Kriekfest

Cushy grass underfoot, a glass filled with ruby colored elixir and Mt. Hood filling your periphery—this, my friends, is Kriekfest. 
 
Going on its second year this summer, Kriekfest is a small festival celebrating beer known as kriek, a flemish-style beer aged over fresh cherries. The festival takes place in the back of Solera Brewing in Mt. Hood Parkdale, OR, and the vibe is both family friendly, and what I would term as hipster-lite. Guests are encouraged to camp as accommodations are slim in the area. For those that prefer an all-inclusive package, Brewvana offers a ticket that includes transport both directions from Portland, admission, and three extra drink tickets that those attending at the general admission level will not receive. For those interested in a little more adventure, I suggest either following the camping suggestions on the Kriekfest site or investing in this little gem of a book, Camp Free in the Mt. Hood National Forest by Don Reichart and finding somewhere free to crash with your tent.
 
General admission is $25 per person and includes eight drink tickets and a souvenir glass. Beers range from 1-4 tickets based on rarity, and 2016 breweries included: Alesong (Eugene, OR), Block 15 (Corvallis, OR), Hanssens (Belgium), Jester King (Austin, TX), Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River, OR), Upright Brewing (Portland, OR),  Solera Brewing (Parkdale, OR), Modern Times (San Diego, CA), Wolves & People (Newberg, OR), Finnriver (Chimacum, WA), and more.
 Kriekfest in Mt. Hood Parkdale 2017
I highly suggest adding this fest to your “must attend” list as its still got all the great qualities of a small-time festival (grassy, short lines, easy and free parking, quirky entertainment, affordable) but with beers that ended up fetching 95+ pts via Ratebeer.com (e.g. Lost Abbey’s Cuvee de Tomme, 3 Fonteinen Intense Red Oude Kriek, and Bruery Terreux Sans Pagaie just to name a few! And I haven’t even mentioned the food!! Apple Valley BBQ set up a special spot within the fest in 2016. If you’ve been like me and missed out on their delectable BBQ every other time you’ve visited Mt. Hood Parkdale (because they run out!), this is the perfect chance to acquaint yourself with their brilliance.
 
Do yourself a favor and get your tickets now for this magical festival of cherry-centric beers. Be sure to roll into Hood River beforehand and pick up some cherries at the farmer’s market to take home as well since this event is going to have you falling in love with the fruit harvested a stone’s throw from the festival grounds.

Spring Romaine Salad with Bacon, Radish and Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby’s Dressings

The Spicy Bee National Salad Month Bacon, Radish, & Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby's Dressing and Dip

This post is sponsored by Toby’s Family Foods. All thoughts, photos, and opinions are my own.

Springtime farmer’s markets in Portland, OR is like going into a candy store if you like salads. I especially enjoy walking through the Wednesday market in downtown’s Park Blocks to peruse the colorful produce. Stumbling across a new item I’ve never cooked with is a common occurrence in the NW market–mizuna (aka Japanese mustard greens), calcots (sweet green onions made popular in Catalonia), and kale raab (whenever you see the word raab, think blossoms) were all items I ran into in the same week! The funniest part of this story is definitely purchasing kale raab only to realize later that evening I have plentiful supply that I’ve been hacking out of my garden and just tossing out! Little did I know that kale blossoms are quite lovely and sweet when cooked over high heat (like on a grill).

May is National Salad Month, and for that reason, I’ve teamed up with Toby’s Family Foods to share some fresh salad ideas! We try and do salad as a meal at least four times a week, and when I’m not making my own vinaigrettes, I’m usually tossing in one of Toby’s Dressings–staples in our home are understandably the Blue Cheese and Jalapeño Ranch. Today’s recipe is harnessing the quick and easy prep of asparagus paired with fresh spring radishes, savory bacon, and Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing. I really enjoy serving this recipe with the ends of the asparagus dipped in the dressing as it allows for a much prettier presentation than chopped asparagus, however should you choose to chop it and toss it in, that works too.

Spring Romaine Salad with Bacon, Radish and Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing

The Spicy Bee National Salad Month Bacon, Radish, & Blue Cheese Dipped Asparagus Featuring Toby's Dressing and Dip #Sponsored

Ingredients

  • 1 Large head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1 Carrot, thinly sliced with a mandolin or hand peeler
  • 6 Spears of fresh asparagus, cut and blanched (see below instructions)
  • 3 Radishes, thinly sliced with a mandolin
  • 3-4 Slices of bacon, cooked and drained of fat
  • 3-4 T Toby’s Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Pepper to taste

Method

Begin by blanching the asparagus; bring a medium sized pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in the asparagus and set a timer for 1 minute. Remove the asparagus using tongs or a spider skimmer and test–should you like your asparagus cooked through a little more feel free to return to the pot for an additional 30-60 seconds, however I prefer mine to maintain its bite quality. Set to the side to rest on some paper towels.

Meanwhile, plate the lettuce and top with sliced carrot, radishes, and bacon. Dress liberally and dip the ends of the asparagus and border the salad with them. Apply pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Recipe serves 2.

Raspberry Sweet Rolls with Bonne Maman Preserves

Raspberry Sweet Rolls featuring Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves | TheSpicyBee

This post is sponsored by Bonne Maman Preserves. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Fruit preserves are one of the most versatile items in a kitchen. They keep well, and can be added to any meal of the day–but my favorite use is, of course, adding preserves to breakfast dishes. Traditional, I know, but there’s something about having a variety of jellies to choose from for my scone, biscuit, or toast that I really love. So I thought recently–why couldn’t I extend this philosophy to more complex recipes I enjoy? Enter: Raspberry Sweet Rolls (think like cinnamon rolls, but with preserves!).

