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I realize that I’m very late in posting this.  It just slipped my mind.  Forgive me, please.  I realize that as I reflect on this occasion now my thoughts and feelings are probably different then they were at that moment.  My hopes for writing these Spotted Cow Tales was to capture a moment in time, and to reflect on a specific moment weeks later can easily loose the impact of that occasion.  On the other hand, writing some time later offers an opportunity to step back and look at the moment in a much larger lens.  For good or bad, here’s the latest installment of my Spotted Cow Tales.

There are moments in life that seem to slip by, almost unnoticed.  There are moments that we take for granted because they have become routine.  There are moments that we don’t notice because we have numerous other things going on at the same time.  And then there are moments that we never expect to have any impact on our lives.  A few weeks ago Lauren and I shared one of those moments.  I don’t remember what day it was, but we were sitting on the couch together watching TV.  I don’t even remember what show we were watching.  Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t even remember the moment if it didn’t involve a Spotted Cow.  I’m not saying that the Spotted Cow defined that moment for me (sorry New Glarus), but since I’ve been writing about each of the six bottles it became something that I forced myself to think about.

There really isn’t much to even say about our evening.  I offered Lauren a Spotted Cow, and she declined because she felt like those were mine.  I assured her that I would be more than happy if she would have one.  “You’re worth it,” I told her.  I got up from the couch, walked over to the fridge, pulled the Spotted Cow from the fridge, opened the top, and brought it back to her.  That’s it.  I feel as if I’ve even romanticized the moment by writing about getting up and getting it from the fridge.  We sat a watched TV.

I’m glad that I’ve waited to write this chapter until now.  It’s been good to think back to that seemingly unimportant evening.  Life has been so busy for both of us lately.  School is in full swing for Lauren.  She has projects due and tests to take and critiques to be received.  I have something going on every day this month.  I’m having to make list in order to get everything done, and I’m not a list person.  We haven’t had a day to just be together in I don’t know how long.  I miss that.  It’s been nice to think back to a evening spent so casually.  Maybe I can try to move some things around so we can have some quality time like that again soon.  I’ll certainly raise a glass to that.

cheers.

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As I was leaving from work, last Wednesday, I saw a recipe in the Denver Post.  I looked at the ingredients and thought it was worth a shot.  It was a recipe for fish that called for 12 oz. of beer, so I knew it couldn’t be that bad.  To be specific, it suggested a “light pale ale.”  I knew at that moment that a Spotted Cow would be perfect for “Beer Braised Talipia.”

 Lauren and I had been in the mood for fish, so I wonder if it was a sign that I saw the recipe in the newspaper.  I was in the mood for beer, so I knew it was destiny.  It was fairly simple. Cumin, salt, and chili powder make up a rub for the fish.  Mushrooms, an onion, diced tomato (in the can so you can use the juice), some Tabasco, and the Spotted Cow go in a skillet to simmer.  Sear the fish, add it to the skillet, let it sit for 5 minutes, and it’s done.  Because of the liquid (the 12 oz. of beer and the tomato juice from the can) the meal turns out more like a stew.  I didn’t anticipate this; if I had I would have added more fish.  But it was wonderful. 

We ate like royalty that night.  Along with the Beer Braised Talipia, we made a salad filled with all Colorado grown veggies, a baked potato with broccoli and cheese, and some yellow squash roasted with black pepper.  We were stuffed.

Of course, the crisp sweet flavor of the Spotted Cow worked wonderfully in the recipe and to tie it all together I cracked open another Spotted Cow to drink.  I know what you’re thinking.  Two Spotted Cow’s in one meal?  Yes, two Spotted Cow’s.  I finished off the left-overs today for lunch.  I wondered if it would have lost so much of its flavor sitting in the fridge, but it didn’t

The meal was great last Saturday, but with the warm weather today, I think it tasted a little better.

cheers.

There have been a few times when, in a weaker state, I would have opened the second Spotted Cow, but I was able to remind myself that I really did want to enjoy each bottle during a significant moment.  That’s a lot of weight for a simple beer to carry, and to then add on top of that the weight of writing about each time I enjoy one creates an even larger burden.  Chapter 2 has suffered a little under that burden.  After enjoying the second Spotted Cow I waited a couple days to write about it.  When I sat down to write I couldn’t find the words I wanted to use, so I put it off.  The result is that I don’t remember all of the details.  Please offer me grace as I may need to fabricate some of the details.

