Classic Braised Brisket

Brisket isn’t exactly the most tender cut of meat on the market, in fact it is sometimes rated as the least tender of the cuts of beef. It comes from a large muscle group and can be tough if not cooked well. Braising is a very good option for cooking such a cut of meat. Braising is the process of browning the meat on all sides, then cooking slowly at low heat – sometimes in a simmer sauce – until the meat fibers have loosened and are succulent and tender. A pot roast is a type of braised meat. Brisket is often used in barbecue because it can be slow roasted to capture the perfect balance of tenderness and flavor. A braised brisket as seen here is more similar to a pot roast.

Classic Braised Brisket

5 cups sliced onions

2 tbsp vegetable oil

5 to 6 lbs beef brisket

3 tbsp spicy brown mustard

1 (12 oz) bottle brown ale beer

1 tbsp brown sugar

5 cups beef broth

2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs

2 cups sliced carrots

  1. Place onions in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. In a large deep skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Rub both sides of beef with mustard, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add beef to skillet; cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until well seared. Transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Return skillet to medium heat; add beer. Using a wooden spoon, stir to loosen up any browned bits. Add brown sugar and broth; stir until well combined. Pour over beef in slow cooker. Add thyme sprigs.
  3. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours. Add carrots to slow cooker. Cover and cook 1 more hour or until beef is fork-tender. Transfer beef to a cutting board. Thinly slice against the grain, and place on a platter. Drizzle with some of the cooking liquid, and serve with cooked onions and carrots.

Serves 10 to 12

Cheese Quiche (Sheila Plotkin)

Remember that old saying “real men don’t eat quiche”? I find that to be a silly saying because quiche is delicious and lots of men like it. So there. :-) This is basically a bacon, mushroom & cheese quiche, and there isn’t much that can be wrong with that. There’s not a lot of instruction here, so mix it all together and bake?

Cheese Quiche (Sheila Plotkin)

2 c Bisquick

2 eggs

1 1/2 c milk

1 lb mild cheese – grated

1 lb Jack cheese – grated

8-10 mushrooms – sliced

1 c melted margarine

5 slices bacon – crisped

Mix. 9×13 375 35 (9×13 dish, 375°, 35 minutes)

Cauliflower Casserole (Ruth Kelber)

I can’t say cauliflower is my favorite, but I have enjoyed it roasted with Tuscan herb olive oil. This might also be good with the sauce and cheese, but I’d probably use a different kind of cheese.

Cauliflower Casserole

1 med head cauliflower

1/2 lb sliced mushrooms

1/4 c diced green pepper

6 slices pimento cheese

1/3 c butter

1/4 c flour

2 c milk

1 t salt

paprika

Separate cauliflower in med pieces. Cook covered in boiling water until tender, 10-15 min, then drain. Meanwhile brown mushrooms, green pepper in butter lightly. Blend in flour, gradually add milk. Cook stirring till thick, add salt. Place 1/2 cauliflower in 1 1/2 qt casserole, cover with 1/2 cheese, then 1/2 sauce. Repeat layer. Brown lightly in 350 oven about 15-30 min.

6-8 servings

Broccoli Souffle with Mushroom Cheese Sauce

I haven’t attempted a soufflé yet because they have a bit of a bad rap. They are the source of multiple comedic scenes in movies featuring a young housewife attempting to make something beautiful when the husband’s boss comes over for dinner. The soufflé fell! What to do??? Hilarity ensues…

This recipe includes two key cooking techniques: a roux and a bain marie. A roux is the combination of flour and fat (usually butter) that makes the base of a sauce. Adding the milk or cream makes a Bechamel sauce. A bain marie is the water bath in the oven. This allows heat to be transferred slowly to your dish, keeping egg based items like custard and soufflé from curdling while cooking. It also introduces moisture to the environment, which can be very useful. You wouldn’t use it for, say cookies, as it would induce too much moisture for them to set nicely, but a bain marie can be used with cheesecakes and creme brûlée to prevent the top from cracking.

Broccoli Soufflé with Mushroom Cheese Sauce

Souffle

3 T butter or margarine

3 T flour

1 C milk

1 tsp salt

1 T lemon juice

1 1/2 t grated onion

1 c finely chopped cooked broccoli

4 eggs, separated

Sauce

2 T butter or margarine

2 T flour

1/4 tsp salt

Dash of pepper

1 c milk

1 can (3-4 oz) sliced mushrooms

1/2 c grated sharp cheese

Souffle: Melt butter or margarine; blend in flour; gradually add milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in salt, lemon juice, onion and broccoli. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Beat egg yolks until thick; add broccoli mixture mix thoroughly; fold in egg whites. Pour into 1 1/2 quart casserole; place in pan of hot water. Bake in moderate oven (350F) 40 minutes, or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Serve at once with Mushroom Sauce.

Sauce: Melt butter or margarine; blend in flour, salt and Peppe; gradually add milk. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add mushrooms and cheese; heat until cheese melts.

Brandy-Cranberry Glazed Pork

This particular recipe is brought to us by Ralph’s Grocery, leading me to think the former owner lived in California or at least the West. Ralph’s is a grocery chain that is now owned by Kroger, but was originally a regional grocery. The ingredients in this make me think of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, so maybe this would be nice at a winter dinner.

Brandy-Cranberry Glazed Pork

1 orange

2 cups frozen cranberries

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

5 Tbsp brandy

1 cinnamon stick

1 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. For the sauce, peel one long strip of orange peel from orange. Cut orange in half and squeeze to measure 1/4 cup juice. Place orange juice, orange peel, cranberries, brown sugar, brandy, 1/4 cup water and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer; cook 8 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Transfer sauce to a bowl; remove orange peel and cinnamon stick.
  2. Meanwhile, season pork with salt & pepper to taste. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145° F or to desired doneness. Brush 2 tablespoons of the sauce over pork during the last 3 minutes of baking. Remove pork form oven; loosely tent with foil, and let stand 8 minutes. Slice pork and serve with remaining sauce.
Looks yummy!