Beef Brisket

Last weekend was not only Valentine’s day and a long weekend for me (I had president’s day off) it was ridiculously cold here in NH we got to 20+ below 0 degrees Fahrenheit; that is freaking cold! It was breaking all kinds of records here as coldest day of the year in the last I don’t know

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brisket au jus w/melted provolone – delicious

I figured having my favorite go to comfort food; a roasted chicken cooking in the oven was a must have. My grocery shopping list also had some new things that I have been wanting to try making, what a better time than a long weekend. I had picked up the ingredients for a cheese souffle and a chocolate souffle; that’s a lot of eggs.

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A couple of years ago we were out with some friends and they ordered nachos for the table that had BBQ brisket on them and ever since I have wanted to make a beef brisket. So that was also on my list; which at the time when I was forking over the money for a 13lb beef brisket at $5.99 a pound. You can do the math; I was more than a little hesitant but bit the bullet and brought it home.

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It ended up being a brilliant purchase. Remember when I mentioned “coldest day of the year” above. Our heater died on Sunday, well we actually think it went out Saturday night but we didn’t realize it until very early on Sunday morning. My husband did a great job figuring out what the fault codes meant and what we needed to fix it but it was Sunday AND a Holiday on Monday. Long story short; we found the part Monday and he installed it Monday night. SO to help the few space heaters sporadically throughout the house on Sunday I cooked my roaster chicken without the exhaust fan on so it would help keep us warm and Monday that 13lb brisket needed 8 hours in a 300’ oven. Perfect!!!! I felt a lot better about spending that big chunk of change on one piece of meat and it was delicious. I would do it all over again, but I hope it isn’t needed to keep us warm.

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So what do you do with that much meat? First meal was basically a french dip sandwich with the au jus. Sliced brisket on a grinder roll smothered with melted cheese and a side of the cooking liquid. The guys had it for lunch a couple of days during the week and I made the BBQ Brisket nachos as well as slices served alongside some mashed potatoes. The last few pieces I sliced and made it into a soup.

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Beef Brisket

prep time 10 minutes
24-48 hours marinade
6-8 hours cooking

13 pound beef brisket
3 cans beef consomme
2 cups low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
5 cloves chopped garlic

Combine 2-5 of the ingredients in a large roasting pan, a disposable one works out well. Place the brisket in the marinade, fat side up. Cover tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 38 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 300′

Cook the brisket; covered until fork tender, about 40 minutes per pound. Mine took 8 hours. Transfer to a cutting board, best if you place your cutting board in a rimmed sheet pan. slice against the grain. You can store the sliced meat in the cooking liquid. Serve immediately.

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Make sure to remove as much fat as you can. You can use a fat separator as I did or if you place it in the fridge it will solidify and is very easy to discard.

 

recipe adapted by Cooking at Clark Towers from Ree Drummond

 

Garlic and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast

I realize I am still technically on vacation, we just arrived on St Thomas where we will be boarding our plane tomorrow night. I also apologize for the delay in posting this; our last night in the BVI we did not have WIFI and this is the first I have had to sit and relax a second. Never been a fan of travel days. It’s always a hurry up and wait. I will stop complaining since I am very fortunate to be on vacation.

I thought you might like to see a few cool pictures I took this past week

I just asked my husband if he wanted to stay in an order room service; a big juicy cheese burger. I am craving beef which is why I am sharing this recipe with you’ my mouth is already watering.

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This past Christmas was going to be a very small one just the four of us. Usually we have a full house so this year was completely foreign to all of us. Not in a bad way; it was actually pretty nice. We stayed in pj’s all day some of us even stayed in them for dinner.

Because there were so few of us, I definitely splurged on Christmas dinner. Another funny thing about this Christmas was I didn’t really have a plan of attack. When hosting a large crowd I tend to make lists, timelines and many kinds of dishes to have on hand. We tend to host not only dinner but sometimes lunches, breakfast for the entire weekend. This year I didn’t really have a plan, so the day before Christmas eve I asked my daughter to call the butchers and order a standing rib roast for us. When she went to pick it up, he mentioned that she was very lucky she called when she did; she go the last one and several people had called after her phew dodged that bullet.

