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Doesn’t this look delicious? Let me tell you that it tasted as good as it looks. Okay, maybe it even tasted better than it looks.

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine’s recipe for Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Peach Glaze. Start with a 3-4 pound beef brisket.

Part 1 – The Rub

Mix together

1 T plus 1 t kosher salt

1 t. ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Rub on the brisket and refrigerate for two hours or overnight. Then remove from refrigerator and let stand on counter for one hour.

Part 2 – Brisket

INGREDIENTS

2 T. olive oil, divided

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 garlic gloves, crushed

4 cups beef broth

1 12 oz bottle of stout beer

3/4 cup bourbon (I didn’t have and used scotch instead — not a great differentiator of the brown liquors)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

Thyme 1 tsp.

2 celery stalks chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 T. balsamic vinegar

THE PROCESS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat 1 T oil in an oven proof large pot. Sear brisket on both sides, about 5 minutes each side. Remove brisket to plate and cover to keep warm. Heat remaining oil in pot, add onions and garlic, stir until onion is slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients to pot, return brisket to pot, cover and place into oven. Cook for approximately 4 hours, brisket should be tender but still together. Remove brisket from pot, use stick blender to puree remaining braising liquid. Remove 1/4 cup of braising liquid and reserve. Return brisket to pan.

Part 3 – The Glaze

Take 1/4 c. reserved braising liquid, add 1/2 c. apricot or peach preserves ( I didn’t have peach and apricot worked just fine) and 2 T. bourbon (I skipped the bourbon/scotch in the glaze and it tasted just fine to me)

Mix together with stick blender or regular blender. Spread over brisket (fat side should be up and cross-hatched). Return to oven and broil for approximately 10 minutes until glaze has caramelized.

~~~~~~~~~~~

This was delicious! We served it over jasmine rice with scallions on top and it was absolutely great. A lot of oven time but well worth it in the end. Highly recommend.

 

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There are still a plethora of tomatoes in the garden. I have roasted a lot of them. Now I am making crushed tomatoes with them that I am freezing to use later in tomato sauce, stews, soups and the like.

It’s a fairly simple process (which would be a lot simpler if I didn’t have to peel the tomatoes first)

1. Cut an x shaped slit into the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife.

2. Drop the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes.

3. Remove from water and the skins should peel off with little effort.

You now have a naked tomato.

4. Then quarter the skinned tomatoes and place into food processor.

5. Blend to desired consistency. At this point you can place it in a pot to make sauce as you would with canned crushed tomatoes

Or put in a container to freeze.

 

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Tomatoes are everywhere. I have two bowls of tomatoes from the garden on my counter. It hardly seems that those tiny little plants that go in the ground at the beginning of summer can produce so many tomatoes, but damn if they don’t do it every time. I took a whole bowl of those cherry tomatoes that I picked the day before, washed them, cut them in half, seasoned them with a little salt, some oregano and a couple whole unpeeled garlic cloves and tossed them with some extra virgin olive oil. I put them on a parchment lined pan and into the oven. 220 degrees for about 4 hours.

Oh my goodness! The house smelled delicious.

Here’s one tray down and only…..about a half dozen more to go with this last batch of picked tomatoes anyway.

This batch I put into pint sized mason jars and filled them with olive oil and into the fridge they went (only after I took quite a few for last night’s pasta). I think that I will freeze the other batches in labeled ziploc bags for use at a later date.

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you were at my house for breakfast this morning?

See, when I can’t sleep for whatever reason, I usually get up. No sense staring at the ceiling for hours. Then, when I’m up, I usually bake. Someone should benefit from my insomnia, don’t you think?

This morning I baked cinnamon buns from a recipe I got from WhatsCookingAmerica.net. They are some of the best cinnamon buns that I have made or tasted. I have adapted the recipe for my own taste.

Cut pieces getting settled in to rise a second time

Recipe – Ingredients (Buns)

1 cup milk (heat 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons yeast

Process —

1. Mix together all ingredients in order given in stand mixer until well blended. Knead for approximately 3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove from mixing bowl, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. About 1 hour.

2. After dough has risen, roll out into a rectangle about 13 x 9.

3. Use butter from filling recipe to spread across entire surface of dough.

4. Spread filling over butter.

5. Roll dough up into a log.

6. Cut into 14 pieces.

7. Place 7 pieces into one round 9 inch cake pan. Place the other 7 pieces into the other cake pan. Make sure that they are not touching.

8. Cover and let rise again, about one hour until they have doubled and are touching each other.

9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

10. Cook buns in oven for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.

11. Remove and frost with glaze (recipe below).

Ingredients – Filling

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

5 T. cinnamon

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar to form a cinnamon sugar. You will sprinkle this over your dough after you spread with the butter.

Ingredients – Frosting

1/4 c. softened butter

2 t. vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners sugar

2-3 T. milk

mix all ingredients together until a glaze forms. Add more milk if necessary to make a nice smooth glaze, but only add a little at a time or it will be too watery. Pour the glaze on top of the cinnamon buns and spread evenly. (I don’t use cream cheese as in the original recipe just because I don’t really care for the taste of it in my cinnamon bun)

Out of the oven

 

Frosting being mixed together

Bring on the frosting

Yesterday, we picked up our second week of CSA from Evening Song Farm. My goodness, I am just amazed at how things are growing so close to our house and I have, with the exception of tomatoes, essentially just seedlings in the garden. Plus, it was nice to meet Kara’s mom – also a fellow New Jersey-ite – and chat over the farm, the old Jersey neighborhood (since I grew up in the town next door to where she lives) and Vermont. I also ran into another acquaintance while I was there and we had a nice chat about the yoga class in town, which I am now going to definitely give a try. I probably could have been there talking for at least another hour, happily chatting away, except Tim was with me and after he was chatting for a while, politely reminded me that he did have to study for exams. Not only do I get my veggies, but I also get to talk to a bunch of very interesting people. Oh well, off we went.

This week I chose a beautiful head of lettuce, baby bok choy, spinach, green garlic, scallions, arugula, and chard. The variety that you can choose from is widely assorted – there were also radishes, salad turnips, mesclun mix, baby lettuce, parsley and kale – although I am sure that I am missing a choice or two.

For dinner last night, we enjoyed the lettuce in a salad. Today, I am sure that I am going to make sauteed baby bok choy again. That was delicious.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy

Needed:

1 bunch baby bok choy – with ends trimmed

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

Process:

Saute the garlic in the olive oil at medium heat. Add the bok choy and Sriracha sauce.

Saute, stirring constantly until bok choy is tender crisp.

 

Tim and I made some sourdough pretzels from a King Arthur Flour recipe. I must admit however that since I was also cooking dinner at the time, Tim is really the sole person responsible for these pretzels. They turned out really well for a first effort and tasted just as good. We might try this again over the weekend. Here’s the recipe.

 

This was lunch. It was delicious. If I do say so myself. Tom tells me that the things that I whip together in about five minutes from what’s hanging around the fridge are probably some of the better things that I cook. Today, I would have to agree.

I took a chicken breast, a few thin slices of red onion, a handful of snow peas and some leftover rice. Sauteed it with a little vegetable oil, sesame oil, chili oil and soy sauce. I chopped a couple scallions, a small handful of cilantro and some lemon juice and topped it off with some black sesame seeds that are relegated to the rear of the pantry since my youngest son is allergic to sesame. So, anything that can incorporate sesame oil and sesame seeds in the same meal is a special, special treat in our house.

All I can say is yum. It was good.

What’s for dinner when you have a load of broccoli in the fridge? Broccoli Cheese Soup of course!

Ingredients

  • 3 large broccoli crowns, rinsed and roughly chopped including stems
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 medium onion
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 2 T butter and 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 c. milk
  1. Chop onion and celery in a food processor, place into stock pot with 2 T. butter, saute over medium heat until softened.
  2. Add chopped broccoli and chicken broth
  3. Simmer until broccoli is tender.
  4. In a separate pot, melt remaining butter and add flour, making a roux. Then add milk and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens.
  5. Remove 1/2 of broccoli mixture, without broth to a bowl.
  6. Add milk mixture to stockpot.
  7. Use blender or stick blender to puree soup in stockpot.
  8. Add reserved broccoli back into stockpot.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese.

Snow day. We spent the day home, not that the weather was all that bad, but hey isn’t hanging around what a snow day is all about? Dinner was going to be simple, burger, potatoes and salad. One problem, no buns. I pulled up this recipe from King Arthur Flour and made these hamburger buns. They were easy to make, came out looking delicious and tasted even better. Next time, I’m going to substitute honey for the sugar in the recipe. I didn’t want to try it first time out of the box, since I wouldn’t know whether I goofed the recipe or the substitution didn’t work correctly.

 

Here’s the link to the recipe at King Arthur’s site.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2-3 leeks
  • 12 cups chicken broth (or enough to cover the vegetables)
  • milk or cream (about 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Process:
  1. Split leeks down the middle and wash thoroughly. Thinly slice all the leeks and place into a dutch oven with about 2 T. canola or vegetable oil.
  2. Saute leeks over medium heat until they are soft but do not brown. About 10 minutes.
  3. While leeks are sauteing wash potatoes and cube into bite size pieces.
  4. Add cubed potatoes (skins and all) to the pot. Add chicken broth enough to cover the vegetables.
  5. Add ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Cover and cook on medium low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are cooked through.
  7. Remove one third of the potato leek mixture and place in a separate bowl to be added back into the soup later.
  8. Add milk or cream to the remaining soup. Blend with a stick blender or by putting batches into a stand blender until a creamy consistency.
  9. Return potato leek mixture to the soup.
  10. Taste for salt and pepper.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

This is what is left after I make these muffins for breakfast. I make a dozen muffins and have three boys who devour them each and every time. You do the math, but I guarantee that by after school today they are most likely completely gone.

The recipe is simple and one that I found on Epicurious.com. The recipes dates back to 1999 so it’s almost as old as they are – yet much like my sons, it’s a keeper. It is simple to make, I usually make them first thing in the morning while the boys are getting up and ready for school, they are cooked and cool enough to eat before they leave in the morning.

Ingredients
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. miniature chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1/4 c. milk
Process:
  1. Mash bananas into bowl.
  2. Melt butter in microwave.
  3. Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to bowl and mix until well blended.
  4. Add chocolate chips and mix well.
  5. Spoon into pre-greased cupcake liners
  6. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

 

This was dinner last night – Chicken Tortilla Soup.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts – cut up into bite size pieces
  • 12 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 4 cups instant mashed potatoes (thickener)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, jack or colby)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell peppers or 1 can green chiles
  • 1 14 oz can kernel corn
  • 2 t. cumin
  • 1 t. cajun seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro chopped for topping
  • lime wedges for topping
  • 2 cups crushed corn tortilla chips for topping

Process:

  1. Cut up chicken breasts add to stock pot with broth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except for cilantro, lime and tortilla chips.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer until chicken is cooked through about 1/2 hour. Add additional mashed potatoes or sour cream to the desired thickness.
  4. Add cilantro, lime wedge and tortilla chips to individual bowls to top soup.

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