Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Mar 30, 2011

Ale-Steamed Mussels For One

Libations used: 1/2 cup beer
Libations left over: 1/2 bottle of beer
The rains continue in LA, and one of my favorite comfort foods on these gray days is a big bowl of mussels with crusty bread to dip in some buttery, herbed broth.  I always order the ale-steamed mussels when I go to The Village Idiot in LA - just try snatching a bite from me and you'll be flat on your back.  It's a surprisingly easy and fast dish to make, and perfect for all you single Lush Chefs out there.  This no-nonsense recipe came courtesy of the New York Times - I halved it for myself, so if you need it for two, just click on the hyperlink.  A Lush Chef word of advice, always use fresh mussels.

Ale-Steamed Mussels - serves 1

  • 1 lb mussels in shells
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 full sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup ale - I didn't have any, so I used Stella Artois instead
  • 1-2 Tbs butter, to taste 
  • 1 tsp fresh tarragon or parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sliced crusty bread, for serving - I like to use a demi baguette when I'm making this for myself
- Rinse mussels under cold running water and be sure to remove their beards (that hairy stuff around the shell).  Scrub the shells well with a veggie brush so they're clean and pretty.
- In a heavy medium pot, heat olive oil, then add thyme, garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt & pepper.
- Saute for about 3 minutes until shallots and garlic are softened.
- Pour in ale and bring to a simmer.
- Add mussels and cover pot with tight-fitting cover.
- Let the mussels steam, stirring twice, for about 5 minutes until they open.
- Meanwhile, spread a little butter on the sliced bread and put in your broiler until nicely toasted.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels to a medium bowl.  Discard any that haven't opened.
- Add butter, herbs and mustard to the broth and bring to a boil.  Whisk until the butter melts and taste to correct seasonings - if the broth tastes bitter, then add more butter.  I had to do this because Stella has a more bitter aftertaste.
- Pour broth over the mussels and serve with the toasted bread slices.

Mar 28, 2011

Cheddar Beer Bread

Libations used: 1 bottle beer
Libations left over: none
You know what's so great about beer bread?  Besides the fact that there's beer in it?  You don't need to add yeast to make it rise.  The yeast in the beer does that all for you.  For the lushes out there who always screw up their yeast preparation, this non-fussy bread solves all your problems.  Nod to Epicurious for this simple recipe, as it allows room for creativity - add in cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, etc.  I had a fridge full of leftover cheese from the Beer-Baked Mac 'n Cheese I made last week, so I mixed in shredded cheddar cheese.  The Lush Chef's parents like to serve their beer bread as an appetizer by cutting it into small cubes and dipping it in spinach artichoke dip - a crowd-pleasing and simple dish.  But this tastes absolutely stellar by itself.  I'm thinking beer bread for breakfast...

Cheddar Beer Bread - makes 1 loaf
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) room temperature beer
  • 1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Add beer and cheese, mixing as little as possible.  The batter should actually be on the lumpy side.
- Pour the batter into a medium loaf pan and brush the top with melted butter.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Mar 25, 2011

Libation Education: Ale vs. Stout

I've been cooking with all these different beers this month, including ales and stouts, but what's the difference between the two?  We all know that ale has a lighter, fruitier flavor, while stouts are dark, heavy and sometimes have a chocolatey or coffee taste.

Beer can be broken up into two categories - ale and lager - and they're defined by the types of yeast used and the temperature at which they ferment.  Stout is actually a type of ale.

Ale is made from malted barley and is fermented at a high temperature so the yeast rises to the top rather quickly, giving it a sweet and fruity flavor.   The hops in ale contribute to all those different herbal  finishes you can get, and also serves as a bittering agent to counteract the sweetness of the ale.  The term "ale" was initially used to describe brews made without hops, but as the popularity of using hops increased amongst brewers, it was then attributed to just a bitter-tasting brew.

Stout is made from pale malt, caramel malt and unmalted barley.  It has a higher alcohol content and a darker color than ale, and it can be flavored with dark fruit, chocolate or coffee.  The word stout originally meant "proud" or "brave," but after the 14th century, it took on the meaning of "strong."  The first known use of the word stout to describe beer came from a 1677-dated Egerton manuscript - there were 67 total, composed by Francis Henry Egerton, that dealt with French and Italian literature.  I bet you didn't expect to learn about British history too!

