Tag Archives: beer

Curds and Eh: Crannog Ale-organic, farmstead and from BC

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A “Growler” of Crannog Ale

Another post by Kelsie Parsons from his amazing cross-country pilgrimage.  Read more here or just look for “Cheese and Eh” in the Categories drop-down menu to your right.  SR

Crannog Ales

While traveling across Canada last summer I was chatting with a cheesemaker in Alberta about my love of farmstead cheese and I mentioned that I wished there were farmstead breweries in Canada. It turns out I was talking to the right person because she replied, “Oh, well you should check out Crannog Ale!”

Crannog Brewery

On the Crannog Ales website, brewer Brian MacIsaac states, “The grudlann (brewery) is old world (no push button computer driven factory)…”

Two days later I was in Salmon Arm, British Columbia visiting Gort’s Gouda and took a brief detour to Crannog Ale, located in Sorrento, BC. When pulling into the driveway of the Crannog Ale and Left Fields Farm, I was struck by the beautiful landscape.

Crannog Hops

Crannog Hops

The farm is surrounded by green hills and consists of fields full of produce, towering hop vines that seem to grow into the clouds and Shuswap Lake is just a stones throw away. The farm is also home to pigs, sheep and a hive of bees. What a perfect place to live and work!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The second thing I noticed was the striking hand painted Celtic artwork on the walls of the brewery and surrounding buildings (which the owners built themselves).

Crannog Mural

Crannog Mural

The interlaced celtic knots and symbols reflect brewer Brian’s Irish background and suggest a connection to the land and animals.

Crannog's Wheat and Barley

Crannog’s Wheat and Barley

At Crannog Ales, Rebecca, Brian and Greg produce unfiltered, unpasteurized Irish ales that are sold in growlers, party pigs (8.5L) and kegs. Some of the ingredients such as hops, herbs, fruit, berries and honey come from their own Left Fields Farm, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. Even the water for their beer comes from a well on their property. I get really excited when producers  have control of their ingredients all the way down to the soil in which they’re grown. That level of commitment requires true passion and dedication.

To top it off, Crannog Ale is also certified organic. That means no GMOs, pesticides or degradation of the environment is necessary in the making of this beer! They also use grain waste from the beer production as compost and feed for pigs and they treat and reuse wastewater to run a zero emissions facility. Most breweries have a lot to learn from Crannog Ale.

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 10.52.11 PM

Ian Langohr (my travel buddy this summer) and I enjoyed a growler of their Insurrection Pale Ale as we camped beside Kalamalka Lake. We probably didn’t drink the beer under the proper conditions. It was admittedly quite warm (think back seat of a car in the August sun kind of warm). After an afternoon spent diving off a dock and swimming we enjoyed every last warm drop of our growler of Insurrection Pale Ale while we played dice games with neighbours at our campground.

Old Grizzly Gouda

Sylvan Star’s Old Grizzly Gouda

Of course we had cheese to snack on too! The hoppy bitterness paired exceptionally well with the caramel nutty flavours of Sylvan Star’s Old Grizzly Gouda and surprisingly with Gort’s Gouda tamer mild Gouda.

That day was the perfect mix of sun, swimming, beer, cheese and shooting stars. It turned out to be one of the most memorable days of the summer. With the short days and somewhat cold weather we’re experiencing now, I’ve begun longing for the summer.

Hand of God Stout

Hand of God Stout

Next time I’m in BC I’ll be sure to visit Crannog Ale again and refill my growler. I think I’ll try the Back Hand of God Stout next…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crannog Ales and Left Fields Farm is both a home and a small business so it’s important to call ahead to book a tour. Workers here are usually quite busy brewing and working in the fields.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Curds and Eh, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Curds and Eh: Kelsie Parsons video blogs from Fromagerie Pied de Vent

Hello everyone–both Kelsie and I are excited to post the first video from his cheese adventures this summer.   I am sure you’ll love (and learn) from it as much as I did.  I’ll let Kelsie take it from here.

Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent recently switched from making their cheese from raw milk to thermized milk. Thermization, also known as heat treating, is the process that inactivates psychrotrophic bacteria by heating milk to about 65°C for 15 seconds and then cooling it off. This is below the temperature used for pasteurization so the cheese is still technically considered a unpasteurized cheese. The change in milk processing has altered the flavour of Pied-de-Vent. It’s not quite as strong as it was previously but still has a wonderful depth of flavour.

