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A Quick Guide to Beer and Food Pairings

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Beer Pairing With Blue Plate

While wine is commonly viewed as the popular choice for food pairings, over the last few years beer has entered the culinary scene and is becoming a new favorite to pair with food.

Epicurious.com states food industry professionals have learned that beer has an incredible capacity to pair with all kinds of foods – and may even be more food-friendly than wine due to its abilty to pair with a wide variety of foods. As beer & food pairing has grown, beer sommeliers, known as cicerones, have popped up in cities across the country, including our very own Chicago.

Below are some ideal food matches for a few of the most common types of beers to help you get started with beer and food pairings. Whether you’re looking for a great beer to go with your favorite dish, or want to select the best beers to pair with your menu, this guide will point you in the right direction

 

Wheat Beer/Hefeweizen

Wheat beer is light, easy to drink, and has very little aftertaste. This type of beer matches well with vegetarian foods, light soups and salads, sushi and citrus-flavored dishes.

 

Lager

Lagers are crisp, refreshing, and provide a smooth finish due to being aged longer than other beers. They complement dishes such as shellfish, light seafood, sushi, grilled pork and chicken, and light pasta dishes.

 

Pilsner

A type of lager, pilsners have a dry, crisp, and slightly bitter flavor. Compared to other lagers, the hop taste in pilsners is more distinct.

Pilsners are great with a variety of cheeses, including American cheese, Muenster, and Havarti, as well as salads, light seafood, salmon, and tuna.

 

Pale Ale & IPA

Ales are generally robust and complex, with subtleties of fruit or spice, along with a hoppy finish. They come in many varieties and pair well with fried food, spicy food, steaks, burgers, and pizza, as well as cheeses like Cheddar and Parmigiano.

 

Porter

Porter is an ale that is brewed using a combination of roasted malt for flavor, aroma, and color. It pairs with smoked foods, barbecued foods, meats, chili, and braised dishes.

 

Stout

Stout is also a roast brew like porter, but its taste isn’t as sweet and  often has a dark, coffee-like character. This beer is great for pairing with roasted, barbecued, and grilled foods, as well as salty foods, oysters, and chocolate.

 

Fruit Beer/Lambic

Fruit beer is a form of beer that’s made by adding fruit for flavoring. Fruit is often added to lambic beer to help counter the bitter flavor that frequently exists as a result of the combination of unmalted wheat and malted barley in this beer.

Fruit beer is a good match with light white meats, foods full of herbs and spices, salads with fruity dressings, and fruity desserts.
Next time you are looking to host a party, take your beer selection to the next level by providing several pairing opportunities through your menu. Share with us your favorite dish and Chicago brew pairing. Cheers!

Great Grilling Tips & A Bonus BBQ Sauce Recipe!

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With summer in full swing, you’re probably doing a lot of grilling for yourself and your loved ones, or you’re wishing you were grilling a lot more. Whichever category you fall into, we’ve got a few great grilling tips that will help you get the most out of your grill throughout the rest of the season.

Grilling Tips | Blue Plate Chicago

Below are our top three grilling tips. Incorporate these the next time you grill and you’re in for some mouth-watering grilled fare.

As an added bonus, we’ve provided an absolutely amazing BBQ sauce recipe as well!

  1. Invest a small amount of money in a meat thermometer and reap the rewards of perfectly grilled meats.

For most people, it’s difficult to tell whether or not meat is done just by touching it. Using a meat thermometer allows you to accurately check the internal temperature of meat so you can be confident about when it is actually ready. This one little tool will save you a lot of anxiety about serving meats under or overcooked.

 

  1. Avoid the temptation to flatten meats and squeeze them.

Whenever you flatten and squeeze meat, you’re squeezing out the fat. And along with the fat, you’re squeezing out delicious flavor and moisture – two important components you don’t want your meats to be missing.

 

  1. After cooking, set meat aside for about 5 to 15 minutes to rest before slicing it.

Letting meat sit untouched after cooking allows the juices to redistribute and ensures the meat remains juicy. Bigger pieces of meat will need more time to rest than smaller ones.

 

The Best BBQ Sauce

Ready for a truly amazing BBQ sauce? Check out our Blue Plate Summer Recipe card to learn how to make our very own BBQ Sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbs butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onioin powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary.

This BBQ sauce is one we’re sure you’ll be using over and over again with various grilled foods, so you’ll want to keep it handy.

Let us know your thoughts once you’ve tried our BBQ Sauce. We think you’re going to love it!

6 No-Bake Summer Desserts

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no-bake desserts - Blue Plate CateringWhen you’re craving something sweet in the summer, the last thing you want to do on a hot day is bake. That’s what makes no-bake summer desserts a dream come true – you get your dessert fix without having to turn your oven on!

We’ve rounded up some of the yummiest no-bake desserts that feature fresh fruits. You’ll find these to be truly perfect summertime treats.

 

  1. Semifreddo with Honeyed Peaches

Semifreddo, a partially frozen Italian dessert with the texture of frozen mousse, is both delicious and refreshing. We love this version that incorporates the wonderfully complimentary flavors of pistachios, peaches, and honey.

 

  1. No-Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart

No-Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tarts not only make for a gorgeous dessert, but super simple to make. And it’s quick too, taking just 15 minutes from start to finish! Made with a crispy Oreo crust, a soft chocolate ganache, and topped with fresh strawberries, this is one dessert that’s sure to please everyone.

