Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Ultimate Reuben Sandwich with Bacon Fat Fried Rye Bread, Russian 1,000 Aioli, Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef, Peppered Bacon, Melted Emmentaler Cheese, + Sauerkraut

The Ultimate Reuben Sandwich
I might lose some followers because of this, but I am a self-proclaimed Reuben Sandwich hater. It's true. I never could get on board with the idea of boiled, pickled brisket... the pungent rye bread... that weird cabbage stuff (a.k.a. sauerkraut)... and that kinda bitter, extra sharp swiss cheese. Just not my thang. I do, however, love Russian/Thousand Island Dressing. I mean it's great on just about everything. Although Reubens look delicious (in theory), I just strayed away from them. Well, that was until my Mountain Man + I moved back to Atlanta and started eating lunch at our favorite, little sandwich cafe/gourmet market, Star Provisions. If you ever come to visit ATL, go to Star Provisions. Their sandwiches are TOP-KNOTCH... our favorites are the Shrimp Po'boy, Reuben, & Pork Belly Banh Mi. Anyhoo, my Mountain Man decided to order one of those-sandwiches-that-I-used-to-hate. I was instantly pissed. I mean, how could I eat half of his meal if I didn't like it. Boo hiss. He kept urging me throughout the meal to try it and he wouldn't stop raving about it/moaning throughout the whole process. Okay, I thought, the worst that will happen is that I have to spit it up. Not very classy, but gets the job done nonetheless. I bit into the buttery Reuben and it's like the heavens opened up and welcomed me into the "cool kid club". Since then, I have been hooked. What I especially love about Star Provision's Reuben is its' slight differences than a classic sandwich. Their fresh-baked rye bread had been fried in butter (score) and it featured a cheese other than swiss (double score). I had never heard of this dairy product before, but apparently it's just a higher quality swiss. Luckily for me, they carry blocks of it in their dairy department, so I snatched up a block to recreate them at home. Using their sandwich as inspiration, I concocted the Ultimate Reuben Sandwich (well, in my eyes). I purchased some seriously peppered bacon because even though bacon doesn't go this normally, it probably should. With the cut of brisket, a heavy pepper presence only enhances the taste of the meat, so I really believe it gave it a nice spice and smokiness. After that, I fried my rye bread slices in the peppered bacon fat, ya know, 'cuz you have too. You could also just fry them up in some Irish butter if you haveeeeeeee to. This week, I already posted the recipes to the Homemade Russian 1,000 Aioli and the Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef, so take a gander at those for the rest of the components. All that is left is to add on the Emmentaler cheese and sauerkraut. This Ultimate Reuben is gooey, cheesy, saucy, spicy, vinegary, and everything else wonderful in the world. So go make it, NOW!! Enjoy :)
Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef + Peppered Bacon
Sliced Up + Ready to be Sandwiched
Sliced Emmentaler Cheese
Take a big 'ole bite of this hot mess...

For One Sandwich:
2 Slices of Peppered Bacon, Cooked until Crispy
2 Thick Slices of Rye Bread, Fried until Golden Brown in Bacon Fat
Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef, Thinly Sliced
Thin Slices of Emmentaler Cheese (or Swiss cheese can be substituted)
Homemade Russian 1,000 Aioli, For Spreading
Sauerkraut (drained of excess liquid)

1.Cook the slices of peppered bacon in a skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, but reserve the fat. Fry or toast the slices of rye bread in the bacon fat until they turn golden brown and begin to crisp. Remove to a plate and set aside.
2. Preheat the broiler to high on your oven.
3. Assembling the Sandwich: Spread one slice of fried bread with a thick slather of Russian 1,000 Aioli, and then top it with slices of honey mustard glazed corned beef, peppered bacon, and Emmentaler cheese. Toast the sandwich until the cheese just begins to melt and is gooey. Remove the sandwich from the oven and top with a pile of sauerkraut. Smear more aioli on the other slice of toasted bread and mash the sandwich together.
4. Cut the sandwich in half and enjoy its’ messy glory!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

