Sunday, April 6, 2008

St. Patty's update, better late then never

There it is! My wonderful corned beef, corned personally by me. And man was it good! It didn't have that red coloring that you get when you buy one in the store, because I didn't have any of the insta cure no. 1. But it didn't look as disturbingly gray as I thought it would. It just looked like a beef brisket (purchased locally at Loleta Meat Market). It also wasn't as dry and tough as the ones I've had from the store. It was more tender, and the texture was softer. Another difference is, I didn't just cook it in pickling spices like you do with the ones from the store. I brined it with pickling spices, but I used a boquet garnis, or a spice bag filled with bay leaves, coriander seeds, allspice, and a dried chile. It gave it a subtle but distinct difference from store bought. That slight taste of allspice really made it unique. Another thing a friend of mine pointed out, is that it still tasted like beef. She noted that the ones from the store taste like pickling spices, and you don't really taste the meat, in mine, you could still taste the meat. I would say that's a good thing.
I got the idea for brining my own corned beef from Bon Appetite (you should be able to find the recipe at I made my brine slightly different from theirs. I borrowed a few things from the brine method out of Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman.
Otherwise I followed Bon Appetite's recipe for cooking it on St. Patty's. I cooked it in Guiness Stout with the spice sack I mentioned above, turnips, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. I made the horseradish cream and guiness mustard from Bon Appetite as well. It was all worth every minute of my time, and was topped off by my Bailey's Bread Pudding topped with a hard cream sauce. YUM!
Then the next weekend it was off to Chico to spend Easter with the in-laws which I got to do no cooking, but enjoyed every bit of food, as the scale will attest.
Unfortunately the only food picture I have of the Easter feast is this one:

These turned out to be some very comforting and delicious scalloped potatoes that went along great with the ham asparagus and rolls.
Then the next weekend was John's birthday. I made my Mom's potato salad recipe (sweet pickles, not dill)and I boiled corn on the cob, while John made his own special rub and BBQ'd pork ribs, which he later doused in Stubbs BBQ sauce. The first set of ribs came from a pig our friend raised locally. John helped with the culling ( a story you don't want to hear). Those ribs came out incredibly good. Slightly spicy, the fat was crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and the meat tender. The other ribs came from a wild boar that John and his friend Pat had killed the year before.

We still haven't got the hang of cooking wild boar. The meat fibers are shorter, and it's way too easy to over cook. They would have been wonderful, if we had teeth like a lion.

Then, the next reason it has taken me so long give an update on my brisket, is that one of our 3 pregnant goats decided to have her kids the next weekend. This will (hopefully) be the next adventure in our culinary experiences. I'm planning on learning a few goat meat recipes in the future. These cute little kids:

will be ending up on the menu in the future. I know, how could you eat such a cute thing? But believe me, when they get big and have horns and start butting you and your children, it's not so hard. They start to look mighty delicious! So, bon appetite, hopefully it won't be so long until I post again.

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