Sunday Beer Blog: Valar Dohaeris 

This beer was an impulse buy at Wine House. Derek doesn’t watch Game of Thrones, and while I’m a huge fan of the show, I wouldn’t necessarily equate it to great beer. That said, the good gents at WH had a flattering description of the beer and taunted us with tales of limited quantities. 

We didn’t rush to drink it, but after my husband tried to kill me while fat biking with hills and ice, it was time for a treat. (It was SO fun.)

We poured more quickly than we should have and received the gift of chunky bits because of it. I recommend you follow directions and pour slowly. The head was fabulous and the color was complete golden honey. 

Icky Bits

The Ommegang Brewery beer is a Belgian-style tripel ale that weighs in at a whopping 9% ABV. It smelled lovely and went down smooth. It was much lighter than expected and not as malty as promised. I was happy about that. I’m not a huge malt lover. 

All in all the GOT beer was a lot like the show, wonderful every minute, but without the bloodshed and boobs. Hey, a beer can’t deliver everything. 

Brewer: Ommegang Brewery

AVB: 9%

Purchased At: Wine House 

Gnocchi, from Scratch! 

OMG I did it. I made gnocchi.

I don’t make pasta from hand, and I don’t make things that look like pasta but aren’t from hand either. So what led to this unusual event? More like who: supermodel Chrissy Teigan. Ok, so it’s not as though she personally taught me how, but I feel like we’re sorta buds since she’s amazingly funny, smart, and gorgeous and I’m clearly the same just paid way less. (Hey, my husband is very flattering.)

Her book, Cravings, hasn’t let me down yet, but I had a lot of scepticism toward this recipe. Sweet potato gnocchi from scratch was a big ask, even though I really enjoy the delicacy of hand-made pasta and gnocchi. I can truly tell the difference between a dish made by hand and a dish boiled from a bag. I eat the later primarily, but wouldn’t it be cool if the former could be found in my house too?

What made this dish even scarier was its lack of complexity. Fresh, clean ingredients are used. Hands fold them together and roll them out. A small knife cuts them into tiny pillows. By the time I was done, I thought there was no way they would taste good. I was messy, but it was just too easy. I still wasn’t trusting Chrissy.


Texture before & after flour has been added.


I had thought ahead and doubled the batch. (If the task was extremely hard, but worth it, I’d have another dinner ready.) One went into the freezer, and one went into a pot of boiling water. I nervously waited for the gnocchi to clump together like a popcorn ball, but no, it stayed separate and cooked nicely.

The sauce was a delicious brown butter, sage. It took minutes to prepare while the gnocchi cooked. Once drained, a quick toss was all it took to get the meal ready. At this point, having tasted success, I got a bit catty with Derek. He was gaming and didn’t jump up quite quick enough when I said dinner was ready. Apparently you don’t mess with me and gnocchi.

I loved it. Derek loved it. Most importantly, Chrissy isn’t a liar!

Final product & content faces.

In hindsight, I’d cook the double batch. It’s that or have a big salad too. Derek is a meat and potatoes guy, so he was left wanting.

I wasn’t the least bit confident, and there were certainly cringe moments, but I survived and fed my family. (They were ready to order in if necessary.) It’s also worth noting that the moscato I was drinking while I cooked went exceptionally well with the sweet potato gnocchi.

Custard Courage

Custard is one of my favorite things. I order it compulsively off menus regardless of remaining appetite. Despite my great affection, I have been too scared to make it myself. I blame my mother.

I know it’s cliché, but I grew up with a few cooking rules that may as well have been embroidered onto the pillows. One of these was “don’t burn the milk” another was “screw up custard and you’ll get a scramble”.   Thank you mom.

Another reason I’ve satisfied myself with other people’s ability to cook and serve me custard is I’m terribly impatient.  (My husband is saying “shocker!” in his head right now.) Come to think, that could also be a reason the above “rules” were said on repeat…

Arkose Brewery Boxcar Porter…Yum.

Fear, and childhood trauma, aside, I set forth to create my favorite dessert. To get started I grabbed my trusty New York Times Dessert Cookbook. If the NYT has tested this custard, it must be good. Next, I poured myself a beer. This recipe was going to take liquid courage.

The ingredients were very basic. Milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar and nutmeg. I was sure I could still screw it up. Simple ingredients meant there was no flavor to hide behind. Either this would be custard, or NOT custard.

I had the eggs separated and the milk heating on the stove when my mom called. (coincidence?) I let her in on what I was attempting, and she responded with, “Don’t burn the milk, and when you poor in the eggs, don’t scramble them!”

“Don’t burn the milk, and when you poor in the eggs, don’t scramble them!”

Awesome. No pressure.

Usually my mom is game to chat on the phone for a while, but sensing the seriousness of the situation, she made quick goodbyes and returned my attention to he milk. It was supposed to be warm but not hot. Hmmmm. The only way to test that was with a finger. Very scientific. If I dipped my pointer in and screamed it was too hot. If it was more like a spa treatment, it was perfect. My finger came out relaxed and feeling pampered- perfect.

The eggs did not scramble when added (whew!) and my next step was to pour the mixture into the baking dish. This setup was fun for me too. The baking dish had to sit in a bigger baking dish and then boiling water was poured halfway up the side of the first dish. It was like a strange bath. It apparently helped the custard set evenly.


Custard Close-up


In the end, success. Light, sweet, eggy flavor. I loved the texture- cool and mushy. (Derek did not.) I think I’ll add more nutmeg and some cinnamon next time, but that’s just personal preference. Oh, and there will be a next time.

*I think it’s important to note my mother is amazing and I pick on her a lot. She is the best chef I know, and I credit all of my ability to her nagging.