Brisket – the Northern Way

It had been about an hour since the brisket was placed on the stove when the smell of the maple and Greek seasonings started filling the cabin. After a couple of hours you may need to add liquid to the Dutch. We always have a pot of tea on the stove so I just pour a little in the Dutch. That’s called “Guy” cooking.

Cooked, sliced brisket on cutting boardGrowing up in rural Wisconsin, my folks did a bunch of cooking using a cast iron DUTCH OVEN. Food was cooked using the Dutch oven both in the oven as well as on top of the stove. When cooking on the stove top, one must put a cast iron trivet inside the Dutch. This was the original slow cooker.

The Dutch w/ trivet I use is Griswold Cast Iron. While Griswolds are no longer made, many antique stores carry them. They may also be found on eBay. Top of Griswold Dutch oven lid No 8, Tite-Top BasterIf unable to locate a Griswold, one can find the Wagner brand in the same locations. My cast iron is well seasoned. I will cover iron cookware seasoning in a separate discussion.

Our IGA in Grand Marais, MN has some great deals in the almost expired bin (also called the “dead meat bin”). When we hit the store, we check the dead meat bin for deals. A couple of days ago we found a nice chunk of brisket. We also found some Greek salad dressing in a sale cart.

We went home and I marinated the brisket in Greek salad dressing. To marinade the meat I put dressing both in the bottom of the container and on top of the meat. It was stored covered in the fridge for a couple of days.

Brisket Day arrived and 1/2 cup of maple whisky was put in the Dutch. The alcohol tenderizes the meat. Pure maple syrup can be used instead. The chunk of meat was placed on the trivet inside the Dutch with the whiskey. Place the meat fat side up so the moisture is maintained. Brisket on trivet inside dutch oven with Greek dressing on top of it and maple whiskey in the bottom of the DutchExtra Greek dressing was then poured over the meat. The container was rinsed with about 1/2 cup of water which was also poured into the Dutch. Nothing goes to waste.

The covered Dutch oven was placed on the wood stove running about a low medium heat. If using a gas or electric stove top, a low medium heat will work. Experiment with your stove. If using an oven, bake on 350 degrees. After a couple of hours you may need to add liquid to the Dutch. We always have a pot of tea on the stove so I just pour a little in the Dutch. That’s called “Guy” cooking.Brisket on trivet inside dutch oven with Greek dressing on top of it and maple whiskey in the bottom of the Dutch sitting on top of wood stove

As I began to write this, it had been about an hour since the brisket was placed on the stove when the smell of the maple and Greek seasonings started filling the cabin. As I looked out the window, the snow was coming down nice and heavy. What a wonderful environment for relaxing.

By Pete Avery

Note:  While it shows Cindy as the author it is really Pete, her husband.  It is still on Cindy’s list to figure out how to have guest author’s post.Brisket, green beans with onions, mashed potatoes and gravy on plateCooked brisket whole on plate

Get Creative with Ingredients in Your Cupboard

We made a meal with oddball cupboard items using our wood stove, dutch oven and microwave. Breakfast for supper is great any time! See how we did it to get ideas for your unused food items.

Do you have those oddball food items in your pantry, cupboard or kitchen that you just never get around to using? Biscuit dough rolled on on cutting board with rolling pin Yup, we do too. Keep reading to see what items we had and how we used them. The goal is to spark ideas, encourage you to be creative and to jump in and have some fun!

Our oddball items were: one packet of milk pepper gravy mix, gluten free flour, and rye flour. The gravy mix was the driving force in deciding what was on the menu—biscuits and gravy. What goes great with biscuits and gravy? Eggs of course. Breakfast for supper became the goal!

My husband altered a favorite biscuit recipe that I had previously made. Since we didn’t have buttermilk, he substituted sour cream and mixed it with the milk. Your probably thinking, “yuck,” but we cook with a lot of powdered, dried, and freeze dried ingredients. He simply mixed Thrive Life powdered milk, Thrive Life powdered sour cream, and water in our Ninja blender for the liquid in the biscuits. It was an easy substitute. Here is Pete’s Biscuit Recipe:

About 1 1/2 c rye flour
About 1 1/2 c gluten-free flour
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
About 3/4 c butter, melted
About 1/2 c milk & sour cream mixture

Note that he “Guy” cooks with ingredients being measured in “about” quantities. You’ll feel like your on an adventure if you’ve never cooked like this!

Mix all the biscuit ingredients, roll out on a flat surface to desired thickness, and cut in desired shape. He used a mason jar cause it was round and handy.Mason jar being used to cut biscuit dough into circles on cutting board Do be aware that baking with gluten free flour is very different than gluten flour. You get different textures and may need different liquid amounts than you normally use in a recipe—remember the adventure! This recipe has 50% gluten and 50% gluten-free flours in it. Put the biscuits in a buttered pan.

Bake the biscuits at 350 degrees till done. Pete used a Dutch Oven on top of our wood stove because we don’t have an oven at our cabin. He checked the biscuits about every 15 minutes until they were done. It took about an hour on medium heat to bake them.Four biscuits in terra cotta pan sitting on cutting board with rolling pin next to it

Using the wood stove to cook or bake is taking advantage of “free” energy since we are already using it to heat the cabin. You could say we are upcycling the radiant heat to efficiently cook our food. Also, there was leftover biscuit dough that will be refrigerated and used another time. We’ll decide how many biscuits to bake and roll the dough to cut out that many to bake for a meal till the dough is gone.

Wood stove top with pan of gravy and Dutch oven with biscuits on it.

The gravy was easy. Just follow the directions on the package and make it. Again, he used powdered milk. Another reason to cook with powdered milk is you make it as you need it. The milk isn’t taking up refrigerator space or spoiling. He also added Thrive Life pre-cooked, seasoned ground beef for a meat in the gravy. We were out of the Thrive Life sausage crumbles. Both are delicious.

Scrambled eggs just go with biscuit & gravy! Again, we used Thrive Life freeze dried foods. Their scrambled egg mix is delicious—and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve eaten some pretty nasty dried eggs before. These are fabulous. I get to take credit for cooking the eggs. Since the stove stop space was all taken, I tried cooking them in the microwave for the first time. It worked great. Pete mixed the freeze dried eggs with water and added freeze dried mushrooms and onions. Here are a couple of pictures during the microwaving process:

Partially microwaved scrambled eggs in a dish

Cooking times and power settings were:
1 minute on power 4
2 minutes on power 5
Use a spoon to break up cooked eggs into chunks
1 1/2 minutes on power 5
Again, break up the eggs into chunksMicrowaved scrambled eggs in a dish

We waited to complete the eggs till the biscuits were done. We then nuked the eggs for 30 seconds on power 5. They turned out great! If you try this, please note that you may need additional 1 or 2 minutes cook times on a low power setting. It is better to undercook the eggs because you can always cook them a tad longer to get them where you want them.

Biscuit with jelly and gravy on top along with scrambled eggs on a plateBiscuits & gravy aren’t complete without jelly! Top the biscuits with jelly, add gravy and eggs, say grace, and enjoy.

The biscuits had a good flavor but were very crumbly due to the gluten-free flour. They did carry the maple flavor from the maple syrup.

What ingredients do you have sitting in your cupboard waiting to be used? Take a peek and get creative. Feel free to share what you made in the comments section.

And now for the shameless plug—Pete and I are consultants for Thrive Life freeze dried foods because it fits our lifestyle and the foods taste great. Feel free to check it out at our website, CanoeCountryFood.ThriveLife.com. Also, feel free to contact me with questions you may have about Thrive Life and using freeze dried foods.