Posts tagged ‘Holiday’

April 19, 2016

Brisket for the Holidays


My culinary skills have been put to the test over the last few weeks. I’m back to work, though not full-time yet, I’m no longer able to shop day-to-day for dinners. I never took for granted my freedom to be creative in the kitchen, but there were definitely times my judgement was clearly clouded – because you know it’s completely normal to go to three different places to buy ingredients for one weeknight dinner, right? Don’t we all do that? I blame the endless resources where I live. All the beautiful farms and local markets have made it difficult to not take advantage of all that deliciousness.

I am now faced with the challenge (like most families), of cooking one night to feed us for three. I used to do this years ago when I was working, but let’s just say I’ve been off my game. So here I am now, Sunday nights, armed with cookbooks, looking through recipe sites and contemplating using the crock pot (this part is huge). I bought my slow cooker on a whim because everyone is always saying how much they love it. I made a couple of things and they all tasted the same (blah). Alas, it’s remained in the closet. We’ll revisit that another time, but please do share any favorite slow cooker recipes – I’d love to try them. Maybe it’s time to give that crock pot a second chance.

My next cooking challenge is Passover. I say send the kids out to find the matzoh and pour me a glass of wine. My grandfather used to always like to rush through things. While other families spent hours reading the Haggadah, enjoying the traditions of the holiday, our seder went something like this: Locust, blood, frogs, etc.. drink the wine. The Jews crossed the desert, drink the wine. It was hot, drink the wine. Where’s the matzoh? Drink the wine. Then he’d ask where the food was. Our whole seder might have lasted 30 minutes. Boy did I think I was lucky when I was a kid.

For years now, I’ve been making this brisket recipe for Passover. Not only does it taste amazing, it might be the easiest entrée you can make for entertaining, ever. Only four ingredients and a few minutes (literally) to put the whole thing together. You’ll be on the couch in no time, relaxing with the family. No fuss for sure! This brisket is great for any holiday or gathering where you need to feed a crowd and don’t want to be bothered with basting, braising, checking on or worrying about your main course.

I was given this recipe at least 10 years ago from a friends mother. I have no idea where it originated, but here it is. You will thank me when you make this for your next holiday. Delicious, easy and a crowd pleaser. Leftovers are even better!


1 – 6lb flat cut brisket
1 – 32oz jar (or bag) of sauerkraut, partly drained
1 – 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 – 16oz box dark brown sugar
Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the brisket in a roasting pan that is large enough for the meat to lay completely flat. Sprinkle some kosher salt and pepper all over the meat.


Pour the sauerkraut over the brisket and spread it evenly.


Pour the tomatoes with their liquid over the sauerkraut – break up the tomatoes a little bit.


Sprinkle the box of brown sugar over the tomatoes.


Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 3 1/2hrs. No need to check on it.


Remove the foil when it’s finished and slice. Serve with the sauerkraut mixture on the side.


It’s really good with mashed potatoes!



November 3, 2014

Grandma Ruth’s Pot Roast Revisited


I am long overdue for a new post. No excuses here, just time flying by too quickly. I’m grateful for my Facebook page, where I can share photos of random dinners and interesting tidbits. Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter) has become a bit of a cop-out for me. Just snap a pic of dinner with my iPhone and share. Couldn’t be easier, but it’s absent much thought or creativity, that’s for sure. Sitting down to share something special, with a recipe and some better quality photos (taken with a real camera), now that’s why I started this whole blogging thing in the first place.

With October behind us and rumor has it, our inevitable journey into the Polar Vortex, I thought I’d revitalize my grandmother’s pot roast recipe. When there’s a chill in the air or a Jewish holiday upon us, Ruth’s famous pot roast is in order. Not to sound too brazen, but it’s the best! It would be impossible for me to recall every pot roast she made us. There were many. Each tasting exactly the same. I have to say, after finding a few copies of the recipe in my archives, narrowing it down to this, the result is a taste of my childhood… just perfect.

How I got an actual recipe from my grandmother in writing is amazing. Years ago, when she was cooking and I asked for a recipe, she’d often list quantities of ingredients as “just a little” or “some.” Isn’t that how all grandmothers cook? I must have gotten her on a good day when she was willing to translate “a little” to an actual measurement. Thank you Grandma!

For those of you who love a hearty roast from time to time, I urge you to give this a try. I suspect someone out there might even be able to figure out how to make this in a slow cooker. If you do, please share. I just took the plunge and bought one.



4lb rump roast (or bottom round roast)
8 carrots, cut in large pieces
3 onions, halved then quartered
1 green bell pepper, cut into large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
2 packets beef bouillon (or 2 cubes)

Sprinkle each side of the roast generously with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Heat a heavy large dutch oven on the stove. Add a little olive oil to the pan and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.


Add the onions to the pot and brown them gently over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Put the meat back in the pot and add the carrots, green pepper, soy sauce, ketchup, diced tomatoes (with the liquid) and the bouillon. Stir everything around and add enough water to the pot to go about halfway up the sides of the meat. Bring the pot to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 4 hours. Periodically spoon the juice over the meat while it’s cooking. You’ll know it’s done when it’s very tender.


To serve, remove the roast from the pot and slice. Add the slices back into the pot so they sit in the gravy for a few minutes and serve.


Delicious with roasted potatoes or better yet, mashed potatoes. I know there are recipes that add potatoes to the pot to cook along with the roast, like a stew, but that wasn’t part of our ancient family secret. Feel free to do so. It would be very good.


* The meat will seem huge before it cooks. It’s amazing how much it shrinks when it’s cooking. I would say this feeds 4-6, depending on how thinly you slice it. I should also mention that the gravy this makes is thin, more of an au jus consistency. You could thicken it if you prefer, but Ruth’s traditional pot roast was not in a thick gravy.

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