Pumpkin Beer and Brown Sugar Cookies

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I’ve been sitting here for longer than I care to admit trying to come up with something to say for this intro. But my mind is totally fried. The regular 8-5 day job has been particularly soul-sucking lately, and all my spare time has been going to job hunting. Which is also destroying my soul…the amount of rejections I have gotten makes me want to give up forever and totally makes me feel like I have nothing to offer the work force. The struggle to keep hope alive and continue this battle is very real.

But somehow I keep pressing on. As much as I hate job hunting, I know it’s the only way to be free of this day job I hate even more. And so the hunt continues. After all, among hundreds (yes, hundreds) of noes, it only takes one “yes” to change my fortune.

To perk up my spirits during this especially trying time of my life, I baked cookies. And not just any cookies- soft batch cookies. Meaning they are crazy soft, chewy, moist, and have a slightly under-baked texture (which is my favorite in cookies). Add in some pumpkin beer and some pumpkin pie spice, and you’ve got the PERFECT cookie for fall. Now excuse me while I eat a massive pile and write more cover letters…

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Pumpkin Beer and Brown Sugar Cookies

AUTHOR: Natalie Bates | PREP TIME: 10 min | COOK TIME: 12-14 min

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cups unsalted butter, softened (12 tbs)
  • 1 ¼ cups golden brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin beer (I used Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat)
  • 2 ¼ cups All purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. In a large bowl, add the butter and brown sugar. Mix on high until very well combined. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla, beat until light and fluffy. Add the beer, beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cornstarch and pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon out balls of dough slightly smaller than a golf ball onto well greased cookie sheets.
  6. Bake at 325° for 12-14 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies to cooling racks and allow the cookies to cool to room temperature.

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The thing that is so great about this cookie recipe is its versatility. You could sub any beer you want really, and play with different spices. Or leave the spices out all together for just a beer and brown sugar flavor to your cookies. The sky is the limit! If you try any other variations, let me know how they come out in the comments!

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Recipe and photos are my own, but feel free to share anywhere you wish! Just give me credit and link back to The Whiskey Wanderer 🙂

 

 

 

Harvest Shandy

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Happy Halloween my Wanderers! Ok ok, I know Halloween was actually yesterday, but that’s when I made these cocktails, so it’s basically still Halloween on this blog.

This month just flew by. October is always one of my busiest months, cause it’s my favorite and I like to pack it full of seasonal fun! Apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, parties, eating and drinking pumpkin everything, haunted houses, and just all sorts of spooky goodness. I love it all, and I wouldn’t change any of the craziness.

However with an unusually packed social calendar comes a certain level of neglect towards regular life stuff. So I also always look forward to November. The Halloween insanity has passed, and the whirlwind that is Christmas hasn’t started yet. It’s like a calm between two storms, and a perfect chance to catch up on life.

Meaning all those apartment projects I’ve been putting off might actually get finished. And I MIGHT even work on dealing with all the random stuff I left behind at my parents house during my move this past spring. Maybe. This also means that I will have some extra time to give some much needed love and attention to this blog.

Ok this intro got really long…oops. I made this cocktail last night to enjoy while carving pumpkins and watching the original “Dracula” with Robbie and my sister, and it was the perfect addition for our festive evening!

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Harvest Shandy

AUTHOR: Natalie Bates | PREP TIME: 5 min | COOK TIME: 5 min | YIELD AMOUNT : 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS

  • 6oz your choice of pumpkin beer (I used Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat…make sure it’s chilled well)
  • 6oz chilled sparkling apple cider
  • 2oz bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
  • Apple slices and cinnamon sticks to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine pumpkin beer and sparkling cider in a glass.
  2. Pour a shot of bourbon over the top.
  3. Garnish will apple slices and cinnamon sticks, if desired.

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Seriously guys, this drink is fast and easy to make. And it’s practically impossible to mess up. And it tastes like pure fall in a cup. This is a drink I’m gonna keep making all through the rest of November! Pre-Thanksgiving dinner cocktails, anyone? Slainte!

