4th of July Blackberry Cobbler

I have a freezer still full of blackberries, a pantry full of blackberry preserves and wife that says, “No more Jam!” What’s a guy to do? Ok Hun, it is your birthday on the third of July, how about some blackberry cobbler and Blue Bell vanilla ice cream?

I will share a recipe that has had rave reviews every time I have made it and rave reviews from everyone that has made it themselves. The recipe is not original with me but I do give it proper credit…..it is just amazing and so simple to make!

MEME’S BLACKBERRY COBBLER

I added an extra cup of blackberries to this recipe from Virginia Willis’ Bon Appétit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories From Three Generations of Southern Cooking (Ten Speed Press, $32.50).

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 5 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen – Hand picked from a friends property just north of Kingwood.
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more if desired for berries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a large iron skillet (I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet), place skillet in oven to melt butter.

Put blackberries in a large bowl. If they are frozen, let them soften a few minutes. Crush lightly with a potato masher. Sweeten with extra sugar if you like. ( I did!!!)

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine milk and vanilla. Gradually pour wet ingredients into dry while whisking.

Remove skillet from oven. Add melted butter to batter. Stir to combine. Pour batter into hot skillet. With a spatula, scrape the berries into the center. Bake cobbler till it is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the cake (not the berries) emerges clean, about 1 hour.

Serve warm with ice cream — and prepare for a walk down memory lane.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

DSC_5179

The start……this is what it should like on entry to the oven.

DSC_5181

This is what it should look like before scooping out into a bowl, just begging for a mound of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

My presentation is pretty Patriotic, the skillet is a red enamel, the cooked berries are beyond blue and the Blue Bell vanilla ice cream is as close to white as it can be. Have a great Fourth of July.

TTFN

Bishop

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Three in One Day

Gotta love California for a thing or two or three. Yesterday my bride and I drove from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara. It is my birthday weekend and she is intent on spoiling me…..I am always pretty spoiled by her, but this is extra special. 

I loaded up my camera bag and lenses and let her drive the windy route through Maricopa and over the mountains into Ojai. The sky was ugly and hazy and the wild flowers have not yet hit stride. Dang! I could rubber neck and not incurr her wrath!!!! She prefers to drive the windy roads – it solves her motion sickness issues. 

Ojai – Ojai Valley Brewery was first up. Nice selection of beers and we also found a great “small plate”, Buffalo Fried Cauliflower. It will be added to our recipe box. 


Kathy enjoyed the White Pixie and the Ephemera was my favorite of those I sampled. Very slow lazy service for a Friday afternoon but we were not in a hurry, “chill out dude” and enjoy the chauffeured drive. 

Carpentaria – Rincon Brewery, substantial food and good beer. We dropped our bags off at the condo and grabbed a seat outdoors on the street to watch life drift by. I went with a sampler and the Tri-tip sandwich. Kathy had her go to Blonde ale and the Cobb Salad. Fun place, good food(I love the lamb burger slider- next time!) and quality beers. 


We then wandered down the street to Brew lab….it is a small place, they brew in small batches and never repeat! I sent them some money last year for their crowd funded expansion. They fell short but I still got a shirt and a free beer. Last night a talented young musician entertained the crowd. Interesting art work on the walls and I nice crowd. 


I had the Yellow Belly Ale and Kathy was in the role of designated driver, thank you Hun! 

Where shall I drink beer today? Such hard choices and so many options…..gotta love being and old guy, semi-retired and my “Goo” friend John back home feeding my bees…..thank you John! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Bee Lining

This morning I did a little experiment in the Backyard Farm with “bee lining”. This is an old time method for finding a hive, hopefully a wild one, and not one of your neighbor’s hives. 

I have been doing some open feeding in the backyard as an act of kindness for the early spring  foragers. The bees have been mobbing the feeder. This indicates a whole lot of bees nearby! 

I went out with a fresh bottle of sugar water early this morning,  before the bees were up and out foraging. Then I waited. Once a few visitors showed up I marked one with a dot of orange paint. 


Using a stop watch timing the round trips, it appears that there is a colony/hive less than 200 yards from my yard. In less than 10 minutes the feeder was overwhelmed and it is impossible to time the round trips now!!!! 


