazing; brush it on prior to baking. Betty uses melted butter on hers; about ten minutes before finishing. AWESOME.

Adding the cheese and chives took the bread to such an amazingly savory place. Jason, my folks, and I polished off this loaf in a single night. It was THAT good.

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A Few Resolutions

Hooray! The new year is here. Last night Jason and I celebrated with home-made potato soup, two of the LOTR movies, and the game Life.

We almost missed midnight, as we were both exhausted. Jason spent the day working on his man cave, while I watched reruns on On Demand and made the soup:

4-6 pounds of peeled and roughly chopped russet (or your choice) potatoes
1 medium (on the smaller side of medium if you like) yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
1 ham bone with some ham still on it
1/2 – 1 cup of diced ham (or rough chopped if you prefer)
6 cups water (low sodium chicken broth would be really good too)
1.5 cups half and half (1 cup cream or 1.5 cups whole milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded cheese, optional

Combine all the ingredients in your crock pot for 4 hours on low heat then 1-2 on high, or 6-8 hours on low. Occasionally mash potatoes after hour 4. Once the potatoes are thoroughly mashed and the ham is well incorporated, take out the bones (be mindful that some bits may have fallen off and depending on your bone there may be some bits of cartilage), and add your half&half.
*I added a bit of salt and a bit more pepper before adding the cream. You can add it before or after, but the ham is pretty salty, so not much salt is needed.
**I topped our bowls with about two tbsp of shredded cheese.
YUM

And on to the basis for my title: Resolutions.
I would imagine that a lot of people are posting about this today…great! I’m all for self-improvement. Here’s what I am planning.
1. I mentioned that I wanted to get back into writing, and I had started last year with a goal to blog once a week. So, I am re-committing to that goal.
2. I have a wedding coming up! I have been doing Weight Watchers with Jason since September, and I have kinda fallen off the tracking wagon. My goal for this is to be more honest and vigilant with my tracking and record keeping.
3. Exercise. This related to number 2, but I really do want to be more regular with my activity. With the help of my brother (my pseudo trainer) and my friends (with whom I am starting to train for a half marathon) I think this one is totally doable.
4. MARATHON. I have run a few marathons (well, half marathons) in the past. Some were official (Steamworks and Duke City) and others not (super long runs!).
5. Be more flexible. This means incorporating more resolutions as they present themselves.

**QUESTION: What is/are your resolution(s) for 2012?**