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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some Updates and Some Corned Beef

Wow, sorry to leave you all hanging.

  • Short Ribs - As I suspected, the 1.5 hours of cooking that Bittman suggested were NOT enough for the short ribs. They were still tough. However, we ate them two days later after an additional 3-4 hours of cooking, and they were tender enough to eat with a spoon. The recipe is posted on this blog. A few notes: I used soy sauce, not fish sauce. Though my fish allergy is lessened GREATLY thanks to Yaelle (acumomma), I am still afraid to cook with fish. Also, do NOT ignore the instruction to drain off most of the fat. I did ignore that, and they were greasy (duh).
  • On Sunday morning, I left for NY to attend a big event for my client, Quaker. I was able to sneak a quick brunch with my dad, step-mom and aunt, but then I headed up to Times Square to prepare for Monday morning's activities. After preparation, I again sneaked in some fun. Abby, one of my favorite people and an old friend from Vassar, met me at my hotel for dinner and a sleepover. I think she probably regretted the sleepover decision when my alarm went off at 5:45 am, but it was so good to see her! We even got to pose with the Quaker Man together!
  • Danielle and Abby

  • Following the Times Square event, I rode up to the Food Bank for New York City in the Bronx with Isabel from Alpha Mom, Anna from Mommy Poppins, Joanna from My Mom Shops, Emily from The Motherhood, Brian from Looky, Daddy! and Magda from Ask Moxie. We spent just over an hour sorting food and packing it for food pantries around the city. In that small period of time, we packed over 1,100 pounds of food which translates to 888 meals. I will for sure be doing this again in the future, and would encourage others to do the same. It's really simple to coordinate a food bank volunteer "party." Call your local food bank and ask them about group volunteer opportunities. Consider what a difference you can make if even one time per year you volunteer instead of going to book club or bunco. We are doing more blogger food bank volunteer efforts throughout the country on behalf of Quaker, so if you'd like to get involved, please email me. I can't promise that we'll have one in your city, but if we do, you are certainly welcome to join us.
  • Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that I started my corned beef yesterday. This will be the third time I do this. Using a recipe from Cooks Illustrated, I buy a plain brisket and then "corn" it for five to seven days in my refrigerator. At the end of that time period, I end up with the same corned beef you can buy at the store. The difference is that I made it myself, it doesn't contain salt peter, so it's not reddish in color, and it tastes AMAZING. Seriously, when you taste this corned beef, you'll have an a ha moment. Kind of like, "Wow, so THIS is what corned beef tastes like!??!" It's not too late for you to join me.
    • Go to a meat market (or Costco like I did), and buy a beef brisket that is between four and six pounds. It will look like this:
    • Brisket

    • You'll also need kosher salt, black peppercorns, paprika, dried thyme, allspice and bay leaves. When you get home, trim the beef of all excess fat. Then, combine 1/2 cup of kosher salt, 1 Tb. cracked black peppercorns, 2-1/4 tsp. ground allspice, 1 Tb. dried thyme, 1.5 tsp. paprika and two crumbled bay leaves. Mix this together and set it aside. Stab the meat with a sharp fork 30 times on each side. Rub on the spice mix, put the meat in a large plastic ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible. It will look like this:
    • Beef, trimmed, stabbed, and rubbed with spices

    • Then, you need to weight it down and put it in your refrigerator. Two years ago, I weighted it down like this:
    • Weighted down beef

    • This year, I have it weighted down with my heaviest cookbooks. You can even use bricks. Just make sure that there is significant weight on top of the meat.
    • The next few days are very easy. Flip the meat once a day. On March 17th, we'll finish this baby up, but if you are joining me, please be sure to email or comment, so I can link to all the finished products.

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