My next experiment will be off in the woods. I want to see if I can find a wild hive and document the adventure. Keep your eyes open! 

TTFN

Bishop

Are There Craft Beers in Midland Texas?

The hunt was on last week when I visited. I had already written in a previous post about the HEB Market doing a great job stocking good beers, BUT – I am  sorry to say that the wait help at Logan’s Roadhouse was pretty clueless. I asked for the Lagunitas IPA on the menu and wound up having to spell it for the novice server. To top it off they didn’t carry it anymore.  I didn’t make a strong effort to hunt down craft beers, as it was a work trip.  So, on my return home I decided to do some research.

Midland Beergarden out off Business 80 between Midland and Odessa.

Updated 11/06/2016

On Tap: 58 | Growlers: 3 | Bottles: 12 | Cans: 7 – Looking at the website I was impressed. I know where I will spend some time on my next visit! Yee Haw cowboy, or roughneck or…..you get the picture!

Bend and Beer – here  is something unique!!!!!

” Join us every Saturday of November and the first Saturday of December for yoga at 3pm. For more information please contact Jamie Edwards or Jessica Smith

bendandbeersmall-768x738

http://www.midlandbeergarden.com/category/beer-garden-news/

Looks like a great bunch of activity on the Homebrewer Front!

“Our club was established in 1994 in Permian Basin of west Texas, and we have been proudly

brewing ever since”

http://www.basinbrewers.org/

They have also made my next trip a bit easier with the listings on the Permian Basin Beer Scene page – http://www.basinbrewers.org/p/permian-basin-beer-scene.html

Can I tie a business trip into this event?

JANUARY 27 + 28, 2017 – MIDLAND, TX

“We’re bringing Midland’s largest Craft Beer Festival back to the Commemorative Air Force! The 3rd Annual Midland on Tap begins on Friday, January 27th from 6pm to 9pm and continues on Saturday, January 28th with Session 1 from 1pm-4pm and Session 2 from 5pm-8pm. Sample over 100 releases from some of America’s best craft breweries. Plus hang out in an atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food available for purchase, and great vendors.”
Read More: Midland On Tap Craft Beer Festival – Midland, TX | http://americaontap.com/midland-on-tap/?trackback=tsmclip

http://americaontap.com/midland-on-tap/

I think the beer drought in Midland has been quenched!

 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

Flying “Under the Radar”

Saturday September 3rd found daughter Lisa and I at a new brewery in downtown Houston, “Under the Radar”. The day started with a play at the Alley Theater in Houston, “A Night With Janis Joplin”.  Great play and the lead in the play, Kacee Clanton, was channeling Janis Joplin’s spirit…….from nearby Port Arthur, TX. We attended the 2:30 afternoon performance so we were free to explore downtown. What better form of exploration than to find a new brewery and partake.

My good friend and fellow homebrewer, Mike and his lovely wife Annette had texted me last weekend from the Grand Opening of “Under the Radar Brewery”! Lisa and I were a week late for the Grand Opening but, as the old cliché goes, better late than never.  We arrived in time to witness the end of the Texas A&M Aggies take an OT win over my old school, UCLA. While catching the two point conversion by UCLA I struck up a conversation with a young lady, named Kelli, intently watching the game. She is an Aggie, “Poli Sci” major and yes of course, an attorney. Better yet, she is married to one of the owners. More about that connection later.

We found a close and convenient parking spot at 1506 Truxillo Street (home of the brewery and beer garden), adjacent to the Deutscher Fleschwagen food vendor! Oh my…..translation is the “German Meat wagon/truck.” The smells were heavenly and I will have to report out on another visit about the food. Lisa and I were focused on the beers for this visit.

File Sep 04, 10 54 53 AM

A look from the beer garden with the brewhouse in the background.

First round….for $ 15.00 I bought a logo glass and 3 tokens, we added a fourth token for an additional $5.00. Our choices were;

Dirty Blonde – I ordered the Blonde, I know, those of you that know me, are probably shaking your head because I tend to be an IPA fan, the hoppier the better. Lisa is a bit like me and she wanted the IPA….I  knew I would get a sip. I liked the Blonde and I know my wife will enjoy it.

