Pages ripped from magazines, smudged index cards, sheets of paper with notes scribbled in the margins. I once thought I was the family originator of such a hodge-podge recipe collection. As it turns out, the little wooden boxes bursting to the seams are something of a legacy.
My grandma had a pass-through window from the kitchen to the dining area. I remember my childhood delight at being allowed to carry the side dishes, gently entrusted into my small hands. She passed away before I was old enough to ask about her recipes and stories. But, in perusing that little wooden box, I’ve uncovered recipes that tell a story.
My grandma’s story is simplicity. Her recipes contain ingredients, sometimes with measurements, and occasionally directions. They are brief and inspire the cook to find a personal connection to the recipe. Guidance in the lack of direction: Know your ingredients. Taste your food. Be familiar with your tools.
And with that, I stumbled across a scrap of paper. It had a semi-circular stain, I like to believe it’s the fault of a beer can, and simple lettering in spidery pencil, “Beer bread.”
I started with the recipe…then added to it.
If “family” is about growing from your roots and improving on your history, this recipe is a family recipe. There’s the original and there’s my version. Craft beer and first rate spices are my addition to the tattered recipe from my grandma’s little wooden box.
3 cups self-rising flour
1 tablespoon dehydrated jalapeño, diced
2 tablespoons honey
1 bottle room temperature Trippel (any Belgian style Trippel would work, but I stayed with my Colorado roots and selected New Belgium’s version)
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
Flaked sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, combine jalapeño and flour. Set aside. In small bowl, combine honey with room temperature Trippel. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Gently stir in cheddar cheese, just to combine. Pour mixture into a greased loaf pan. Brush with beaten egg and generously sprinkle flaked salt across top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Serve warm, with salted butter.