Kate's Cuisine

Jul 24 2014

What is Brisket Point?

Brisket Point

We all know brisket. It’s that tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat that’s typically smoked for hours on end and is always one of the most popular items at any BBQ joint. But what is brisket point? This is the question I was faced with while recently checking out the meat section in my grocery store. I was excited to see anything at all with the word “brisket” on it, as this isn’t typically something you’ll find around my parts (unless you go to one of the aforementioned BBQ joints.) But what I was looking at wasn’t just brisket, it was “brisket point.” And what in the heck was that? For the time being, it was something that was added to my grocery cart so I could take it home and do some further research.

What I didn’t know was that brisket is one cut of meat that’s typically separated by a thick vein of fat running across one end. One of those sections is known as “the flat,” and this is the portion most of us have stared down at some point. While still fatty, it’s much leaner than the other section, and is a flat (as the name would suggest) rectangular shape. On the other side of that section however, is the brisket point, the thing I had brought home not really knowing what it was at all. The point is more of a triangle, although mine was rolled up and tied up like a short but thick log. The point contains much more fat in it, and is the more economical of the two cuts (which, besides being some type of brisket, is what made me buy it in the first place.) So now I knew what the two different parts of brisket were. The question still remained though – what was I supposed to do with it?

Traditionally, brisket – any cut of brisket – is smoked, and there are purists that will tell you you’re ruining either part by braising it. But no longer having a smoker (and currently out of wood chips to turn my grill into one,) braising was really the only choice I had, and I will tell you this. Braised brisket point is one of the best pieces of meat I’ve brought to my dinner table in awhile.

1 brisket point that’s been rolled and tied $10.10
1/2 can tomatoes, with 1/2 of the juice $0.95
1 onion, cut in half and then sliced $0.47
3 cloves garlic, sliced $0.03
2 sprigs fresh thyme $0.40
2 sprigs fresh rosemary $0.40
1/2 cup white wine $1.57
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
2 tablespoons canola oil $0.14
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.22
Cost per serving $3.55

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Sprinkle the brisket point with salt and pepper and place a skillet over medium-high heat. Place butter and canola oil in the skillet and when both have melted together, place brisket point into the skillet. Sear on all sides to brown. When entire brisket point has been seared, move to a roasting pan and turn heat under skillet to medium.

3.) Add onions and garlic to the skillet and stir. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, just until onions have started to soften. Add tomatoes along with their juice, and white wine. Stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to remove all brown bits from the bottom. Add thyme, rosemary, a bit of salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook for just 1 or 2 minutes and then pour over brisket point in the roasting pan.

4.) Add enough water to the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the side of the meat. Cover, and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat can be pulled apart with two forks.

5.) Place brisket point on the cutting board or plate and strain the contents of the roasting pan into a saucepan. Discard larger items and place brisket point back into the roasting pan (this will make it easier to rest, as you can simply replace the lid.) Place saucepan with cooking liquid in it over high heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, make a slurry by combining the all-purpose flour and water in a glass and whisking vigorously with a fork. When cooking liquid begins boiling, whisk in the slurry. Stir and when it begins to thicken, lower heat to medium or medium-low.

6.) When the meat has rested for about 10 minutes, remove to a cutting board and slice across into thin strips. Place on a serving platter and spoon a bit of gravy over top to keep it moist and flavourful. Place the remaining gravy in a gravy boat to be served at the table.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 23 2014

Not Your Average Boiled Beets

Boiled Beets

Take any vegetable, boil it for a good 45 minutes, and when you remove it from the water you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to be flavourless and completely boring, right? Well, that might be true for most vegetables, but when you’re talking about beets, it’s a whole other story. Especially when you (once again) skip the grocery store and head to a Farmers’ Market to get them. Trust me, it will be well worth any extra effort you took to get there once you’re sitting around your table with the most delicious produce you’ll find, and we can only do it for a couple more months before we’re back to depending on the big chains so we may as well take advantage now.

But oh yes, back to the beets. Once you take them out of the piping hot water, take a slice off one and just try it. You will have never had anything so delicious, so tender, and so sweet! I’ve had beets before but I couldn’t believe the sweetness of these particular beets! You could serve them just like that, and they’d be a perfectly beautiful side to any meal, or you can use just a few ingredients to jazz them up a little bit. Either way, these are really, really good.

6 medium-sized beets $2.00
3 cloves garlic, whole and peeled $0.03
1 green onion, chopped (I used the green and the white) $0.07
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar $0.09
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $2.27
Cost per serving $0.75

1.) Place the beets and the garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Place them on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a low boil, and cook for approximately 45 minutes, until the beets are tender. Remove the garlic and the beets to a plate and allow to cool slightly.