Mid  Frequency IPA – Lisa…..yes she got the IPA. A good solid IPA, not over the top with bitterness. A good very drinkable IPA.

Midtown Bock – Because of commitments we decided to hold onto a token and sample the Bock and Porter on another visit.

Porter Authority

Radar Love – a light Hefeweizen. Now, I don’t normally drink Hefeweizens, but on this warm late afternoon I ordered  and glad I did. Very nice beer and very refreshing….coulda had another……. Just enough Magnum hops to keep it interesting but not enough to have my wife turn her nose up at it….So, Kathy my dear, there are two beers on this list that you will love.

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A listing of the usual offerings

There are plenty of tables to share with other likeminded beer drinkers with a nice mix of sun and shade in the beer garden. There is a Dynamo cornhole set on site to keep teams and groups talking smack and destroying their opponents. I noticed a few folks carrying in food and snacks as well as folks making use of the Deutscher Fleischwagen.

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Patrons enjoying a great day to drink beer……

Back to Kelli now. She introduced Lisa and I to her husband, Mike Norfleet, one of the three owners and still dabbling in his civil engineering work….He is a Purdue grad, but, he brews some very good beers so I will cut him some slack and …….  he did have the good sense to marry an Aggie! We chatted about beer, duh, as well as bees & honey. I think I put a bug in his ear to create a Honey Blonde or something similar somewhere down the road. I don’t have the inventory to supply enough for a 10 barrel batch…..It would be cool to find a local downtown source!  I told Kelli and Mike that I would see if I can find a contact for them.

We waited around long enough to catch a brewery tour conducted by Mike. He definitely has a passion for the craft and delivers with a strong authoritative voice. He also asked me to behave and not answer any of his questions…..I complied. The brewhouse is a 10 barrel system and they utilize 3 fermenters that also double up as brite tanks for force carbonating prior to kegging. They don’t have a bottling line so everything is kegged and distributed locally.

File Sep 04, 10 53 34 AM

Mike Norfleet, one of the owners up on his podium…..walkway between the mash tun and brew pot….delivering the beginning of an excellent tour of the brewery.

File Sep 04, 10 52 34 AM

Mike again…..drinking a cold one and leading the tour.

I am anxious for another excuse to wander downtown and sample the remaining two beers. It won’t be long. FYI, Mike and Kelli like Hay Merchant and I do believe you can find an Under the Radar offering there.

PS, Kelli, if we can keep it a secret, I will bring a 22 oz. bomber of my 3 year old Russian Imperial Stout, 11% ABV and aged on toasted, bourbon soaked oak.

Deutscher Fleischwagen

http://www.undertheradarbrewery.com/index.html

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

#undertheradarbrewery

#anightwithjanisjoplin

Honey, I Started the Honey Blonde

I have been in trouble since the moment I began sharing my wife’s Honey Blonde Ale, close to a year now! Really not hers but, I made it using some of the dark honey we harvested last year. She liked the honey so well that she took 6 pounds of the dark amber sweetness and hid it from the sales batches. I have been given very direct instructions for this batch……I am not allowed to give any of this beer away! I need to have my daughter Lisa share in some of the blame. She took a 6 pack to one of her trail races and addicted a couple of her friends. They were rewarded a couple of times.

This beer is an all grain brew, currently in the primary fermenter and probably ready to rack over to the secondary. The brew process,  a 90 minute boil, went very smooth. The starting gravity came out dead on to the expected number. The sample pulled for the gravity test, tasted pretty damned awesome.

Recipe;

Honey Blonde-p1

Details from the Beersmith Software. Whenever I read to sparge volumes I think – That can’t be right….to much water. At he end of the 90 minute boil it was a nearly perfect 5 gallons.

I will Bottle in another 7 days and should make my wife happy by mid August. Let me take that back, I always make her happy, she will be “happier” when this beer is ready  and happiest if I don’t share any……she can make that choice!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,

Bishop

PS: My son Joe sent a text message as I was writing this post from Ranger  Creek Brewery and Distillery, San Antonio TX. Another one to add to my list.