My brother Robert called me this morning reminding me that we had promised to go out to Hammonton, NJ and BBQ with our Dad; which could be an all day visit.
My corned beef was entering it’s fifth full day in delicious brine and I wasn’t really sure how long I could safely leave it submerged. So… thinking quickly… I packed a stock pot, a bag of carrots and an onion and my deli slicer and hopped in the car with Claire. Who herself had packed a full compliment of baking supplies!
Forty five minutes later we were in Hammonton, and as my Pop fired up the grill, started preparing for the three hour simmer. Aromatics chopped and stock pot ready, I had to fold the tongue to fit it in the Le Creuset stock pot; which caused a bit of an issue when the water finally came to a boil. Turns out cow tongues and heat don’t get along. Left alone, the tongue flexed in the pot and knocked the lid off!
We let it simmer while we prepared dinner. And while we watched TV. And while we cleaned up.
When it was finally done I dropped it into an icebath to stop the cooking. The outer membrane tightened up considerable and was much easier to peel off than I had expected. Once it was totally skinned (and a few pieces sampled) I put it back into the cooler pot liquor and stored it for the trip back to Philadelphia.
When we got back to Xanadont, I fired up the deli slicer and shaved off a full sandwich worth of meat, which I put on spicy mustard smeared sour dough bread. Tomorrow I’m going to get some cole slaw fixins and pickles an try a different style sandwich.
I was happy with how my first brining experience came out and thanks to my handy brine bucket, will most likely be soaking something again soon!
No matter how you slice it, (I prefer thinly) tongue has a bad reputation.
“I don’t want to taste something that can taste me back” and other cheeky comments aside, there’s an innate distaste for the tongue that’s seemingly cultural. A popular item in Mexican, Asian and European cooking, the tongue is a muscle that’s surprisingly tender when cooked.
I swung by Cannuli’s in Philadelphia’s Italian Market on Wednesday and picked up a fresh cow’s tongue with the intention of corning it. I’ve never really worked with brining before, so this would be a fun little experiment all around.
I had all the ingredients onhand save for pickling spice and a container big enough to hold the tongue, so once everything was picked up, I started preparing the brine. It came together quite easily, leaving an amazing aromatic odor in my kitchen.
While the brine was cooling, I washed the tongue and the brining bucket and did a little kitchen cleanup. With the brine refrigerated, I poured it over the meat and used a sterilized mason jar to keep it weighed down. Now all that’s left is patience. In five days it will be ready to cook.
Claire is convinced that quail look like “little naked people”.
That didn’t stop her from enjoying them with me for our pre-Valentine’s day dinner.
We decided a few weeks ago to simplify Valentine gift giving; instead of getting each other a present, we’d go out for a nice dinner and pay each others tab. That still left us with our usual Monday night cooking date, so we decided to have a little fun and make a batch of roasted quail.
I grew up eating quail; Robert (my brother) and I used to hunt them on the P5 farm in Plant City. He usually did the dirty work with a shotgun and I handled plucking. As fun as you’d think picking birdshot AND feathers out of a tiny game bird is, I assure you that buying six packs at the supermarket is much, much easier.
I seasoned all six of the little naked gents (after removing any stray feathers) with sea salt and pepper, and browned them with prosciutto. While they were browning, Claire started working on a porcini & shiitake mushroom risotto. For greens we sauteed a small batch of broccolini.
Everything came out perfectly. We tore the little guys apart (saving all of the wishbones!) while watching Superbad. The porcini was wonderfully woody; I haven’t used porcini before but I think it’s going to be my go-to fungus for future mushroom risotto.
As for Valentine’s dinner?
We went to Morimoto.
It’s been a while since I had gone and was Claire’s first time. Our dishes were spectacular. Pork Belly, Kobe carpaccio, seared duck breast with duck confit fried rice and overeasy duck egg and buckwheat soba with truffle oil, bacon and scallops. An orgy of awesome.
Two days of good food and amazing company!
Happy Valentine’s day, everyone.
Claire and I had an amazing weekend. After hosting a tattoo convention afterparty on Friday, a busy Saturday and getting tattooed on Sunday by my buddy Rick Lohm, we deserved a break.
The way our schedules line up has Monday as our “weekend”. Which is great for hotel rates… We secured a nice room in Atlantic City for $44(which a friendly desk clerk named Sayed upgraded to an even nicer room) and spent the day doing coupley stuff.
Wandering the boardwalk, buying saltwater taffy and Steel’s fudge and enjoying each other’s company.
Tuesday saw a return to the real world- Claire returned to her volunteer placement and I had time to kill in the kitchen. I decided to buy supplies for homemade pickles. I haven’t made them since I was a teenager, and even then I had my Mom’s help. So supplies purchased I waited for Claire to get home. Four hands and a cool head usually do better than my solo experiments.
While we prepared the pickle brine and chopped the cucumbers, Claire made a leftover charcuterie pizza. Duck prosciutto. Locally cured chorizo and citrus coriander salami topping a garlic butter brushed pie.
We timed it just right. The jars were pulled out of the waterbath right around the time the pizza had cooled and been cut.
Dish towels covering the garlic dill pickles, we left our newborns to cool and seal while we watched an SVU marathon.
By the following morning, all six jars had sealed. We’re going to let them rest for a few days and check back in with a taste report!