Monday, November 2, 2009

The continued quest to find the perfect appetizer and beer pairing

The cutting at my parent’s house was only semi-successful. We had two votes for the sausage rolls and three for the Paninis… but the Boundary Bay ESB really didn’t taste good with all three. It was a little too bitter and my apps just couldn’t stand up to it.

So we decided to do Paninis partly because I’m so thrilled with my new Panini maker (thanks mom and dad!) and partly because making mini Paninis at the party will ensure we have a warm appetizer to serve.

This past week was a busy one, but Curtis and I ate Paninis almost every night for dinner … several combinations including pesto, turkey, cranberry sauce (it’s that time of year), ham, cheese, Dungeness crab (my dad and Curtis caught a ton when we were home), PB&J, etc.

Then Curtis had a beyond brilliant idea! He read that ESB pairs well with grilled meat so he suggested we take our favorite taco fillings—Carne Asada (from Trader Joe’s), grilled Anaheim chilies, feta cheese and caramelized onions—and turn them into a mini Panini.

It worked! Delicious.

So as much as it hurt my heart to ditch the Boundary Bay ESB (I think it would have been a shoe-in with the ex-Bellingham crowd) we were back to the drawing board finding a beer that would complement our “taco” Paninis. Curtis brought home seven different beers on Friday night including almost every type of Redhook. We narrowed it down to Redhook Slim Chance and ESB… but thought if we could just find something in the middle of those two we’d have our perfect combo.

On our way home from White Pass yesterday (another post for another day) we stopped by the Redhook brewery to pick up a few more bottles and sadly learned they no longer make their blonde. I picked up a t-shirt just to keep the memory alive. RIP Redhook blonde.

We were back at it again last night, whipped up another batch of taco Paninis and this time added Red Stripe and Sam Adams to the mix. As you can see prepping to attend a Cudworth party is EXTREMLEY hard work. We finally decided that although it’s light, Slim Chance is the way to go - plus I love the name. And we’re going to add enough spice to our Panini that you’ll need a big gulp of ice cold beer to wash it down!

The best part will be getting to try all the other apps and beer on Saturday– lucky for us we have several friends who are gourmet chefs! I’ll report back with the winning pairing, hopefully a few recipes, pictures and any surprises that may pop up!


  1. Wow, some serious hard work! I'm really impressed by all your beer research and taste tests ahead of time. You guys are always winners to me. Oh- and get ready to dine on Saturday, the menu is lookin' good! ps: I really want a cranberry turkey panini right now.

  2. Wow! You and Curtis are too cute! Good luck! Wish I was able to taste!

  3. You picked the right one!! We LOVED your paninis. :-)

  4. No more blonde? I am sooo sad. I hope you got me some pint glasses.