Monday, July 25, 2011

Dinner on the Fly: Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini here, zucchini there, zucchini, zucchini everywhere. Our local CSA is in full swing and zucchini season it is.  How many ways can I make this stuff?  What to do when your zucchini is the size of a small watermelon? Well, summer isn't all brisket and hamburgers now, is it?  I still fairly new at stuffing vegetables but this recipe is easy.  I think it is worth experimenting with, use different cheeses and herbs, maybe add a meat for something a little more filling.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

1 large 2 small zucchini 
2 garlic cloves minced
1 onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
A handful of basil leaves chopped or torn
Juice of one lemon
1 cup cooked rice
1/4 to 1/2 pound feta cheese
1 tablespoon maras biberi (Turkish red pepper)
1/4 cup pitted black sundried olives
light sprinkling of sea salt
Drizzle of olive oil

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.   Scoop out the insides of the zucchini with a spoon or melon baller. Drizzle a little olive oil inside the holllowed out zucchini.  Chop and put aside in a large bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl with chopped zucchini and toss.  Drizzle a little more olive oil in the mixture and bake until tender.  About 35 to 45 minutes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Community Table: Nick's Barbecue Brisket

I have never seen a man seem so perfectly in his element than my husband, Nick, grilling barbecue brisket.   Maybe grilling is the wrong word.  It is an all day barbecue, with a beer in hand.  Over the years I will admit that I have monopolized the kitchen. But on brisket day I surrender my kitchen haven and, unless specifically called upon, my nosy interjections, to Nick and his process.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, I have given you glimpses of this succulent meat, but not until now have I been able to give up the recipe.   It is only after 4, nay 5 attempts at perfection that I am allowed to document it.  Sometimes Nick's complaint is a less than perfect texture, but searching for the perfect balance of spices has also taken some time.  Nick resembles some sort of mad scientist or potion maker mixing and measuring condiments and spices.  Then it is a 6-8 hour process  of slow cooking this meat on the grill, frequently checking that the temperature doesn't get too high.  It's like Atlas holding up the sun and drinking beer with his other hand.

It all starts with a good cut of meat.  This one is from Brooklyn Kitchen.

Here you need to trim the layer of fat around your brisket until it is about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick.

Nick's Slow Cooked Barbecue Brisket
  • a 3 to 4 pound beef brisket
  • canola oil
  • apple juice
For the Dry Rub:
  • 1/8 cup garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chicory coffee (like Cafe Du Monde brand)
For the Wet Rub:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcester Sauce
For the Wrapping Mixture:
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
*The technique for this brisket is adapted from Adam Perry Lang's book Serious Barbecue.  Adam Perry Lang is owner and chef of Daisy May's BBQ.
  1. Mix your seasonings in three separate bowls.  Add you wet rub to the meat and then the dry.  let sit for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat your charcoal grill with a packet of hickory wood chips to 275 degrees.
  3. Using your hands or a brush, evenly, but lightly coat the brisket with canola oil.  Insert a remote thermometer in the thickest part of the brisket. 
  4. Put your brisket on the cooker with the fat side down.  After 2 hours, spray every hour with apple juice.   Cook until the internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees, should take 6 1/2 to 7 hours.
  5. Lay out two sheets of aluminum foil (heavy duty is probably best), put you brisket on top, and pour your wrapping mixture over it.  Wrap it up securely and reinsert your thermometer.  Put back on the grill and cook until the internal temperature is 195 degrees.  Should take 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  6. Line a small cooler with an old, clean beach towel for insulation.
  7. Remove your brisket form the grill and carefully unwrap over a baking dish or disposable pan, reserving the liquid.
  8. Lay out 2 more sheets of aluminum foil and put your brisket on it.  Over a measuring cup, strain the reserved liquid from the baking dish through a fine mesh strainer.  Discard the solids.  Allow the fat to come to the top, pour off and then discard.  Pour the defatted liquid onto the brisket.  Wrap your aluminum foil around your brisket place in a disposable pan or baking dish and transfer to cooler.  Cover with towel, close the lid and let rest for 1 hour.  When the brisket has rested for 30 minutes, increase your cooking temperature to 300 degrees.
  9. Place your meat back on the grill for 30 minutes.
  10. Cut your meat on a cutting board.  Make sure you cut against the grain.  Lang says to let it rest 10 minutes, but so far we have not been able to show that kind of restraint.