Rainy Day BBQ

Original Recipe By: Fort Worth Star-Telegram 1968. We make this probably once or so per year, and it's great for parties as long as you don't think doubling the amount of meat won't significantly affect cooking time (whoops!). The secret is in the plum/prune baby food. Totally not proper barbecue, but still awfully tasty.

Ingredients

  •  4-5 lbs. beef brisket 

Marinade:

  •  1 T. celery seed 
  •  1 t. garlic powder 
  •  1 t. onion salt 
  •  1 ½ t. salt 
  •  2 T. Worcestershire sauce 
  •  2 t. ground pepper 
  •  2 T. liquid smoke 
  •  1 t. lemon juice 

Barbecue Sauce:

  • ½ C. catsup
  • ¼ C. wine vinegar
  • 1 small jar plum baby food
  • ½ C. brown sugar
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper 

Directions

  1. Mix marinade ingredients together and marinate brisket in tightly covered glass casserole for 12 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine the barbecue sauce ingredients and bring to a boil in saucepan, stirring constantly.  After mixture boils, continue to simmer for 7 min. 
  3. Cook brisket in 275 degree oven in a pan tightly covered with aluminum foil for 3 hours.  Remove pan for oven and pour off liquid. Cover brisket with ½ of the barbecue sauce and recover. 
  4. Return to oven for 30 min. 
  5. To serve:  Slice brisket with sharp knife on the bias.  Serve with extra sauce. 

Bourbon Cream Pie

bourbon_cream.jpg Crust from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook. Pie adapted from BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes by Shirley Corriher.

Ingredients

The Crusts
  • 2 package of Nabisco Chocolate Wafer Cookies, crushed or food-processed
  • 2oz Confectioner's Sugar
  • 6oz Butter, melted
  • Hefty pinch of Salt
The Filling
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks (from pasteurized eggs, preferably)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of water (don't combine the waters)
  • 3 Tbls Knob Creek bourbon
  • 1.5 packages of unflavored gelatin. If you have a hard time guessing, lean towards having more

Directions

The Crusts Preheat oven to 375°F, and let sit for another 20 minutes. Mix the ingredients. Press the mixture into a 2-9" pie-plates, divided evenly. Press down on the crumb using a round glass or measuring cup sprayed with non-stick spray. Try to get an even edge around the pie. Cut the top of the pie level with a butter knife. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a baking rack. The Filling Whip the cream to soft peaks. Set aside. Add the sugar to the egg yolks. Using a mixer with a beater attachment (unless you are mighty and prefer just using a hand whisk), whip the yolks and sugar until they increase significantly in volume and turn several shades paler. Pour the gelatin into the 1/2 cup of water. Let sit for two minutes. Microwave for 20 seconds until just barely dissolved. Combine the gelatin, rum, and egg yolk mixture. Mix thoroughly. Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the egg yolk mixture and mix thoroughly. Fold the yolk mixture into the rest of the whipped cream. Divide among the two pie crusts and refrigerate until set (probably an hour or two). Feel free to drink any of the left over filling mixture.

Double-Strawberry Open-Faced Pie

double_strawberry.jpg

Adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Ingredients

The Crust


  • 200g Cold unsalted Butter, cut into 1/4" cubes

  • 320g All-Purpose Flour

  • 3/4 tsp Salt

  • 126g Heavy Cream

  • 1 Egg White, lightly beaten

The Base Layer


  • 85g Lindt White Chocolate (all but one column of a 3.5oz bar)

  • 4oz Cream Cheese

  • 2 Tbl sour cream

The Cooked Layer


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (after rinsing, drying, hulling, and halving)

  • 2 Tbl Cornstarch

  • 118g Water

  • 67g Sugar

  • 1 Tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

  • 1 pinch Salt

The Fresh Layer


  • Enough whole strawberries, to cover a 9" circle when stood point up, hulled, dried, and rinsed.

  • 72g Currant Jelly (1/4 cup)

  • 1 Tbl St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Directions

The Crust

Put 1/3 of the butter into the freezer in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Whisk the flour and salt together. Mix in 2/3 of the butter with a pastry cutter until it looks like course meal. Once the butter is mixed with the flour, minimize exposure of the dough to your warm, warm hands, or you will melt the butter.

Place the butter/salt/flour mixture into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. Add in the last 1/3 of the butter and put the bowl back into the freezer. Get rid of all the air you can and seal the bag. Take your trustiest rolling pin and roll the contents of the bag until the butter turns into flatten flakes. Place the bag into the freezer for 10 minutes or thereabouts. The goal is to reverse any melting from the butter and make it reasonably solid again.