I should mention that the video was recorded and arranged by Ian Langohr, my co-pilot for this crazy cross-Canada adventure. I’m super happy with how our first video turned out. We’re currently working on putting together more videos and will release them here. I think the Pied-de-Vent video does a good job showing how cheese is made but here are a few highlights of our visit to Îles-de-la-Madeleine that I didn’t get to show in it.

Red Sand Beaches of Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Ian and I arrived in Souris, PEI at the ferry terminal at 10pm to buy our tickets for the 8am departure. I must’ve been confused because there was no ferry scheduled for that time but they decided to do a 2am crossing. We left the car in Souris and I spent the 5 hour trip to Îles-de-la-Madeleine sleeping on a seat in the dining room. We arrived at 7am and started our hike to Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent. Along the way we passed a student protest (Charest was in town), a carnival and many colourful homes.

Dominique Arseneau and a vache Canadienne

After visiting Fromagerie du Pied-de-Vent to see how their cheese is made, we met up with Dominique Arseneau who is the son of the owners and the farmer who looks after the vache Canadienne.  The three of us got along well so he took the rest of the day off to show us around the islands. We spent the afternoon taking in the sights and enjoying the red sand beaches where I enjoyed a quick dip in the water (and avoided all the jellyfish). It felt as if we were in the tropics! I kept my eyes open for palm trees and margaritas but couldn’t find either.

Brews at À l’abri de la Tempête

We did however find some amazing brews at À l’abri de la Tempête, a microbrewery whose name means ‘shelter from the storm’. I find it fascinating how the names of both the fromagerie and the brewery refer to a sense of optimism despite invoking images of harsh weather. It really demonstrates the attitude of the locals towards the climate. Anyways, Ian and I stopped at a lot of breweries this summer and the beer at À l’abri de la Tempête is by far my favourite of everything we tried. I really enjoyed their ginger wheat beer.

The Sea Platter

To accompany our beer we ordered a ‘land platter’ and a ‘sea platter’. Both were delicious but I devoured the land platter before I could snap a photo. The sea platter featured a smoked oyster, jackknife clam jerkey, smoked mackerel and herring, a skewer of salmon and seal, and sweet pickled herring. After a few beers, Dominique asked us if we want sushi. Ian and I were actually roommates back in the day in Toronto’s chinatown so we’ve had some good sushi and I foolishly thought to myself: we’re on an island in the gulf of the St. Lawrence, there must be some good local food here besides sushi.

I should never have doubted our wonderful host. We walked into the fishmonger shop I immediately understood why Dominique was so excited about sushi! There were rows of beautiful rolls made with freshly caught fish, lobster, crab, shellfish and even smoked fish. The sushi was as delicious as it was unique.

At 7pm Ian and I caught the ferry to return to PEI. We were only on the island for 12 hours exactly but if you ask me what my favourite experience was this summer…this was it. I totally recommend a trip to Îles-de-la-Madeleine and if you’re not in a rush, stay for longer than I did. There’s so much good food and culture to take in.

This post is part of a guest blog series by Kelsie Parsons.   See the Globe and Mail piece about his travels.

4 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Curds and Eh, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Snacks in Halifax–beer… lobster… beer and lobster….Wayne’s World

Lobster’s from Wayne’s World. Really. Keep reading, eh.

We were on holidays in Nova Scotia and PEI for 10 days and had an outstanding time.  I was disappointed to be such a terrible blogger in the last couple weeks as I had so many delicious moments, but between problems uploading pics and just travelling with child, I kind of gave up.  But, I will now start sharing.  One huge thing for me was my conversion to beer over wine for most of the trip.  You would switch sides too if you tasted how good the local brews were.  Perfect with our food and the sunny, hot weather.

Like a fish to water, Tad and Propeller IPA

I had planned on branching out ever since Heather Rankin at the Obladee Wine Bar in Halifax (along with beer and wine writer Craig Pinhey) organized a local cheese/beer pairing post on this blog which featured Canadian brews (and Canuck cheeses), three of them from out east.

