Atlanta Brisket

Atlanta Brisket, sauteed kale with bleu cheese.

Atlanta Brisket, sauteed kale with bleu cheese.

I’ve been keeping up with my commitment to prepare two new dishes a week.  This week, it was Atlanta Brisket – brisket braised and glazed with coke and ketchup… I’m cooking very mid-century middle-class these days with delicious results.  Coke and ketchup – who knew?

Atlanta Brisket – Phoren style

Ingredients
Brisket
Garlic cloves
Salt
Pepper
Onions, sliced
White wine
2 c. coke
1.5 c ketchup
4 t. onion powder
2 t. brown sugar
1 t. thyme, dried
1 t each S&P

Directions
Cut a portion of fat cap from brisket.  Cut slits all of brisket and fill with slivers of garlic cloves.  Rub with 1 T salt, wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator for 6-24 hours. Pat dry and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.  Sear both sides, fat side first.  Weigh down with bottom of Dutch oven to ensure even browning, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove brisket. Saute onions in beef fat and oil.  Deglaze pan with white wine.  Make sauce by combining next six ingredients. Place onions in 13 x 9 pan.  Cover with brisket. Cover with sauce and wrap in foil.  Cook in a 325 degree oven for approximately 4 hours.  Rest 30 minutes in sauce.  De-fat sauce, cut across grain, put back in sauce and serve.

Wonderful world of Stewwiches

A couple of years ago, my ex boyfriend told me about his idea to open a shop that sold sandwiches with stew fillings.  For lack of a better word, I’ve been calling them “Stewwiches”.   I caught on to his concept quickly: tummy- warming, home-comfort stews wrapped in a crusty roll – what’s not to like?  So, while we were still dating, I put my culinary skills and his brainchild to the test.

Stewwich numéro un : Boeuf Bourguignon.  I used my My Frenchy-French culinary school Bourguignon recipe (authentic and time consuming) on an Argentinean roll (Have you had Argentinean sandwich rolls?  Crusty outsides wrapped around fluffy interiors – perfection) with Dijon mustard, pickled onions and smoked gruyere cheese.  The first night, they were good, but the day after – perfection!  I should have known -a good stew always gets better overnight.

Fast forward two years to what seems to be the warmest summer day in history (without A/C, it sure FEELS like it) and I decide to make Stewwich número dos, Chicken Tinga.  Since when does “summer” and “stew” not go together?  A few weeks ago, In Phoenix, I sat in on a cooking class for making Chicken Tinga.  Translation, it’s Mexican shredded chicken stew.  As I sit in my sweltering dining room, I envision a crunchy roll with a layer of more-smokey-than-spicy chipotle mayonnaise, Chicken Tinga, pickled onions (yes, there was pickled onion on the last one, which was a good crunchy, vinegary contrast to the stew), cotija cheese, creamy cubed avocado, cilantro and crisp lettuce.  Oh, dream on, dear Phoren.

The result:

Chicken Tinga Stewwiches

Stew
2           Chicken breasts, roasted and very thinly sliced
1/2        small onion, cisele
1/4-1/2 pasilla chile, cisele
2           garlic cloves, chopped
3           tomatillos, diced
2           tomatoes, diced
1           chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
1 T.       adobo sauce
2 t.        Mexican oregano
1/2 t.     cumin
1/4 t.     cinnamon
3/4 c.    chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

**quantities are estimates

Sweat onion and pasilla.  Add garlic and sauté briefly.  Add tomatillos and tomatoes and cook until softened.  Add chicken, broth, chipotle, adobo and spices.  Cook uncovered until chicken is shredded completely, 75 to 90 minutes.

Pickled Onions
1/2        small onion, thinly sliced
1/2 c.    vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 t.        sugar
Juice from 1/2 orange
1 t.       dried oregano
1/2 t.     salt
1/2 -1 c. boiling water

Mix together all ingredients except water.  Pour hot water over ingredients and stir together.  Let sit for 30 minutes or more.

Stew-wiches
Chicken Tinga
Pickled Onions
Rolls (I used ‘take and bake’ telera rolls)
Chipotle Mayonnaise (mayo mixed with adobo sauce)
Crumbled cotija cheese
Cilantro leaves
Cubed avocado
Shredded lettuce

Spread rolls with mayonnaise, layer lettuce and chicken.  Garnish with onions, cheese, cilantro, and avocado.

When assembling, I forgot the avocado,  and it was still frickin’ delicious!

Chicken Tinga Sandwich - even without the avocado, still amazing

Chicken Tinga Sandwich – even without the avocado, still amazing!

CSA Wednesdays

IMG-20130724-00332My second CSA basket arrived today – and now I’m receiving fresh eggs (yay!).  For dinner, I sauteed kale* in olive oil, covered it with basil*-walnut pesto, topped with one of these lovely eggs*, sunny-side up, and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper. For dessert, I baked plums* in a ramekin topped with a phyllo crust.  Fresh and delicious.

* from the CSA

Sunshine for an overcast Sunday

Scones

Lemon Scones with Lemon-Lavender Marmalade

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powered
1/8 t.  salt
1/4 c. butter
1  egg, beaten
1/3 c. vanilla yogurt
Zest of one lemon
Cinnamon sugar

425 degree oven.  Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in center.  Mix together egg and yogurt.  Add wet to dry ingredients and mix with a fork just until moistened.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 strokes, just until dough holds together.  Pat into a 6” circle and cut into 6 wedges. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  Bake 11-13 minutes on an ungreased sheet pan.  Cool 5 minutes and enjoy.

Culinary Procrastination

“Instead of studying Locke,– I go make an apple pie, or study Joy of Cooking, reading it like a rare novel.”  -Sylvia Plath

Setting the irony of this topic and her suicide aside, I recently finished an article about the poetess, Sylvia Plath, and her fondness of cooking, baking and entertaining.  The article noted that she avoided the dreary task of creating her College lesson plans by determinedly mixing up culinary concoctions in the kitchen.  She sidestepped her unbearable writers block and evaded her baneful writing desk through her constant stirring and frying and mincing.

“For Sylvia Plath, baking was a form of therapy.”  I understand the therapy of culinary avoidance. The day a critical deadline looms is always the precise instance I have to, without a moment’s interruption, test that cookie recipe that’s been lingering in my recipe box for the last five years.  Couldn’t it wait until a more appropriate time?  No, it must be baked – and it must be baked now.  The work, the project, the stress-inducing deadline can wait.  We must withdraw to the kitchen for the genuine “work”.

Tonight, for example, I had four hours of projects that needed finishing.  Procrastinating all week, I knew that I’d have plenty of weekend time for completion. But then…I realized…at about 4:30 this afternoon…that my freezer was harboring the Alaskan halibut a friend had caught months before.  It must be lonely and languishing inside the sub zero after all this time.  I could almost hear it through the stainless steel door – it must be released into the culinary daylight.   So, I placed the frozen block of halibut in water for thawing, hurried to the grocery store (note – Superbowl Sunday is a great time for grocery shopping), wrestled the Cuisinart down from its dusty pantry shelf, preheated the oven and proceeded to create:

Sylvia’s roasted halibut with blood-orange scented yams and salsa verde. My assignments can wait until Monday.

Halibut