Sunday, March 31, 2013


Today's Photo

I have been going by this local building for years. It used to be a music store (which would have been quite convenient for lessons that I have two that play instruments) but has been empty for the past few years. It was painted a garish purple color and I can't say it was very attractive but it was eye catching. Well they have been working on it for quite a while and on the side of the building an old painted billboard for beer has emerged. Completely vintage and oh so cool. I can't yet make out the brand but as it says, it's the beer with the "million dollar flavor".

Happy Easter!

Mean Green Bean Casserole

Spring Holiday Food Edition #2 

Okay it's not really "mean" because it's not spicy but we added bacon goodness to this which makes it so much better. 

Easter Dinner - Torch Glazed Ham, Potatoes Au Gratin, Green Bean Casserole WITH BACON, Cranberry Orange Relish and Hawaiian Rolls.

This is the Easter edition of the blog - you may have seen that I gave equal time to Passover (Pesach) today as well. We are an equal opportunity food eating family around here and love to pay homage to different cultures through cuisine.

Easter Dinner this year is a simple plan but with lots of love and favorite dishes. We buy Dearborn Brand Torch Glaze Ham in little packages that have been sliced rather than the whole ham. We found that we always had too much leftovers. Many stores around town will sell it to you sliced from their deli counter.

Add our favorite sides: Au Gratin Potatoes (Betty Crocker, baked in the oven instead of on the stovetop), Sweet Corn with a little cream and butter, Cranberry Sauce with Mandarin Oranges and Cinnamon Sugar, and the Green Bean Casserole.

The Green Bean Casserole is the regular recipe you find on the back of the Durkee French Fried Onions. There is another version on the back of the Spartan which is really also very good. However, neither one of them mention adding crumbled bacon to the casserole which is really a travesty! It's so much better!

I started with a 1/2 pound of bacon that we cooked on a broiler pan. For those of you who have not tried cooking bacon this way it's fool proof and very tasty. I line the inside broiler pan with foil to catch the dripping for less mess. Put the bacon in a COLD oven at 400 degrees. It will take about 18-20 minutes for it to cook up, getting crispy and turning bright red. I let this cool down and then crumbled it up to add to the casserole that we had planned. Super easy - just one additional step to add to the wow factor.

Happy Passover and Easter!!!! Enjoy good food with your family!

Happy Passover!

Matzoh Brei

Spring Holiday Food Edition #1

Matzoh Brei with Strawberry Blueberry Jam
It's no coincedence that Passover (Pesach) and Easter fall around the same time. In an interfaith house that means the best of both worlds when it comes to food. Later today I will be posting Easter Dinner - a not so fancy affair around here but a showcase of delicious foods. Therefore it's only fair I post our breakfast yesterday of Matzo Brei.

What's Matzo Brei? It is Matzoh broken up in scrambled eggs. Think of it as the Jewish equivalent to Migas, a Mexican dish of tortillas and eggs, or an unleavened version of French Toast. I really like Matzo Brei but should note that every family probably has their own version or recipe. Ours is definitely scrambled, rather than an omlette.

I start with the eggs, whisking them in a bowl and adding a little bit of salt. To this I add the Matzoh but run each sheet under water on both sides and then break it up into the eggs in small pieces. Matzo is very dry as it is an unleavened bread basically made out of just wheat and some water, and baked without the time or ability to rise. I usually use one more egg than sheets of Matzoh but noticed this time an extra egg was needed. For this dish, I used 5 sheets of Matzoh and 7 eggs for three servings of brunch.

I let Matzoh soak in the egg mixture for about five minutes to really absorb the egg mixture. I then placed it in a pan with melted butter on medium high heat. Just like with scrambled eggs I let it "sit" for a minute before scrambling with my wooden spoon. This way it sets up very nicely and gets browned a bit. Some folks skip the scramble all together, flipping the whole kit and caboodle to make an omelette. I have also seen this as a more savory dish with onions and garlic. I'm more of a purist, adding very little to this dish.

You don't want to overcook this. Just like with scrambled eggs, you turn off the heat before it's really dry, you want some glistening egg. . . I plate it and add a nice genorouse heap of jelly to eat on the side. I don't know how that started but that's how I ate it as a child and I think it gives it a French Toast kind of feel. I guess you could use maple syrup too if you wanted to. . . That might be worth a try.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Yummy Sandwiches!

Thank You Eat Street for Inspiration!

Brioche with Citterio, Mozzerella, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Arugala

I recently discovered Eat Street on the Cooking Channel. I love Food Trucks but this show really takes it to a whole new level. Since we just discovered it, we have many episodes that are brand spanking new to us, even if they are repeats and old to the rest of the world.

Well on one of the many trucks they featured in my marathon this week, there was Italian street fare. Rosa's Bella Cucina on a Roll in Burbank. Who could resist? And then they made this sandwich with meat, fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes called La Mama Angelina! That was an epiphany! Sun-dried Tomatoes on a sandwich! If sandwiches always looked this good I would eat them (I am not a sandwich fan with the exception of some notables).

So here is my version as an ode to a food truck I will never get to visit (well most likely will not visit. . . never say never!). Their version featured prosciutto but I decided on some air dried beef and IT WAS SO GOOD.
This is super simple to make and was quite the coveted / desired lunch all around the office. When you take time in the new lunchroom and start taking photos of your food, people are curious. Put the sandwich on your desk and watch folks come on by to ask about it. . .

We used a brioche for the bread. Brioches are a little richer, with some fair amount of butter included in the dough - it's similar to a good slice of challah but the bun form makes it ideal. We placed the meat on first. I picked out this package of Citterio at Trader Joe's. It was describes a "lean dry air aged beef" which I assume is some beef equivalent to prosciutto but I could be full of you-know-what.

This was followed by equal layers of goodness with arugula (also known as "rocket"), fresh sliced mozzarella, and then a nice heaping of those sun dried tomatoes. Because the tomatoes were packed in oil they added some extra moisture too.

Now my friend Jill tried hers with colorful peppers instead of tomatoes. It was rather pretty, don't you think?

Delicious sandwiches! Next time I think we will make some more and sell them to coworkers. :-)

Book Review: A Perfectly Good Family by Lionel Shriver

A Tale of Inheritance

Corlis moves back to the South, after escaping from her family years ago to England, due to the death of her mother. She comes home to the old family mansion and a life she thought was behind her. What follows is a story about three siblings who are caught in an impossible triangle when the will reveals that the mansion is willed to the three of them, in addition to a bequest to the ACLU. With a 25% share each, siblings are forced to connect and form alliances if they want to keep that home. . . Corlis is placed back into a position that is a familiar pattern from her childhood - the middle child - forced to take sides, make alliances, and try to make everyone happy.

The book is about so much more than the home. It's "inheritance" in every way. . . it's a study of the baggage that every family has and the ingrained roles we each take on as we revert to the patterns of our childhood. As much as the three adults try to shuck off the legacy that their parents have provided them - in careers, interest, wealth, behaviors and hobbies - there comes a time when they have to face that they are a product of their own backgrounds.

I have to say that I did not find any of these characters extremley likable or felt sympathy for them until way into this book. However the whole thing was very intriguing and very well written. I may not have loved them but I understood them and their motivations. They seemed very "real".

I recommend this one!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pecan Chicken

Sunday Night Dinner

It's Sunday night which means I typically cook a real dinner. Sundays are a quiet day around here, a chance to regroup and spend time with family before going back to work and school on Monday. Sometimes kids stay in pajamas all day and that's okay too.

I love Pecan Chicken. I first had it at Sweet Lorraine's and it came with a honey mustard sauce and glazed carrots and rice pilaf. It's actually a staple on their menu and has been for years, and is one of those dishes that they are famous for. While this recipe we are going to make it's exactly like it, it's pretty darn close. I prefer to serve it with mashed potatoes rather than rice, and I think we will have green beans tonight with a little bit of butter and lemon juice rather than carrots. Looking in the fridge today the carrots had to go!

