The writing slowed, but the cooking didn’t.I’m five recipes behind, and in the process of a sixth and seventh. (I say “in the process” because I intended to make some muffins on Sunday but have now spent 4 straight days attempting to track down the last two ingredients for said muffins. Stay tuned for this nightmare.) So, let’s catch up.
The first was Aunt Evelyn’s Brisket (By Way of Grandma Vicki & Grandma Dorothy). Okay, sure! Gwyneth introduces it with a long, winding story about her father’s brother’s wife’s mother’s grandma or something, making sure to inform us that this person — only “related” to Gwyneth via two lateral moves in her family tree and then a jump to a totally different family’s tree — was a Sephardic Jew. This is a delightfully defensive way to begin your brisket recipe.
So, Gwyneth stole a recipe from the family of Jews her uncle married, and now we have our grubby little paws on it. (Grandma Vicki could not be reached for comment.) Then, if I can correctly interpret her very confusing and overly long introduction, she mashed that recipe up with a few other recipes taken from a few other families, and Julia Turshen (the real chef behind this book) made this brisket recipe. Let’s make it.
I bought a big, 3-pound chunk of brisket at Whole Foods, bowing to the mercy of our Amazon overlords, who still deign to allow us a taste of brisket from time to time. May the offerings to Bezos be sufficient in years to come, so that we may enjoy plentiful feasts. I rubbed it with a spice mixture that was baaaasically just paprika and salt. I then sauteed some onions and carrots and put them in the bottom of a baking pan.
Then the fun part: browning the brisket. Dropped it in the screaming-hot pan, seared it on all sides. It smelled good, of course. The dog became near-rabid.
I placed the brisket on top of the vegetables while I simmered some red wine and chicken stock in the oniony/briskety pan of juices. Poured the sauce all over the meat and veggies, covered it, and popped it in the oven. For many hours. (Which, for once, was justified; I would have never let Gwyneth live down a quick brisket recipe.)
The brisket came out smelling like the best thing my oven has ever produced. The final step, while the brisket rested, was to separate some of the sauce and vegetables and blend them. Weird, but sure. It thickened the sauce, I guess. But also gave me less vegetables to eat, which was upsetting.
To avoid just eating a plateful of meat like some sort of idiot gym bro, I made some cacio e pepe, an old standby (thanks, Gwyneth!) because I felt like having a massive pile of carbs with my meat. The resulting plate would…. not win me any points on a cooking show, but tasted really goddamned good.
The next day, I was overcome with a debilitating bout of diarrhea. I refuse to blame Grandmas Vicki or Dorothy, so Gwyneth’s gotta take the fall for this one. (Didn’t stop me from eating the brisket all week, though. That was some good brisket.)
Over the weekend, I woke up and decided, “Today is the day I make Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties.” Now, I make a pretty good breakfast. My hash is my speciality, but I’ve been known to mix it up with a breakfast sandwich or even shakshuka from time to time. So I’ve been wary of diving too deep into Gwyneth’s breakfast section, because, well, there’s some messed-up looking stuff in there. But this seemed like a safe option.
Even better, the ingredients were easy enough to find in my neighborhood: most were at the Normal Store, but I had to trek a little further down to the Fancy Store in order to find fennel seeds. A relatively small task, when it comes to these recipes.
I crushed some spices together in my mortar and pestle, opting for that instead of whatever a “Flavour Shaker” is (which she recommends, adding, “gotta love Jamie Oliver,” and I begrudgingly respect her hustling for her famous friends). Then I mixed it all together with ground turkey and some “real Vermont” maple syrup (grossly expensive), and mashed it all together with my hands. It was way too early to be doing this. I squished the sticky meat mixture between my fingers and then attempted to form it into patties.
The patties didn’t stick together nearly as well as she promised they would, but I fried them to the best of my ability in my skillet, seven little sausage patties. Aaaaand that’s where the recipe ends. Am I supposed to just, like, eat these sausage patties? That felt ridiculous, so I went ROGUE and did my own thing and made this:
That, my friends, is a proper breakfast. Homemade sausage patties with sauteed onions and mushrooms, goopy American cheese, and a fried egg, in a toasted English muffin sandwich. Plus, some home fries on the side. Oh, and some cheap-ass champagne and orange juice for mimosas. Told you I’m good at breakfasts.
As for Gwyneth’s contribution to the meal? The patties were fine. Probably a little too heavy on the fennel seeds, giving them a disconcerting liquorice taste, but my masterpiece of a breakfast sandwich was savory enough to cover it up. I would actually consider making these again, though, and just adding less fennel than she recommended. They were pretty easy to make, and, dare I say it, I actually enjoyed knowing what was in my breakfast sausage. I helped her out a lot with this one, but we’ll let her share a little of the credit.
If you want some non-Gwyneth writing of mine, have you subscribed to DannyLetter? It arrives to your inbox infrequently, and the only rule is that I can’t write about the same thing twice in a row. (You can read the one that went out today here.)