Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sunday Night Dinner: Slow Cooked Brisket + a Whole Lot of Other Stuff

Hello Internet! I took an unintended break from writing/photographing, for no real reason actually, but then one week became two then two became... six and then here we are. So annnyway...

Here's a meal from a few weeks ago that makes me super happy.  It was our turn to cook Sunday Night Dinner, and it was a cold and gray day, so I took the opportunity to spend the day in the kitchen, something I really wish I would do more of.  The starting point for the meal was that I wanted to slow cook something, and I thought that this pulled brisket recipe sounded pretty good.  But that didn't take all day, because basically you just brown it, add some spices and let that thing sit in the slow cooker all day. And by all day I mean, all day - a good 8 - 10 hours. Make sure you start early. 

What did take all day were the accessories.  The Smitten Kitchen recipe suggests serving the pulled pork with pickled onions and some slaw. Those things all sounded good to me, so I got to work on that.  Because we weren't going to be eating though for another 8-10 hours, I just prepped what I could ahead of time, which meant getting those onions pickling, making the dressing for the slaw and chopping up a bunch of cabbage.  Also, because we were transporting all of this stuff over to our friends' house I got to use our fancy new glass storage containers, which I highly recommend.

And then the baking began. I wanted to bring some cookies into work, and I frequently check out the Smitten Kitchen cookie section and think, "I wish I had time to make those" about pretty much everything on there. And since I was already having a love affair with Smitten Kitchen, and spending the day in my kitchen, I decided to make two different types: Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan and Chocolate Toffee.

These are the Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Pecan (but you knew that). I forgot to take pictures of the Chocolate Toffee cookies, which is just as well because I didn't think that they looked nearly as pretty as they should have.  I highly recommend these oatmeal ones though, especially for this time of year. They taste like fall, due to the orange zest, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, but still have that good old fashioned chocolate chip texture thing going on. These are a keeper.  I personally didn't love the chocolate toffee cookies, but others preferred them, so go figure. 

After all the cookies finally finished baking, we transported ourselves, the glass containers, and a slow cooker full of brisket over to our friends' house.  We plugged the slower cooker back in for another two hours, and got back to work - next up was Mac and Cheese.  I decided to use the Jamie Oliver version, because well, I love Jamie Oliver and also I liked that he used tomatoes in his as well as breadcrumbs on the top.  We also added in what we like to call "cheesy nuggets" - basically the rinds of the parmesan that are set aside when the cheese is all done.  These little bits add lots of chewy, cheesy surprises in the dish. While that was baking, we assembled all the other ingredients.. and then had ourselves a feast. 

The only low point of the meal for me were the rolls - they just weren't very good.  The brisket was excellent, and super super easy.  The verdict on the mac n cheese was: More Cheese! (and that was after we had added well more than was called for) but I'd still make it again. 

It was a long day and in the end, I wasn't very hungry - somehow being around all the food all day just completely made me lose my appetite - but it was extremely satisfying. I am very much looking forward to having some time off in the next few weeks to get back to making some more big meals.

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