Oct 16 2017

Dreaming Dog Brewery – Your New Best Friend

I was very excited to hear that Elk Grove was getting a new microbrewery and taproom with the added bonus that is was dog friendly. My friend Kristen knows the owners (David and Liz), so I followed the brewery’s progress online.

Dreaming Dog Brewery

Dreaming Dog Brewery’s grand opening celebration “Dogtoberfest!” was held on Saturday, October 7 and we jumped at the chance to check out the taproom, taste some beer with friends and surround ourselves with adorable dogs. I loved that all of the event vendors were dog related – Elk Grove Police K9 Association, City of Elk Grove Animal Services, DoggieStyle HotDogs, Dog Gone Purrfect Grooming, etc.

The brewery offers English and Belgian-style beers, games and entertainment, trivia nights, Monday Night Football viewing parties and karaoke/live music with more events showing up on their Facebook page weekly. 

Dreaming Dog Brewery

We arrived and were greeted with live German music from the Grand Isle Fire Brigade Street Band donning their Lederhosen and festive bavarian hats.

The beer line was out the door, so we decided to head there first. I was in dog heaven… they were everywhere. I chose to leave my two at home for my own sanity. They are adorable, but let’s just say they could use some training when it comes to crowds and other dogs.

Dreaming Dog Brewery

New shiny fermenters, tanks and brewing vessels that you could see through the glass windows off to the side of the entrance near the bar.

Beers on tap for the event were:

English Black Lab Porter
An English Style Dark Porter – A softer, sweeter, easier to drink dark beer
Tasters $2 and Pints $6

American Chesapeake Bay Retriever (Chessie) Pale Ale
A little malty and balanced with a smooth finish
Tasters $2 and Pints $6

Other beers they are now serving:

English Bulldog IPA
American Bulldog Double IPA

All dog names… love, love, love.

Dreaming Dog Brewery

The bar and taproom barn doors were recovered sugar pine from the Sonora area and really added to the industrial chic feel of the taproom. David explained that the vibe of the taproom was all Liz.

Dreaming Dog Brewery

I was the DD, so I opted for the taster size, which was a good thing because the one negative was the beer wasn’t cold. We later found out that it didn’t go into the chiller until the night before the event – that kind of stuff happens when things are crazy before a grand opening and I look forward to many future cold beers.

We got our beers and all of the tables were taken, but there was some space in one of their seating areas. Dreaming Dog Brewery – Your New Best Friend – in memory of their beloved German Shepherd Mason – their inspiration for the brewery. 

Dreaming Dog Brewery

How cool to just have a beer with your dog… she was a super sweet lab.

David (the owner) was happy to see Kristen and I was able to snap a quick photo. Kristen is the queen of photos at events, so a bunch of the photos from this post are hers… I’m seeing a photographer/second career in her future. 

Dreaming Dog Brewery

A taster of English Black Lab Porter.

Dreaming Dog Brewery

The place was packed and the line kept growing. A table opened up and we snagged it to share with a friend. The band made it’s way inside and the festivities really began. “Ein Prosit” with raised glasses everywhere. So fun!

Dreaming Dog Brewery

Congressman Ami Bera showed up and Kristen was able to get a photo for David and Liz with a photo bomb from their daughter Kate.

Elk Grove’s other breweries – Flatland Brewing Company and Tilted Mash Brewing showed up to support David and Dreaming Dog and Kristen got a great photo of that too – so cool!

The community really turned out to support the new brewery. We met so many friendly owners with their adorable dogs.

Dreaming Dog Brewery Dogtoberfest

I petted all of them as Kristen was capturing their cute little faces. My dogs stuck to me like glue when I got home. I actually had to take my shoes off so I could walk, lots of sniffin’ going on.

Dreaming Dog Brewery Dogtoberfest

One of these things is not like the others… too much cuteness for one post. If you are in the Elk Grove/Sacramento area and love bringing  your dog places or enjoy a good pint, you need to check the place out. 

Dreaming Dog Brewery
2501 West Taron Ct.
Elk Grove, California 95757
(916) 714-2735
Facebook |  Twitter Instagram

Thanks Kristen for another fun adventure.
Foo

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Sep 08 2017

Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup

My Uncle recently gave me some beautiful sweet peppers from his garden. Well… actually he brought a big bag to share with the rest of my family, but I convinced everyone that I needed them all.