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Recipe and photos are my own, but feel free to share anywhere you wish! Just give me credit and link back to The Whiskey Wanderer 🙂

 

 

Beer S’mores: Stout Chocolate Bars and Belgian Ale Marshmallows

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I want to start out by saying my photos suck for this recipe. The food got mangy by the time it was ready to be photographed (explanation to come), and it was REALLY dark in our campground. And since food photographs best with natural light, well, you can see how that would present a problem. I got this recipe from The Beeroness, so you should really check out her website to see how this treat is SUPPOSED to look (link to original recipe is at the end of this post).

I’ve always wanted to be an amazing cook who prepares incredible meals for Robbie and me, but in all honesty, I’m just not there yet. Everything I make comes out a little wonky. Though he sweetly tells me everything I make is good. Liar- I know it sucks. But that’s why I need to keep practicing! So I’m gonna keep trying out new recipes and posting my favorites on here, complete with tips on how to do it better than I did haha.

And then one day, I’ll finally gain the skills to create my own recipes.

So these s’mores… I found this recipe on Pinterest from The Beeroness and thought it would be something fun to try for our camping trip to Great Basin. Huge shout out to my friends for always letting me use them as guinea pigs!

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Beer S’Mores: Stout Chocolate Bar and Belgian Ale Marshmallows

AUTHOR: Jackie Dodd | COOK TIME: Roughly 30 min active, 2 hrs inactive

INGREDIENTS

For the Marshmallows:
  • Powdered sugar
  • 3 ½ envelopes unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)
  • 1 cup beer (flat and cold – I used New Belgium Fat Tire)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Bars:
  • 10 (wt oz) dark chocolate (62% cacao)
  • 1/3 cup stout beer (I used Garage Brewing Co Marshmallow Milk Stout)
For the S’mores:
  • 18 graham crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the marshmallows:
  1. Grease a 9×13 baking pan, sprinkle with powdered sugar until well coated, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add ½ cup cold flat beer. Sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to stand while the sugar is being prepared.
  3. In a large saucepan (mixture will bubble up considerably) over medium heat, add the remaining ½ cup beer, sugar and corn syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Raise heat to high and allow to boil until the mixture reads 240°F on a candy thermometer (about 6-8 minutes).
  5. Once the temperature has been reached, turn off heat.
  6. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the hot sugar mixture into the gelatin. Once all the sugar has been added turn the mixer on high until light and fluffy and tripled in volume, about 6 minutes.
  7. While the mixer is running, prepare the egg whites. Add the egg whites to a bowl with the salt. Beat on high with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  8. Gently fold the egg whites and vanilla extract into the stand mixer ingredients until just combined.
  9. Pour the marshmallows into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Allow to set at room temperature until set, about 2 hours. Remove from pan, cut into squares.
Make the chocolate bars:
  1. In the top of a double boiler add the chocolate and beer. Stir until the chocolate has melted and combined with the beer. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan in an even layer. Chill until set, about 20 minutes. Cut into 9 squares. Can be made four days ahead of time.
Make the s’mores:
  1. Brulé the marshmallows (or roast over a campfire!) and sandwich one square of chocolate and one bruléed marshmallow between two graham crackers.

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The flavors of these s’mores came out awesome! I was particularly stoked on the marshmallows. I’ve never made homemade marshmallows before, so I was excited to see them actually work! That being said, they don’t seem to hold up as well as their store-bought, preservative-laden counterparts. They melted while sitting in a hot car during the drive from home in LA to Great Basin in Nevada, and turned into a bit of a disaster. We tossed them in the ice chest and they kinda firmed up again (at least enough to throw on a skewer to roast over a campfire!), but they were sticky and not as pretty as when they started. So don’t judge the photos too much…transporting food for camping during road trips is hard!

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Recipe by The Beeroness. Check out her website for more great recipes! And also prettier pictures of these s’mores lol.

Recipe by The Beeroness; all thoughts and photos are my own.

 

 

IPA Chicken Strips and Flaky Pepper Biscuits

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I am a sucker for comfort foods. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, any sort of bread or pasta… you know, all the stuff that is just awful for your waistline, but incredibly delicious. We try to be healthy as often as we can at home, but sometimes you just have to give in to the cravings. I am all for eating a balanced diet, but in my opinion, part of that balance includes eating the things you love.

