A hop is used to flavor a beer, and the flavor you get depends on when you add the hops. If you add them at the beginning, the beer will be bitter; if you add them toward the end of a boil, they will produce more of an aroma than a taste.
Hops sound pretty great, right? So why are we in a state-of-emergency? Well, the craft beer world is currently suffering from a major hop-shortage. Last year, Europe experienced a serious drought, which didn’t allow farmers to grow the hop-crop, causing this hop-tastrophe.
Our favorite beers all come from hops, even our famous, locally-brewed ‘Chancellor’ fromTequesta Brewing Company, who ironically, just celebrated its yearly, ‘Hop Week’. Tequesta Brewing Company (big sister to Palm Beach Garden’s Twisted Trunk), explains that Europe’s drought has not only made it hard to find European hops, but has also caused the price of American hops to rise.
TBC also says that it is much harder to acquire mosaic, citric and galaxia hops — three of the most popular varieties.
The brewery has a hop-purveyor who gets European hops for them, brew-master Matt Webster explained. The crop was so bad that the purveyor couldn’t complete the order, and the brewery had to turn to American hops.
Not that there is anything wrong with American hops. In fact, other Palm Beach County breweries like Due South in Boynton Beach aren’t affected at all by the hops shortage because they already brew with American hops from places like Yakima, Washington. For TBC, though, German hops is go-to source and they want to stay who they are.
So are we in a hop shortage? Yes. Will our favorite local breweries still produce our favorite drinks? Yes. Is Tequesta Brewing Company still putting out great beers? A for sure, yes.
“It’s like white rice. It’s everywhere,” goes the saying popular among my rice-crazy people.
In this cauliflower trend case, it’s not like white rice – it is white rice. It’s cauliflower rice and, yes, it’s everywhere.
Chefs are stir-frying it. Big box stores are selling chilled packages of it. Paleo devotees and vegans are singing its praises.
But does it taste like rice rice? Short answer: It can. Sort of.
Like rice, cauliflower morsels soak up the flavor of their seasonings. The cruciferous veggie can develop a sulfurous scent if overcooked, but it can be avoided in a quick, well-seasoned skillet.
I first tasted cauliflower rice in a brilliant stir-fry dish by nationally acclaimed Miami chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, a James Beard Award “Rising Star Chef” nominee who is a regular headliner at the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival. The almost crunchy cauliflower fried “rice” is sautéed with shishito peppers and carrots at Rapicavoli’s Eating House restaurant.
Inspired, I bought a head of cauliflower days later and riced up the florets in my food processor, reserving the stems for soup. I chopped up aromatics and veggies, then went about my stir-fry, swapping in the riced florets for white rice.
The result was tasty, but rather mushy. Perhaps I left it in the pan, covered, for too long. Or perhaps residual moisture on the florets combined with the heat emanating from the spinning processor blade doomed the rice.
Whatever the case, my cauliflower rice enthusiasm was relegated to the back burner of my mind. Then I found a bag of perfectly riced cauliflower at in the produce section of Trader Joe’s.
It was evidence of a trend already well established. A Paleo-following friend mentioned she buys packaged riced cauliflower at Costco. And recently, Green Giant got in the cauliflower rice game, rolling out bags of frozen “Riced Veggies” this month.
Cauliflower rice without the chopping and food processor hassle? I was intrigued enough to grab a bag of it at Trader Joe’s and cancel my white-rice side dish plans for our Sunday night supper.
I kept the preparation simple. I sautéed chopped onion, celery and two or three garlic cloves in olive oil for a couple of minutes over medium heat, then added about a cup and a half of the packaged rice and turned up the heat to medium-high. I seasoned the ingredients with salt and pepper and sautéed the granulized cauliflower in the garlic-infused oil for three to four minutes. I lowered the heat and covered the pan for another minute or two, then tasted for seasoning and texture.
It was not as tender as my food-processor rice had been, but it was not mushy – it was almost there. I covered it for another minute and it was perfect.
I scooped a large spoonful of the rice into a bowl of garbanzo, butternut squash and chorizo stew. The rice soaked up the stew’s flavors without losing its lightly chewy texture.
The heady bites of that Sunday supper sparked other cauliflower rice ideas and curiosities: Would it work in paella, or arroz con pollo? Could it ever match the creaminess of risotto?
Nina Kauder, a plant-based chef working in Lake Worth and Boynton Beach, can vouch for the success of cauliflower rice in risotto. She sampled a stellar rendition at a five-course, “plant-powered” dinner she presented some days ago at Boynton Beach’s Secret Garden culinary incubator. It was a mushroom Marsala served over truffled cauliflower risotto.
The success of this rice, she says, was built with layer upon layer of flavor, from the dish’s earthy mushrooms to its meaty chickpeas and bright, fresh herbs.
“When you’re creating vegan food, you want to build a lot of layers of flavor. You can’t be one note. It’s not enough,” says Kauder.
Cauliflower rice, an excellent source of vitamins and phytonutrients, has many benefits, she notes. But, flavor wise, it needs some love.
That love starts in the form of aromatic sautés or sofritos and continues with spices and herbs and seasoned broths made of roasted veggies and/or bones.
Pinello fired up two woks and stir-fried a progression of veggies in them. To one wok, she added cauliflower she riced using a hand grater. To the other, she added the Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower.
In the end, it was a bit of a tie. For flavor, we preferred the hand-grated cauliflower best, as it soaked up more flavor than the other. For texture, we liked the more al dente feel of the packaged rice.
“But I could eat both of them all day long,” Pinello said.
Then, in an apparent flash of inspiration, she reached for one of the cauliflower stems she had set aside. She grated the vegetable’s tougher part into a bowl. The texture of the riced stem was similar to that of the packaged cauliflower rice.
That seemed to explain why the bagged rice was drier than the fresh one – the fresh one was made of more tender florets.
Chef Kauder believes that using the stems is a genius move.
“What do you do with the tough core once you’ve packaged the florets? It’s perfect for the job at hand (ricing). It’s maximizing the retailability and reducing their waste,” she says.
The bigger picture, of course, is that trendy cauliflower rice may be succeeding in places the food pyramid fails.
“The truth is no one eats enough vegetables – even vegetarians,” says Kauder, noting the uncanny resemblance of white rice and cauliflower rice. “We eat with our eyes first and sometimes vegetables that are reminiscent of other foods are not enough – it really has to look like it.”
Lemon wedges or crushed red pepper, for serving (optional)
Form pork into two 1/4-inch-thick patties. In an extra-large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Place patties in skillet; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are browned and very crisp. Carefully turn patties and cook 3 minutes more or until second sides are browned and crisp. Reduce heat to medium. Break patties into small pieces; add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, cumin and garlic. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until spices are fragrant and meat is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse cauliflower (in batches if necessary) until the pieces are the size of rice. In a large skillet cook cauliflower rice in the remaining coconut oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender and just beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds and lemon zest.
Serve pork over cauliflower rice; sprinkle with parsley, mint and, if desired, additional crushed red pepper and lemon wedges.
You won’t need a blender for this chunky rendition. It’s a gazpacho that takes tangy notes from grapefruit. The recipe comes courtesy of our test kitchen consultant, Lenore Pinello, a catering chef and cooking instructor who owns Tequesta’s In the Kitchen cook shop.
When she suggested we make a grapefruit gazpacho for a story several years ago, I puckered at the thought. But her blend of ingredients, gently combined by hand, set the grapefruit in the sweet and spicy company of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and Tabasco.
The result was not only delicious, but it looked gorgeous in the bowl, all the colors of summer brightly garnished with cilantro.
1 grapefruit, sectioned
2 oranges, sectioned
1 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons purple onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Coarsely chop grapefruit and orange sections and place in a large bowl.
2. Gently fold in remaining ingredients and chill for 4 hours. Serve chilled.
Wait staff said the new Jupiter location should be open in about a week.
There are a couple of questions for long-time customers of the old location:
What happens to the Pabst Blue Ribbon ceiling mural? It apparently won’t fit in the industrial-style ceiling of the new location, but wait staff said Saturday that it might end up in another Park Avenue location.
And here’s hoping they don’t forget the Elvis sign:
It’s rainy outside today. A good time to get some coffee.
1. C Street Café
This cozy coffee shop welcomes you with a laid-back, urban vibe and freshly brewed coffee. Can’t go wrong with an Italian espresso.
C Street: 319 Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-469-9959; on Facebook here
2. Oceana Coffee
The cold brew at this Tequesta roaster is clean and sublime. And now you can enjoy it at Oceana’s spiffy new coffee lounge.
Oceana Coffee: New coffee lounge at 150 N. US Highway 1, #1 (across from the Marshall’s/Homegoods store), Tequesta; roasting house at 221 Old Dixie Highway, Tequesta; 561-401-2453; OceanaCoffee.com
3. Brewhouse Gallery
As you peruse the works of local artists or listen to some live music, treat yourself to a yummy cappuccino made with The Rabbit’s locally roasted Guatemalan beans. It’s so delicious, I could sip it by the gallon.
This hipster hang on Clematis Street brews some delicious coffees that are roasted onsite. My favorite preparation: the macchiato, a bold café with the slightest puff of milk foam. South county folks can enjoy their Subculture brews at the new-ish second location in downtown Delray Beach.
Subculture: In West Palm Beach at 509 Clematis St. (561-318-5142), in Delray Beach at 123 E. Atlantic Ave. (561-808-8482); SubcultureCoffee.com
5. The Grind Café
This Delray Beach spot serves some yummy – and artistic – lattes. Sip one from one of The Grind’s branded retro cups while you decided if you’ll succumb to the café’s baked good temptations.
The Grind: at the Delray Marketplace, 14859 Lyons Rd., #132, Delray Beach; 561-270-2058; GrindCafeDelray.com
Within a cozy, comfortable space, Chef Michael Rolchigo creates some of the best fine-dining dishes in north county. He pays close attention to detail, from appetizers to desserts, each course exquisite. It’s no wonder the former Jupiter Island Grill chef has brought in quite a following to this Tequesta space. His food is inspired and creative, but it’s also accessible to the mainstream palate.
The eatery reopens with a new menu Thursday after a month of vacation. Among the highlights are a pistachio-crusted Colorado rack of lamb with goat cheese mashed potatoes, a king salmon with a kale-cashew crust and red quinoa and a bouillabaisse that’s swimming with fresh scallops, shrimp and lobster and served with an optional Pernod mister at the table.
Hours: Krave will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays (5 to 10 p.m.) until full season hours (Mondays through Saturdays) start in November. Reservations are a must.
Sisters Meghan and Courtney Conran, the blondes that inspired the diner’s name, opened the strip-plaza eatery in September 2011. They served a menu of dishes inspired by family recipes, such as the “Beezy Cakes” flapjacks named for their cousin Bridget and their Grandpa Bill’s Monte Cristo.
The sisters posted a note on the diner’s website, saying they were unable to agree to new lease terms on the space.
“We want to thank everyone for supporting us throughout the years and giving us the best customers we could ever ask for,” said their note. “We are actively seeking a new location, so be on the lookout for a new Blondies in the future.”