Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Shrimp and Grits Pairing

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Shrimp & Grits – should Malc and I pair it with a crisp white or a pale ale? We’ll be testing out our wines and hops this weekend!

The Wandering Gourmand

Congratulations to last months Beer Versus Wine Challenge winner -The Wandering Sheppard!  Part of the honor includes coming up with the next month’s challenge.  Below is The Wandering Sheppard’s post and challenge food.  Like last month, participants have until next Tuesday, April 1 (no joke) to turn in their suggestion before we take it to a vote.  For more on the rules, click here.

I’m a married man. So as I signed my devotion to my wife on our marriage license, I also signed all decision making abilities. While winning last month’s Beer Versus Wine Food Pairing was a great honor, it also came with having to decide the next food to pair.

To assist me, I opened the food suggestion on my blog, The Wandering Sheppard. While the suggestions did not pile high, I did receive some great suggestion. Thanks to Kathleen for her suggestion on the…

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Why it’s named what it’s named!


dog food

Articles of Incorporation

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Article one in the Dolce and Amore Bernese Mountain Dog Articles of Incorporation states feeding time is at five. 5:00 o’clock.  Am and pm.  Morning and night.  Sunrise and sunset, it’s the standardized feeding time.  There is no deviation.  There is no fudging on the time.  No sleeping in, no rolling over for another five minutes of extra sleep. There are no “just a minute” or “hang on a sec” comments.  Come 5 o’clock its din-din time.  There is no delay, even when daylight savings time flickers on and off.  When the day’s timer chimes 5:00 o’clock, it is chow time!  NOW!

There are rules and regs to follow at feeding time. Policy set.  Bylaws to uphold.   5:00 a.m. and p.m. feeding time is just the start of a long list of statues.  I make Dolce and Amore sit before I place their bowls into their stands.  Dolce first, then Amore. Well trained, Dolce has this rule down pat.  Her hind end touching the floor and staying put before I’ve even picked up her feed bowl. Wiggling and anxious, she understands policy.   Dolce recognizes by obeying the directives set forth by Malcolm and I, she’ll get fed that much quicker, that much faster. For Dolce, it’s all about the food and she’ll do anything for food.  She is our law-abiding canine, always following the speed limit.

Now, Amore is another story.  She already has quite a few violations on her record, her rap sheet multiple pages long.  She doesn’t believe in law and order and she definitely doesn’t believe in sitting first.  To her, it’s a waste of time.  Give her the food bowl and go away.  She’ll sit if she knows we are watching her, waiting, but it’s truly a half-ass attempt.  Her hind quarters don’t even graze the surface of the bricks.  It’s more on par with the California Hollywood Roll as you go through a stop sign.

Article two demands all dog food is manufactured by the finest processors.  Measured into equal amounts, treated with extra tasty nibbles, each dog bowl must be prepared by a professionally trained canine sous chef.  Translation:  Food prep starts an hour prior to the feeding schedule.  Using filtered water to moisten the kibbles, mixed in leftover broccoli stems to enhance the flavor and topped with a dollop of peanut butter, per the AOI’s, Dolce and Amore are well fed.

Article two is like the USDA:  ensuring all dog food that is consumed is safe, nutritious and sustainable, thus establishing and enforcing regulations about food handing and preparation.  All Article two has done is enable Dolce to become our resident peanut butter slut dog.  Dolce will do anything for some Skippy.  Just say “Yippy-Skippy” and she is on her back, paws in the air, doing her tricks.

Article three of the AOI states no watching.  No spy cams.  No radar.  Amore hates to be under the camera when she eats.  She’ll put her head down, muzzle ready to grab a bite, her eyes roving left and right checking for Big Brother.  Always on the look out for cops.   Heedful of the speed trap.  Regulations demand caregivers to step back five plus paces behind, out of visual range.  Mind the GAP.  Back away.

Article four is all about inspections. After polishing off their food bowls to a shiny and empty bottom, Dolce and Amore reserve the right to examine the other’s food bowl.  Haste makes waste and there is nothing the girls hate more than waste.  Bowl inspections safeguards against uneaten food, protects against surplus broccoli stems and eliminates any extra leftovers.  The first to finish their meal allows for additional time to search out remaining food scraps in the other’s bowl.  As Dolce heads over to Amore’s bowl, Amore is rapidly moving towards Dolce’s bin.  Muzzles are searching for one last bite, one last morsel, one more crumb. Food bowl inspections are a carefully orchestrated ploy to out maneuver the other canine for one more bite.  When it comes to food bowl inspections, the USDA has nothing on the canine,

Article five is the last and sums up the in-between time.  The minutes between the a.m. and the p.m.  The hours between the sun up and the sunset.  The important part.  The TREATS!  Ah yes, both Dolce and Amore have riders in their contract for the good stuff: pig ears, chew sticks, milk bones and dog cookies.  The household policy is to limit their in-take of doggy treats.  Good manners and good behavior will garner a dog cookie.  A trip to the pet store might merit a pig ear.  Article four is based solely on budgetary means and spare change.  And if I’m in a good mood.  And usually only adhered to on weekends and holidays.

