easy chocolate cake

I've blogged about chocolate cake before (a loooong time ago), but the recipe requires a good amount of cake-making technique, mainly due to the creaming of the butter & sugar.  I've witnessed plenty of people do this improperly (usually they don't let it go long enough), so I decided to re-vamp the old recipe. This recipe will make one 9-inch round or 12 cupcakes. Doubled, it will make two 9-inch rounds, three 8-inch rounds, or a 9 x 13-inch sheet cake (or 24 cupcakes, duh!). 1/2 tsp Read more [...]

happy st. patrick’s day!

At about 7:00 this morning, I pulled the briskets out of the brine and rinsed them per Ruhlman's instructions. I sprinkled each of them with another tablespoon of The Spice House's corned beef spice mix (mustard seeds, Moroccan coriander, Jamaican allspice, Zanzibar cloves, Turkish bay leaves, Indian dill seed, China #1 ginger, star anise, black pepper, juniper berries, mace and cayenne red pepper) and vacuum-sealed them.  They then spent about 9 hours in a 180F water bath (I used the Sous Vide Read more [...]

curing corned beef

With assists from Michael Ruhlman and The Spice House, I began curing a brisket this past Saturday for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday.  I used Ruhlman's recipe, which calls for corning spices and curing salt (a.k.a. InstaCure #1, Prague Powder #1, pink salt, or by its chemical name: sodium nitrite), both of which I got via mail order from The Spice House in Chicago.  It's essentially a long, slow brine, so you have to know ahead of time that you want to do this.  I almost didn't have enough time Read more [...]

[recipe review] dry-brined turkey

Just to recap, I followed the advice of Russ Parsons (Food Editor of the LA Times) and dry-brined the turkey.  The process began on Monday afternoon with the application of 3 TB kosher salt (Morton's) to a 16 lb. fresh, free-range turkey.  Double-wrapped in plastic bags (no leaky turkeys here), it was flipped and turned around and around for a couple of days until I pulled it out on Thanksgiving morning. I made an herb butter with fresh sage, thyme, and unsalted butter and smeared it underneath Read more [...]