In my attempt to find fun ingredients to prepare, I discovered a small grocery store in Hartwell called Country Fresh Market. They offer a variety of dry goods, meats, prepared foods, and a killer beer and wine department. The prices are competitive as well. I managed to get my hands on some beautiful Spring Onions.

I also picked up Pork Loin, Honeycrisp Apples, and other various items that will help compel me to cook versus eating at chain food outlets.

It’s a fairly straightforward dish. I roasted the Spring Onions and Apples with Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper. I pan-seared the Pork Loin and roasted it with fresh sage. I made a simple Mushroom Couscous and then prepared a Balsamic Pan Gravy which was Beef Broth, Balsamic Reduction, and cracked Black Pepper. I reduced it to a glaze.

I let the Pork Loin repose, sliced half, and then kept the other half whole to give a contrast in texture. The result was a great, balanced meal. The whole process took me about a half-hour. No, there were no leftovers….

Bon Appetit!

This was probably one of the most challenging beer dinners I’ve done with The Monk’s Kettle. It’s also the last one I will be doing with Monk’s. We parted ways amicably yesterday which leaves me unemployed but hopeful for my future and where it takes me which now my options are many. This was also one of the prettiest beer dinners I’ve done not because of the plate composition but the absolutely wonderful photographs Sonya Yu took of my food. Her presence at my dinners will be truly missed. I hope she will be given the opportunity to highlight the next chef at Monk’s and show everyone how talented her camera eye is. Please enjoy these photos of my food and how much fun we had creating this great beer dinner. Who knows what I will write about next but it’s going to be an interesting one. -Chef Kevin Kroger

1st Course Red Seal Ale paired with a Loch Duart Salmon Mousse with Fresh Lemon Zest and Micro Peppercress

2nd Course La Merle Saison paired with County Line Harvest Chicories, Peony Grapes, Valencia orange Segments, a Tangerine Vinaigrette and a Bohemian Creamery Caproncino Goat Cheese

3rd Course Pranqster Belgian Strong Ale paired with Pan Seared Hawaiian Ono Wahoo, Pumpkin Risotto Cake, a Roasted Tomatillo Sauce and Fried Okinawan Sweet Potato Chips

4th Course Brothers Thelonious Abbey Style Ale paired with a Slow Braised Pork Shank, Whipped Yukon Gold and Parsnip Puree and a Brothers Thelonious Fig Demi Glace

5th Course Old Rasputin Stout paired with a Cowgirl Creamery Mt.Tam Triple Cream, TCHO Chocolate Almond Bark, Old Rasputin Balsamic Reduction and Toasted Metropolis Bigio

6th Course North Coast Anniversary Ale paired with a Fresh Peach Tart with Three Twins Organic Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Shots of food plating…

Sorry folks, I know I’ve been away for a while but life in the fast lane as a hot-shot chef can be very busy….Actually, I’m just a lazy schlep sometimes and things pile up, but I’m back and with a new beer dinner post! This time, I’m proud to introduce Grand Teton Brewing out of Victor Idaho. They are a new brewery who has an interesting history. I’m not sure if anyone has ever heard of the term “growler” but it is a vessel that you can use to carry beer out of an establishment in bulk to enjoy at home. When I used to work at Taco Casa in Corryville many years ago, we had our own growlers. They were used plastic gallon milk jugs that were once homes to the house-made hot sauce. We’d go to Clifton and get to go beer from Fries, pronounced frees. I believe we were actually the first guys who discovered “chili beer.” We won’t take credit for it because the beer we drank sucked. To make a long story short, growlers were illegal in many states and Grand Teton fought very hard to allow breweries to export if you will, their beer to your home. Below are some of the wonderful shots Sonya Yu took that highlights some of the cuisine I created for this event.

1st Course Grand Teton Sweet Grass paired with a tropical crab salad with passion fruit vinaigrette and fried plantain chips over mixed greens

2nd Course Grand Teton Bitch Creek ESB paired with a Okinawan Sweet Potato Soup with Spiced Creme Fraiche and Fried Shallots

3rd Course Grand Teton Festbier Marzen paired with pan seared Day Boat Scallops with a warm Red Bliss Potato Salad and a Marzen BBQ Sauce

4th Course Grand Teton Tail Waggin With paired with a Coriander rubbed 38′ North Chicken Risotto with fresh Herbs and Lemon Zest

5th Course Grand Teton Bourbon Barrled Aged Double Vision on Nitro paired with Smoked Gouda, sliced Pear, Balsamic Reduction and toasted Pistachios with La Boulange Baguette and Walnut Bread

6th Course Barrel Aged Black Couldron paired with a fresh Strawberry Cobbler with Three Twins Organic Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream

De Proef Beer Dinner

September 5, 2010

We were fortunate to be able to host a great Belgian brewery called De Proefbrouwerij. We were excited because not only do they brew great beer, but there is a cool history behind their operations. In 1996 highly regarded brewing engineer and professor, Dirk Naudts, created De Proef Brouwerij in the village of Lochristi, near the historic city of Gent, Belgium. The ultra-scientific brewery blends modern equipment and technologies with traditional brewing methods. Each beer is crafted in an 11 hectolitre (9 U.S. barrel) brewhouse that Michael Jackson once described as “the ultimate toy for the aspiring homebrewer.”

The flexible nature of the brewery enables Naudts to create an impressive range of traditional and not so traditional ales. His ability to design and brew unique products is showcased in the De Proef Brewmaster’s Collection. The beers were wonderful. I was also very happy to showcase some great food pairings as well. Here are some shots from the dinner. I wanted to give a huge thanks to Sonyayu for shooting some spectacular pictures of the event. She made me look good! Take a peek and tell me what you think.

First Course-Free Spirit Farms squash blossom stuffed with a honey laced Laura Chenel goat cheese and an heirloom tomato ragu

Second Course-Scarborough Farms baby frisee, local mache, house-cured bacon vinaigrette, sliced pink lady apples, fresh herbs and house-made croutons

Third Course-Pan seared local halibut, a dungeness crab potato cake, Sausalito Springs watercress salad and an almond caper cause

Fourth Course-Deconstructed Beef Wellington with grass-fed tenderloin, mushroom duxelles, a citrus hollandaise and bull’s blood micro greens

A perfect mid-rare

Fifth Course-Local triple cream Rouge et Noir cheese with Marshall Farms honey, smoked hazelnuts and toasted potato-rosemary bread from Metropolis Baking

Sixth Course-house-made bing cherry chocolate cake with a kriek cherry lambic reduction and a vanilla creme anglaise

Various shots of plating up the dinner

I have created menus for about ten beer dinners so far. I have enjoyed them all and some were very challenging to say the least! I can honestly say that I’ve been able to create unique menus for each brewery since their beers are very unique too! I want to say thank you to Sonyayu for the wonderful pictures she shot during these dinners. I hope my posts compliment her wonderful pictures!

Bourbon BBQ Short Ribs with White Cheddar Grits

Dungeness Crab with Mango, Sweet Potato Chips and Chive Oil

Liberty Duck Confit with Stone Fruit Compote

Alaskan Halibut Ceviche with Citrus

Puff Pastry with Laura Chenel Goat Cheese

Spring Vegetables with Lavender Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese