Not Corned Beef, Corned Pork

This is an experiment, and with the price of beef there is no way I am doing an experiment on a beef roast!  So I’m testing it on this boneless pork rib roast:


I’ve halved the amounts of normal brine recipes I found, and added the seasonings I wanted.

Brine

  • 5 cups water
  • 3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1 tsp dehydrated ginger 

Palmfuls, or whatever amount you fancy of:

  • Peppercorns
  • Brown and yellow mustard seed
  • Corriander seed
  • Celery ceed
  • 4 all spice berries
  • 8 or so cloves

Add water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, dump in about 6 ice cubes from freezer, then cool.


After the brine was cooked it definitely smelled like pastrami in the kitchen.

Pour the brine over the meat in a ziploc bag, seal, place in container to avoid leaks, and leave in the fridge for 5 to 7 days.  I read somewhere that rather than using the chemical additive that gives the bright pink colour on corned beef (sodium nitrite I think) you can use beet juice.

I don’t terribly care if the meat is pink or grey if it tastes good, but I just made cranberry concentrate from a bunch of frozen cranberries, so I threw 1/4 cup or so in with the brine.


My brine was already a golden colour from the onion skins, so this is the colour I ended up with.  I threw out about 1 1/2 or so cups of the brine that I didn’t need to cover the roast.

Updates to follow…..

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Sweet Potato Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Based on this recipe from The Kitchn.

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pricked all over with fork
  • 1 cup small black (beluga) lentils (or what you have on hand)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked steel cut oats
  • 1 tsp minced basil and sage leaves
  • 3 inch piece seaweed (supposed to add minerals and help digestibility of lentils)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp. vegetable broth powder
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock with a few dashes of worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pepper to taste

Roast potatoes at 400’F for about an hour, until very soft. Set them aside and let cool while you prepare the lentil filling.

In a medium pot combine lentils, oats, herbs, seaweed and smashed garlic clove.

Add water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 – 25 minutes uncovered until lentils are done, but still a bit firm.  Drain the mixture in a fine sieve in the sink, so you are left with a “ground meat” like texture. I think with other seasonings this could be a really good “vegetarian” ground meat for most purposes, like tortiere, taco filling, chili, etc. Much cheaper than “vegan meat crumbles” and I’m not scared to eat it.
While the lentil filling is cooking, saute the mushrooms until browned in the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until desired tenderness. Add tomatoe paste, cook for a minute or so, then pour in the veg stock, tamari, and smoked paprika (or any other seasonings you want).
Stir the drained lentil filling into the pot and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until quite thick. Remove from heat while you finish the potatoes.
Peel off the skin from the cooled potatoes, then mash or puree with an immersion blender until desired consistency. This reminded me never to boil sweet potatoes again. The mash from roasted was super sweet and tasty and didn’t need salt(even for me) or seasonings at all.
You could use a 9X9 pan for a deep pie, or 9X13 pan. Oil the dish, then spread in the lentil filling, top with the sweet potatoe, and bake in a 350’F oven for 30 minutes until bubbling.

You can assemble and refrigerate or freeze the pie for later. Allow frozen pie to thaw overnight in fridge, or bake for about an hour from frozen. You could also freeze the component parts, or use smaller individual serving sizes.

Savory Crackers

This is adapted from Real Snacks:  Make Your Childhood Favorites Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni.  We doubled the recipe, used unsalted butter, and cut the salt in half.  I think the recipe was for older kids who were used to “normal” salt levels in commercial crackers maybe.  We changed the seasoning a bit too, according to what we had on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup multigrain flour 
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder 
  • 3 tsp. cane sugar 
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (aprx 120’F)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 400′ F.
  2. Sift / whisk all dry ingredients together.
  3. Using food processor or stand mixture, cream together butter and warm milk.
  4. Gradually add in dry ingredient mixture.
  5. Mix until dough forms into a ball that comes away from the bowl.
  6. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick.
  7. Prick dough all over with a fork.
  8. Cut into desired shapes.  Recipe suggested 1 by 2 inch rectangles.  Will even did some fancy ones.

Bake for 4-5 minutes, rotate pan, and bake 3-5 minutes more.

Let cool on rack. 
Packaged by Will!

    Israeli Couscous Casserole with Vegetable Cheese Sauce

    Vegetable Cheese Sauce

    • 2 cups chopped leeks (or 1 chopped onion)
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped kale (any fresh or frozen greens)
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
    • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (from powder) or water
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch wisked into 1/2 cup cold water until smooth
    • pepper
    • 3 ounces grated cheese (old cheddar), aprx. 1/2 cup
    • 1 ounce grated hard cheese (parmesan, or I used peccorino romano), aprx. 1/4 cup
    1. Saute leeks (or onion) and garlic until soft and translucent.
    2. Add milk and broth/water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add kale. Simmer until vegetables are very tender.
    3. Whisk cornstarch into cold water until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to simmering vegetables and milk. Simmer 5 -10 min until thickened.
    4. Use immersion blender or other kitchen tool to puree the sauce until relatively smooth, the kale should be in specks like parsley or some other herb.
    5. Add cheese to sauce, stir til melted.

