They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but here I am, an old dog when it comes to certain recipes, telling you that I have learned a new trick, and it is good. The beef brisket recipe I make came from my mother, who got it from her mother, and except for updating the braising wine from sweet to dry, I've stuck by that recipe for more than 30 years. But. A few weeks ago, while driving home from the local apple orchard, I had a brisket epiphany. Why not, I thought, combine wine and cider in the braise? When I got home, the (wine) cupboard was bare, so I moved on to Plan B, a cider-and-herb combination with onion and garlic. Wow. I won't say I'll never go back to my grandmother's recipe, but I'm definitely putting this apple cider brisket into frequent rotation.
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Folks in Hatch, New Mexico, home of the famous Hatch green chile peppers and the annual festival that celebrates them, might not give first prize to my New Englander's version of a green chile cheeseburger, but the rest of you will swoon. For my husband Ted, and for Chelsea, my summer intern, and for me, it was love at first bite -- love at every juicy bite. I mix two pantry staples, canned fire-roasted chiles (from the supermarket) and shredded cheese, in with the beef, which keeps it moist. Then, I kick things up with a slightly-spicy slather on the bun, and a slice of melted pepper jack cheese on top. If any of my friends who've recently moved to New Mexico are reading this, how about a trade: this amazing recipe for a few cans of Hatch chiles? You know where I live.
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If you're a fan of shredded meat -- ropa vieja, gumbo ya-ya, pulled pork -- you're going to love Anupy Singla's version of nihari, a Pakistani shredded beef dish, redolent with cinnamon and garam masala, and made in the slow cooker. Do not fear the long list of ingredients! You have all of them in your pantry, and you need do nothing except toss them into the slow cooker. Set to low, go to work, and come home at the end of the day to an amazing Indian feast. If you have a rice cooker that switches automatically to a keep-warm setting, start some rice to cook at the same time.
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In football, when the quarterback lets loose and throws a pass all the way down the field, it's called a "hail Mary" pass. Sometimes, someone running at full speed manages to catch that pass and run it in for a touchdown. Most of the time, that doesn't happen, but in football, as in cooking, every now and then you just have to take a chance and hope it works out. This red curry beef was a bit of a hail Mary. I was limited to ingredients I had on hand, as this week's snow storm kept me stuck in the house. I began cooking the ground beef before I knew where the dish was going, and when I found some leftover sauce from a curried tofu dish in the refrigerator, I tossed it into the pan. Voila! Red curry beef so good I made a second batch to stash in the freezer. Serve it over rice, if you wish, but I liked it as more of a salad.
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