Monthly Archives: June 2009

Braised Beef Brisket, p. 743

Brief description: Brown meat, cook onions til slightly browned, stir in garlic and tomato paste. Place meat on top and cook in the oven for a long time til tender.

The instructions said to cook in a dutch oven. I have one cute little red one I purchased at an estate sale. I didn’t think that the meat wouldn’t fit in. So I put the cute little pot on the stove and heated it, swirled in some olive oil and then attempted to put the beef in. Hmm… didn’t work. Too big. Both Bryan and I tried shoving the brisket in, to no avail. So I grabbed a pan we had handy, forgetting that it needed a lid. Oh well, we improvised by putting a cookie sheet on top.

The beef browned alright, I guess. I’m not a browning expert. I usually skip this step if it isn’t necessary. Then it was the onions turn. The recipe calls for two cups. Bryan hate onions, but I had a couple on hand, so I just chopped two small onions.


I dare you to tell me that doesn’t look delicious. YUM!

We did the prep work, got it in the oven, set the timer, and retired to the living room for a while until it was time to see if it was done. (Actually Bryan flipped it every 30 minutes for two and a half hours, per instructions.)

Looks delicious! I cooked some egg noodles to serve the brisket on top.

There you have it, a hearty meal.

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Broiled Pork Chops, p. 747

Brief description: pork chops broiled, seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

This is a very simple, straightforward recipe. Rub some olive oil and lemon juice (we didn’t have lemons or lemon juice on hand, so we substituted lime.. its similar right? Bryan said that they both prevented “the scurvy” so we should be fine) on the pork chops, salt and pepper and broil for a few minutes on each side.

Here’s the finished product, which we served with fresh corn on the cob and steamed broccoli. Simple, delicious and nutritious meal!

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Stir Fried Lamb with Green Peppers p. 769

Brief description: cook peppers until brown, brown the lamb, add the peppers, lamb and fermented black beans soaked in wine and cook together for 5-10 minutes.

I was eager to try lamb. And the recipe looked pretty easy, perfect for a weeknight dinner. Bryan doesn’t like peppers, but it was an easy substitution of green beans. Although, when I was at the store they had the worst looking green beans I’ve ever encountered in my life, but being lazy, I went ahead and got them instead of going to Easy Way down the street.

I hadn’t heard of fermented black beans before and couldn’t find any further information on them in the book. I checked the short “ethnic” food aisle at the grocery and didn’t find anything, so I went with a can of regular black beans. Later I looked it up online. Apparently my grocery does not have a “quality” ethnic food aisle. Oh well.

My grocery store also did not have the right cut of lamb. And after a brief discussion with the butcher, if you can call her that, I discovered that lamb is very expensive. I’m not made of money, Mr. Bittman. So I went home, made Bryan take me to dinner, and went to the grocery the next day with an alternative meat in mind. So I purchased some sirloin and went home.

Basically this whole meal was a big failure and I shouldn’t even post that I tried it. All major ingredients were different or wrong. Oh well. We all learn from our mistakes. Today’s lesson: too many substitutions make for a different recipe entirely, as well as don’t buy shady green beans.

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Corn Salad with Avocado p. 207

Brief description: Fresh corn kernels browned slightly, tossed with red onion, tomato, avocado, chili powder, lime juice, and cilantro.

I made this dish to go on a picnic dinner, along with the carrot salad. The recipe calls for bell pepper, but I left it out since Bryan doesn’t like it, but I did add tomato and half a red onion to his chagrin.

I browned the corn the night before due to timing issues. I added in the onion and chili powdered, stirred, and left it out to cool before refrigerating. This was really good because it softened the onions some. The day of the picnic, I added the rest of the ingredients, so that they would be fresh.

The dish turned out perfectly and Bryan even said it was good despite the onion and tomato. I fell in love with this dish and will probably make it 3 more times at least throughout the summer, starting today.


(Sorry for the poor quality photo)

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Carrot Salad with Cumin p. 188

Brief Description: Julienne or cut the carrots, toss with orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin.

My dual food processor/blender does not come with a julienne attachment. So I just grated a whole ton of carrots. It’s more difficult than it sounds. Anyways, it turned out great. I took this dish on a picnic dinner and it was perfect for a hot evening. Crunchy, refreshing, with an interesting taste.


(Please ignore the messy countertop.)

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Broccoli Raab with Garlic and Percorino p. 270

Brief description: Boil or steam broccoli raab, cook with garlic and top with cheese.

I had never heard of broccoli raab until I started reading this book. As a lover of broccoli, I was intrigued. I had never even seen it before. But a few weeks ago I was at the farmers market and saw a sign for some. I had to buy it to try it. This recipe worked well for us since I like garlic and cheese.

The broccoli raab was basically like spinach, only not as tasty. It turned out okay, definitely edible, but neither Bryan nor I enjoyed it tremendously. Fortunately there was hardly any left overs. Brocooli raab is not for us.

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Mashed Potatoes p. 339.

Brief description: Mashed. Potatoes.

Bryan loves potatoes and he suggested that I make mashed potatoes to go with the Spicy Batter-fried Chicken.

It’s a pretty straight forward recipe. Cook the potatoes, drain, mash. What’s really interesting is page 340 there is a chart of more ways to flavor mashed potatoes. I choose to add a cup of cheddar cheese because I wasn’t feeling too adventurous. But its definitely something to look at and come back to. Bryan would make me make some right now to add ketchup to mashed potatoes. Its charts like that which make me love this cookbook.

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