What I had for dinner:
In the wake of the beer-mashed potatoes, I've been thinking about other possibles concoctions based on beer. One obvious possibility to one enclined towards Belgian ales is to combine beer and endives.
My first experiment, which was actually a let's-cook-what's-in-the-fridge attempt, resulted in an endive and beer soup with shrimps and lemongrass. (I don't usually have shrimp waiting in the fridge; I picked them up on the way home. The lemongrass grows in my living room.) Anyway, it was not terribly good, though I may return to it later on.
Today, I planned ahead. Endives and beer still, but no soup. Three shallots and 1/2 inch of ginger, finely chopped, were cooked in a little oil until just begining to brown. I used a wok but any large pot will do. The separated leaves and sliced cores of three endives were then added and cooked over fairly high heat until thoroughly wilted and begining to caramelize at the edges. Four chopped cloves of garlic were added at the bottom and cooked for a minute, then one bottle of brown ale (Brooklyn Brewery in this case) was added all at once and cooking was continued to reduce the liquid.
When the beer had almost completely evaporated, four sliced red jalapeños and 1/3 of a Vidalia onion (chopped fine) were folded in, followed by 2 oz of ham slivers cut from a thick slice. To stay within the Belgian theme, I wanted to use Ardennes ham, but couldn't find any so I used Parma ham. Probably any cured ham would do, and so would small steamed mussels or clams.
Serve immediately so that the prosciutto, onion, and jalapeño are warm but not cooked.
To drink, a bottle of Keller Bier from St Georgen, a light German wheat beer that has recently appeared on our shores.
(And for the write up, a bottle of Witches' Brew bock, the Hexenbräu from Hürlimann, the Swiss maker of Samichlaus, the world's strongest lager.)