A New Take on an Old Classic – The Wedge Salad

by Anne Maxfield on July 16, 2015

Accidental Locavore Cabbage WedgeThe Accidental Locavore came across this new idea for the classic iceburg wedge. This wedge is cabbage and it’s sweet and delicious, roasted or grilled. Make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate for up to a week, if you like. Serves 4:

Accidental Locavore Blue Cheese Dressing MakingsFor the dressing:

  • ½ cup (about 3.5 oz) crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
  • Salt and pepper

Accidental Locavore Cabbage Wedge PrepFor the salad:

  • 6 to 8 thin slices pastrami (2 to 3 oz.)
  • 1 small head (2 to 3 lb.) green cabbage, outer leaves removed
  • 1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 to 10 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, mash the blue cheese with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, buttermilk, lemon juice, Sriracha, and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.

Make the salad: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Lay the pastrami flat on a small foil-lined baking sheet and roast until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel, cool, then crumble into about 1” pieces.

Accidental Locavore Pastrami ShredsCut the cabbage into 4 wedges through the root end, leaving some of the core intact on each piece so the wedges don’t fall apart. On a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, coat the cabbage wedges with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the wedges on a flat side and roast until browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes. (Don’t worry if the outer leaves begin to burn.) Flip each wedge and continue roasting until the second side is browned as well, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Accidental Locavore Grilled CabbageSpread about a tablespoon of the blue cheese dressing on each of four serving plates. Place a cabbage wedge on top and drizzle with more of the remaining dressing. Scatter the pastrami, tomatoes and chives over the wedges and garnish with the tomatoes. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I probably came late to the table on roasting/grilling leafy greens, and am trying to make up for lost time. I did roast the cabbage in the oven, and then stuck it on the grill to give it a little more flavor. It was delicious – the cabbage was a little warm and sweet from the roasting. It’s a good blue cheese dressing and if you want to spice it up more, just add some more Sriracha. The pastrami was good mixed with the dressing because of the spices coating it, but bacon would be a fine substitute. If you were short on buttermilk, some plain yogurt or sour cream would work, just taste it before adding too much. Give it a try and let me know what you think, ok?




From Brisket, to Corned Beef, to Pastrami

by Anne Maxfield on March 13, 2014

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef and CabbageIf you have a piece of brisket, the Accidental Locavore knows there’s a lot you can do with it. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and in honor of nothing in particular (maybe that I can finally access my smoker?), here’s how to take that brisket and turn it into corned beef and/or pastrami. It’s very easy, you just need to give it some time to brine and if you’re looking for corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, get to work! This is from Michael Ruhelman’s Charcuterie. Weights are given here, because if you have a food scale, this is a really good time to use it. If you don’t, go buy one! If the thought of all this corned beef or pastrami is too tempting, you can use a smaller piece of meat and halve the brine ingredients (but it freezes really well!). I’ve also make pastrami using beef tri-tip or lamb shoulder, both equally delicious.

For the corned beef brine:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 cups/450 grams kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams sugar
  • 5 teaspoons/25 grams pink salt*
  • 1 tablespoon/8 grams Pickling Spice plus 2 tablespoons/20 grams for cooking the corned beef
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-5 pound brisket, well-marbled

Accidental Locavore Corned Beef in Brine WeightedCombine all the ingredients except the brisket in a pot big enough to hold them and the brisket (and fit in your refrigerator). Bring to a simmer, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place the brisket in the brine, with a plate or something to keep it submerged. Refrigerate for 5 days.

Remove the brisket from the brine and rinse it thoroughly under running water. Place the brisket in a pot just large enough to hold it, add water to cover the meat and add the additional pickling spice. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 3 hours until the brisket is fork tender. Make sure the water always covers the meat, if not add additional water until it does. Remove the cooked corned beef from the liquid, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Pastrami SandwichNotes: I usually forget about making corned beef and turn it into pastrami. To do that, add ½ cup dark brown sugar and ¼ cup honey to the brine. Brine the meat in the same way, but only for 3 days. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse very well and pat dry. In a small frying pan toast 1 tablespoon coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon black peppercorns over medium heat, until they are just starting to be fragrant. Grind them in a spice mill or coffee grinder until coarsely ground. Rub evenly over the meat.

Hot-smoke the meat to an internal temperature of 150°; on my smoker it’s about 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 275°. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan filled with 1” of water. Bring it to a simmer on the stove-top, then cover with aluminum foil and cook for 2-3 hours until it’s fork tender. Serve and enjoy!

*Pink salt is a curing salt and not the Himalayan pink salt you might come across.




Does Grass-Fed Beef Make Great Pastrami?

by Anne Maxfield on May 3, 2012

Accidental Locavore Sliced Pastrami

As you loyal readers of the Accidental Locavore know, last year I was a happy participant in the Charcutepalooza challenge. One of the enduring results was that I now fairly regularly make duck confit, bacon, pastrami, etc. And even though I haven’t done much cooking in the past few weeks (well, I’ll admit to a month), bacon and pastrami were on the menu.