2.) Once the beets have cooled enough that you can handle them, slip their skins off (this will be very easy to do once they have been cooked.) Slice the beets in about 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices and place them in a serving bowl. Chop boiled garlic and add that to the beets, along with the green onion, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 22 2014

24 Hour Chicken

24 Hour Chicken

Something serendipitous happened in my kitchen several weeks ago. I had prepared a marinade for some chicken breasts, got them swimming in it in the fridge, and was just waiting for them to have a little soak before I threw them on the grill. Then, my kids both burst through the front door, excited that their school barbecue was that night. Could we go, could we go?!?!? Of course we could, but what was I to do with this chicken I had ready and just waiting to be cooked? Nothing, except keep it exactly where it was and leave it for the next night. Turns out, letting it sit and marinate for 24 hours was one of the best things I could have done. Because sometimes you need a super quick recipe like 10 minute pork chops to get you through, and other times, patience is bliss.

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts $9.89
3/4 cup mint leaves $0.50
3/4 cup cilantro $0.50
1/4 cup Thai basil $0.25
4 garlic cloves, smashed $0.04
2 green onions, roughly chopped $0.14
2 tablespoons ginger $0.20
1 tablespoon chili pepper flakes $0.05
Zest and juice of 1 lime $0.33
1 tablespoon rice vinegar $0.03
1 – 2 tablespoons water Free
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $11.95
Cost per serving $2.99

1.) Into a blender place: mint leaves, cilantro, Thai basil, garlic cloves, green onions, ginger, chili pepper flakes, lime zest and juice, rice vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper, and water. Puree until smooth.

2.) Pat chicken breasts dry and place them in a shallow casserole dish. Gently lift the skin of the chicken and push some of the marinade between the skin and the meat. Lay skin back down and pour the rest of the marinade over the outside of the chicken. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Leave for 24 hours.

3.) When ready to cook, turn one side of an outdoor grill to medium heat, oil the grates, and close the lid. When the entire grill has preheated, lay chicken breasts, skin-side down, on the side of the grill that has no direct heat. Close lid and allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Turn chicken and allow the other side to cook for another 10 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through. (Check by checking the juices and seeing if they run clear, or by checking an instant-read thermometer that reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.)

4.) Remove chicken from the grill and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 21 2014

Canadian Pancakes

Canadian Pancakes

I’m forever trying to find ways to make the thickest, fluffiest pancakes. But whether it happens in the pan, while keeping them warm in the oven, or when I get them onto the table, mine somehow always seem to fall flat. So instead of this luxurious, puffy stack, I usually end up with something that’s as flat as, well, pancakes.

Then I heard of a trick that might just solve all of my pancake problems. You make your pancake batter, whip up some egg whites, and then gently fold them in. When you make them this way, they’re actually called Canadian pancakes (which endeared them to me right from the get-go) and they’re supposed to solve all of your fluff-less problems. Well, it didn’t work for me and I think actually just turned out to be a lot of extra work for pancakes than is necessary.

So, do you have any tricks to get the huge, fluffy pancakes I’ve been dreaming of? If so, let me know what they are in the comment section below!

1 cup all-purpose flour $0.14
1 tablespoon baking powder $0.03
1 cup milk $0.28
3 eggs, separated $0.60
Pinch of salt $0.01

Total cost $1.06
Cost per serving $0.26

1.) In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

2.) In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add milk and egg yolks and stir just to combine, making sure you don’t over-work it at this point. It’s okay if there are still a few lumps in the batter.

3.) Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and then add the rest and fold it so that all ingredients are incorporated.

4.) Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or skillet, using a measuring cup or ladle (I find placing it all into a pitcher and pouring it out onto the hot surface also works very well.) Cook for about three minutes, until one side has been completely cooked and bubbles are starting to appear on the top. Flip, and cook for another two to three minutes on the other side until it’s also completely cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.

5.) Serve, with syrup, whipped cream, or fruit compote, and enjoy!

Jul 20 2014

Raspberry Crumble Pie

Raspberry Crumble Pie

Sometimes I can’t decide whether I want a crumble or a pie, so why not combine the two and get the best of both worlds? My younger daughter loves this dessert because she’s “not a big fan of pie” (her words, and she’s 6) but it’s got that sweet and crunchy crumble topping, so it’s not really all pie. I love it because the filling is sweet and tart and well, I’m also a sucker for that topping. It’s raspberry season, so that’s what ended up in this pie but you could use just about any berry and they can be fresh or frozen, so you can enjoy it all year round!

For the pie:

1 prepared pie crust $0.45
2 eggs $0.40
1 1/3 cups sour cream $0.80
1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
1 cup white sugar $0.19
1 pinch salt $0.01
1/3 cup all-purpose flour $0.05
3 cups raspberries $5.00

For the topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar $0.10
1/2 cup all-purpose flour $0.07
1/2 cup chopped almonds $0.55
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes $0.22

Total cost $8.06
Cost per serving $1.01

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrneheit.

2.) In a large bowl, beat eggs until they are a light yellow. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, and salt together. Stir into egg mixture, then gently fold in raspberries. Pour into prepared pie crust.

3.) Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the centre is just about set. Meanwhile, make the topping by combining the brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and almonds. Cut in the chilled butter, until the entire mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4.) Remove the pie from the oven after its first bake time. Sprinkle with the topping mixture and place back in the oven. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and crunchy.

5.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 19 2014

10 Minute Chops

10 Minute Chops

Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of time to get dinner on the table and on those nights, it’s helpful if you can keep a few tips in mind. For me, it means using a quick-cooking protein (us carnivores rarely go meatless around here,) that doesn’t require a long marinating time, and it also means cooking it on the stove. Have you ever realized how much quicker things cook on the stovetop than they do in the oven?? It’s remarkable! So for this quick-cooking meal…..

I used boneless pork chops that don’t only cook really fast, they’re also super cheap – usually about $5 for a package of 6 or more. (Buy them on sale and you get two packages for that price.) When ready to cook, I threw together my tried-and-true BBQ rub and let it sit for just a few minutes. Of course, you could make these 15 minute chops if you wanted that flavour to be even stronger, but it was pretty intense with just the few minutes I gave it.

6 small boneless pork chops $4.57
2 tablespoons onion powder $0.40
2 tablespoons garlic powder $0.40
1 tablespoon chili powder $0.20
1 tablespoon paprika $0.20
1 tablespoon cumin $0.20
1 tablespoon ground coriander $0.30
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $6.15
Cost per serving $1.53

1.) In a large bowl combine onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

2.) Add chops to the bowl and quickly rub the spices all over them, making sure the chops are fully coated. Let sit for a minute or two while you get your skillet ready.

3.) Place a large skillet over medium-heat and add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add chops to the skillet one by one, shaking any excess rub off of them as you take them out of the bowl.

4.) Cook the chops for four minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another three minutes on their other side.

5.) Remove chops from the skillet, and place them on a serving platter.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 18 2014

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

Many people know that the term “primavera” means “spring” in Italian but did you know it means the same in Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian too? When talking about pasta primavera however, you don’t need to feel as though you must use only spring vegetables (some do because they like to make cooking harder on themselves, I guess.) But when I made it just last night, I used what was in season – and here we are in the middle of July, definitely no longer the spring season. Gold and green zucchinis, fresh peas, green onions, and carrots that were cut down to the size of matchsticks are what made it into my dish, along with a little bit of bacon. Because bacon makes everything better.

4 cups of fresh pasta, or half a package of store-bought $0.96
4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped $1.20
1 1/2 cups fresh peas $1.49
1 large carrot or 6 baby carrots, julienned and then chopped to matchstick size $0.17
1 green onion, chopped $0.07
1/2 large green zucchini, diced $0.50
1 whole gold zucchini, diced $1.00
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour $0.01
2 cups chicken stock $1.00
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn $0.99
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese $1.49
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $8.90
Cost per serving $2.22

1.) If using fresh, not frozen, peas, you’ll need to blanch them. Bring a small pot of salted water up to a boil and then add peas. Blanch for one minute before draining the peas and placing them in a bowl of ice water. Allow them to sit for several minutes to fully stop the cooking process, and then drain and set them aside in a bowl.

2.) Place bacon bits in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until they are brown and crisp. Remove from pan, place on a plate lined with paper towel, and set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan, and keep the skillet over medium heat.

3.) To the bacon skillet add all of the zucchini, the peas, green onion, and matchstick carrots. Season everything with salt and pepper and then toss to coat all the vegetables in the bacon fat. Allow to cook for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

4.) While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When boiling, salt the water generously and then add pasta and stir. Cook for 2 minutes if using fresh, about 8 if using dried. When pasta is almost finished cooking, but still has a bit of bite left to it, drain.

5.) After the vegetables have been cooking for a few minutes, sprinkle with the all-purpose flour and stir. Allow everything to cook for 2 minutes so the flour has a chance to be cooked and you won’t taste raw flour in the final product. Then add the chicken stock to the pan and stir everything together.

6.) Add cooked and drained pasta to the skillet, along with the bacon bits and stir to combine all the ingredients. Sprinkle with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

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