Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ohio Brew Week 2018 Beer Dinner

We gathered tonight for the 2018 Ohio Brew Week beer dinner, featuring Joe Mitchell as chef! Five courses, each paired with a beer. Cheers, Vana and Kayla!


All but one of the courses were paired with Little Fish Brewing Company beers. The first course was a local greens salad with pickled red onion, asparagus tips, spiced pecans and a dry hopped vinaigrette. This dish was paired with Wha’ Me Eat - Cucumba, a Little Fish collaboration with Yellow Springs Brewery, saison with local cucumbers.

The second course was hop-smoked bay scallops and mussels with Smoked Helles jalapeno dressing and Shagbark tortilla chips. Paired with Little Fish Everett’s Pale Ale, all Mosaic-hopped Northeast pale ale.

Sean from Little Fish and Joe did a great job telling us about the beers and the food.

The third course was a cider-glazed Duroc pork belly over sweet corn pudding, topped with crispy kale, paired with Kelly’s Dry Apple Cider from the Cider House. This was most people's favorite course. It was definitely my fave. It was AMAZING.

The fourth course was a honey thyme roasted beef tenderloin with horseradish whipped potatoes, garlic haricot vert and Lil’ Harvey’s Milk Stout demi glaze. Paired with Little Fish Mr. Malty, English dark mild ale.

Dessert was Lil’ Harvey’s Mud Pie: dense coffee stout cake topped with coffee stout mousse, whipped cream, and chocolate tuile. Paired with Little Fish Natural 20: Barrel aged sour amber ale with Montmorency & Balaton cherries. This was my favorite beer of the night! It's INCREDIBLE!!!

Kelly Sauber and Deanna Marie's West End Cider House cider contributed to and was paired with my favorite course of the night. CHEERS!! Mmm.

Vana and Joe!

Happy Brew Week 2018!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Erlewine Family Reunion

Ben, Felix and I took a road trip this weeken to my home town of Big Rapids, Michigan, for a family reunion! It was our first trip with Felix. We have a tradition of packing big sandwiches and stopping for lunch at a rest stop. Mmm, sandwiches.

We got into Michigan pretty late on Friday night. On Saturday, we took Felix for a walk along the riverwalk! This artwork was behind what used to be Big Rapids High School, and is now the middle school.

The riverwalk is awesome! It's new since I was a kid.

Kayaker! See why they call it Big Rapids?

Riverwalk boys.

The old high school!


The high school is now the middle school.

Grandma's old house!!! It looks exactly the same. I burst into tears.

Awwww!!!! Man, this was the most magical place on earth for me as a child.

Grandma's shop out back!!

The public library, kitty-corner from our old house.

Our old house!

We stopped by Uncle Michael and Aunt Margaret's house on the way to the reunion. I sure played in this back yard a lot growing up!

The reunion was at Uncle Phillip and Aunt Carla's house. This pond is another place I played a ton growing up! And now the next generation of cousins is there having a blast.

And Felix, too!

The reunion was the best! It was so wonderful to be surrounded by so much family.

Phillip grilled a bunch of food and we feasted!

Family reunion!

Family photo! Thanks to Uncle Michael for capturing this moment.

There was a special surprise in store for us, that Uncle Phillip and Dad announced. Family friend Gene Anderson was going to put on a magic show for us!!

His tricks were amazing! And there was a brief moment where Felix stole the show by walking up that entire garage staircase behind him and then shuffling around in the attic! It was hilarious. I couldn't take pictures of it because I was laughing too hard!

Ring trick!

Rope trick!

Egg trick.

Newspaper trick! This is the BEST trick.

Unicorn Pegasus on cousin Anne!

Unipeg on Kate!

Big Rapids has these cement dog statues throughout the town and Felix growls and barks at them when we drive by. It's pretty funny!

We walked to Michael and Margaret's for breakfast on Sunday, and walked through Mitchell Creek Park, which brought back childhood memories!

This fancy gazebo is a new addition.

It's nice.

One last Unicorn Pegasus for the weekend, for cousin Iotis!

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Cheesy Cooking Club

Valerie, Nancy and Emily were the hostesses for this month's cooking club. Can you believe that in almost a decade of cooking clubs, we have never had a cheese theme?? What have we been doing with our lives?!

They started us off with a delicious cheese board. And homemade crackers from our friend Suzie!

Nancy brought these amazing grape balls. Grapes rolled in a Gorgonzola, cream cheese and heavy cream mixture, then rolled in toasted, chopped walnuts.

Also, a savory tomato parmesan poundcake! Beautiful!

Valerie got things started with a grilled cheese-infused vodka martini. That's right, a GRILLED CHEESE INFUSED VODKA MARTINI. With a balsamic reduction prosciutto rim, tomato juice ice cube, and cheese tomato basil skewer.

You might be wondering, how does one infuse vodka with grilled cheese? Thank you to Valerie for these behind-the-scenes photos. First, she cooked up some grilled cheese sandwiches. And filled a pitcher with vodka.

Then, she soaked the sandwiches in the vodka! Simple as that! Then she strained them and made a cocktail with the infused vodka.

This drink was bananas. I definitely wouldn't call it delicious, and I definitely wouldn't want a second one, but I did (almost) finish it. It really did taste like a chilled, alcoholic grilled cheese! Valerie went above and beyond with the innovation on this one.

To get us started on the dinner menu, Emily made tomato stacks with parmesan crisps, fresh mozzarella, basil, balsamic reduction and olive oil.

These were incredible! Look at all those different kinds of fresh, local tomatoes! Mmm.

Valerie also made cups out of cheese. CUPS! Out of CHEESE!

Summer sipping from her cheese cup.


My depth perception got the best of me once again and I quickly overpoured my cheese cup.


Parmesan poundcake!

Valerie made mixed green salads with orange, mint, and seared halloumi. Love that warm, squeaky halloumi!

Val also made pierogies, stuffed with potato, mushroom and garlic. Topped with onion. They were delicious! As was the peppery, cheesy tomato parmesan poundcake.

Nancy chilling with the pets. Nancy MADE that sweater. Isn't it gorgeous!? She's so good!

Game time! We've been on a Balderdash kick. Beyond Balderdash is even better.

Lots of laughing.

For dessert, Emily served fresh peaches and cherries with mascarpone sabayon. Mmm!!! Cheesy cooking club was amazing. I can't believe it took us so long to do! Thanks, Valerie, Emily and Nancy!