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Three cheers for the red, white and brew

No disrespect intended, for we take America's birthday very seriously, and by whatever means available to us -- live viewing or DVR -- we will visit the "Pops Goes the Fourth" telecast (CBS) later tonight for a little bit of "1812 Overture."

God, we love that cannonfire!

This day surely will include, for many of us, something cold and tasty to drink: sweet tea from a sun-tea jug, soda from icy-frosty aluminum cans, a beer so cold it gives you brain freeze. And speaking of beer, we really must recommend Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company's Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale.

OK, it's not beer in the high-school beach-party sense, and for the very reason we never liked beach parties in high school. Southern Pecan has deep, round, full flavor and texture. "Beer you can chew," as a good buddy once described Guinness; but where Guinness wrestles your tastebuds to the mat, Southern Pecan takes them for twirl around the dance floor.

We get ours at The Mockingbird Cafe in Bay St. Louis, and not near often enough, we must say. You'll find a long list of locations -- surely one near you -- at the brewery's site, where you also can read about the company's history and the attention, the good kind, it brings The Magnolia State, the Hospitality State, Mississippi, our home sweet home.

And just so as not to foresake the original and primary purpose of this blog, which is to keep coming back to the cucina, we have a couple of recipes using that nut brown ale, one from Mai Little China, an Asian/Southern restaurant on the climb to institution status in Greenwood, the other from the brewing company itself.

Live long, prosper and have a happy Fourth.


Served at Mai Little China in Greenwood

8- to 10-ounce tuna steak

4 teaspoons Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale

6 pecan halves, chopped

1 egg white, beaten

3 ounces chicken stock

1 teaspoon lite soy sauce

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons vinegar

1/4 teaspoon garlic

1/8 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons water

Salt and pepper

To make sauce: Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside. Saute garlic and ginger in canola oil; add chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar and sugar, and heat to the boiling point. Add 3 teaspoons Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale. Mix in a little of the cornstarch mixture until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make tuna: Marinate tuna in 1 teaspoon Southern Pecan ale for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Dip one side of the tuna in egg white and coat with chopped pecans. Pan fry in skillet in a little canola oil over medium heat with pecan side down until the pecans are toasted through. Turn tuna over and cook until desired temperature. Serve with sauce spooned over and serve immediately.


(Yes, float)

Lazy Magnolia believes thusly: "The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. After all, who doesn't like beer and ice cream?"

2 to 3 scoops of your favorite ice cream (we suggest Rocky Road)

1 pint Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale

2 to 3 cherries

1 mint leaf for garnish

Place the ice cream in a pint glass and slowly pour Southern Pecan over the ice cream. Drink the remaining beer while the float settles. Add the cherries and mint leaves to garnish the float. Enjoy.