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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beer! Pizza! Birthday!

If you follow this blog, you know I like good beer, and it doesn't have to be mine. Recently, my son and his wife took me out to dinner for my birthday (I just turned 61.)

We went to a place that recently opened in Waterbury, Called Pies and Pints.


Main Entrance - Leavenworth St.

I'm surprised no one thought of this before. I've often joked that "beer-and-pizza" is actually one word, and this is a restaurant that combines good pizza with craft beer.

To me, this seems like a concept that can't miss. The beer list was extensive, but not excessive. I thought it was a nice combination of classic styles, and beers that bent the rules a bit. I ordered a brown ale, My son got an India Pale Ale, and my daughter-in-law got a flight of 4 four-ounce glasses.

I don't remember all her choices. I know there were a couple of pumpkin ales, and one that I think was a stout aged in bourbon barrels.

I got a taste of all of them, and I would pronounce them all excellent. I was especially impressed with the two English ales. The flavor, temperature, and carbonation would all fit right in at any English pub.

They're in the process of installing an in-house brewery. While that's going on, their house beers are being brewed under contract by Shebeen Brewery (another terrific local place).



For food, we ordered baked boneless chicken as an appetizer, and a large pizza with chicken, bacon and spinach for our meal.

Honestly, everything wasn't perfect. Service was a bit slow. I've worked in restaurant as a manager, so I know things don't always go as smoothly as you would like. In their defense, our server was attentive and apologetic. She explained the delay, and kept us up to date on the progress of our order. We never felt ignored.


My wife, Barb, and my daughter-in-law, Tanya



Once the food did arrive, it proved to be worth the wait. The chicken was nicely breaded, and cooked to perfection.

My son, Joe


And the pizza was as good as any I've ever had. I was particularly fond of the crust. Crunchy on the outside, soft inside, just the way I like it. Sauce and toppings all combined for a very satisfying meal.

The bar at Pies and Pints
This is a place I would recommend to anyone. I would only caution you not to be in a hurry. If you don't mind being a bit patient, you'll be rewarded with excellent food, and great beer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Not Beer, But Yummy

Fruit smoothie and sugar cookies
If you follow this blog, you know I like talking about non-beer things. I not only make beer, but I also like to make food for myself.

The other day, I made a couple of things, and thought I  would share them with you.





 SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Directions:
1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
3. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with trefoil cookie cutter available at Girl Scout stores, or use small cutter of your choice. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets.
5. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2014 Allrecipes.com

Since I first tried this, I've come up with a couple of variations. Instead of butter, I've also used margarine or shortening, with good results. I find that fruit juice can be used for milk. Finally, I like to add flavors. In my last batch (In the photo), I added a tablespoon of orange zest.

In my relatively small apartment, I don't have a flat surface large enough to roll it out. So, I came up with an alternative.

I drop spoonsful of batter onto the cookie sheet, and flatten it slightly with my fingers. The size of spoon depends on the size of cookie. In the picture, I used a regular teaspoon.


FRUIT SMOOTHIE

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1/2 cup frozen fruit
1 cup whole milk

DIRECTIONS:

Add all ingredients to blender cup, and blend until smooth.


In this recipe, the amounts are approximate. I've used a bit more or less of each, depending on my mood. Any frozen fruit will work, although pomegranate seeds get stuck in the straw.

 Both of these are really easy, and tasty as well.