    Casserole

    • 2 cups dry Israeli Couscous, boiled like pasta, aprx. 8 minutes, drained (I toasted mine in a dry fry pan for a bit of a nutty flavour)
    • 4 cups cauliflower, florets and stems, chopped, then roasted (425’F, 20 min.or microwaved til slightly cooked, or just raw, can be from frozen too)
    • 4 cups broccoli, florets and stems, chopped(425’F, 20 min.or microwaved til slightly cooked, or just raw, can be from frozen too)
    • 2 cups mushrooms, caps and stems chopped
    • Bread crumbs, regular or panko, with a bit more cheese if you like

      1. Fold roasted/thawed/steamed vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli), couscous and mushrooms into cheese sauce.
      2. Divide mixture into two oiled baking pans. Sprinkle breadcrumbs lightly on top for crunchy topping if desired.
      3. Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.
      4. Extra pan can be frozen unbaked, then thawed and baked at 425’F for aprx. 25 minutes, or baked from frozen for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

      Obviously you could use any combination of fresh or frozen veg, including leftovers.  Adding some leftover beans, lentils, or meat would be great too, and any cheese equalling the same aprx. amount would be awesome too.   And pasta could be used or even leftover rice, or stale bread in cubes!

      Just for comparisons sake, this shows the difference between regular and Israeli couscous.

      Israeli Couscous Vegetable Cheese Casserole

      • 2 cups dry Israeli Couscous, boiled like pasta, aprx. 8 minutes, drained
      • 4 cups cauliflower, florets and stems, chopped, then roasted (425’F, 20 min.or microwaved til slightly cooked, or just raw, can be from frozen too)
      • 4 cups broccoli, florets and stems, chopped(425’F, 20 min.or microwaved til slightly cooked, or just raw, can be from frozen too)
      • 2 cups mushrooms, caps and stems chopped
      • 2 cups chopped leeks (or 1 chopped onion)
      • 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped kale
      • 2 cloves garlic
      • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
      • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (from powder) or water
      • 1/4 cup cornstarch wisked into 1/2 cup cold water until smooth
      • pepper
      • 3 ounces grated cheese (old cheddar), aprx. 1/2 cup
      • 1 ounce grated hard cheese (parmesan, or I used peccorino romano), aprx. 1/4 cup
      • bread crumbs
      1. Saute leeks (or onion) and garlic until soft and translucent.
      2. Add milk and broth/water.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Add kale.  Simmer until vegetables are very tender.
      3. Whisk cornstarch into cold water until smooth.  Add cornstarch mixture to simmering vegetables and milk.  Simmer 5 -10 min until thickened.
      4. Use immersion blender or other kitchen tool to puree the sauce until relatively smooth, the kale should be in specks like a parsley garnish.
      5. Add cheese to sauce, stir til melted.
      6. Fold in roasted/thawed/steamed vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli), couscous and mushrooms.
      7. Divide mixture into two baking pans.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs lightly on top for crunchy topping if desired.
      8. Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.
      9. Extra pan can be frozen unbaked, then thawed and baked at 425’F for aprx. 25 minutes, or baked from frozen for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

      Soup for Olivia

      Not a recipe so much as a description of how I made this soup, so Olivia’s Moms can look it over and make sure I’ve not included anything totally innapropriate.  If I’ve made a mistake Clare can alway add a bit of salt or hot sauce and enjoy it herself (I’m sure Meredith wouldn’t want the pork hock meat or broth!)

      Broth

      • Vegetable scraps
      • Lemon grass
      • Lemon peel
      • Ginger root
      • Outer leaves and ends of leeks
      • Pork shin hock bones, trim (solid, lean meat picked over and reserved for soup)
      • Garlic
      • Peppercorns
      • Dried herbs

        Cover scraps with water, bring to a boil, then simmer for a few hours.  Strain broth, cool to allow fat to seperate.  Skim off fat and discard.
        Soup

        Soup

        Strain the broth, cool, and remove all fat.

        In large soup pot saute the following:

        • Diced carrot, celerey, broccoli stems, broccoli florets, mushrooms, parsnips, onion
        • truRoots sprouted rice and quinoa blend
        • Split green peas, soaked overnight
        • Pork hock meat, picked over, lean meat only
        • Tiny black lentils

          Saute vegetables until translucent, add other ingredients and cover with broth.  

          Simmer til vegetables are tender, and split peas are soft, adding enough stock to make soup  to desired consistency.  

          Simmer until rice and lentils are soft.


          Grown ups could add salt, soy sauce, or miso, hot sauce, chili peppers, smoked paprika, or whatever.

            Quick Kimchi

            I’ve tried fermenting cabbage several times, but it always went horribly wrong.  This time I’m trying something super-simple, from the Stone Soup Blog.  My attempt is based on their Quick Kimchi recipe:

            • 1/2 large white, savoy or napa cabbage (regular white cabbage)
            • 1 bunch bok choy (optional) omitted
            • 2-3 teaspoons chilli flakes
            • 5cm (2in) piece turmeric, grated (they carry this at my Superstore and I plan to try it asap)
            • 5cm (2in) piece ginger, grated
            • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
            • 1.5 – 2tablespoons fine salt

            I added a clove of garlic and a small jalapeno, grated.  I realize this is far from authentic kimchi, I just want to manage to succesfully ferment cabbage into something edible for now.

              I guesstimated how much cabbage would fit in my jar.


              After assembling the other ingredients (powdered tumeric subbed for fresh),


              Everything gets mixed togetherlong with some additional pink Himalayan salt.

               

              Now we wait for a few hours or overnight, covering the kimchi with a tea towel.  I also pounded the cabbage with a weird stirring tool we have.

              The cabbage didn’t release much liquid at all, but it did decrease in volume by about half.  Not sure how that happened, but here it is:


              Next I packed down the cabbage as much as possible, and topped it with several pieces of outer cabbage leaves to keep everything submerged.


              Finally I topped it off with filtered water.


              Then, seal up the top with a masom jar lid, and let sit out on the counter.  It should start to ferment, and needs to be opened once a day to release the built up gas.  We’ll see what happens!

              Day 2:

              The cabbage seemed to have a re-absorbed some of the liquid, but seemed to return to its original state and liquid level once I packed it back down. No smells or signs of frementation yet.