Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brining and Dining

Above: Brined and roasted pork loin with fennel.

Brining is one of my most favoritest foodie techniques. It is super-easy, impresses people, and makes cheap supermarket meat taste like grass-fed-free-range-Niman-Ranch-whatever. It only takes a few minutes to put the brine together, cool it, and throw the brining meat into the fridge, but you can let the flavors develop anywhere from overnight to a week.

The fundamental of brine is not even a recipe, just a ratio: You want 8 cups of water to each half cup of salt. (For a Thanksgiving turkey, you'd want about 32 cups of water.) To this, add something sweet (honey, molasses, or maple syrup), probably about as much as the salt. Heat the water in a pot on the stove until the salt and sweetener dissolve. Then add a bunch of stuff. Here are some suggestions regarding said stuff; I tend to use some or all of the following, depending on what I have in the house:
  • Garlic cloves
  • Peppercorns
  • Dried chili peppers (add while the water is hot so they will reconstitute, or un-dehydrate)
  • Chili pepper flakes
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Bay leaves
  • Cumin seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cilantro sprigs

Welcome to Brooklyn Girls Cooking!

Welcome to the Brooklyn Girls Cooking site. We are two ladies who love to cook and eat, and we are on a mission to make cooking easy, fun, and accessible for all those who may be intimidated by it. (Or simply to share tips, tricks, techniques, and recipes with those who already love to cook.) We're more fun and more foulmouthed than Martha Stewart, so whether you're a foodie or have never set foot in your kitchen, you will probably find something to amuse you here.

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As you can see, we both get very excited by food. Perhaps to an unhealthy extent. Anyhoo, now that we've introduced ourselves, toss out your takeout menus and roll up your sleeves. It's time to start cooking!