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Oh brisket, my brisket!

2013 May 25

Finished Product.

 

Yeah, that’s a reference to Dead Poet’s Society, and no, I have no idea why I made it. Sidenote: If you haven’t seen the movie but love standing on desks, I highly recommend watching it!

Anyways, on to today’s topic–brisket. As a Jew, I grew up knowing a very specific kind of brisket–kind of sweet, with onions, carrots, garlic, sometimes cranberries. Anyways, I’ll speak the blasphemous phrase: it sucked. Seriously. Brisket is a delicious and extraordinarily versatile cut of meat, and [we] Jews absolutely butcher it (pun possibly intended).

To most gentiles, goys, southerners, etc. brisket is a cut of meat meant for one thing: barbecue. If you have time and a lot of patience, it’s usually smoked for many, many hours. The burnt ends on the brisket? Always the best part! It’s my favorite barbecue food, and I actively seek out great places that smoke it just right.

I don’t own a smoker. Hell, someone has had possession of our grill for months, so we don’t have one of those, either. I thought it’d be best to simply move forward and try to make it in the slow cooker. That picture you see above is the result–cooked perfectly, falling apart, and absolutely delicious. I can’t recommend this recipe enough.

So, I’ve managed to take some of my trademark horrendous pictures, but at least I’ll be able to show you how to do it, step-by-step! Check after the break for the recipe (and instructions!)

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Simple Saturday: Steak, Asparagus, and Total Bedlam

2013 March 31

Dinner noms!

Yeah, I know–this post is getting put up on a Sunday…but hey, better later than never, right?

Here in Madison, we’re rounding up a pretty rough March (mostly in the 20s and 30s) with some relatively nice weather. The two-inch thick ice at our backdoor is finally melting away and I can even see the concrete below! Yesterday, it was 55 degrees and made for a perfect day for my first bike ride of spring. 6.5 short miles later and covered in salt, I was questioning my decision. Verdict? Worth it.

I usually get very excited this time of year–in mid-April, the farmers’ market moves back outdoors and is held around the capitol. Ale Asylum debut’s its seasonal spring/summer beer, the always outstanding Bedlam. And, around Easter time, the butchers in Madison have some fantastic specials.

Specials like that steak you see pictured above (it was only $5!). It’s a good picture, isn’t it? Well, that’s because I convinced my roommate to take the picture by trading him some brownies for his photography expertise. This dish–bacon-wrapped filet mignon and roasted asparagus–is incredibly easy to make and is sure to impress anyone who tries it.

As a sidenote: That beer is Bedlam, right off the production line from Ale Asylum (it was bottled on March 26th). It’s got a big, hoppy nose from all the citra hops and a wonderful sweetness from the Belgian yeast. A stellar example of a Belgian IPA.

So anyways, how do you make this dish? Guess you’ll have to click the link for the recipe!

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Cooking with venison…and other random thoughts

2013 February 21
by Dylan

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Well, it’s that time of the year again–NPR is off and running with their annual winter campaign for funding. After listening to the prompts all week, I finally broke down and bought a “sustaining membership” for $12.50/month. It goes to a good cause and I get a sweet mug so I can walk around Madison and act like the pretentious East Coast ass I know I am. It’ll be great!

Anyways, last week on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, renowned food critic Corby Kummer talked extensively about the tasting menus offered by chefs throughout the country at high end dining venues. In the segment, Kummer spoke about how he felt that chefs were becoming increasingly tyrannical with their cooking by offering their way (the tasting menu) or no way at all. What happened, he argued, to trying to please the customer?

You can listen to the segment right here (don’t forget to donate!).

On a personal level, I love tasting menus. If I’m ever feeling particularly spend-happy, I’ll get the tasting menu rather than a specific entree. It gives the chef an opportunity to really showcase their skills, and the consumer gets to experience some pretty spectacular flavors and dishes they otherwise wouldn’t be able to have.

How does this relate to venison and my blog title? Well, I used to think that wild game was food reserved for uncultured yokels who hunted in their backyard and then roasted the animal over a makeshift fire with a stick. However, higher end restaurants are increasingly turning out spectacular dishes made with wild game–whether it’s an incredible rabbit terrine or braised venison shank, wild game is becoming more and more a part of the fine dining scene in the US.

So, last semester I went with my roommate to Madison’s excellent Forequarter a rather pretentious new hipster restaurant that serves unbelievable food. They’ve also been nominated for a James Beard award–and I hope they win! When I went there, I had a delicious veal meatball with escarole. My thinking with this recipe was that, with a pound of venison to kill, I could make something similar. Needless to say, it was a success. Recipe after the break!

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¡Auténtico Tacos al Pastor!

2013 January 16
by Dylan

Tacos al Pastor!

We’re pretty fanatical about our tacos here in Madison. As a city with a fairly large Mexican population (% wise), finding authentic tacos is pretty easy. Finding authentic ingredients for authentic tacos is also, not surprisingly, fairly easy. So naturally, when I decided to set out to make authentic (running theme, in case you couldn’t tell) tacos al pastor, I knew I had to do it right.

Al pastor tacos are relatively simple and comprised of only a few ingredients–pork, a couple kinds of chilies, onion, various spices, and the hallmark of any legit pastor–pineapple. The fruit adds a wonderful sweetness to the slight heat from the chilies, giving the meat an incredible one-two punch in the flavor department. For step-by-step instructions on making your own pastor, click to read more!

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