Garden, Plant, Cook!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Corning Beef (aka Brining) for St. Patrick's Day Dinner

Dear Folks,

Several years ago, I started corning beef for St. Patrick's Day as a way to control the ingredients in this very old process of tenderizing and flavoring tough cuts of meat. (You do a search here for my prior posts on corning the beef and cooking the meal on St. Patrick's Day!)

I did not want any nitrates in it.  FYI nitrates give the meat that "red" look associated with corned beef, so do not expect that appearance.

What you will get is really, really delicious flavored meat to to your beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes traditional St. Patty's day meal.

The traditional cut of beef is a very tough and usually fatty brisket.  I've used a round steak and this year I chose a boneless Chuck Roast which should be just great.

The time frame is generally 14 days but it can be used sooner.

Every year we enjoy this so much I promise to make it more often and then with one thing and another recipe(s) I want to make I don't usually get around to it until my calendar tells me on March 1st I need to get going in time for the holiday :-)

[Recipe can be doubled etc. 3 pounds = twice as much spice and brine, etc.]

1 1/2 pounds of beef - if you can get grass fed, do so!
1 teaspoon each mustard seed, coriander see and black peppercorns
1 small stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves, broken
1/4 cup of organic sugar
1/2 cup of kosher salt
about 3 cups of water

1 non-reactive dish or pan large enough to hold the piece of meat plus liquid
1-2 glass dishes or plates to weigh down the meat (some say any plate, but I did not want any un-glazed china to be in contact with the meat)
1 glass cover or plastic wrap
1 tray large enough to hold the dish to contain any spills

Grind the seeds and peppercorns to a coarse ground, grind the cinnamon just to break up.

Dissolve sugar and salt in water.  If boiling to do this, let cool before proceeding.

Pierce the meat multiple times on one side to infuse more flavor.

Place meat in the dish, rub spices over one side.  Use brine to completely cover the meat.  Add dishes or plates to weigh down and cover all.  The meat MUST be completely covered at all times.

Place on tray and refrigerate for 2 weeks.   You can turn the meat once part way through but it is not necessary.  Re-check periodically to make sure the meat continues to be completely covered.

Drain but DO NOT rinse the meat the day you want to cook it.

. . .

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-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Thinning Peaches and way to use the thinned baby peaches

Dear Folks,

I decided to start doing some mini lessons on my youtube channel.  I started the channel some years ago but never got going because the camera was not my friend :-)

Since the first video I put up there, I have gotten far more comfortable taking stills which I use here on the blog and elsewhere and finally got more comfortable doing some video work.

I hope you find these helpful.

Thinning Peaches.  This has always been a chore for us because it made us so sad to pick off fruit we worked so hard to create a healthy environment for a happy tree.

Then I went looking for something to do with the thinned peaches and one of the folks over at the Valley Permaculture Alliance posted a recipe for pickling the baby peaches.  It works because the pit is not formed in the less than marble size fruit, so you get a kind of "crunchy olive".  The flavor is neutral so whatever liquids and spices you use will give you the flavor.

They were fun to make and eat.

Catherine's Lesson - Thinning Peaches

Powell Gammill's original post in 2012 that got me trying pickling the baby peaches.  Such a great "recycle" of what otherwise winds up compost.

The recipe I revised for my try at this.

In the picture I show using a toothpick to prick each peach.

[Pricking each peach is important to the pickling process.]  Can be used for any similar fruit which is routinely thinned, such as apricots.

5 Cups baby peaches (green almonds, apricots, probably baby oranges if you wanted to try them)
4 cups of vinegar
1 1/2 cups of honey
4 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cloves
3 bay leaves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons of coriander seed.

Rinse, de-stem and prick each peach from stem end almost through to the other end.

Bring vinegar, honey, sugar and cloves to almost a boil to completely dissolve honey and sugar.  Place peaches in a jar big enough to hold - or 2-3 smaller jars if you choose (I used a half-gallon mason).  Divide cinnamon, bay leaves and coriander seeds between jars if using multiples.  Pour heated vinegar solution in jars, make sure the peaches are covered - they float.  Cap and keep in a cooler place. Turn or shake the jars each day.  Steep for 4 weeks.  Once you open the jar(s) you will need to refrigerate them.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Disclaimer: Clicking on links on this blog may earn me a small commission if you purchase something. Your price does not change.