Texas-Style Brisket Rub

Texas Style Smoked Brisket The Rub is adapted from a recipe by Derrick Riches of aboutFood.com .  Ingredients: Spice Mix: 5 tablespoons paprika 3 tablespoons salt 2 tablespoons garlic powder 2 tablespoons onion powder 1 tablespoon black pepper ¼ cup minced parsley 1 tablespoon minced lovage (if available) 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme ¼ teaspoon hot chili powder (I use 1 teaspoon ghost pepper salt from Savory Spice) Full Brisket — 7-14 pounds trimmed of silverskin mustard Directions:  Preheat smoker to 200-250°F. Combine all ingredients. This can be frozen and used later. Remove brisket from refrigerator and bring to room temperature. 1 hour before cooking. Rub with enough mustard to provide a sticky surface for the spices. Sprinkle and pat as much of the spice mixture over the entire surface of the brisket as will stick. Be sure to get the sides as well.  Allow to cure for 1 hour before putting on the bbq. See the link above on the smoking technique. Pretty much, it goes like this: Preheat your smoker up to temperature. Place a pan of hot water under (or near) the roast. Put on the grill and place the roast directly on top. (The meat should not be touching the water.)  Close up the smoker with a probe thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Cook until meat reaches 185°F. At this point you can remove the roast and let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes before serving, or you can wrap it in parchment at 165°F and keep it...
Kefir Culture

Kefir Culture

I have taken quite a fancy lately to making my own kefir. It may not be much to look at, but it is a delicious yogurt-like drink that is just about the best way to get those probiotics that give you a happy tummy. Homemade kefir is even better than anything you can buy, because most commercial products are made with a culture powder that is a less complex probiotic brew. Here is how it is done at home: Buy the best non-homogenized milk available: raw, if you are allowed it (Pennsylvania-yes, New Jersey-no). What you need next are kefir grains which is a living culture in the form of curds that look something like cottage cheese. You can get them from a kefir-making friend. (Yes, it does matter who your friends are!)  I got mine from Dorothy Mullen or contact me and I’ll give you some of mine.  All you do is stir a couple of tablespoons of the kefir grains into 1½ cups of the milk, cover with a cloth and leave it to sit overnight. The next morning you will find the cultured milk graciously awaiting you all thick and inviting. Because the milk is not homogenized, there will be a layer of the cultured cream on top. No matter, just pour it all through a strainer (which is placed smartly over a glass) and with a rubber spatula (or a freshly washed finger) you gently roll the grains around until they are stripped of most of the surrounding creaminess.  Set the grains aside to start another batch–be sure to do that immediately. You don’t want those grains to...

Strawberry Barley Scones

Strawberry Barley Scones From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. My technique in arranging the dough is a little different from hers. Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour 1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt Wet Mix: 4 oz cold unsalted butter ½ cup buttermilk 1 egg Finish: ½ cup Strawberry Jam or Citrus Marmalade 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon coarse sugar Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°F. ♨ Place a rack in the center of the oven. Rub a baking sheet lightly with butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. ♨Cut the butter into ½-inch pieces and add them to the dry mixture. Use your hands to rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is in sizes ranging from rice grains to flattened peas. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe. ♨In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the buttermilk and egg into the dry mixture, and mix until barely combined. ♨Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. The dough may be too sticky to handle; if it is, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your hands and...
More Bread Fellows, and an announcement!

More Bread Fellows, and an announcement!

Hello, Friends! I just had a tea party here with a lovely group of women! It’s becoming a yearly event. (You know who you are…) What better thing to do when one is still thinking about bread? Tea parties are all about little flour-based snacks… crumpets, scones, little cakes, and of course… tea sandwiches! I can’t get enough of them. My current obsession for those sandwiches, and it has been for some time now, is Danish Sourdough Rye. It makes any sandwich an event, even if all I put on it is a fine cultured butter with a little salt. My favorite two toppings, however, would be either a mushroom brie or a really good cheddar. This is no ordinary bread, mind you. Full of whole grains, wonderful seeds… It can turn the sometimes frilly and antiquated tea ritual into something deep that feeds the soul. The bread takes two or three days to make, and although one can buy the flours and cracked grains, I prefer to grind the grains myself. (If you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer you can get a grinding attachment.) You’d think THREE DAYS? What a bother! But really, it’s like having a plant. It just takes a little thought each day, never much work–not even kneading! And the bread? Well, if you like the stuff with substance, it will bring tears to your eyes. And it’s perfect to have with tea. Believe me, Ladies… There’s nothing frilly about this kind of tea. Speaking of tea and tea parties, I realize that I don’t have enough of them in my life, and I think most...
Chard in the Cast Iron Skillet

Chard in the Cast Iron Skillet

You already know how I feel about chard; I could eat the stuff for breakfast. So you might like to know how I cook it most days. 1 bunch chard 2 tablespoons olive oil, clarified butter, (or my favorite, thyme infused clarified butter) 1 cup red onion, halved and sliced thinly crosswise 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 1/2 teaspoon salt (to start) Grindings of black pepper 1/4 cup slow-roasted tomatoes Remove the chard stems and save for another use. Slice the leaves into 1/4″ strips, then crosswise into 1″ pieces. Set aside. Heat the oil/butter in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the onions and sauté until caramelized. (This may take awhile… be patient.) Add the spices, salt and pepper. Sauté another minute or two, then add the chard. (The salt will help maintain the chard’s color during cooking.) Cook the chard on medium heat up to your liking. (I don’t cook it much, but traditionally, it’s cooked until it’s dark and silky.) When it’s almost done, add the tomatoes and enough salt to taste right. (It may take a lot.) Cook for just a minute or two, and serve. (Once you add acid, like tomato, the color of the greens can turn more muddy, both because acid discolors things in a cast iron skillet, and acid turns gorgeous greens into army greens. So…) Serve the dish soon after adding the tomatoes. *Note: I supposed you don’t really need a cast-iron skillet. It’s just that I use mine whenever I possibly can!  (Don’t use it when you are cooking acidic foods, or very light...
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for Two

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for Two

How often have you wanted to make some cake, just for the two of you? And it’s gotta be fresh, and warm… You’d like to give it a finishing touch, but you don’t want to spend the time actually making frosting. Ever get that kind of craving? But then, you don’t want the leftovers hanging around because you know you’ll eat more of it than you should. And some cold cakes, like cold muffins, are just plain depressing. Here’s the solution… a sweet little pineapple upside-down just for you, and just for the moment! I love to make my desserts in single servings most of the time. It helps in those cooking class – dinner parties, because they cook up faster. But I tend to make single serving sized desserts anyway, because it’s my personal belief that people love to put that first spoon or fork into a perfectly pristine little confection. Up until now, I wasn’t able to manage this with upside-down cakes. They need a cast iron skillet to create the perfect browning of butter and sugar. Yep, for some things,  only cast iron will do. So imagine my delight when I found tiny cast-iron ramekins  with lids the other day in Princeton. They were cheap, so I bought them all (and am still keeping my eye out for more!) I’ll be using them this month in my Full-Moon-Feast class. But here’s a preview for you. Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Serves 2 Ingredients: 2/3 cups cake flour (or mixture of AP and cake flour)  ½ teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon baking soda pinch salt 2 slices fresh pineapple,...