Take out the bag and the bowl, and transfer all of the dough to the bowl. You will need to scrape the sides of the bag, as the butter will have stuck to it during the rolling. Sprinkle the heavy cream into the mixture and mix. I use a silicone spatula to mix, as it won't melt the butter and it'll resist some of the sticking.

Put the mixture back into the bag and seal, removing most of the air as before. Knead the dough inside the bag with your fingertips until it sticks together. When you pull it, it should stretch a bit.

Divide the dough into two 6" discs and refrigerate for anywhere from 1 to 24 hours. 8 hours is ideal. Although you'll only need one of these discs for this pie, as it was a competition, I baked two in case something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Preheat the oven to 450° and let sit at that temperature for another 20-30 minutes.

Roll out the pie dough into a 13" circle and place into the pie pan. Shape the top as you like. Freeze for at least 20 minutes.

Dock the sides and bottom of the dough. Crumple a piece of parchment paper, unroll it, and place over the pie, fitting it down close to the dough. Put in your dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weighted parchment paper, cover the top edge of the crust with aluminum foil, and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the inside of the crust has a light golden tinge and feels more like crust than dough. Let cool for 3 minutes, then brush on the egg white to the sides and bottom. Let cool completely.


The Bottom Layer

Put the white chocolate into a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 20 seconds at a time. At the end of each, stir. Repeat until there's more melted bits than solid bits, then keep stirring until all of the solid bits turn into melted bits. Let cool to room temperature.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer until it's somewhat fluffy and whipped. Add in the cooled white chocolate and mix. Add in the sour cream and mix until combined. Cover the bottom of the pie with this mixture.

The Cooked Layer

Lightly crush the strawberries with a fork in a small saucepan. Add the sugar, water, salt, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Stir occasionally during the cooling process. Once cooled, pour over the bottom later of the pie.

The Fresh Layer

Your strawberries should have the tops cut off so that they could stand up on the a flat surface. Place these point side up on top of the pie.

In the small saucepan which has been washed and dried, melt the currant jelly until it is melted. It will bubble. Strain into a glass, which will involve a lot of pressing with a spatula. Stir in the St. Germain. Brush this mixture onto the fresh strawberries.

The Pie

Cool in a refrigerator for an hour or two or overnight. Slice and eat, or slice and serve to judges. If the latter, try to save yourself a slice.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

The image for the article is licensed by robplusjessie under a Creative Commons By-NC-SA 2.0 license. If I need a relatively simple dessert, or if I feel that I have earned a reward, or if I think of it, I like to make Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Guinness Cake, from her cookbook Feast. It is the perfect cake, because not only is the cake itself rich and flavorful, but I actually enjoy the frosting as well. Generally, I despise frosting in more than trace amounts, and I will ditch the frosting from a cake without a second thought. This cake, though, is great with all of its frosting. Indeed, the frosting balances out the dark chocolatey, Guinnessey nature of the cake. It is a well-balanced cake. The problem for others has been that, as far as I knew, the recipe wasn't available online. However, Susie Nadler from The Kitchn showed me that it was in the New York Times all along. Hooray! So run, run, run, and make the Chocolate Guinness Cake. Serve it to people that you like, and notice how they like you just a little bit more now.

Chili Powder

Okay, this should be the final installment of my Chili saga, for a while, but it's an important one. This is your basic, all-purpose* chili powder. No fancy caraway, no dedicated mole to match with it. Just pure chili powder.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. Dried Chiles, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips

  • 2.5 oz. Cumin Seeds, whole

  • .25 oz. Garlic Powder

Directions
Toast the chiles over medium heat in a dry pan until they are warm. Set aside to cool. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pain until the scent of cumin wafts into the kitchen. Put with the chiles to cool.

Put the chiles and cumin into a blender and blend for 2 minutes or until powdered. Let settle and mix with the garlic powder. Use immediately or store for, oh, six months or so.

Notes
If you store the chili powder longer than six months, it will lose flavor. On the other hand, if you find that you've had it for, oh, 8-12 months and it's use that or buy some chili powder, I think removing the cap and smelling what you have will prove to you that it's a better choice than buying in most instances.

The chile mix is really up to you. I tend to lean towards a milder spice combined with whatever happens to be available. I also tend to use between 3 and 6 different types of chile, depending. As a guide, if you dab a bit of the chili powder on your tongue and it's too hot for you, you've probably made it too hot.