As employed staff, it is Malcolm’s and my primary responsibility, concern and purpose to ensure that all dog food is manufactured and consumed by the 5:00 o’clock mark on the day’s timer.  Treats are optional.


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poor Malcolm

Guarding her treasurer

Tiamo’s favorite – a peanut butter filled KONG

Whenever we have company visiting, especially those guests with children, I try to have some type of cookie or snack ready. Something sweet, something special for the little ones.  I  usually have to whack Malcolm’s fingers  with the wooden spoon, as he tries to steal a cookie before company arrives, saving them for the kids.  Malcolm has appointed himself as the resident taster and feels he gets first bite of any sweets.  And if that doesn’t work, he calls his stealth of a cookie the “Malcolm TAX”, owed to him by virtue of him being “Malcolm”.

When our nephew Sam came around, I made sure the cookie bin was always full.  By the weekend’s end, as he was getting ready to leave, the cookies would be depleted to just a few left.  I would send him off with a bag of “left-overs”, the few cookies still uneaten  a part of his care-package.  Malcolm was always tweaked that I gave the cookies away.

When our Dennis the Menace neighborhood kid, came over to play with Tiamo and her eight little puppies, I would keep extra treats hidden in the garage freezer (hidden so well, even Malcolm didn’t know they were there!) ready for him to enjoy.  When the puppies outgrew their yelping pen, we moved the litter into the garage where we built a huge pen.  The pen took up the whole garage, everything pushed to the perimeters to make room.  “Dennis” had permission to come on over to our house and head out to the garage to play with the kids.  After a couple of play sessions, I noticed that every time, “Dennis” left, a box or a chair was always moved over by the refrigerator/freezer.

Naturally, I assumed Malcolm was moving things around in the garage and left the box there.  Malcolm figured I used the chair to sit with Tiamo and her kids.  It took about a two weeks before I realized “Dennis” was using the chair to climb up on to reach the top freezer and grab some cookies for his pocket before he left.   “Dennis” was double dipping!  He would enjoy a treat when he first arrived and he would enjoy several as he was leaving!

When I baked cookies for work, Malcolm would complain I only baked for others, that he never got to enjoy the bounty.  Unfortunately, he was right.  I didn’t bake for just us – I baked for others.  So one weekend, I decided I would bake a batch of his favorites.  Peanut Butter Cookies.  Made with Skippy’s Chunky Peanut Butter.  Not Jif.  The old-fashioned kind of peanut butter cookies with cris-cross fork tyne indents on the top.  I made a double-batch so I could freeze some for later.  The kitchen air was filled with a warm peanut butter scent as I pulled the baking sheets filled with the golden brown cookies fresh out of the oven.  I gently transferred the cookies to the cooling racks.  Malcolm was outside in the back watering, so I grabbed a few still warm cookies, wrapped them up in a paper napkin and brought the tasty cookies out to him.  I’d do kitchen clean up after Malcolm had a chance to eat some cookies.

I wasn’t gone long, maybe four to five minutes at most.  Long enough to walk down to where Malcolm had water running on the Purple Robe Locust trees around back, hand him his treats and head back up to the house to wash up.  Tiamo joined me as I delivered the fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies to Malcolm, running out of the house ahead of me.  As she was in the habit of doing, Tiamo wandered off as I chit-chatted with Malcolm.  As I  turned to walk back up to the house, I told Malcolm I was going to leave Tiamo with him.  She wouldn’t run off and she loved to be with Malcolm outdoors.

I entered the kitchen, gathering the dirty baking utensils to wash.  I bent down to pull out a zip-lock bag from a bottom drawer to freeze the cookies, turned to the corner counter to pack up the cookies and froze.  A cooling rack was laying haphazardly against the brick floor.  My eyes quickly looked up to the counter.  All of the cookies were gone.  ALL of them!  GONE!  The remaining cooling racks were empty.  One rack on the floor, one half-off the counter, the last one pushed back against the back counter wall.  The only evidence of any cookies were a few cookie crumbs left on the counter.

Tiamo hadn’t just wandered off, she had snuck back into the house while I was with Malcolm and ate all the peanut butter cookies.  Every last one! Finished them off!  Obviously, Tiamo loved peanut butter.  She was our counter-surfing thief!  And, it didn’t take her long to pilfer the peanut butter goodies.

Poor Malcolm – out of a double-batch of Peanut Butter Cookies, Malcolm only had two.


These outrageous cookies need to be kept under lock and key.  Do not leave unattended while cooling!  Have been known to disappear down to the crumbs.