Pecan Chicken is always a Sunday night dinner because while it isn't too hard to make, it does take a little bit of time so I would rather do it when I have ample time and don't have to rush through the process. The recipe is based on this one at but it's changed over the years. I originally saved it in the days before Pinterest and the version I have on file is quite different but by the same person. The new version frankly has too many steps and ingredients for me but I'm sure it's worth it. Here's my version based on the original one she had. . . got all that? I know it's pretty convoluted.

I used to buy regular boneless chicken breasts but found that often pounding/rolling them to get them thin did not always work and was a pain. At one local butcher counter they will split them for me as they come fresh from the case rather than packaged but I find that those are still very thick. Today I purchased Amish chicken that is marked "thinly sliced" and they always work so much better. Consider this a "tip". They come butterflied so I split each one in the center. There were a total of 3 breasts, 6 pieces when I split them, for dinner tonight.

Pecan Pieces
 For the pecans you want them chopped rather than in the larger pieces that they come in. I take them and put them in the food processor and pulse them. I find that if you just turn it on and let it go you might get them to be the desired consistency but you might not. The heat from the motor, combined with the speed, makes for a less than consistent process and often you end up with a burned taste as well more of a pecan butter (like peanut butter) with a lot of oily residue rather than the dry pieces we want for a coating.

Pecan Pieces after "pulsing" repeatedly, smaller pieces
A 6 oz package is typically enough for our dish but if you want, you can buy in bulk and then put the rest in the freezer. I always store my nuts in the freezer, both in the package and after I grind them down, to keep them fresh. My freezer has packages of all kinds of things, secured with rubber bands, like pecans, almonds, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and shredded coconut. I find that rolling the packages up and sealing them with a rubber band keeps things fresh for a very long time.

Dressing the Chicken

Once the nuts were done, I was ready to assemble the chicken with the coating. This part can get a little messy so I have a couple more tips.

Now I could have fancied this up for the blog but I used 3 paper plates (well they are heavy duty so that's kind of fancy). One plate holds the nuts, another the dressing, and the third has the flour, with some garlic salt and pepper stirred in.

I start with the flour. Dip each chicken breast into the flour and make sure to coat it pretty well. This will allow the dressing to stick in the next step. I flip and press down a couple of times. I try to do all of the breasts, stacking them up on the same plate before I move on to Step 2, to keep them nice and dry. The next two steps are pretty messy; I always end up with pecan coated fingertips that look pretty funny and are kind of awkward.

Chicken Breasts with Flour

The chicken breasts go from the flour on the paper plate to getting dipped in salad dressing and then a coating of pecans. Again this part is pretty messy. As I assembled them I put them in the lined Pyrex in single layers, with the parchment paper in between. I stored them in the fridge for later so we can fry them up and make the sauce for dinner with less clean up later.

Chicken with Pecan Coating, ready for the fridge for dinner later
When it's time for dinner I heat up the butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium high heat. It's important to cook the chicken thoroughly (obviously!) but also make sure that you don't burn the pecans which can happen easily. I often cut through the chicken to check it to make sure it cooks all the way through. I think my pieces are thicker than the original recipe so I usually cook them about 5 minutes a side.

Pecan Chicken - ready to remove from pan
I really do cut the pieces each in half (well except for the one I photographed for you - but I relied on the other ones to know it was done) so I can make sure they are cooked. Really, I don't want to chance it with less then perfectly cooked chicken. The risk is just too high.

As these cook in batches, place the cooked chicken on a plate with a tent of foil to keep it warm.

You will find that there are a lot of renegade pecans that stayed behind in the pan. This is good, along with some extra oil and chicken juices. To the pan I add the sour cream and dressing we reserved for the sauce. I squeeze the dressing in first, let it boil for a second and then add the sour cream. I let the sour cream sit on the counter while I am cooking. Chilled sour cream can cause you problems. Let it get to room temperature.

Finished Sauce

Cook until it boils and slightly thickens. This is really good on the chicken as well as mashed potatoes or rice.

Ken's Honey Mustard

Pecan Chicken Recipe


1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breasts, thin sliced preferred
1 6 oz package of pecan pieces
1/4 cup creamy honey mustard salad dressing (I use Ken's Steakhouse)
1/4 cup flour
garlic salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup of sour cream (room temperature)
1/3 cup of creamy honey mustard salad dressing
Pepper to taste


In the food processor on pulse, grind the pecan pieces into smaller pieces, taking care not to overheat and go too fast.

