Last week, Z and I couldn't make it to the Cambridge Common Berkshire Brewing Co. beer dinner - I was selling my mattress, and we would have ended up being much too late to fully enjoy the experience. However, we didn't want to totally miss out on the fun, so we decided to have our own beer dinner - which ended up being more economical, and just as delicious.
Cambridge Common's beer dinners include a pre-dinner beer and three or four courses paired with delicious brews. We created our menu and beer choices around the menu Cambridge Common had put together for their guests (except for our pre-dinner beer, a Shipyard Pumpkin - 'tis the season!).
We sipped our Shipyard Pumpkins while we prepared our appetizer - homemade, fresh gazpacho.
We used Ina Garten's recipe, but tweaked it a bit. For instance, I added some jarred jalapenos to give the soup a little kick, and I also halved the recipe. We also served our gazpacho with avocado slices, to help cut some of the spiciness.
We paired our gazpacho with Berkshire Brewing Co.'s Traditional Pale Ale. Like the avocado, the Pale Ale helped to cut some of the heat from the jalapenos, and, as a whole, really complemented the fresh flavors of the gazpacho well.
For our salad course, we made an arugula and strawberry salad. We used this recipe, and I also added some crumbled goat cheese.
We paired the salad with BBC's Hefeweizen Ale.
This would have been a great pairing if it weren't for the overpowering goat cheese. Lesson learned.
For our entree, we made a Thai curry tofu stir fry. While we enjoyed our first few courses, we let the tofu marinate in Trader Joe's Thai curry sauce, and then pan fried the tofu.
In a separate pan, we sauteed some chopped veggies: mushrooms, red peppers, baby corn, and onions. After both the tofu and veggies were cooked through, we added the veggies to the tofu pan, stirred, and let simmer for a few minutes before serving. We also flavored the stir fry with some cayenne, cumin and salt and pepper.
This spicy, flavorful stir fry was served with BBC's Private Stock "Shabadoo" - an amazingly delicious brew.
Despite it's dark, heavy appearance, this black and tan brew was fairly light on the tongue, with a mix of unique and tantalizing flavors. With the tofu, it wasn't a particularly exceptional pairing, but both were so delicious on their own that it really didn't offend my tastebuds too much.
For dessert, CC had tiramisu on the menu, paired with Coffeehouse Porter (a favorite in our house). Z and I aren't big dessert people, and since we always have Coffeehouse Porter, we changed the dessert to liquid form only. We both enjoyed a glass of BBC's Russian Imperial Stout.
BBC doesn't mess around with their stouts (or porters, for that matter). With hints of chocolate, coffee, fruit and licorice, this creamy, well-balanced stout was the perfect way to end our homemade beer dinner.
CC's Berkshire Brewing Co. beer dinner cost $49 per person, not including gratuity. Z and I spent about that much total, without having to tip anyone. Although we love CC and their beer dinners, it was nice to cook together and enjoy the dinner on our own, while cutting the price tag in half.
How have you saved some money in the kitchen lately?