The Corned Beef Sandwich

Corned Beef SandwichYou know those times when you constantly cannot get something out of your mind, especially when it comes to food? I am having one of those times, and you guessed it, the corned beef sandwich is taking over. I typically make corned beef twice a year, in the Spring for St. Patrick’s Day, and once in the fall. Making the corned beef could not be easier, and the result is spectacular in flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large corned beef
  • 2 bottles of beer, I use Harp
  • 3 cloves of garlic, rough chop
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Water

In a large pot, add the corned beef, and rub it with the seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef. Add to this the beer, garlic, and bay leaves. You will also want to add water to the pot, enough to cover the corned beef.

Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat, and simmer for approximately 4-6 hours. Yes, you will have to wait this long!

Once done, remove, and slice against the grain into thin slices. Stack these high on a marble rye bread, and serve with swiss cheese, dark mustard, or a russian dressing.

Trust me, this one is good.

Tamales

TamalesThe tamale is a thing of beauty, and is something that tastes so natural and earthy to me. Having worked with masa in the past, I wanted to extend it beyond the tortilla, and therefore I came up with the notion of making the tamale. Making the tamale is a bit of a process (making the dough, choosing the meat or vegetable to stuff, and steaming), however it is one that is truly worth it. My wife has never experienced a tamale, and she loved it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of masa harina
  • beef broth (warmed)
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 cup of vegetable shortening
  • Dried corn husks (purchase from a supermercado or mexican grocery store)
  • Meat to stuff (I used my shredded pork)

First, rinse the about 20-40 corn husks, then place in a large dish to soak for roughly 30-40 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the masa, and to that add in all of your dried spices, stirring to mix well. In a separate mixing bowl, whip the vegetable shortening until it gets slightly fluffy. Add the masa mixture to the shortening and incorporate really well. Slowly add in about a cup or so of the warm beef broth. You basically want the masa mixture to be the consistency of a thick peanut butter. Add more broth if you have to.
Tamales with Corn HusksOnce the masa is ready, and the husks are done soaking, remove the husks from the water, and pat dry with a large towel. Get your steaming pan ready as well. I use a large pan, filled with about 4 cups of water, then put my steamer on top, covered with a lid.

Now, let the games begin.

Get a corn husk and lay it across the palm of your hand with the small end toward your fingers. scoop up about 1/4 cup of the Masa dough with a knife, and then smear it on the husk.

Cover about left 2/3 of the husk with Masa, leaving the other 1/3 on the right uncovered. Similarly, cover the bottom 2/3 of the shuck, and leave the top 1/3 uncovered. Do this the same for about ten of the husks to work in batches.

Now it is time to add the meat. Take about 1 tablespoon of meat, and lay it on the masa about an inch from the left edge.

I folded mine into purses or bundles, then shredded some of the husks to tie the bundles as we do not want them to unwrap during the steaming process.

Continue this process until you are done making the tamales. Bring your water to a boil, then reduce the heat a bit. Add your tamales to the steamer, cover, and let steam for roughly two hours. When you are ready to test, take a tamale out of the steamer and set it aside for roughly 5 minutes. The husk should unwrap easily, and the masa should be firm and fully cooked.

Now get ready to eat. Remove the tamales from the steamer, place on a large serving plate, and let your guests unwrap themselves. These tamale purses with so good. Serve with your favorite mexican sauce, or eat them plain.

A thing to note is that if you have plenty of leftovers, these can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or seal in a ziplock bag and place in the freezer for up to six months. I used a Foodsaver system that vacuum seals the food, so they can be stored in the freezer for a much longer period of time. When you are ready to cook them, remove them from the freezer, let thaw, then cover with a wet paper towel and cook in the microwave for 1 minute or so.

My Take on Banh Mi

Banh Mi with BeefWhile living in Dallas, Texas, I would often frequent the markets on the weekends. Typically the Mexican supermercados as they were in abundance, however, I would also visit quite a few Asian markets. The reason being is that all of their ingredients were much more fresh, and cheaper than the traditional grocery store. During my weekend visits to the Asian markets, which were typically located in Asian districts and embedded in plazas, I would stop in one of the smaller stores that were serving food. I would not call them restaurants because there was lack of seating, however they did serve food from the counter. One of these stores served the Banh Mi. If you have never had a Banh Mi, you have to try one in your lifetime. Banh Mi typically means salad sandwich, served with cucumber, tomato, and carrot on a french bread loaf.
The Vietnamese did this sandwich right, and the variations were typically with pork, either steamed pork, or a barbecued pork. The bbq pork was one that I really loved. The flavors were awesome and had a bit of vinegar and spice that just went well as a sandwich. I have been thinking of this sandwich for some time now, and finally got around to making it, well, making it my way.

Banh Mi with BeefInstead of using pork, I had some nice beef that was marinating in oyster sauce, sesame oil, black pepper, and of course garlic. I cut the steak in thin slices and broiled them, as my grill was not accessible due to the snow. I also served this on a rustic Italian loaf that I made that morning. My wife loved the sandwich so much, I cannot wait to make her one with the pork.

Ingredients:

  • French or Italian Bread
  • Marinated Beef (oyster sauce, garlic, pepper, sesame oil), sliced
  • Cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro
  • Romaine lettuce, sliced
  • Carrot, shredded
  • 2-3 tbs of rice wine vinegar
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Splash of sesame oil
  • Black Pepper

Combine the vegetables in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, black pepper, sesame oil, and soy sauce to make the dressing. Add the dressing to the bowl of sliced vegetables and toss to coat.

Now that your meat has already been cooked through the broiler, slice your bread, add the steak, and wrap in foil. Add to a preheated 400-degree oven for roughly five minutes, as you only want the bread to warm through. Remove from the oven and add a nice amount of vegetables to the top. Add your top slice of bread, and get ready to rumble. This one is a sandwich you will most likely come back to throughout the year. Enjoy.

Drunken Beef

Prime rib sandwhichAs you might recall, it was not too long ago that I made a prime rib. This six pounder fed my entire family, made two batches of french onion soup that served 10, and allowed me to make this next recipe. Now, members of my family have talked about this one for some time so it was up to me to figure out what all the hype was about. This is another one of those recipes that takes very little time and is really amazing. Perfect sandwich, and you get some great au jus to boot.

Ingredients:

  • Prime rib
  • 12 oz bottle of dark beer
  • 6 cloves of garlic, lightly whacked with a knife
  • salt and pepper
  • Slices of provolone cheese
  • Italian or French bread
  • appetite

In a casserole dish, add thin slices of your prime rib. Now with my leftovers, I had to remove some of the garlic horseradish that came along for the ride. I did not want that flavor mixed into the beer and garlic. Once you have all of the beef in place, add the whole cloves of garlic, pinch of salt, few grinds of fresh ground pepper, and yes, the bottle of dark beer. Cover with foil. I let the beef get drunk for about an hour. Why? I don’t know, but I do know that it made the beef, as well as myself, very happy. Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and cook the beef for roughly 30 minutes or so.

Drunken BeefIn the meantime, get your bread ready. Cut off as much bread as you can take for your sandwich. Lighly butter, and add some garlic powder. Remove the dish from the oven and replace with the bread, cooking until it gets a light golden brown, then quickly remove, and add your slices of provolone cheese to cover the bread. Place back into the oven until bubbly. Remove, add the prime rib, and get ready to rumble. I used a ladle to serve the garlic beer and used that as my au jus. It seriously rocked. Remember, it’s all good.