Beef Brisket

Evidently most people know brisket as some sort of smoked BBQ thing. I didn’t know about this until I was googling for recipe variations and kept finding smoking instructions. Isn’t smoking what they do to whitefish and salmon? Perhaps the occasional gouda. Evidently smoking meats is like a thing in the south and I had the definition of BBQ totally confused but that is a discussion for another day. The way I have always eaten (and cooked) brisket was slow cooked in the oven with vegetables and plenty of liquids. You need to google “Jewish Brisket” for this variation.

On the bright side my version is much easier and involves a lot less equipment than the smoked version. Brisket is usually a holiday dish but the other day my husband came home with a huge hunk of meat and promised he would help me cook it. Turned out his help was keeping the children contained while I chopped, seared, cooked, and cleaned up. Better than nothing.

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Sweet Potato and Saffron Biscuits

My husband jokes that biscuits are my nemesis. I must have tried to make them a dozen times with a bunch of different recipes and they always come out denser and flatter than I have hoped. I attribute this to my genes being totally devoid of any “Southerness.” However, I finally had success with this recipe despite it being more complicated than plain biscuits due to the addition of sweet potatoes. Perhaps I have lived in Florida long enough where the Southern has rubbed off on me. Does Miami count as the south?

So why sweet potato and saffron? Because my husband would be freaked out by sweet potatoes so I thought I would blame the yellow-y orange color on saffron but I don’t think he bought it. Either way, a pinch of saffron can’t hurt right.

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The Anti-Inflammatory Diet in 21 Review. Post 1: Preparation

I really like cookbooks – all cookbooks. I especially enjoy ethnic and international cookbooks. They are my favorite especially the really nice ones that make it feel like a culinary travelogue or a lesson on food anthropology. I love reading those types of books and making dishes that to me are exotic like authentic Persian Rice dishes, a pickled tongue, etc.

There has been an emphasis in weekly meal planning and a proliferation of special diet books flooding the market lately. I don’t mean like the weight watchers recipe books my mother still has from the 80’s on her shelf. Books that are not so much for weight loss but to highlight a specific way of eating – clean eating, less processed, allergy free, etc…

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Flan (Crema Volteada)

I am pretty proud of this one. This was my first time making flan and the internet could really freak you out about overcooking it and making sweet scrambled eggs. I read all the tips and tricks and settled on a simple recipe and checked on the flan every 5 mins to not overcook it. Besides the excessive checking and worrying – making flan is surprisingly easy. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the first few steps. I made one large flan in a 9 inch pan but you can use ramekins also just cut down the cooking time. Do not use a cheesecake or tart pan with removable sides or bottoms as the filling will leak out and you will get flan water.

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Not so sweet Blueberry Muffins

My daughter has been asking to make blueberry muffins for a while now and after a week of relentless begging like an attentive mother I obliged. I love how she loves to bake with me although she did lose interest halfway through. But to be honest, I was kind of relieved because for every minute a 2 year old and a 5 year old “help” you bake you need to clean an additional 5.

My mother makes delicious muffins at her restaurant but in all honesty they are really muffin shaped cakes. She uses a cake batter and I think most commercial muffins do the same. But not these. These are not low-sugar but they are definitely not cake so less guilt eating them for breakfast!

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Deli Tongue (i.e cured/pickled)

Have you ever had a tongue sandwich at a deli? If not please go have one now because they are becoming extinct. Jewish deli food like tongue sandwiches, chopped liver, pickled salmon and kippered lox has been dying out as all the elderly Jews have..uh..moved on. I remember going to the Rascal House in Miami with my great grandparents as a child and waiting in long lines to eat. Then when they were no longer here I went with my grandparents – no lines. Now they are out of business and replaced with an upscale supermarket.

The only people left who eat this food are elderly Jews retiring in Miami or younger ones like me who grew up in the NYC metro area and ate appetizing Sunday morning and stuffed derma at the Delicatessen. Since I moved to Florida though all the Florida raised Jews I met who are my age haven’t even heard of this stuff and it really is a shame they missed out on all this good stuff. It is available in South Florida if you search for it but the Jewish Deli food culture doesn’t surround you naturally like it does out in Long Island or the Lower East Side.

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Israeli Couscous (Pitim) with Hawaij

Israeli couscous is a children’s food in Israel but for some reason made its way on fancy menus in the US. But either way its little tiny round pastas and is very versatile. This recipe uses a popular Israeli/Yemeni spice hawaij as its main spice. You can make your own (there are lots of recipes on the internet) or buy it at any kosher supermarket. Just don’t get it confused with hawaij for coffee which is totally different.

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