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Pure Beef | Lynne Curry

 

There is beef and then there is PURE BEEF!

Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut

TITLE: Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut
AUTHOR: Lynne Curry
PUBLISHER: Running Press
CUISINE: Beef

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Featured Ingredient: Porcini Mushrooms
Prized as an ingredient in various foods, B. edulis is an edible mushroom held in highDried Porcini Mushrooms by Andrew Shansby regard in many cuisines, and is commonly prepared and eaten in soups,pasta, or risotto. The mushroom is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Although it is sold commercially, it has not been successfully grown in cultivation. Available fresh in autumn in Central, Southern and Northern Europe, it is most often dried, packaged and distributed worldwide. Keeping its flavour after drying, it is then reconstituted and used in cooking. B. edulis is one of the few fungi sold pickled. The fungus also produces a variety of organic compounds with a diverse spectrum of biological activity, including the steroid derivative ergosterol, a sugar binding protein, antiviral compounds, antioxidants, and phytochelatins, which give the organism resistance to toxic heavy metals.[Wikipedia]

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First Impressions
This is a substantial cookbook. It contains information, not fluff. The distinct two part division makes for easy navigation. Part one includes prep techniques. There is a beef guide and lots of beef related info. Part two contains the recipes. They are printed in a burgundy color with green highlights and titles. It’s not distracting, but, an interesting choice. Sixteen bold, colorful Images by David Reamer are in one group located in the center of the book. It’s printed on a high quality bright white, gloss stock which has a nice silky, easy to handle feel.

• • • • •

What’s Inside (aka Table of Contents)
Part I
How Grass Becomes Beef
What’s the Beef?
How to Cook Like a Butcher
Part II
Great Ground Beef
Slow Simmered Feasts
Global Beef Cuisine
Steaks Done Right
Winning Roasts
Pure to the Bone
Simple Homemade Charcuterie

• • • • •

Honestly, is there anything better than cats singing about their love of beef? I think not. Enjoy!

• • • • •

Best of the Book (Our Favorite Recipes)

Poor Man’s Beef Wellingtons Pure Beef Meatloaf
Whiskey Pot Pie Korean Barbecue
Mixed Grill Chimichurri Steak Stroganoff
Dutch Oven Barbecue Short Rib Rendang
Porcini-Rubbed Tenderloin with Saba Sauce and Braised Lentils New England Simmered Supper with Whole-Grain Mustard
Grassfed Pot Roast with Parsnips, Carrots and Fingerlings Rib-Eye Steaks and Grilled Romaine with Hot Tomato Vinaigrette

 

When you pack a cookbook with this many beef recipes there is going to be a lot of drooling. It was unbelievably hard to pare down the recipe list for this review. But, alas, we can’t list them all. Yes, there were a number that worked their way to the top of the heap. For example, I’ve always wanted to try my hand at homemade sausage making. Not Italian or breakfast sausage, but, salami or pepperoni style. The Deli-Style Salami (p258) seems like a recipe that I could tackle without a mountain of problems. Oil poaching fish is a common preparation these days. But oil poached meat? The Olive Oil-Poached Steaks with Thyme (p179) gets a huge thumbs up.

Chicken fried anything is OK by me. So, the Chicken Fried Steak with Buttermilk Gravy (p182) is a natural. Lastly, if the words “roasted” and “marrow” appear together in the same recipe title, it’s immediately in the running for a gold medal. The White Truffle Risotto with Roasted Marrow Bones (p247) meets that requirement and more.

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Special Features
Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every CutThere are lots and lots of specials in this book. Most of them are contained in part one. It’s a great beef primer; they’ve titled one callout section, Cow 101. One of the more interesting and unique features is a guide on How to Taste Artisan Beef. It’s accompanied by a beef tasting scoring sheet. Apparently, the Food Innovation Center Experiment Station, located in Portland, is into this kind of thing. It’s good news for us! A detailed guide to cuts of beef is included and expected. The butchering section is a great how-to on slicing and dicing any cut of beef without mangling it into an unrecognizable form. A pairing list includes not wines as you would expect, but, garnishes, sauces, spices and herbs. Very handy. The rear of the book has some online beef resources. Thankfully, no measurement conversion chart taking a two page spread at the back.

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Conclusions
For beef and beef lovers this book is more than a home run, think grand slam here. It contains about everything you could possibly need or want on the subject. I usually find single topic cookbooks to be a little on the dry side. Not true with Pure Beef. Page after page has beefy information you can use day in and day out. That old Wendy’s question is finally answered once and for all. Where’s the beef? Here’s the beef!