And so today I get to share with you my favorite recipe for sweet rolls featuring Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves, which is the sponsor of this post. I have been very impressed with their products, which align with my food preferences for no GMOs, no HFC (high-fructose corn syrup) or other additives, and while it doesn’t apply to this specific use, the preserves are gluten-free. Bonne Maman, french for Grandmother or Granny, is very reminiscent of homemade jarred jellies and preserves. 

Bonne Maman also has a very fun giveaway going on right now where they are giving away a 12-piece Le Creuset cookware set (among other things), and if you know me, you know that the rolls I made were in my favorite multi-use roaster by none other than–Le Creuset!




 

Now that you’ve been introduced to Bonne Maman–let’s talk sweet rolls. This recipe is much more straightforward than it may first appear, and I think even if you’ve never made sweet rolls or their very close cousin, cinnamon rolls, you can have a lot of success with this recipe in particular. Please do yourself a favor, however, and read through the entire recipe prior to signing on because it is an odd balance of active an inactive time totaling to about 4-4 1/2 hours. I have bolded the timing below to help it jump out more because I found myself referring back to books a lot when researching this process and timing is key.

Raspberry Sweet Rolls with Bonne Maman Preserves

Raspberry Sweet Rolls featuring Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves | TheSpicyBee
Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 c Whole milk
  • 1 1/2 T Active yeast
  • 2/3 c Sugar
  • 1/2 c Butter, unsalted and sliced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1 t Fresh lemon zest, grated
  • 4 1/4 c All purpose flour
  • Nonstick spray or additional softened butter for greasing the pan

Filling

Glaze

  • 3 T Butter, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 T Heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 c Powdered sugar
  • 1 Vanilla bean or 1/4 t vanilla bean paste

Tools

  • Small saucepan
  • Digital thermometer
  • Stand mixer with dough hook
  • Large bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking twine or unflavored dental floss
  • Large (9×13) baking dish
  • Parchment paper

Method

Begin by heating the milk to 95°F in a small saucepan over low heat. Keep track of the temperature using a digital thermometer. Meanwhile, equip the mixer with a dough hook, and portion out the yeast and sugar as the next steps will go quickly. Once the thermometer hits the noted temperature, transfer the milk to the mixer’s bowl; using a spoon, mix in first the sugar, then yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes with the mixer off. During this time, collect the butter, lemon zest, and flour.

Turn the mixer to a medium-low speed, and begin by adding the butter, then zest, and finally, the flour–1 cup at a time, incorporating up to 90% prior to adding the next batch. Do not be afraid to stop the mixer halfway through adding the flour and scrape down the sides using a spatula to ensure things are fully incorporated. Once the flour addition is complete, turn the mixer up 1 level to medium and allow it to mix for the next 8-10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides halfway through. After the time has elapsed, move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times before transferring the dough to a large buttered bowl and cover with cling wrap. Allow to rest for 1 1/2-2 hours. During this time, the dough will nearly double in size.

Raspberry Sweet Rolls featuring Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves | TheSpicyBee

Move the dough to a large lightly floured surface and roll out using a rolling pin (flour this too to be safe), to approximately 10 inches by 24 inches, approximately 1/4 inches thick. Prepare the baking pan by spraying it with nonstick spray or buttering it, and place a parchment sheet at the bottom of the pan. 

Back to the dough, spread the preserves across the dough, covering all of it EXCEPT for a line of dough at the top of your workstation–i.e. leave an inch of empty dough at the top border of your dough. This will make it a lot easier to close off the roll at the end. Before you begin to roll it up though–remember to sprinkle the lemon zest over the the preserves on the dough, distributing evenly. 

Rolling things up is the most challenging part of the recipe, so before beginning this process, prepare a 12 inch piece of baker’s twine and have the baking pan prepped and near the work station. Begin rolling the dough up from the long end up going away from you to make one long roll. Go quickly as the dough will settle quickly. Once rolled up completely, close out the roll, and using the baking twine, cut the rolls up. Here’s a very helpful video to communicate this process. If you do not have floss or twine, you can use a very sharp knife, however, be warned, it will be messy!

Arrange the rolls into the baking pan and spoon on any additional jelly you lost into the creases of the rolls. Now ready for its final resting phase, move the full pan to a warm undisturbed spot for 2 hours of rest. If you’re like me, know that 90 minutes will suffice in a hurry, but if you have the time to spare, it’s worth the wait! I like to warm my oven up to about 180°F and then turn it off and crack the door for a moment before adding the rolls and closing the door completely, thus putting things out of sight and out of mind.

Once the time has passed, remove the rolls from the oven if you were storing them there, and preheat the oven to 425°F. You will note that at this point, the rolls have filled the pan rather nicely. You may even find that they look very cramped in their pan–you can do something about it! using a second set of hands and the parchment paper for assistance, move the rolls to the next size up oiled pan if you need to. I mention this as I originally tested this recipe with a beautiful oval baking dish and found myself in need of a larger home for the rolls–hence, my suggestion of a 9×13 pan. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. During this time you can make the vanilla glaze. To do this, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over low heat, then remove from heat and whisk in cream, vanilla, then powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time). If using a vanilla bean, slice it open and remove the innards using the back of a knife (I personally prefer the paste as it’s hard to come by good fresh vanilla beans–most you will find will be old and dried out). Top the rolls with the glaze at your leisure.

LPT (life pro-tip): Have a kitchen torch on hand and torch the glaze upon adding it to the rolls–this will liquify and caramelize things nicely and impress guests!

This recipe makes approximately 20 rolls and serves 8-10. Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container.

Raspberry Sweet Rolls featuring Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves | TheSpicyBee