Pastrami Made From Scratch

March 14, 2011
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When I saw this month’s Charcutiere Challenge, “to brine, and then corn, a piece of beef” I admit I was disappointed. Not in the challenge part of it, but by the fact that I really don’t like corned beef. Its saltiness and flaccid texture has never appealed to me. My mother agreed and suggested we try making pastrami which is basically brined beef taken one step further by applying a dry rub and smoking it after the brining process.

This is not a single day, cook-to-eat process. It’s a multi-day, you-have-to-really-want-it project. However, like most things which are cooked from scratch at home, the end product is worth it, significantly better than anything you typically buy in the grocery store. I still think pastrami is too salty for my personal preference, but I really enjoyed the sandwiches I ate with it on the home made rye bread I made …

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Making My Own Burgers, Review of the Maverick 5501 Grinder, and a Giveaway!

January 3, 2011
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I have long wanted to try grinding my own beef to make hamburgers from scratch. This desire grew stronger after seeing the movie Food, Inc.; I haven’t been able to eat commercially ground beef, and more specifically, a fast food burger since. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had a hamburger in the last 2 years, but when I want a burger, I usually make one at home with organic beef (albeit imported from Australia, so not exactly local). Since I’m a do-it-yourself kinda gal with a healthy dose of “Type-A” personality thrown in, I thought I’d opt for a little more control over my burgers and make my own from scratch.

A little while ago I was approached by Pleasant Hill Grain, a Nebraska-based company which specializes in quality kitchen equipment and supplies who asked if I wanted to try their Maverick 5501 Meat & Food Grinder

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Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Leeks and Mushrooms

October 27, 2009

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Sometimes the best laid plans for a meal never quite work out the way you want.
I wanted to make lamb. I had it all planned out; yogurt marinated lamb kabobs, home-made tzatzki, pita, a greek salad, some marinated eggplant~ the whole kit and kaboodle. My uncle was in town and my aunt, who had never been to LA the entire 35 years we’ve lived here, was finally here with him. They were coming to my house for dinner and…and I couldn’t find lamb for kabobs anywhere.

First, I was at Costco, buying things one buys there like paper towels and 36 count packages of AA batteries and they had no lamb. Sure, they had expensive chops and a whole boned leg of lamb, but nothing for kabobs. But that’s ok, I wasn’t really expecting to find it there. Then I went to my local “…

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