Culinary Expertise Required: 5
1= Boiling Water (novice) 10= Liquid Nitrogen (expert)

Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut

Cookbook Giveaway! Yes, you read that right. I’ve got an extra copy of Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut to giveaway. Just click below and drop us an email. Tell us why you deserve Lynne Curry’s joyous ode to beef.

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Links, Resources and Press
Lynne Curry’s Website
Seattle Times Review of Pure Beef
Perseus Books
The Artisan Beef Institute

A Brisket By Any Other Name

Poitrine, bringa, bryststykke. No matter how you say it, it’s still a brisket.

BUY IT - The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

WARNING: This book is not suitable for vegetarians, vegans or herbivores of any stripe. However, if you love slow cooked, tender and delicious meat, grab a plate and get your fork!


It’s a cut of meat that slices across ethnic and cultural lines. A specific cut of meat. Not just a burger or a steak, it’s more than that. At first blush you would think, “How many ways could you possible cook that?”. You would be surprised.

In Texas, it is held aloft as a piece of BBQ lore and legend. Worthy of a battle for a medal, trophy or plaque. On St. Patrick’s Day, we can’t get enough of it served with a side of cabbage, potatoes and maybe a Guinness (or two). It has starring role on the other side of the world in Vietnamese Pho. And, it’s nearly impossible to imagine any Jewish holiday without a moist and flavorful brisket served on a big platter to a waiting table of family and friends.

Stephanie Pierson affectionately calls her cookbook a “love story with recipes”. When The Brisket Book hit my desk I thought, “OK, here’s another collection of the same re-tread brisket recipes”. Boring… This is a prime example of why you shouldn’t jump to conclusions. It is not possible to have been more wrong. Boring is the last thing this cookbook is.

I thought I knew about brisket. After all, I have cooked a small truckload of them. But, what I didn’t know about this versatile cut of meat could, well, fill a book. And Stephanie filled it up!

I love the list of “50 Things About Brisket That People Can Disagree About”. Example: #5 Electric Knife? You may as well give one person a can of gasoline and the other person a match and see how long it takes them to set each other on fire. People are just that insane about the topic.

Of course, I have to cook one of these versions. I opted for Chef Todd Gray’s, Classic Braised Beef Brisket. Anything classic should be a good test.

Here’s How To Do It

Classic Braised Beef Brisket

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 3lb beef brisket, trimmed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart veal stock
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup balsamic vinegar

Method
Pre-heat oven to 350⁰. (Note: the recipe in the book does not specify an oven temperature. I used 350⁰, it seemed safe)

Mix together the salt, paprika, mustard seed and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the brisket all over with the spice mixture. It will look like this.

Classic Braised Beef Brisket

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat until hot. Brown the brisket evenly on both sides. About 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Classic Braised Beef Brisket

Transfer the browned brisket to a large oven proof baking dish or Dutch oven. Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs. Also, add the garlic, stock, wine and vinegar. Cover the dish with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake in the oven until fork tender. About 3 to 4 hours.

When the brisket is cooked, transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Strain cooking liquids into a pan and reduce over medium heat to about 2½ cups. Slice the brisket against the grain and drizzle with the sauce.

Serves 6

Classic Braised Beef Brisket
Recipe adapted Classic Braised Brisket, Chef Todd Gray. The Brisket Book, Stephanie Pierson, Andrews McMeel Pub.

TIPS: I used beef stock instead of veal stock. It still turned our fantastic. This is a super easy brisket recipe. A home chef of any skill level should have no problem at all impressing their family and friends with their brisket expertise.

The Bottom Line: This book hits all the right notes. Not only is it a great collection of new (and old) brisket preparations, but, it also serves as a great resource. It’s a fun read. The contributions from professional and amateur chefs make it interesting on a lot of different levels. Writing a single subject cookbook can be tricky. Stephanie avoids the common mistakes that make these types of books a little on the dry side. Well done!

BUY IT - The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

Author: Stephanie Pierson
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN-10: 1449406971

BUY IT - The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes

 


If you like The Brisket Book, here are few books from the Cookbook Man’s list that might interest you.

Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook, with More Than 200 Recipes Big Green Egg Cookbook: Celebrating the World's Best Smoker & Grill


Ching Delivers Great Chinese

 

I had always assumed that Chinese cooking was beyond difficult. It’s not.

Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese: More Than 100 Quick & Healthy Chinese Recipes

It seems like every city and town, whether large or small has a Chinese carryout restaurant. Even if there is no sizable Asian population. Americans love their Chinese carryout. And, I’m no exception.

When I lived in Chicago I had my favorite, The Dragon Inn. As far as places like this go it was pretty swanky. A nicely appointed dining room with heavy red drapes and chairs to match. It was dimly lit with Chinese screens separating parts of the room. There was a small cocktail lounge off the waiting room. An old television behind the bar showed game shows or sports depending on the time of day. But, most importantly, they served great Chinese food.

Or, at least that was my considered opinion. Granted, I had a pretty limited frame of reference. I had never been to a country where this type of food was considered home cooking. And, there were only two other Chinese places in town. It tasted delicious, so, that was my criterion.

I also had a favorite dish (and still do). Shrimp with Lobster Sauce. This was the dish that all the other Chinese restaurants of my future would be measured by. I have consumed a LOT of different versions of this dish (probably too many). So far, not one has come close to the gold standard. It’s just possible that my bar might be a little high.

I love the cuisine, but, never dared to try my hand at it. I figured the “exotic” ingredients and prep methods would do me in. But, as I have just discovered, this couldn’t be farther from reality. It seems I’ve been cooking lots of other types of dishes at home just because I assumed they would be easier. They’re not.

How could this lifetime illusion of difficulty be shattered in one moment? The answer, Ching. More specifically Ching-He Huang. It seems that all of the magic that happened back in the kitchen of the Dragon Inn wasn’t really magic at all. Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese: More Than 100 Quick & Healthy Chinese Recipes, lifts the curtain to reveal just how easy it is to make your own Chinese carryout. And, trust me, it’s a snap.

Beef with bean sprouts and scallions

After paging through the entire book looking for something that a beginner Chinese chef could make, I was struck by one thing. ALL of these recipes can be easily executed by a beginner Chinese chef. The word easy in the title wasn’t a come on. There being no Shrimp with Lobster Sauce (I was only mildly disappointed). I opted for the Beef with bean sprouts and scallions.

Bean Spouts

All of the ingredients are easy to gather from your local supermarket. No real super specialty items here. They had some great looking spouts the day I shopped.

Here’s How To Do It

Ingredients
9 oz. beef sirloin, fat removed and cut into ½ inch slices
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
5 oz. bean sprouts
1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. of water
2 scallions, chopped fine

Ingredients – Marinade
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. ginger, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Mirin

Method
Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the sliced beef and mix well to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate for about 20 minutes.

Heat a wok (or large skillet) over high heat just until it starts to smoke. Add peanut oil. Remove beef from bowl and reserve the marinade. Cook beef in wok for about 2 minutes.

Add the bean sprouts, reserved marinade and the cornstarch mixture. Toss together and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the chopped scallions. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Beef with bean sprouts and scallions
Recipe, Beef with bean sprouts and scallions. Ching’s Everyday Easy Chinese: More Than 100 Quick & Healthy Chinese Recipes, with permission from William Morrow, copyright © Ching-He Huang 2011.

The recipe suggest serving this with jasmine rice. But, as long as I was going this far, it was impossible to pass on a little homemade fried rice. I made Ching’s recipe for Egg and asparagus fried rice. It was unbelievably easy and amazingly light and delicious.

Egg and asparagus fried rice

Not bad for a rank amateur! If I could have scooped my finished product into a couple of cardboard cartons. Stapled them inside of a brown paper bag with a few packets of soy sauce and mustard and added two fortune cookies, you would never be able to tell the difference between me and the now defunct Dragon Inn. I’m not joking.

The bottom line. Now that the secret is out and I know how easy and delicious my own homemade Chinese food is I have mixed feelings. One part of me wants to go back to believing that my Shrimp with Lobster Sauce was created using some ancient, eastern culinary techniques and obscure, nearly impossible to find ingredients. The other side of me is happy that I can now have my Sunday Chinese carryout and not have to miss part of the football game to pick it up. Thank you Ching.

BUY IT! - Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese: More Than 100 Quick & Healthy Chinese Recipes

BUY IT! - Ching's Everyday Easy Chinese: More Than 100 Quick & Healthy Chinese Recipes

Author: Ching-He Huang
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks
ISBN-10: 006207749X