I’m not sure when I saw someone mention Crio Bru as an alternative to coffee, it may have been a recipe post at Balloon-Juice, but I thought it sounded interesting, so I went in search of some to try. It wasn’t easy to find.
I looked around locally at all the natural food groceries and one of my clients is actually a coffee shop, so I asked there, no one had heard of it, much less stocked it. Finally, I turned to Amazon and ordered it and a stainless steel, double-walled french press. All the reviews recommended using a french press, though you can also brew it. I tried both methods and definitely had more flavor with the french press version.
Crio Bru is roasted and ground cocoa beans that you brew like coffee. It has very little caffeine, a rich, dark chocolate flavor and 10 calories. I tried it black, with cream and with a touch of sugar. Black was by far my favorite, with a rich creamy texture and dark chocolate flavor. The cream seemed to dilute it too much and the sugar seemed unnecessary. It makes for a nice evening warm beverage when I don’t want to drink caffeine before bed.
To make it, you use 2 tbsp of the chocolate per 6 oz of water (I use two heaping tbsps and 8 oz). Place the chocolate in the french press, add very hot water (I usually boil it and then it cools to about the right temperature as I measure it), stir well (I use a chopstick), cover and let steep for 4 minutes. Then press the plunger down SLOWLY and serve.
If you want to brew it, you need to have a coffee maker that has a bold setting, otherwise it’s very weak.
I highly recommend it for chocolate lovers who want an alternative to hot chocolate or coffee. Yum.
Well look at that, it’s Friday and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have already begun. I think that means we’ll revisit last year’s recipes, because I was at the store yesterday and briskets were half priced and I bought two, a tip and a flat. I’ll be doing the slow-cooker method first. Then I’ll think about grilling or pressure cooking the other. Corned beef is really one of the perfect foods to do in a pressure cooker. You get a nice, tender beef and instead of mushy, colorless vegetables, you get perfectly cooked vegetables infused with that great corned beef broth flavor.
Tonight’s featured recipe uses a bit of dill pickle juice in place of some of the water and a touch of spicy brown mustard. But I saw recipes that used chicken broth, sherry or beer in place of some of the water. I think you should experiment and use what sounds good to you. I really like dill pickle juice. And I have become a big fan of Napa cabbage with my corned beef.
A lot of recipes call for 3-4 lbs of corned beef. When I was shopping, 4 lbs was the smallest piece I could find, most were 5-6 lbs. You may have to cut a piece in half, but since both the pressure cooker and slow-cooker recipes are easy, you don’t need to save corned beef and cabbage for a special occasion. Just freeze the other half for another day.
And the best part of a corned beef and cabbage dinner? Making Reuben’s with the leftovers. My mom makes the best ones, but I one up her by grilling mine Panini-style. Yum.
Are you a corned beef and cabbage household? Reuben fans? What other recipes do you have for the leftovers? Any good hash recipes? Doing anything special to celebrate your Irish (adopted or otherwise) heritage this weekend?
Now for the recipes:
JeffreyW tackles corned beef leftovers – see his gallery of Corned Beef Sandwiches here. (lots of yummy pictures at those links)
My family weighs in on their favorite ways to fix corned beef, including grilling. (click here)
And, in case you missed it, my vacation plans now include cooking lessons in exchange for a nice place to stay: Have Frying Pan, Will Travel.
Now tonight’s featured recipes:
Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Dinner:
- 3 to 4 lbs corned beef, trim the fat to about 1/4 inch
- Spices included with corned beef or the following: 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds,
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed – opt
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 – 6 medium to large potatoes, cut into four to eight pieces, peeling optional
- 4-6 carrots, sliced in half and cut into 2” lengths
- Cabbage, cut into 4 to 6 pieces
pressure cooker and cooking rack
Remove the corned beef from the brine (discarding the brine), rinse thoroughly and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker, fatty side up. [You don’t really want to brown this beef, because it’s been brined.] Sprinkle spices over the top of the beef. Add enough liquid (water or water and a combination of ONE of the following: pickle juice, chicken broth, beer or wine) to come to the top of beef, about 3-4 cups usually. Cover and bring to pressure and let cook for 1 hour. I use the cold water method to depressurize (that is when you run cold water over the pan in the sink, otherwise you can remove it from the heat and let slowly depressurize).
The key to getting the perfect corned beef and vegetables with the pressure cooker is to cook them separately. Prep the vegetables during the last 15 or so minutes of beef cooking time. Once the beef is done, put it on a cutting board, cover loosely in foil and put a towel over the whole deal.
Remove all but enough liquid to come to the bottom of the cooking rack when placed in the pressure cooker. Place potatoes first on the tray, then carrots and then cabbage, cover and bring to pressure. Cook for about 12 minutes. The vegetables will be fork tender, not mushy and the beef will be fully rested. Slice, plate and serve.
For the slow-cooker:
Place rinsed beef in the bottom of the slow-cooker, sprinkle spices, add liquid to come to the top of the beef, and cover. Cook on low for 4 hours. At the 4 hour mark, add potatoes and then carrots. Cook additional 4 hours, adding the cabbage during the last 30 minutes. With the exception of adding the vegetables, try to resist the temptation to open the lid. You need it to stay covered to properly cook. Let the meat rest, covered with foil for about 15 minutes before carving.
There you go, some easy ways to put together a nice corned beef dinner.
Interestingly last year there seemed to be a green cabbage shortage. I went to three different grocery stores and they were completely sold out. I didn’t want to use red cabbage because I don’t really like it. I decided to use Napa cabbage and really liked it, much more than green cabbage, it’s sweeter and has a more delicate flavor and now it is my cabbage of choice.
Enjoy your weekend and watch out for leprechauns… – TaMara
From frequent contributor, Joshua D:
A discussion came up on Balloon Juice about the benefits of cauliflower. Recipes got bantered about but this one made me salivate the most! My only contribution is formatting, otherwise full credit goes to Ruemara
Cauliflower Beer Cheese Soup
- 1 med onion
- 12 oz beer
- 1 pint broth (chicken is preferred, but suit your taste)
- 1 head cauliflower, cleaned & roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp salt-free seasoning
- Salt & Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
You start with sauteing onions in 1 tsp oil until translucent, add beer, broth ( I prefer chicken, since it’s clear) and all of a cleaned, roughly chopped head of cauliflower. Add garlic, salt free seasoning, and black pepper to taste. Once cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes) turn off burner and use your handy, dandy immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Mix in cheddar shreds and smoked paprika. You can also go with smoke seasoning and tortula yeast for the cheez flavour. Stir. Salt to taste. Drink up. I think that’s what I did. It was good.
Just a note – Getty is now allowing embedded images in WordPress posts, which I think is kind of fun – TaMara