  • 1 cup super chunky peanut butter (with nuts)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp dark corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 12 oz of chopped up peanut / peanut butter candy bars such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Payday or Nutrageous

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line two large baking sheets with foil.

Beat peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, egg, corn syrup and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended with an electric mixer.  Stir together flour, oats, and baking soda in another bowl and mix into the peanut butter mixture.  Add chopped candy bars.  Mix.

Drop dough by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets.  Slightly flatten cookie dough with the back of a moistened spoon or your fingertips.  Freeze unbaked cookies on sheets for 12-18 minutes

Bake cookies 10 minutes.  Switch top and bottom sheets and bake an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cookies cool on sheets until just beginning to firm.  Transfer to finish cooling on a cookie rack.

WARNING:  Keep husbands and dogs away!

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Winner Winner Fish Fry Dinner

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And the winner is…….?

The Wandering Gourmand

A HUGE thanks to all of the participants – both contestants and voters – in this inaugural Beer Versus Wine Food Pairing Challenge.  7 thoughtful pairing suggestions definitely exceeded my expectations.  Please help spread the word for March’s challenge so we can grow this forum uniting food, beer, and wine bloggers.  Speaking of next month… want to know who won the privilege of hosting?

Amongst the many creative and enticing submissions ranging from a proud homebrew to a Brit’s expert suggestion of Champagne to a couple of variations of IPAs, a winner had to emerge.  The Battered Fish honor goes to none other than The Wandering Sheppard!  Congrats!   Look for his pairing challenge here at The Wandering Gourmand the week of March 24!

Now that we have made you both hungry and thirsty, here’s a beer battered fish recipe to try at home straight from the not-so-world famous…

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Battered Fish Pairing Challenge – The Vote

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Battered Fish Pairing Challenge – The Vote.

Battered Fish Pairing Challenge – The Vote

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Part two to the perfect battered fish pairing

The Wandering Gourmand

As with anything new, I was nervous about turning my monthly Beer Versus Wine Food Pairing column into a reader generated contest complete with a vote and a winner who will take the reins of the column next month.  Would anybody actually participate?  Sure, the posts have always won some comments and suggestions in the past, but participation varies from the wildly popular Thanksgiving Dinner post to the not so popular Chicken Wing post.  So last Wednesday I finished the final draft of Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Battered Fish Pairing and clicked publish.

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Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Beer Battered Fish Pairing

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I’m a little late on the re-posting/re-blogging – I’ll do better next time!



Beer Versus Wine – The Perfect Beer Battered Fish Pairing.

One of the best things about growing up in a Catholic community (besides being told on a regular basis by my Catholic friends that I was going to hell because I was a Methodist and Methodists aren’t Christians) were the Lenten fish Fridays.  The political argument on the Vatican’s declaration of sustaining from meat to help the fishing industry aside, the move was brilliant.  It produced some amazing varieties of fish as the good Catholics of the world put on their creative aprons to make weeks of mandatory fish dinners tolerable.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Back home in Youngstown, it seemed nearly every church, restaurant, and bar advertised some type of fish special to lure in the faithful.  Given that my family were suckers for a good seafood dinner, we splashed the holy water on our face and tried to blend in.  There was traditional fried, baked, francese, blackened, sautéed, and my personal favorite, beer battered.  Yes, there is a difference between regular breaded and fried and beer battered.  The crust is thicker with a bit of a bread or cake texture beneath the crunch.  The batter also lends a more complex flavor depending on the type of beer used.

This brings me to February’s Beer Versus Wine challenge – beer battered fish.  Just because the name has beer in it, doesn’t mean beer has to be paired with it.  Instead of voicing my suggestions, this month I am opening up suggestions to the blogging community for a vote.  Submit your suggestion and why your beer or wine makes the perfect pairing for beer battered fish in the comment sections below.  You have a week to submit suggestions.  Next week, I’ll open up polls.  The pairing with the most votes wins the honor of coming up with March’s Beer Versus Wine challenge.

What is your perfect pairing for beer-battered fish?

Below are some rules / suggestions completely added after the fact due to my lack of clarity and the amount of questions coming in.

The Rules / Suggestions

  • Write a comment with your perfect beer or wine pairing and tell us why the pairing works so well.
  • Let’s keep this to beer or wine suggestions.  No sweet tea or Jolly Rancher flavored vodka (that just sounds gross).
  • Reblog the challenge on your blog and encourage others to participate.
  • Remember to vote!
  • Winner gets the honor of coming up with March’s perfect pairing to publish the fourth week of March.

The all important dates:

  • Tuesday, March 4th – Deadline for submissions
  • Wednesday, March 5th – Voting begins with a post summarizing the entrants and a poll
  • Tuesday, March 11th– Voting ends
  • Wednesday, March 12th – Winner is heralded in a victory post and a beer battered fish recipe from the kitchens of The Wandering Gourmand is posted