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 🙂

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Frozen Beer-Soaked Watermelon

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It’s officially summer in LA! Ok, so maybe not technically, but it’s sunny and in the 80s, so I think it counts. My bestie threw a pool party/BBQ this past weekend to celebrate the arrival of her new puppy, so I was looking for something light and refreshing to bring. And of course infused with beer or whiskey. I ended up on my favorite food blog, The Beeroness (of course), and found these tasty frozen beer-soaked watermelon bites. Perfect.

The recipe calls for any pale ale, IPA, or wheat beer. I happened to have a couple bottles of Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA in my fridge and thought those could be interesting to use. I checked online to see if watermelon and grapefruit worked well together, and found a few cocktail recipes that included watermelon, grapefruit, and mint. So I decided to tweak the recipe and base it on the flavor palette of those cocktails. The result was exactly what I was looking for, and they were a hit at the party. Even my beer-hating friends liked them!

The success of this recipe hinges on choosing a good watermelon. I used these tips when I picked out my watermelon last week, and it was a success! So here they are, in case you are produce-choosing challenged like me:

How to Pick a Watermelon

  1. Find a dull looking watermelon: A shiny appearance indicates an underripe melon.
  2. Pick It Up: Big or small, the watermelon should feel heavy for its size.
  3. Look for the Yellow Spot: Watermelons develop a splotch where they rest on the ground. When this spot is a creamier, darker yellow, it’s ripe (I don’t mean a really dark yellow, just darker than the really pale yellow you see on most watermelons in the store).
  4. Give It a Thump: Tap the watermelon. A ripe one will have a deep hollow sound. Your knuckles should bounce off the melon and the surface should be firm.

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Frozen Beer-Soaked Watermelon

Author: Jackie Dodd, altered by Natalie Bates | Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: None, but needs at least 2 hrs to sit | Yield Amount: 1 watermelon

INGREDIENTS

  • 2lbs watermelon, cut into cubes
  • 12oz beer (pale ale, wheat beer or IPA – I used Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA)
  • Fresh mint leaves, minced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place watermelon in a bowl. Add mint leaves and toss to mix. Pour beer over the watermelon. Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Remove from beer.
  3. Cover and freeze for at least 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Serve frozen.

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These little boozy watermelon bites were so delicious, refreshing, and super easy to make. My only tip I have to offer up for these is that they thaw really fast and become soggy, so unless they will be eaten quickly, I would recommend serving them in batches, putting some out and leaving the rest in the freezer until you are ready for them. But that’s true for any frozen food served in hot weather.

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

Photos and thoughts are my own, original version of the recipe by The Beeroness.

Salted Beer Caramel Corn

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If you love cooking with beer, odds are you’ve heard of The Beeroness, and if you haven’t, then you’ve been living under a rock. This woman practically invented the art of adding beer into recipes. She even published a whole cookbook on the subject, The Craft Beer Cookbook: From IPAs and Bocks to Pilsners and Porters, 100 Artisanal Recipes for Cooking with Beer. To me, she is my culinary idol. So you’ll be seeing a lot of her recipes on here as I learn how to cook with beer and eventually figure out how to develop my own recipes.

I decided to make this caramel corn because it seemed fun and easy, and this is a ridiculously busy week for me so I wanted to try out something quick to make. Well, the fun and quick parts turned out to be true, the easy part…not so much. This recipe basically solidified my suspicions that I am a chef and not a baker.

I’m going to try making this again in a bit, but I wanted to share the recipe now anyways. It came out tasting amazing, I just couldn’t get the texture quite right. So if you try it and have better luck, share any tips or advice you have! Clearly I need help.

