Friday, March 29, 2013

Celebating Passover with a Traditional Brisket Recipe

I apologize for being a bit behind on sharing some Passover recipes. I know that some of you are celebrating Passover (happy Passover!) and wanted some Seder recipes that you could make for your friends and family.

Reggie's mother-in-law Roz was sweet enough to share her family's brisket recipe with us. It takes a bit of time to make (as anyone who's made brisket will attest to), but it sounds simply delicious. If you try it out, be sure to leave us a note below or send us an email at
Roz's Passover Brisket Recipe

Homemade brisket
Picture courtesy of

3 ½4 lb (1350 - 1800 g) fresh flat brisket
4 large carrots, peeled and cut up
Mix together 1 cup of ginger ale (240 ml), 1/3 cup (80 ml) ketchup, 1 package of Lipton Dry Onion Soup Mix, and a ½ cup (60 g) of golden raisins (optional)

1. Set the oven to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C, or gas mark 5).

2. In a large roasting pan, place the brisket fat side down. Place the cut up carrots all around it.
3. Pour the liquid mixture over the entire pan.

4. Get a piece of parchment paper and tin foil and cover the brisket tightly. Cook for at least 2 hours without disturbing it.

5. After 2 hours take it out and on one corner of the pan, peek to make sure nothing is burning. Put it back in the oven for at least 3-3 ½ hours. 

6. Take it out. Put a fork in at an angle. If the fork goes in like butter, it’s done. If there’s hesitation, pop it back in the oven.

7. Take it out again. Put the whole pan on a rack and let it cool down. Keep it covered to prevent it from drying out.

8. Once it’s cool enough, put down more foil/parchment paper, take the brisket out, place the meat on the parchment, and cover it up tight.

9. Put all of the juices, carrots, etc. in a jar. Put it in the fridge overnight.

10. The next day, take the brisket out and slice it thin (you can’t slice it hot, it'll just fall apart). Keep the slices together and place the whole unit back into the roasting pan.

11. Take out the liquid. Fat will have formed on the top. Break it up and throw the fat away.

12. Pour the mixture back over the sliced brisket. Make sure to get some of it between the slices so everything is covered in liquid.
13. Cover it back up and warm it in the oven. Serve.


If you have a recipe that you want to share with us, send it in! We're always looking to try something new and would love to feature you and your recipe on SPOON.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Southern Cooking: Reggie's Molasses and Honey Pork Chops

Molasses and Honey Pork Chop

I know last week I promised I would prepare a Passover meal for the Jewish holiday, but time was not on my side. Instead, I want to share with you a fantastic concoction based on my partner’s brother’s marinade for outdoor grilling.

Last summer, my “brother-in-law” Alan, introduced me to a delicious molasses-infused marinade he created specifically for grilling chicken, pork chops, and steak. When I tell you the meat he grilled had a mind-blowing flavor, that’s an understatement.

Creating a unique marinade for meat can be difficult. You have to experiment with interesting ingredients that are not necessarily complementary, and hope you find the right balance of flavors that will bring your cooking skill to the next level.

Alan found the perfect mix of seasonings and combined them with the distinctively sweet taste of molasses to make super-tender and absolutely delicious grilled meat.

Recently, I took Alan’s marinade recipe and adjusted it so I could cook one of my favorite meats, pork chops, year round. I've tried preparing my mom’s recipe for pork chops, but I've had trouble replicating the same moist and juicy flavor. I won’t give up, and when I get it right, I swear I’ll share it with you.

In many ways Southern-style cooking, to me, is taking something great and reworking it to make it even better! My mom, always told my sister and me, “You need to work it out, baby, and make it happen!” She wasn't necessarily talking about preparing meals, but it totally applies when cooking.

My reworking of Alan’s molasses-based marinade has resulted in a sweet discovery! I've added a touch of real honey and Sazón Goya seasoning to the mix, and I must say, my molasses and honey pork chops are sinfully scrumptious. Thanks, Alan, for your grilling marinade recipe, and for giving me a solid base for making fantastic pork chops all year round.

Making Molasses and Honey Pork Chops

Southern Cooking: Molasses and Honey Pork Chops

 ½’’ to ¾’’ (13mm - 19mm) thick pork chops on the bone 
1 package of Sazón Goya seasoning (available in the international foods aisle of most supermarkets)
1 tablespoon (8 g) of onion powder
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
¼ teaspoon of pepper
¼ teaspoon of salt
½ tablespoon of molasses
½ tablespoon of honey
Broiler pan
1 Gallon-sized (3.78 L) freezer bag

