Kate Fellowes has published six mysteries, most recently A Menacing Brew. Her short stories have appeared in many publications, from Woman's World to Crimestalker Casebook. Working in a public library, every day is a busman's holiday for her. Learn more about Kate and her books at her blog.
Many thanks for allowing me to drop by Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers today. I’m excited to share a few recipes inspired by my new novel, A Menacing Brew, in which, as you might guess, beer plays a significant part.
Growing up in Milwaukee, an area with quite a claim to fame where beer is concerned, I have fond memories of the stuff. Not because I drank it, other than a sip or two, but because of the other ways it plays a part in my memories.
My father seemed to spend every summer weekend either doing yardwork—trimming the hedges, mowing the lawn—under the hot sun, or in the garage working on his current sports car restoration project. Sometimes, he’d ask me to bring him a cold beer. While I always wanted to be helpful, I could never get the hang of tapping a beer the right way, to get that bit of fluffy white foam on the top. I’d carry poor Dad a cold glass of beer that already looked flat and wear my apology on my face. He’d smile and thank me and tell me again about tilting the glass just so, but I think we both knew bartender was not a career choice for me.
In the basement rec room, we had a few really cool beer lamps, acquired from a friend of Dad’s who worked at a brewery. There was a Hamm’s rectangle with a waterfall scene where the water actually appeared to flow over the rocks. And another hanging lamp (I forget what brand that was for) bounced rainbows of light around the bottom in a hypnotic fashion. Add to that the Miller High Life glass I carried carefully up the basement steps to Dad on the matching aluminum tray and I guess I can figure out where I ever got the idea to write about a brewery!
In A Menacing Brew, there’s a brewery tour, a catchy commercial jingle, time well spent in a beer garden—and a mystery. Yum!
When I was asked to include a few recipes with my post, I knew a moment’s pause. While I love to eat and have a brother who is a chef, cooking has never been my strong suit. Chef Rob teases me about being a “digital food” gourmet, referring to my frozen meal cuisine. Naturally, I’ve enlisted his help today.
Since the weather has turned chilly, we’ve decided to make beer chili and pair it with a nice beer bread. The beer in the chili is a dark one. The bread features a light one, so there’s something for every taste. Because my amateur sleuths, Barbara and Amy, are vegetarians, so are these recipes.
Vegan Beer Chili
(from the Minimalist Baker)
A satisfying vegan chili with hearty flavor from dark Mexican beer and both black and kidney beans.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Prep time: 10 min.
Cook time: 40 min.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion (chopped)
1/2 green pepper (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
Salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp hot sauce, (optional)
12-oz. bottle dark Mexican beer
28-oz. can diced tomatoes
15.5-oz. can kidney beans (slightly drained)
15.5-oz. can black beans (slightly drained)
Hot sauce, crackers and cornbread (optional, for serving)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened - about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chili powder and hot sauce, stir and cook for another minute. Add the beer and cook until reduced by half - about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the tomatoes (with their juices), beans (slightly drained), and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer while breaking up the tomatoes slightly with a spoon. Cook until thickened - about 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with hot sauce, crackers and cornbread, or whatever toppings you prefer. Vegan cheese is a nice addition.
Vegan Beer Bread
(from Liz Thomson)
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 55 min.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsps baking powder
2 tsps salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. light beer (see note)
2 T Earth Balance buttery spread
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Pour in the beer. Stir until just combined but do not over mix. (It’s ok if there are lumps of flour.)
Cut the margarine/butter on top of the batter. Bake 45-55 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.