Sweet Peppers - Foodiddy

I had no idea going in what I was going to make with them, so I started searching through my cookbook collection and online for inspiration/recipes. I did find a recipe for a Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup by Brooklyn Farm Girl – but her recipe card plugin disappeared, so it only had ingredients without steps. I felt up for the challenge. I gathered similar ingredients – changing quantities and adding a few others. I did realize early on that I was going to need more sweet peppers. Her recipe called for 1.5 lbs. My Uncle’s harvest was 15 oz., so I added an additional pound, bringing me just under 2 lbs. Note: Brooklyn Farm Girl’s recipe card does work now, so I was able to see how far off I was on the directions after the fact. Not too bad…

Organic Sweet Peppers

I was surprised that a one pound bag of organic sweet mini peppers was priced at just under $4.00 – the non-organic one pound bag was $7.99 – That was an easy decision. 

Sweet Peppers

I gathered all of my ingredients for the photo op. The amount of rice was more than required, I just wanted my glass bowl to look full. My little meal prep bowls were in the dishwasher and I was too lazy to hand wash. #FoodBloggerProblems

Sweet Pepper Soup Ingredients - Foodiddy

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Pounds Sweet Peppers – Chopped
  • 1 Jalapeño – Chopped
  • 6-8 Cloves Garlic – Minced
  • ½ Medium White Onion – Chopped
  • 32 Ounces Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1-2 Cups Cooked Basmati Rice (Any rice would work)
  • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste

 

I chopped the onion and sweet peppers into big chunks… then I minced the garlic.

Sweet Pepper Soup Prep

I added the onion, garlic, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes and olive oil to my pot over medium heat. I stirred frequently for just under 20 minutes while the rice cooked in a separate pot.

I then took the softened onion/sweet pepper mixture and added 1/2 to the Blendtec and added 1/2 the veggie broth for the first batch. I then repeated with the remaining peppers and broth. I used the whisk option on my blender and did leave some texture since that’s my preference, even in creamy soups. 

I added the blended peppers back to the main pot over medium heat and then poured in the cup of heavy whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste. I let the soup simmer for about 10 minutes. It was just past 7:30 p.m. and I had lost most of my light, so my iPhone photos aren’t awesome, but you get the idea. I’ve decided that if I wait for the perfect everything and break out my Canon… I never get to editing and posting. 

I did add some of my favorite brand Fresh Gourmet Crushed Ciabatta, Butter and Sea Salt Croutons and 1/4 cup of rice to my bowl. I’m glad I left the rice as an add in, rather than adding it to the soup itself – now I have the option of eating it both ways. You could also omit the heavy whipping cream if you were looking for a non-dairy soup option. I tried the soup straight out of the blender before adding the heavy whipping cream and it was still tasty and fairly creamy. 

I loved the soup… as in I licked the bowl clean and then decided to serve up a second bowl. It was that good! I’m excited to have four more portioned out bowls in the fridge for future meals.

Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup

I can’t wait for colder temps so I can try out some more soup recipes. Winter soups are a favorite of mine for sure. What’s your favorite soup?

Foo

Creamy Sweet Pepper Soup
Serves 6
A delicious, creamy sweet pepper soup full of flavor.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  2. • 2 Pounds Sweet Peppers - Chopped
  3. • 1 Jalapeno - Chopped
  4. • 6-8 Cloves Garlic – Minced
  5. • ½ Medium White Onion - Chopped
  6. • 32 Ounces Vegetable Broth
  7. • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  8. • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
  9. • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  10. • 1-2 Cups Cooked Basmati Rice (Any rice would work)
  11. • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Add olive oil to medium to large pot over high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes to olive oil and stir until onions and garlic soften.
  3. Add sautéed onion/sweet pepper mixture and ½ the vegetable stock in two separate batches to a blender. Be careful of the heat – I used a towel over the hole in my lid to let the steam escape. Blend until you get the consistency you are looking for.
  4. Add your blended contents back into the original pot over medium heat and then add 1 cup heavy whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour into bowl and add rice and/or croutons as add-ins.
Notes
  1. The rice and croutons are optional and if you are looking for a non-dairy version, you can omit the heavy whipping cream.
Adapted from Brooklyn Farm Girl
Adapted from Brooklyn Farm Girl
Foodiddy http://foodiddy.com/

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Aug 24 2017

Dinner, Books and Carrots

I recently met my girlfriend Kindra for dinner at the Barnes & Noble Kitchen located at Palladio at Broadstone in Folsom, CA. When she suggested it, I had no idea there was a restaurant worth eating at inside this particular bookstore/location. Turns out it is one of three Barnes & Noble Kitchen locations in the U.S. The restaurants feature seasonal, locally sourced food, craft beers and premium wines.