Mar 23, 2011

Last Call Stew

Libations used - 1 cup beer, white wine or red wine
Libations left over - whatever's left in the bottle
Sometimes when I do a lot of cooking, I have a ton of random ingredients/booze left over in the fridge and pantry.  What's a girl to do?  The Lush Chef makes stew!  It's the best way to use up all those veggies, leftover soup stock, an open bottle of wine, or that random bottle of beer.  Plus, it's recession friendly!

The Lush Chef's Last Call Stew - serves however many you want

  • 2-3 cups of soup stock - I used beef
  • Pick your poison - 1 cup beer, white or red wine
  • 1 onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • Random veggies!  I sliced up 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 cup leftover canned crushed tomatoes, and half a bag of frozen corn
  • Herbs - Again, use whatever you have.  I tossed in a bay leaf and some fresh minced oregano from my little herb garden.
  • Carbs - great opportunity to use leftover pasta, rice, lentils.  I didn't have any of those, so I whipped up some dumplings with chives (2 cups flour, 4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbs butter, 3/4 cup milk, minced chives - mix all together, spoon into boiling stew and cover & steam for 12 minutes).
  • Crack open a cold one or finish up that bottle of wine, already!

Mar 21, 2011

Beer-Baked Mac 'n Cheese

Libations used: 1/2 cup beer
Libations left over: 1/2 a bottle of beer
It was pouring buckets out on Sunday, and there's nothing like holing up in the kitchen and making some creamy mac 'n cheese.  Keeping up with this month's beer theme, this recipe I found on the LA Times' Culinary SOS blog, adapted from Denver's Rackhouse Pub, seemed appropriate.  I had a ton of pretzels left over from those Chocolate & Pretzel-Covered Beer Marshmallows, so I mixed crushed pretzels in with the bread crumbs - it gives it a really nice crunch and goes well with beer.  I've also had a lonely bottle of Dos Equis sitting in my fridge since New Year's Eve - I like the xx, but not Dos Equis.  So what better way to use up this beer than douse it in loads of cheese?  Dos Equis - prepare to meet your cheesy demise!

Beer-Baked Mac 'n Cheese - serves 12

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup amber beer - or whatever you've got
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 lb Brie
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 box (16 oz) penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Panko or regular bread crumbs - I did just enough to cover the top and used about 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
- Heat the oven to 350.
- In a soup pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour to make a light roux.  Slowly whisk in the beer and half and half.
- Add the Brie and cream cheese to the sauce, stirring until the cheeses are melted and incorporated.
- Stir in the Gorgonzola, cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  I didn't have to add any salt because of the saltiness of the cheeses.

- Pour the mixture into a 13x9 inch baking dish - I just kept mine in the dutch oven.  Top the mixture with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
- Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 1 hour until the sauce is bubbly and the toppings are crisp and golden.
- Finish bottle of beer.
- Add crushed pretzels on top of dish about 5 minutes before you're ready to take out of the oven so they don't burn.
- Cool slightly before serving.

Mar 18, 2011

Jameson & Ginger Beer

Post-St. Patrick's Day, I would imagine many of you need a teensy break from beer.  Or maybe some of you don't...
Keeping with the Irish theme this month, this cocktail is a spin on the typical Jameson & Ginger drink.  I've always felt that regular ginger ale just doesn't pack enough of a real ginger flavor.  Ginger Beer, while non-alcoholic (some brands do have slight traces of alcohol - under 1%), is a lot more potent and uses a lot of real ginger in the flavoring process.  This is yet another great cocktail to usher you into spring.

Jameson & Ginger Beer - serves 1

  • 2 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1/3 bottle ginger beer 

Add the whiskey over a glass of ice and top with the ginger beer - Cheers!

