Cooking and drinking for one. When the family is away, the mouth will play.

Rare is the chance to have the house to myself. While I love the sounds of a home filled with family, I savor the quiet when they are away. I like to watch sappy movies or read when I get moments like these, but it had been a while since I’d been able to make scones and we had been talking about them for days. There is nothing better than the smells of fresh baked goods on an early autumn evening. And I knew that the bottle of  Ohio state Fat Head’s Brewery Head Hunter IPA in the fridge would keep me company while I got to work. So I cracked the bottle open, started baking and finally tried a new way to cook bacon to perfection.

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Photo: www.fatheadscleveland.com

 

Apple and cheddar scones are to die for any time of year, but especially in the fall. Honeycrisp apples are in season right now, and I love to use their tart sweet fruit in baked goods. I’ve made this recipe many times over the years, but after tasting the IPA, I used Gruyere cheese in the scones instead. I thought this savory and more complex cheese would pair well with and balance the strong hop and citrus flavor of the beer. What does a scone like this need to become a sandwich? Bacon and tomato.

How do you cook your bacon? I used to bake it in the oven on a cookie sheet, because I hate the grease popping  at me on the stove and the smell of the house afterward. However, I have recently been turned onto frying bacon in water and it is hands down the only way to go (thank you Eugene Foodies!). Put your bacon in a frying pan and just barely cover it with water. On medium low heat, simmer the water until gone and finish the bacon in the grease until crisped to your liking. What this does is eliminate “bacon house” smell and keeps the meat moist, yielding a succulent and perfectly cooked piece of bacon that is neither too dry or too chewy.

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Smothering some Inglehoffer Stone Ground Mustard on a smoking hot scone, I layer on the bacon and tomato. Sweet Organic Redneck tomato’s from the farmers market, crispy bacon, soft apple with amazingly melty gruyere cheese. I walk to the couch with my bounty and sit down in peace to eat my meal.

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It is a simple thing, to make a meal and drink a beer. The pleasure, for me, is in the process. And watching my family’s faces when they first bite into whatever I have served them. When cooking for one however, the flavor comes to mind first. It must be exactly what I want, when I want it. Choosing beer is in many ways the same. When I pair it with a meal, I am looking for a specific outcome. A duo of choices that results in a contented finish.

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Head Hunter IPA is a bold beer. Fat Head’s website states that this is a West Coast Style IPA and I would have to agree. Hop forward to the extreme, heavy pine and citrus waft through the nose and mouth. Highly agreeable to the palate, if you like strong IPA’s that is, with a finish that is right bitter. Pairing well with my food choice for the night, I finished this bottle in record time and was left wanting more.

The good news is that I can trade for more. Or I can wait a few months until Fat Head’s opens their west coast brewery location in Portland and grab some myself.

 

As a purveyor of fine foods and excellent beers, I seek out both in my travels. From scoping out breweries in tiny little Utah towns, to charming cheese shops in Paris, I find morsels of goodness in all parts of the world. However, the Pacific Northwest will always be my home, and I love nothing more than spending an hour here and there sampling what this amazing corner of the earth has to offer.

My husband and I like to say we have a mini farm, and are wannabe urban farmers. Two cats, two dogs, four chickens, a seven year old girl, a stack of rain boots and a garden plot or four. If I could, I’d have an enormous green house, a cow and pig, so that I can really get down to literally making my food for dinner. Until then, we do what we can. We also like to think we are raising our kid right. On Star Wars, rock music and a huge appreciation for good quality food.

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