On Kindra’s recommendation, I ordered the Chopped Vegetable Salad with carrots, green beans, roasted beets, cauliflower, feta, pepitas and herbs, served with a green goddess dressing. We had the choice to add chicken or salmon. I added chicken for $4 extra, making the salad $19. Kindra ordered hers with salmon for an additional $7. I now see why she keeps coming back, it was so fresh and hit the spot on the 100+ degree day. I loved that the dressing was on the bottom of the plate, underneath all of the perfectly cut/steamed veggies. I teamed my salad with a glass of Pinot Grigio and instantly thought that it was pretty cool to have a delicious meal, a glass of wine and good conversation knowing that book shopping was to follow. 

I didn’t take any photos of the food or the restaurant… who am I?  I was simply enjoying catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. Sometimes soaking it all in is better than worrying about getting the right photo for Facebook or a blog post.

After dinner we headed straight for the cookbook section (my happy place) of the store. Kindra knew of a cookbook that she thought I would enjoy. She was right! I LOVED everything about the design of the cookbook, the story the pages told and the simplicity of the recipes. They were vegetarian, they weren’t ingredient heavy and the photography filled me up with school girl crush giddiness. I could not believe that I had not previously heard of Erin Gleeson’s The Forest Feast blog… or her cookbooks.

Erin worked as a food photographer in New York City shooting and styling for cookbooks, magazines, restaurants and top chefs. Her photos were featured in the New York Times and The James Beard Foundation. What? I swear I haven’t been living under a rock. She relocated to CA with her husband for his job – leaving her NY life behind for a cabin in the woods on the edge of the Silicon Valley.

Needless to say, I purchased The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes from My Cabin in the Woods and I added The Forest Feast Gatherings: Simple Vegetarian Menus for Hosting Friends & Family to my Amazon wish list for a later day. She also has The Forest Feast for Kids: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make – and yes I thought about getting it for my fur kids, ha ha…but the photography and illustrations…they’re so dreamy.

I arrived home and stayed up for hours exploring Erin’s website/blog – admiring her food photography, drooling over her watercolor illustrations and overall vibe of what she is all about. Translation: I totally Instagram, Facebook and web stalked her amazing work.

I could not wait to try one of her recipes. I had a bunch of Trader Joe’s multi-colored carrots in my crisper and there were a few recipes that focused on carrots as the main ingredient, so I tried one of those.

The Forest Feast

Red Roasted Carrots

Slice…Shake…Roast…sounds easy enough.

The Forest Feast

Carrots

Carrots

My favorite storage bags – worth the extra pennies to not have to line up yellow and blue to make green. 

Measure out a half teaspoon of cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder and coarse salt. Mix spices well in a bag with 5 or 6 medium/diagonally (oval) cut carrots plus 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Roast at 425°F for 20-25 minutes on a cookie sheet until tender with crispy edges.

My house smelled absolutely amazing from the combination of spices roasting in my oven. I’m usually pretty weak sauce when it comes to spicy things, so I was concerned about the heat from the cayenne. I actually found a different version of her recipe online that used chili powder instead of cayenne. For my first attempt I wanted to be true to the original recipe, with the multi-colored carrots being my only substitute.

The final result – the carrots had a lingering type of heat which the sweetness from the roasting balanced out. I liked it. I ended up trying them with a little greek yogurt for one serving and then some sour cream the next day. Both options tasted good. I do want to try the chili powder next time, another option would be to omit or use 1/2 the amount of cayenne if you are sensitive to spicy foods. I got 4 servings out of the batch and will for sure be making them again.

I’m really looking forward to trying more of Erin’s recipes from the cookbook and her blog. Thank you Kindra for a wonderful evening and introducing me to The Forest Feast.

Foo

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