Mar 16, 2011

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Libations used - 1 bottle Guinness
Libations left over - None, but if you have to, crack open a bottle
Here's the second Lush Chef cupcake recipe that I promised, and just in time for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow.  I stumbled upon this cake recipe from Nigella Lawson - I'll have to make this again as just a regular cake and use the cream cheese frosting she recommended.  I was craving something more chocolatey though and opted for a Guinness chocolate buttercream frosting.  To add a bit of whimsy, I also filled the middle with a vanilla bean & cinnamon whipped cream.  It's like an adult Hostess Cupcake!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes - serves 24

Chocolate Cake -
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 10 Tbs (1 stick + 2 Tbs) unsalted butter
  • 3/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/8 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
Vanilla Bean & Cinnamon Whipped Cream - 
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or the Lush Chef way - I did a few shakes to taste)
Frosting - 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (do not melt)
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3-4 Tbs Guinness

To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350
- In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter.  Place over med-low heat until butter melts, them remove from heat.
- Add cocoa and sugar, and whisk to blend
- In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add to Guinness mixture and whisk.
- Add flour and baking soda and whisk until smooth.  
- Fill muffin cups a little more than halfway with batter, and bake for 25+ minutes.  Cool completely.

To make the whip cream:
- Beat all ingredients together with mixer until stiff peaks form.

To make the frosting:

- Beat butter for a few minutes with mixer on medium speed.
- Add the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder, and turn mixer on lowest speed until sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
- Increase mixing speed and add 3-4 Tbs Guinness.
- You can add more sugar to thicken the consistency or more Guinness to thin it.

Mar 14, 2011

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes

Libations used - 3-4 Tbs Baileys Irish Cream
Libations left over - I made these in the morning, so I tossed a shot of Baileys in my coffee - perfect way to start the day...
This week I went sailing with some friends (post-tsunami advisory...) and it was BYOB, so I brought my booze in the form of cupcakes.  I made a vanilla base cake with a recipe from one of my favorite cupcake shops in Santa Monica, Vanilla Bake Shop.  It's a little complicated, but so worth it.  The frosting is a vanilla buttercream with Baileys Irish Cream substituting the milk/heavy cream.  I hope this gets all of you Lush Chef fans in the mood to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!  I'll be posting the second recipe on Wednesday.

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes - serves 24

Vanilla Cake - 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbs + 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup + scant 1/3 cup cake flour (Note, this is different from pasty flour!  There's a different ratio of wheat in the two)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
Frosting - 
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (do not melt)
  • 3-4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbs Baileys Irish Cream

To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Beat butter and sugar together using a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and beat to combine.
- Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt into a separate bowl.  Add flour mixture to your large bowl and mix until well combined.  Add sour cream and mix that until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with mixer until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into batter.
- Fill each muffin cup 1/2 full with batter and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:
- Beat butter for a few minutes with mixer on medium speed.
- Add 3 cups of confectioners sugar and turn mixer on lowest speed until sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
- Increase mixing speed and add salt, vanilla extract and 3 Tbs Baileys Irish Cream.
- You can add more sugar to thicken the consistency or more Irish Cream to thin it.

I always like to use pastry piping bags when I frost cupcakes.  Also, these cupcakes needed some  color, so in the spirit of the Irish, I threw on some green sugar crystals.

Mar 11, 2011

Libation Education: Baileys Irish Cream - A cream that lasts

If Baileys Irish Cream contains about 50% fresh cream, then why is it that you don't have to put it in the fridge after opening it?  And why does it last so long?  It's kind of a magical mystery, like leprechauns and four-leaf clovers...

Your bottle of Irish Cream is good for over 2 years (30 months is the shelf life, according to Baileys), regardless of whether or not you put in the refrigerator.  It's that lovely combination of fresh cream, sans preservatives, plus the whiskey/spirits, that acts as a natural preservative.  Nothing like a crap load of alcohol to give something a shelf life, right?

However, keep note that Baileys will go bad, and sometimes that 30 month timeframe doesn't always apply.  It depends on how long that bottle has been sitting around in the store, and room temperature can have an effect as well.  Just know, that if you open it up and that whiskey and cream has separated...umm, throw it out.  The Lush Chef likes to buy the smaller bottles because she likes everything fresh.