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Salted Beer Caramel Corn

AUTHOR: JACKIE DODD, THE BEERONESS | PREP TIME: 5 MIN | COOK TIME: 55 MIN | YIELD: APPROX THE AMOUNT OF 1 BAG  MICROWAVE POPCORN

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup corn kernels
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs light corn syrup
  • ½ cup imperial stout, plus 2 tbs, divided
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250.
  2. Place the corn kernels in a brown paper bag. Fold the top over. Place in the microwave (long side down), microwave on high for 4 minutes. When the popping starts to slow to about one pop per one second, remove from microwave. Measure out 7 cups of popcorn (if there is less than 7 cups, pop additional kernels in the same manner, if there are more than 7 cups, reserve the remaining popped corn for another use).
  3. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. Add the corn kernels to the baking sheet in an even layer, place in the oven until the caramel sauce is ready.
  5. Add the brown sugar, light corn syrup, ½ cup stout and butter to a saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, stop stirring. Allow to boil for 7 minutes, without stirring. Remove from heat, immediately stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons stout.
  6. Spray a silicon spatula with cooking spray (except the handle).
  7. Gently pour the caramel sauce over the corn, stirring to coat.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes at 250, stir, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and spread evenly onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper, sprinkle immediately with salt. Allow to cool, until hardened. Store in an air-tight container.

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I’m fairly certain my problem came from the caramel not getting to a high enough temperature. Even after letting it boil for 7 min, it was still really runny, so when I poured it over the popcorn, the popcorn just absorbed it and shriveled up. It shrank down from being the size of a microwave bag of popcorn to an amount that would fit in my hands. Definitely not right. But the flavor was SO GOOD that it merits a second effort.


I’m totally still eating the fail batch though.

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

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

Pale Ale Spinach Artichoke Dip

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Welcome to my new cooking with booze section! When I first started The Whiskey Wanderer a couple years ago, I intended it to only be a travel blog. But as time wore on, I decided I wanted it to include more of my interests. Not only does including more content make it a more interesting site for my readers, but it also makes it more fun for me. We are all multi-faceted people with many interests, so I wanted to be able to dabble in my other passions more regularly. The next few weeks will bring a TON of new content to The Whiskey Wanderer, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it all with you!

And so Boozy Recipes has been born. This section will feature food and drink recipes made with beer and whiskey. Some of the recipes will be my own, others will be adapted from existing recipes, and others will be recipes I love from food bloggers I greatly admire. I seriously can’t wait to cook all this delicious food!

On that note, I give you the first recipe featured in Boozy Recipes: Pale Ale Spinach Artichoke Dip!! Yay!! This recipe was made following a recipe from a website dedicated to cooking with beer, Beer Bitty. I stumbled upon that site through the almighty god of creativity, Pinterest, and immediately pinned dozens of her recipes. This recipe was super fun and easy to make, and came out AMAZING. I intended to bring it over to our friend’s house, but when my boyfriend ended up not feeling well, we ate the dip at home laying in bed watching Dr. Who instead. Whatever, more dip for me!

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Pale Ale Spinach Artichoke Dip

 Author: Beer Bitty | Prep time:  5 mins | Cook time:  15 mins | Total time:  20 mins
 Ingredients
  • 16 ounces thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 12 ounces thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts (or jarred)
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 2 Tbs. garlic, minced
  • ½ cup pale ale (I used Saint Archer Pale Ale)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup parmesan, grated
  • ½ cup monterey jack or mozzarella, grated
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Instructions
  1. Boil spinach and artichokes in 2½ cups water until tender. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer to drain, using the back of a spoon to press out any remaining liquid. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant
  3. Stir in the beer followed by the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and grated cheeses. Cook, stirring regularly, until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated. Add lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste. Stir in the spinach and artichokes and transfer to an oven-proof bowl or casserole dish.
  4. To create a browned crust, add additional cheese to the top of the dip and place under the broiler for 3 minutes right before serving.

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This recipe was pretty easy to follow as written. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to mince and measure out the garlic ahead of time (which was an error on my part, not the recipe). I used a garlic press and minced each clove one by one into the pan, which took too long and made the onions start to burn. And I have no idea how much garlic I ended up using. So if using fresh garlic cloves, mince and measure before adding to the pan.

I served it with a bag of baked sea salt pita chips, but it would also be delicious with naan, pita bread, french bread, sourdough bread, or crostini.


Recipe obtained from Beer Bitty. Check out her website for more great recipes!