In the case of overambitious heat, get another 6 ounces of a very mild chile, and similar proportions of cumin seeds and garlic powder, make a second batch, and combine it with the first. No sense wasting it, and you can always give it as a gift if you don't make enough chili for it to be worthwhile.

*- if your purpose is to make chili.

Hot Buttered Rum

I made my first Hot Buttered Rum this evening. How could I not try it out, especially after locating the recipe for the world's best hot buttered rum? It sounded like everything a winter drink should be: warm, booze-filled (sorry… infused with distilled spirits), sweet, and buttery. It sounded fantastic. You know what? It is fantastic. The making is terribly simple. Take a stick of softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar (I used dark), 1/4 cup agave nectar (a sweetener. You could probably use honey in a pinch, though that will throw off the flavor. Some sort of syrup, even a simple syrup, would work just as well), about half a tsp of cinnamon, 1/8 tsp each of nutmeg, allspice, and clove, a shot of rum, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine (I used a fork). Take a spoonful or two of the batter, put it in a coffee cup, add a shot or so of rum, and fill the rest with hot water. Drink. Enjoy. Mmmm. I used Cruzan Light rum for my rum, as it was a good quality rum, and Lance J. Mayhew, who published the recipe that I found, suggests Bacardi 8. The important thing is to use a good rum. (Remember: cold reduces molecular motion, and that includes activating taste receptors. Hot increases molecular motion, so a bad rum will taste worse when heated.)

Vanilla Salt Cookies

vanilla_salt_cookies.jpg This entry is stolen… er, used under Creative Commons License from umami.com. I have made these cookies several times and love them ever so. They are my favorite cookies to make at Christmas, because they are easy and tasty and a bit more sophisticated than your average Christmas cookie. I have not made any alterations to the recipe because the license of the site does not allow for derivative works. And although, as a recipe, I could alter it and make it my own, it's a very good recipe without any change. Other than the salt on the top, as I have used fleur de sel instead of the pink Himalayan stuff.
These cookies were made using from the recipe for Vanilla Wafers in the "Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking". Instead of sugar crystals as suggested in the book, which I did not have on hand, I pressed some pink Himalayan salt crystals on the top just before baking. The salt accentuated the sweet vanila butteriness of the cookies, intriguing those who tasted with its familiar yet novel sensation. The recipe calls for one whole block of butter, and makes over 60 cookies. For a small household like mine it makes sense to freeze part of the dough. The ones above were from one of the frozen portions, slightly overbaked and crumbly, but still really rather scrumptious. Next time I might increase the quantity of flour. 250g butter 1/4 tsp salt (or if you are like me, omit this and use slightly salted butter) 125g sugar 2 large egg yolks 1 tbsp vanilla extract 315g plain flour Beat the butter, salt and sugar at medium speed untill smooth. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat at low speed until blended. Add flour and mix until a dough forms. Divide dough into three or four equal portions. Roll each portion into logs about 1.5 inches in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and freeze or refridgerate till firm. Before baking, unwrap log and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. At this point you can op to sprinkle crystal sugar, crystal salt or chopped nuts on the surface. Bake at 180 C for 12-15 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

