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What are you cooking today? General conversation about cooking and food.

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Old 08-08-2007, 03:42 PM
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Brewing Up Some Good Beer Food

Of course, a dinner can be sit-at-the-table -- my choice -- or a move-and-mingle affair, which can become difficult and more complicated. Since dinner guests here dine at the table, first I serve a light broth in a cup. If I am busy, I use a low-sodium canned broth, but jazz it up with chopped fresh herbs --one teaspoon per serving and a twig of the same herb to garnish the cup’s plate. Since I find a running commentary on the meal never fails, I turn the conversation to herbs to hops and then to beer -- my guests’ favorite topic.

The entrée is usually seafood of some type. I often serve a thick stew or chowder over a little fettuccine. I have also splurged by serving pink-from-tomatoes seafood bisque, substituting half and half for heavy cream, and finished it with a splash of brandy before serving. Yes, beer and brandy, my secret touch. My guests enjoy these gatherings, and they appreciate the thoughtfulness -- having “their” beer served. They think I’m a marvelous cook, even though they know -- and they really do -- that I not only cut corners, but that I sometimes cheat.

For a change, I like to serve bagel pieces, toasted and offered with low-fat cream cheese; however, my very favorite bread offering is giant-sized herbed, pumpernickel croutons. Toss 1-inch cubes of pumpernickel with extra-virgin olive oil and herbs (thyme, rosemary, and tarragon are my favorites.) and oven toast at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
Sally Ketchum has become a popular food columnist and prize-winning writer of short fiction. She lives on the shore of Lake Michigan looking out at an island where the family has wilderness camping property and where her stove is stones on the beach and her cooler is the lake. She loves to entertain, often with theme dinner
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