In Halifax Garrison’s brewery right beside the Seaport Market was our second stop after a quick bite of some amazing, and well spiced, Indian food in the market itself.  Tasting glasses were only $2 each and we tried several, leaving with bottles of the Tall Ship Amber Ale and Raspberry Wheat Beer (very subtle in fruity qualities, which I liked).  We drank these with some spicy tapenade that evening before donning old T-shirts to dig into the lobster fest (see the first picture) on a backyard patio.  Butter, white wine and nothin’ else.  Well, a lot of paper towels.

The Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Which brings us to Wayne’s World via the Eastern Passage (where the weather is apparently really different than nearby Dartmouth-sweater vs T-shirt I hear, on some days).  It’s a little fishing community with many “I must take a picture…or 20″ worthy little coves and piers.  We were there on an especially beautiful evening as the sun was on its way down.

Wayne’s World—of Lobster!

But enough sightseeing.  Back to Wayne’s World. This is where the locals go for lobster.  They don’t cook it themselves–heck no.  They do take-out.  Truthfully, I don’t know about all locals, but I do know about at least two locals who have Wayne on speed dial….we had some damn good lobster at their house later that night.

Fish cake and beans at Henry House.

I’m getting all ahead of myself talking about lobster when the first meal I had on the east coast was fish cakes and beans.  And here’s a good laugh for you Atlantic natives, when I saw this I thought, “how novel!  Beans with the fish cakes”.   Ha ha ha ha.  Only to see this on every menu everywhere.  This delicious plate was eaten on the patio of Henry House in Halifax.

Henry House in Halifax

Henry House was built in 1834 and has some great pub food and quite a beer menu (see how easily my beerification began?)

Uncommon Ground, Halifax

Right across the street I had steaming after-lunch coffee from Uncommon Grounds.  Felix was a little boisterous and may have pissed off some customers but I just smiled in embarrassment and looked at him as if he was the cutest imp I had ever seen.  Denial works.

Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market

Which bring us back to the Seaport Farmer’s Market (I know, I’m too excited and jumping all around!) we visited on a weekday so not quite as bustling as it must be on Saturdays but still–wild blueberries for $3/pint!  And truthfully, tonnes of great food to be looked at, admired and purchased when you’re a tourist like me.  And when one has a stroller–NOT CROWDED is awesome.

Butcher Seaport Market

I checked out the grass-fed steaks at the butcher…

And veggies to go with the steak..

Or maybe you just want to grab some lobster poutine to eat by the water?

Lemon Ginger lovely-ness.

And wash it down with this locally made soda (grandma’s recipe!).

Forget chocolate and peanut butter.

And I found this at the Garrison brewery.  And we hadn’t even gotten to the sno-cones we had after the Theodore the Tugboat tour.  (Man, sno-cones aren’t as good as I remembered them.)

So what did I learn in my first 24 hours in Nova Scotia?  Fishcakes come with beans, the beer out East is great and don’t take the light pink crayon if you want to properly mark anything on your Theodore and Friends map.

3 Comments

Filed under Restaurants and Products, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Local Brew, Local Cheese: Canuck Pairings that are Beauty

Cheese and Charcuterie Plates at Obladee Wine Bar, Halifax

After I tweeted a story on general beer and cheese pairings,  Heather Rankin, owner of Obladee Wine Bar in Halifax  suggested we do this thing right–and list great CANADIAN beer and cheese pairings.  Heather (cheese lover, sommelier and mum) chose the cheeses and Craig Pinhey (Beer Judge, Sommelier and writer) did the beer honours.  Heather wrote the blog. 

So Happy Together

Canada makes fantastic beer and phenomenal cheese. But often we forget to pair them together. “What grows together goes together” is a fundamental food pairing principle: by combining food and drink from the same region there are automatic similarities in aroma and flavour which set the foundation for a harmonious pairing.

Here we pick six of our favourite Canadian beers and pair them with an outstanding cheese from the same province. Try them yourself. You may never reach for potato chips and pizza with your brewski again.

1. Creemore Springs Premium Lager & Comfort Cream – Ontario


The combination of vibrant carbonation and sweet biscuit-like malt in Creemore Lager make it an ideal partner for a rich, bloomy-rind, Camembert-style cheese.