Mar 9, 2011

Beef & Guinness Short Ribs

Libations used: 1 pint of Guinness or dark stout
Libations left over: None, but crack open another pint!
This is a dish to make your Irish descendants proud and your friends' tummies happy.  I was working a late night at home, with "Private Chefs of Beverly Hills" playing in the background.  When I saw the Irish Chef Stuart making this dish, I just knew I had to try it for myself.  I served this with some truffle mashed potatoes and those divine Chocolate & Pretzel-Covered Beer Marshmallows I made earlier this week (thank goodness I didn't eat them all).  A note for the next time I make this dish - leave the meat on the bone.  I think it'll make for a prettier presentation, and since the meat is braising for so long, it's sure to fall right off the bone. 

Beef & Guinness Short Ribs - Serves 4-6

  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 lbs. boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups beef stock, divided
  • 1 pint Guinness
- Preheat the oven to 380F.
- Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over med-high heat.
- Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, to taste, and sear in the dutch oven until brown (about 5 min per side).
- Remove meat from pan and set aside.  
- Add onions and garlic to dutch oven and saute, until lightly browned.  Scrape any brown bits from bottom of pan.
- Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 more minutes.  
- Add 1 cup of beef stock and scrape bottom of pan to remove any more browned bits.  
- Return meat to dutch oven along with remaining stock and beer.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Bring the stew to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Cover and braise in the oven for 2 hours.
- Crack open a Guinness and enjoy, while the savory smells fill your apartment/home...

Mar 7, 2011

Red Grits & Shrimp...& Wine

Libations used: 1/2 cup white wine
Libations left over: Pretty much the whole bottle, so pour yourself a glass & save the rest for another lush dish, or for your guests.
In honor of Mardi Gras tomorrow, I was in the mood for some jambalaya and stumbled across this recipe in my files for Red Grits & Shrimp from chef Marcus Samuelsson.  It's not quite jambalaya, but it's close!  Despite the chili powder, this is not spicy, so the Lush Chef's mother would enjoy this too.

Red Grits & Shrimp - Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 12 jumbo shrimp (peel and devein those suckers...mmm kay?)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
- In a medium saucepan, warm 1/4 cup olive oil over med-low heat.  Add onion, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp. chile powder, 1/2 tsp. paprika and cook until onions soften (about 5 min).
- Add the grits, bay leaf and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, corn, 1/4 cup white wine and 3 cups water.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer the grits, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed and grits are creamy (about 25 min - now would be a good time to sip that wine between stirring).
- Discard bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Between your stirring sessions and wine sipping, combine 2 Tbs of lemon juice with 1 Tbs of that remaining olive oil, the rest of the chile powder & paprika, and shrimp.  Let it sit for 15 min at room temp.
- In a medium skillet, cook the shrimp and remaining garlic over high heat, stirring, until just pink (about 2 minutes).
- Add the remaining 3 Tbs olive oil, remaining 1/4 cup white wine, 2 Tbs lemon juice, the cherry tomatoes, cilantro and parsley, and cook for 2 more min.
- Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve those grits topped with shrimp, tomatoes and sauce and serve immediately.  YUM.

Mar 5, 2011

Vieux Carré Cocktail

In preparation for Mardi Gras on Tuesday, I'm bringing you an old New Orleans' classic cocktail - the Vieux Carré (pronounced VO carRAY).  Most people think of the Sazerac when they think of vintage New Orleans libations, but I've never been much of an absinthe/Pernod fan.  This cocktail was first mixed in the Carousel Bar of the Hotel Monteleone by Walter Bergeron in the 1930's.  The name translates to "old square" after the French quarter where the hotel was located.   This is the perfect winter/spring transition drink with all those herbal and spicy notes playing around on your palate.

Vieux Carré - serves 1

  • 1 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz brandy or cognac - whatever you've got
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 tsp. Bénédictine D.O.M. - you can actually find this at Trader Joe's for a good price
  • 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • lemon peel/twist for garnish

Combine all the liquors over ice in an old-fashioned and stir well until glass is chilled.  Garnish with lemon.

