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Brisket w. Tzimmes, Braised Kale, and Rutabaga Kraut

30 Sep

Have been on the hunt for a good Brisket recipe and finally found one that I’d be happy to make year after year. This recipe comes from Pierce’s mom. It is all about the Tzimmes- which is like this sweet potato and prune mixture. And while I LOVE the taste of the chili sauce/can of coke brisket- I do like knowing exactly what’s in this one. And while it’s not shy on the sugar- there is essentially a caramel sauce for peet’s sake- I still feel like it’s probably less than in the coke/chili. Had some friends over for dinner and I served it w. some red wine braised kale, a quick rutabaga kraut and some cornichons to much on w. wine. I have to say- very well fitting accompaniments. See further down for recipes. Finished w. a refreshing watermelon sorbet- post to come.

5 pounds brisket of beef [can scale up or down. keep in mind that brisket does shrink.]

*** Addendum: I just made with 7.5 pd brisket and I’m not sorry about it. Remarkably it did not effect the cooking time. I also liberally salted the brisket the night before (leave overnight loosely covered in fridge), which I highly recommend to increase tenderness and flavor. Before cooking, I patted dry. Since it was such a large piece of meat, I kept the 1 tablespoon of salt in the tomato juice mixture and it worked out perfectly.

1 pound carrots

1 large  onion (2 small)

3 sweet potatoes, pared

4 white potatoes, pared

½ pound dried prunes

1 cup water

2½ tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup fresh or canned tomato juice (i used the organic bottled juice kind)

½ cup brown sugar (used light brown) [can scale slightly back on this]

step 2:

3 tablespoons granulated white sugar

2 tablespoons water

1½ cups cold water

1. Trim most of the fat from the meat. Slice the carrots crosswise. Slice onions thinly. Cut potatoes into medium-sized chunks. [cut my carrots big- like size of my potato chunks).

2. Place meat in the bottom of the large pot, arrange layers of white potatoes, prunes, sweet, onion and carrots.

3. Mix water, honey, salt, tomato juice and brown sugar, pour over meat/veg; simmer for 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

5. Heat 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water over high heat until the sugar caramelizes (wait until it turns that amber caramel color), then pour cold water over the caramelized sugar. Add liquid to the tzimmes.

6. Place tzimmes in the oven and bake for 2 hours at 325. Can even let it cool in the oven but not necessary. That might be overkill but you really just can’t over cook it. My butcher says he does his for like 7 or 8 hours. That’s right. I have a butcher. How stoked am I. Cook until the texture you want- mine ended up like the pull apart. Mrs. Weiner also told me that the stovetop cooking which is a bit strange for brisket- might also contribute to that pull apart effect]

As always brisket is good- some say best- the next day. I put the whole pot in fridge, left over night. Skimmed off some fat. and reheated in the oven at 300. Every time it just cooks more and gets better and better.



Mark Bittman’s Red Wine Braised Kale (Collards or other greens)

1 bunch regular curly kale. Can also use 1 ½ pounds other greens- like collards, washed and trimmed.

¼ cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, mined

salt and pepper to taste

½ cup chicken stock (I subbed of the fat/stock of the brisket mixed w. water)

½ cup dry red wine

i also added a pinch of red chili flakes. I did towards the end- but if I thought of it sooner, would have added w. garlic

1.tear or chop greens into small pieces. Put oil in large skillet, heat on med-high. Add garlic, and when it colors (just barely and gets fragrant), the green. Toss frequently- cooking 3 or 4 minutes.

2. reduce heat to med, add stock, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 mins.

3. remove cover, add wine. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, about 5 mins, until almost all liquid has evaporated and greens tender.


Rutabaga Quick-Kraut

I got some Rutabaga from a CSA pick up- and this recipe was exactly what I was looking for. Something fresh and vinegary to cut the density of the brisket. Found through a long-winded google search. Eventually landed on this at

My rutabaga was a bit big so I tampered w. the measurements slightly

2 heaping cups of rutabaga (less than 1 whole big rutabaga)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard [looks like a lot but actually not that strong tasting]

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat honey, apple-cider vinegar and mustard in skillet to combine (on med heat).

2. Add grated rutabaga to pan.

3. Saute on med-high heat until rutabaga is tender and lightly browned [just a few minutes]

4. Add in small amounts of oil as needed to keep rutabaga from sticking to the pan. [I used grapeseed oil but I’m sure olive or whatever you have is fine. I think it is good for taste- not just sticking issue.]

Tastes great room temp.

Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho

22 May

Also made this week: Turkey Burger. Yum! Check out its hot new pic.

