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Russian Dressing

3/3/2021 – This dressing was made to go with the pastrami made for Kelley, Piper, and Olivia’s spring break visit. It was based on what we made in 2017

Ingredient2017 recipeAbout 2X
mayonnaise1 Cup2 cups
ketchup1/2 Cup ketchup1 cup
Siricha1/4 cup1/2 cup
white or red wine vinegar2 Tbsp1/3 cup
sugar1/2 tsp 1 tsp
garlic powder1/2 tsp1 tsp
paprika smoky spanish1/2 tsp1 tsp
Worcestershire sauce2-3 shakes1/8 cup
white pepper1 tsp2 tsp
horseradish1-1/2 Tsp1 tbsp
dill pickles chopped2-3 tbsp1/3 cup

Corned Beef Pastrami, March 2021

3/2/2021 – Kelley and the girls are arriving in 12 days and will be here for Spring Break week. She talks often about the Rueben Sandwiches we made with my homemade Pastrami in Houston. So, this prep will follow the last one that is the post Corn Beef-Pastrami–5th Time. Hard to believe that was in 2017.

This time it is made with two small points bought trimmed from Winn-Dixie. I did a bit more trimming to remove some heavy hard fat layers but not much.

The Curing Calculator provided the following that was mixed and shaken on evenly.

  • Meat – 2229 gm (5.06 lbs.)
  • Cure #1 @6.25% – 5.56 grams – Measured with small accurate digital scale.
  • Salt @ 2% – 39.36 grams
  • Sugar at 1% – 22.29 grams
  • Total – 2296.22 grams

Then mixed the following and sprinkled it evenly over the meat and on top of the above cure & seasoning.

  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder – (wish I had had granulated and used 1½ T)
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
  • 3 Bay Leaves chopped small
  • 1 tsp rounded ground Coriander
  • ½ tsp rounded Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1½ Tbsp cracked black pepper.

Put them into separate one-gallon zip lock bags and into the outside refrigerator to cure for two weeks; i.e. until Tuesday, March 16th.

3/16/2021 – Pastrami Rub & Smoked

Prepared and rubbed on the Pastrami Rub made of:

  • Part 1 – Roasted spices
    • 2T course ground black peppercorns
    • 1T Coriander Seed
    • 1 tsp Allspice Berries
    • 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seed

Put the seed part of the rub (above) into a hot skillet and roast while stirring until very fragrant. Then, with the seeds still in the skillet, pounded them with the handle of the metal meat tenderizing mallet until all the berries were broken. Then put them into a heavy glass measuring cup and added:

  • Part 2
    • 1 tsp heaping dry Thyme Leaves
    • 1 tsp heaping of ground Bay Leaves
    • 1 tsp Juniper Berries, (Mary counted 22 berries) and chopped. This was the first time to try chopping.
    • 1T dry minced Onion1T dry minced Garlic

Mixed will then sprinkled on all sides of the two pieces of corned beef. Let rubbed meat sit out for 30-45 minutes until MES was ready. Note – Did not rinse off the rub/cure and added this rub on top of the rub/cure mixture.

1:30 PM – Put it into the MES that was preheated to 250. Smoke was ChefMaster Pecan pellets in the Amazen tray. Note – The 2017 smoke resulted in the point being overdone but at the correct internal temp. This cook will be at 220° to hopefully be more tender.

6:30 – IT in one is ~165 and the other is ~170. Pulled and wrapped to cool.

11/12/2017 – Both pieces have been wrapped in foil in the refer. Today we sliced it thin with the new slicer and had Reubens made with the point. The point was cold so that likely contributed to it seeming dry and overdone. But, it was dry and overcooked. It tasted good and was spicy hot that tasted of black pepper. Not too much but distinctive.The f

The full pepper hit likely was due to having a lot of the second rub plus the chucks were thin thereby having a higher ratio of seasoned surface to interior meat.

Roasted Chicken Over Cabbage

2/17/2021 – This great entree is truly a Mary & Tom Original stemming from having a lot of cabbage from the garden and chicken thighs thawed out. So, we decided to put the chicken over the cabbage sliced into 1″ thick pieces, add bacon on top of the chicken, then roast it. That sounded great and it turned out that way.

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Our Cajun Shrimp & Grits

2/14/2021 – This Valentine’s Dinner turned out well with Mary raving about how good it was. It was based on our similar prep on 1/26/2016 here that was inspired by Chef Elliot. This cook simplifies the seasoning by relying on Kit Whol’s Creole Seasoning. The dish is very rich and is one of our Favorites.

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Texas Chili ToTry2

This Texas chili recipe is authentic, meaty, just the right amount of spicy, and not a chili bean in sight. Learn how to make your own Texas chili. Author: Mike Hultquist from here.


  • 3 ancho peppers
  • 3 pasilla peppers
  • 3 New Mexican dried peppers See my NOTES above on the dried pepper choices – I prefer a variety
  • 2.5 pounds beef chuck cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers chopped (optional for extra heat – use extra jalapenos for milder)
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock or use a dark beer
  • 2.5 cups water + more as needed (or use chicken or beef stock, or beer)
  • 2 tablespoons masa harina corn flour, for thickening, if desired
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • FOR SERVING: Chopped onion, spicy chili flakes, freshly chopped cilantro, lime wedges, crema or sour cream, Fritos or tortilla chips, whatever else you desire


  • Start your chili paste first by lightly toasting the dried peppers in a dry pan about a minute or 2 per side. This will help to release the oils.
  • Remove from heat and cool enough to handle. Remove the stems and pour out the seeds.
  • Soak the peppers in hot water for 20 minutes, or until they are nice and soft.
  • Add them to a food processor with 1/2 to 1 cup of the soaking water and a bit of salt to taste. Process until nice and smooth. Set aside for now.
  • Add the cubed beef to a large bowl and toss with the cumin and a bit of salt and pepper. Make sure everything is nice and coated.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot and add the seasoned beef. Cook 6-7 minutes, searing the beef all over. Remove the beef and set aside.
  • Add the remaining olive oil along with the jalapenos, serranos and onion. Cook them down about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir. Cook another minute.
  • Return the beef to the pot and stir in the reserved chili paste. Cook it for 2-3 minutes to let the flavor develop a bit.
  • Stir in the beef broth (or beer), 2 cups of water, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and masa and bring to a quick boil. If you are using the optional additions (see my NOTES above), add them in now.
  • Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beef is very tender. It could take longer if you are using tougher cuts of beef (see NOTES above). Give it a stir once every 30 minutes or so. If it becomes too thick, add in a ¼ cup of water and stir. Thicken with more masa.

Southwestern Kraut

2/??/2021 – This first-time kraut with cumin was inspired by the recipe here.


  • 2 heads of green cabbage from our garden
  • 2 bunches of green onions from our garden
  • 1 large bunch of cilantro from our garden
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded if less heat is desired
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1.6% salt by weight

Fermented Daikon Radishes

1/21/2021 – This is our first fermentation of Daikon Radishes this year. They were pulled, cleaned, and prepared today in the form of a long spear as opposed to last year when we did them as coins. This ferment also uses a 7% brine as suggested from last year’s limp coins made with a 6% brine. The result was crunchy but a little salty. All in all a success some would say but Mary said they smell really bad and I did not care much for the taste. This post was not deleted to record that 7% brine worked ok and the links below to brine calculators.

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