|Eat this, Norman Rockwell - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|A not-so-traditional corned beef, but Indy didn't mind - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
To the Interwebs, Robin! I used Alton Brown's brine for corned beef; I didn't have saltpeter, which is the chemical you use to preserve the pink color of the meat, and I didn't have juniper berries. While the lack of juniper berries probably removed a degree of flavor potential for the meat, I wasn't disappointed -- I quite liked his use of whole cinnamon to perfume the meat, and the other flavors combined nicely. As always, good job, Alton Brown! Given the absense of non-scary brisket at the store, I did have a cut of round steak, aka London broil as some labels are apt to call it. It's a large slab of beef, somewhat tough and not a lot of fat marbling through it -- kind of like a flank steak. Since it's a bit on the gnaw-gnaw-gnaw side, round steak isn't a terrible substitute for corned beef, as the slow cooking will most certainly break down the sinewy bits, rendering it fork-tender. The slow cooker worked its magic on the brined beef, leaving me time to prepare a wonderfully rich and sinful side dish -- cheesy potatoes. Whole red potatoes, cut into large chunks, boiled just shy of fork-tender, then tossed in a cream and cheddar sauce before getting set into a casserole dish and shoved into the oven to finish off. I sprinkled some panko crumbs over to make a nice crust, but it all gets ooey-gooey mixed together when you spoon those potatoes onto a plate with slices of corned beef. I made a sauce for the beef, reducing the liquid left in the slow cooker, adding a splash of marsala and some pre-soaked wild mushrooms. I know, not so Irish, but we didn't even have this on St. Patty's Day, it was days after, as the brining process recommends over a week's time. When you see Alton's recipe saying it takes 243 hours, that's the brine talking. But consider a dish like this for the Sunday a week from now -- so get that herbed soak going on a slab of meat today!
|Saucy, cheesy, bacon-y good -- who needs to live forever? - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
|Chicken n' mushrooms n' romesco sauce - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Bacon makes it better and faux-Mac n' Cheese - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Because everything for this Sunday meal was so comfy-cozy, I craved macaroni and cheese, but I went with cauliflower and cheese instead. I would say it's a healthier dish, but not really, as the cheese sauce is pretty rich -- full cream, shreds of cheddar, the works. The cauliflower is just an easy pasta-swap, since it holds up well and doesn't have too-strong a flavor to counter the sauce. I cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces, added to boiling water for just a few minutes, just to lightly soften, and then quickly drain before tossing with the cream sauce. Much like the cheesy potatoes, the cauliflower-cheese combo gets put into a casserole dish, a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and extra Parmesan if you have it, and into the oven it goes to finish.
Yes, it was quite a rich meal, but it felt so fancy-schmancy to have multiple courses at home and it made having dinner on a Sunday special and something to enjoy. The Mister works late and I often eat early, so our meal schedules are always out of sync -- weekends are when we can really appreciate a meal together, without the pressure of time or the onset sleepiness from a busy workday to intrude. So come on, bring SundayDinnerBack.