Yesterday evening we finally had a break in the never ending rain (I swear I thought we moved to Tennessee, not Oregon), and we dragged the smoker out of the garage to get some cooking done while we can. It’s going to rain the rest of the week.
Anyhow, I smoked a small ham for sandwich meat, 3 chicken breasts for a dish I’ll be making in the next day or two, a turkey breast for sandwich meat, and a nice piece of corned beef brisket for dinner tonight. 😀
A few hours later…
I had to sneak a little piece of the corned beef also after my mom said it would be tough and I should have boiled it.
Being salt cured, it’s a little on the salty side, and while it was a little bit firmer than my usual brisket:
It was still plenty tender, because my family is from Texas, damnit, and tough brisket of any variety is a crime there!
Seriously, ask any Texan and they’ll tell you that you can talk bad about somebody’s mama before you can trash talk their brisket. 😀
At least not completely. 🙂 Sometimes, however, you’re left short of normal ingredients and have to improvise. The whole premise of the Food Network program “Chopped” is about being able to wing it like that via combining a basket of mystery ingredients into a meal. Sometimes winging it works, sometimes… well… not so much.
Such is the case with a recent meal I put together. We decided on my world famous meatloaf for that night; simple and hearty. Well, as it turned out, the meatballs I was going to mix in with the hamburger had gone bad. Not wanting to run out to the store again, I found some linguica in the cold drawer of the fridge.
Linguica is a Portuguese sausage that’s good in a wide variety of dishes. Most notably (although I’ve only seen it on the West Coast), it’s one of the world’s greatest pizza toppings. Try it that way if you can find it in your area. You’ll love it.
So, determined to try something a little different and keep the meal on course, I diced up the linguica and mixed it into the meatloaf
Baked it as usual, since the weather didn’t allow for smoking it on the grill. On the surface, it turned out fairly well:
The one drawback however, was that linguica can be as greasy as chorizo… almost anyway. Thus despite having both bread crumbs and egg as binding agents, the meatloaf didn’t hold together too well.
The meatloaf did have enough grease to leave us both with mildly upset stomachs though. Not a horrible dinner, but not the success I’d have wished for either. The flavor of the linguica really did add to the meatloaf though.
What I’d Change:
So what lessons can we take from this? The first and obvious answer is to use a less greasy sausage if you want to use sausage as a second meat in your meatloaf. The other option that came to mind us to use something like this meatloaf pan from Bed Bath and Beyond:
You can get something like this almost anywhere with a little searching. The interior rack allows grease to drain off the meatloaf (which would have been a big help in this specific instance), and allows you to easily remove the meatloaf from the pan.
Worth the investment? I guess that depends how often you make meatloaf. It’s a bit of a rarity here, but still something we enjoy on occasion.
I teased in a reply to my burger post that I would be doing NY Steak tonight. I did too! The equally fabulous side dish ends up SORT OF getting the headline though. For those who don’t know, I *love* Tex-Mex cooking. Three peppers in particular are my absolute favorites; Chipotle, Tomatillo and Hatch.
Hatch chilis are green chilis grown around the Hatch, New Mexico area. They can get as hot as Jalapenos, but typically are fairly mild. Great for when you have somebody who doesn’t like hot food, but can appreciate savory, OR you want to add some flavor to an otherwise delicate food.
Trying to tell Hatch that they’re not the chili capital is like trying to tell a Texan they didn’t invent BBQ by the way. LOL. More on the side dish in a minute. First lets take a look at that slow cooked New York Steak:
Slow smoked for almost 2 hours at 185 degrees (85 Celsius). You can see that delicious Hickory and Mesquite smoke ring in the first picture. Topped off with a little Sucklebusters 1836 seasoning rubbed in before cooking, and it’s nearly perfection.
Not an affiliate link BTW, just one of the companies I trust to do right by people and make a killer product. All their rubs and seasonings are good.
The show stealer turned out to be the baby Yukon Gold potatoes with hatch pepper seasoning though. Just something I found at Kroger. Fabulous flavor, and something I’ll try again. 🙂 Next time, I’ll try to do the Hatch seasoning myself and will hopefully have a recipe for you all.
Oh, and did I forget the Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Mousse for dessert? 😀
Yes, a little more humor there as I try not to go full on redhead on our obscenely noisy upstairs neighbors. Either way, I’ve been neglecting the food posts portion of the blog here for a while so… It’s time for Monte Cristo sandwiches. If you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry. It’s an American thing and a spin on a French croque-monsieur.
Simply put, you egg wash some bread, pile on layers of ham, turkey and cheese (swiss in the standard version), and then cook the Monte Cristo in a pan to toast the bread, warm the meat and melt the cheese. Click on the link there to see what AllRecipe.com’s tasty looking version looks like. Mine turned out fairly close, and isn’t bad for a first try:
I went a little crazy on mine, using brioche bread, garlic aioli, and chipotle gouda and smoked cheddar cheese. Brioche may not be the best bread for such a creation. Given how soft it already is, it doesn’t hold up to the egg wash well. BUT overall I’d call this one a success with room for improvement. 🙂
I threatened it, and here it is, just in time for a late in the day Meals Monday.
As the title says, first, I started with the whole chicken breasts that I grilled a couple days ago:
Preserved in a ‘Food Saver’ vacuum bag, so still perfectly fresh. 😉
Then we add fresh pasta, and cheeses for the sauce:
The cheese in the ziploc bag is Parmigiano-Reggiano. The recipe for the Alfredo sauce is in my post on my vaguely Italian, redneck nachos, LOL. By the way, if you’ve never had fresh pasta like the Buitoni above… Well, once you do, you’ll never go back to the dry stuff again. Soooooooooo much better.
After cutting up the chicken, cooking the pasta and the sauce, then mixing it all together, we have a couple of delicious plates of pasta:
The other half wanted mushrooms also, so there you are. 😊
I’m a bit late paying this one off, but I was exhausted after babysitting the brisket 16 hours and cleaning house, etc… Overall the brisket turned out pretty good, but was probably my least successful yet. It was still far better than anything I could buy at a restaurant here. It reached 210 internal temperature and was a little on the crumbly side. Flavor was there though and it was moist too.
Major smoke ring as you all can see, but I’m a perfectionist with my cooking. I’d give it an 8 out of 10.
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