Saturday, March 13, 2010

Corned Beef Time

It's time again for Corned Beef for St Paddy's Day
Last year I tried corning my brisket myself and we thought it was pretty fun, so I'm doing it again this year.  If you get started today you still have time to corn your own brisket in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Here's the recipe again--the best part is you can use an organic, pasture raised local brisket...
Here's the recipe I used--I mix my own pickling spices, but you can purchase pickling spices already mixed at the store as well. I used a 3-lb brisket but this brine is sufficient for up to 8 lbs of brisket.

For the brine:
Place the following ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved in the mixture. Take off heat and cool before using.
6 cups water
2 cups amber beer
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pickling spices

Recipe for pickling spices:
1 t allspice berries
1 t coriander seed
1 t dill seeds
1 t ground mace
1/2 t cardamom seed
1/2 t yellow mustard seed
1/2 t brown mustard seed
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
2-1" pieces dried ginger
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 t black peppercorns

Trim any excess fat off the brisket and pierce all over so that the brine will soak in better. Place brisket in a glass or plastic container and cover with brine. Weight down the brisket with a couple of plates so that it stays submerged and refrigerate. Ideally you want to brine the brisket for 10 days, but can do as few as 4. On the 4th, and 8th day remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it with water and then place it back into the brine. On the last day rinse the brisket before slow cooking. Brisket is a meat that is best served by slowly braising over a low temperature. A slow cooker is perfect. Just place the brisket and any desired vegetables in the pot and add a couple of cups of liquid (I'm using stout beer), cover and leave it for several hours. It should be fork tender when you get back to it. If you don't have a slow cooker or crockpot, you can achieve he same thing in a covered dutch oven or roasting pot in the oven at about 225° for about 6 hours.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breakfast Pizza with Farmer's Market Ingredients

Recently I've made a couple of breakfast pizzas with ingredients fresh from the Dane County Farmer's Market.  They might just be Tim's new favorite....after breakfast cheesecake, of course.
The first one was inspired by some leftover dough from pizza night the previous evening and I topped it with queso, sauteed baby bella mushrooms, spinach, artichoke hearts, scrambled eggs and cheese.  It was divine.
The second one I made with an herbed crust rolled super thin, and topped it with queso, sauteed onions and spinach, bacon, scrambled eggs and cheese.  It too was quite good, but we preferred the first version more for some reason. 
A tip if you try this:  scramble the eggs soft because they'll cook more in the oven as the pizza cooks and you don't want them to end up rubbery.