  1. Rinse pork chops gently under cool water. Dry each pork chop off with a paper towel and place aside.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and a package of Sazón Goya seasoning into a freezer bag.
  3. Place the pork chops in the freezer bag with the seasoning and mix thoroughly. Be sure to mix well so each pork chop is coated with seasoning.
  4. Place ½ tablespoon of molasses and ½ tablespoon of honey into the bag and mix so that the honey and molasses coat each pork chop.
  5. Seal the freezer bag and place in the refrigerator. (I would recommend letting the pork chops marinate overnight, until they are ready to be cooked the next day.)
  6. Before cooking the pork chops, place ¼ cup (120 ml) of water in the bottom of the broiling pan and cover the top with foil. Cut holes in the foil to allow for drainage.
  7. Preheat the oven to low broil, set the oven rack in the center of the oven, then cook the pork chops for 12 minutes on each side. Set a timer to make sure you do not overcook either side.
  8. Remove pork chops from oven and serve with sides. (See my earlier posts for side ideas. The OMG Mac and Cheese and Sweet Potatoes recipes posted earlier work very well with pork chops.)
  9. Enjoy!

Ingredients for Molasses and Honey Pork chops

Putting the pork chops into the seasoning

Adding molasses to the pork chops

Delicious pork chops

Ready to cook!

My next several posts will include making Thelma’s famous fried chicken, collard greens, and sweet potato pie…. Oh yeah! Happy cooking!

Don’t forget, if you try any of my recipes, let us know how your dish turned out.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Turkey, Artichoke, and Tomato Tapas

Turkey, Artichoke, and Tomato Tapas
Excerpted from the Don't Break Your Heart Cookbook by Shara Aaron and Monica Bearden

Turkey, Artichoke, and Tomato Tapas

"It's rumored that tapas originated because King Alfonso X of Spain had a disease that required him to eat small meals with sips of wine."

2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil
1 pound (450 g) turkey tenderloins, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) medallions
1 (6-ounce) (170-g) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, halved; liquid reserved
2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) red pepper flakes
1 large clove garlic, minced
6 to 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and saute for 4 minutes per side, or until turkey is golden brown and no longer pink in center. A instant-read thermometer, inserted in thickest portion of tenderloin, should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, combine artichoke liquid, vinegar, oregano, pepper flakes, and garlic. Fold turkey and artichokes into mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. Before serving, fold in tomatoes.


Looking for some heart-healthy recipes for you and your family? I've got the book for you. Order your copy of the Don't Break Your Heart Cookbook today.

Don't Break Your Heart Cookbook

Learn how to select, cook and flavor your food for heart healthy, delicious meals the whole family will enjoy.
Shara Aaron, M.S., R.D., and Monica Bearden, R.D., have shared their passion and expertise in nutrition, flavorful food, and cardiovascular health to create a book of 125 unique and delicious recipes compiled from a variety of sources, including chefs with a background in nutrition, that not only tantalize taste buds, but also address the needs of a heart healthy diet. 
Nutrient rich ingredients full of flavor were the criteria for recipe selection. Saturated fat and sodium is limited, but what makes this book unique is that the recipes will make use of the growing body of research showing that prevention and wellness can be achieved with the use of heart healthy fats, fiber, certain vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals.
Each chapter focuses on an ingredient or collection of ingredients and their evidence for heart health and wellness. Nutrition facts for each recipe are included, along with sidebars and tidbits of information on the ingredients regarding their healthfulness as well as tips for buying and cooking these ingredients in general.
At the back of the book are pantry makeover suggestions and 10 days of menus using the recipes to help the reader follow an overall heart healthy diet and manage their weight.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Preserving With Pomona's Pectin - Honeyed Plum-Cardamom Jelly

I have always loved jams and jellies. And since I put in a plum tree in my backyard a couple of years ago, I was super excited to see that Preserving with Pomona's Pectin had a recipe for a plum jelly. It even contains my favorite spice, cardamom!

Honeyed Plum-Cardamom Jelly

Pomona's Universal Pectin

Having started this project with a complete lack of knowledge on how to can/preserve, here is my Canning 101 for you.

Canning 101

I knew nothing of canning/preserving when I started this project. Nor did I have anything except for some jars, a package of Pomona's Pectin, and the ingredients (plums, honey, cardamom, lemon juice...)

So here's the deal. You need to SANITIZE. Take this seriously. Boil all of the equipment you're going to use (the jars, lids, spoons for stirring, etc) for at least 2 minutes before starting. Clean down all of your countertops with vinegar and water. Wash your hands. This may seem super obvious to some of you, but don't play around with this or you'll up with bad jam/jelly. Let the jars and equipment air dry on a clean towel while you prepare the recipe.

Then follow the recipe below. Tada! Jelly :)

Honeyed Plum-Cardamom Jelly
Excerpted from Preserving with Pomona's Pectin

4 pounds (1.8 kg) ripe, sweet plums
1 1/4 cups (296 ml) water
1 1/2 teaspoons (3.5 g) ground cardamom
1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
5 teaspoons (24.6 ml) calcium water *
1 cup (340 g) honey
5 teaspoons (15 g) Pomona's Pectin powder

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level. ) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use. 

