Our Favorite Sloppy Joes

Today certainly started off with a bang.

Or a buzz.

Or a buzz with a stinger attached.

Two of them, actually. 

This morning, while taking the dogs out, I discovered a wasp nest in the backyard – and before I knew what was happening, I was stung twice. Son of a frosted cupcake……. it hurt…...bad. I quickly ushered the puppies into the house, and promptly called our landlord.

The pest control people will be here tomorrow with a blowtorch.

I can’t wait…. I’ll be singing “Burn, baby, burn” while he sends them to a fiery death. 

Pretty dramatic, wouldn’t you agree?

Our Favorite Sloppy Joes – adapted from Tyler Florence

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used chili sauce, it’s what I had on hand)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
12 parker house rolls

Set a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add onions and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add ground turkey, season well with salt and pepper and brown well all over, breaking it up with a wooden spoon – about 7 to 10 minutes. Add ketchup, mustard, cayenne, brown sugar and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar and season it once more before serving on parker rolls.


Shepherd’s Pie

Are you ready for Memorial Day Weekend?

I’m……..not. Well, I mean I’m ready for the weekend, but not ready in terms of what we are doing/eating.

I think what is really throwing my groove off is the fact that my barbecue is out of order. Simply put, it was hooked up to a natural gas line in Vegas, and here in Texas it needs to be hooked up to a propane tank. I contacted the friendly folks at Weber BBQ and they very nicely informed me that I am out-of-luck. You can’t convert the gas line from one to the other.

Which, quite frankly, sucks.

Even though J bought a Big Green Egg (greatest invention ever, by the way), it’s more of a smoker than a grill. And although we share everything, I do believe the Egg is his.

You know how men are with their grills :)

Anyway, I loved the ease and simplicity of being able to go outside and grill just about anything and everything – pizza, ribs, beer can chicken, steaks – even toasting slices of pound cake for dessert.

I may have to buy a George Foreman Grill to get my fix.



Shepherd’s Pie – adapted from Alton Brown

For the potatoes:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 cup half-and-half (I used buttermilk)
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

2 tbs canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs all-purpose flour
2 tsp tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth (I used red wine)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.print.html?oc=linkback

Slow Cooker Carnitas

There’s an old expression I’m quite fond of:

“Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most.”

In this case, it refers to the fact that Alexander did two things this morning that meant a lot to me:

1. He actually put his clean sheets on.the.bed. Properly, I might add.


2. He picked up all his dirty laundry from the floor and put it in the hamper.


I’m beginning to wonder if he bumped his head when he got up this morning……..

Slow Cooker Carnitas – adapted from bon appetit

6 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1-2 tsp ground cumin
1 large onion, cut into 4 pieces
6 oz. beer (any mild flavor)Pinto beans, guacamole, corn tortillas, salsa, and queso fresco, for serving
Place pork in bowl of slow cooker and season with black pepper, oregano and cumin. Place onion pieces around pork, and pour in the beer. Cover slow cooker and cook pork on low setting until meat is very tender and falling apart, about 8 hours.

Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to cutting board. Discard onion pieces. Using fingers, shred pork, and place on a baking tray. Preheat the broiler, and broil the meat until it is slightly charred all over, about 5-7 minutes. Serve hot with pinto beans, corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, and queso fresco.

Some really great dinner recipes…and two desserts

If you remember (and I’m quite sure your memory is much better than mine these days), a few weeks ago I mentioned that I have been cooking and baking every.single.night, but also have been seriously lax in procuring photographs of the finished product.

And I just realized, seriously, that we have not eaten out in three weeks. I even asked the posse for verification.

They verified.


Well, I finally got my act together and made my list.

I even checked it twice :)

Vegetable Strata – gourmet magazine via epicurious

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped scallion (I used shallots)
  • 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips (about 2 cups)
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips (about 2 cups)
  • enough Italian bread cut into 1-inch cubes to measure 9 cups (about 1 1/2 loaves)
  • 2 1/2 cups coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 12 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • Tabasco to taste

In a large skillet cook the onion, the scallion, and the mushrooms in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, add the bell peppers pepper to taste, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until all the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated and the peppers are tender. Arrange half the bread cubes in a buttered large shallow (4 1/2-quart) baking dish, spread half the vegetable mixture over them, and sprinkle half the Cheddar and half the Parmesan over the vegetables. Arrange the remaining bread cubes over the cheeses, top them with the remaining vegetables, and sprinkle the remaining cheeses over the top. In a bowl whisk together the eggs, the milk, the mustard, the Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste, pour the egg mixture evenly over the strata, and chill the strata, covered, overnight. Let the strata stand at room temperature for 15 minutes and bake it in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until it is puffed and golden and cooked throug

Sesame Noodles with Chile Oil and Scallions – Bon Appetit

  • 4 scallions, whites and greens separated, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp Sichuan pepper, coarsely chopped (I used regular black peppercorns)
  • 12 ounces spaghettini
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

Cook scallion whites, vegetable oil, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and pepper in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil is sizzling and scallions are golden brown, 12-15 minutes; let chili oil cool in saucepan.

Meanwhile, cook noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente; drain. Rinse under cold water and drain well.

Whisk tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and 2-3 tablespoons chili oil (depending on desired heat) in a large bowl; season with salt. Add noodles and toss to coat. Top with scallion greens and drizzle with more chili oil.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja – serious eats

  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup sliced, pimento-stuffed Spanish olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive brine

Season meat generously with pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the meat in a single layer (working in batches if necessary) and cook until well browned, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until second side is well browned, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer meat to slow cooker.Add broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, red pepper, garlic, and cumin to slow cooker. Season with pepper and stir to combine. Cook on low until tender, about 8 hours. Shred meat using two forks. Add olives and olive brine and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with pinto beans and rice.

Mario Batali’s Chicken Saltimbocca – Food and Wine

  • Eight 3-ounce chicken cutlets, pounded 1/8-inch thick
  • Ground pepper
  • 16 sage leaves
  • 8 slices of prosciutto
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vin santo (I used white wine)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Season the cutlets with pepper and place 2 sage leaves on each cutlet. Wrap each cutlet in a slice of prosciutto, pressing to adhere. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in flour, dusting off the excess; transfer to a baking sheet.
Set a rack over a baking sheet. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the rack. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and chicken.
Add the vin santo, stock and lemon juice to the skillet and boil over moderately high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Whisk in the butter. Pour half of the sauce into a bowl. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until hot, 2 minutes. Season with pepper; stir in half of the parsley. Transfer the chicken to plates and pour the sauce on top. Repeat with the remaining sauce, chicken, and parsley.

Dark Chocolate Brownies – Pioneer Woman
  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over low heat, whisking occasionally until smooth and melted. Sprinkle in cocoa powder and whisk to combine. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Stir in sugar and vanilla until just combined. One at a time, stir in the eggs. Gently stir in the flour until halfway incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir just until combined. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 baking pan. (Square pan will result in thicker brownies.) Spread to even out the top and place in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes, then check the brownies with a toothpick. If it is overly gooey/messy, return to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes.Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into small squares.


Lemon Buttermilk Bundt Cake – adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 8 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour Bundt pan; set aside. Whisk baking powder and 3 cups flour in a medium bowl. Combine sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl; using your fingertips, rub together until lemon sugar is well blended.
Add 1 cup butter to lemon sugar. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula, until mixture is light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes longer.
Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake cake until golden brown and beginning to pull away from sides of pan, 60-70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; remove pan and let cool completely.

6 Hour Chili

And so it begins…..

“It” being the laborious, tedious, and oftentimes painful process of selling your home.


I won’t complain, though, because this day is something I have been eagerly awaiting for over two years. And the end result will be the posse and myself moving far, far away from Sin City.

In approximately 91 days…….not that I’m counting or anything….

More details on that later, I promise. It’s a really good story.

So instead, let’s talk about chili – especially this chili. It’s been a family favorite for quite some time now, and I was actually able to capture a photo before it was devoured.


Not an easy feat when you have two hungry teenagers glaring at you from over the counter.

6 Hour Chili – adapted from Williams Sonoma

  • 5 lb. ground beef
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz.) chopped tomatoes with
    juices ( I puree this so there aren’t chunky pieces of tomato in the final product)
  • 8 tbs. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄3 cup cornmeal
  • 1 12 oz bottle of beer
  • Sour cream, chopped red onion, grated,
    cheddar cheese and/or chopped fresh cilantro
    for garnish

In a large sautĂŠ pan over medium-high heat, brow the beef, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a slow cooker.

Add the garlic, yellow onion, tomatoes with juices, chili powder, oregano, cumin, pepper, cornmeal and beer to the slow cooker and stir to blend. Cover and cook for 6 hours on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Skim the fat off the surface of the chili. Stir well, then ladle the chili into warmed bowls and garnish with sour cream, red onion, cheese and/or cilantro.

Serves 8 to 10.

Slow Cooker Mexican Beef

So…… did you enjoy the big game?

It was ….ummm…….not very exciting, that’s for sure. However, the commercials were great and I really enjoyed just hanging out with Alexander – and of course, Daisy.

She looks simply mah-ve-lous after her bath and blow dry this morning. Although she has been leery of me since then, keeping out a watchful eye just in case I get any more crazy ideas.

Because with me, you never know.

Anyway, since it was just the two of us, I really had to scale back my grand food plans – even though I did make the chili –  and turned a container of leftover Mexican Beef into a grand platter of nachos for Alexander.


Good thing I didn’t want any…. he ate it ALL……

Slow Cooker Mexican Beef – adapted from Serious Eats

3 pounds boneless bottom round or chuck roast
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 jalapeĂąo peppers, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can crushed or chopped tomatoes
1 tbs. ancho chili powder
1 tbs. ground cumin
3 bay leaves
1 tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 cup beer (or beef broth)
1/4 cup tequila

Place meat in the slow cooker and season with black pepper. Add the garlic, onion, jalapenos, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, bay leaves, vinegar, beer, and tequila. Cook on low until beef is tender  8 to 10 hours. Shred and serve in tortillas, taco shells, or pile meat onto chips for nachos.

Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish

Disclaimer: this is not my father’s recipe for meatloaf.

However, if he made meatloaf (which is one of his favorite dinners ever), I’m sure it would be similar to this.

Except with a lot less work involved.

Which is to say, either my mother or myself would make it for him.


Having said all that, this really is a great recipe – take the time to make the tomato relish (I almost didn’t – tsk tsk),  it’s well worth the few extra minutes it takes.

One year ago: Ina’s Lemon Cake and Orange Sables

Dad’s Meatloaf with Tomato Relish – adapted (barely) from Tyler Florence

Tomato Relish:
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and finely diced
2 tomatoes, halved, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
3 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into chunks by hand
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 eggs
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 bacon slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Coat a skillet with a 2-count of oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, and bay leaves for a few minutes to create a base flavor. Throw in the red peppers and cook them for a couple of minutes to soften. Now add the tomatoes; adding them at this point lets them hold their shape and prevents them from disintegrating. Stir in the parsley andchili sauce; season with pepper. Simmer the relish for 5 minutes to pull all the flavors together. Remove it from the heat; you should have about 4 cups of relish.Place the torn white bread in a bowl and add the milk to just barely cover, swish the bread around in the milk and let it sit while you get the rest of the ingredients for the meat loaf together.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and pork with 1 1/2 cups of the tomato relish, the eggs, and thyme; season with pepper. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add the soaked bread to the meat mixture.Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Transfer the meat mixture to the center of the cookie sheet and form into a log about 9 inches long and about 4 inches wide. Coat the top of the meatloaf with another 1/2 cup of the tomato relish. Lay the bacon across the top lengthwise.Bake the meatloaf for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the bacon is crisp and the meatloaf is firm. Rotate the meat loaf while it’s baking every now and then to insure that the bacon browns evenly. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it cool a bit before slicing. Serve with the remaining tomato relish on the side.

Cincinnati Chili

Good morning and happy Monday!

Now that we are officially into cooler weather here in Vegas (hey, it’s only going to be 70 degrees today), it’s time to break out all of our favorite recipes for chili and soups.

While I have my trusty, foolproof and dependable recipe for chili, I am starting to expand my culinary repertoire as far as variations and regional specialties.

Because I can, that’s why ;)

This particular version caught my eye after watching an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”. It contains spices that I would never have thought to add to a savory dish, namely cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cocoa powder.