Place the pecans on a plate, along with the flour (seasoned with garlic salt and pepper) and dressing on two separate plates.

Prepare chicken to make sure it is "thin" by either pounding or rolling, or purchasing that way. If the chicken is butterflied, split into two pieces. Take each piece and dredge in flour. Follow with the dressing and pecans, trying to coat all sides.

Melt butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, taking care not to burn the pecans on the chicken. 5 minutes per side with monitoring should work. Remove from skillet and place on a plate with foil to keep warm.

In the same pan, add the dressing and sour cream and cook on medium until it boils. This sauce can be poured on chicken as well as rice or mashed potatoes.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It was all about the Calamari. . . But Let's Talk About the Pasta Too!

Da Francesco's Italian Cuisine and Tavern: A Macomb County Gem

Delicious Hearty Italian Food and Great Service

It was a Saturday night and the consensus was that we wanted a good calamari appetizer but didn't want to go to the usual suspects. My husband recalled that we had a great carry out experience with good friends on their side of town - Shelby Township - that included a wonderful calamari with a lemon sauce. It must have been pretty good calamari for him to decide - impromptu - that we should drive about 40 minutes to go there.

Reservations at Da Francesco's is key. We called in on our way down there - there is not a large waiting area and on a chilly Michigan spring evening you want to try to plan a little ahead. . .

Calamari - with Lemon Sauce (gravy boat) and Ammoglio
Once we were seated - the wait with call ahead was not long, especially considering that there was a wedding party in a banquet room - the wait staff was extremely attentive. They have a nice selection of wines by the glass. While most folks probably would lean towards a red, they had my favorite, Moscato Di Asti, which was fresh and sparkling. The calamari was our first dish and did not disappoint. We ordered it with the lemon sauce on the side due to one diner in our party (namely an 8 year old girl who ended up loving it) but they also included a side of Ammoglio as well. I consider Ammoglio the Italian version of salsa and a mainstay. There ammoglio is very good, and wonderful with the bread sticks and Italian bread that also were provided to us.

Most of the main entrees come with both your choice of soup AND salad. We chose the Chicken Pastini that was offered that day, along with Minestrone, and it was wonderful. It was a hearty chicken broth loaded with vegetables and pieces of chicken along with those tiny pasta balls (Acini de pepe?). The two large bowls were passed around the table to share. We might have ordered a quart to go too in anticipation of leftovers today. I'm not going to confirm that. The salad was also very good, with a spring mix, crisp cucumbers and chickpeas adorning it. The blue cheese dressing was very fresh and creamy.

The kids both ordered fettuccine Alfredo from the kid's menu but there were other choices such as chicken tenders and gnocchi, as well as spaghetti with a giant meatball to review. They were very generous portions of fresh homemade noodles and a rich creamy sauce that was not overpowering with the Parmesan cheese. By the time the pasta did arrive, one kid already declared that she was "stuffed" and couldn't eat another bite due to the full glass of chocolate milk, bread and bread sticks, calamari and soup. Both kids had plenty of pasta to bring home for Sunday lunch which is always a nice bonus as long as the food focuses on taste and not just quantity. This was definitely an example of both - delicious and generous.

We also ordered gnocchi, asking to swap out the creamy palomino sauce for an Alfredo. My husband really enjoyed the dish. The gnocchi was definitely fresh and I have to say some of the best I have had with a wonderful texture. I personally would have preferred it with the standard sauce they offered because with the Alfredo it was so very rich that after a few bites I don't think I could have eaten anymore. Hence, the large amount of leftovers with this as well. For the reheat, we will be adding some bacon and peas to make a sort of pseudo carbonara dish. It's always about the leftovers.

I ordered the Vitello Di Bosco, sauteed veal medallions in a wine sauce (reminiscent of a Marsala but it was another red wine?) with wild mushrooms, spinach and pine nuts. This was delicious and featured very large, meaty wild mushrooms that added to the heartiness of the dish. Did I mention I had leftovers? There were actually quite a few veal dishes to pick from (the menu is extensive and I felt like I had a lot of wonderful options to choose) and I plan on trying the Vitello Contronese next which features a brandy contronese cheese cream sauce that is flambeed.