Mar 3, 2011

Libation Education: Irish Whiskey vs. American Whiskey

I've only recently become a fan of whiskey, and I'm still learning the differences amongst all those delicious amber spirits out there.  So what's the deal with Irish versus American whiskey?  Is there really a difference?  Well, here's the simple Lush Chef explanation...

The primary difference is that the Irish make their whiskey with barley, often a blend of pot-stilled malted and un-malted whiskey.  Us Americans make ours with corn, rye or wheat.  There are 4 different kinds of American whiskey - Bourbon, Tennessee, Rye and American Blended, but we'll get into those differences on another day.  When all those Irish immigrants came over to the States, there was a plethora of corn, so they made do with what they had.

Irish whiskey tends to have a barley/malt flavor and is lighter and less sweet than the American full-bodied version.  The Irish also age their whiskey in old barrels, and often in ones that used to store another type of liquor like rum or bourbon, thus the subtle differences in flavor amongst whiskeys from the same distillery.  Using these older barrels means the whiskey takes longer to mature (minimum of 3 years), whereas us Americans like everything shiny, new and fast.  We age our spirits in new, charred oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years, so we don't have to wait as long for the good stuff.

Mar 1, 2011

Chocolate & Pretzel-Covered Beer Marshmallows

Libations used: Just under 1/2 cup of beer
Libations left over: Half a bottle of beer

Beer, pretzels and chocolate are the ultimate St. Patty's day triumvirate, so when I saw these marshmallows on The Kitchn, I just had to try for myself. Note - I won't always be posting from this site - I just had a ton of back-logged recipes to try!

My first attempt at these marshmallows was an epic fail because I didn't have a candy thermometer. My "marshmallow" ended up having the consistency of rubbery taffy. I momentarily thought of using it as a non-stick pad for my laptop....or not. I went out the next day and bought a candy thermometer, which resulted in an epic success.

A note on preparation - you'll need to let a bottle of beer sit open overnight so it can go flat, or whisk the beer like crazy to release the carbon dioxide if you don't have time. The marshmallow takes a minimum of 10 hours to cure, so give yourself a couple of days to make this.

Chocolate & Pretzel-Covered Beer Marshmallows - Makes 18


For the Bloom:
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup flat dark beer - I used Stockyard Oatmeal Stout
For the Sugar Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup flat dark beer
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
For Coating and Topping:
  • 10 ounces milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
- Spray a 8.5"x 4.5" bread loaf pan with nonstick spray or rub with shortening.
- For the bloom, sprinkle gelatin in a bowl, pour the vanilla and beer over gelatin.
- Whisk until no lumps remain. I don't have a stand mixer, but my hand mixer works just fine - it's also better excercise!
- For the sugar syrup, combine beer, corn syrup, sugar and salt in a BIG saucepan (at least 4 quarts), because this stuff bubbles and foams like crazy.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the sugar mixture to a boil.
- When the mixture is 225-230F, let it bubble for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Ideally, syrup should reach 240-250F - if it goes above this, you're going to result in that previously mentioned rubbery taffy...
- With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour the sugar syrup into the bloom.
- Turn mixer to high once all the syrup has been added, and whip it for 8-10 minutes. This should get all those bubbles out and give you a lovely meringue-like texture.
- Pour marshmallow into loaf pan and let it cure, uncovered, for 10-12 hours oor overnight.
- Drink the rest of the beer and congratulate yourself on having completed the first step...

...the Next Day:
- When the marshmallows are cured, rub the top with a little powdered sugar and turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board.
- Rub the other side with more powdered sugar and cut into about 18 squares of equal size.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave, stirring frequently until all chocolate has melted.
- Coat each marshmallow entirely and set them on wax paper to dry.
- While chocolate is still wet, sprinkle tops of marshmallows with crushed pretzels.

These tasty treats will keep in a covered container for several weeks, but I doubt they'll last past St. Patrick's Day. I've already had two.

Erin Go Bragh!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day coming up, I will be dedicating most of this month to that preferred libation of all those who celebrate this day of drinking - BEER.

I'll be favoring dark stouts, a la Guinness, and maybe I'll even throw in a recipe with some Bailey's Irish Cream.

"There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those wish they were."