2. Rinse, remove pits, and quarter plums, and then combine in a saucepan with the 1 1/4 cups (296 ml) of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered for 7 to 15 minutes, or until fruit is soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mash plums.

Fresh, ripe plums

Chopped plums

Cooking plums

3. Transfer mashed fruit to a damp jelly bag or layered cheesecloth, suspend over a bowl, and allow juice to drip until dripping stopsat least two hours. Discard fruit pulp or save for another use.

Straining the jelly

4. Prepare your jars, lids, and bands; heat up your canner; and sterilize your jars.

Sanitizing the equipment

Letting everything air dry on a clean towel

5. Measure 4 cups (946 ml) of the fruit juice (if you're short on juice, add some boiling water to the mashed fruit and let it drip for a bit longer until you get enough) and combine in a saucepan with cardamom, lemon juice, and calcium water*

6. In a separate bowl, combine honey and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Preparing the pectin and honey to add to the jelly

7. Bring fruit juice to a full boil over high heat, and then slowly add pectin-honey mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the jelly comes back up to a boil. Once the jelly returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.

The recipe from Preserving With Pomona's Pectin

8. Can your jelly. Remove jars from canner and ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (6 mm) of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if necessary). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

Ready for canning

All done canning

Jelly time!

* Calcium water is made my adding 1/2 teaspoon of white calcium powder (included in the Pomona's Pectin package) in a 1/2 cup water. Put it into a clear jar with a lid and shake well. You can store this in the refrigerator for a couple of months. You'll only need a bit for this recipe.

Calcium water
This is my calcium water.


Preserving Pomona's Pectin

If you've ever made jam or jelly at home, you know most recipes require more sugar than fruit—oftentimes 4 to 7 cups!—causing many people to look for other ways to preserve more naturally and with less sugar. Pomona’s Pectin is the answer to this canning conundrum. Unlike other popular pectins, which are activated by sugar, Pomona’s is a sugar- and preservative-free citrus pectin that does not require sugar to jell. As a result, jams and jellies can be made with less, little, or no sugar at all and also require much less cooking time than traditional recipes, allowing you to create jams that are not only healthier and quicker to make, but filled with more fresh flavor! If you haven’t tried Pomona’s already (prepare to be smitten!), you can easily find the pectin at your local natural foods store, Williams-Sonoma, or online.

In this first official Pomona’s Pectin cookbook, you’ll learn how to use this revolutionary product and method to create marmalades, preserves, conserves, jams, jellies, and more. You’ll find endless combinations sure to delight all year round!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Millicent Souris' Amazing Apple Pie Recipe

And without further ado, here is the must-try-right-now apple pie recipe from How to Build a Better Pie by Millicent Souris.

Find out how SPOON fan, Jackie, did with this recipe.

Read my interview with Millicent Souris here.

Apple Pie
Excerpted from How to Build a Better Pie by Millicent Souris.

Apple Pie Recipe from Millicent Souris
Double Cheddar Cheese Crust

zest of 1 lemon and juice of 2
2 pounds (910 g) apples, about 8 medium size
1/2 cup (115 g) packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 knob raw ginger, about 1 inch (2.5 cm), peeled
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (about 30 grates)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated cinnamon stick (about 20 grates)
1/4 teaspoon ground mace 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (16 g) thickener of your choice

Optional: shot of maple syrup or whiskey           

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C, gas mark 7).

Bottom Crust

Roll out your chilled bottom crust to 1⁄8-inch (3 mm) thick and about 13 inches (33 cm) in diameter. Place in your pie pan. Trim the edges so there is no more than 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) of overhang. Lift and crimp the overhang along the rim of the pie pan. Chill the bottom crust in the refrigerator or freezer.


Juice 1 lemon and put it in a bowl with 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) water. Peel the apples and cut them into slices no thicker than 1⁄4 inch (6 mm). Put in the lemon juice water and give it all a toss so all of the surface areas of the apple slices come in contact with the lemon water. This eliminates the oxidation of the apples; that is, they won’t turn brown. This step can be skipped if you are immediately baking the pie, but if you are preparing the apples earlier than 30 minutes before baking, this step is good to do. Drain the lemon juice and add the brown and white sugars, salt, ginger, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, vanilla, and thickener. Pull your chilled bottom crust out of the refrigerator.

If using a pie bird, place it, beak up, in the middle of the bottom crust with the apples around the bird. If not
using a pie bird, put the filling in the crust.