When we got the share of beef from Brykill Farm, I asked if it was possible to include a piece of brisket as part of the package. Susan was happy to oblige, especially because she said that no one asks her for brisket. So with this beautiful hunk of meat, I decided to make another batch of pastrami.

Accidental Locavore Pastrami SandwichIf you have a smoker, it’s pretty easy to do, you just brine the meat for a few days, rinse it, smoke it, and steam over a water bath. More time-consuming than difficult.  And the results are so worth it! No smoker? Just brine it and steam it and you’ll have some awfully nice corned beef. This piece of brisket was pretty lean and, since it’s grass-fed, a little chewy, but really flavorful.  My husband likes his pastrami sandwiches with Russian dressing and coleslaw, which may be a Philly thing. Crazily enough, although we make our own Russian dressing (including the mayo), we end up buying the coleslaw. I’m sure there’s a logic there somewhere.

While I like his version, to me there’s nothing better than pastrami with lots of mustard on a couple of good slices of (seeded) rye. My die-hard New York friends would probably have a fit if they saw me smearing Dijon on it instead of traditional deli mustard, but if they complain, too bad! A couple of good sour pickles and that’s a great lunch! What’s your favorite way to eat pastrami?


If you’d like to make your own Russian dressing, here’s how the latest batch was made:

Mix well: 2/3 cup mayo, 1 big teaspoon ketchup, 2 teaspoons pickle relish (try not to get too much of the liquid, it’ll be too sweet). If you’d like a little kick to it, a good squirt of sriracha (hot sauce) and for this batch I added about 1/2 teaspoon of chopped capers.




Accidental Locavore Pastrami

Wow! What a year! The Accidental Locavore has had so much fun with the Charcutepalooza challenges, not to mention what great charcuterie we’ve all been enjoying! For the “Showing Off” challenge, I did just that. My goal was to make all the things I’d thought about making over the course of the year and hadn’t done (yet). The bigger challenge was to find a venue for showing them off. You see, my husband — best taster and fiercest critic — works non-stop from the beginning of November (why he never saw the chorizo drying) through New Year’s Day, so a dinner party chez-nous wasn’t in the picture. Luckily, my friend Leslie has a “left-over” supper the Sunday after Thanksgiving where you can bring anything you’d like, so I was set!

My plan was to make two different pastramis, some bacon, the chorizo (from the November challenge) and a pâté de campagne. Accidental Locavore Pate de CampagneOver the summer, we’d had wonderful local lamb pastrami and a delicious beef tri-tip pastrami, and that became my pastrami inspiration. At the time of the bacon challenge, I didn’t have a smoker, so I’ve been dying to make more bacon and smoke it this time; this would be for personal consumption (sorry Leslie). The pâté is always good for a crowd and could be back-up hors d’oeuvres if (God forbid) the pastrami and chorizo didn’t work out.

Accidental Locavore My BaconOnce the refrigerator was stuffed to the brim (Santa Baby, how about a large-capacity fridge?) with pork belly, lamb shoulder, tri-tip, more pork (shoulder) a couple of duck legs (more about that in a minute) and more than a few duck livers, I got to work. Curing and/or brining the meats, then schlepping them to my country house for a weekend of intensive smoking. After a great breakfast featuring the bacon and some of my friend’s eggs, back to the city to finish the pastrami and make the pâté. While most people were fussing over turkey and stuffing the Locavore was steaming, grinding, confiting and having a great time!

Accidental Locavore Tri Tip PastramiA few hours later, beautiful pastramis (begging to be put in a sandwich…I acquiesced…fantastic!),Accidental Locavore Pastrami Sandwiches a big terrine of pâté, a ramekin of duck rillettes (the mixer was out and I had the duck confit…) and the chorizo, all once again, making a mockery of my refrigerator’s capacity.

The verdict? OMG! It was all great! Both pastramis were really good, the Locavore preferred the lamb, but they both had great taste and texture. The duck rillettes we previewed before the party Accidental Locavore Chorizio and Rilettesand they were good, but even better after a couple of days in the fridge, giving the flavors a chance to develop. There is currently a prominent Manhattan dermatologist who would not stop raving about the pastrami and will probably Botox my entire body in exchange for a slab of it.

Here’s what Leslie had to say “So impressed with your smoking skills.  Can’t believe how sensational the pastramis were…everyone loved it!  There were only a few scrapes left that hadn’t been put out.  Can only imagine the work that went into that.  BTW, the pâté, sausage & rillettes were also wonderful!  The pâté has been our snack all week.”

And while the challenges may be over for the time being, I’m going to go on grinding my own meat, making sausages both fresh and dried, perfecting bacon and smoking chickens (much faster butterflied and done two at a time). The duck confit (done sous-vide) will be a staple and I’ll just have to work out that much harder.

Thank you to Cathy and Kim for having such an amazing idea and letting me be a part of it!


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