The start of any school year forces life back into the rhythm that was lost throughout the freedom of the summer break.  Three weeks ago Lauren began her fall semester and that rhythm began.  She has classes four days a week.  Her Monday and Wednesday classes allow her to be home a little bit before I get home from work, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays she had a class that keeps her on campus until 8:15pm.  The first few weeks of this new rhythm can be awkward because it takes a while to get used to the amount of time that it takes to get from home to school, class to class, etc.  And while I feel like I’m speaking for Lauren right now, I can attest to the fact that there is a new rhythm for me too.  My rhythm doesn’t involve bus and class schedules, but it is different from the summer.

It was on a Wednesday during one of these first weeks that I decided to try a new recipe for a “Mediterranean Chicken Pasta.”  I was a very simple recipe-chicken, penne pasta, spinach, roasted red pepper, parmesan cheese, garlic, and that’s about it.  I substituted tofu for the chicken but other than that I kept the recipe the same.  Like I said, it was very simple.  Cook the pasta according to the box.  Add some ground black pepper and salt to the tofu and then seer it and set it aside.  (I used “firm” tofu and boiled it for 10 minutes to firm it up a little more.)  Pour some olive oil into a hot pan and add the crushed garlic, pepper, and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.  Then add the tofu and pasta to the pan and let that cook for a few minutes.  Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top, and serve.   The deep green of the spinach and the rich red of the peppers offer wonderful color to this dish.  I cooked some sweet corn to serve as a side dish.  You can’t go wrong with sweet corn this time of year.

I could think of only three things that would make this meal complete.  The first thing is quite obvious.  I needed to share this meal with my best friend and wife.  Check.  Second, we would need to sit and watch “The Last Comic Standing,” since it was a Wednesday night.  Check.  And third, we would need to share a Spotted Cow.  Check

Cheers

[Don’t forget to read the preface]

Lauren and I have a fairly routine weekly dinner menu. I would go as far as to say that we are in a rut. Let’s wait another 3 months before we start that accusation. During a typical week our menu will include (but isn’t limited to, remember) tacos, fish, rice, pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers, noodles, and usually a meal out. When I went grocery shopping on Tuesday I bought some Tilapia, which means that Wednesday night we will have fish for dinner. You don’t want to keep fish too long, you know. I really like cooking Tilapia. It’s a cheep fish that takes flavor very well, and even if you don’t add anything to it it doesn’t taste too fishy.

Wednesday night came and I started to get ready to cook dinner. I put a stock pot on a burner and started to boil water in it. Next, I pulled out a few potatoes and started shredding them. When both potatoes were shredded I put them in a fry pan to start frying them. When the water started to boil I set two ears of sweet corn into the boiling water. I turned my attention back to the potatoes. I added some thyme, rosemary, garlic, and a shallot into the fry pan and mixed everything together. The aroma of everything was wonderful. With a few minutes remaining I warmed up a skillet and placed the Tilapia fillets in the heated pan. I love the hiss and crackle the comes from food cooking on a hot skillet. I seared the fillets on both sides, then drizzled some melted butter and lemon juice on one side of the fillets. Flipped the fish so the butter/lemon side was down and let them sit for another minute.

I set salt, pepper, and butter on the table for the corn and started to fill our plates. I placed a pile of the seasoned, hashed potatoes on half of the plate and an ear of corn next to it. On top of the pile of potatoes went the fillet of fish and we’re ready to eat. Well almost. Lauren took the plates to the table and sat down to wait for me while I reached into the fridge and pulled out a Spotted Cow. What better an occasion, than returning to the rhythm of life, to share a Spotted Cow? We will have to see.

Cheers.

It would be foolish of me to travel through Wisconsin without picking up a six pack of Spotted Cow. Spotted Cow is brewed by a small brewing company called New Glarus Brewing Co. in New Glarus Wisconsin. The label says, “You know you’re in Wisconsin when you see the Spotted Cow.” For the past few years this has been one of my favorite beers. In my mind it is the perfect summer beer. It’s a light ale brewed with the malt and barley expected of an ale, but they add corn into the mix to make it Wisconsin delight. The downside is that you can only get this beer in Wisconsin, so whenever I drive through I bring some back home with me.

This time through I picked up two six packs of Spotted Cow, one for me and one for my friends over at Pipes and Pints, and I also picked up a Coffee Stout, which is near the top of my favorite beer list. Because of the limited availability of Spotted Cow I have to be selective about when I drink them.

I’m writing these down so you can share in my enjoyment. And if you ever pass through Wisconsin, pick me up some and I’ll be your best friend.

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