TGRWT #13: Chili Mole

Round 13 of TGRWT is Chocolate and Caraway. For various reasons, including the fact that I had recently made Chili, I thought that a Caraway Cocoa Chili would be an interesting. caraway_chili_mole1.jpg Every step of the dish was on the precipice of disaster. I thought that there was way too much caraway, so I compensated with a lot of cocoa, and suddenly I had a mole. Hurray! There was far more chili powder than I could process at once in the blender, so after a bit of an optimistic time overfilling it, I had to redistribute the powdered and unaffected bits of chiles, eventually combining them together once everything was particulated. I went to open the beer and it started foaming everywhere so it spilled all over the kitchen. It took me 30 minutes to discover where the bottle cap disappeared to. Still, after all is said and done, the chili turned out great, and even got my wife's approval. She couldn't taste the caraway individually, but thought all the flavors were balanced quite well. I could certainly taste the caraway, as I had worked with it recently, and it definitely adds a new note to the chili. Probably some sesame would have rounded it out nicely. Ingredients:
  • Chili Powder
    • 3.7 oz. Cumin Seeds, whole, toasted
    • 2.2 oz. Caraway Seeds, whole, toasted
    • 1.5 oz. New Mexico Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • 1.5 oz. Guajillo Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • 6 oz. Pajillo Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • 1.5 oz. Chipotle Grande Chile, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips
    • .5 oz. Garlic Powder
    • .5 oz. Cumin Powder
    • 2.2 oz. Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
  • Chili
    • 750 ml Beer
    • 30 oz. Tomato Sauce
    • 2 oz. Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened
    • ½ cup Chili Powder
    • ½ cup Masa
    • 2 lb. Lamb, 1" Cubes
    • 1 lb. Beef Chuck, 1" Cubes
    • ¼ cup Vegetable oil
    • 4 medium shallots, sliced
    • Salt, To taste
  • Topping
    • Crème Fraiche
Directions: For the chili powder: In a dry pan, toast the chiles and seeds and let cool. In batches, process the chiles and seeds in a blender until powdered. Combine with the other powders and set aside. For the chili: Toss the meat in half of the vegetable oil to coat. Season liberally with salt. In batches, brown each side in a scorchingly hot dutch oven. Don't catch anything on fire. Set aside. Either in a separate pan or letting the dutch oven cool a bit, sofrito the shallots. Pour the beer into the dutch oven, turn up to high, and deglaze the pan. Add the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 1-1.5 hours. Season with salt. Top with the crème fraiche. Notes: This makes faaaar more chili powder than you'll need for the actual chili. Feel free to cut back significantly or, as I do, jar it up to use later or give away. The beer I used was Mandrin au Sapin. Feel free to use whatever beer makes you happiest. This is not a proper mole. I know this because I really don't know how to make a mole, but I know it's a sauce with chocolate, and so I called it a mole. I believe a proper mole has more fat in it.

Tarragon Mac and Cheese

After eating some tasting menu or another (I do so many, I can hardly keep track), I wanted to replicate a taste combination of garlic and tarragon. This is not an uncommon combination by any stretch of the imagination, but it was after this tasting that I was making the Good Eats baked macaroni and cheese that I decided to make this variant. The tarragon adds a lovely undertone of sweetness that takes what would otherwise be a fantastic macaroni and cheese and turns it into something slightly exotic.
mac-cheese.jpg Ingredients:
  • ½ lb. elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon Tarragon, Fresh or Dried
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 ounces extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 10 ounces colby, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
Topping:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Directions: Oven to 350°F.*

Cook your pasta. Remember, it's going to bake some more, so leave a little bite there.

Melt the topping butter in a pan and mix in the panko. Set aside.

Take the 3 tablespoons of butter and melt in a large sauce pan. Add the onions and sweat (or sofrito). Whisk in the flour and stir for a few minutes, until there is a nutty smell or until the flour starts turning a shade or so darker of brown. Stir in the milk, herbs, spices, and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if the béchamel is lackluster in flavor.

Crack the egg into a small bowl and pour in a bit of the béchamel to temper the egg. Mix that, and pour it into the sauce pan. Stir in 2/3 of the cheese. Stir or fold the macaroni into the cheese sauce and pour into a 9 x 12 baking dish, or a deep 8" round casserole, or whatever seems to hold it best. I tend to use the pyrex baking dishes because they have a convenient cover and carrying case for taking to parties.

Cover with the rest of the cheese and cover that with the buttery panko.

Bake for 30 minutes. If, for whatever reason, the panko is not golden brown and delicious, put it back in until it is.

If you are of strong will, let rest for a few minutes before eating. I usually do that. For the second serving. (Serves 6) Notes: Choose your cheddar carefully. While the recipe can be made with whatever cheese you have, the relatively small amount of cheddar is best served by something with a lot of flavor. This means that you will be shredding the cheddar yourself, a task that I usually delegate to the shredding disc of my food processor. The colby is mainly there for mellowing out the cheddar as well as a certain general texture to the taste.

*- Strictly speaking, you don't have to preheat the oven. They tell me that the preheating step is a holdover from an older age where ovens were manual fire-tending things and they would often overshoot the proper temperature before hitting the right one, so you waited until the temperature settled. Modern ovens aren't so fussy, so with a dish like macaroni and cheese (as opposed to, say, a soufflé), you could skip the preheat. Download recipe (in MacGourmet format).