Comfort Cream (canadacheeseman.wordpress.com))

Comfort Cream from Upper Canada Cheese Co. is an oozy, velvety, buttery cheese that loves the mouth-cleansing action of sudsy bubbles with just enough tartness to cut through the fat. Enter Creemore Springs Premium Lager. Because it’s not overly bitter, the beer doesn’t trump the cheese and accentuate unwanted undertones. True to Camembert form, the cheese offers classic mushroomy, earthy flavours which are right in step with the marked floral notes in this beer.

2. Blanche de Chambly & Grey Owl – Quebec

Grey Owl  (Rob Wilkes for chasingthecheese.com)

Wheat beer often goes well with goat cheese, but the pairing gets more interesting when good character is present in both. Grey Owl, from Fromagerie Le Détour, has a mild, chalky, paste that is complex enough to hold its own, but doesn’t try to compete with the delicate spice of this white ale.

Blanche de Chambly

The pairing really comes together on tangy, citrus notes with Blanche de Chambly‘s orange and lemon tartness echoing the citrus acidity of the cheese. Grey Owl’s ash-rind might be a tad too vegetal/green for this match if it weren’t for a prevailing coriander note in the ale that pulls it all together.  Not your typical Wheat Beer/Goat cheeses pairing, to be sure!

3. Propeller Pale Ale & Ran-Cher Acres Chèvre – Nova Scotia

Propeller Pale Ale

The mellow, balanced Propeller pale ale requires a younger, tamer cheese – but not so tame that the cheese disappears. Moderate hoppy flavours are a good mate for tartness in a cheese – which this fresh goat’s milk cheese has plenty of.

Chèvre ( JilGL)

The chèvre is also fruity, picking up on similar elements in the beer (pear), and is delectably creamy, not sour. Ultra creamy cheeses like the Ran-Cher Acres Chèvre cry out for a crisp, cleansing, companion like the Propeller Pale Ale. A match made in Maritime heaven.

4. Iron Horse Brown Ale & Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar – PEI

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar (citylifemagazine.ca)

The dark chocolate and roasted nut notes in this brew fuse perfectly with the creamy, rich, toffee flavours of of this aged, linen-wrapped cheddar from Cow’s Creamery. The beer completely winds itself around this cheese and does not let go. (Think: Caramilk bar… but better!)

Iron Horse Brown Ale

There is also a rustic, bitter edge to the Iron Horse which mimics the earthiness of the Clothbound – especially toward the rind – and provides a savoury/sweet contrast that is pretty unbeatable. Never have a horse and a cow been so happy together.

5. Red Racer IPA & Alpindon – BC

At Kootenay Alpine Cheese (Kootenaybiz.com)

Fashioned after the Beaufort d’Alpage, Kootenay Alpine Cheese Co’s Alpindon is intense and complex – precisely what this racy IPA craves in a mate. The Red Racer is a bit of a hop monster and so requires a cheese that is just as shouty.

Red Racer IPA

Part of the cheese’s pungency comes from its dark textured rind that has a lovely burnt, woodsy taste which highlights the brawny bitterness of the IPA. Tiny crystals nestled in the Alpindon’s paste add an exciting crunch and their buttery, herbaceous flavour sings against the beer’s caramel maltiness and florality.

6. Pump House Blueberry Ale & Marti – New Brunswick


The dominant element in both the Blueberry Ale and this firm, unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese is a mild sweetness. Marti, made by Bergerie aux Quatre Vents (in Dieppe, NB), is a delicate fruity cheese with vanilla notes that couple brilliantly with the berry and malt characteristics of this fruit beer

Pumphouse Blueberry Ale

The cheese’s rind is tender and without harsh flavours that might disrupt the softness of the Pump House. There is a subtle saltiness to the
cheese which is nicely contrasted by sweet fruit and peppery notes in the ale.

Both the beer and cheese are more or less equal in terms of flavour intensity – an important element to consider, even when similar flavours appear in both.

For more information on how to contact/follow/thank profusely either Heather or Craig you can follow Heather @curlyluddite  or @obladeewinebar.  Craig tweets from @frogspadca and writes at frogspad.ca.  I am grateful to both for their enthusiasm, making time to share their knowledge and especially for making me look good next time I put out a cheese board with beer.

4 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Hey, there was a really cool Cheese Festival in Picton. You’ll wish you were there.