I forgot to mention that my dish also came with a side of pasta - penne with a hearty meat sauce (I know I have said hearty again) that was also very good, with shredded Parmesan on top. At my count, with the soup, salad, pasta and the main dish, I had a four course Italian feast even without the appetizer.

The waitstaff was extremely attentive, bringing refills and anticipating needs of the group. The leftovers were boxed up for us and we were provided with a large bag to carry out booty. Some readers may think it's strange I mention that but based on experiences elsewhere, when a dish did not make it home, I can tell you that is worth a lot to me! 

I also tried a cannoli  for dessert and they are worth the fat and calories there. Fresh, made to order, with wonderful cinnamon flavoring with a thick marscapone filling were awesome. I am sad that I didn't take a picture but I think the carb coma has set in.

All in all, this restaurant was wonderful and comparable in prices to some chains offering similar fare without the fresh taste and quality. Portions are equitable to those chains as well without the "take home an extra classic pasta"' gimmick. We seriously WANTED to find something wrong with the experience so we won't have to drive out there again but we didn't. We will be back, passing countless other Italian restaurants on the way as we make the 40 minute trek to Shelby Township. It was worth it in every way.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book Review: A Free Life by Ha Jin

An In- Depth Modern Day Portrait of an Immigrant's Life

Book Review

The book opens with Nan and his wife Pingping waiting for their small son at the airport to join them in America, soon after the Tienanmen Square massacre in 1989. We follow Nan, Pingping and Taotao in their journey to make a new life in the United States, watching them struggle to learn a new language and new skills to become successful.

What is most interesting about this book are the changes in perspective of Nan, and what he envisions success to mean in his own life. Nan had started as a secure scholarly type in China with parents successful in the old country. By becoming vocal about the injustices in China he feels he can no longer go back to his homeland, especially after Tienanmen Square.

Nan is often a man of contrast. The reader watches Nan transform from an intellectual that has never fixed anything, to a man who works menial labor for a living. He comes to value the dollar and the American Dream,  in direct odds with his dream to be a celebrated poet and suffering artist. While his actions are often practical and automated, he continues to dream of a long lost unrequited love that seems to hold him back from celebrating life and his eventual successes.

I found the progression of Nan and his family through their struggles and achievements, celebrations and loss, a very interesting story. What I found was as you read the story, the style is not overly dramatic despite the content. It reads very objectively and matter of fact. . . while still giving you a glimpse into Nan with his thoughts and emotions. I was also intrigued watching the unfolding interactions between Nan with his own family, his countrymen here in America, and his relationships with Americans, and how these continued to shape him.

There is no climactic ending, just a detailed snapshot into one man's life that is written in such a way that I can't help but wonder if the author had similar experiences in balancing all the parts of who he was intrinsically with what day to day expectations bring. I am recommending this one for a detailed look at starting over in a new country and all that means.

Comet Burgers!

Comet Burgers are probably the best burgers in downtown Royal Oak. . . I would even go as far as to say they are some of the best in the local area and add the cool atmosphere and it's a dining experience!

True sliders, along with fries and deep fried mushrooms. For my daughter's birthday I took her and her friend for lunch. Can you tell they really like it there? A smiley face made out of ketchup says it all. The burgers have a little bit of that griddle grease which makes them extra special and they are pretty reasonable. Kid's meals (one slider and fries) come with a scoop of ice cream.

I opt for a grilled cheese and instead of fries go for some battered mushrooms.  Like any good 50's style diner (and we eat counterside for the authentic feel) there are fountain options. You can get a Jones bottle soda, regular soda in a red plastic cup, or my personal favorite, flavored Coke. Flavored Coke? Yes! I always choose chocolate but there is vanilla and cherry too. The chocolate Coke is is extra fizzy and it's just a wonderful treat. Refills are free.

