I corned my own brisket for the first time last weekend and I would give it an A-. I'll reserve the A+ for a slightly more tender result, maybe fom longer brining or lower heat. But, as usual, the grass-fed beef meant a deep, meaty flavor, and home-brining gave me a less salty corned beef than the store-bought version. I'm pretty salt-sensitive, so that was good by me. And it took all of five minutes to mix the brine and throw the brisket in, so there really wasn't much extra work involved. Given how hard it is to find organic corned beef outside of the St. Patrick sale at Whole Foods, I think I'll be doing this in the future.
I also finished the last of the excellent pork chops by browning them in a skillet, then baking them on a bed of sauerkraut mixed with raisins and apple cider, which was great. How did I reach my thirties without knowing how good sauerkraut is? It was just never eaten in my house growing up, and I don't encounter it in restaurants. Maybe if I had liked hotdogs, I would have known, but I didn't.
I also made a very nice roasted pumpkin soup with one of the sugar pumpkins from my farm share. Nothing exotic, just pumpkin, chicken stock, roasted garlic, some spices, onion, and a bit of cream, pureed until smooth. But good, especially with some tart plain yogurt swirled into the center of the bowl for a bit of contrast.
I forgot to take pictures of these things. I never remember to take pictures of dinner at dinnertime, because I'm hungry. Then I have the question: do I take a picture of the leftovers, looking less-than-beautiful despite being tasty, or do I just forget about it? Usually I opt for the latter.
I finally broke down and bought Fergus Henderson's The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating, and was thrilled to find several recipes for pork belly. I have a nice package of pork belly in my freezer that I had no idea how to approach. Of course, I will have to get over my psychological resistance to the idea of sitting down to a dish which is at least as much fat as meat, but I think I can manage it. Mmmm...fat....
I've also been spending a lot of time fantasizing about my place in the country that I am going to buy someday soon,* and the chickens I intend to keep when I get there. I go here: http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/
and I spend time choosing breeds, which is a little insane for someone whose apartment doesn't even have a fire escape, but that's okay. It's a difficult choice, after all, because you have to balance the desire for good quality meat or egg production with the yearning for exotic, handsome birds. I find the Golden Polish particularly appealing, but there is something to be said for the charm of the traditional Rhode Island Red. Sigh...
* By "soon", I mean "as soon as I can convince a bank to give me a mortage for the entire cost of a home based on my charm and wit.