 

  1. Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle

Trifles are traditional English desserts that are typically made with layers of cake, jam or jelly, custard, and then topped with whipped cream. These popular desserts allow for a lot of creativity, with an endless amount of opportunities to create different versions.

This Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle recipe uses slices of store-bought pound cake drizzled with a mix of coffee and liqueur, chocolate pudding, chocolate shavings, fresh raspberries, and homemade whipped cream. With an ingredient list like that, this dessert will not disappoint!

 

  1. Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

While fresh strawberries are delicious on their own, these Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries really bring this fruit up a few notches, turning strawberries into a decadent treat!

Fill fresh strawberries with an easy (read: no-bake) cheesecake filling and you have an impressive little dessert.

 

  1. No-Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Pots

Grab a few glass jars and get ready to make some super creamy No-Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Pots. These little gems are layered with graham cracker crumbs, cheesecake batter, fresh raspberries, and raspberry jam. Alternating the red layers with the cheesecake batter creates a lovely presentation, making these great for serving at a dinner party or other gathering.

 

  1. No-Bake Mascarpone Fruit Tarts

These colorful No-Bake Mascarpone Fruit Tarts are an excellent choice when you want to make an elegant and pretty dessert without having to fuss – or for anytime you just want a special treat!

In these tarts, a homemade graham cracker crust combines with a smooth and creamy mascarpone cheese filling, which is then topped off with a mix of fresh berries…need we say more?

Summer Cocktail Mixology: The Perfect Summer Cocktail

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Summer Cocktail - Blue Plate Catering

When it comes to the summer, there is nothing better than sitting back and enjoying the beautiful weather with a refreshing cocktail in your hand. Check out this perfect summer cocktail, crafted by our expert Mixologist, Lov Carpenter, along with her take on what makes the perfect summer cocktail!

2 oz Grapefruit Rosemary Kombucha 
1.5 oz Reposado Tequila (We use Don Julio reposado) 
.75 oz Cointreau 
Muddled Grapefruit 
Salt

Directions: Muddle two slices of grapefruit in bottom of glass. Add kombucha, tequila, Cointreau, shake with ice, strain into Collins glass over ice. Garnish with grapefruit twist and pinch of salt. 

To us, summer is about a whole lot of less: goodbye to the rich and heavy indulgences of the colder months, and hello to the light and fresh. Lots of ripe fruits, berries, sweets that don’t make you feel guilty; simple ingredients and natural flavors take priority. We focus on this philosophy when it comes to summer cocktails, and that’s why we always gravitate towards the classic Long Drink — light on the alcohol, heavy on the mixer. A popular example of the Long Drink is a Tom Collins: gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda, served in a tall glass. The combination of the glass height, mixer, and ice draw out the drinking experience, allowing you to indulge without overindulging, hence the name. 

Long Drinks are my go-to summer cocktail, and it’s the best for drinking on a patio with friends. I can drink more but not be as afraid of overindulging. Anything that will allow you to imbibe more and stretch out your drinking experience is perfect in our book! 

Grilled Kabob Recipes for Summer Grilling

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With grilling season upon us, it’s a good idea to have some fabulous grilled kabob recipes up your sleeve. All of the recipes below will work wonderfully for any type of summer grilling you’ll be doing – whether you’re grilling a weeknight dinner for your family, or you’re grilling for a crowd at a gathering.

Summer Grilling Kebabs

Rainbow Veggie Skewers

With cherry tomatoes, bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, and green), yellow squash, zucchini, red onions, and purple potatoes, these Rainbow Veggie Skewers are both healthy and delicious. Not to mention beautiful!

Steak Fajita Skewers

Steak Fajita Skewers are a cinch to prepare! Sirloin steak, scallions, folded flour tortillas, and bell peppers are skewered, then drizzled with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. Grilling until the steak is medium-rare, and the vegetables are tender and slightly charred, results in a mouth watering meal.

Chipotle BBQ Chicken Skewers

With only five ingredients – chicken breasts, bacon strips, sweet BBQ sauce, apple butter, and chipotle peppers – these Chipotle BBQ Chicken Skewers may just become your go-to grilling recipe for the summer season.

We did mention one of the ingredients is bacon, right? Like we said, you may find yourself making these smoky skewers again and again!

Mango Chile Glazed Shrimp Skewers

Love grilled shrimp? We think you’ll love it even more when it’s slathered in the sweet, spicy, and slightly sour sauce that’s used in these Mango Chile Glazed Shrimp Skewers. You’ll have to check the yummy ingredients in the mango chile glaze out for yourself. Then make sure you stock up on them so you can make these ASAP!

Thai-Style Grilled Pork (Moo Ping)

Moo Ping is a moist and juicy grilled food that is perfect on its own as an appetizer, or served with some rice and vegetables for a meal. Bonus? You can grill these up in just a few minutes, so you won’t need to wait long to taste the deliciousness!

Grilled Fruit Kebabs with White Chocolate Drizzle

Simple yet delicious, these Grilled Fruit Kebabs with White Chocolate Drizzle will certainly stand out at any BBQ. Make them once, and they’re sure to be requested every time you grill!

Feel free to experiment by using different types of fruits and drizzling with milk or dark chocolate instead of white chocolate. Any combination you try is sure to be delicious!

While there are many foods that taste awesome grilled, the ones above will give you a great start and inspire you to try grilling other foods throughout the summer.

Need fabulous catering for your next summer event in Chicago? Feel free to contact us today. We always love to hear from you!