Friday Recipe Exchange: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Reprise

Corned beef is really one of the perfect foods to do in a pressure cooker. You get a nice, tender beef and instead of mushy, colorless vegetables, you get perfectly cooked vegetables infused with that great corned beef broth flavor.

Tonight’s featured recipe uses a bit of dill pickle juice in place of some of the water and a touch of spicy brown mustard. But I saw recipes that used chicken broth, sherry or beer in place of some of the water. I think you should experiment and use what sounds good to you. I really  like dill pickle juice. And I have become a big fan of Napa cabbage with my corned beef.

A lot of recipes call for 3-4 lbs of corned beef. I picked up two, since both the pressure cooker and slow-cooker recipes are easy, you don’t need to save corned beef and cabbage for a special occasion. Just freeze the other one for another day.

I know I’ve been very busy and haven’t posted a lot of new recipes, but I have been doing a lot of cooking and just bought some new cookware (here). I’ll try and do better…I’ve got a great new technique for very, very crispy oven chicken and I’ll try and get that posted.

Are you a corned beef fan? Reuben’s anyone? What’s on your plate this weekend?

Now for the recipes:

JeffreyW tackles corned beef  leftovers – see his gallery of Corned Beef Sandwiches here. (lots of yummy pictures at those links)

My family weighs in on their favorite ways to fix corned beef, including grilling. (click here)

Now tonight’s featured recipes:

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner:

  • 3 to 4 lbs corned beef, trim the fat to about 1/4 inch
  • Water
  • Spices included with corned beef or the following: 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds,
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed – opt
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 – 6  medium to large potatoes, cut into four to eight pieces, peeling optional
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced in half and cut into 2” lengths
  • Cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 pieces – for a change of pace, I’ve used Napa cabbage to great success.

pressure cooker and cooking rack

Remove the corned beef from the brine (discarding the brine), rinse thoroughly and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker, fatty side up. [You don’t want to brown this beef, because it’s been brined.] Sprinkle spices over the top of the beef. Add enough liquid (water or water and a combination of ONE of the following: pickle juice, chicken broth, beer or wine) to come to the top of beef, about 3-4 cups usually.  Cover and bring to pressure and let cook for 1 hour. I use the cold water method to depressurize (that is when you run cold water over the pan in the sink, otherwise you can remove it from the heat and let slowly depressurize).

The key to getting the perfect corned beef and vegetables with the pressure cooker is to cook them separately. Prep the vegetables during the last 15 or so minutes of beef cooking time. Once the beef is done, put it on a cutting board, cover loosely in foil and put a towel over the whole deal.

Remove all but enough liquid to come to the bottom of the cooking rack when placed in the pressure cooker. Place potatoes first on the tray, then carrots and then cabbage, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 12 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender, not mushy and the beef will be fully rested. Slice, plate and serve.

For the slow-cooker:

Place rinsed beef in the bottom of the slow-cooker, sprinkle spices, add liquid to come to the top of the beef,  and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. At the 4 hour mark, add potatoes and then carrots. Cook additional 4 hours, adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes. With the exception of adding the vegetables, try to resist the temptation to open the lid. You need it to stay covered to properly cook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil for about 15 minutes before carving.

There you go, some easy ways to put together a nice corned beef dinner.

Enjoy your weekend and watch out for leprechauns… – TaMara

ETA: There will be a special writer thread tomorrow by request. Stop by and give Mnemosyne some advice.








Christmas Eve Dinner Menu: Spinach Lasagna

Our first Christmas Tree casualty. Bailey, Dane of Destruction. Homemade gift I’ve had since just out of high school. Goofy dog.

Tossing around ideas for my Christmas Eve party and settled on lasagna this year. It will once again be gluten-free using specialty noodles. Excited to have our traditional party in the new house.

On the board:

  1. Spinach Lasagna
  2. Tossed Salad
  3. Garlic Bread*

This recipe takes about an hour to prepare and another hour to cook. It easily serves 6 – 8. I will make it a day ahead and refrigerate. It will need additional cooking time to bring center up to temperature.

Spinach Lasagna

Sauce:

  • 3-15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 2-6 oz cans tomato paste
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled & finely grated
  • pinch of sugar (reduces acidity of the tomatoes)
  • Optional: ½ lb ground beef and ½ spicy Italian sausage, browned

Saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan on medium-high, stirring constantly until it begins to boil lightly. Turn to low and let simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Lasagna:

  • 1 pkg lasagna noodles (16 oz), cooked and placed in cool water until layering
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz package frozen spinach, thawed or 8 oz fresh, washed and dried
  • 1 egg
  • 12 oz sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

13×9 baking dish (I prefer glass), lightly oiled

To prepare: Mix ricotta, spinach and egg until well blended. Ladle a layer of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Cover in a single layer of noodles. Ladle sauce over noodles. Spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture evenly (if you place large dollops evenly like putting cookie dough on a baking sheet, fairly close together, it will spread as it cooks, no need to smooth it). Layer 1/3 of the mozzarella over the ricotta. Repeat: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, noodles. On top of the last layer of noodles, add remaining sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered – I like to place the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills as it bubbles. Place knife through the center, if it comes out heated through, remove and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. If it needs more cooking time, you can cover with foil to keep the cheese from burning and cook 10 more minutes. Let stand uncovered before serving.

Garlic Bread

*I’m going to purchase a gluten free loaf  (we have a great local bakery for that) and I’m also going to make this Slow Rise recipe.  Making the garlic bread is easy. I slice the loaves in half lengthwise, melt butter, add a healthy amount of crushed garlic and brush liberally on each loaf half. Then I top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.  Broil until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown. Slice and serve.

Tossed Salad

I try to change it up each year, and I don’t know how I’m going to do this time. Maybe spinach/raspberry or a veggie toss with romaine.

Next up: Dessert Menu








Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

image

I think I just majorly fucked up a recipe. I’m making butter chicken, which has very little butter but a great deal of curry — several different types. I was supposed to add two teaspoons of curry powder, but I added two tablespoons instead.

Oh well. It smells good.

What are y’all up to today? We’re watching Stillers v. Buffalo. Looks cold at that game. It’s warm here.

Open thread!



Mmmmmm….Pie! — Cake Edition

My poor kiddo has a cold and allergies that have left her with a sore throat. She came over for dinner and requested mac-and-cheese (creamy rather than baked) and a Boston cream pie for dessert.

These are both somewhat labor intensive dishes, but what the hell — anything for the kid. Here’s what the Boston cream pie looked like before it was hacked up and eaten:

boston-cream-pie-dec-2016

I think I overdid it on the ganache a bit, but then again, maybe too much chocolate simply isn’t possible. I used the same recipe I’ve used for years from a Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cook Book that I acquired at a yard sale as a teen. I believe the ganache is usually thicker, but maybe it’s the humidity.

After dinner, we watched a terrible movie about an alien abduction on Netflix. I don’t remember the name, but it was set in the 1970s and featured James Garner as an irascible detective. It’s allegedly based on a true story. The entire population of the small town depicted in the movie appeared badly in need of anger management classes — even the moms, nurses and waitresses were snarly.

Anyhoo, open thread!



Saturday Dinner: Roasted Leg of Lamb With Root Vegetables

While TaMara made a return last night with her recipe exchange, I thought I’d go ahead and slip on the tiara, frilly apron, and matching oven mitts and get to work. For your gustatory pleasure, I proudly present a roasted bone out leg of lamb with root vegetables.

sliced_lamb   roasted_vegetables

The recipe is really very basic, but quite delicious:

Ingredients:

1 Boneless Lamb Roast (in this case 4.5 lbs)

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Remove the lamb from the cryovac, remove the netting, rinse, and pat dry inside and out. Then salt and pepper the inside and outside of the lamb to taste. Let sit on the counter for an hour or so to bring the temperature of the lamb closer to room temperature. Preheat oven to 275. After an hour roll the lamb up, truss with twine tightly, and tie the twine off. Cover the bottom of a broiler pan with silver foil, then place the lamb roast onto the top of the broiler pan so the juices can run through the slits and be captured by the foil lined place. Roast until the internal temperature is 125-130 for rare or 135 for medium rare. When the internal temperature reaches your preference, remove from the oven, cover and let rest for 30 to 40 minutes. While the lamb is resting heat the oven to 500 degrees. After 30-40 minutes uncover the roast, place it back in the now 500 degree oven, and sear it for 15 minutes to crisp up the fat and make a nice, crispy crust. Remove from the oven after 15 minutes, move the roast to a cutting board, remove the twine, and slice.

seasoned_lamb

(Salted and Peppered Lamb Ready for Twining)

trussed_lamb

(All Trussed Up and Nowhere to Go)

resting_lamb

(Getting Read to Rest)

seared_lamb

(Seared and Ready for Slicing)

Roasted root vegetables.

Ingredients

1 small bag Red heirloom potatoes

1 small bag Purple heirloom potatoes

8 stalks of celery

1 and 1/2 lbs of carrots chopped

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Minced garlic to taste

Instructions:

Rinse and then cut the potatoes in half and place in a large bowl. Rinse, trim the tops and bottoms, and then chop the celery into 1 inch pieces. Rinse, and if necessary (depending on what you’ve purchased) trim the tops from the carrots. Then chop into 1 inch pieces. Place the potatoes, celery, and carrots into a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Then salt, pepper, and add the minced garlic to taste. Toss to coat the vegetables thoroughly and transfer to a roasting pan. Roast on the top rack of the oven while the lamb is roasting. When the lamb comes out to rest, leave the veggies in to finish as the oven heats to 500 degrees. When the lamb goes back in to sear, remove the vegetables and cover with foil until the lamb is seared, sliced, and ready for serving.

seasoned_veggies

(Oiled, Seasoned, and Ready for Roasting)

And then enjoy!








Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Files

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Is this thing on? I know it’s been forever – the house, work and puppies have taken most of my time. Cooking lately is mostly just for sustanance, nothing terribly creative. But Thanksgiving is almost here! Time to get cookin’. From the cooking blog:

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I’m going to have a house full this year and I’m excited to host. Although I wasn’t expecting to have a puppy thrown in the mix, but that just makes it more interesting. I have compiled some of my most requested holiday recipes for tonight’s exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing, (pictured above) part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, click here – my family loves these, though the first time I made them they mocked me until they were served because the cooking method is so unusual. I cook them early and keep them warm in a slow-cooker while everything else cooks and stove top space is at a premium.

Two Brussels Sprout dishes: Pan Roasted with Pancetta and Onions (recipe here) and JeffreyW’s Brussels Sprout and Potato Au Gratin (click here)

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

There will be a variety of pies this year, but instead of the traditional Pumpkin Pie, I’m making Pumpkin Cream Pie (above), the recipe is here, plus there are additional pumpkin dessert ideas at the link.

For the main course, we’ve made turkeys a bunch of ways here, including a Spatchcock Turkey, recipe here. For something more traditional, here are some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, good stuff here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.   – TaMara








Open Thread: Need A Gift, or A Pick-Me-Up? Try Penzey’s Spices!

I think it was someone here who turned me on to Penzey’s in the first place. Their spices have a deservedly good reputation, even for people like me whose culinary ambitions seldom rise above boiling water for pasta or heating stuff in the microwave. (Garden Salad Seasoning, IMO, goes on any dish that is not dessert.) The latest Penzey’s email also included a message that some of you may want to share with some of your relatives/acquaintances this Thanksgiving:

… At Penzeys we believe it’s not the use of tools that set us on a different path from the rest of the animal world; what has set humanity in motion is cooking. In our nearly a million years gathered together around the fire, cooking shaped our bodies and transformed our minds. Cooking unlocked our potential and gave birth to reason, to religion, and to politics and government. The kindness of tens of thousands of generations of cooks created our humanity, but racism, sexism, and homophobia can all very quickly unravel all the goodness cooking puts out into the world. As the voice of cooks, we will never sit idly by while that happens.

You may have read Tuesday Night’s email. In it I said: “The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party in this election is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades. The American people are taking notice. Let’s commit to giving the people a better choice. Our kindness really is our strength.”

Since I ask you to read my emails, I feel it’s only right that I read each of your replies. In sifting through those replies it was clear that, though not intended, a good number of people seemed to sincerely believe that in my statement I was calling all Republicans racists. In the emails of those Republicans who voted for someone other than the party’s nominee, I sensed genuine pain at having the strength of character to not go along with what was happening, but nonetheless be grouped in with those who were. I apologize for writing something that caused you pain; that is not the person I want to be. You are your party’s future, and you deserve my admiration and respect, and your country’s as well.

For the rest of you, you just voted for an openly racist candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. In your defense, most of you did so without thinking of the consequences of your candidate’s racism, because for most of you the heartbreaking destruction racism causes has never been anything you or your loved ones have had to experience. But the thing is elections have their consequences. This is no longer sixty years ago. Whether any of us like it or not, for the next four years the 80% of this country who did not just vote for an openly racist candidate are going to treat you like you are the kind of person who would vote for an openly racist candidate.

You can get angry at everyone else for treating you like you just did the thing you just did, or you can take responsibility for your actions and begin to make amends. If you are lucky and younger family members are still coming over for Thanksgiving, before it’s too late, take a moment and honestly think about how your actions must look through their eyes. Simply saying “I never thought he’d win” might be enough. But if you have the means, leaving a receipt from a sizable donation to the ACLU or the SPLC accidentally laying around where you carve the turkey, might go over even better.

Or, just do what you do best and volunteer. Through our customers’ support, we’ve given away a lot of our Penzeys Pepper, the Pepper with heart. More often than not, those we meet cooking and serving food to feed those in need are Republicans. You really are a good bunch, but you just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago. Make this right. Take ownership for what you have done and begin the pathway forward…

P.S. There’s even a special right now on their ‘Love People’ gift boxes, the contents of which will be useful even to those who, like me, can’t or chose not to cook.