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We had the butcher remove the bones for us, and they tied it which I didn’t really want but they asked her if we would like to make it easier for us. I was cool with the removing of the bones and normally would have been fine with tying but I wanted to make this one very herbaceous, yeah that’s a $2 word and no I didn’t spell it right; my daughter will get a chuckle out of this.

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For more intense flavor if you can salt and pepper the roast a day before you want to cook it you should. Salt and Pepper liberally cover and place in the fridge over night. Make sure you have some kitchen twine on hand just in case you need it. This is also a good time to invest in a good quality meat thermometer, essential for such an expensive cut of meat. Even though I owned a thermometer; mine failed me and I threw it away. I will be purchasing a new quality one very soon!

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Rule of thumb is 1 rib should feed 2 people, we ordered 3 ribs because we like leftovers.

1 standing beef rib roast
4 cloves of garlic –  make into a paste
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary – 2 leaves removed and finely chopped
8 sprigs of fresh thyme – 4 leaved removed and finely chopped
2-3 tbs olive oil
1 ½ cup red wine
½ cup beef stock
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

If you didn’t salt and pepper the day before, season the beef all over.

Let the roast sit out for 1 hour prior to roasting. preheat oven to 450’F

In a medium bowl add garlic, chopped herbs and 2-3 tbs olive oil to form a paste. Coat roast and ribs with the herb oil mixture. season with a little more fresh cracked black pepper. depending on how large your roast is you will need to tie up the roast to hold it in shape using kitchen twine.

in a roasting pan, place the rack of ribs with the ends pointing up. Place a remaining sprigs of rosemary and thyme on top of the rack. Place roast, fat side up inside the rack of ribs so they act as a roasting rack. Pour the wine and beef stock into the bottom of the pan.

Place in the bottom half of the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350’ and continue to cook for another 1 ½ hours to 2. You want the internal temperature of the roast to be 125’F for medium-rare. You should plan on basting the roast every 30 minutes or so. If the pan starts to get fry add a little more stock or water.

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Remove to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, if you can wait longer an hour is not a bad thing. Separate the ribs and thinly slice the roast. Serve with the pan juices or make a nice gravy.

whole fish red snapper

I’ve recently started visiting my local OK so not so local Whole Foods Market OK so I’ve really only been twice. It’s 45 minutes away but from where I live most things are 30+ minutes away. I’ve heard a lot of chatter about Whole Foods; one of my friends calls it Whole paycheck so I was pretty hesitant to check it out. A few weeks ago we were cooking a World Wide Wednesday meal from Croatia and they have a local cheese that; us being cheese lovers really wanted to try; it is called Paski Sir aka as Pag Cheese which was tooted as being the best cheese in Croatia. I googled where to get it it and guess who had it in stock; yup off to Whole Foods I went. I headed directly to the cheese section and started looking for Pag cheese, the guy behind the counter was extremely knowledgeable and not only knew what my scribbled note said he said oh wait I have a fig spread also from Croatia that would go very nicely with my Pag cheese.  I was very impressed.

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So on my second trip to Whole Foods; I took my daughter for her first visit and we walked by the meat and fish counters. I see why my girlfriend calls it whole paycheck, so many things to choose from.  I have always; well not “always” wanted to try cooking a whole fish and why not a Red Snapper; it is a wonderful flaky white fish and I don’t see it a lot at my usual market; I wish we had a local fish market.  Me never having prepared a whole fish before; this was going to be way out of my comfort zone. At least I thought it would be, yeah it kind of was but I prevailed. While I was pretty nervous and wanted to do the snapper justice, I had the butcher clean and scale the fish for me. I got them home; I bought 2 to feed the 4 of us; Abbi remembered her Anne Burrell cookbook had a red snapper recipe here we go.

 

If you are a little adventurous I recommend giving this a try. It was fairly easy, great flavor and a little bit of a show stopper.

Red Snapper

3 or 4 large potatoes Yukon gold  works well; I used some the ones I had in my garden, sliced 1/8 inch thick I used my mandolin.
6 cloves garlic (4 finely chopped; 2 smashed)
1 bunch fresh oregano (half finely chopped; half as whole sprigs)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, slivered
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 3 -pound red snapper or bass, scaled, gutted and gills removed (have the butcher do this for you)
1 lemon, sliced
3 fresh bay leaves
1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
1 cup dry white wine

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, chopped garlic, chopped oregano, olives and red pepper; drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt. Spread out in your roasting pan that is large enough to hold the fish. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Set aside to prep the fish.