It's a little too cold to eat outside but I am looking forward to summer when we can eat at the picnic tables and people watch at the same time. Inside is pretty cool too with vintage album covers and some assorted memorabilia. . . look for the Kid Rock autograph - he's a fan of Comet Burgers too!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Macaroon Cupcakes

Last week while shopping at Holiday Market, we tried a sample from the bakery. You know that's how they get you right? I knew I would love it before I even tried them - how could you NOT like a Macaroon cupcake? Of course I supposed you must love coconut to really enjoy them. I know there are a few people out there that don't particularly care for coconut.

I resisted the impulse to purchase these and of course I regretted it. I always do. So my daughter and I decided to try to do this at home and did some research and found this recipe called "Macaroons a la Filipina" on the Tangled Noodle blog and based my recipe here from this foundation. I did not want to go with lemon undertones and replaced it with almond and vanilla for the flavorings with just a touch of fresh lemon juice. I also drizzled them with a quick ganache I made with semi sweet chocolate chips and heavy cream.

I can tell you that they are not exactly like the ones we had at Holiday Market. I think the ones at Holiday probably had egg whites rather than whole eggs in them as they were lighter, almost like a coconut filled angel food cake. Mine are definitely denser and heartier, a true cupcake.


3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Water
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extracts
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Package of Shredded Sweetened Coconut (about 5 1/3 cups)

In a large bowl, put the flour, salt and baking powder in, and then quickly mix up with a wire whisk (I'm not sifting. I'm sorry). Set aside.

Brown Sugar with a Bit of Water
In a small saucepan add the water and sugar, and slowly melt. The mixture will not become a liquid but more of a paste. Set aside.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar mixture to the mixer and incorporate well.

Add eggs, extracts, lemon juice and condensed milk and beat until well mixed. I am a big fan of cracking all my eggs at once and putting in a Pyrex cup and then adding at once. This allows me to insure no shells get into the mixture as well as "check" the eggs for abnormalities. While that doesn't happen often a bad egg, well it's a bad egg, and it can ruin a dish.

After the liquid ingredients are mixed in well, start adding the dry ingredients slowly and on a low speed. We don't want to overdo it. The batter should be barely combined, not super emulsified. That sounds like a superhero power doesn't it?

Add the coconut by hand with a spoon. The mixture will be stiff and hard to work with. Place the mixture into paper lined cupcake pans. I originally filled them about 3/4 of the way like the original recipe but mine did not rise as much as I would have liked to make a crown. Fill them to the top without heaping.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until golden.

While in the oven, I used a double boiler and heated some whipping cream and melted some chocolate chips into it and stir with a wooden spoon. No recipe here - it's just some added goodness.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner:

Corned Beef and Cabbage with some Twists!

Glazed Corned Beef and Braised Cabbage

Last week my daughter got a sample of corned beef at the local grocery store and announced that she loved it and demanded to know when I would make it for her, urging me to buy a package right then and there. I have been making corned beef for years but sometimes it takes time for kids to come around right?

Corned Beef with Glaze, Braised Cabbage, and Carrots and Potatoes

Sy Ginsberg's Corned Beef Brisket!
I did end up buying some corned beef later that day when I found it on sale. Sy Ginsberg is considered a cut above the rest locally and if you are going to make this stuff you might was well use the best. . . especially when it's on sale!

Now I did some research and according to the Ginsberg family they really do encourage cooking the corned beef in a pot. I know my limits. . . I am not sitting here all day watching that pot. A crock pot is just easier and we are going to do some things to this corned beef afterwards (a glaze finished up in the oven) that I really am not super concerned about tradition.

I have also read differing opinions about cooking the cabbage in the crock pot so today we are going to bake it in wedges in the oven separately. My kids aren't going to eat cabbage anyways, who am I kidding?

Corned Beef, Potatoes, Carrots, Beer, Apple Juice and Beer!

       Potatoes and carrots are mainstays in the crock pot part of this dinner. I left out the onions, along with the cabbage, on purpose. I may get more interest without them. For the liquid, I used a bottle of beer. Today I discovered a bottle of Shiner Bock in the fridge. I can honestly tell you I don't recall how it came to be here but often friends bring by some new bottles/brands for summer nights on the porch so it's been here a while. I decided to continue to hoard my more coveted beer (including Bell's, Frankenmuth and some Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat) for drinking rather than cooking. Often if the beer is too wheaty, it's kind of weird in cooking anyways.

