Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Snow Day Recipes


So we've been having a lot of unseasonably snowy days here in the Northeast. Purim plans were sent askitter with an unseasonal snow storm, and on Friday, the first day of spring ("yeah, right, sure!"), another one.

So our plans to join family in New York for Purim were turned topsy-turvy. This was especially appropriate for Purim, the holiday that celebrates unlikely outcomes through the infinite hand of G-d. So I adapted, pulled a brisket out of my freezer, and was inspired by an item I received in a shaloch manos (one of the gift baskets of food that are customarily exchanged on Purim). The magic ingredient? Root beer! I recalled a very good barbecue sauce prepared by a local chef that used root beer, and decided to give it a go.  The result was delicious, and our Purim meal was saved.

As the snow blanketed the yard outside my kitchen window on Friday afternoon, my  mind turned to the very delicious harbinger of spring, asparagus I had purchased earlier in the day. Running out of time before Shabbat settled in, I decided to use a very easy and flavorful method I like for vegetables...roasting.  I can prep the dish in about 5 minutes, and leave it to cook in the oven and put my efforts elsewhere. Served hot fresh out of the oven, or cold the next day it was delicious, and did remind me that there would be greener, brighter days to come.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, even without the snow!

This brisket recipe can be used for the upcoming Passover holiday if you omit the dried mustard and switch out the root beer for cola, as you probably won't easily find kosher for passover root beer.

Snow Day Root Beer Brisket

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 onions (any type), thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-4 to 6 pound beef brisket
1/4 cup powdered onion soup mix
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard  
ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-12 ounce bottle barbecue sauce (I used hickory flavor)
1-12 ounce can root beer or cola (not diet)
1/4-1/2 cup water

Heat a large stock pot to medium-high heat. Add oil, when it begins to shimmer add the onions and salt.  Cook until translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low and saute until onions begin to brown.

Rub brisket with soup mix, brown sugar, dry mustard, black pepper and garlic.  Place over onions in stock pot.  In a medium sized bowl, stir together barbecue sauce and root beer or cola.  Pour over brisket so that's it's totally covered. Put lid on pot. And bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 3-5 hours until tender. Check pot after an hour of cooking, and add water around brisket if the sauce looks too thick. Turn brisket and baste halfway through cooking time.

Remove brisket from the pot and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Thinly slice against the grain. Serve "smothered" with onions and pan gravy. You may slice beef in advance, return to pot and reheat for 30 minutes before serving. Make sure any sliced meat is covered with gravy before storing.

Serves: 8-10

This is the perfect elegant vegetable side dish for any festive spring meal. The amounts of the herbs and olive oil vary depending on how many bunches of asparagus you use.

Herb Roasted Asparagus

1-2 bunches of asparagus, washed and checked for bugs
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Marjoram or basil
Fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 450F degrees.

Hold each asparagus stalk in one hand, with the other hand,  hold the bottom of the stalk and snap off the hard part. It usually snaps at the appropriate spot naturally. Repeat for all stalks.

Lay stalks in a thin layer in a non-stick 9x13 baking pan or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs and spices to taste.  Toss to coat evenly. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until just fork tender.  Turn once or twice during baking.

May be served hot or cold. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

Serves: 6-8

1 comment:

  1. I tried this recipe and it's delicious! Maybe instead of rootbeer i'll eat cola brisket!I give Amy a A++++!