 

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Make 3 diagonal slices about 1/2 inch deep on each side of the fish. Season the outside and inside with olive oil and salt. Place the lemon slices, bay leaves, whole oregano sprigs, parsley and the remaining smashed garlic inside the body cavity of the fish.

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Pour the wine over the potatoes, lay the fish on top and toss the whole thing in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the eyeballs pop out – yes that is what I said and I was skeptical at first but now I’m a believer

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Remove the skin and bones and serve the fish over the potatoes.

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Carrot Soup

I was initially going to start this post with I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving with your family and friends; I literally had to backspace over the statement because it donned on me that this is a North American holiday and not everyone celebrates it and I actually do have a few readers out of the US that I am sure were doing something else all-together this past Thursday; probably working??? So for those of you who gathered with friends and/or family I hope your turkey was moist, your stuffing/dressing had an amazing crust and there was some room for the yummy pies that were sitting on the counter.

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My day started off pretty relaxed at first sitting at the island with a nice cup of tea with my hubby. Since we were not eating till 3 and we prepped all the veggies, made the pies and set the table the night before this should be a breeze right! For how organized I think I am and all the lists and yes I even make a timeline of sorts just so things have enough time to cook and kind of show up at the table somewhat warm.

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I started making my dinner rolls; easy – then I focused on the dressing and it went downhill from there just a bit; I forgot to pick up a fennel bulb, really Donna one of the main ingredients for your dressing, so I double checking I had everything else I needed for the day and off to the store I went. Oh did I forget to mention that I woke up ridiculously early and sat in bed convincing myself I didn’t buy a big enough bird. While at the store I also picked up a little 3 pound ham – just in case.

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I’m back at home and my nice relaxed feeling is fading fast, I make the dressing and it tastes awesome. I start to prep the bird; an hour later than I wanted to.  Once seasoned and filled with chopped up apples and onions into the 350’ oven it went. While I was cleaning off the stove top I must have hit the oven knob because when I looked over at the stove 30 or so minutes later the oven was set at 250’ UGH here we go! Long story short thanks to my convection oven; which I turned on when I took off the tinfoil to brown; did the trick. Though I was really hoping to let the bird rest for at least an hour it ended up being closer to 30 minutes and we ate a little later than 3.  But it was gorgeous brown and very moist I wanted to take a picture to share but it was a little hectic in the kitchen and I had made people wait a little longer than I had envisioned so you are going to have to take my word for it.

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Oh and I need to share one more little misstep I made this year. My daughter had made a whole 3 quart pot of sliced carrots that I cooked but they never made it to the table. I put them up on the shelf above the stove top to get them out the way to make my gravy and never found them again till I was cleaning up. This is the first time ever there were not carrots on the Thanksgiving table and no one said anything.  My son thought to himself that it was kind of weird there weren’t any but I would have thought my daughter would have remembered she peeled a boat load of something not on the table, I am all for leftovers but what to do with SO many cooked carrots… I’ve always wanted to try and make carrot soup so that is what I did on Friday.

 

Carrot Soup

½ stick of butter
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 Tbs fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3 cups carrots peeled, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 Cups chicken stock or use turkey broth if you made some
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice – I added the lemon zest but felt it was too much
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onions; saute for 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; saute for another 2 minutes. Add chopped carrots (I added a few fresh ones and kept the cooked ones out until everything else was done) tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and puree with either an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Return soup to the pot and add lemon juice to taste, just enough to brighten the dish, not over power it. Season with salt and pepper; top with a dollop of sour cream.

Lasagna made easy kind of

Last weekend we went to Montreal with another couple for a dinner reservation; yeah it sounded crazy to me to! When we were there last spring with the same couple; the talk of town of where to eat dinner was that there were three restaurants on Rue Notre Dame right in a row.  One of the guys we were talking to said and I quote “you’re not getting in there!” at that point it became kind of a quest to eat at “the best”  – alas humble pie; we didn’t get in BUT we were able to get into one of the others and it was an excellent Tapas type place called Le Vin Papillon we had an awesome time.