My mom has been making these chicken strips for my sisters and me since we were little kids. She would make up a big batch and pack them in the ice chest whenever we went to the beach (so in our household this chicken recipe became known as “beach chicken”). Well now that I have a home (well, apartment) of my own, I decided to carry on the tradition and keep making this chicken, except I gave it a little twist- beer!

And since any good entree requires equally tasty side dishes, I found this perfect biscuit recipe from my favorite food website, The Beeroness. The result? Pure awesomeness.

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IPA Chicken Strips and Flaky Pepper Biscuits

AUTHOR: Jackie Dodd (biscuits), Natalie Bates (chicken strips) | PREP TIME: 5 min biscuits, 10 min chicken | COOK TIME: 10 min biscuits, 10-15 min chicken

INGREDIENTS

For the biscuits:
  • 3-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup wheat beer (I used Lagunitas Doppel Weizen)
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • ¼ tsp course sea salt
For the chicken strips:
  • 1 cup pale ale (I used Strand Brewing Co Atticus IPA)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 2 inch strips
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs seasoning salt (add more or less to taste)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the biscuits:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the cold butter, mix with beaters until well combined.
  4. Add the buttermilk and beer. Mix with a fork until just combined.
  5. Add to a well-floured flat surface, pat into a rectangle. Using a cold rolling pin (preferably marble) gently roll into a large rectangle, about 1″ in thickness, using as few strokes as possible.
  6. Fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter about to go into an envelope. Roll lightly, once in each direction to about 1″ thickness, fold in thirds again. Gently roll into about 1-1/2″ thickness (this will give you flaky layers).
  7. Using a biscuit cutter cut out 6 to 8 biscuits. Place in a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Brush biscuits with melted butter, sprinkle salt.
  9. Bake at 425° for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
Make the chicken:
  1. Mix eggs and beer in a medium bowl until well combined.
  2. Add flour and seasoning salt to a large ziplock bag and shake until combined.
  3. Add an inch or so of vegetable oil to a large skillet and heat until it’s hot enough for frying (To test: Dip the handle-end of the spoon into the oil. Oil that’s ready for frying will bubble around the handle).
  4. One at a time, coat thawed chicken strips in the egg mixture, place in the ziplock bag filled with flour, and shake until chicken is thoroughly coated in flour mixture. Carefully place in oil. Be sure not to overfill your pan so each strip has room to be surrounded by oil.
  5. Cook until breading is golden brown and strips are cooked all the way through (flip and rotate chicken as needed to cook evenly).
  6. Place finished strips on a plate covered in paper towels to absorb excess oil before serving.

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This is one dinner that is sure to please the even the pickiest of eaters. It is comfort food at it’s finest, sort of an at-home version of KFC. Except this version includes beer, which automatically makes it better. This chicken tastes great cold too, making it a good choice to throw in the ice chest for camping trips, beach days, or picnics.

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Biscuit recipe obtained from The Beeroness. Check out her website for more great recipes!

Photos, thoughts, and chicken strip recipe are my own; biscuit recipe by The Beeroness.

 

 

Blood Orange Wit Margarita

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Life has a way of getting crazy, and things tend to fall by the wayside. Like this blog. In a perfect world, I would have time to post everyday. But somehow that never seems to happen. I get sidetracked by job hunting, working at my current job, staying on top of my freelance writing gigs, trying to maintain a clean apartment, trying to organize and decorate said apartment, going to Robbie’s shows, trying to take care of myself and be healthy… Basically, there is never a shortage of things to do, and there never seems to be time anymore to do all the things I want to do after all the things I HAVE to do are done. I’m working on fixing this.

Where was I going with all this? I originally made this delicious cocktail recipe during a summer visit to Lake Mead in Nevada, when the temperature was 115° outside. And am just getting around to posting it now, thus why it is seasonally out of place. I am all about hot toddys and spiked cider now, not citrus margaritas! But it would be a shame to let this recipe go to waste, and it is still hot out here in southern CA, so why not make margaritas?