How To : Homemade Russian 1,000 Aioli

Homemade Russian 1,000 Aioli

I want to first off by addressing the "name" of my new aioli concoction. Because today, we are focusing on one of the most important parts of any reuben sandwich... well, if not the most important part-- the Russian Dressing vs. Thousand Island Dressing debate. The topic can get quite heated in the culinary world of blogs, magazines, and even amongst chefs. However, I knew from the get-go, that every component had to be top-knotch or homemade in nature. I decided to blend the two together to form a SUPER sauce, packed with extra flavor and making it even more extreme. I mean, face it, "Russian 1,000 Aioli" sounds mechanical, nuclear, or even the highest improvement that can be made. If you didn't know I was a food blogger, you might actually think that I might be talking about sports cars or spaceships or computer technology. HA, good joke. But anyway, our entire family has naturally been on a corned beef kick lately... we made it monday, wednesday, + sunday. And to be honest, I think we're still beggin' for that cut o' meat all over again. Although I was repulsed by the idea of pickled, boiled beef brisket in the past... I have become enamored with it. Cooking partially in boiling water, and then glazing it with a sweet + tangy homemade honey mustard sauce before it heads into the oven to broil, really takes it over the top. I mean, heck, it's made a believer outta me!! I repeated the previous recipe, exactly), but this time I knew I wanted to make over-the-top reuben sandwiches. The rundown for that glorious meal between two buns will be posted on Monay (so check back, ya'hear).  I began with making a basic aioli (a.k.a. homemade mayonnaise using egg yolks and canola oil, amongst other things). I use the food processor for this process, so that the machine keeps moving and whipping the mayo, without allowing it to curdle/separate. You can also do this by hand, but heck, who wants to lose an arm that way? Pardon the sarcasm, you won't lose an arm, but trust me it'll be as sore as the dickens. My aioli starts off quite basic actually... toss in a large egg yolk, a splash of red wine vinegar + freshly squeezed lemon juice, some smashed garlic paste, a dabble of dijon mustard, and a big pinch of salt & sugar. I pulse that mixture up as best as I can until it is as smooth as you can get it (but don't worry, it should become creamier throughout the process). After the painstakingly annoying task of slowly drizzling in the oil (with the processor running on constant speed for its' entire duration), literally one drip at a time, your once liquidy yellow stuff will bloom into a creamy, off-white mayonnaise texture. YAY, you're almost there. Remove this mayo mixture into a mixing bowl to finish it off, completing the transformation it into the soon-to-be-famous Russian 1,000 Aioli. You whisk in the typical cast of characters: ketchup, mustard (or honey mustard, like I used), horseradish, Sriracha, onion  powder, cayenne powder, and add any other needed seasonings. Whisk to combine, so that the ingredients evenly disperse throughout. In my hybrid of the Russian Dressing/Thousand Island Dressing... I love to hand-dice pretty decent chunks of bread + butter pickles. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you could easily substitute relish, but I love the texture and pop of vinegary flavor the pickle chips in the sauce. So, bless your heart, do what you please! This sauce might seem time consuming, but the food processor cuts out majority of the work for you. Just make sure to whisk in the pickle chips at the very in, instead of blending them into a relish. And as for my secret ingredient... freshly ground nutmeg and ground cloves. I know, it might sound odd putting those two pungent flavors into a creamy, classic, americano sauce, but they give the dip the some major sass and elevates it from run-of-the-mill-bottled-dressing to awesome-homemade-aioli. Trust me, it's not just good on reubens, it goes great on the following: BURGERS (ohmahgah, it'll be your new secret sauce for cookout parties, trust me), patty melts, sandwiches, french fries, fried pickles, cobb salads, etc. You catch mah drift. And get yo'self excited because this sauce is featured on the best Reuben Sandwich I've ever made... it'll be posted in a day or so!! Enjoy :)

the makings of the perfect Russian dressing-- aioli style

For the Aioli:
1 Large Egg Yolk
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced into a Paste with Sea Salt
1 Egg Yolk
1t Red Wine Vinegar
2t Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
½t Dijon Mustard & 1T Sugar
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced into a Paste (with a little bit of sea salt)
1C Canola Oil
¼C Ketchup
1T Honey Mustard
1t Prepared Horseradish
½t Salt, White Pepper, & Cayenne
1t Onion Powder
Freshly Grated Nutmeg + Ground Cloves, To Taste
½C Finely Diced Bread n’ Butter Pickles (dice into small cubes/squares)

1. For the Russian 1,000 Aioli: Combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, minced garlic, sugar, and ½t salt in medium bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds. Using ¼t measuring spoon and whisking constantly, add ¼C of the oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add remaining ¾C canola oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8-10 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color).
2. Finishing the Aioli: By hand, whisk in the ketchup, honey mustard, horseradish, white pepper, cayenne, onion powder, freshly grated nutmeg, and ground cloves. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste, if needed.
3. Lastly, fold in the small diced pickles until evenly incorporated throughout. Use the sauce right away or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Honey Mustard Glazed Corned Beef