Bacon Bacon Bacon (BBB) Sandwich

Because we don't live in a culture of enough excess, I have invented a new sandwich. It takes all of the best things of the BLT sandwich, namely the bacon, bread, and mayonnaise, a.k.a. all of the non-vegetably things, and threw out the rest. And thus I give you: The BBB Sandwich! What was I when I invented this sandwich? That's right: I was drunk. Still, after a night of hard drinking, when a man can't quite work up the energy to make his own one-eye burger, steps must be taken. Did I not have tomatoes? Did I not have lettuce? I had both of those things. Tomatoes fresh from the CSA, dripping with fresh, tomatoey goodness. Perfectly plump and ready to eat. I had hydroponically-grown bibb lettuce, resting in the fridge, awaiting only the right application to become complete. And yet, I chose not to use them. Because that is not what I was after. No, I was after the BBB. If that's not quite enough bacon for you, you could substitute Baconnaise for the mayonnaise. That would give you a Bread, Bacon, and Baconnaise sandwich. That's for the purists who can't just accept that BBB stands for Bacon Bacon Bacon. It's fine, I understand. I am occasionally a purist myself. Heck, if you really wanted to just bacon the thing out, you could take a loaf of bread made with pepper and bacon fat. It's not like you need it, though. A bunch of bacon should carry the recipe quite handily. Still, who am I to say no? And yes, I am sure that I am not the first person to invent the sandwich. I would imagine a quick Google search would turn up many other pioneers such as myself. Still, I don't think the previous discoverers would begrudge me this brief moment of glory before the heart attack kicks in.

Pork and Beef Stew

Prok and Beef Stew in a White BowlIngredients:
  • 3 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  • 3 Carrots, Chopped
  • 3 Small Onions, Chopped
  • 3 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1.5 lb. Beef, Cubed
  • 1 lb. Pork, Cubed
  • ½ liter Red Wine, Merlot
  • 3 tablespoon Herbes du Provence
  • 2 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Onions
  • ¼ teaspoon Nutmeg, grated fine
  • 2 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups Wild Mushrooms, Whole
  • 4 clove Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes
Directions: 1. Melt the butter in your pressure cooker 2. Sweat the Celery, Onion, Carrots, and salt until the onion becomes translucent 3. In a heavy pan, brown the pork and beef cubes over high heat and in the peanut oil 4. Add pork and beef to the pressure cooker 5. Deglaze the heavy pan with part of the wine, then pour that and the rest of the wine into the pressure cooker 6. Add water to cover all ingredients in pressure cooker 7. Put Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and Cumin Seeds into a tea ball and submerge in Pressure Cooker 8. Bring to a boil 9. Remove tea ball with tongs 10. Add Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Herbes du Provence, Nutmeg, Garlic, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms to Pressure Cooker, and bring back to a boil 11. Cover and, following directions for your pressure cooker, cook for 25 minutes 12. Remove cover (following directions) and add Wondra Flour or Corn Starch to thicken. 13. Boil for one minute 14. Serve and enjoy (Serves 6)

Egg Nog

Nog. Right. They way I figure it, there are roughly 5 types who are reading this article. The first will be ready to read and make this recipe immediately, enjoying the nog and perhaps sharing with friends. Excellent. The second type already has a nog recipe, and may compare notes a bit, but there would be at most tweaking. The third through fifth do not like the nog. The third because of some manner of allergy, which is understandable. The fourth type, and perhaps most common, believes that it does not like nog because it has only had the carton stuff. I say fie on the carton stuff. It's like saying you don't like steak because you've had a McDonald's hamburger and you didn't like that. The fifth type doesn't like egg not because they are outcasts from society and, and I say this without any sort of judgement you understand, the fifth type doesn't like egg nog because it's a freak. No judgement, remember. We can still hang out and play cards together. I know all kinds of people from different walks of life. We're cool. Read on to find out how to make proper Egg Nog. Note: This recipe contains raw eggs. They are pasteurized eggs, so should be perfectly safe, but if you have an allergy, or if you have a somehow weakened immune system, it would be wise to go with another recipe that cooks the nog to kill the critters inside. Also, you'll end up with a bunch of egg yolks at the end of this, because I don't like to add whipped egg whites to my nog. You can either make a heart-healthy omelet, or you could pour the egg whites into an ice tray (an empty ice tray) and freeze them for later use. Equipment
1 large mixing bowl
1 mixer (stand or hand)
2-3 small bowls for separating egg yolks and whites
Ingredients
8 egg yolk, pasteurized
1 cup sugar
½ gallon whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
5 oz. bourbon, (Or to taste - I'll generally add a bit more) (Well, I say a bit...)
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated In the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Chill and serve. Or, as I generally do, just drink it right then and there.