Posted in Eating

Slow-cooker Brisket: Guide for a First-timer

As a legal Texan, I figured I should take my best shot at a brisket. I grew up in a family that lived largely off meats that my father killed (fish and venison). As such I find buying and cooking meats a little intimidating. Que me having to stop a guy in kroger because I showed up with the intention of buying brisket but no idea how to do so (Do I have to ask the butcher? How many pounds do I need? Do you order by the pound or is it a set thing?)

Anyway. After that adventure (turns out you do have to talk to the butcher, you need the flat cut, should be between 3 and 4 pounds, it ran me like $13) I just wanted as simple a recipe as possible. So here’s what I did, the recipe is from here, as is the picture. If you’ve ever made a brisket my  “first timer notes” will sound totally idiotic but I’m just living my best life, and this is my learning process.

After all of my struggles, the brisket was DELICIOUS. Most importantly to me, it was a brisket, it tasted exactly like what I thought it should taste like! An unlikely feat for a first pass at a food I had only eaten at restaurants. With my confidence boosted, here’s what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of fat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce

Directions

  1. Trim some fat off brisket.
    • FIRST TIMERS NOTE: I watched like 4 youtube tutorials on this and still have questions. Primary thing you need to know is this, the thin layer of fat on one side of your flat cut is mostly fine. You’ll want to feel the meat for any hard parts of the fat and shave them off by running a sharp horizontally across the meat, like scaling a fish. You can also make the whole layer of fat thinner for a healthier brisket, but know that the fat also provides some of the moisture and flavor, so you’ll need at least some. One video suggesting cutting a few “pockets” in the fat where the meat pops through to allow seasonings to soak in.
  2. Combine & mix together: thyme, paprika, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and cumin in a small bowl; set aside.
    • FIRST TIMERS NOTE: This is going to seem like a TON of seasoning for the amount of meat you have, don’t be alarmed
  3. Rub the liquid smoke all over the brisket, then using the rub that you just made rub that over the brisket as well
    • FIRST TIMERS NOTE: I was terrified at this point because my brisket was covered in seasoning. When it came out though, it wasn’t a strong taste at all. So feel free to add or sub whatever spices you want on the rub, with 8 hours in the crockpot, it will all mellow out.
  4. In the bottom of your slow cooker pour in Worcestershire and barbecue sauces; place beef brisket on top. Cover, and cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours or until fork tender.
    • FIRST TIMERS NOTE: I did mine fatty side up, so the fat wasn’t actually submerged in the sauce, with the thought that as the meat heated and cooked, the fat would serve as a layer to keep the moisture in, and maybe melt a little and drip into the meat. If you have a better idea, go for it!

Shred and devour friends!

 

 

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Posted in Eating

Slow-cooker Butter Chicken

Wednesdays meal: using our slow cooker for the first time. And making a 6th or 7th attempt at decent homemade Indian food. This one was a qualified success! Still not perfect but tasty, and not too hard to make. I made some adjustments, original recipe and photo credited to this expat blog.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderlion, cut into pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (use less if you have a low spice tolerance)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp tandoori masala
    • I used an additional tsp garam masala, as well as a bit of ginger, oinon powder, cumin, tumeric, and coriander, as a subsitute
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt 
    • I made mine without yogurt but it was a little tomato-y
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter and vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, garlic and chicken . Cook about 10 minutes, until onion is soft.
  2. Stir in curry powder, cayenne pepper, garam masala, tandoori masala (or alternate) and tomato paste and mix (the paste is thick, so try to get it evenly distributed)
  3. Pour into slow cooker and add tomato sauce, coconut milk and yogurt. Stir. Cook on medium-low 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve over rice.
Posted in Eating

Tomato Basil Chicken Pasta

This was Tuesday nights cooking adventure. This is the first attempt I made at it, and I will admit that it is a little more involved than pinterest made it seem. I’ve made some changes, but the original recipe, and photo credits, go to this blog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breasts, or 2 chicken tenderlions
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium tomato (1 cup), diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Written Directions:

  1. Season chicken breasts with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your skillet.  This may seem like quite a bit, but it will form the base for the sauce.
  2. While waiting for the oil to heat, put water on to boil for pasta.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the chicken.  After about 4-5 minutes, the chicken should be ready to turn. (You’re going to want to step back). Cook them on the second side another 4-5 minutes,or until the juices run clear when you pierce them with a small sharp knife.
  4. After the second side has been cooking for about 4 minutes, add the tomatoes (more sputtering), basil, cold butter, and the minced garlic. Add salt, pepper, or lemon juice (kats fave) to taste. I also had a fair amount of oregano and cilantro from our herb garden so I added that because its a vaguely Italian meal anyway. Stir.
  5. When your chicken is “done,” turn the sauce down on the lowest setting to keep it all warm until the pasta is cooked, which should be any minute now.
  6. Divide the pasta among individual bowls, and top each with half of a chicken breast, sliced into pieces, and equal portions of the tomato basil sauce.  Top with more fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.
Posted in Eating

Oven-baked Fajitas

Since I got married, I have been learning to cook. By learning to cook, I mean scouring pinterest for things that sound fancy but aren’t. Example one, which I made for my husband and I on Monday, Oven-baked Fajitas (link to original recipe). I have now made it a few times and tweaked and added a fair amount, so here’s my version:

Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced (I use half a green and half a red)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 8oz (1 can) of whole corn
  • 80z (1 can) of black beans
  • 12 flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken strips in a greased 13×9 baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt
  3. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Next add the peppers and onions to the dish and stir to combine.
  5. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  6. While baking, drain and then combine corn, black beans, and jalapeno in a skillet on medium-low heat. No oil needed, but stir occasionally to prevent burning. (If you prefer less heat, seed the jalapeno pepper)
  7. When most of the liquids have cooked off the corn and bean mixture, (approx 6-8 mins) add the tomato. Continue to simmer on low heat until chicken is done.
  8. Serve with tortillas!

Leftovers of the two parts of this easy dinner are easily re-purposed and keep well!