Sunday, July 31, 2011

Smoking Is Addictive: Brisket

Gentle reader, between the 100-plus-degree temps afflicting Brooklyn this summer and the fact that I have a new new job, my commitment to cooking at home has kind of fallen by the BQE-side. In fact, I have barely set foot in my kitchen in weeks, other than to deposit cold beers in the fridge and then take them out. (Mad props to Alyce for picking up my posting slack and then some!)

However, thanks to our friend Lawyer Mike, I do have some food news to report. You see, it turns out that smoking meat is every bit as addictive as smoking cigarettes or crack, though perhaps slightly less carcinogenic.

You may recall that on Memorial Day weekend, I smoked a pork shoulder at a friend’s place. This experiment gave rise to a weekend-ly smoking ritual: Since then, that friend, Lawyer Mike, has regularly embarked on meat-smoking projects—including ribs, pastrami, pork butt, and brisket—on pretty much every subsequent Saturday this summer (with The Rob's sporadic assistance). While all of these endeavors have yielded results ranging from "pret-tay, pret-tay good" to "nomnomnomnom," Mike's second take on brisket was a serious case of practice makes perfect—OMG, it was fantastic.

Now, I'm not gonna lie: Apart from repeatedly whining "When is it gonna be readyyyyyy?!", my only involvement in this meatsterpiece was slicing it up (which busted open the preexisting chopping callous at the base of my right index finger, causing a blister—does that count as a sports injury? Because I've never had one otherwise...) and subsequently eating it. But I feel that you, gentle reader, should nonetheless reap the benefits of this triumph of smokeration.

Thus, I grilled Lawyer Mike (get it? Because a smoker has a grill, and also he is a lawyer—see what I did there???) on the steps he took to create this unbelievably tasty and tender hunk of meat. (Caveat eater: This will take time, and lots of it.) Here’s what he told me:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Bounty: Easy Squash

Dear Readers,

With the small respite from the heat wave, I finally got back into the kitchen. Sometimes it's too hot to turn on the stove. You know what I'm saying.

Last night I was enjoying a lovely dinner with my co-blogger Kitty and the Rob. We were having a chuckle at my recent RAMPSCAPE debacle, discussing brisket injuries and trying to rediscover our enthusiasm for the proposed epic battle "Potato versus Rice" (now dinner is a write-off, right Kitty?) when our friend Hollister popped in to have a glass of wine with us while we were finishing up our meal. While we were chatting, she asked if we could write a post that is "really easy". Now readers, I want to apologize if we haven't been living up to our desired mission- "to make cooking easy fun and delicious", and assure you that most of what we post here, if we've tagged it as "easy" is stuff that you are all perfectly capable of doing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Massive Errata

Dear Readers,

I am embarrassed to say that for the past many weeks, the veggie item I thought were RAMPS are actually garlic SCAPES.

I am also pleased that I learned something, and thanks to Sarah Nolan for setting me straight last night when I brought her some pickled... Scapes! It's funny, I am thinking back on all the recipes I looked up for ramps, it might be fun to try them with actual ramps...


Monday, July 11, 2011

Pickles! (now with gratuitous garlic scapes)

Hello and happy high summer!

With high summer comes fresh produce, and when you have a CSA, sometimes you can end up with a lot of something that you don't necessarily have the impetus to cook with.
To that end, something I have gotten a lot of this year (I am sure you are shocked to hear based on this post, and then this post) are garlic scapes. Giving scapes a run for the money in the excess department? Fennel. I was overloaded, I didn't feel like cooking anything major (it's hot, turning on the stove takes effort) so I decided to pickle my excess veggie blues away!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who's Bad? (Scape it up)

In the face of an excess of garlic scapes (thanks CSA!), as well as a bunch of produce that was calling "cook me now or lose me forever", I decided to cut up a bunch of crap and make something with it.
Literally, that was my approach- I stood in front of my open fridge, grabbed the bag from my CSA pickup Saturday (damn! the broccoli was already yellowing), saw some carrots that had to be weeks old, red peppers that didn't make it onto veggie skewers at the bbq, celery, oldish lettuce, lettuce and tomato pre-cut for bbq burger toppings, and an open package of andouille sausage i didn't use up from shrimp-sausage skewers assembly. I turned to my cupboards for garlic and onions that had been up there for too long, and finally on the counter, one huge and one small tomato, red and about to start severely wrinkling.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Curried Potato Salad With Zucchini and Chives

With July 4, one of the high holy grilling days, at hand, Alyce is having a BBQ tomorrow! And so are our friends who had the Memorial Day BBQ for which The Rob and I smoked a pork shoulder. (Turns out that smoking is highly addictive: Since then The Rob has been over there almost every weekend for a smoking adventure such as ribs, brisket, or chicken… and for tomorrow they’re attempting a Pastrami Project.)

Since Alyce’s BBQ starts at 3 pm and our other friends’ at 6 pm, I’m planning to two-time them by bringing the same potato salad. Except I was at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket today and I saw some lovely-looking little zucchinis, so I decided on a whim to get one and shred it into the Alyce-BBQ-bound potato salad, because, why not?

The zucchini was small, and I correctly guessed that it would not really have any seeds to speak of; if you use a larger, seedy one, I would probably scoop the seeds out of it. I used one zucchini, but I would use two next time to make the flavor and texture stand out more.

I proportioned this recipe for about 5 pounds of potatoes, but obvi, you could multiply it as you like.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Breakfast for 4!

hello readers, happy july!

In celebration of this great month and this great holiday (holla 4 days off in a row!) I have a bevvy of beautiful ladies hanging out. My sister is in town, her friend Kelly is in town, and Tamah came over to hang. With a morning hangout coming, I was racking my brain over what to put on the table. We couldn't go out to eat, as I had a roof guy coming over to check out the situation up there, and August coming to drop over her keys so i can do some kitty-sitting this weekend, hence the home hang-out time. I didn't have a ton in my fridge, but I did have eggs, I had some greens from my CSA, and I had a couple of tomatos. I was going to start from there.