Felix shows an aptitude for milking at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival

The 2nd Annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival happened the first weekend of June and it was a grand ol’ time.  Even the dreaded rain did it justice and held off.  Though I missed last years event I will book my weekend for this event from now on.  Overhearing the conversations around me,  it was exciting to hear a real mix of industry people, cheese lovers, food lovers and just people looking for something tasty–all gathered in one spot.

Above are the tents set up all around the Crystal Palace where the main part of the festival happened over two days.

And here is the interior, it was pretty jam-packed.  You would buy tickets inside and use those to sample many delicious things such as cheese (of course) but also local wine, brew, preserves, breads and other fine food.  And as much as there were loads of people there was plenty of opportunity to chat with the producers and learn more about them.  It was very friendly and casual.

I used up many a ticket walking around with a sample of the 2009 Closson Chase Pinot Noir.

But a person does not want to ignore Chardonnay either so here I tried the 1812 from Palatine Hills Estate with Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar.  The wine is technically from Niagara Wine Country but it is a tribute to the anniversary of the war.  So, who can fault that?

Then I moved over to the Back Forty booth where Jeff Fenwick was sampling their Highland Blue and the Bonnechere (with its toasted rind).

Bonne Chere and Highland Blue

Jeff and Jenna Fenwick took over Back Forty from James Keith this spring.  The rind of the Highland Blue is very beautiful with a little bit of bloomy mold developing.  (or “bloody” mold if you copy my notes straight from my iPhone. Damn you autocorrect.)

From East coast to Ontario to West Coast, it is impossible not to recognize this beautiful trio from Salt Spring Island.  Romelia is the pale gold lady, Blue Juliette is next to her and at the back is elegant Juliette herself.  Some of my very favourite cheeses.  Blue Juliette was the subject of the very first Spread Column (2008) ever, so I am particularly attached.

I then slid over to sample the amazing Alpindon and Nostrala from The Kootenay Alpine Cheese company from BC.  Both cheeses showcase the raw, organic milk they are made from. If you see them while shopping make you try these guys.  They will become a staple.

And I could not resist sampling this sheep’s milk, bloomy rind cheese called “Commanda” as a tribute to the Algonquin elder William Commanda– by John Thompson of Kendal Vale Cheese.

And to cleanse the cheese palate I stopped by the Mad Mexican booth where they make authentic Mexican food from fresh local ingredients.  Everything was amazing.  Here is a little description of their Salsa Morita from their site:

Morita Salsa (a.k.a. Salsa Roja):

The dried and smoked morita pepper, a native of Mexico, give this salsa its distinct earthy flavor. Made from fresh charred tomatoes and sweet onions, it has a medium heavy body with a touch of heat. This morita salsa achieves complex flavors reminiscent of smoked and fire grilled foods. It boldly stands alone as a dip or adds the spark to grilled meats, shrimp and tomato base sauces.

And this is me and Janice Beaton, the passionate cheese monger, owner of Janice Beaton Fine Cheese in Calgary and FARM a restaurant showcasing the wealth of Albertan foods.  I had been dying to meet so was so happy to final talk face-to-face.

And I will continue this post tomorrow as I realized I have not even taken you INSIDE the building and already am going long!

Til then,  S.

4 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Ticket Giveaway for The Artisan Cheese and Fine Food Fair June 2/3

I’m very excited to be have two passes (courtesy of the The Great Canadian Cheese Festival) to give away for their Artisan Cheese and Fine Food Fair which takes place in Prince Edward County on June 2 and 3.   This is the second annual event and numbers for the Food Fair will be capped each day so these are hot little tamales.

Monforte Dairy’s triple-cream Bliss and hand-churned butter will be available at the event.

If like me, the above cheese board is your perfect meal, you won’t want to miss the Food Fair where you will find over thirty artisanal and farmstead cheese makers from across Canada plus a dairy farm for the kids (I  plan to leave my son in the care of a responsible–but fun-loving–goat), a food court and 80 exhibitors in total showcasing their wares.

These two tickets are worth $80 and with admission you get:

-10 tasting tickets

-a souvenir Festival cooler bag for cheese purchases  (this is much better than a leather purse, trust me)

-free parking at the Crystal Palace where the event is being held

-and you can sit in on the All You Need is Cheese seminars being put on by Dairy Farmer’s of Canada  (and taught by Deborah Levy who is fantastic and very knowledgeable)

Here is a link to FEATURED WINERIES, CRAFT BREWERS and ARTISAN FOODS.