sliced up honey mustard glazed corned beef
I'M BACKKKKKKKKKKKK and ready to blow this shit place up! I got a new blog up and running... well sorta, I still have to finish my recipe index-- bare with me here it is a shit-ton of work, lemme tell you. I can't tell y'all how many "bless your hearts" I have gotten from family & friends during this process. I was beyond upset that the blog I had put three years into had suddenly vanished to an anonymous buyer that goes by the name of Chevy Chase. I mean really, Chevy Chase did this to me? I know it's not really the famous actor, but notgonnalie, I might hold a tiny grudge against him. But that's all in the past for now. It's time to get back into the swing of things, and that includes posting more delicious recipes for all of y'all to enjoy! Yippee-dee-do-dah... #amirite? As many of my loyal followers know, we have been in Atlanta for almost a year now, but deep down, we will always be true "Savannahians" at heart. Savannah is fabulous. It's almost like if you've been gone for a whole year, the second you return, it just picks right back up from where you left off. And possibly the most depressing thing about leaving was missing out on the over-the-top annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. We have had so much fun celebrating that it is easily creeping into my top three all-time favorite holidays, fo'realziez y'all. What sucks for us is that we couldn't make it down there this year because the celebration fell on a Monday and my Mountain Man just couldn't get off work. So, we had to settle by enjoying the Irish spirit by cooking classic comfort food. This obviously meant.... corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. But DUH. P.S. did you know that I hate corned beef?? Yes I absolutely turn my nose up at the stuff, there is just something about boiled meat that really gets my gag reflex going (TMI??). But, I thought I would give it a shot by using a relatively new method of glazing it with honey mustard, sprinkling it with brown sugar, & broiling it until it has a nice, adhered crust. It turned out fab! Who would've known that everyone would like it so much. I bought a 4lb brined/pickled corned beef brisket thinking that it was enough for us to all eat dinner, but still have some leftover for sandwiches. Boy was I wrong... all four pounds were gone in about 15 minutes flat. I have actually already gotten requests to make it again this weekend.... this time though I will prepare ahead and make extra so I can make some killer grilled Rueben sandwiches to enjoy at lunch the next day!! Enjoy :)

honey mustard glaze + a lot of fresh cracked pepper

perfectly glazed

it doesn't get much better than that, y'all
see the tangy honey mustard drizzle-- perfection.

For the Honey Mustard Glaze:
2T Honey Mustard
2T Extremely Grainy Mustard
1T Dijon Mustard + 1T Mayo
3-4T Light Brown Sugar (depending on how sweet you like, but you will need some on top)
Pinch of Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper (the more… the better)
A Sprinkling of Ground Cloves or Freshly Grated Nutmeg
¼C Reserved Cooking Water (that you used to boil the corned beef)

 For the Corned Beef:
1 4lb Already Prepared Corned Beef
Included Spice Packet + 2T Mulling Spices
Water, For Boiling (enough to cover the beef)

1. To Make the Honey Mustard Glaze: Whisk together the honey mustard, grainy mustard, Dijon Mustard, Mayo, and Brown Sugar… along with a pinch of salt & pepper. Set it aside while you boil your corned beef.
2. Prepping the Corned Beef: Bring a big pot of water to a boil and add the included spice packet, as well as the mulling spices. Let it boil for about 2-3 minutes, and then gently place the corned beef into the hot water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 45-50 minutes per pound. I cooked mine for roughly three hours before removing it and glazing it (keep in mind that if the meat is fork tender, then it is done and no longer needs to be boiled). Once it is done boiling, remove the corned beef to a paper towel lined plate and dry it off as best as you can, if there is any excess moisture it can cause the glaze to slip off instead of caramelize.
3. Broiling the Beef: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a pan with a Silpat. Place the dried-off corned beef onto the pan and liberally spoon half of the honey mustard mixture all over the top of the cut of meat. You can also use a pastry brush to help you get spaces that the spoon won’t reach. Lightly sprinkle the top with some more brown sugar and ground cloves, and a little bit of salt before covering the entire thing with a decent layer of fresh cracked pepper (we love a lot of pepper, especially when it comes to this cut of meat, so you can do as little or as much as you want). Now that is has been completely glazed, place it into the oven and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the honey mustard adheres to the beef and becomes somewhat sticky.
4. During that time, pour in about 1 ladle of the corned beef boiling liquid into your remaining honey mustard. This will thin the mixture out quite a bit, but you are going to drizzle it all over the sliced beef once it is done cooking. This means it will be extra flavorful & extremely moist, but not covered in globs of sauce.
5. Serving the Corned Beef: Remove the glazed corned beef from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Now, I know many of you do not have a crème brulee torch, but this is the perfect utensil to brown the outer area of the corned beef, so that the glaze is perfectly browned and not burnt (you can use your broiler, but you will risk burning it if you don’t keep an eye out for it). After resting, thinly slice the glazed corned beef and drizzle with the remaining half of your thinned-out honey mustard, all over every slice. Serve with some cabbage and potatoes!!