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This past weekend was our dinner reservation at Joe Beef; consensus is out of the 4 appetizers, and the 4 entrees there were some hits and some were misses. Was it worth the 3+ month wait; probably not. Would we go back, definitely! Did we have too high of expectations? Possibly! Did we have a great weekend in Montreal? Always! While there we also visited 2 farmers markets; Atwater is still my favorite! I brought home; across the border some homemade sausage, homemade pasta, and some fresh bread.  All so far have been excellent!

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Drying Peppers at Jean Talon Market in Montreal

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Rainbow of pepper Jean Talon Marche’ Montreal

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Joe Beef Menu – yes all in French

Saturday we had lunch at L’usine De Spahetti in Old Montreal; my husband had their individual lasagna and it was ridiculously delicious. While at the market I picked up some fresh made lasagna noodles with intent of making a similar version at home. He was so on board that when I told him I was making lasagna for dinner he got super excited and asked if I had the right dishes; um yeah I do not own restaurant individual lasagna dishes sorry! He asked if there was any place in town where he could pick some up. Our town is so small I chuckled and gave him the only option in town; of course they didn’t have any. So I made due with what I had and it worked out perfectly.

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He wanted to make sure I made them correctly!

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It’s a process but everyone can help!

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Super cute – only small baking dishes I have on hand

I think this was my best lasagna to date and SO easy!

Lasagna made easy

Fresh lasagna noodles – if you can find them
2 Sausage (sweet or hot Italian) casing removed crumbled and browned
1 Onion diced
3 cloves of Garlic pressed
32 oz Jar sauce – pick your favorite
package Mozzarella cheese
16 oz Ricotta
1 Tsp dried Parsley
Crushed red pepper flakes – to taste
Parmigiano-Reggiano grated
1 Egg

Brown the sausage, add the onions and garlic. Once softened add the sauce and let it simmer for the time it takes the water to boil for the noodles. Fresh takes less time than the boxed kind so roughly 5 minutes.  Mix the ricotta with the egg, parsley and a cup of grated cheese.

Place a little sauce in the bottom of your dish. Cover with a layer of noodles then ricotta and sprinkle some of the grated cheese then repeat, sauce, noodle cheese till you used up all your ingredients.

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Bake at 350’ for 20-40 minutes. Smaller containers take less time than an entire sheet pan

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Yeah they were that good, fresh bread needed to sop up all the deliciousness!!!

Pork Belly Steamed Buns

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit on a couple of dishes I tried making for the first time. I always try a recipe the way it is written and then if needed I would change it up a bit to better suit our tastes or I would change it based on the ingredients I had on hand or could get my hands on.

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I am lucky enough to have an Asian market; not really close to me; but along my route when I make a trip to Sam’s Club. I was planning on making Pho a Vietnamese Noodle Soup and a Chinese Pork Belly Steamed bun. While I liked the Pho, my guys liked it better than I did. I am going to share with you the Pork Belly recipe that didn’t turn out how I envisioned it would, but was incredibly tasty and worth mentioning. I Kept telling my husband they weren’t how I wanted them, he said and I quote, “I don’t care they are delicious and you should cook pork like this all the time”

I was able to pick up the steamed buns in the frozen section and a Pho seasoning packet; which is a good thing since it needed 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbl coriander seeds, 1 tbl fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves all to be placed in a mesh bag and all of it came in a $1.99 packet. I thought that was awesome!!!

As I mentioned I bought the frozen buns and I was a little less than thrilled as how small they were, the taste was excellent I just wanted them to puff up more, I will try to make my own the next time I make them.

This recipe is best done in two stages. Bake the pork the day before so it has time to cool and sit tight until you need to slice it. If you want to use this today you should let it sit for at least 2 hours. It could sit in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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Pork Belly Buns

2 lb slab of pork belly

Wrap in heavy duty tin foil and place on a baking sheet

Preheat oven to 275’ and roast for 2 hours. Let it sit and cool and then put it in the fridge till you need it tomorrow. Do not unwrap as you want it to stay compact in the tinfoil.