I found this recipe on Beer Girl Cooks, which is a delightful website full of beer fun. Check it out, or look her up on Pinterest. She always posts a bunch of great recipes! I couldn’t find some of the ingredients in the original recipe, so here is my adapted version:

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Blood Orange Wit Margarita

AUTHOR: Rachelle, Beer Girl Cooks – Altered by: Natalie Bates | YIELD AMOUNT: 2 margaritas

INGREDIENTS

  • Juice of 1 orange (blood orange if you can find one, about 6 tablespoons)
  • 8 oz silver tequila
  • 4 oz triple sec
  • 1 can blood orange wit beer
  • Margarita salt for the rim
  • Lime and orange slices to garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine orange juice, tequila, and triple sec in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake
  2. Pour some beer in a bowl and margarita salt in another bowl
  3. Dip the rims of two tall pint size glasses into the beer then the salt to coat
  4. Add ice to the glasses, pour tequila mixture over ice, top with remaining beer, garnish with orange and lime slices if using

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This drink was so tasty! The original recipe called for blood orange gose and blood orange juice, so I definitely will be wanting to try making these again when I can find those ingredients. But, if you’re like me and can’t seem to find those things anywhere, subbing in other juices and other types of beer (as long as they are citrusy) works just fine!

Enjoy this beverage anytime you want it to feel like summer.

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Recipe by Beer Girl Cooks. Check out her website for more great recipe ideas!

All photos and thoughts are my own, recipe by Beer Girl Cooks.

Chili Brown Sugar Campfire Beer Can Chicken

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I love camping, as I’m sure anyone who reads this blog knows. Tents, no TV, campfires, actually being able to see stars…ahhh. My friends and I always take at least one camping trip a year (a tradition for the past 10 years), and over time, I have become the designated camp chef. Of course we always have to have a hot dogs night, but this time, I wanted to step up my game. I found this recipe on The Beeroness and was immediately intrigued. Her recipe uses an oven, but what can be made in an oven can surely be done over a fire too, right? Plus I knew the photos of this would be ridiculous, and that is reason enough for me to do anything.

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Teamwork… my hands were covered in raw chicken, so I enlisted a beer-drinking helper

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CHILI BROWN SUGAR CAMPFIRE BEER CAN CHICKEN

AUTHOR: Jackie Dodd | PREP TIME: 15 min | COOK TIME: At least a couple hours (mine took 3hrs)

INGREDIENTS

  • Whole roasting chicken
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 can of beer (I used Fosters)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Remove the giblets and rinse the chicken inside and out. Dry very well with paper towels until all the moisture is gone.
  2. Sprinkle the inside cavity with 1 tablespoon salt.
  3. In a small bowl stir together the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, onion powder and baking powder (this will help crisp the skin). *TIP: I mixed the spices at home and brought them ready to go in a ziplock bag so I wouldn’t have to pack all the spice containers*
  4. Rub the outside of the chicken with the spice mixture.
  5. Pour about ¼ of a cup of beer out of the can (or drink it). Place the can on a flat surface.
  6. Lower the chicken down onto the can until the can is well inside the chicken cavity. Set the chicken and can upright (use the two legs and the can to create a tripod) on a grill over the campfire. Roast until temperature reads 165° F on a meat thermometer, rotating (carefully!) as needed to ensure even cooking.

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The seasoning rub was Ah-MAZE-ing!!! And the chicken came out so incredibly moist. I had four very happy friends after dinner that night. On the downside, it took forever to cook. So give yourself plenty of time for this one (if you are using a campfire). Campfire cooking can be so tricky.

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Recipe obtained from The Beeroness. Check out her website for more awesome recipes!

Photos and thoughts are my own; recipe by The Beeroness.

Buttermilk Beer Pancakes

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This past weekend was the first weekend since getting our own place that things started feeling a little normal again. From actually moving, tons of unpacking, and diving straight into Robbie’s busy gig schedule, we haven’t really had a chance to just exist in our apartment. But last weekend we had no big plans, and most of the big unpacking was done. I took advantage of that opportunity and made a big Saturday morning breakfast! I turned to my favorite food blogger, The Beeroness, for recipe ideas and found these Super Fluffy Buttermilk Beer Pancakes. Perfect.

*Bacon cooking credit goes to Robbie. I think cooking together is going to become one of my favorite “couples activities”*

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Buttermilk Beer Pancakes

AUTHOR: Jackie Dodd (minor adjustments made by Natalie Bates) | PREP TIME: 5 min

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ cup beer (wheat beer, pale ale, or brown ale- I used Hangar 24 Orange Wheat)
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (or heavy cream)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Butter (to grease the pan)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the eggs, cream of tartar, beer, buttermilk, and vanilla into a large bowl, beat until well combined.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and beer mixture, stir until combined.
  4. Add the butter to a preheated griddle (preheated to 350) or large skillet over medium high heat, push around until melted.
  5. About ¼ cup at a time, pour the pancake batter on the preheated surface. Allow to cook until bubbles form in the center, flip and allow to cook until golden brown on the underside.

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These pancakes were super easy to make and came out great! I tweaked the recipe a little from the original due to having a poorly stocked kitchen (hey, I just moved and got my own place…it takes awhile to build a kitchen from the ground up!). The entire batch of pancakes disappeared though, so I’m calling that a win. And Robbie loved having an excuse to drink the leftover beer with breakfast.

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Recipe by The Beeroness. Check out her website for more great recipes and all things beer!

All photos and thoughts are my own, original recipe by The Beeroness.

 

Orange Whiskey Salmon

Cooking with whiskey, orange whiskey salmon, tullamore dew, irish whiskey, irish whiskey recipes, salmon recipes, mom foodie, Seafood

A couple weeks ago, I moved in with my boyfriend. I know, scary, right? Big life change. And in more ways than you expect. I went from living with my parents and having most of my dinners provided for me (don’t judge… it’s nearly impossible to afford living on your own these days in So Cal), to having to think about what to make for dinner every night for the two of us. Sure, we could default to take-out and frozen meals, but where’s the fun in that? I want us to eat healthy, real food, with only occasional moments of fast food weakness. Like maybe once a week. Or twice. Ok, three times, tops. Maaaaaybe four…

This new life change just means more opportunities to cook for The Whiskey Wanderer! I already have a TON of recipes lined up to try out over the next few weeks. I’m super excited! I found this recipe from Mom Foodie where I find the majority of my recipes: Pinterest. I guess she adapted it from a cookbook, and then I adapted it from her. That’s one of the things I love about cooking. Each recipe is just a jumping off point from which you can go any direction you want!

Cooking with whiskey, orange whiskey salmon, tullamore dew, irish whiskey, irish whiskey recipes, salmon recipes, mom foodie, Seafood

ORANGE WHISKEY SALMON

AUTHOR: Robin Gagnon, altered by Natalie Bates | PREP TIME: 5 min, plus marinating time | COOK TIME: 10 min | YIELDS: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs Irish whiskey (I used Tullamore Dew)
  • 2 tbs orange juice
  • 3 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic (smashed, but not chopped)
  • 2 wild salmon fillets

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk the whiskey, orange juice, hoisin, and sugar together. Drop in the smashed garlic.
  2. Pour into a zip top storage bag, and add the salmon.
  3. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 1½ hours (overnight is fine).
  4. Preheat the broiler or grill.
  5. While fish is cooking, microwave the remaining marinade for about 2 minutes. This will reduce it a little, cook off the alcohol, and sterilize it so you can baste with it and pour some over finished dish.
Broiler – Place salmon skin side down on broiler safe dish. Baste frequently. Cook to taste.
Grill – Place flesh side down on hot grates to sear (about 4-5 minutes). Flip and baste. Leave the salmon skin side down for remainder of cooking. Cook to taste.
Skillet – Same as grill.

Cooking with whiskey, orange whiskey salmon, tullamore dew, irish whiskey, irish whiskey recipes, salmon recipes, mom foodie, Seafood

I served it with 7-grain rice and a makeshift Asian slaw based on a recipe I also found on Pinterest. It was a light and healthy meal that was ready pretty fast. The part that took the longest was chopping the veggies for the slaw. *Note to self: invest in a mandoline. Also must learn how to cook fish without drying it out…

Cooking with whiskey, orange whiskey salmon, tullamore dew, irish whiskey, irish whiskey recipes, salmon recipes, mom foodie, Seafood


Cooking with whiskey, orange whiskey salmon, tullamore dew, irish whiskey, irish whiskey recipes, salmon recipes, mom foodie, Seafood


Recipe obtained from: Mom Foodie. Check out her website for more great recipes and lifestyle tips!

Photos and thoughts are my own, recipe by Mom Foodie.