This was dinner last night, moments before it was consumed.  Donna said, “This is the best cabbage I’ve ever had,” and, back at the stove, looking for thirds on the corned beef, “This is all you made?” All in all, a success.  I’ve used this particular preparation several times and it can’t be beat, a really smart strategy for cooking and serving and making use of all the flavors and juices and soft textures. First cook your corned beef (simmered for a few hours, braised, wrapped in foil with sliced onions for 4 hours at 250—how I did it—or even cooked sous vide). Only way not to cook this is slow roasting (a perfectly fine strategy but won’t give you the liquid you need to finish the cabbage here). To complete the meal.  Saute 4 Read On »

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With the approach of St. Paddy’s day I got a brisket into the brine Friday, in time to make my wife the corned beef she loves. And I realized I’ve never blogged about it.  Everyone who cooks should corn their own beef.  It’s easy as brining a chicken. And when you make your own pickling spice (brine photo above, recipe below), you can really pump up the flavor. Any cut of beef can be “corned” (corn was originally a generic term for grain, deriving from the same root as kernel and grain; corning beef referred to curing beef with grains of salt, McGee, page 477, thanks to Patrick for his corrective comment).  But the best cuts are the tougher, less-expensive cuts such as brisket. The only uncommon ingredient is the sodium nitrite, pink salt, available Read On »

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I’ve had braised beef short ribs on my mind for the past couple weeks, working on a preparation for the current book, another for an OpenSky promotion, and also because we’ve got ten people coming for dinner on Saturday, and short ribs are the wintertime choice for entertaining! It’s bleak and cold and wintery here, perfect weather for these rich short ribs.  They’re also relatively inexpensive—important during the frugal post-holiday months.  And they can be prepared up to a week in advance, so I don’t have to be rushing around at the last minute. What I want to talk about here, though, is the gremolata, which sometimes gets lost in the shuffle at the end, but is absolutely essential to the finished dish. Most are familiar with this potent troika, minced garlic, lemon zest and Read On »

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Photos by Donna I published almost two years ago, at the end of summer—a chance email today thanking me for the technique.  So I thought let’s put it up again at the start of grilling season. I’m not always real quick on the uptake, but I eventually get around to the right way, and the right way for perfect (and safe) is to grind your own meat and make sure to include the right amount of fat (I don’t believe that the cut is that critical). Yes, I still buy ground beef occasionally but when I want to make a really good burger, I always grind the meat myself.  Why go to the trouble?  For a half a dozen reasons, all of them important. First and foremost: taste and texture.  When you grind your own, Read On »

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