Top Crust

Pull the chilled crust disk from the refrigerator and roll out as you did the bottom crust. Place the filled pie
pan adjacent to the top crust and treat it the same way, quickly flip it in half, and lift on top of the pie. Lift the other half over the pie. If there is a pie bird, just punch its beak through the top crust to vent. Lift the edges of the top crust so it lies on top of the apples, as opposed to being stretched across. Trim the edges to be flush with the rim and pinch together. If the crust sticks to your fingertips, put your fingertips in your bench
flour. If the crusts don’t adhere to each other, wet your fingertips a bit.


Wash your crust and sprinkle it with 4 tablespoons of sugar. Cut slits in the top crust, piercing through it so steam can be released. Create your aluminum foil barrier and place atop the pie. You want it to shield the crust from the heat, but you do not want to press the foil down upon the crust because it will stick to it and
come up with the foil when you remove it.


Bake the pie at 425°F (220°C, gas mark 7) for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the foil, rotate the pie
180 degrees, and lower your oven to 350°F (180°C, gas mark 4) for the following 30 minutes. The pie is  done when you can see that the bottom crust is golden, about an hour total.

Pull the pie and let it cool for at least an hour.

Yield: 1 pie (8 servings)


How to Build a Better Pie by Millicent Souris

Whether you want to try your hand at Apple Pie or Chicken Fat and Pea Pie, How to Build a Better Pie will provide everything you need to know. Learn the skills, practice the techniques, master the recipes, and build yourself a better pie.

Inside, author Millicent Souris shows you:

—Solid foundations: how to make and roll out the crust, including a basic crust and alternative crusts such as crumble, shortbread, and cheddar cheese
—The practical equipment basics and essential pie-making tips that you really need
—The methods behind a lattice and a full top crust, and how to tell which one to use
—Fruit pies, from Rhubarb Pie to Cherry Pie to Apricot Tomatillo Pie, and beyond
—Staple pies, including Walnut Maple Pie, Corn Buttermilk Pie, and Chocolate Olive Oil Pie
—Savory pies, such as Oyster Pie, Lamb Pie, and Chicken Pot Pie
—How to go small: hand pies, turnovers, and galettes 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fan Fridays: How to Build a Better Pie

It's Friday and that means I'm chatting with one of you about a food, technique, or book that you just love. Today's fan is a pie baker named Jackie. Jackie baked up an apple pie from our book How to Build a Better Pie. Here's what she had to say about the experience:

What is it about pies that you love the most?

I love the flaky crust and the crunch that you get from pies. Flaky crust happens to be my favorite and I like tasting the butter in them. I love the crunch that you get from the crust. I think that the crunch gives you different textures to the pie when you eat it with the fillings. I love apples, so I love apple pie, especially with Fuji apples, which I used in my apple pie. I got the opinions of 5 sweet tooths, from 5 different guys. Two loved the apple pie, one wanted the Dutch apple pie recipe in the book, and 2 others liked the crust the most. My mother and sister loved everything about it and my friend Steve wants me to make him a blueberry pie from the book.

How did you decide what recipe to try first?

I used the most basic pie to make, which was apple pie. Like I said before, apple pie is my favorite. I did try different recipes from there like peach pie, peach blueberry pie, and I want to try the Oxtail Pot Pie for my husband, who loves oxtail.

What was the easiest part of the recipe?

I liked making the crust and using the butter and cold water. I did like baking the whole pie in the oven. The smelling coming from it was to die for.

What was the hardest part?

I think the hardest part was peeling the skin off of the fruit. I cut myself with the peeler a few times.

Did you learn any new techniques/tricks?

Yes, I learned to make a better pie crust and how to bake it properly.

Would you make the pie again?

Definitely. I like how it’s easy to make the crust and build the pies so that I could finish it early and let it cool down enough for a party later.  

.... and since no post is complete with some fun how-to photos, here are some shots from Jackie's pie-making experience.

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

How to make the perfect pie

Get the recipe for Millicent's Cheese Pie Crust here for a unique twist to a traditional apple pie.

Read my interview with pie expert, Millicent Souris

How to Build a Better Pie by Millicent Souris

Whether you want to try your hand at Apple Pie or Chicken Fat and Pea Pie, How to Build a Better Pie will provide everything you need to know. Learn the skills, practice the techniques, master the recipes, and build yourself a better pie.

Inside, author Millicent Souris shows you:

—Solid foundations: how to make and roll out the crust, including a basic crust and alternative crusts such as crumble, shortbread, and cheddar cheese
—The practical equipment basics and essential pie-making tips that you really need
—The methods behind a lattice and a full top crust, and how to tell which one to use
—Fruit pies, from Rhubarb Pie to Cherry Pie to Apricot Tomatillo Pie, and beyond
—Staple pies, including Walnut Maple Pie, Corn Buttermilk Pie, and Chocolate Olive Oil Pie
—Savory pies, such as Oyster Pie, Lamb Pie, and Chicken Pot Pie
—How to go small: hand pies, turnovers, and galettes