Home-cured corned beef

Posted January 8, 2017 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Beef, Uncategorized

Corned beef is both delicious and versatile and it is so easy to make from scratch yourself. Compared with buying an already corned brisket to cook, you control the whole process, can make a point of getting a high quality cut to use, plus the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

Corned beef is, in essence, just salted beef. It’s name comes from the fact that in the old days, the salt that was used to cure the beef was in large crystals that looked a bit like corn kernels. Today we typically add some sugar and spices to the brine.

A whole brisket is quite large and it is usually cut in half for sale. The so-called first cut is rectangular in shape and a bit leaner, while the second cut is sort of triangular and has a bit more fat. Both are fine for corned beef, although the first cut makes for neater and larger slices. You want a nice cap of fat on the top.

To Pickle the Beef

One 4-5 lb brisket

Put the meat in a pot or bowl just large enough to hold it and add room-temperature tap water, measuring as you go, to cover by half an inch or so. Remove the meat and for each quart of water add:

1/2 c kosher salt
2 TB sugar
1 tsp pink salt (see note below)

Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Return the meat to the pot and toss in

4 minced garlic cloves
2 TB pickling spice

Put a plate or other clean object on top to ensure the meat stays submerged, then put in the fridge for 5-6 days.

To Cook the Beef

Remove the meat and discard the brine and spices. Rinse the meat under cold water. Return to the pot and cover with fresh water. Add 2 TB fresh pickling spice. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until fork-tender, about 3 hours. Replensish the water if needed to keep the meat covered,

About Pink Salt

Pink salt contains 93.75% regular table salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite. This is NOT the same as pink Himalayan salt. It is sometimes called Insta Cure #1 or Prague Powder #1. And yes it is really pink, it is dyed pink to make sure it is not accidentally mistaken for regular salt. It is used in very small quantities when making cured meats, sausage, etc. It has three benefits: inhibiting the growth of bacteria, improving taste, and giving the meat a better color. There are no demonstrated health dangers, you can read more here. You can omit it from this recipe but your result won’t be as tasty or attractive.

Applesauce

Posted December 29, 2016 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Desserts, Miscellaneous

Making applesauce used to be a chore, what with all the peeling and coring. Turns out all that work is unneeded if you have a food mill, a device that uses a rotating blade to press food thru a perforated disk. And the results are better, too, because the skin adds flavor to the sauce.

foodmill

You can use pretty much any apples here, although my preference is for apples on the tart side such as Granny Smith and pink lady. A mix of apples is best.

All you need do is wash the apples, remove any stickers, and cut in half. Place in a large, heavy pot with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring now and then, until completely soft. Taste and add a bit of sugar if you like. Put thru the mill using a relatively fine disk – the seeds and skins stay behind. That’s it! Freezes perfectly well and can also be canned using traditional methods.

Chicken with porcini mushrooms

Posted December 23, 2016 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Uncategorized

The rich umami flavor of dried porcini makes this specially flavorful.

1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
4 whole skin-on chicken legs
2-3 shallots
1 c dry white wine such as an Orvieto or pinot grigio
2 or 3 red-skinned potatoes
1/4 c minced chives

Cover the dried mushrooms with about 2 c of boiling water. Strain thru a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Set the mushrooms and liquid aside separately.

Peel the potatoes and cut each into 4-6 chunks.

Separate the legs into drumsticks and thighs and trim away any excess fat and flaps of loose skin.Pat dry with paper towels.

Peel and thinly slice the shallots.

Heat over medium-low heat a covered skillet that is large enough to hold the chicken comfortably in one layer. Film the bottom with olive oil and add the chicken, skin side down. Cook slowly, uncovered, until the chicken has a rich brown hue. Flip over and repeat for the other side. Remove to a plate.

Remove most of the fat from the pan.  A convenient way to do this is to wad up a paper towel and holding it with tongs soak up the excess fat.

Add the shallots and saute for a few minutes, then pour in the wine. Simmer until reduced a bit then return the chicken to the pan along with the potatoes and mushrooms. Add about half the mushroom liquid and season with S & P. Make sure the potato pieces are nestled between the chicken so they are exposed to the liquid. Cover and maintain at a simmer for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken is done and the potatoes soft. Check now and then and add more mushroom liquid if needed. The final dish should not be soupy but should provide a small amount of sauce for each diner.

