Big Photography / Development update!
Well, a couple months of really hard work has paid off - the bulk of the recipes have been developed and photographed!
We have one more recipe to shoot tomorrow (Was supposed to be tonight, but 2 flat tires and a UPS delay have thwarted those plans!), and a couple photos to take of harvesting the hops this weekend... and then we're pretty much done until spring!
We have 6 recipes to shoot in the spring - have to wait for the hop shoots to start coming up again! In addition, we'll have a few other things to shoot, mostly surrounding planting (a root ball, etc)
Right now, we've developed and shot about 55 recipes, if I recall correctly. A couple of those need very minor tweaks (seasoning, adjusting hop levels), but nothing that would change the final appearance of the dish. We're super happy with the results - this is a cookbook with a huge range of recipes, and the photos turned out great - lots of colour, texture, etc.
There's also a wide range of hoppiness to the recipes. All are very balanced recipes, with a few leaning a bit more towards the hophead end of the spectrum.
For many of the recipes, most people would never even be able to tell there's hops in them! You can tell there's SOMETHING there, it just doesn't scream "hops". A more complex flavour, something you can't put your finger on.
Take this cheesecake, for example:
It doesn't taste like any cheesecake you've ever had, but it doesn't specifically taste like hops. We used a popular citrussy hop, which definitely gave it a citrus flavour.. but not like orange or lemon, exactly. It doesn't taste like lemon juice or zest, or even extract. Very slightly vegetal, it tastes more "fancy" and "elegant" than any specific flavour you could put your finger on - almost as if it was flavoured with some rare, exotic citrus fruit you'd never tried before. INSANELY delicious.
I didn't think I'd ever top my Southern Comfort and peach cheesecake, but this is at LEAST tied with it. At least!
When used well, hops not only bring flavour to the dish, but really act as a balancing measure. For some recipes, adding a slight bit of acid, or a little bit of salt is all you need to do to really elevate it - and hops work in the same way.
So, that's where we're at right now. Friday afternoon is when we'll be harvesting our hops, and we'll be focused on preserving those for future brewing and cooking.
Then I have several months to work on writing and formatting everything we have so far, just waiting for those sprouts to come up.
Depending on the timing for weather and growing conditions next year, there's a chance this book will actually be shipped to you backers earlier than planned - though I'll keep the same release date for non-backers.
In closing, here are a few photos from recent shoots: