Beer Jelly – Beer Jam, Basic or Your Way
Marty Martindale

Beer jelly is fun, it’s sweet, it’s savory, it jiggles, it contrasts, it complements, it surprises, it glazes, it dresses and it borrows craft genius from some amazing brewers. No buzz, tho.

Also called beer jam, beer is usually one of only four ingredients: beer, sugar, pectin and lemon. The buzz may be gone, but the delicacy intended by its brewers comes through nicely – a purist’s joy of joys.

Food Republic in an article titled “Spreadable Beer Jelly Could Be The Next Big Thing,” Tiffany Do states,”Potlicker Kitchen makes a slew of different varieties of the stuff, including Black India Pale Ale, Hefeweizen with Orange, Oatmeal Stout and something called the Heady Jelly made with Alchemist Brewery’s Heady Topper. Each jar is made with a different beer and includes a suggested food pairing. We’re already thinking about trying out the Apricot Ale with some bacon sticky buns.”

For those who care to elaborate on “perfection,” they contrive savory concoctions by adding tomato, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, shallots, Parmesan cheese grated, rosemary, olive oil or something you choose. For sweet experimentation some add vanilla bean, lemon, star anise, sugar, allspice, cloves, orange zest, or again, you think create! Continue reading

Cotija, “Mexican Parmesan”
Marty Martindale

Cotija (Koh-TEE,-Hah) cheese answers the Italian urge to sprinkle almost all savory dishes with grated Parmesan. Cotija_Cacique_P071115Mexicans use Cotija to sprinkle a strong, cheesy-salty flavor as a garnish to compliment usually hot, savory dishes. While Parmesan requires grating, Cotija is softer and is a more easily crumbled to be an accent topping.

Salty, cream-colored, Feta-like, Cotija is made from milk, skim milk, enzymes and salt. It is sold in rounds or wedges from rounds, Cotija does not melt readily. While artisan amounts of Cotija are deemed very special, mass produced Cotija comes pretty close to special in taste and texture.

Many cheeses are named after their city of origination. Cotija’s town is in the Mexican State of Michoacan, a little north of the state of Jalisco. The cheese was made official in the  year 1896. The small town, known for its agriculture and ranching, is also famed for being the birthplace of many religious leaders. Continue reading