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Goodbye Carnegie Deli, Hello Homemade Pastrami

If you follow the news, at least here in New York, you have probably seen the story regarding the recent announcement from the Carnegie Deli. The deli is something of an institution here in New York and has been open for nearly 80 years but recently announced that they will be closing at the end of 2016. The Carnegie Deli is very famous for the different sandwiches that it offers, especially the pastrami. Pastrami can sometimes be something of an acquired taste and not everyone is a big fan of it. For me personally, pastrami is basically the only type of cold cut meat that I really eat. While you can still get pastrami in any supermarket and from of variety of different sources, there is something about the Carnegie Deli that people are particularly fond of. Personally, I have never been to the Carnegie Deli but they do offer their pastrami for sale in different supermarkets and I have tried it before. It is pretty good but I had always wondered if it could be better. Pastrami was not something I had never really considered making myself, particularly because I do not have a smoker to use, but Shawn had shown an interest recently in trying pastrami and it just so happens, that at this time of year with the Jewish holidays, that brisket is at a pretty good price. I decided I would get adventurous and started looking around for a recipe that would allow me to make it at home but make it in the oven instead of the smoker. I came across this recipe from Food52 that seemed to fit the bill. It is a bit of a process, but it seemed like it was worth a try.

Homemade Pastrami

3 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns

3 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon allspice berries

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 bay leaf, crushed

1/4 cinnamon stick, crushed

1 1/4 cup kosher salt

2 2/3 tablespoons pink salt (sodium nitrite)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

5 garlic cloves, minced

One 5-pound brisket from the fatty end (point), untrimmed

1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1/2 cup shiro dashi

In a small skillet, lightly toast 1/2 teaspoon of the black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon of the coriander seeds and 1/2 teaspoon of the mustard seeds over medium heat until the spices are fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the spices from the heat and allow them to cool slightly before grinding them in the spice mill.

Put the ground spices in a large pot and add the red pepper flakes, allspice berries, cloves, mace, ginger, crushed bay leaf, crushed cinnamon stick, kosher salt, pink salt, granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, minced garlic and 4 quarts of water. Bring the brine to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the brine from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Transfer the brine to a vessel large enough to hold it and the meat – which will be added later – and refrigerate the brine until it is chilled.

Put the brisket in the brine and weigh it down (with a plate or several tomato cans, for example) to keep it completely submerged. Cover the brisket and refrigerate it for 5 days. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse it thoroughly, dry it, and place it on a large platter. Discard the brine. In a spice mill, process the remaining black peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and the fennel seeds. Transfer the spices to a small bowl and mix them well. Coat the brisket with the spice mixture and sprinkle the shiro dashi over it. Cover the platter and refrigerate the brisket for about 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 250°. Put the brisket on a rack in a large roasting pan. Add a cup of water to the pan and tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil. Cook the brisket until it reaches 165° on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat, about 3 to 4 hours. If you do not have a meat thermometer, the brisket is ready when the meat is very tender. Let the meat rest for at least 2 hours at room temperature, or cover it and refrigerate it overnight. To serve, transfer the pastrami to a cutting board and cut it against the grain into thin slices. The pastrami will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Okay, this is quite a project to undertake and you not only need to have the time to put into it, and the space in your refrigerator, but you also, if you are like me, are going to need to go out and buy a number of spices. I do not typically have things like allspice berries or ground mace on hand and I certainly do not normally have the pink salt required for preserving meat. Sodium nitrite is used to help prevent the growth of dangerous bacteria and is something of a necessity if you are going to do this recipe. I was able to get some online through Amazon and probably have more than enough now to last me for a lifetime. I also had some difficulty in tracking down the shiro dashi, which they use in this recipe to help add some of the smoky flavor that you would normally get if you cook the pastrami in a smoker. Shiro dashi is a Japanese stock base that does have a bit of a smoky smell to it. I was finally able to track some down at one of the specialty food stores not too far from here. After that, I had to make space in the refrigerator for a container large enough to submerged the brisket to do the brining.

Even after all of that, you still have to wait for five days, the twelve hours of resting with the spices and then the four hours in the oven before the recipe is complete. That being said, I think it was certainly worth the effort put into it. The final product was very tasty. It tasted just as good or better than anything that you might be able to buy at the supermarket. The mix of spices was perfect and the pastrami was cooked perfectly and made for some great sandwiches. Of course, I served the pastrami hot on homemade rye bread with some homemade pickles, a little bit of tomato salad and some homemade ranch coleslaw and with plenty of mustard. It made for an excellent meal and there were plenty of leftovers so that Sean and I have been enjoying it for lunches ever since then and we gave some to my brother and his wife to bring home for them to enjoy. Is it something that I will make often? Not likely since the process is lengthy and brisket is often pretty expensive around here, but it is certainly a recipe that I will keep in mind to have once in a while when I get a craving for some good pastrami.

That is all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2016 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Lunch, Sandwiches, Spices

 

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A Honey of a Wing Recipe – Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

I have a real affinity for chicken wings. Whether you have them as an appetizer or as your entrée for a meal they can be perfect. I like to try all different types of wings and sample them in different places when we go out to eat. While I may not like them fiery hot like some people do, I do like them with some heat sometimes. Sean, on the other hand, is not a big fan of spicy hot wings or even wings that are medium hot so when I make them for just the two of us when Michelle is away, I usually have to find another way to cook them. I have tried barbecued wings and teriyaki wings in the past, but this time I thought some nice honey mustard wings would be a good compromise for the both of us. We get a little bit of heat for me, the sweetness for him, and we are both happy. I came across this recipe from Food52 for honey mustard chicken wings and it seemed simple to make, so I thought I would give it a try.

Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

pounds chicken wings, separated into drumettes and flats

Salt and pepper

Cooking spray

tablespoons butter

2/3 cup honey

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

tablespoons bourbon

tablespoons soy sauce

teaspoon Sriracha (add more for extra spice)

scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the bottom of a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Put a cooling rack (usually used for cakes and cookies) onto the cookie sheet. This allows the heat to circulate better and helps the wings to develop a crispy skin. Lay the chicken wings out on the rack and season them with a bit of salt and pepper and a quick spray of cooking oil.

Put the wings into the oven, cook for about 20 minutes, flip them over, and cook the wings for another 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler and cook the wings another 5 minutes on each side. This will give them a nice, rich brown color and crispy skin. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.

Return the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the butter, honey, mustard, bourbon, soy sauce and Sriracha. Simmer the mixture for just 2 to 3 minutes so that all the flavors come together. Brush the chicken wings with the sauce and put them back in the oven for about 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the wings over, brush them with more sauce, and cook them for another 5 to 8 minutes. The chicken should be pulling away from the bones and the sauce should have a great glaze going. Serve the wings garnished with scallions and additional sauce on the side.

The honey really shines through in this recipe. It seemed like a lot to me when I was making the recipe, but the sauce was not as sweet as I had worried about. The combination of the Dijon mustard, bourbon and soy sauce really help to set it off and the hot sauce gave the wings just that hint of heat that I liked and Sean did not even notice. He remarked to me several times that I needed to remember this recipe and make them again as he really liked them. He even had the leftovers for lunch the next day to polish them off. It is a great alternative for wings for those that may not like hot or Buffalo-style wings.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I will be vacationing in the Outer Banks starting tomorrow through next Sunday the 24th so I’ll be posting some links to other sites for recipes you might like. Until the next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on July 16, 2016 in Appetizers, Cooking, Dinner, Poultry, Sauce, Snacks

 

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The Perfect Side Dish – Hasselback Potato Skillet Bake

Side dishes don’t necessarily get a lot of love from people when it comes to the meal, especially during the week when you may be in a bit more of a rush to get a meal on the table for dinner. It’s really easy to just throw a few potatoes in the microwave or use some instant or quick rice and frozen vegetables to complete your meal. I very often use frozen vegetables myself because they are quick, easy and can very often taste just as good as fresh for certain things. When it comes to having some type of starch with a meal though, I want to go beyond the basic baked potato, instant rice or french fries. That is why making this dish can be the perfect compromise. Hasselback potatoes seem all the rage over the last year or so and you can find lots of different recipes and variations on them, but this one I found at Food52 seemed to be the right one for me.

Hasselback Potato Skillet Bake

6 to 8 baby Yukon Gold potatoes (any long and narrow waxy heirloom will work), based on the skillet size you use

tablespoons butter, melted

garlic cloves, minced

tablespoons finely minced herbs (I used parsley and thyme.)

tablespoons grated Parmesan (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly and remove all the hard bits from the skin since the skins will be left on.

Slice one thin layer off each potato, along the length, then set it aside. This serves as a solid base to rest on while you slice the potatoes. Place a potato flat side-down and use a sharp knife to make slices that are about 1/8-inch apart; slice into the potato but not completely through it — the slices should stay connected at the bottom. (Tip: Place a chopstick on either side of the potato so that you hit the chopstick before slicing all the way through.) Carefully fan out the sliced pieces without breaking them apart. Repeat with each potato.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, garlic, and minced herbs. Set the mixture aside.

Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and the sides of a cast iron skillet and each potato with the garlic-herb butter mixture. Brush the potatoes generously, making sure to get in-between each slice. Reserve 1/3 of the garlic-herb butter for basting. Nestle the potatoes into the skillet. Sprinkle the potatoes with Parmesan cheese, if using, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Bake for 1 hour — basting the potatoes every 15 minutes with the remaining garlic-herb butter — or until the potatoes are tender on the inside and crisp on the outside.

They are very easy to make whenever you might want them. It might take a little practice in cutting through the potatoes to make sure you don’t go all the way through so you can get that nice, fanned look from the potatoes and they cook well on the inside. You get a really great, crisp outside of the potatoes while still having the creamy potato center you like. I have found these can go well with any type of main dish – steak, pork chops, chicken, lamb – and you can pop them in the oven alongside of whatever protein you are making and they will be done at around the same time. If you have any leftovers, slice them all the way through and you can have great potatoes to have with a breakfast of eggs, sausage and bacon or some hash.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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12 Summer Fruit Dessert Recipes

12 Summer Fruit Dessert Recipes.

Summer fruit are always some of my favorites of the year. I just love all of the berries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines and everything else that comes along in the summer. There are so many different things you can do with all of it, from making a simple fruit salad (or a complex one), smoothies, ice cream and of course great pies and cobblers. Food52 has put together 12 great summer fruit recipes that you can try to tempt your taste buds with the best fruits of the season. Check it out!

 

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