Sandbanks Winery, PEC image from About.Com

And if you’ve never been to Prince Edward County, you really must try to see it.  It is a perfect weekend away.

There is also a COOKS AND CURDS gala on the evening of June 2 which features Canadian chefs cooking with Canadian cheese, paired with local brews and wine.  The first sitting is sold out but the second sitting is still open.

Information about getting tickets to everything (but obviously you’re going to win these) is available on the festival site as is accommodation information.  See you there!

HOW TO WIN:

If you think you’d like to attend simply email me at thespread@globeandmail.com with the subject heading CHEESE FESTIVAL GIVEAWAY and I will do a draw next Tuesday, May 22 and mail you the tickets if you win.

Good luck and please spread the word, forward this, tell your friends to pass on information about this amazing event.   Much appreciated.

2 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Toast Posts, Travel and Food, Uncategorized

Beef Brisket Meets Prunes, Beer and Lipton Onion Soup (not gonna lie)

Oh Yum.

Sunday Dinner.  What to make to keep myself out of the kitchen but have the place smelling so good everyone would just know I was cooking ALL DAY?

Brisket was my solution and I had two good recipes.  One from my friend Lisa and one a family recipe from my mom.  Since we were having guests I decided to go with the Brisket I Know.  Our family (I use the term loosely) recipe involves braising in beer and the addition of prunes in the last half of the cooking to sweeten and thicken the sauce as the prunes disintegrate.

In hindsight I wish I took more time with the head.

What is brisket?  The brisket comes from the breast section of the cow and is a boneless piece of beef.  It is a tough cut as there are a lot of connective muscle tissues in the meat.  This makes it ideal for long slow cooking.  Brisket is also the cut of meat that is brined to becomes corned beef.  Brisket is further categorized into two cuts– the flat cut and the point cut.

Let me lead you to a great article I found about cooking brisket by Janet Fletcher where she explains all this and more in mouth-watering detail:

“The point cut is the smaller of the two…… Some butchers refer to it as the second cut or deckle point, as it contains the deckle, a hard pocket of fat. Others erroneously call this whole piece the deckle. The flat cut is larger, thicker, more uniform in shape and leaner. It is often referred to as the first cut and is what most people probably consider the traditional brisket cut.

Because this (whole brisket) is still a pretty sizable piece of meat — about 7 pounds — many retail butchers cut it in two. One piece, which is more square and uniform in shape, is typically called the flat half. The other piece, roughly triangular, may be labeled as the point half.

Confused yet?

Many butchers consider the fatty point cut, or second cut, virtually unsalable as brisket, so they treat it as trim and grind it. Their customers prefer the beauty, uniformity and lean appearance of the flat cut, or first cut.

They don’t know what they’re missing.”

Image from the Canadian Beef Marketing website

My “recipe” which, as many recipes which come from my mom (a great cook),  was a little bit random and a little bit written by someone who’s made something a zillion times.  So, when I went to the brisket recipe to make my shopping list I saw that it called for 7-8 pds of brisket.  Wow–that seemed a lot for 4 people.  I called my mom and asked her and she told me that the brisket will shrink–”You won’t believe how much it will shrink!” she said.   Alright, so I bought a lot of brisket.  I had to pull out my large roasting pan to make it fit.  And I doubled the sauce part of the recipe as there can never be too much sauce.

Top Secret.

OK, so what else do you need to know about the recipe?  Well, full disclosure, it involves Lipton’s onion soup mix.  And like the margarine it Marion’s 75 year old fudge, I just go with it.  Who am I to change years of “traditional” recipes based around soup mixes?

(And I do remember loving onion soup mix in a chip dip.  Which I totally forgot about til this moment…only three ingredients needed to make it…the soup mix, sour cream and a babysitter. )

Moving beyond the fake food, here’s what else you’ll need.

CARROTS. Grated and roughly chopped into bite-size rounds.

Onion and garlic of course (I so need those onion goggles.  I cry from the second my knife sees the onion.)

Brown sugar and tomato paste and some BEER.

First you sear the meat and put it into your roasting dish with the sautéed onion and garlic and your braising liquid which is combo of the beer, brown sugar, onion soup mix and tomato paste.