To say the posse and I were a bit suspicious is an understatement.


However, it all came together and the flavors melded quite harmoniously. It was something completely different and unique (to us, that is), and while it won’t usurp my #1 chili recipes’ position, it was a worthwhile change of pace and I will definitely be making it again.

One year ago: Honey Wheat Rolls

Cincinnati Chili – adapted from Saveur

2 tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
1½ lbs. ground beef
2 tbsp. chili powder
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 dried bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
ž lb. dried spaghetti
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed under hot water and drained
4 cups finely grated cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and half of the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5–6 minutes. Add beef, chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, oregano, nutmeg, bay leaf, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 6–8 minutes. Tilt skillet and spoon out and discard any accumulated fat. Add tomato sauce, cocoa powder, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until somewhat thick, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 8–10 minutes; drain. Put beans into a small pot and cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until hot throughout. Divide spaghetti between 4 large bowls. Top with chili, cheese, remaining onions, and beans. Serve hot.

Sloppy Tacos

Now that school is back in session, organization is paramount in my ability (and subsequent success rate) at staying on top of everything.

Well, copious amounts of wine help, too.

Seriously, this is going to be a great year. One school (which reduced my driving time by half – and yes I did that math in my head) translates to a whole lot less stress. If you stop and think about it, I gained an extra hour in my day……whatever shall I do with it?


Alexander had a suggestion ….”Why don’t you join the gym with me?”

Ummmmmm…..no. I have commitment issues with gym memberships……..

Sloppy Tacos – adapted from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds ground beef
1 small yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press
1 14-ounce can chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 12-ounce bottle tomato-based chili sauce (such as Heinz)
3 tbs. ancho chile powder or chili powder
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. onion powder
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. ground cumin
12 crisp taco shells, warmed
Shredded cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, and lime wedges (for serving)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef, breaking up with a spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Add tomatoes to skillet; cook, until thickened, 8-10 minutes. Add beef; chili and chile, garlic, and onion powders; sugar; and cumin. Cook, stirring, until flavors meld, 10-12 minutes. Spread in a 13x9x2″ baking dish; bake until a crust forms, 30-40 minutes. Serve filling in shells with toppings.

Tyler’s Beef Brisket

I am fairly certain that I’ve mentioned this before at least 4 dozen times… wait, that’s …

** counting on fingers **

48? Is that correct? Yes? Okay good. Now, I’ve said this at least 48 times – but it bears repeating in this situation: certain foods are almost impossible to photograph.

almost being the key word..

So…..with that sentiment in mind, in order to make this brisket look as attractive as possible, I decided to post the picture I took before I cooked it…


Just look at that – all those onions, carrots, fresh parsley, tomatoes…. mmmmm

And, after all was said and done, here’s the shot I struggled with for 20 minutes…


Yeah….not so good looking anymore…. but (and you know with me, there’s always a but) the flavor and tenderness more than made up for my inability to get a decent shot.

Tyler’s Beef Brisket – adapted (not really) from Tyler Florence

4 large garlic cloves, smashed
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles striped from the stem and chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (4 pound) beef brisket, first-cut
Coarsely ground black pepper
4 large carrots, cut in 3-inch chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in 3-inch chunks
4 large red onions, halved
2 cups dry red wine
1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.On a cutting board, mash the garlic and rosemary  until incorporated. Put the garlic-rosemary paste in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil; stir to combine.Season both sides of the brisket with a fair amount of ground black pepper. Place a large roasting pan or Dutch oven over medium-high flame and coat with the remaining olive oil. Put the brisket in the roasting pan and sear to form a nice brown crust on both sides. Lay the vegetables all around the brisket and pour the rosemary paste over the whole thing. Add the wine and tomatoes; toss in the parsley and bay leaves. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 3 to 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.

Remove the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest, covered with foil, for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Scoop the vegetables and liquid out of the roasting pan and into a large saucepan – then use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium heat.If you want a thicker sauce, mix 1 tablespoon of flour with 2 tablespoons of wine or water and blend into the gravy.

Slice the brisket across the grain (the muscle lines) at a slight diagonal. Pour the gravy over the meat and serve.