Corned Cow’s Tongue- An update

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!

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Corned Cow’s Tongue

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.

I live for liver

My foie gras obsession is well documented.
Calf’s liver was a staple of my diet growing up, but when I was first introduced to the fatty duck liver shortly after moving to Philadelphia, it was love at first sight. Rich, pungent and perfectly seared my first experience with foie was at Stephen Starr’s POD at a birthday celebration. I didn’t know anything about the politics of fattening geese and ducks for enlarged livers. I didn’t know that the price of foie made regular eating cost prohibitive or that it would raise my cholesterol levels off the charts. Only that it was something I had to have again and again.

And I have. Over the years I’ve had it seared, in a torchon, mousse of quail’s liver foie gras… even foie gras ice cream. So you can imagine my excitement when I wandered into the diBruno’s grocery store on Chestnut street to find fresh foie on sale for $19.99 a pound. I had stopped in to buy duck breast to cure another prosciutto with the promise to myself that I wasn’t going to buy anything else.

But c’mon. Twenty dollars a pound? I couldn’t resist. As I waited in the checkout line with my duck’s breast and pound of foie (and a mozzarella with creme fraiche; I figured I’d already broken my promise to only buy duck) I started planning a dinner in my head.

Something simple. A protein bomb of two 16oz locally raised ribeye steaks, seared foie gras, lima beans and Claire’s always delicious chopped brussels sprouts.

The ribeyes came from Whole Foods and cost more than my discounted duck livers; but when I saw the extra thick marbled cuts in the butcher’s case I knew they were perfect. The noble brussles sprout, which has the distinction of being my favorite vegetable, also came from Whole Foods and were gigantic.

Prep time was almost nonexistent; I rubbed the steaks with a quick mix of seasoning while Claire sauteed the sprouts and put our skillet over high heat until it started smoking. Added oil and waited for thatto start smoking, and dropped the steaks in and jumped back while they started splattering and sputtering.

In a second skillet I seared a few slices of foie trying to keep the timing just right. The steaks were about 1.5″ thick, so I had to keep an eye on them as I seared the livers. The incredibly hot skillet seared the spice rub to crisp perfection, with the insides still cold and tender. Claire’s sprouts were brilliantly green and crunchy… the whole dinner was worth the now mounting costs.

Best yet, I still have half of the steak chilling in the fridge to be cubed and eaten cold.

A perfect dinner with the perfect little Chef.

Late Night Cravings- an update

Update on my Late Night Cravings post:

Cured beef.
Wow. I didn’t expect my first attempt to come out this flavorful. The curing solution of sugar/salt with the worcestershire black pepper and truffle salt gave the meat a very distinct taste; leaving a softer than jerky texture and dark brown/purple-ish color. I sliced it on the meat slicer into 1/4″ wide strips after rubbing it with a black pepper rub. Next time, I’ll use a thicker steak. Total cost on this was about $3.50 sugar/salt use included.

Chai Tea Ice Cream.
It came out great. Spice-full. Maybe too much. I haven’t decided yet. I used six Tazo tea bags and I think four or five might have been enough. But the finished product is still immensely good. I could see eating it with a slice of pumpkin pie.

I’m thinking about making pickles this week; if it works out, expect an update!