Makeup day in the kitchen

March 4, 2017

"Watermelon," AGC exclaimed in delight when he saw it

“Watermelon,” AGC exclaimed in delight when he saw it

Whew, Lawdy, y’all. I’m TIRED!

I have been in my kitchen All Day Long. Which is a Good Thing, as I have been so busy all week that I’ve barely managed to make a quick meal here and there. So today, I put in a marathon session. I have made a batch of yogurt, a batch of granola, a bowl of chicken salad, a coconut cake, a batch of bread, and a grilled cheese sandwich for AGC 2. I made a brine and put a bottom round roast in to corn, as St. Pat’s is coming up, and now I have a couple of smaller pieces of brisket simmering in Guinness in the slow cooker to shred up tomorrow for sandwiches.

I’m not sure what possessed me, but it’s surely worn me out.

Along the way, I took time to use a kitchen gadget Child A had gotten me last summer for my birthday that I’d never used.

When it starts getting warm, I start jonesing for fresh fruit and salad-y type things. Plus, AGC is a lover of most all kinds of fresh fruit (except strawberries, which makes me question his actual relation to me; perhaps they mixed up babies at the hospital…). And Kroger had little baby watermelons on sale two for five bucks when I went grocery shopping Friday.

And as I was fixing the youngster’s grilled cheese sandwich, I grabbed for one of the watermelons and my knife, and I thought of the slicer-thingy. It’s like a giant apple-corer, if your apple was the size of a volleyball. And you’ve got to lean into it, but it makes short work of slicing a melon. Plus, it produces a little cylindrical core of watermelon heart, which I claimed for cook’s treat.

Kitchen gadgets are fun. I just ordered a new one, in fact; a yogurt-strainer, which will also work for ricotta cheese. Between the two of them, I should use it enough to make it worth its $15 price tag. I’m tired of dealing with cheesecloth.

I’d been out of the habit of yogurt and granola, which was my daily breakfast for a year or more, of late. But when I picked up fruit at the grocery, for some reason, that put me in yogurt mode. So I got up this morning and put a pot on to make. Eight hours later, when it was done, I’d decided on roast beef sandwiches for Sunday dinner, so I just washed out the pot and browned the salted-and-peppered brisket, dumped in a bottle of Guinness, and it’s set to slow-cook all night.

Hot roast beef sandwiches call for a GOOD hoagie roll, and my favorite hoagie roll is pan Cubano, the little mini-baguettes that one uses for Cuban sandwiches. They’re not hard to make, a very basic bread dough, and they sure make a good sandwich. My recipe makes six of them, so we may actually have meatball sandwiches one of these days before too long with the leftovers.

The corned beef marks one of only a handful of times over the past five years that I’ve bought grocery store beef. But Aldi had a nice sale on bottom round roasts, and I’ve seen them often corned instead of brisket, so I said, well, why not? My beef doesn’t come with round roasts, and the brine is going to cover up the taste anyway, so why not?

Made my brine per Michael Ruhlman’s recipe, 5 percent salt, by weight, with a half-cup of sugar and some pickling spice, and let it cool, then plunked the roast in with a plate on top to hold it down. It’s out in the outside fridge for some period of time, maybe about a week, after which I’ll take it out, bag it for the sous vide, and cook it 24 hours to tenderize it and get it ready for sandwiches on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s a nice-sized roast, so you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on up and we’ll have a sandwich, or some corned beef hash, that weekend. Maybe I will have recovered by then. But for tonight, I’m about to hit the sack.

 

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