There was a phase where my mom made “fat burning soup.” I think the idea was similar to the (myth?) of celery– that it takes more calories to eat than you actually consume? Well, this tastes nothing like that soup– but gazpacho makes me think of it- as it always feels like the most healthy and fresh soup. This recipe is packed with flavor and comes from The Voluptuous Vegan. Obviously, I would never have found a recipe from this on my own. But last summer, this gazpacho was brought to the vegeatrian potluck thrown by the tech dept at the museum. It was so tasty, i asked for the recipe. Normally, I get lazy and skimp on garnishes. But these really add something- so I encourage you to use. I also had thought about adding a serrano pepper to add some heat to the soup or garnish— in the end, i didn’t- but the idea is out there, if you want to. I do also have a more traditional gazpacho- an Ina Garten recipe– elsewhere on the blog.

Also- check out my new rooster timer! I’m in love. Thanks to Alexis- for encouraging the purchase at Fish & Eddy’s.

4 thick slices of bread (preferably sourdough) [two slices go in the soup, two used as croutons]
2 cups cold water
2 pounds red tomatoes
1 large roasted red pepper
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons paprika [i used 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon sweet parika. this produced a strong smokey flavor, so adjust accordingly to your tastes]
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons salt
finely chopped red onion, for garnish
finely chopped green bell pepper, for garnish
finely chopped tomatoes, for garnish

To roast red pepper (directions as cribbed from swordfish recipe): Preheat to 400. Line baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat whole red peppers with olive oil. Cook for 30-40 mins. Flip over once during. The peppers will get charred and black on outside- that’s what you want. When done, take the peppers out. I put in a tupperware, and cover with lid for 15 mins. This steams and makes them worlds easier to get skin peel. When cool, using hand or knife, to slide off skin, seeds and top.

Remove crusts from bread. Place 2 slices of bread in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 5 minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze it like a sponge to rid of excess water. Discard the water.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes, soaked bread, and water to a blend/food processor to break up the tomatoes. Will probably need to do in 2 batches. [i regrettfully didn’t listen, and it caused a mess, so batch it]
Remove the charred skin from the pepper. Scrape of stems and seeds. and chop into 1-inch pieces.
To the blender, add the pepper, scallion, paprika, garlic, vinegar,1/4 cup of the oil, chopped basil and salt and blend until smooth.
Tranfer to a container and chill thoroguhly. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

[admittedly, I skipped this step- and just ate with bread] To make croutons: preheat oven to 350. Cut the remaining slices into 1/2-inch cubes. Put remaining tablespoon of oil in small bowl. Place the bread cubes in bowl and light toss around so bread touches oil. Spread cubes on baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes until crispy and golden.

Serve the soup garnished with a spoonful of red onion, green pepper, tomato and croutons. Gazpacho is one of those things that tastes even better the next day- when flavors have all spent the night together.

Brussel Sprouts w. Maple and Cayenne

2 Apr

This is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe of all things. I roast brussel sprouts every now and again– and as much as I love plain old olive oil, salt and pepper– i wanted something extra. Looking for a maple dressing of sorts- something I could just pour over at the end- I came across this. Sweet and spicy. Perf.

2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed [cut off very bottom of stump end] and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil [or just a generous glug]
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat to 375. In a bowl mix brussel sprouts w. generous glug of olive oil and generous douse of salt. On a rimmed baking sheet [or 9×13 pan]. Roast until brown and tender.Stirring every 15 minutes. I like mine super toasty- w. the leaves falling off and crisy- but feel free to do less.  Takes about 30-40 mins. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine syrup and cayenne. Take b-sprouts out of oven– drizzle w. the syrup/cayenne. Roast for 1 more minute. [original recipe uses 400 oven and 15-20 minute cook time- but I prefer this way- and had read an Anne Burrell recipe for sunchokes and sprouts so wanted to keep it the same]

In the background– I made Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes). Tossed w. olive oil, salt and smoked paprika. Cooked for same amount of time 30-40 mins. They are good- almost potato like. I could have done something though- to make them pop just a little bit more. I’ll try again and get back to you…unless someone has suggestions?

Andorra/ Barcelona

12 Mar

I fly into barcelona– take a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Andoora– a tiny country you probably never heard of (unless you went to camp evergreen- then cue to burst into song). i arrive totally bleary eyed- and justin takes me to this tapas place- orders a bunch of things in spanish- and i have no idea what’s going on. but out arrives these amazing little green peppers- fire roasted and covered w. this epic sea salt. A few days later in Barcelona, i went to this restaurant–Paco Merlago thanks to Judy’s friend– and became obsessed with it for the 4 days I was in town. Mark my words- if anyone wants to join me next December– birthday dinner, 30yr old- will be there. i ate some blow-your-tastebuds dishes and still thinking about it a month later- decided to try to recreate some of them. I didn’t exactly have the recipes to guide me so I invited Reed and Rach over for dinner and got to experimenting. Surprisingly, it was a really easy and quick meal to throw together. By the way- if anyone is on their way to Barcelona I have a little googlemap of places I tried. If anyone has these for other cities too– would love to see!

