This year has certainly had a whole new set of challenges, many I never expected to experience in my lifetime. And yet, this has still managed to be one of the very best years of my life — all thanks, of course, to our new life here on the beautiful Oregon coast!
This has certainly been a year filled with adventure and new firsts. Starting with our move from Oregon City to the Oregon coastin February, a move that seemed terrifying at the time but quickly became one of the best decisions we’ve ever made as a family. That decision allowed us the freedom to roam and explore even when the globe seemingly shut down. We have met so many amazing new friends, even in a time when keeping a safe social distance is now our new normal. And distance learning and working remotely has somehow transformed into new and exciting opportunities we never would have had the chance to experienced otherwise. The very best part is we have done all of this as a family in a new place we lovingly call home.
So we’re ringing in 2021 with one of my favorite local Oregon coast spirits, Dead Guy Ale from Rogue Brewery, as a toast to our new life here on the coast. Although instead of toasting with cold glasses of ale, we’re toasting with these soft, chewy pretzel bites dipped in that ooey, gooey cheese beer dip. Cheers to a happy and healthy 2021!
Rogue Dead Guy Ale Cheese Dip
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups Rogue Dead Guy Ale
1 teaspoon French Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon P.S. Seasonings Grate State cheesy blend (or your favorite garlic cheese seasoning)
3 cups Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
Cracked black pepper to taste
Prepare the ingredients before starting to cook because this is a fast recipe, and you will want to have the ingredients next to you. Measure ingredients and grate cheese.
Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour until smooth.
Slowly pour in beer while whisking. Let the mixture come to a simmer.
Add cheese, milk, Worcestershire, mustard, paprika, salt, cracked black pepper to taste, and cheddar seasoning.
Slowly stir with a whisk or a wooden spoon while the cheese is melting.
Once cheese is melted, let it come to simmer and remove from heat. Then it’s ready to serve!
Soft Pretzel Bites
Made from my favorite pretzel roll recipe from seededatthetable.com
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then cooled to room temperature
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Kosher or pretzel salt to top rolls
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast, flour, butter, sugar and salt. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment to mix the ingredients, then knead at medium-high speed for 1 minute. (This will help develop some gluten.) If not using a stand mixer, you can also do this by hand or with a hand-mixer fitted with the dough hooks. Shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Form into small bite size pieces balls by pulling the sides to the center and pinching to seal the lightly rolling on a flat surface. Place the formed bites, seam side down, onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Cover with the towel and allow to rise again for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425F degrees. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large sauce pan, then add 1/4 cup of baking soda. Boil bite size dough balls for 1 minute, flipping over halfway. Place the boiled dough back onto the lined baking sheet, seam side down. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then lightly sprinkle with salt. Then bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Depending on size.
Serve warm or at room temperature.