Wednesday, November 13, 2013

corned beef hash

It wasn't something I planned on doing, but standing in the butcher shop a few weeks back, I spied a lump of meat labelled corned beef. And feeling in an adventurous mood, I picked it up. I got home and googled how to do it and was taken aback at the preparation. It isn't hard, but the instruction to brine something for 10 days is a bit of a surprise when you don't know what is involved. I went with Alton Brown's recipe for corned beef, when in doubt he's a good go to.

Corned Beef (adapted slightly from Alton Brown)
8 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
8 whole allspice berries
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (3 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
2 lbs ice
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
In a large saucepan or stock pot, add the water, salt, sugar and spices and cook over high heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the ice and let cool. To a large zip lock bag, add the meat and the brine solution. Put the bag into a container and place in the fridge for 10 days, checking periodically to make sure the meat is submerged in the brine solution. (Note: the recipe calls for salt peter which I didn't have, which keeps the meat pink. Mine stayed pinkish with out it).
After 10 days, remove the meat from the brine and rinse well in cool water. In a pot just big enough to hold the meat, add the meat, onion, carrot and celery and enough water to cover the meat completely. Bring to a boil over high heat and then simmer over low heat for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Slice thinly (if your meat doesn't fall apart) and serve.
I served the corned beef with roasted potatoes and carrots for supper. Then a couple of nights later I made corned beef hash with the leftovers.
Corned Beef Hash (inspired by a variety of sources and the memory of one my mum used to make)
4 c frozen hash brown potatoes
 1 lb of corned beef, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
a handful of button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 small dill pickles, diced
1 tsp of worchestershire sauce
1/2 c vegetable stock
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and peppers over medium high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the mustard, pickles, worchestershire sauce, potatoes, corned beef and stock and let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often to keep everything from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add more stock if the mixture gets too dry. Serve with or without a fried egg on top. It is completely worth brining your own corned beef to make corned beef hash. Delicious.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

keep on tryin'

So one of my challenges now is, to see if I can limit the amount of refined sugar and chocolate in our boy's diet.Of course, chocolate is it's own food group for him so this will be a challenge. And we got the suggestion the week before Hallowe'en.

our bald eagle takes flight?
So I didn't start right away. I mean I know parents who take their kids trick or treats away from them and sub in no sugar, no chocolate organic candy but I'm not that organized and my boy knows, to the piece, what he got in his bag and would not be on board with me taking anything but the twizzlers away. So I'm starting now. My first experiment is with granola bars. These are a big part of his food intake right now and I'm not proud of that but for me it is a way of getting cereal into him. So I rootled around google the other day and found this recipe and thought I would give it a go. I have yet to have the boy's take on whether they fly or not, but my husband likes them.

Chewy Granola Bars (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
1 c rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 c rice krispie cereal
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp oat flour (I used ground rolled oats)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 c brown rice syrup
1 pack stevia
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp applesauce
1 handful each of chopped dried cherries, cocoa nibs and mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 deg F.
Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Pour the mixture into a parchment lined, well greased 8x8 pan and squish the mixture very flat (with a can). Bake for 18 minutes, then squish down again. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before cutting. Keep refrigerated to set.