Sunday, March 21, 2010

Andrew Made His Own Corned Beef and Other Stuff

Serves 8 with leftovers. Published March 1, 1997.

If you prefer a leaner piece of meat, feel free to use the flat cut. In fact, we found more flat cut than point cut briskets in supermarket meat cases, so you’ll probably have to ask the meat department attendant or butcher to bring you a point cut. Leave a bit of fat attached for better texture and flavor. The meat is cooked fully when it is tender, the muscle fibers have loosened visibly, and a skewer slides in with minimal resistance.

1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns , cracked
3/4 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 bay leaves , crumbled
1 beef brisket (fresh, 4 to 6 pounds), preferably point cut, trimmed of excess fat, rinsed and patted dry
7-8 pounds vegetables , chosen from the categories below

Category 1 Vegetables
  • carrots , peeled and halved crosswise, thin end halved lengthwise, thick end quartered lengthwise
  • rutabagas (small), peeled and halved crosswise; each half cut into six chunks
  • white turnips (medium), peeled and quartered
  • new potatoes (small), scrubbed and left whole
  • boiling onions , peeled and left whole
Category 2 Vegetables
  • green cabbage (small head), uncored, blemished leaves removed, cut into six to eight wedges
  • parsnips , peeled and halved crosswise, thin end halved lengthwise, thick end quartered lengthwise
  • Brussels sprouts , blemished leaves removed and left whole
1. Mix salt and seasonings in small bowl.

2. Spear brisket about thirty times per side with meat fork or metal skewer. Rub each side evenly with salt mixture; place in 2-gallon-size zipper-lock bag, forcing out as much air as possible. Place in pan large enough to hold it (a jelly roll pan works well), cover with second, similar-size pan, and weight with two bricks or heavy cans of similar weight. Refrigerate 5 to 7 days, turning once a day.

3. Choose 7-8 pounds of vegetables of your choice from categories 1 and 2, prepared as described in the ingredient listing.

4. Rinse the brisket and pat it dry. Bring the brisket to boil with water to cover by 1/2 to 1 inch in large soup kettle or stockpot (at least 8 quarts), skimming any scum that rises to surface. Cover and simmer until skewer inserted in thickest part of brisket slides out with ease, 2 to 3 hours.

5. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer meat to large platter, ladling about 1 cup cooking liquid over it to keep it moist. Cover with foil and set in oven.

6. Add vegetables from category 1 to kettle and bring to boil; cover and simmer until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add vegetables from category 2 and bring to boil; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

7. Meanwhile, remove meat from oven and cut across the grain into 1/4-inch slices.

8. Transfer vegetables to meat platter, moisten with additional broth, and serve.

9. Serve this dish with horseradish, either plain or mixed with whipped or sour cream, or with grainy mustard.

and his Flaky Biscuit Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Makes 16. Published May 1, 1993. After stirring in the milk, this dough should feel very soft and moist, but you should be able to hold it briefly between lightly floured hands without its sticking. If it turns out wet and sticky, return it to the bowl and sprinkle it with 2 to 4 tablespoons additional flour (of any kind) on all sides, gently patting in the flour with your palm. Let the dough rest another half-minute before removing it to your work surface. It is best to discard the dough that is left over from the second cutting, as biscuits made with thrice-recycled
dough tend to be tough and flat. These biscuits are best served at once, though leftovers may be wrapped and refrigerated for a day, then reheated for a few minutes in a 350° oven.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (preferably King Arthur)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled, or lard
3/4 cup milk , cold

1. Adjust rack to center position and heat oven to 450.°

2. Mix first 3 ingredients in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted
with steel blade. Add butter; with your fingertips, a pastry blender, 2 knives, or steel
blade of a food processor, mix, cut, or process butter and shortening into dry
ingredients, until the mixture resembles dry oatmeal. (Transfer food processor mixture
to a large bowl.)

3. Stir in milk with a rubber spatula or fork until dry ingredients are just moistened.
Let dough rest for 1 minute, then transfer it to a well-floured work surface.

4. Roll the dough into a rough 6-by-10-inch rectangle. With the long edge of the
dough facing you, fold in both short ends of the dough so that they meet in the center;
then fold the dough in half by width, forming a package of dough four layers thick.
Once again, roll the dough into a 6-by-10-inch rectangle 1/2-inch thick.

5. Using a lightly greased and floured 2-inch cutter, stamp, with one decisive punch
per round, 4 rows of 3 dough rounds, cutting them close together to generate as few
scraps as possible. Dip cutter into flour before each new cut. Push the scraps of dough
together so that their edges join; firmly pinch the edges with fingertips to make a
partial seal. Pat the dough into small rectangle, fold it as before, and re-roll 1/2-inch
thick. Cut out 3 or 4 more biscuits.

6. Place dough rounds 1 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet; brush dough
tops with melted butter or milk. (May be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up
to 3 hours.)

7. Bake until biscuits are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

from Cook's Country
Makes twenty-four 2-inch brownies. Published March 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.
For the chewiest texture, it is important to let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting. If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them promptly from the pan (otherwise, the superior heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking). While any high quality chocolate can be used in this recipe, our preferred brands of bittersweet chocolate are Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV and Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar. Our preferred brand of unsweetened chocolate is Scharffen Berger. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate , finely chopped (see note and related illustration)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see note)

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Referring to directions in Making a Foil Sling (related), make sling using the following steps: Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and
fit into width of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix
with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.

4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

Brownies with a Shiny, Crackly Top
A glossy, crackly top is one of the hallmarks of a great brownie, but achieving it can be elusive. Can the type of sweetener you use help?

We baked three batches of brownies, one sweetened with granulated sugar, another with brown sugar, and a third with brown sugar and corn syrup.

Only the brownies made with granulated sugar took on an attractive crackly sheen. The other batches had a dull, matte finish.

Why does granulated sugar work best? It’s all due to what might be deemed “special effects.” Whether on its own or in combination with corn syrup, brown sugar forms crystals on the surface of the cooling brownie. Crystals reflect light in a diffuse way, creating a matte effect.
The pure sucrose in granulated sugar, on the other hand, forms a smooth glasslike surface as it cools that reflects light in a focused way, for a shiny effect. As for the crackly crust, its formation depends on sugar molecules rising to the surface of the batter and drying out during baking. Since both brown sugar and corn contain more moisture than granulated sugar, the surface of brownies made with either of these sweeteners never dries out enough for a crisp crust to form.

The Secret to Chewy Brownies
The secret to a box-mix brownie's chewy texture boils down to one thing: fat—specifically the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat. By using both butter (a predominantly saturated fat) and unsaturated vegetable oil, we were able to approximate the same 1:3 ratio found in
commercially engineered specimens to mimic their satisfying chew.
diigo it


  1. Sounds good. I just tossed a corned beef point cut in the crock pot with some carrots and potatoes and cooked it on low for 10 hours. It turned out fine. I didn't add any spices, because I was going to share some with Herman, but the vet said no fatty meats, so poor Herman had to do without.

  2. I'd like to try the corned beef, sounds great!!! My husband loves corned beef and I've never made it from scratch. The biscuits and brownies I can't eat, or the cake.

  3. That all looks so yummy. My mom wishes she had time to cook.


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