Sweet and Sour Braised Brisket

Sometimes what looks good on the Food Network and on paper does not come out the way you had hoped. That was the case with this recipe. It looked so delicious when I saw Dave Lieberman make it, but I was very disappointed with the end result.

I diligently got up super early on Sunday morning to get this thing in the oven. 6:30!!!! That's a challenge on week days, let alone Sunday! Anyway, I followed the instructions - browned the beef, sauted the vegetables. It smelled delicious! When I pulled it out of the oven, though, I was so sad. After 10 hours the liquid had actually increased and the meat was not all that tender. I was going to write this recipe off until last night.

I came home and Joey had our leftovers all plated up and ready to go for dinner. I was amazed at how delicious this dish had become! The meat was flavorful and tender. YUMMO! As Rachel would say.

If I were to make this again, I think I would do it in the crock pot rather than the oven. I would also decrease the liquid a bit. I don't know if I love beef brisket, but this really did make some great leftovers and, to us, that is just as important as the first time we have something.

Ingredients

  • 1 (6-pound) brisket, upper portion
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Few stalks celery, cut into big chunks
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and cut into eights
  • Cloves from 1 head garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • 26-ounce box strained tomatoes (recommended: Pomi)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Instructions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Rub brisket generously with salt and vegetable oil.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil to evenly coat pan and when the oil is hot and is just beginning to smoke, add the brisket and brown on both sides. Transfer the brisket to a shallow baking dish. Add the vegetables to the saute pan. Cook until they brown and start to soften, about 5 minutes. Then pour the vegetables over the brisket.

Whisk together the tomatoes, sugar, stock and vinegar in a mixing bowl then pour it into the same saute pan. Cook for a few minutes to get all the flavor out of the skillet, and then pour over the brisket. It should be at least 3/4 of the way submersed in the liquid. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 8 to 10 hours until tender and the meat begins to fall apart. Slice thinly and serve with veggies and cooking liquid.

Serves 8 - 10

Boston Lettuce Avocado Salad and Lime Dressing

We love the Food Network and one of our favorite chefs to watch is Dave Lieberman. Dave makes some really delicious food at a very low cost. I have to say that I think his forte is salads. Now what's to a salad? Not much, but don't you ever just want to make one that is a step above your average iceberg lettuce with some low-fat ranch dressing thrown on top? Dave always makes a salad something a bit special. I made this one on Sunday and we both really loved it. The dressing went perfectly with the avocado.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 2 small to medium heads Boston lettuce, discard any wilted leaves
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted
  • 1 large bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • Leaves from 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

For the dressing:

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • About 20 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

Instructions

Pull the lettuce leaves from the head, rinse gently under cold water, and lay out on clean towels to dry. Use a spoon to remove the flesh in 1 piece from each half of the avocado. Thinly slice the avocado flesh into thin wedges.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and top with the avocado wedges, scallion, and cilantro. Finish with a healthy drizzling of the dressing.

Servings: 6 - 8

Note: I love having Varla Jean and Calvin cook with me. They LOVE nibbling on the greens that I feed them. If you have little feathered friends, please be aware that avocado is poisonous for them. DO NOT LET YOUR BIRDS NEAR AVOCADO!!!



Nutella

Okay, I know I constantly preach Weight Watchers, but honeys there are times when we just want, no, NEED something naughty. That's where Nutella comes in. Having a bad day? Need a I Hate Boys night? Lady Time? Or just being piggy?! Nutella is a dream come true. It's the original creamy, chocolaty hazelnut spread. But my thought is, why spread when you can just spoon directly into your mouth?!

When I am really bummed this sure helps. I think of it as God's little way of making me feel better. It is heaven in a plastic jar. If you can't get it near at a store near you then just order some online. My recommendation is to order a lot. You will eat it quickly unless you have some weird will-power thing going on that I don't want to know about. :-)

I am sure it's points-free for you Weight Watchers. Hell, if wine is than so is Nutella! (Okay, I made that up. That is my personal opinion and is certainly not supported by Weight Watchers! By the way, wine isn't points-free either unless you are Sean or Karolyn.) But, when you are feelling down, why not splurge?

Beef Stuffed Cabbage

YAY! My first blog posting!!! This weekend promises to be full o' cooking as next weekend is my birthday and I will probably be busy with that.

This is one of our favorite one-pot recipes. (Not to be confused with Crock Pot!) It's a bit time consuming to stuff the cabbage, but the end result is oh-so yummy. We usually double the recipe so that we have lots of lunches for the following week.

This recipe comes from the Weight Watchers site. For those of you interested it's only 6 points!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 head savoy cabbage, about 8 whole leaves
  • 1/2 pound uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 medium carrot(s), peeled and grated
  • 1 medium onion(s), finely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
  • 1 large egg white(s)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 29 oz canned diced tomatoes, with basil, garlic and oregano
Instructions

Wrap cabbage leaves in plastic wrap or moist paper towels and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, until soft. Cut off the thickest, white portion of the spine of each leaf to make leaves pliable and easy to fold; set aside.

Combine beef, rice, water, bread crumbs, carrot, onion, garlic, egg white, salt and pepper in a large bowl; mix well.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of beef mixture onto center of each leaf. Fold up bottom of leaf to cover filling, tuck in sides and then continue rolling to make loose rolls (rice will expand during cooking so it is important not to roll them too tightly).

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat; add rolls and sauté until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until cooked through, checking pot every 15 minutes and stirring to prevent sticking, about 1 hour. (If sauce thickens or reduces, add water.) Yields 2 rolls per serving.

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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean

Dedication

This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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