Because one bottle of beer won't cover the meat, I also added a good helping of apple juice and then added some water to make sure it really was covered in liquid.

Carrots and Potatoes
I chopped up the carrots and the potatoes into bite size pieces and created a "bed" for the brisket. I then placed the meat on top of this, added the beer, apple juice and then water on top. I used just a pinch of the spices included in the packet with the corned beef. I am not a huge fan of caraway and didn't want it to overpower the meat and the brisket was already seasoned. I also added some fresh ground pepper and grounded some garlic salt into the liquid to add a little bit more flavor. With the apple juice and beer we want to add some spice.

Liquid to Cover the Meat
This concoction is going to cook on low for about 9 hours. I put it on high for about five minutes just to get it started and then down to low. I started this before I began my day so it would have plenty of time to cook and be ready for Sunday dinner. At about the 4 hour mark, I did flip the meat. While I put enough liquid in the crock pot to cover it (especially once it started cooking and shrinking) it tended to float to the top so I thought it would make sense to make sure both sides of the meat got bathed in the apple/beer goodness. Do I need to tell you the house smells great? I love cooking like that - coming into the house and smelling home cooked love.

Nine Hours Later: So soft it's falling apart.
 After the brisket was done - truly 9 hours later - it was time to make the glaze. I actually started it a bit sooner as I waited for cupcakes to bake. I originally envisioned a glaze that had more emphasis on the orange marmalade but it turned out it was too bitter by itself so I balanced it with brown sugar and soy sauce, along with some cranberry juice and spicy brown mustard. My second version was much better. Note to self: Seville Orange Marmalade from Trader Joe's boasts its bitter flavor on the back of the jar. Make sure to try apricot preserves instead next time. That being said, the mixture of flavors provided a real good play on flavors, sweet from the sugar, a bit of bitterness from the marmalade, some tang from the cranberry juice and vinegar, and some heat with the spicy brown mustard. I placed it in the fridge for a bit to get a little thicker so it could be a true glaze.

Glazed Corned Beef - Ready to Plate
I placed the corned beef in a Pyrex dish and spread the glaze on top of the brisket and placed in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Finished Cabbage
Thank goodness for two ovens. For the cabbage, I sliced it into 1 inch or so rounds as I had read from another article on Pinterest for Oven Roasted Cabbage and just drizzled olive oil on the cabbage that was on the raised cookie sheet and sprinkled with some salt and pepper. 400 degrees for about a half hour.

Glazed Corned Beef and Braised Cabbage


Corned Beef in Crock pot:

1 Corned Beef Brisket
1 Package of Carrots
2 Large Potatoes
1 Bottle of Beer
2 Cups Apple Juice
Water (adjust to level of crock pot)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Garlic Salt
Pickling Spices to Taste


1/3 cup of Soy Sauce
1/3 cup of Cranberry Juice (unsweetened)
1/3 cup of Dark Brown Sugar
1/3 cup of Orange Marmalade
2 Tablespoons Spicy Brown Mustard
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar

Braised Cabbage:

1 Head of Cabbage
1/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Chop carrots and potatoes into bite sized pieces. Put in the bottom of the crock pot and place the brisket on top. Add the beer and apple juice, putting in additional water to make sure the brisket is completely covered. Sprinkle with the seasoning packet (to taste) that comes with the brisket, along with additional pepper and garlic salt. Set at high until it starts to heat up and switch to low. Plan on 9 hours at low, occasionally turning the meat.
  • Mix the ingredients for glaze. Put in fridge to thicken.
  • Rinse the cabbage and cut into 1 inch slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a 400 degree oven for about a half hour.
  • Remove brisket from the crock pot and place in a Pyrex dish. Remove glaze from fridge and spread on top of the corned beef. Place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  • Slice a piece of brisket and place on plate, along with a round of cabbage. With a slotted spoon, add carrots and potatoes from the crock pot.
  • Enjoy!