Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Easiest Brisket You Will Ever Make and Then Promptly Devour.

Brisket.  That magically delicious cut of beef is crazy good.  I'm talking about getting downright ugly while you eat- that's how good brisket is.  And its actually so freaking easy to make that its retarded.  (I'm sorry- until a new word is given as a replacement for retarded, I'm still using it.)

First, do yourself a favor and get an overview of where brisket comes from on a cow here.  This is one of my proudest blogs its has pretty pictures too.

Then take inventory of your spice shelf.  You're going to take a tablespoon of everything that looks yummy and put it a plate.  No.  Seriously.  There's no recipe here- does garlic powder sound good?  Use it.  Oregano?  Go ahead.  Red Pepper Flakes?  You have my permission.  And don't forget salt and pepper.  You want to make sure you have enough seasonings to coat the brisket, so if you're only using 4 different spices, try 2 tablespoons of each.  (P.S.- coffee and cocoa powder can transform your brisket into a straight up Husband Catcher.)

Now take your brisket and roll it around in the spices.  Pat it down to make sure they stick, and while you're doing this, get a large skillet hot.  Once your brisket is coated and your pan is hot (if your stove knob goes from 1-10, keep it at an 8), add about 3 tablespoons of oil (I use coconut oil because I eat like a cave girl, but that's another blog for another time.  If you're super curious, check out this blog) to the pan and let it get hot.   Take your brisket and throw it in the pan.  Sear it on all sides, about 2 minutes on each side.  Tongs come in handy here- you can manhandle the brisket this way without burning your hands.  This is basically gluing the seasonings to your brisket and its adding some additional flavor by browning the meat slightly. 

To cook your brisket you have 2 options- use a roasting pan in a 300 degree oven, or a crock pot.  I happen to love using my crock pot.  I got it for $11 at Target and I use it all the freaking time because its hella convenient.  Come on- if you read my blog you know how much I love little smokies- how do you think I get those babies so plump and delicious?

Roasting pan or crock pot, put in 1 chopped onion and then put the brisket on top, fat-side up.  Pour in about a cup of stock or tomato juice* and turn it on low.  (Or cover it with the lid and close the oven door.)  The brisket will be done in 4 hours, but I turn it on before I go to work and come back 8-10 hours later.  Holy deliciousness, Batman.  You just made yourself a damn brisket.

I'm not a big fan of recipes, but for my seasonings, I use the following:  garlic powder, coriander, oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, coffee, cocoa powder, salt and pepper.  If you want to give this mixture a try for your first brisket making experience, it's pretty much a win win.  You're welcome.

*Please note that, if you're using tomato juice in a roasting pan and covering it with foil- the tomato juice can react with the foil and end up tasting kind of weird.  Covering your brisket with something else first, (like parchment paper) before you wrap it in foil will protect the tomato juice from splattering up and hitting the foil.  Let's avoid weird tasting brisket, shall we?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's a Twitter Party, Everyone!

Hi all!  If you missed out on my very first live Twitter Q&A a couple of weeks ago, then you missed out on a once in a lifetime experience.

Actually, you just missed out on a once in a 2 week experience.  It's time to do another one!  Huzzah!

My second Twitter party is coming up TOMORROW, Wednesday August 24!   If you're not on Twitter yet, now's the time to join.  Follow whatthebleep1 and send me your questions/ disasters/ all around f-ups starting at 7pm (CST).  That's right- get your questions answered in live time instead of waiting to read them on the blog! The last party was a huge success, so grab a cocktail, get in line early and start tweeting me!

Killer Guacamole From Outer Space

Dear Tricia, I need a killer guacamole recipe for a party.  Anything different? 

Yes, and first off, I would just like to profess my utter and undying love for avocados. A moment please.

Thank you.  That is all.

For guacamole, it's easy to instantly think "Mexican!" when you're adding ingredients, but you can also branch out and jump to a different continent for some avocado inspiration.  Today, we're going Mediterranean.

First you need to roast some garlic.  Go ahead and roast this entire batch, but you'll only use a couple of cloves for your guacamole.  Save the rest to add to other recipes, or just smear it on crusty bread, dig in, and avoid large crowds for a couple of hours.

Peel every clove in a head of garlic.  Then put them in a piece of foil drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, and wrap up the foil tightly.  Cook this at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the garlic is really golden brown.  This is making the garlic less garlic-y and more sweet.  Its absolutely delightful.

Then take 2 of your golden delicious roasty garlic cloves and smash them up on your cutting board with your knife into a puree.

In a bowl, mash 3 large avocados and mix in your garlic really well.

The mix in the following ingredients:

half a lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped small (out of the can or fresh- no judgment)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

And if you like your dips spicier, add double your cayenne pepper and add a clove of chopped, raw garlic.  Mix everything up nicely and serve with pita bread and fresh slices of cucumber.   Hell.  To.  The.  Yes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quick Fix for Sucky Sauce!

Dear Tricia, If I tried to be ambitious and make my own pasta sauce, and it came out too thin, what can I do to fix it?

In need of a quick fix?  You've come to the right lady.  Good skills in the kitchen are all about improvising, and you can quote me on that.  (um... can someone please quote me on that?  And copyright it?  Thank you.)

If your sauce is cream based, you're in luck because you can just keep cooking it.  Don't boil the living daylights out of it, but keep simmering it on low-medium heat (that's like a diet boiling) until it thickens up.  Not working fast enough for you?  Add some grated cheese and stir it in until it melts.  That usually does the trick in a pinch.  A quick trick for your sucky sauce pinch, if you will.  Say that three times fast.  Now do it after 2 margaritas.  And... go!

If you've made something non cream based like marinara or a wine sauce, just let it reduce some more.  Reducing means you're cooking it down to evaporate some of the liquid out of it.  This also helps concentrate flavor.  However, if you're doing this to a giant stock pot full of 2 gallons of marinara sauce, you're going to need to reduce it for like 2 weeks to get it down.  First of all, keep the lid off.  Otherwise the condensation will stick on the lid, drip down back into the sauce and contribute to a never ending cycle of watery disappointment.  Then add tomato paste about a tablespoon at a time, and stir.  This is going to alter the flavor a little- make sure you adjust with salt and pepper. Continue to let it simmer and you should be good to go.  Still on the thin side?  Add some grated parmesan as a last resort.  Your lactose intolerant friends are going to get parmesan, and dammit they will like it!

For the sauce disaster prone- keep a roux on hand.  Here's what to do:

In a sauce pan, melt half a stick of butter over medium heat.  When it's melted, start adding flour and stirring until it looks like wet sand.  This shouldn't be more than 1/2 cup of flour or so. 
Once it looks like wet sand, keep stirring until the roux turns a golden brown.  You'll start to smell it cooking, and that's a good thing.  Anything less than golden brown will make a sauce taste like paper mache.  Gross city.

Keep this mixture in an airtight container in your fridge.  Anytime you want to thicken a sauce, just add it, a tablespoon at a time, to sauce on the stove and let it simmer.  Future sucky sauce pinches = resolved!

Now can we take a minute to revel in the grossness of the advertisement above?  Convenient, yes.  Haunting?  Also yes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What the Bleep is Gluten?

It's video blog time, my friends!  Demystifying all that is gluten...  don't forget to subscribe and share your comments!  Special thanks to Hair by Jessica!