March food pictures

I don’t know why I do this to myself *every* semester… The night class I’m taking is taking up a lot of my energy. I am hoping that I can do a real post this weekend – a special post too!

In the meantime, here is proof that I made corned beef from scratch this year. As much as I love Penzeys spices, I don’t recommend using their corned beef spice mix for brining. It’s good but it doesn’t taste the way corned beef should. It’s a little too busy? Too perfumed? The contents are listed as “brown and yellow mustard seeds, coriander, Jamaican allspice, cracked cassia, dill seed, Turkish bay leaves, Zanzibar cloves, China #1 ginger, Tellicherry peppercorns, star anise, juniper, mace, cardamom, red pepper.” That’s what I used last year.

This year, I went much simpler: mustard seeds, juniper berries, allspice berries, peppercorn, and ground ginger. I was so much happier for it too. This was the corned beef flavor I was looking for. It was not the corned beef flavor my brother-in-law was hoping for (he’s my sole companion when it comes to eating corned beef as the rest of my family doesn’t care for it).  His memories of corned beef are filled with the bright pink kind.  I refused to buy pre-seasoned corned beef unless under duress, and he’s ok with that, but he still wants what his parents used to make.

There were no fun experiments with my corned beef leftovers.  BIL and I got a smaller cut of brisket this year, and he kept half of the leftovers.  I barely had enough leftovers for two servings.

More recently, though, I was in NYC with some friends.  We had lunch at Miss Korea BBQ.  It was pretty fantastic.  We stuffed ourselves with banchan, kalbi, spicy pork, and veggies.

We learned something in our quest for delicious Korean BBQ.  We’ve always had bulgogi cooked and served to us on a plate.  At Miss Korea, it is served to your table raw.  They remove the normal grill top (like the one in the photo above) and replace it with a grill top that allows you to boil the beef and noodles in a marinade (see below).  We looked like uncultured fools when we tried to cook our bulgogi on the regular grill top.  Don’t be like us.  Do it right.

The scorch marks in the middle of the bulgogi grill?  Yeah, we originally thought that the noodles went in the marinade while the meat cooked over the flame.  And then we realized that this grill had not been oiled at all.  We tried to quickly move the beef into the marinade.  Not one, but two faux pas!  Forgive us, Miss Korea!

Now I want Korean BBQ.  lol!

I hope this tiny post tides you over until I can post my fun update!

The leftovers of leftovers

… AKA corned beef and leftovers, part 3

Leftover idea #2? Corned beef hash okayu.

Wait, okayu? Yes, okayu (also known as jook, juk, congee, rice porriage, etc).  This idea is completely my brain child, and it’s one of my better ideas.  (One of my bad ideas?  Purposely swapping 1/3 of the oil for extra virgin olive oil in a brownie recipe out of pure curiosity… yeah, don’t do that.)

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Corned beef and leftovers, part 2

So, now that I’ve got about half of the corned beef and cabbage hanging out in my refrigerator, what should I do next?

Leftover dish #1? Corned beef hash.

This was pretty good. The only downside to my hash was that it aggravated my TMJ.  (Was it the hash or the slightly overcooked corned beef that was the culprit? I will not know until next year when I make more). You want equal portions of cooked potatoes and corned beef. My amounts were approximately:

2 cups potatoes (quarter and boil for about 12 minutes before using them in the hash)
2 cups of corned beef
1 bunch of scallions, white parts and some of the green parts (just don’t use any green parts that look sad)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
(makes about 4 servings)

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It’s a Boston thing…

… AKA corned beef and leftovers, part 1.

I never had a proper serving of corned beef until I was 23 years old. Before that, I only had a deli version that came in a plastic packet as a kid.  But one of the vendors through my full time job did annual St. Patrick’s Day lunches with real corned beef until the recession hit. I loved it.  The missing ritual became more noticeable when I kept hearing all my co-workers talk about their version of corned beef. (Hey! Even the Italian French woman in my office makes corned beef every year!)  It was driving me crazy.  So, steps needed to be taken.

I wanted to make corned beef last year, but the Alton Brown recipe calls for saltpeter as an ingredient. I’ve been told that there’s one pharmacy in my general area that sells saltpeter, but I’ve been too lazy to track it down. A year later, I’ve learned that you don’t need it to make corned beef. It’s mainly to retain a nicer color. As long as you keep the beef in the refrigerator while it’s brining, there isn’t much chance of bacterial infection.

I don’t have  instructions to use per se, but I was working off of an Alton Brown’s recipe and one of Martha Stewart’s recipes. If you’re using kosher salt, make sure that it’s pure salt, free of anti-caking ingredients. Using pickling salt is one way to make sure that you’re using pure salt. I ended up using fine pickling salt, which meant reducing the kosher salt amounts by half (I think I could have reduced the salt even a little more than that but I wasn’t willing to experiment at the time).

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