Tomato Bread
When you get tapas in Barcelona- you most often get an accompaniment tomato bread- Pan con Tomate- to lap up all your tapas with. It is generally on a bread- a bit wider and a bit less crusty than a baguette.  To make, toast bread (i used ciabatta pannini loaf.) Drizzle olive oil on bread and toast in oven or face down in pan. Take a clove of fresh garlic in hand, rub on toasty bread. Cut the top off a fresh tomato and rub that on bread. Sprinkle w. sea salt.

Chorizo and Egg
I ordered this sausage and egg dish at Paco and it arrives at the table bubbling hot sausage in a little clay pot– then they crack an egg in it table-side and mix up for egg to cook. The sausage in this dish was more of an italian style- but I thought i’d make what we think of as chorizo flavored. I was surprised that i didn’t come across chorizo as we think of it in spain–  there, it is just the word for pork sausage- and I believe generally refers to a cured, hard more salami like. Also, in my research- I learned that mexican chorizo has a wholely different ingredient list.

This is adapted from Emeril recipe. Original calls for 3 pounds pork, cut into 1-in cubes and 1/2 pound pork fat, cubed and involves a meat grinder and cases. But as I didn’t have such- I decided just to make it uncased and start w. 1 pound of ground pork– and the adjusting the spices accordingly. I didn’t have a little ovenproof clay dish for serving- so used a frying pan.

3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons paprika [used 1.5 tablespoon smoked paprika, half table sweet paprika- bought some new paprika- the spanish kind in those little yellow tins- so into it]
1 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Put all spices in bottom of a bowl. Take a fork and mix in pork and wine. Let sit for a day or two for flavors to meld. I ate at 12 hours and again 36. Probably a difference- but still super delicious at 12- so don’t sweat it either way. I’m sure if you had to use some immediately would be good too. I just cooked a portion– then left the rest raw to continue to blend- instead of having cooked leftovers.
To serve- cook chorizo on stovetop in oven proof pan. Throw in very hot over for a few minutes (450 or 500 should be fine). Using an oven mitt! bring to table to show your friends. Crack a raw egg or two in- depending on how much you are serving- I used 2 eggs for half the meat. Mix up immediately and egg will cook. Eat w. tomato bread.

Roasted Peppers w. salt
There is actually a recipe for this in an Alice Waters cookbook. And it calls those small green peppers I had in Andorra Padron pimentos- also says Nardello or Lipstick peppers would work. I bought what I could find- which worked very well- labeled red and yellow sweet peppers. I used this amazing salt i bought in barcelona- at this awesome store- called Gispert.

To make. Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet with a thin layer of olive oil- medium-high heat. Lay peppers on. They will scorch and sizzle. Using tons, flip over periodically. Cook until start to blacken and blister- 5-10 minutes. Put on serving dish sprinkle w. the biggest coarse salt you have. Maldon sea salt flakes would work. Or fleur de sel.

Calamari w. white beans

This was an experiment. I more or less used the chorizo spice list. It was not quite the same flavor I had in Barcelona. But still super tasty. Serve w. tomato bread. The technique for making it was loosely inspired by a warm seafood salad recipe in the Union Sq Cafe cookbook.

1/2 pound cleaned calamari, cut into 1/2 in rings and tentacles
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp red chili flakes
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 15 oz great northern beans or 1 1/2 cups beans– reconstituted and cooked dried beans. cannellini could also work
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced [optional]

In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium. Add garlic, spices and tomato paste and let cook to release flavor- about a minute (do not let garlic burn.) Turn up heat to high and add calamari. Cook for 2 minutes- mixing around. Lower heat back to medium. add beans, white wine, cook a little further for wine to cook off and beans to heat. Take off heat. Finish w. salt, pepper and the juice of one lemon and parsley.


Summer Salads

11 Aug

Featuring fresh summer ingredients with minimal cooking. Love this zucchini ribbon salad- very light and refreshing. Paired w. goat cheese- delicious. There is an abundance of zucchini in the summer and i’ll tell you that the flavor in your dish- is largely dependent on quality of your zucchini- so pick out a good one, medium size and firm is your best. And the joy of summer corn. I love fresh corn, off the cob, quickly sauteed.

Raw Zucchini Ribbon Salad
2 medium zucchini
1 Lemon
Fresh basil, a handful
Parmesan & goat cheese
Olive oil

Shave zucchini into ribbons w. vegetable peeler. Drizzle w. olive oil and juice of lemon. Chop a handful of basil. Sprinkle w. sea salt & pepper. Mix up. Top w. cheese.

Corn Basil Salad– from Bon Appetit
6 husks of corn
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup (packed) basil
5 plum tomatoes (seeded- taking out middle oozy part- this makes the salad less watery)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Husk the corn. Take a serrated knife and cut raw kernels off over a big bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Add corn and cook another 5 minutes. Take off heat, add half the basil.Transfer back to big bowl, cooling slightly. Add rest of tomatoes, basil, vinegar and rest of basil. Season w. salt & pepper.

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