Thursday, March 17, 2011

Corned Beef Brisket in the Pressure Cooker!

Our St. Patrick's day dinner is Corned Beef and Cabbage. I make it the quick way though in the pressure cooker. If you don't have time to slow cook, or if you want to make use of one of the handiest items in the kitchen use the pressure cooker!

So throw your corned beef brisket in the pressure cooker and enjoy some March Madness this St. Patrick's day! Brisket is the cut corned beef is made from. It is from the chest and upper front legs of the beef which can be quite tough, so it needs to either be cooked slowly or cooked in a pressure cooker to make it tender.

1. Place a 3-4lb brisket in the pressure cooker. Our processor preseasons the corned beef. If it is not seasoned it should have a spice packet included. Put enough water in the pressure cookers pot to just cover the beef and bring to a boil.

2. Place the lid with the rocker on the cooker and set so that there is a slow steady rocking motion on the rocker for 1 hour. Watch it for a while to make sure it does not blow out steam...these new pressure cookers can be testy! I wish I still had grandmas old style one (ugh...I sound old).

3. Take off of heat and let stand 5 minutes in order to release pressure. Cut and eat.

4. I roast potatoes, cabbage and carrots separately so they are all done at the same time. Grab a Guinness and a slice of Irish Soda Bread and you are good to go!

"The first corned beef was packed in salt, and sometimes spices, in order to cure it. It got its name from the corn kernel-sized grains of salt it was packed in."

Today, corned beef is usually made by soaking a brisket roast in a brine of water, salt, and spices. While it's not traditional in Ireland, corned beef is what most Americans prepare for St. Patrick's Day." taken from

Note: This is a post taken from last March, but I thought it was worthy of reposting.

Monday, March 14, 2011

DIY Lifestyle

I (Jen) have always been the type to like to do things on my own before asking for help. My mother likes to remind me of my favorite phrase as a toddler "I do it mine own self!" This attitude persists in me now as well, which is why I feel well suited for the homesteading life. Sure I have been making my own bread (sorry no link, I use a recipe from "the bakers dozen cookbook", granola bars and using a french press coffee maker for years, but moving to the farm has opened up all new DIY opportunities. We even take part in DIY schooling now!

Living in the suburbs really is more "convenient" than living 8 miles from the closest grocery store (and that is really by no means a one stop shop). Living in the country forces you to get creative! Even when we do get to town for groceries and errands the selection of natural and organic products is very limited and very expensive. This has motivated me to explore things like making my own yogurt. It's actually quite easy! The step by step does not give you step one: getting over the fact that you are actively cultivating live bacteria for the expressed purpose of feeding it to your children. Sounds scary, yes, but that's what yogurt is! My kids love it and I can make organic yogurt in any flavor I want for 1/2 the price of Stonyfield yogurt (which is fantastic). I keep it warm in the huge slow cooker that Bryce got for Christmas. It keeps the yogurt at exactly 100 degrees on the warm setting. If you give it a try I would love to know how it works out for you!

We are also currently attempting to grow sprouts in our windowsill and catch flies that are literally coming out of the woodwork via home made methods. Next on the agenda build bat houses (to naturally control mosquitoes) and movable chicken tractors to grass feed the chickens we have yet to purchase. I'll keep you updated on how that goes!