Unwrap the pork belly, and slice into 1/2” pieces

1 tbs cooking oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbs grated fresh ginger (I did not have this)

1 fresh chili pepper seeded, deveined and finely chopped (optional)

1 green onion diced

Caramel sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbs rice vinegar

3 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs soy sauce

½ cup water

Heat oil in a large saute pan or wok over high heat; once hot swirl the oil and add the pork, do not overlap, work in batches if you need to. Fry on each side till nicely browned

Put heat on low and add the garlic, onion, chili if you are using it; saute for 30 seconds just until fragrant. Pour caramel sauce into the pan and return the pork belly slices back into the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

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My make due with what you have steamer

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Yes the pork was larger than the buns but they were delicious!!!

I used frozen buns but here is the recipe I am going to make the next time I make this.

2 tbs AP flour for dusting

2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough

20 parchment squares about 4×4 – keeps them from sticking

Dust work surface with flour, open and separate out the biscuits. There should be about 10 in each can. Keep the dough covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel so they don’t dry out. Roll each biscuit into an oval and fold in half, place on parchment square, keep covered until ready to steam. Steam in batches and do not overcrowd or they will stick together.

Adapted from a Steamy Kitchen recipe my daughter sent my online

Barramundi with a Butter Garlic Lemon sauce

I was at my local grocery store the other day and was looking for some Mahi Mahi they didn’t have fresh and I usually find it in the vacuum sealed frozen section. Unfortunately they did not have any but I did run across a name I have heard a couple of times on TV but have never tried; Barramundi; I was intrigued enough to pick a package up.  Yesterday I decided was the day we were going to have it for dinner.

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The beets are from my garden, I canned them over the summer

Barramundi is a mild white buttery fish from Australia; it is also called The Sustainable Seabass.

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We didn’t have internet all weekend; so my usual recipe searching wasn’t an option; I decided to keep it simple and a little light; I had on hand garlic, butter, lemon and basil which actually isn’t that unusual I pretty sure I always have them on hand. I also wanted something a little different for my sides.  I haven’t had potato latkes in a real long time and they sounded yummy.

I didn’t want a lot of clean up since my usual dishwasher; my son; wasn’t home LOL. That’s not true I was just being a little lazy. I had my skillet ready for my potatoes; I cooked them up and set them aside, added my fish and cooked them for a few minutes on each side, in a small sauce pan I made my sauce and added  to my fish and voila dinner. I bet it took less than 30 minutes for everything to be on the table.

It was delicious and very fresh, not even a little fishy smell; which is an added bonus that it didn’t smell up the house which sometimes fish can do. Not sure if you have ever shied away from buying frozen fish but it has never disappointed me. I do only buy the vacuum sealed kind; I don’t think you can go wrong since it was flash-frozen and sealed; try it if your store has it.

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Barramundi

Salt and pepper

Dry the fish on both side salt and pepper. Heat skillet on medium high olive oil, place fish in skillet cook for about 5-7 minutes, turning once cook on the other side for another 3-5 minutes till just done, do not overcook it will become dry.

Garlic Butter Sauce

2 Tbs butter

2 cloves garlic

½ tsp dried basil

2 Tbs lemon juice – I had a half of a fresh lemon that I squeezed

I really do not measure so the above is a guideline; I had 2 fillets and covered them with the sauce.

Melt butter, garlic and basil on low do not brown the garlic but you want the flavors to meld together. Add the lemon juice, set aside till needed.  This would taste delicious on any white fish.

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Simple Potato Latkes

2 Potatoes peeled and grated

1 egg

1 medium onion peeled and grated

Salt and pepper

If I am making a lot of them, I take out my food processor to grate the potatoes and onion. It was just my husband and I and I didn’t want left overs so I just brought out my box grater because I was making only a few.

Grate potatoes and onion, set aside and squeeze as much water out of them as you can.  Add the beaten egg, salt and pepper and mix till all blended.  Drop by spoonful and squish down with either a fork or I used my fish turner. Cook till browned, flip and cook the other side till browned.  Keep warm in the oven if you need to.

So I would like apologize for the delay, our internet has been down all weekend and come to find out the router is dead.  They are sending a new one out in the mail today.  Who knew in this day and age trying to find WIFI in my little town would be so difficult. I couldn’t logon to my day job WIFI, I went to Dunkin Donuts at lunch and that was pretty painful; I left.  One of the lunch spots in town USED to offer it, no more. I am currently sitting in my favorite restaurant having a yummy cocktail just so I can post my blog. Things I do for you all.