BBQ Beef Brisket Slow Cooker Style

If you have the time then a beef brisket should be cooked in a smoker, low and ever so slow ….. 10 hours minimum. If, however, that doesn’t work for you, and for lots of us at times it just doesn’t. Try this … perhaps not as authentic, but absolutely delicious.

Combine in slow cooker:
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 chipotles in adobo sauce – finely chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Rub the brisket with:
1/4 cup paprika
1 tbsp chile powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 5 lb beef brisket – cut in half width wise.

Place rubbed brisket onto sauce in slow cooker and allow to cook on low for 10 hours.

If you have the time, and ability – allow beef to rest out of the liquid, then grill quickly on each side to get a bit of crunchy texture. Slice and return to sauce in slow cooker.

Serve on fresh buns with some nice crunchy cole slaw on top.

Crab Cakes with Horseradish Aioli

Crab cakes are one of our favourite appetizers to get when eating out …. this is an easy to create appetizer at home, or make slightly larger – serve with a great big tossed salad – amazing bread, and you have a complete meal.

Delicious crab cakes, served with horseradish aioli.

Delicious crab cakes, served with horseradish aioli.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions (green and white bits)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Blend well together, and gently stir in:
1 pound lump crabmeat (take care to pick through it to make sure it is shell free)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

In separate bowl combine:
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Sprinkle of salt and pepper

1 pound of crab meat should make about 16 small cakes (appetizer size) or 8 larger cakes.

Form crab meat mixture into balls, and press each ball into the panko crumbs to coat.

Set aside in fridge to allow them to set up.

The crab cakes can be done to this stage, and kept in fridge until the next day.

Heat fry pan, and add 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp vegetable oil. When foam has subsided, add crab cakes and heat through for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping gently. Do not crowd the pan, fry in batches if necessary.

Horseradish Aioli

1 cup good quality mayonnaise
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp horseradish
1/2 tsp smoked garlic powder (or roasted garlic)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Blend all ingredients well, and allow to sit in the fridge so that the flavours develop.

Serve crab cakes with aioli, sprinkled with a few cilantro sprigs.

Braised Lamb Shanks

On a fall day the aroma of lamb shanks fills our home with warmth and goodness – a perfect Sunday dinner for the family….

Braised Lamb Shanks

Braised Lamb Shanks

4 lamb shanks
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cup red wine (seriously – you must use a wine you would be happy to drink!!)
1 28 oz can tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 sprig rosemary

Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Mix flour with salt and pepper,
Dredge lamb shanks in flour mixture
Heat oil in large, heavy bottomed ovenproof pot – medium high heat
Add lamb shanks and brown on all sides – set aside when done
Turn down to medium heat and add onions, celery and garlic. Saute until soft and translucent
Add wine to pan and stir up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan (little flavour packets!)
Add tomatoes, carrots, beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaves and herbs. Stir well
Return browned lamb shanks to pot, covering them with the liquid
Braise – covered – in a 325 oven for at least 2 1/2 hours – maybe 3, turning the shanks half way. You can tell the shanks are done when the meat is about to fall off the bone.

Remove meat and herbs from pot – set aside – use an immersion blender to puree the of the sauce into a smooth gravy.

Set lamb shanks into a serving dish – pour gravy over and garnish with fresh parsley.

Tabouli Salad

This tabouli salad is made with quinoa, so a complete meal for a vegetarian option, or serve alongside a grilled chicken breast …. or tonight’s choice – chicken wings with a Pomegranate Molasses Barbecue Sauce …. yumminess.

Tabouli Salad

1 cup quinoa – rinse well
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn in rustic pieces
1 small bunch kale, very finely chopped (remove stem)
1/2 English cucumber, cut into fine quarters
1 cup finely chopped assorted colored sweet peppers
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (pickling instructions below)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp orange zest and 2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Pickling red onions: Thinly slice red onions and pour boiling water over for 10 seconds – drain off, and cover with fresh squeezed lime juice and a sprinkle of kosher salt. They turn such a great color.

Tabouli
Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium sauce pain, ccover with 1 3/4 cup cold water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook until water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 18-20 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and let it cool.

In a large bowl toss all prepared vegetables and the cooled quinoa.

Dressing
Combine zest and fruit juices, drizzle oil slowly in to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with prepared Tabouli Salad and taste …season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Tonight tabouli salad was also made with some grilled zucchini and served on a fresh bed of spinach

Tonight tabouli salad was also made with some grilled zucchini and served on a fresh bed of spinach

Crispy Peanut & Sweet Chili Chicken Wings

2 pounds chicken wings
1 tbsp. oil
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp. sriracha sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ” piece of ginger, minced

Marinate chicken wings for as long as you have available – Remove from marinade (reserve marinade) then bake on a rack in preheated oven (400 or 425 convection) until golden brown and crispy – at least 30 minutes.

Heat the marinade in a small saucepan until it boils and reduces slightly.

When they are starting to get golden brown and crispy, toss them in the reduced marinade and put back on rack to get all crunchy.

Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Mustard Crusted Prime Rib with Roasted Onions

I love a good prime rib roast – such a treat.  Mustard and beef are perfect together, add a little horseradish in there and the house will smell amazing.

Sunday dinner treat - the house smells amazing!

Sunday dinner treat – the house smells amazing!

 

For about a 5 pound prime rib roast:

2 generous heaped tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 generous heaped tablespoon horseradish

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 tbsp. mustard seeds (lightly toasted first – and cracked)

finely minced parsley

blend all this together with 1 tbsp. good quality olive oil

Season prime rib with salt and pepper, then rub the mustard all over the surfaces of the rib.  Allow to rest on the counter to bring the roast to room temperature before roasting.

 

Quarter 4 medium size onions, and scatter around the roast – drizzle with olive oil and any of the remaining mustard mixture.

Gently massaged with mustard horseradish rub and ready for the oven.

Gently massaged with mustard horseradish rub and ready for the oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place roast in oven and roast for 20 minutes – then turn oven down to 350 and continue roasting – anywhere from 1-2 1/2 more hours depending on the size of your prime rib (you can also use this method with any other good quality cut of beef that does not require low slow roasting). Right about the same time the onions should be tender, sweet and so delicious.

Please make sure to use your meat thermometer – there is no point in overcooking a beautiful cut of beef!  (for medium rare it should take about 20-25 min per pound)

Sweet Basil Pesto

I think one of my favorite herbs is basil – always makes me think of summer and freshness – drinking Holy Basil Tea right now in fact!!

Basil Pesto

3 cloves garlic

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup finely grated best quality parmesan cheese

2 tbsp lemon juice

2/3 cup olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

drop garlic cloves into food processor while it is running, continuing with basil, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice and salt.  Pulse after it is finely chopped, and with motor still running slowly add oil – scrape down the side of the bowl a few times. Do another couple pulses just to make sure it is all finely blended.

This keeps easily in the fridge for up to a week, and will store well in freezer also.  Either freeze in small containers, or in ice cube trays.  Once they have frozen in the trays, pop them out and store in a ziplock bag.

This makes an amazing pasta dish – toss it with freshly cooked pasta, adding either a bit of the pasta cooking water or heavy cream, whichever is your preference that night!  

Other suggestions:

Pizza topping, with prawns and carmelized red onions – sprinkle with fresh spinach

Blend with butter and spread on french bread for an alternative to garlic bread

Top a grilled steak with a tbsp of pesto

blend 1 tbsp with 2 tbsp red wine vinegar & 5 tbsp olive oil for a salad dressing