 

Chick peas with sesame and honey

Posted December 7, 2016 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables/potatoes/rice

There’s a definite oriental theme to these beans. They are quite strongly flavored and could make a meal on their own. Serve on plain white rice.

2 c dried chick peas (measure when dry) cooked per package directions or 2 – 15 oz cans
chick peas
1 medium onion chopped fine
4 large or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 c honey
2/3 c soy sauce (Kikkoman is excellent and widely available)
1/4 c toasted sesame oil
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 TB rice wine vinegar
1 TB grated fresh ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Optional garnishes: Toasted sesame seeds and/or thinly sliced scallions

Put all ingredients except chick peas in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring now and then. Add the drained and rinsed chick peas and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. If the sauce seems to be getting too thick, add a bit of water. Serve over white rice.

Denba Zuke(daikon pickle)

Posted October 25, 2016 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Miscellaneous, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

The US was not the only country to send people of Japanese ancestry to concentration camps during World War II. Canada was just as bad. In one camp, the residents, who missed their traditional tsukamono (Japanese pickles), and could not get the required ingredients to make them, came up with this delicious substitute. It is called Denba Zuke (zuke = pickle) because the camp was near the town of New Denver in British Columbia (Denba = Denver).

denbazuke

This is a distinctive pickle because it uses daikon radish, which while not “hot”is still definitely a radish. It is a sweet/sour pickle that goes beautifully with many Japanese, Korean, and Chinese dishes.

4 medium daikon radishes, leaves removed
sugar
white vinegar
salt
turmeric

Peel the radishes and cut into rounds 1/4 inch thick. For fatter radishes you may want to halve lengthwise and cut into half-moons.

Estimate the amount of liquid that would be required to cover the sliced radishes. Make the pickling liquid as follows:

1 part salt (e.g., 1/2 c)
1 part white vinegar (e.g., 1/2 c)
4 parts sugar (e.g. 2 c)
Ground turmeric, 1/4 tsp per cup of sugar

Combine in a bowl and stir for a few minutes. The sugar will not dissolve completely, that’s OK. Put the sliced daikon in a bowl and pour the sugar slurry over. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring now and then. The water drawn from the radish will complete dissolving the salt and sugar. Pack pickles and juice into clean jars and keep in fridge for up to a month.

Tortilla eggs

Posted October 24, 2016 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Breakfast, Ethnic, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Simple and tasty. Can be a nice lunch dish as well. Serves 4.

Four 6-inch corn tortillas
4 eggs
6 oz thinly sliced melting cheese, such as mozzarella or Gruyere
Sriracha sauce or salsa

Put a little oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add the tortillas. After half a minute flip over and sprinkle with salt. Break an egg on each tortilla, keeping the yolk intact, add a dusting of salt and pepper, and spread the cheese on top. Cover and cook gently until the egg white is set but the yolk is still runny. Serve with hot sauce of choice.

Chinese barbecued spareribs

Posted August 22, 2016 by kitchenmyths
Categories: Ethnic, Pork, Uncategorized

These are traditionally an appetizer at Chinese restaurants but they make a fine main dish when served with a vegetable stir fry.

3 lbs pork spareribs (can also use baby back ribs)
1 tennis ball-size onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c water
1/2 TB Chinese hot chili paste or more to taste
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp black pepper
1 TB fruit jam such as fig or apricot
1-2 TB brown sugar
2 TB vegetable oil

If necessary, separate the meat into individual ribs. Put the ribs in a pan large enough to hold them in one layer.

Put all remaining ingredients in a food processor and zap to a paste, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add to the ribs and bring to a simmer. Cook for, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

At this point the ribs (in the sauce) can be refrigerated for a couple of days.

If refrigerated, let the ribs come to room temperature. Remove from sauce and broil or grill until nicely browned, turning and brushing with sauce once or twice. Note: because of the sugar in the sauce it can burn easily, you do not want them too close to the broiler or to use a really hot grill.


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