You also throw in the carrots.  Then cover and put into the oven at 300 C°.  For three hours according to my mom’s recipe.

Hmmm, I started to become very happy to have 7 pds of brisket.

So at three hours (which was 9pm) the brisket was nowhere near fork tender.  My husband starts informing me that I’ve overcooked it just like his childhood Sunday roasts were overcooked and tough.  He’s having serious flashbacks even though I try to explain the point of  braising.  He is worried I will force him to relive the horror of his childhood Sunday dinners at our Sunday dinner.

I focus away from the looming danger of ridiculous married-couple argument and turn the oven up to 325 °C.

I am also yawning and wondering how long this is going to go on.  It’s Saturday night and I had not planned on this brisket date to last so long.   I add the prunes and go to see what’s on the PVR.

The brisket stayed in til closing time–or almost–1 am.  But boy, it was delicious at that point.  I must have eaten at least a pound just picking at it.  To make sure it was done.

The effort (watching TV while the brisket cooked) was worth it.  On Sunday  all I had to do was make mashed potatoes and roast some veggies.  I heated the brisket up slowly in the oven til the house smelled better than a Cherry Cola Smelly Marker.

Our friends brought wine and an appetizer (sardines, cold pat butter, toasted baguette, lemon, parsley) and Tad had a bacon wrapped scallop craving, so he made those.   It was an eat-talk-eat-talk kind of evening.  And at the end-I had a whole lotta brisket left over.   But you know what?  If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I guess I like my brisket the size of a newborn baby.  Though I wish it wouldn’t keep me up til the wee hours.

And btw: 7 pds of brisket was enough for 10 people.  My mom later realized she had doubled the recipe for a family gathering.  Though she did try to give me the “your brisket must have been OLD– it should have shrunk much more”  excuse.

FOR THE regular sized recipe see THIS SAVOURY LINK.   (coming shortly)

4 Comments

Filed under All Recipes

My New Tailgating Lifestyle

So many glistening condiments!

Tailgate Party, here I come.  According to Wikipedia, I don’t even have to like sports to hang out in a parking lot with a portable slow cooker.  SEE HERE.  Nor do I have to own a vehicle with a tailgate.  I just have to consume alcohol and grilled food in a social setting.  DONE.  As for the parking lot…  If I get a parking permit I can drink beer and eat chicken wings in my car, parked right outside my house.  And the bonus? No  need for a port-a-potty as a  real bathroom is just steps away (if you consider a 1970′s lavender toilet and sink a real bathroom).

I found this TAILGATE magazine at Wal-Mart (issued by Better Homes and Gardens).   Right away I thought, if “Grab a chip! Nine ways to Dip!” doesn’t fit into my new vegetarian-ish lifestyle, then I don’t know what does. (Count ‘em!  1. Spinach-dill 2. Roasted pepper hummus 3. Corn and black bean chutney guacamole 4. tomatillo salsa 5. Spinach-Articoke-Blue cheese and bacon (all vegetarians still eat bacon) 6. Mexican seven layer 7. Chocolate Fruit Dip and 8. something called Amaretto fluff…..hopefully there’s  not a kitten involved)

OK, OK,  #9 is a Cheeseburger dip, but if you’ve got 8 veggies dips, who’s going to notice?

Don't deny this cuteness

Once you see what’s inside this magazine may never need to by another cookbook:

**Recipe for Root Beer Float Cake

**Recipe for a White Chili made with chicken, sour cream and whipping cream (you can use 10% if you’re cutting back on fat)

**Recipe for Grilled Paella w/ sausage

**A “Timings and Temperatures” chart that covers beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, fish and seafood (it’s colourful and you can tear it out!)

**And calorie and sodium reduction tips like, “pack your bun with only half the massive amount of Texas Beef Brisket that you usually do”

**Best of All– A taste-test of 16 hot sauces purchased at hotsaucedepot.com  (it’s almost enough to have discovered a Hot Sauce Depot)

So laugh and feel superior as you eat your salmon hand-roll, but just know that you’re not having nearly as good a time as the gal eating the Ragin’ Cajun Wings while sipping a Bloody Mary in the back of her Subaru.  (Also,  I know you’re drooling over the magazine cover, not the nori wrap on your sushi.)

4 Comments

Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible