Monday, August 14, 2006

Mom's Cooking

The last four days have been wonderful, with my mother here visiting on her way from San Diego (where she helped settle my late grandmother's estate) to Michigan (where she'll stay with my sister for the winter). We've had a wonderful time. My aunt and uncle (my father's older brother) marked their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday, and we surprised them with a surprise party/picnic/potluck. All of their kids were there, even their daughter who lives in Athens, Greece. Sunday we went back out to their house for the day, and had dinner together. The main course was a brisket that I smoked and took with us -- more on that later. Today, we took her to Lone Pine, a local farm stand that also has a petting barn on the premeses (pictures of The Lad feeding the goats to follow as soon as Qwest fixes my camera mail). For dinner we had nachos made from leftover brisket, and for dessert we had blackberry cobbler made by my mother from berries purchased at Lone Pine.

It's been good to see The Lad bond with his Nana B., and she's had a blast spoiling being with him. It's also good to see her without the weight of my grandmother's illness and death on her shoulders.

The food has been amazing. When I made the brisket, I used a new, simpler variation on my old marinade recipe:

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup worchestershire Sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Coca-Cola
1 bottle red wine
6 bottles porter
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
1 head garlic, separated and peeled

I started marinating in Thursday, so it was in the marinade for around 68 hours. I also used all of the marinade in the drip pan during the smoking. In addition, I managed to maintain the heat better this time. It hit the smoker at 4 AM Sunday, and was done at 2 PM, at which time we packed it up and drove it the 30 minutes to my aunt's and uncle's. The entire drive, the smell of that brisket cooped up in our little car drove us freaking NUTS. The smoke ring on it was about a quarter of an inch thick, and I swear, it was the best brisket I've made yet.

Tonight, my mom fixed her blackberry cobbler, which is made from her own variation on the standard Betty Crocker cobbler recipe:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Filling:

In a saucepan, combine:

3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
4 cups blackberries
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. allow to boil for one minute and remove from heat. Place in the oven to keep warm while mixing the cobbler dough.

Dough:

1 cup flower
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

Mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until the size of peas. Mix in milk (do not overstir). Drop dough by teaspoons full onto filling, distributing over top to form crust. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

One of the things I missed most about Oregon when I lived in San Diego was the blackberries, and I especially missed blackberry cobbler. So when we served it tonight, I was in heaven. sadly, I could not eat all of my second helping, so I reluctantly covered it in plastic wrap, placed it in the fridge, and told my beloved wife, "touch it and draw back a bloody stump!"

Sadly, my mom leaves tomorrow morning. Her first stopover is in Twin Falls, Idaho, where she'll visit old family friends, then Cheyenne, then Des Moines before reaching Michigan on Saturday evening. Please pray for a safe journey for her.

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