Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sean Rowe Concert Memorial Day Weekend

This past weekend, Mitsy and I hosted a Sean Rowe concert in our backyard. To call Sean's set awesome is an understatement. Sean set up his gear under the sugar maple tree down by the garden and played about an hour and half long set. Joining Mitsy and I, were 30 wonderful friends and family members, who I think all enjoyed the show as much as we did.

The set opened with "The Walker" from the Magic album. He went on to play "Old Black Dodge" and later in the set "Wrong Side of the Bed" also from Magic. About 35 minutes into the show, dark clouds started rolling in and it appeared we were in for storm. We all were pulling up our phones and watching weather radar maps from multiple sites to determine where the storm was, when it would hit us, and what the hell we were going to do with 32 (actually 33 with Sean) people, since that many would not fit comfortably in the house to see a show. Sean said he would continue to play and we all decided to just play it by ear. With that he broke into "Joe's Cult" a kickass song from the "Shark and the Salesman" album. By the end of the song, in checking radar again, it appeared that the storm was splitting and going around us to the North and South. We had a couple of raindrops for a few seconds here and there, but Sean chased the storm away with his insane guitar skills and soulful voice. That's my theory anyway. Sean played additional tracks from the "Shark and the Salesman" as well as yet to be released material and a couple of cover songs, including the song that ended the set that completely melted our faces. I still need to find out the name of the song he finished with, as it was in a word, epic. He didn't play any songs from the album "27" which he recorded independently prior to being on the record label, so maybe there are rules about those kinds of things. My only regret is that I didn't locate a 2nd video tape to record the whole show, but I did get the first 12 songs on video that Mitsy and I will probably watch multiple times in the coming days and months.

After the show, some people bought some of Sean's albums and tshirts and took pictures. He gave Mitsy and I a copy of his single "To Leave Something Behind" on vinyl.

After the bulk of the crowd left, Sean gave a few of us a foraging tour around the yard. He has a lot of knowledge on wild edibles and showed us multiple "weeds" that we normally pull up that are common in our area, yet apparently edible and extremely nutritious. Might just have to try some burdock or milk thistle with butter now.

Sean went to bed early since he had a long drive home in the morning, but several of us stayed out by the fire pit to after midnight chatting and tasting a few craft and home brews. Strangely enough the lavender witbier that I had made (that I thought had turned out so badly) had aged nicely over the previous week in the fridge and was quite tasty.

Sunday morning Mitsy and I and a few other friends who stayed the weekend, had coffee with Sean and chatted for a bit before he headed back to NY. The concert was quite the kickstart to Memorial Day weekend and the summer. I wish we could do this every year.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter Ice Cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter Ice Cream

So here in the mid-Atlantic there has been a buzz about Sweet Baby Jesus for the past few months. Duclaw Brewing Co., released this delectable brew a while back, but until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't gotten around to trying it. But recently Mitsy and I went out to lunch at the local taphouse and I gave it a go. It's rich with nice roasty chocolate notes. I don't think I could drink a sixer of it in an afternoon, but one or two on a cold winters today will do just fine. After tasting it, I started thinking about ice cream. And then I started researching ways to make beer ice cream. I have never tried beer ice cream, and actually I've never made it before either. But last summer, Mitsy and I got an ice cream maker as a wedding gift, and after reading various rave reviews on beer ice cream recipes, I decided to try one of my own. The result is a combination of a couple of different recipes I looked at. I still plan on making some tweaks and updates, but here is the maiden voyage as it were. This is a super rich and chocolaty ice cream, that you might just enjoy. 

2 cups of whole milk
1 1/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups Sweet Baby Jesus Porter
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
Use a double boiler (I used a heat resistant glass bowl on top of a large sauce pan filled with water), and add the milk and the chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate has melted into a nice chocolaty milk and then remove from  heat and allow it to cool down for a bit. 
While your chocolate milk mixture cools, take a large bowl and combine the SBJ porter, sugar, heavy whipping cream, paprika, vanilla and egg yolks and then whisk all together until fully combined. 
While continuing to whisk, start to add a couple ladles of the hot chocolate mixture. This will allow it to temper and bring it up to temperature so that you don't end up scrambling the eggs. Continue to add the hot chocolate mixture until everything is combined. Stick this bowl on top of some ice/ice bath to allow it cool down a bit. Then add it to an airtight container and put it in the fridge for at least 6 hours. I put mine in over night.
Once your mixture has cooled in the fridge, get out your ice cream maker and churn it to the manufacturers directions. I used a Cuisinart (had to freeze the mixing bowl overnight as well) and it took about 20 minutes to get to almost a soft serve consistency (it still wasn't quite that thick though). Transfer this to an airtight container and put it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until it gets to your desired hardness. Serve with some shaved chocolate or dark chocolate bits as garnish. 
Boom. Beer ice cream.