Grilled Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Mac & Cheese/Dogfish Head Namaste White/Lo-Pan”In Tensions”
A box of campanile noodles in the pantry and an intense hankering for Kumas mac and cheese was the inspiration behind this evening’s fare. We took a bit of a deviation from our norm (bacon and jalapeno) to a more Italian combo of grilled chicken and sun dried tomatoes. A little different in the cheese realm as well utilizing the dank, earthy flavors of provolone along with the more traditional cheddar. For the beer we went with the classic Dogfish Head Brewery and their Namaste White Witbier. On the stereo we’ve got the latest EP “In Tensions” from Ohio’s Lo-Pan lighting up our speakers.
Grilled Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Mac & Cheese – Before we do anything else, let’s get the grilled chicken out of the way. Pretty straightforward as we season boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic and a little cayenne then grill over a medium flame until cooked through. Remove from heat and wrap in foil until needed.
For the mac and cheese, we’re gonna knock this out using one pan as we build this tasty, comforting concoction. In a medium size sauté pan we hit the pan with 2 cups of half and half and let that just start to boil before slowly adding in 1 cup each of cheddar jack and provolone cheese until melted and cheesy.
To the pan we can add in our diced grilled chicken breast and a handful of sundried tomatoes. Stir these around for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften slightly.
Next up add in 2 cups of campanelle and stir to coat evenly.
Some freshly grated Romano goes on top and there you have it, a perfect, comforting Italian-style mac and cheese for a winter’s night.
Dogfish Head Namaste White – The crazy minds over Delaware’s Dogfish Head seem to be always concocting something out of the ordinary in the beer world, so it came as a bit of a surprise that their Namaste White is a pretty straight forward Belgian Wit brewed with orange and coriander. The beer itself pours a pale yellow with almost no head. The aroma is yeasty and herbal. The flavor is spicy and earthy with a medium mouthfeel, a little unusual for this normally light, summery style. Admittedly Wits are not amongst our favorite beers, but with the the rich, creamy pasta we thought it’d go great. Well, not only did it pair up nicely, it also changed our tune on Witbiers as this was mighty delicious on its own.
Lo-Pan”In Tensions” – The pride of Columbus, Ohio, Lo-Pan has always been somewhat of an anomaly in the stoner rock scene eschewing the typical vocal range of the genre by coming at you with some huge upper range courtesy of singer Jeff Martin’s killer falsetto combining Coheed & Cambria with the best of 80s arena rock. The band’s latest EP “In Tensions” continues on with their formula of catchy, riff-driven rock and roll. The EP opens with “Go West” contrasting a heavy and dark groove with the airy vocals making it a perfect made for summer tune. “Sink or Swim” has the same feel as a Tool or Perfect Circle tune just a little more upbeat and not as cynical. On “Long Live the King” the band soars with a good time operatic anthem. “Alexis” is a beautiful, stirring ballad of sorts starting off sounding like classic Kansas or Styx in it’s lyrical theatrics. The song picks up a bit thanks to some crunchy guitar work while still maintaining a certain haunting quality to it. The EP’s finale is “Pathfinder” and it’s an atmospheric, spacey slow to mid-tempo rocker that gradually picks up speed before unleashing an all out jam to finish things out, 70s-style. These guys continue to churn out great albums and “In Tensions” carries on that tradition.